Saturday, April 12, 2008

I don't usually do this, but it's time to review a movie: Children of Men

Too little, too late. But here goes:

There are several quips I have about this movie, even after seeing it again. There are several moments in the beginning where the idea of infertility is stressed, and the idea of immigrants being deported is shown over and over in dialog. We're told a few times by different characters how the British government handles immigrants. Boring! I find this to be somewhat quieter American Cinematic Spell-It-Out-For-Youism, and somewhat condescending. We “get” the idea from the first two moments of film that this isn’t our world of uncertainty about immigration; this is a world more firmly set in its ideas about who should be where and when and who has the rights of mobility in which country, blah blah. So, telling us over (twice after the first scene, where some news anchor fills us in just fine) and over again is a bit annoying. I feel the ox bone on my head already. Now lay off.

Julianne Moore is a skeleton. She sucks. Her sense of importance, in real life and in the life of her character, bleeds through a stunningly transparent – not to mention unbelievable— portrayal of a rebel leader whose importance I'm not sure is unique to the character. Moore, rebel leader? Not in this world, nor in the world of 2027.

A few other things:

There’s no reason for the cop (Syd) to refer to himself in the third person. I don''t know what the cops of 2027 will be like, but this habit just seems cartoonish at best…

The allegory of humans fighting over territory no matter the outlook (as evidenced in the Bexhill scene after the baby is taken down the stairs and out of the building, through the gauntlet of soldiers --somewhat humanly depicted, mind you…while the rebels are clearly not—is a bit overdone and really not edited that well at all: just a bunch of people standing around like they are being paid not too well for a role they’d rather not play.

And the last "floating" scene, wouldn’t this be better if the movie ended with just the boat flapping on the ocean, no fishing trawler to save them?

How this movie has a 92% on rotten tomatoes is beyond me…

Oh wait…it’s because of people like this:

“Cuaron fulfills the promise of futuristic fiction; characters do not wear strange costumes or visit the moon, and the cities are not plastic hallucinations, but look just like today, except tired and shabby (Roger Ebert).”

No moon suits, DAMN! What a moron.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't quite get the buzz about that movie. I'm a bit sick of the "it's so gritty!" tag/ stylism. That said, it seems like it had a legit effect on people (not just the "dumb" ones), so there must still be something to that kind of movie-making.

I thought the movie was a decent watch, nothing special but nothing naseous. I do remember never quite feeling involved in the movie, and Clive and Julianne are not very fun to watch.

I think movies sometimes hit nerves. For me that movie was Juno. I'm sure there were some solid parts, but I lost them for the bile in my mouth.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

I think --as slam poetry shows-- that we (as Americans) are in love with the "cool," and gritty looks cool.

But cool isn’t risky, and its numerous cultural copies to date are growing more and more superficial.

Because everyone knows we love cool, it seems the easiest; therefore, cheap trick.

Clive and Julianne aren't fun to watch. But that's written off by fans of this movie as being legitimate pain and acting in their roles. "It's the end of the world, of course they're not going to be fun to watch."

If Juno gets your bile rising, go see Eagle vs. Shark. That movie made me want to burn New Zealand to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should stay away from Eagle vs. Shark (what is that a sequel to Squid. vs. Whale?) in order to keep my love for Flight of the Conchords intact. I think Jemaine is one of the most naturally hilarious people; he can just look at the camera and it would be funny.

Re: "Because everyone knows we love cool, it seems the easiest; therefore, cheap trick."

Another "cheap trick" I think about is the movie soundtrack. It's absurd how almost any piece of music could turn a bland scene into a relatively moving one. To what extent is it not a cheap trick to put really moving music over your film?

That said, some of my favorite movie scenes drop the track. Especially in the remake of King Kong: after the loud, "adventursomely" scored battle between dinosaur and ape, there's this dead silent scene in a valley where the team is slowly consumed by insects. Sweeeeeet.

Ryan said...

I hated King Kong. HATED it. I also hate Jack Black post-high fidelity. So much hatred. I hate the outfits Jack Black thinks make him funny. I hate his little funny face.

I hate music in movies that makes the movie better. I think Wes Anderson sometimes does this, though I don't hate Rushmore and I certainly don't hate other films he's done. But I hate the music scenes where the music makes the scene. I think that's because it's harder to want people dead when music's playing.

Kidding, of course.