Tuesday, December 27

Ye Olde Annual Movie-Fest

It's that time of year again: time to avoid the family and all its passive/aggressive snide condescension and head up north and totally ignore the holiday. So we headed out to our favorite canine friends Justin and Casey's house in Federal Way to lounge around in our sweats and watch movies all weekend. All in all, a good weekend. J&C's person knows that A doesn't really share my taste in films, so she makes sure there are several films on hand for us to watch while A catches up on her reading. This year's lineup:

The Day the Earth Stood Still
Serenity
The House of Flying Daggers
Batman Begins

Oddly enough, I think I enjoyed the oldest film the most. The Day the Earth Stood Still may be more than 50 years old, but it certainly is interesting from today's frame of reference. It is both chilling that we've apparently not learned a damn thing in the last half century about blowing ourselves up, and ironically amusing as two army doctors express their amazement at an alien whose life span is 130 years while lighting up a couple of cigarettes. If you haven't seen the film, or even haven't seen it lately, rent it and see it again. It's worth the time.

Serenity was fun. The dry humor I so greatly enjoyed from Firefly was there in spades and the story was entertaining and interesting. For some reason, though, I walked away very slightly disappointed. I'm not sure if it's because, unlike most of the fans who have been ranting about how good it was, I saw it after it was confirmed that Firefly will not be making a comeback (it was still a real possibility when the film was in the theaters) so I knew the open-ended nature of the film's finale was not going to go anywhere, or because it had a bit less of the "western" feel that made the series so unique. The film was more a straight-up sci-fi action flick - something I definitely enjoy - but it lost a little of what made Firefly so addictive. I'm still glad they made it and I'm glad I saw it. Maybe some decent writer out there will pick up the stories and write a few novels on board ...

The House of Flying Daggers was, as I expected, visually beautiful. Their use of color was wonderful. The story had some nice twists that made it less predictable than so many of its peers. However, the use of color and visual themes in Hero and the story/music in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were far superior. All three films are excellent and I will happily see them again, but I felt The House of Flying Daggers was the weakest of the three.

Batman Begins - I liked Christian Bale's portrayal of Batman. Bale was an excellent choice for the role, as were the stellar supporting cast in Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman. Two things bothered me about the film, though. First and foremost, Gotham was too shiny and realistic. I much preferred the more stylized, darker Gotham of the previous films. Second, the Batmobile was a goddamn SUV. That's just wrong! Other than those two quibbles, it was not a bad film. I enjoyed it. I'll probably watch it a second time to pick up some of the dialog I missed the first time, but I can't say it was significantly better or worse than the other Batman films.

6 comments:

  1. Serenity was pretty good, although I was disappointed at the ending because of what happened to some of the characters (don't want to ruin it for those who didn't see it).

    From what I read, the hope was that if Serenity did well that Farscape would be the next one to become a movie. All us Scapers are keeping our fingers crossed. But from what I hear, there may be more movies-- but it won't be the same.

    I did like Batman Begins. It was much better than the non-Michael Keaton versions. I've always been a huge Batman fan-- from the old tv shows to the cartoons to the comics and the movies. I was glad to see good Batman movies coming out once again. I bought this one and am looking forward to more movies with this cast.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still is definitely a good movie. I've seen it at least a dozen times (thanks to my dad, who introduced us to sci-fi, horror, Monty Python, and Young Frankenstein at a young age).

    I've only seen part of The House of Flying Daggers, but my husband just got it as a gift for Christmas. I'll have to watch it soon to see what I think.

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  2. Farscape movie? I'd go for that!

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  3. I saw it after it was confirmed that Firefly will not be making a comeback

    Um. There has been utterly no such confirmation. See this item and the ones it links to.

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  4. Whoa! Thanks for the links, b!X! :-) I quite happily stand corrected.

    I'm delighted to see there's hope for more films - I hadn't heard that yet. Regardless whether it's Serenity or Firefly, I'm very happy to hear there is hope that the delightful cast and characters may be appearing on our screens (big or small) again.

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  5. I'm going to try to get to Serenity this week; never watched more than a few minutes of the series, but I love Whedon when he's being funny...

    Damn right the Batmobile is a sports car, not an urban assault vehicle! That tank was like taking away James Bond's Aston Martin and sticking him in a minivan. Fun movie overall, though.

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  6. Joe - go rent the series first. It's probably fine to enjoy the film without having seen the series, but I think you'll get a *LOT* more out of it if you've seen the series.

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