Some Movies I Saw

Posted by on February 10, 2007 at 4:52 pm.
  • The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, directed by Michael Bay. This movie was recommended by my brother Andrew, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of all Michael Bay films — *cough* pearl harbor, armageddon *cough* — but this one was quite enjoyable. Sure, it had some extended chase scenes that didn’t particularly move the story along, but even those were done pretty well. It was amazing to see the lengths to which the wealthy will go to protect their mortality here on earth. What I loved about this one was that it was a modern-day retelling of Plato’s allegory of the cave. I hope that’s not giving away too much, but there are certain scenes in the movie that confirmed this for me (THX 1138 is like this as well). But this time, instead of shadows and forms, it’s a tale of the horrors of cloning. Great Sci-Fi / Action.
  • Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Wow, what a striking, amazing film. Yes, don’t take your children to this movie (or even children who don’t belong to you), for it is a very dark fantasy tale. My only regret is that I wish I knew more of the history about the Spanish Civil War going into the film, but it is clear that that is not required to witness the violence of the real world in this movie. The main character Ofelia is a girl with a hyper-active imagination, yet the fantasy world that she encounters is not just a product of her mind. It seems like the fantasy world of faun’s, pale men, and faeries is much more real than the monsters of reality. I love Guillermo del Toro’s work, but this is nothing like Hellboy. It’s a much more mature and horrific look at the evils of humanity, and how an imaginative narrative can help lead us away from those horrors. Although, it didn’t seem like Ofelia was ‘fleeing’ from reality, as much of what she was doing in the fantasy world was to help the ‘real’ world (i.e. her pregnant mother).I can’t help but engage in some meta-review, here. Three things. First, I was stoked to see that one of my favourite animators of all time, Krishnamurti Costa, animated some of the main creatures in the movie. It reminded me a bit of the joy I felt when I found out that Neil Blevins began working for Pixar. Second, it just so happened that while I was waiting for the movie to start while reading Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism” in the dimly-lit theatre, my philosophy professor (who assigned the Heidegger) and her husband sat right in front of me — perhaps some of the most insightful people to talk about such a movie, which I only did briefly with my professor yesterday. And lastly, I’ve got to link to Christianity Today‘s review of this movie. It’s a rather surprising review, perhaps because in contrast to Landoverbaptist’s wonderful parodies of typical “Christian movie reviews,” CT provides a rather mature and careful look at this disturbing and beautiful movie.
  • Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Clive Owen. This came also as a highly recommended, and I saw this with Tiana. This was an excellent movie about England in the year 2027 when about 18 years earlier, the entire world went infertile. In the opening scenes, we see the news that the youngest person on earth has just died, and many of the people are giving up hope. This is a war-torn world and in this distopia, England fashions itself much like the U.S. is these days as the last bastion of peace and freedom, but we soon see that this is hardly the case. There is still much violence, and like the U.S., mass hatred of ‘immigrants’ who are never treated first as human beings, but always as ‘illegals’. People are in cages everywhere and there are vigilante groups vying for power. Yet, as the main character soon finds out, there is one person found to be pregant, but even being near this person is a deadly existence, as everybody wants her for some sort of politcal gain. Like my friend Rusty (minor spoilers in link), my favorite scene was not the final one, but one near the end.From a cinematography standpoint, this movie was amazing. I loved that all the future technology depicted in the film was very subtly embedded within the shots and didn’t try to over-do it. There were also some shots that were very long (without cuts) that made the scenes feel more real — not something you see very often these days, either. From the director of Harry Potter 3 and Y Tu Mama Tambien, no less — brilliant!