Sunday, June 12, 2005

Good films and bad films

I saw the new Miyazaki film, Howl's Moving Castle, today. Wow. I mean, seriously: WOW. Let's not mince words: this was one fantastic film, even by Miyazaki's high standards. I hestitate to declare it his best work, since I'm lacking all perspective right now, but, well...maybe it is. I do not think I can talk about it coherently. Go see it. I know it's only playing in big cities right now, but I don't care--drive all night if you have to. And for the record, let me note that, yes, Salon's Stephanie Zacharek has no fucking soul.

And now, a roundup of the preview that ran prior to the film. First up is a documentary about penguins. This is getting a theatrical release? Surprising, but it looks like a neat-o film. I'm totally gonna see it if I get the chance.

Next up is...Pride and Prejudice. Um, aren't there already somewhere in the neighborhood of forty-seven film versions of P&P already? I'd love to hear how this was pitched. Listening to the narrator breathlessly explain the story was faintly comical: yeah. We all know. "From Jane Austen," he proclaimed, "the beloved author of Emma and Sense and Sensibility." Uh, yeah. Are they really trying to pretend that P&P is so obscure that people who may be famiilar with Emma and S&S will think, whoa! There's a Jane Austen novel I've never heard of? I must see the movie version! Regardless of these outside matters, though, the film, as most such adaptations, looks terrible. Look, kids, I like her novels just fine, but hearing Austen, or Austenesque, dialogue put in actors' mouths is just unbearable. The best Austen film, and indeed the ONLY one that I actually enjoy, is still Clueless.

However, I would sooner watch ten thousand Jane Austen films than subject myself to the film adverised in our next preview, which is a CG cartoon about valiant carrier pigeons. Truly ghastly-looking, with a script full of the hyperactive, allegedly comedic but in reality intensely irritating dialogue that has become de rigeur for the genre. Shouldn't people be sick of this crap by now? I think instead they should make a film aboud Passenger pigeons, and their valiant struggle against extinction. But in the end, they fail and are wiped out. That would be some funny shit right there.

My hatred is only intensified by our next preview, yet ANOTHER cg cartoon, Chicken Little. Gah. I thought the carrier pigeon one was shit, but, hard as it is to believe, this one looks ever worse. You know, you would think that some executive at Disney would watch Howl's Moving Castle (which Disney localized). And then he would watch Chicken Little, and feel a deep, ineradicable sense of shame and self-loathing. But I suppose once you reach that level on the totem pole, you've probably succeeded in entirely annihilating whatever sense of shame you once had.


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