Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar

You’re a real son of a bitch, James Cameron. You know that?

You think you’re so cool. Just waltzing around Hollywood with your huge blockbusters. Creating one of the most successful sci-fi franchises of all time, cleaning up the Oscars in one fell swoop, almost single-handedly handing Mr. Schwarzenegger his political office by putting him in such legendary characters.

Show off.

Then you just disappear for like ten years. You don’t call, you don’t write, you don’t make a movie. I can hear you, saying to yourself, “I’m James Cameron and I can do whatever I want. Everyone else can eat crap. George Lucas wishes he was as cool as me.”

And then, out of nowhere, you just drop this movie Avatar into everybody’s laps. Like it’s no big deal. “Yeah, I wrote and directed it. It’s probably got the best special effects to ever be put in a movie ever. Most likely it’ll revolutionize the film industry. And it’s in 3D. But, you know, it’s no big deal.”

God, I hate you so much.

I mean, where do you get off, huh? Maybe the film industry didn’t want to be revolutionized. Did you ever think about that? Maybe we were all doing just fine with our low grade CGI and lackluster backdrops. Maybe everyone in the world didn’t need to have their minds completely blown by some of the most fantastic visuals to ever hit the big screen. Jeez. Think about the rest of us every once in a while, would you?

When you get right down to it, you’re really just a big loser. If you think about it. You spent, what, like three hundred million dollars on this movie? And have been working on it for something like three years? You wrote the first draft of the script back in the early nineties. So I guess this makes your precious movie a labor of love, huh? And then, you actually created a new language for your native blue people. Their own language. Somebody watched too much Star Trek growing up.

Nerd.

You know, I heard you even invented a new camera in order to film this movie in 3D. Is that true? Who does that? Clearly you have WAY too much time on your hands.

I really think you need to be a little more considerate to our needs as consumers. I for one wasn’t ready to have my entire world rocked by what could possibly be the biggest motion picture experience since the Star Wars trilogy. The first time it came out. And there are rumors floating around that you might turn this Avatar thing into a trilogy all it’s own. Which is only going to further justify your role as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. What the hell, man?

Since when was it okay to change the world? What gives you the right?!

Screw you James Cameron. You and the earth-shattering movie you rode in on!

Asshole.

***

1/6/10

Last night I saw this movie in IMAX 3D. The last time was just in a regular theater. Everything I said above is now multiplied. By a million! Seriously, that was, without a doubt, the greatest cinematic experience of my life. Imagine seeing Star Wars back in 1977. And the dialogue didn't suck. And it was in 3D! Sweet Jesus! It's not fair!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Have any of you ever heard of Steampunk? Apparently it’s a style of fiction, often associated with sci-fi or fantasy, generally set in Victorian England, with a specific attention to being all around bad ass and action oriented. Think Charles Dickens, but fun to read. Featuring steam-powered gadgets either present at the time or fictional evolutions of modern technology. According to Wikipedia it’s been around for like thirty years. Weird, huh? Until Sherlock Holmes, I’d never heard of it either.

The first twenty minutes of Holmes are busy, loud, and abrasive. Introducing the heroes, villains, the general plot, and (most importantly) the world all at once. And all of it wrapped up in thick British accents. It isn’t until the chase seen resolves and everybody calms down do we actually get to catch our breath and realize that what we’re watching is fun, rather than overwhelming.

Once given a chance to get to know these characters, we see how well thought out the movie is. Sherlock Holmes, brilliantly played (as per usual) by Robert Downey Jr., isn’t just a smart, ├╝ber-observant guy. He’s a nearly autistic, utterly brilliant, complete basket case of a man. Watson, Jude Law (everybody’s favorite Brit), is literally the ONLY man who can contain/deal with his train wreck of a partner and keep him working.

The film also offers us an interesting twist on traditional fight scenes. Holmes, being the weirdo that he is, actually maps out how he’s going to win the fight before he engages it. And, of course, he’s always right. He is the world’s greatest detective. Except, of course, for Batman.

Their villain is a man who conducts black magic, and stuff. Convenient, since his name is Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong. He’s creepy and running some huge conspiracy to totally change the world and insists that he and Mr. Holmes are at the center of it all, forever wrapped up in an eternal struggle. And so on.

The real star of this movie, which brings us back to this whole Steampunk thing, is the city of London in the 1890s. Nearly every action sequence or great act of detective work fully incorporates the gritty, dirty world of the late industrial revolution. A sword fight a top an unfinished version of the London drawbridge. The ragged street folk constantly milling around the background. All of this atmosphere shapes up to be the most interesting character of the whole movie.

All in all, I’d say this movie isn’t a raging success. Despite its twists and turns on the classic vision of an old character, it still manages to just add up to a traditional action movie. But it’s still a good movie and fun to watch. Robert Downey Jr. always carries an irresistible charm to a film and he turns it up high on this one.

He almost makes this character as loveable as Tony Stark.

Almost.