Jan 18, 2013

Guess that movie

Runaway space shuttle piloted back to earth by Marty McFly's mom and Indiana Jones' gal.

(sampled from my Twitter feed - peek if you must)

Facebook post on Happy Feet

I put this on Facebook a few days ago. You have it to thank for reigniting my urge to write about film.

"Happy Feet" equals one if the most bizarre/surreal film experiences I've ever endured. I'm still processing some of the darker elements. The creepiness factor was enhanced by Elijah Wood's voice and the overweight penguin being slowly suffocated by plastic pop can rings. Also, RIP Brittany Murphy. More disturbing is the fact that there is a sequel which I will one day be expected to watch. What new way will I be made to feel terrible that I am an evil fish-stealing environment-raping human? At least I'm not an evil killer whale, evil sea lion or evil mangy seagull (no actual idea what kind of birds those were). Those bad guys actually try to eat the penguins rather than just taking all their food and putting them in soul-sucking zoos.

Overall rating: weird family dynamic with the penguin dad admitting to having dropped the egg Mumbo; creepy themes; the penguins in Madagascar are way funnier; all the emperor penguins except Mumbo (and especially the Irish-accented elderly leader) looked like scary beady eyed hybrids of penguin bodies and hook nose mardi gras masks; still made me cry at the end because of that darn Beatles song over the humans-altering-their-earth-pillaging-ways montage. Unsettling. There are some horror movies that have left me feeling more settled than "Happy Feet."

Jan 17, 2013

The Hobbit: An Expected Disaster

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as all are aware, is installment one of three that will attempt to capitalize on the fame and fortune of its predecessor Lord of the Rings. The events of the LOTR trilogy occur after the events of the Hobbit, so right off the bat we're in "prequel trying to live up to the legacy" territory. The story, (for any who have not read the book, which is splendid) centers around a hobbit in Middle Earth and has all the adventure one would expect from the story out of which every single other fantasy novel ever written was born, including The Lord of the Rings (which when you think about it is another longer book where a large group of unlikely friends walks a long distance to do something at a mountain). Bilbo sets off on a journey, largely against his nature and better judgment, with a wizard, too many dwarves (sic that's they way Tolkien spells it in the book) to care about and the king dwarf Thorin. They have a beef with a dragon called Smaug who stole all their treasure and their kingdom under the mountain. Film the first ends with the company viewing this mountain far in the distance but closer than when they started walking.

Casting Martin Freeman was a stroke of genius as his acting style lends itself to hobbitishness. According to my sister and fellow Tolkien lover, I have unfortunately become too jaded to enjoy Peter Jackson's films anymore. I am too aware of his methods, too steeped in LOTR bonus features.

There were winning moments, but they were largely cancelled out by prolonged action sequences (how else are they going to make this story stretch into three LONG movies?), cheesy attempts at comedy and way too much Radagast the brown. I also found the overt references to psychedelic mushrooms irritating, especially when other audience members did the "420 laugh" in response and right on oh-so-predictable cue. This film aims to be epic in scope only to take the audience out of the action with a lame wink wink, more than once. The villains were too numerous and too silly (even for Tolkien), and the action sequences became too like one another. At least twice a large group of dwarves enters a battle from off camera to save an ally; at least twice a line of dwarves wields an overlarge object in a sweeping movement to knock an oncoming line of enemies off a precipice; at least twice Gandalf miraculously appears moments before many good guys will be mutilated and eaten by bad guys (which in fairness happens in the book but is slightly better explained than it was on film).

To sum it up: over-the-top. As an avid fan I am disappointed that I have no desire to see it again and no desire to obsess over the director's cut (somehow they will make this movie even longer?!) and bonus features (I really don't care how this movie was made). I would watch Martin Freeman outtakes for hours on end.