When the two primary things discussed about a movie are the acting and the editing technique, that raises a red flag for me. Fine acting is great, but it doesn't make a movie. A solid story, characterization, a compelling point do that. This movie lacks pretty much all of that. You've read by now (I didn't actually know this when I rented it) that the movie is told seemingly at random throughout some unknowable period of time in the characters' lives by cutting back and forth from the past to the present. There is never any frame of reference for the viewer to try and determine when events are taking place, so when Watts' character talks about months having passed, it may as well have been a few days for all we know. Beyond the incapability of following the story this presents, it seems like the writer sticking his tongue out, as we form a conclusion about a scene we just saw just so 30 minutes later we see the preceding chronological scene and get the pleasure of thinking, "Oh, I was way off! Good job writer man!".
Friday, September 18, 2009
Short version: It turns out that just because a film is a Chinese period piece and stars Donnie Yen, I may not necessarily like it. Shocking.
I've never been one to criticize a movie's pacing, mostly because I'm not sure I always understood the term. I think, in this case, I can unequivocally do exactly that. The movie goes from battle scene to foresty solitude in no time flat, and does so several times, completely ruining the flow of whatever weak narrative is on display. It also seems to borrow liberally from a few other movies, including Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, and Aladdin, of all things.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Disclaimer: I have only now been informed that this movie is based off a 1990s roleplaying game, but as I am unfamiliar with the source, I can only rate the movie on its merits. Of which there are pretty much zero.
So, when you picture the year 2707 (what a random number), what comes to mind? Flying cars? Interstellar travel? The complete annihilation of mankind? Well, you're half right! It turns out that in 2707, the world will be completely controlled by 4 corporations, with nary an Antitrust Committee to be found. These corporations, in their infinite wisdom, will have proven that the most effective war technique is dress their soldiers in World War I era uniforms, complete with helmets, dig a bunch of trenches, then shoot at each other with futuristic projectile weapons and huge cannons. They have also found that the most efficient energy source to power airships is coal. Luckily, by 2707, there's still plenty to go around.