Saturday, June 09, 2007

Summer Films: 0 for 2

I haven't been too impressed with the summer blockbusters this year. I wonder if I am getting spoiled. Then I wonder if the filmmakers are getting spoiled. With the help of special effects and unlimited cash they can make a squid faced guy and Johnny Depp dance around on top of a huge sail in the middle of a hurricane-storm-swirly-water-thing with swords, all from a swinging 360 degree camera shot, and make it look real. Amazing reallly. Its not that I am not pleased with their efforts to make the action sequence look real, and it was pretty cool, its just that it looks so real now… that I don't really believe it.

It is almost like a perfect action universe or something. It just doesn't seem real. No camera crew in their right minds would venture into such a situation to capture that shot. But then again I guess you could say the same thing about Lord of the Rings. What camera man in his right mind would venture on to Mount Doom and capture all that evil action. (Maybe Dwight Schrute from the office but he doesn't count.)

The element that still makes the movie tick is its characters. Good characters and a good script make a good movie almost every time. It would take a truly horrendous director to screw that up. Shoot, good characters, a good story and a mediocre script can even make a great film. You can’t have all of one and none of the others though. Look at Star Wars "A New Hope." (Episode 4) Great characters in that flick and made with not a lot of cash. Han Solo, Obi wan, Leia, Chewie, Darth Vader and worst of all Luke. It is hard to loose with characters like that. Now look at episode 1. Lucas had all the cash in the world, still a pretty good story, but bad, very bad, throw-your-drink-at-the-screen-bad characters. Two words: Jar Jar.

Maybe overall it wasn't any of that. I think Pirates was just too darn confusing. Plus I couldn't understand half of what that Black Goddess Calypso was saying. "Him tear out him heart... thanz yuzz gerannz joozes wheech onza Jack Sparrow." I spent half the movie leaning over to Amber and saying "Huh?" like an old man or an annoying kid.

It did have some really fun scenes and a load of interesting characters which would still prompt me to reccomment blowing 20 bucks for a date, but I am still waiting for "the one" this summer.

I am hoping that Harry Potter, and a few others bring it home as far as summer movie fun goes. I need a good one. I might find my only entertainment/escape solace in the final Harry Potter book coming out in 41 days, 21 hours, 12 minutes and 35 seconds.

“Awah” cried the spoiled American.


FancyPants said...

Hey I really liked Pirates 3! Very true, it was a little hard to follow, but once the end comes around it all makes sense. I liked the ending alot, actually.

I'm curious. You said 0 for 2, so what's the 2nd movie you didn't like?

Chaotic Hammer said...

My wife and I saw Pirates 3 on opening weekend, and I think I felt a lot like you did, Seth.

And like you, I couldn't understand Calypso. But I thought maybe I'm just going deaf or something (I played drums for many years with no ear plugs, and do have a little bit of hearing loss). Her lines were quite garbled.

I also couldn't keep up with the all the little twists and turns in the plot. I'm not sure why they felt it necessary to try and get so complicated with all the interwoven stories, when the action scenes and simpler elements of the plot were really quite sufficient (and would have saved them a little time -- quite a long movie at nearly 3 hours).

All in all, it did give us what we wanted, though -- a few hours of entertainment and escape, an excuse to go on a date and eat popcorn and Twizzlers, etc. We do better when we view it like that. I've sort of given up on having high hopes for most movies any more.

kddub said...

I think we are seeing this sometime this week, so we'll have to review it then, but I think it's always better to go into a movie not expecting it to be amazing, than expecting it to be the best thing ever.

Seth Ward said...

Good point.

Just glad to hear you guys are up to it now. I hear you have been one sick puppy!

It'll be fun. I was just feelin' down about my summer movie pics. There is usually ONE by now that I'm jumping around like a little kid about and want to see it again like a fun ride a 6 flags. Not yet though.

I think we'll see Oceans 13 sometime this week. I hear its loads of fun.

Rob said...

I think our expectations of books and movies have changed over the years. I have recently been listening to audio versions of Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World" as I ride back and forth to work. I remember reading and enjoying both books sometime in the '70s (don't remember when exactly, it's all a bit of a blur now). Listening to them now, I'm struck by how "un-entertaining" and musty they are compared to other more modern books I've listened to recently. There's plenty of sex, drugs, and violence in both books, but they both seem to contain way too many long preachy discourses on ethics and politics.

Have my tastes really changed so much over the years? In the sci-fi world these are classic stories told by masters of the genre. Have Star Wars and The Matrix damaged me that badly?

The Stan said...

There has been NOTHING out for almost a year that made me want to part with 20 bucks. (Except for "300" which was a little of a disappointment.)

I've been to the el cheapo $3 theatre with the sticky floors a few times, but usually I want my $6 back even then.

Has Hollywood lost the art of filmmaking? It's all about visual effects these days. But visual effects are a supporting element. They should support the characters, the plot, the script, and help make the whole story more believable. They should NOT be the whole point of seeing the movie.

That's why those new Star Wars Movies were such a disappointment.

Best movie in a year? "The Last King of Scotland." Oh, and "Blood Diamond."