2005-06-06

revenge of the... badger

I saw the movie today. And as a review, I will say that I'm simply tempted to rearrange two letters of one word in the title to express my feelings.

The real story is the MasterCard ad that preceded the movie. You've probably seen it before. A dog named Badger is lost in (was it Yosemite?) a National Park with lots of large trees. He is unwittingly left behind after he jumps out of his family's trailer to relieve himself and the family pulls out. Thus begins the 30 second, lone animal version of the Incredible Journey. "Diamond Studded collar in Las Vegas, $80." "Drink of bottled water in the Death Valley, $1.25" or something like that. Badger returning home, priceless.

I could predict every moment of the commercial, just like during the feature presentation. I knew the final shot of the commercial would feature a family portrait with the newly returned badger. Why was I choking up at the end? Why was my voice breaking as I mumbled, "such shameless manipulation."

I can assure you that Badger's story marked the high point of my emotional involvement with what was on the screen this afternoon.

6 comments:

zalm said...

For us, the emotional high was the preview for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Jim said...

Interestingly, my wife went to a different movie today as she's already seen the Sithhy one. She saw Cinderalla Man which she said is good but as it is a boxing movie with Russel in it, I'm skipping.

Anyway, she also saw The LWW preview and is now excited to see the movie.

Here's hoping.

steve. said...

jimbo --

tara and i saw episode III today also. we concluded that george lucas has an amazing ability to make otherwise wonderful actors give terrible performances.

the first two episodes were a disgrace, in my opinion ... but for some reason i liked this one!! what is happening to me?! even though hayden acted like a pouty child for most of the film, i couldn't get enough of him at the end. whenever a character died, i was so excited. and a surprisingly moving part for me was when hayden approached the future jedi children.

maybe it was all the jedis prancing around wearing their big hoods that grabbed me -- i loved that! anyway, i am embarassed with myself, and understand why you didn't enjoy the film. (but you must admit -- williams' score was superb.)

Jim said...

CAUTION: SEMI SPOILERS AHEAD

Have always liked Williams' music in most everything he's done, especially his Spielberg scores. Of course, Star Wars has been his triumph.

I came home and said to Joy, "So where did Lucas get all those droids to take the place of the live actors?" That's how it felt to me. Hayden Christiansen has a neat presence, but I didn't think it was there in this movie. He was awesome in Life As a House, and I guess I was subconsciously judging him based on that. Natalie Portman has been way better in Heat and The Professional among other things. And Samuel L. Jackson was sleepwalking. He looked like he was just there to pick up a paycheck. I've never been a fan of Jimmy Smits and he lived up to his rep. Christopher Lee could have made it a better movie, if he'd kept his head. Ian McDermid was good in Return of the Jedi as the emporer and he's pretty good when he finally gets his emporer face in this one. There really is no single standout performance in this movie, and that hurts it pretty badly.

I would agree, this wasn't as bad as Episodes I and II. But I had hoped for more than that and it wasn't there. You'll have to forgive me my disappointment. I was almost a teenager when Star Wars came out and it just went so beyond what movies were at that time. And then a couple of years later a different Steve than yourself came out with Close Encounters, and took the whole SF genre even further. And of course, there was Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was a Lucas/Spielberg collaboration. Those three movies, though there have been better films since of course, really turned everyone's head. They turned out to be just a step for Speilberg to even greater art, but for Lucas, it represented the peak of his powers as a filmmaker. Episode V, Empire Strikes Back, is widely regarded as the best of the six films (I share this opinion), and it was not directed by Lucas, which says something.

I do concede one very important point. There was a moment of pure anguish for me when Hayden enters the temple on his "mission." I had forgotten about the children from last time.

But in the final duel between master and apprentice. C'mon. He left him! No stinkin' way. That's just so false to all we know of Kenobi from all the movies. It felt so flimsy to me. I guess he was supposed to be filled with the fury of regret, and Ewan did as much as he could, but the story as written didn't justify the moment. I was really let down by that and almost said something aloud to the screen, but that would have seemed crazy. So I just mumbled it. Given the situation, I think the actions of Kenobi at that moment weaken the entire arc of his character. It was a really bad screenwriting choice, I think; even though it provides a plausible explanation for why Vader wears the suit.

Thanks for reading. Good to get a comment from you. I feel so validated.

And Congraduations! Woohoo! I hear you're headed this way. Is that so?

Eric said...

Well, the lizard SUV was cool.

Jim said...

Okay. You got me there.