___________ of the ___________

Well, now that I’ve seen It (It being a high-profile film release that will make many people rich this week alone), I must confess that I’m a bit disappointed. Not outright hostile towards the film, not hating it, but decidedly underwhelmed and, if it can be believed, even more ill-disposed towards the source material than I was before. The last twenty minutes of It featured more anticlimaxes than I had seen in five years of summer blockbusters. Even the effects played out like cut scenes from a crudely rendered computer game. (Here’s a tip to the boys in the editing room: When you cut directly from an overhead shot that is clearly computer-generated to a medium angle that involves real people on real horses, it sort of hinders the illusion. Also, things like rain and night, and actual build-up, help disguise visual blunders and work to your advantage, as they did so well in the Helm’s Deep battle from the last film.)

Loved the trolls, loved Howard Shore’s score (Wagner-like, the best of the three), loved the opening Smeagl-Deagol moment (and nearly every moment with Gollum). But the problem with It is utterly clear: These characters have no flaws. They are not nasty or mischevious in any way, unless frat boy nips in the weed count as intelligent behavior. (Even Indiana Jones was sardonic enough to blow away a swordsman with a gun. Even Superman sacrificed his powers for the woman he loved. Even John McClane had to pick out shards of glass from his feet. Even Luke Skywalker confronted his father to clear up a complicated domestic situation. You see where I’m going with this?) They are people wandering around a beautiful landscape, getting involved with battles, and there is every assurance that they will come back from the wars unscathed. Despite the fact that everyone else around them has been flung about by elephant-looking things.

Amused? On some basic adolescent level, yes. Will I see it again? Maybe the Extended Edition. But ultimately I’ve now come to terms with the sad reality that character no longer means a thing in an action movie. And that’s a pity.

On a somewhat related note, Tom has some thoughts on moviegoing. I must say that one of the best moviegoing experiences I ever had was seeing Rear Window at the Castro. Despite the fact that nearly everyone there had seen the movie, they remained on the edge of their seats. The oohs and aahs of Hitchcock’s suspense rippled through the crowd like magic. Years later, the film had lost none of its power to thrill.

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2 Comments

  1. Well, it’s a meatier fairy tale. As for flaws, the characters had many flaws and yet they were our heroes in the oldest tradition. No anti-heroes here, sorry.

    One thing in the end amused me, and I think it might’ve been an oversight. When Sam Wise’s daughter comes out of his house and into the garden, she’s HUGE in comparison to the house. They did a lot of trick photography, and I guess it’s lucky they got as much of it right as they did.

  2. No anti-heroes, but at least they had Gollum. Still, there’s no way that Avon from “Blake’s 7″ would have taken any of that shit. :)

    The other thing I noticed was that Gimli had a deep Welsh accent. It was probably a way to disguise the fact that John Rhys-Davies was also voicing Treebeard, but I was amused at the discrepancy nonetheless.

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