Tuesday 30 October 2007

I took a Wrong Turn down Pleasantville and ended up in Ratatouille...

Ooh, that title gag was a bit forced wasn't it, or was it? Regardless...a few movie musings for you, my kind readers. Ratatouille: Pixar suffer the same fate as "Cars" with this one. It looks superb, has a solid story, but it's almost entirely devoid of any solid humour. There's the odd chuckle to be had here or there, but the focus on telling an epic animated story, rather than providing genuine entertainment means it comes out just as I've said - a beautiful looking film, with a moral and winning storyline, which unfortunately barely achieves a genuine guffaw. The design is creative, even inspired, the death-like food critic being a key example. The characterisation is top notch, even managing to evoke genuine emotion. I'm not sure why, but I was really impressed that his office - in an aerial shot - was shaped like a coffin. It's an entertaining film, but not in a very humorous way...it's almost like a live-action coming-of-age drama, but you know, with rats. If only Pixar would rediscover their funny bone, the sheer onslaught of comedy mixed with their eye for emotional depth in films such as Toy Story was what made them great. They haven't lost this talent it seems, the shorts that they still produce are invariably a laugh riot - so why have their features become over-long gag-lite epics? For the love of Woody, give me something to laugh-till-I-cry at once again. Wrong Turn 2: First of all, I thought the original film was complete pish. A bunch of stupid characters with terrible dialogue making stupid decisions getting killed by woodland freaks. Admittedly there was one properly good scene - the silent escape attempt from the nutter's cabin - but beyond that (and oh yes, the really annoying woman getting something sharp in the head) it was pish. Similarly the straight-to-DVD Wrong Turn 2 is pish, but with a lower budget, shot on lower quality equipment, with lower caliber actors and yes you guessed it, a lower quality script. Nu-horror meets reality TV ... that sounds familiar but why? Oh yes - Halloween 8, another pile of fetid shit. There's a few good gore moments, but the overall tone of "who cares" washes over everything, including the cast of characters, the sort of people who deserve to be chewed up by mountain people. And why on earth is a retired Marine so shit at dodging in-coming fire? Pleasantville: At last, a film that didn't disappoint me this week. I've been meaning to get around to this film for years, but finally got around to it. An original story, solid or even great acting, a brilliant script and a technical marvel (at the time at least when the selective colour effect was new). I'll keep it brief, but the aspect that really impressed me was how the entire civil rights movement was re-enacted in the 'black-and-whites VS coloureds' unrest. In fact, it was so well captured it was often devastating, laying bare the simple fact that hating someone because of their skin colour is completely moronic. An act of the small-minded and ill-educated. We're all the human race, after all. It was a genuinely spell-binding watch, a quality piece of filmmaking in the truest sense. If only Hollywood would snap out of its remake fad and grow a set of balls again to invest in originality and imagination.

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