Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's all good

I’m kind of a rubbish movie critic. I can’t really think of the last movie that I saw that I DIDN’T like. Admittedly I pre-filter a lot. When my friends say “Hey, everyone you know is going to see Night at the Museum 6 tonight” I don’t go. It’s one of the great benefits of being primarily introverted: peer pressure doesn’t work. So I read about movies ahead of time, and am not swayed to see ones that I know not to be appealing to my own tastes.

In any case, I’ve seen 2 movies recently, both of which I greatly enjoyed, both of which many people will hate.

GI Joe was chock full of sweetness. I have a great nostalgic connection to Transformers, so there is no question that I’ll see those movies. I never watched GI Joe, so I was kind of ambivalent about the film initially. But as the contradicting reviews stacked up, I was curious. Was it a train wreck? Was it a train wreck I’d enjoy rubbernecking? Turns out kind of yes and definitely yes. The movie is not good, I think that goes without saying. Every single “twist” is telegraphed from page one. I didn’t really like most of the heroes. But the villains were great. I’d much rather see a Cobra movie, but really this was pretty close to a Cobra movie. Most of the criticisms are pretty valid. For some reason half the effects are good and half are bad. Acting was obviously not a priority. And the plot was simplistic and did have some holes, though not as many holes as some indicated (it’s a pet peeve of mine when people say a film is stupid for having plot holes, when in fact they’re stupid for not catching the explanations in the dialogue. Pay attention or don’t complain.)

Anyway, GI Joe was entertaining. Maybe it would’ve dropped into the unenjoyable range if it didn’t have Sienna Miller, but I still think I would’ve liked watching a Zartan, Destro, Stormshadow movie. With Mr. Eko (who was the only Joe I liked.) Also enjoyable if you’ve missed it: The Ballad of GI Joe. Sienna Miller is replaced by Olivia Wilde, which is even better. Playing a clarinet. Yes, it’s pretty awesome.

Like I said, I’m a pretty rubbish reviewer. I just gave GI Joe a gold star. But I’ll try to balance it by giving Ponyo a gold star as well. Joe was packed full of sweetness, and Ponyo was packed full of sweet. We ended up with about a dozen of us attending the film this week, and the reviews were probably 1/3 positive, 1/3 negative, 1/3 neutral. I was in the positive camp. As predicted, it was nowhere near my favorite Miyazaki movie. But it was a good movie. The visuals are great. The twists on The Little Mermaid are interesting. It was relatively funny. Not hilarious, but family friendly funny. The story doesn’t really hold water, but as with GI Joe I feel like that’s inconsequential. Every movie requires its own grading criteria, and this one succeeded on the criteria that I gave it. For me, neither GI Joe nor Ponyo required an intellectual response to be a success. Joe needed shallow stimulation, and it had it. Ponyo needed wonder and beauty, and it had it. And Betty White. If these are the things you’re looking for tonight, you’ll go home pleased.

GI Joe : 75%
Ponyo: 90%

No comments: