Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3477314 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

A Pair of Movie Reviewlets
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (0)

It's been a slow, lazy weekend for yours truly, housesitting for friends in a Dallas suburb and mostly partaking of filmed entertainment.

The other night I rented Spirited Away, on the recommendations of so many blogs I've read, and comments here. I enjoyed it quite a lot, much more so than Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke. The story was clear, the characters seemed much more consistent, and it was chock full of weird inventiveness.

But I did think the story bogged down quite a bit in the middle of the movie, pulled along mostly by the introduction of strange characters. The nearest analog to this film is probably The Wizard of Oz, but imagine if, instead of following the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy got a job in a Munchkin bathhouse, scrubbing toilets and giving Munchkins French manicures, basically waiting for the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and ultimately, the Wizard, to come walking through the bath house door. This is more akin to the structure of Spirited Away. Not so much a journey as a waystation. (Incidentally, this is the main problem I had with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as opposed to any Star Trek with an actually starship. From a narrative perspective, things come to you, instead of you exploring to find new things, which is generally a narrative drag.)

No doubt some of you out there will call me a grump, but again...I liked it. I just thought it would have been a livelier narrative if Chihiro/Sen sought out the solutions, rather than waiting for them to come to her.

And yesterday I trotted down to my local megaplex to see Bruce Almighty. There were some genuinely funny moments, but not nearly enough to redeem the film overall. It was Modern Problems without the edge (though like that film, it did have the male-induced telekinetic orgasm). It was Oh God without the sincerity or smarts (yeah, I actually thought Oh God was a pretty clever film in parts). It wanted more than anything, I think, to be Groundhog Day, but that film was much better in nearly every respect.

What struck me most (besides the saccharine sentimentality) was the lack of vision displayed by Bruce. You've just been given the power of God...what would you do with it?

The first few things he does are:

--part a bowl of tomato soup (which was admittedly funny)
--break a fire hydrant
--blow up a woman's skirt
--change his wardrobe
--make a monkey crawl out of a guy's butt

He then goes home to make godly love to his girlfriend, and the next day he gets revenge on the guy he hates at work and gets his old job back, as a reporter at a local television station.

Now, I don't know about you, but this is thinking pretty small, isn't it? He could have a harem of beautiful women, right? No wait, he can't mess with free will. But he could simulate them, no? Or read the minds of beautiful women to know what they want?

And if he's really interested in newscasting, why not shoot for a job with CNN? You've got the powers of God for frig's sake!

I think the script would have been much funnier if he had done more with his power (which honestly seemed more like genie-level than that of a Supreme Being). I mean, he could have changed the laws of physics, reversed time, created whole worlds to transport to. Instead, he splices to species of flowers together ("I call them 'T'Daisies'"). He just thinks so friggin' small, and that's a shame for the script. There was a lot more potential there that went untapped.

And yeah, the end was schmaltzy and predictable. Bruce redeems himself by supplicating his will to god. He's saved. Oh, good for Bruce. And he learns that true miracles come by helping other people. Don't expect any fine-grained moral complexity here, folks.

But like I said, there are some genuinely funny moments, so it's still worth a watch...maybe a rental.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Memorial Day. No more movies for me this weekend.

Read/Post Comments (0)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.