Friday, September 07, 2007

The Year of Watching DVDs, Part 25: What I Hated This Summer

I watched the entire IMDb top 250 list and now I'm watching everything else. All reviews so far.

Fine, okay, let's do a few more of these. You know, I've watched around 65-70 movies (plus many seasons worth of various TV series) since the last round-up. So I'm a little behind on my reviewing. But let's try something new. Instead of just chronologically reviewing everything I watch, I'm going to try grouping the films together in various ways. This time, the connection is shit. Here are the DVDs I saw this Summer and disliked a lot:

Equilibrium (2002)
The kind of science fiction movie that assumes the audience is composed solely of idiots. (I mean, come on, couldn't they have used some other piece of art than the Mona Lisa in the opening scene?). It's a dystopia that owes a lot to, among others, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and The Matrix, but adds little new. Christian Bale and Sean Bean are two "clerics" who do bad stuff like burning paintings in a future where everybody suppresses their feelings with pills. (Supposedly. In fact, there's plenty of emotion evident. Really, the whole premise of the movie is out the window within 15 minutes.) When Bale stops taking his feeling-suppressant pills, he turns out to be a psychopath, willing to kill a dozen men for the sake of one single dog. It's dull, clichéd, predictable and illogical, all at the same time. If you're anything like me, you'll laugh with exasperation. But then you'll cry.

Intended moral: Feelings are good.
Actual moral: Suppressing feelings can save human lives.

As It Is in Heaven / Så som i himmelen (2004)
The very same cousin of mine who loved Heroes (reviewed in Part 19) recommended this shit, which is why I'll never ever take her advice on anything ever again. It's an earnest and well-meaning drama about the power of song, but it's also predictable, pretentious, sentimental, and some other adjectives that escape me for now. Per Morberg's wife-beating character is particularly laughable. Any scene he's in is impossible to take seriously. Come to think of it, "character" is the operative word - a major problem with the film is that there's very few recognizable people in it, only stereotypes.

Intended moral: Let the people sing!
Actual moral: Swedish movies suck ass.

Final Destination (2000)
Uncle Sammy gave me this as a birthday present. It seemed to be partly about an accident involving an airplane. I was going flying the next day, so I thought it would be a good idea to watch this to know how to cope if there's an emergency. Unfortunately, it turns out that everybody aboard the plane dies, which was a little demoralizing. (I survived my flight, though.) The first half hour, dealing with the plane crash, the immediate aftermath, and survivor guilt, was just fine - probably worth 3 Michael Keatons. Even though, as mentioned, I hate Heroes and therefore don't take kindly to Ali Larter starring in it. (But it's okay cos Dr Arzt from Lost is also in it.) And then the Grim Reaper gets pissed that some of the people who were supposed to die weren't on the plane, and sets about rectifying the matter. So the rest of the movie is fairly standard "horror" but still competent entertainment for teens. Worth 2 Michael Keatons. So far, so good. But there's a tacked-on ending which just super-sucks. It doesn't make sense, and it takes away from the movie as a whole. The alternate version, available on the DVD, is much more satisfying and gels better with the rest of the movie. A short featurette, wherein the film executives are interviewed on why the ending was changed, provides an interesting lesson in how to suckify your movie to reach its commercial potential.

Intended moral: You can't cheat death. No, wait. You CAN cheat death, but only for a while. Eventually, you will die in a gruesome way.
Actual moral: About the same, I guess. Also: Teenagers have poor taste in movies.

Stepford Wives (2004)
I downloaded this remake, starring Nicole Kidman, after having watched the original film the day before. I shouldn't have bothered. I wasn't a huge fan of the original, but at least it had some atmosphere. Here's the thing: The story doesn't work if the main character is an unlikable bitch. The film alternates between broad comedy (which is just dull) and sentiment (which is pathetic). It doesn't even make sense - are the wives robots or just women with chips in their brains? Neither explanation is logical. But what do you expect for just $90 million? Bonus: An extremely bad twist ending.

Intended moral: Uh... love is good? I don't know, it's a mess.
Actual moral: None.


Anonymous said...

Equilibrium rules!!


Moocko said...

I also disliked Stepford Wives (2004). And wrote an angry review of it back in the days. I felt the gay character was really offensive, and I'm not even gay.

Koala Mentala said...

And you're not even gay!!

Moocko said...

's right!!

patrick said...

never bothered seeing stepford wives