Monday, May 19, 2008

Hooray for Hollywood!

As a family we've had four movies in our viewing sights for a while now. We've seen three of them so far and I don't recall being so pleased with three new movies viewed in such close proximity.

First up was Iron Man which was a true winner. Robert Downey Jr. was BORN to play Tony Stark onscreen. The tale of a decadent captain of industry who realizes that life should mean just a little bit more, played true to the super hero genre in a way that few films have. We had a blast at this one.

Next was an early screening of Speed Racer at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. This movie almost lost me during the comical race / battle near the mid-point. Viking race car drivers!? Yet, by the end, I was won over by this positive movie about a strong family who looks out for each other against organized evil. There is an amazing amount of emotion and excitement at the film's conclusion that overcame the films crazy 3-D cartoon context and left us all exhilarated.

Finally, yesterday, we saw Prince Caspian, which for me was a better movie than the previous Narnia screen adventure: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The new movie had a great amount of (bloodless) violence with large marching armies and so came closer to The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy in look and style. Based on one of the Narnia books I've never read, I understand the script took a few more liberties than the last film, but, since I didn't know any better going in, I loved every minute of it. It hit me on many levels, both emotionally and spiritually. Perhaps my favorite line of dialogue was, "Do you see him, now?" This was the only film of the three I've mentioned that actually brought tears to my eyes a few times.

And now, the family is waiting for INDY IV which opens next week. Will we go 4 for 4?

I'll let you know...


Blogger Deron Arnold said...

Hi there! I found your blog while searching for people who liked Mere Christianity.
I agree I've been waiting for 3 of the 4. I really don't know much about Speed Racer, though. It's amazing that all my comic books and children's stories are coming back to the big screen with the help of CGI. In my opinion, the greatest example of this was LOTR, but I have enjoyed the others as well.
I thought the first Narnia movie was good but not great. I'm looking forward to seeing Prince Caspian. For me, it seems that everytime I read the book beforehand, the movie is a slight letdown. But if I watch the movie first, then I end up liking both.

May 19, 2008 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVED Iron Man. I thought Downey was great in the roll. I also liked the way Gwyneth Paltrow underplayed Pepper Potts. Jeff Bridges was just plain evil. I'm trying to talk myself into Speed Racer, as that was one of my favorites as a child. I'm having a hard time with all the CGI stuff. Just a little too much for my taste. I'm probably end up seeing it anyway. Caspian is next as is the new Indy movie (remember going to see The Last Crusade and getting PAID for it??). I'll let you know what I think.

May 20, 2008 6:12 AM  
Blogger Brett Brooks said...

Well, I agree with MOST of what you said. I thought Iron Man was amazing. To me, the best film of the year, and right up there with Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins as the best super-hero movies to date. Prince Caspian was great, and I, too, felt it was better than the first Narnia film. Shame that it is doing so poorly at the box office. Makes me wonder if they wouldn't have been better off releasing it at Christmas like the first one. But Speed Racer...not good. I enjoyed the movie, but it was NOT a good movie. I think I enjoyed it because it was so bad, in fact. (See my blog for details.)

May 27, 2008 11:49 PM  
Blogger Lanny said...

I understand that you didn't LIKE Speed Racer, but that doesn't make it a BAD movie.

I REALLY liked it, but that doesn't make it a GOOD movie.

If you read my comments about Indy IV, you will see, I had some issue with that movie. I hearing raves from others and the box office seems to indicate a lot of folks like it a lot. Go figure.

These are all observations based on personal taste, and really can't be quantified to the Nth degree. Film making isn't mathematics, so it's difficult to check each director's effort as right or wrong as though we are grading a math test. I never got partial credit for a correct math answer if the decimal was in the wrong spot, or if the answer was 15 rather than -15. Movies on the other hand have degrees of 'correctness' and are usually evaluated on that basis.

Did the filmmakers make the movie they were trying to make? I would say yes. If that's the case, they did a good job.

Do I like all foods? No, but that doesn't necessarily mean they might not be well prepared or that they don't appeal to the palette of others.

Remember, film is art, and art is open to opinion.

I think my opinion is colored by the fact that we had watched 2 DVDs of the old show prior to seeing the movie.

The movie is SHOCKINGLY close to the animated series from the 60s - in a revisionist sort of way.

There was a lot of subtle subtext going on that was drawn from the old show. It really was a love letter to Speed Racer fans.

I think it's sad that it's doing so poorly. I do think it's a tough film for the average viewer to get their head around. It was a MASSIVELY experimental approach to a film and I think it should be applauded.

That's just MY personal take, though.


May 28, 2008 12:03 PM  

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