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Movie Update

Its been a while since I last posted about movies. I haven’t been on a particular tear, but I have seen a few and I thought I would quickly review them on my famous 1-5 scale. My memory isn’t the best, so I may have seen more movies than this implies, but this is what I recall at the moment: [See Addendum]

V for Vendetta – Subversive Action – 4.5
Transporter 2 – Non-Stop Action – 3
Inside Man – “Smart” Thriller – 3
Ice Age 2 – “Kids” Comedy – 1
The Rock – Unlikely-Heros Action – 4

I had not planned on seeing Ice Age 2 until an invitation to see the movie last night with Maria came soon after a recommendation of the movie by an acquaintance. Needless to say, I will never trust that person’s movie recommendations again. The movie was terrible, in almost every way. I have no respect for movies, especially children’s mvoies, that employ swearing for comedic effect. It is a poor crutch for a weak comedic mind, and I don’t find it funny or even mildly amusing. Its just crass and unwarranted. Furthermore, Ice Age 2 adds to this ignoble start with, well, nothing pretty much. A song, a few predictable twists later, and the movie was thankfully over.

Inside man was, thankfully, quite a bit better. I watched it with Scott Torborg a week ago. It was an enjoyable bank robbery film that did a fair amount to keep me guessing, but in the end, its reliance on a wearily overused theme stopped it from being any better than sort of “blah good.” Don’t we all know that the Nazis were really really bad? Do we really need another movie villianizing some relation with the Nazis yet again? What about modern day evils? Anyway, while this movie had a lot of interesting ideas, its main theme was too easily lost on me. Good, sorta, but not great, at all.

The night before, I watched Transporter 2 with Jon, Maria, and Maura at my parent’s place on their wonderful large TV. It was a fun action movie, but it had too many physics-defying moments for me to call it anything above “pretty ok” (note that this is the same rating as “blah good”). Particularly disheartening were the gun that could blow up helicopters but failed to shoot through wood doors and the plane crashing into the water so gently that simply jumping away from the water was enough to counteract the decelleration of the collision. On the other hand, the movie made the very intelligent move of completely avoiding the details of how the world was saved after the final fight scene, and the transporter resisted a sexual overature by a rich and hot drunk woman, not because of who she was, but because of who he was. Impressive, in my book.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I watched V for Vendetta with Dan. I thouroughly enjoyed this movie, and not just for the fact that lots of government buildings blew up (always a good thing). I could not agree more with what I see as the central premise of the movie, summed up in the line, “people should not be afraid of their government; the government should be afraid of its people.” This delightlyfully subversive theme carried the movie along quite nicely, and even helped it overcome its primary shortcoming of trying too hard to make the audience see the parallels between modern times and the movies times, which really were not as strong as the directors (Warchowski brothers) seemed to want the parallels to be. Despite this small stumble, the movie was quite enjoyable throughout. Good dialogue, nice action, intelligent plot, all in an enjoyable package — can’t ask for much more out of a movie.

Addendum:

I just remembers two things — one, I saw The Rock with my housemate Hadrien a couple of weeks ago. While there was nothing particularly spetacular about it, it was a very solid movie. What I liked the most about it was the fact that the main “villain” for most of the movie was a likeable character, and even a hero in his own way. This made me think again about V for Vendetta — and I realized that its biggest flaw was how one-dimmensional its villains were. There were no attempts to relate to them outside of their “evilness.” While V for Vendetta did blur the line with V’s “Terrorist” antics, I think the movie would have been stronger overall if there had been some way to relate more with the villains — the people V was knocking off — as more than straightforward goons. Looking back, I think this was the primary factor that prevented me from giving it the covetted 5 (that no major release has ever recieved).

2 Responses to “Movie Update”

  1. nordsieck Says:

    The only one that I have seen out of the bunch was V for Vendetta. I loved it.

    As for your comment, about the parallels not being as strong as they are presented in the movie, I don’t know – I think that they are perhaps stronger than I want to admit. Also, I think that they needed to be a bit over the top to convince most people that a permission-based society is a bad thing (ie: “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you don’t have to worry” is a bunch of BS).

  2. Ryan Says:

    The movie isn’t doing spetacularly well in the box office — “only” 66 million. So any going over the top to try to convince people (ie, “for the masses”) was pretty much a lost cause anyway. I think it would have been a stronger movie with more subtle hints. Certainly, things like the Koran, the “Coalition of the Willing” flag… these things were over the top without really adding to the theme.

    At any rate, this weakness was really part of the addendum I threw in just now — the one-dimensionalness of the villains. Very few people are pure evil — at least most people have their self-justification. This is the one thing that I think the comic (which I skimmed through, mostly) did better than the movie. Otherwise, I liked the story the movie stuck to somewhat more interesting than the comic’s.

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