I’ve watched a few movies in the theatre lately, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the most recent ones I’ve seen.
I know there’s been a lot of love for this movie in reviews, and from people I know who have seen it. I was excited going into the movie, and wholly expected to have a blast watching it (mostly, I was expecting an action movie with spy thriller flavor). Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the movie. From the beginning, I didn’t find the titular character to be sympathetic at all. I never felt I had enough insight into Salt’s character to identify with her, or to care about her ultimate fate. The thing that bothered me most about the movie, however, was my inability to suspend my disbelief. I read and view a lot of science fiction and fantasy media which I enjoy immensely, so I don’t think I generally have an issue with suspending my disbelief. With Salt, I got the impression from the beginning of the movie that this was meant to be a super realistic setting, with a little room for conspiracy theory (like the Bourne movies). Salt’s back story and the portrayal of the Russians seemed so fantastic, however, that I felt this movie would have been better set in a more overtly fantasy or science fiction environment. The dichotomy between the tone and the content of the movie really bothered me, and it prevented me from enjoying the movie to a greater extent. I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible movie, but I doubt I’ll watch it again.
Bottom line: The tone didn’t match the content of the movie, for me. I was unable to suspend my disbelief, so I didn’t enjoy the movie.
Inception interested me from the first time I saw a trailer. My interest grew as I learned more about the cast; since Catch Me if You Can, I have had a growing interest in Leonardo DiCaprio, I loved Ellen Page in Juno (and was creeped out by her in Hard Candy), and I’m fascinated by Cillian Murphy. Before watching Inception, I avoided as much discussion of the movie as I could because I heard there was a lot of disagreement on the “correct” interpretation of the film. When I finally made it to the movie, I was blown away. I felt the movie was fantastic on every level. It looked marvelous, the action was well-paced and exciting, the concepts were interesting but understandable, and the acting was phenomenal. The actor who surprised me was Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I fully expected the other actors to do a spectacular job, but other than his performance in Angels in the Outfield, he had never really been on my radar. It turns out, Gordon-Levitt was amazing. His acting skills and physical prowess made him ideal for Arthur’s part in Inception. Possibly my favorite part of the movie is the mid-air fight scene between Arthur and a security officer; absolutely wonderful! Regarding the ending and interpretation of the movie, all I really have to say is that I’m glad it’s a layered enough movie that it can have multiple readings, but I think it’s silly that people are arguing which way(s) is correct for understanding the movie. Art is open for interpretation, and people can take away all sorts of things: that’s great!
Bottom line: I felt like I was living in a marvelous fantasy, in spite of some of the depressing aspects of the film. The action, concept, and execution were phenomenal. It’s a movie I’d like to watch over and over again. I’ll be catching this again once it’s released for home viewing.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Most recently, I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I read the first couple graphic novels, but never really followed through to read them all (I’m not the best at keeping up on comics). When trailers for Scott Pilgrim started airing, my memories of reading some of this a couple years ago were sparked. I remembered enjoying the premise of the story, and the movie looked like it would be fun. I’m not the biggest Michael Cera fan, but his persona seemed like it could work for Scott Pilgrim. Closer to the movie’s release, I started hearing more about its execution. Saying that this movie speaks for my generation, and for those who enjoy video games, comics, and anime sells it short; it’s even more. During my viewing, I felt unbridled joy. Scott Pilgrim is funny, relevant, and surprisingly true to [what I remember of] the source material. The movie surprised me. I went in expecting it to be cheap fun, and came out struggling over whether or not this was my favorite movie of the year (the other contender would be Inception). The way the movie was presented departed from any expectations I had of what a movie should be like, and it was the perfect presentation for the work.
Bottom line: The video game humor, the music, and the over-the-top fighting were all fantastic. I absolutely loved the movie. I was laughing throughout, and definitely plan on buying it as soon as it’s released on bluray/dvd.