Ken Harrison 6:30 p.m., July 29
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The Predictable Pandora's Box is Opening
My girlfriend kind of wanted to see Red Cliff during its two week run at the Ken Cinema. It didn’t look appealing to me. But a few of my movie buff friends were telling me how great it was, so I’m bummed I missed it.
Now there’s a Japanese film from 1950 playing there. It’s supposedly a classic. A friend and I went to see that, and I was bored to tears. It makes me sort of glad I let Red Cliff slip by.
I was pleasantly surprised by the DeNiro movie “Everybody’s Fine”. Sure, it’s predictable and you’ve seen most of these stories before. But it was a fun and emotional film.
On the predictable front…Avatar borrows from so many movies. There’s a little Jurassic Park here, a touch of District 9 there. A love story that is part Pocahontas; a save-the-environment story that’s part Dances with Wolves. And lots and lots of “Battle for Terra” in this.
I was at a party at James Cameron’s mansion in Malibu about a year ago. At one point he took a handful of us into his private movie theatre and showed clips of 3D films he made. I yelled out “Let’s see some Avatar.” He laughed and told me it was top secret.
Well, he’s been on every show pushing it now. Who can blame him? It’s the most expensive movie ever made.
And it’s worth every penny.
As much as it pained me to see that loser Michelle Rodriquez, she played her part well.
My favorite performance was from an actor I barely knew anything about – Stephen Lang – who played the war-happy Colonel.
Sure, the story is a bit cheesy at times. The script could’ve been tightened up.
But this is the best experience I’ve had at a movie in years. It reminded me of being a kid and seeing Star Wars in the theatre for the first time. And probably what it was like a few years before that when people saw 2001 in theatres; or King Kong going back to the 30s.
So, I can deal with one dimensional characters, when I’m seeing this 3D stuff that is simply amazing.
I would’ve been a guy working on the film that would’ve ruined it. I would’ve said to Cameron “Can’t we just have one of the aliens arrows come at the screen, to make the audience flinch?”
There’s none of that. But your jaw will drop to the floor at these visuals (watch out for the crushed Milk Duds and sticky soda that’s probably been there since the Clinton administration).
It baffles me that Hellboy II, which was an awful film, got 92% good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and this is in the low-80s; because even if you hated every bit of dialogue, or the storyline…the visuals alone make it worth it. And the story does work for me. I was into the romance between the lead characters; the story about a Marine that loses his legs and might get new ones, etc.
To call this film magical…is perhaps the best adjective I could think of. I’m sure the critics that didn’t like it will talk about how formula and pedestrian a few aspects of the script are. And I immediately think about how Forrest Gump only got about 75% good reviews from critics across the country.
I recently had a fight with a military friend that tried pushing the lame movie “Brothers” on everyone. I told her, and a few of my friends, to instead see “The Messenger.” I offered everyone a money back guarantee.
I would do the same with Avatar, but one theatre was charging $19 a ticket. Ouch!