Monday, December 12, 2005
Movie Round-Up: Narnia; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Star Wars; Lord of the Rings; Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Squid & the Whale
Today's post is a movie discussion taken entirely from emails sent back and forth between myself and "F", who wishes to remain semi-anonymous. We join the talks mid-email:
Me:...not to piss on your parade, but he also has "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" and "narnia" as 2 of his top 5 movies of the year. Oh, well, movies must not be his forte.
F: Well, to each his own. I liked hitchhiker's guide alright, but it wasn't my favorite of the year (although I can't really think of movies I saw that I liked that much this year — OH! Except Squid and the Whale). I thought you like Narnia?
Me: Narnia? Like I said earlier, "It was ok."
F: Better than Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, though, right?
Me: Sadly, no. Possibly better than the 2nd & 3rd Harry Potters, but that's not saying much. I don't know. It's much more of a kid's movie than Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, mostly because it is about 4 kids running around doing things. And I don't generally go in for overly sentimental, earnest kid's movies.
F: So you're excluding the LOTR and Star Wars trilogies from the "overly sentimental, earnest kid's movies" classification? I see... I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith this weekend. Twice, actually, once with the commentary on. Not a good movie, but Pitt and Jolie were fun. And the commentary was mildly interesting. Also saw Last Starfighter, which was as good as I remembered it from when I was like six.
Me: Goddam. I saw that one last week. Pretty, terrible, and pretty terrible. It was barely mediocre. Why why why? You must really hate yourself. And at least LOTR and SW had some sense of humor, and some character development. Narnia was all, "but what about our poor father, he's in the war now... he wouldn't want us to go to war". And they have absolutely no problem or shock seeing that every animal can talk. And Aslan is introduced and immediately is trusted by all the children, who aren't the least bit afraid of this 400 pound talking lion going feral on them.
F: Well, you know, they're unafraid in the books, so... I mean, that's half the point, right? That only children could save Narnia because they're so trusting and innocent or whatever. Kind of a Christian idea, I suppose. And Mr. Smith was pretty bad, but not unbearable. It just took too long to get started (like, once they start fighting it gets markedly better). There's some good dialog (Mrs: What do you think of the drapes? Mr: Hmm. Mrs: If you don't like them, we can return them. Mr: Okay, I don't like them. Mrs: You'll get used to them.) L. says a similar premise has been done at least twice before, and in better movies (which I've never seen): War of the Roses, and...er...something else.
Me: Agreed on all points. I think the premise of Mr. & Mrs. Smith was done before in the 1996 TV series called "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with Scott Bakula and Maria Bello, or the movie Prizzi's Honor, from 1985, which this movie is a remake of... I calls 'em like I sees 'em. Stupid crap is stupid crap, whether it's from an artsy independent lo-fi director or some rich bastard with a $167 million budget.
F: But again, LOTR and Star Wars, those aren't stupid crap, right?
Me: Right, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith is the model of artistic vision perfected.
F: Man, you go from zero to overboard sarcasm in like two seconds flat.
Me: I learned it from you.
F: Impossible! I learned it from you!