Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Monday, January 21, 2008

What Was On TV Last Night

WonderlandWonderland [ 2 ] This was a british film set in South London that follows a series of characters over a single weekend. When I looked up the film on the internet, I was surprised by some of the press that the film got.

For starters, all of the reviews kept comparing the movie to a Robert Altman film, which is perhaps somewhat true in a sort of a distant stylistic sense - Nevertheless, while I watched the film I never once felt like I was watching a Robert Altman film. The film had it's own unique, quirky style.

Also, reviews like this one in Salon gave the film terrible marks for the filmmaker's efforts. The review states, "Michael Winterbottom doggedly excavates the innate sadness of his characters -- to the point of numbing his audience," and "Its misery is worked out in so much filigree that you're more aware of the story's contrivances than you are of the individuals' suffering."

I found these reviews horribly unfair. The film was not really that sad, nor does it seem overly contrived to me. It was very much like a story of real life. Also, the ending was upbeat. I think that this particular reviewer is probably just in love with her own ability to throw around negative words in an overly haughty fashion.

I quite liked the film. It was a delightful peek into the lives of several ordinary people. There was not a lot of character development in the film, but there was not really meant to be. The story takes place over a short period of two days. The film is inteded to be a slice of life, not a dramatic lifetime saga.

RenaissanceRenaissance [ 2, 3, 4, 5 ] Wow! A cop movie set in the future! That's never been done before!

OK, so I'm being a little sarcastic. This is an "animated" film set in Paris in the year 2054. The story is about Inspector Barthelemy Karas' relentless investigation into the disappearance of an important and mysterious cosmetics scientist. (Jeepers!)

Though set in France, the version that I watched must have been watching the English translation of the film, because the actors kept using consonants. Also, there is a bit more noir in the visuals of this detective story than you would normally see in a live action cop movie, French or otherwise.

I am not a fan of rotoscoping, and that is really what this film is - expensive, computer generated Ralph Bakshi-esque rotoscoping. (You can read about how the film was made on Wikipedia.)

Now that I have made my self-imposed rant against all things rotoscoped and not properly animated, I must say that I really enjoyed this film. The art direction was extra dark and creepy, and the starkness of the images made the visuals very strong.

Every cop movie cliché in the book was employed throughout the film, but I didn't mind at all. The story was supposed to be like a comic book, and it was indeed very much like a comic book - deliciously like a comic book.

I especially liked the invisible corporate ninja guys, and the blatent usage of the standard science fiction film cliché a beatiful female scientist (and her beatiful sister) caught in a mysterious web of intrigue while wearing go go boots.

Some parts of the plot were kind of muddy, but the characters were interesting and the ending tied up the story nicely. I liked it!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


At Mon Jan 21, 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Renasaince does look kind of cool (though I don't understand a word of it). There are some cool visuals but the whole rotoscoping thing is gie and take. On the positive side, things look realisitic and cool noir-ish. Negatively, there's that whole choppy feel from the process and then there's that whole uncanny valley thing where animtaion looks too realistic and it gets all creepy and stuff.

At Mon Jan 21, 01:16:00 PM, Blogger GETkristiLOVE said...

Has Robert Altman done anything lately? Oh wait, he died, didn't he?

At Mon Jan 21, 01:29:00 PM, Blogger Randal Graves said...

Sounds like it's at least worthy of a rental, if only to kill two hours I'd otherwise spend looking at internet porn.

At Tue Jan 22, 05:11:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: The Rotoscoping in "Renaissance" was very well done. I have seen so much bad Ralph Bakshi-esque crap that I was expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised. Also, it was on Cinemax in English, not French. Your observation of rotoscoping as "look[ing] too realistic and it gets all creepy and stuff" is spot on.

GETkristiLOVE: Robert Altman died in 2006. His last film was "A Prairie Home Companion".

Randal Graves: Hmm... I wouldn't want to keep you away from your porn!

At Tue Jan 22, 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'll have to check out Wonderland. Thanks for the heads up.

At Tue Jan 22, 07:54:00 PM, Blogger vigoureux artiste said...

very informative reviews.. I will try to look for these movies and rent it out for a late saturday night movie marathon...

Yes, once rotoscoping is employed, the effect can be darn too realistic...

At Wed Jan 23, 08:53:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Dr. Monkerstein: I think that you will like it. You should do a Monkerstein Movie Review of it!

Vigoureux Artiste: Ha! What an interesting link! I generally dislike rotoscoping, but I thought that the medium was served well in the film "Renaissance".


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts  |  Older Posts