Wednesday, October 21, 2009

insufficiently diverted

In an attempt to catch up with my tbr and tbv piles, I pushed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow into the dvd player last week. I didn't finish watching it, and this is why:
Miss Perkins, that camera has a bloody neck strap. Put it around your bloody neck! I couldn't believe her as a photographer, and the omg i dropped my camera and must rush back into deadly peril to retrieve it thing stopped being suspenseful and became evidence of mental impairment at the second instance.
She dropped her camera howevermany times, she forgot her film! and the filmmakers expect me to believe that she got the maguffins all the way to Nepal in her flappy coat-pocket? No.
The running gag about saving her last shot was poorly paced, and the weight of the looming, inescapable payoff--she's going to waste the last shot & probably ruin the roll--was hanging over my head like the rubber prop sword of Damocles.
Usually the point of the 'accidental destruction of evidence' trope is to prevent the unbelievable truth (Loch Ness Monster, aliens, sasquatch, ghosts) from being revealed and to leave the protagonists and audience united in being the only ones who know the unbelievable truth. But I couldn't see such a point working in the established World of Tomorrow, where giant robots swoop down onto cities and zeppelins moor on skyscrapers.

The other running gag, about whether she'd sabotaged Joe's plane, lost its humour for me early on, when he said that as a result he'd been imprisoned in a slave labour camp where they threatened to cut off his fingers. The film skimmed over that with a sort of yeah, yeah, you big baby air, but surely I'm not the only viewer for whom physical mutilation or threats thereof is one great big unholy squick?
It's a quandary. If I'm meant to take that mutilation as a serious possibility in the film, then Polly loses all my sympathy. If I'm not meant to take it so, then this is a film where nothing permanent can happen to any of the main characters, and the events lose all suspense.

Probably I would have been better off watching on the big screen, where the set design would have overwhelmed the characters and just squashed me back in my seat aesthetically. The opening, by the way, I did love, with the Expressionist light and shadows, the zeppelin, the first robot attack with the massive robots crunching through the streets. Maybe the whole show should have been about the robots, and maybe Frankie, a match for them in implacable self-possession.

5 comments:

Terri-Lynne said...

The movie was pretty, but GADZOOKS was it horrible. Just horrible, IMO. My husband loved it, because it reckoned back to those old scifi movies back in the 50s and 60s when ALL such movies were likewise horrible, even if no one knew it at the time. :)

batgirl said...

They should've just animated the whole thing, and skipped the live actors. That's what I think.
Or I should have watched it with the sound off, or changed the language to something I don't speak easily.

Kali said...

Oh, but then we wiould have missed out on Jolie as Frankie with that eyepatch and in that uniform and oh my, I have to go now.

Might I recommend The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? If you've read the graphic novels (I have not), it is apparently a travesty, but being unencumbered by all that stuff, I found it quite a fun romp!

batgirl said...

I watched League on the back of an airplane seat, and while I liked much of it, the Nautilus navigating the canals of Venice (tell me how it turns corners?) and Tom Sawyer were the dealbreakers. I did like Mina and the Invisible Man, and Sean Connery evidently sold his soul many years ago for the ability to be awesome in whatever he was in.

But definite yes on Jolie as Frankie. Maybe with Milla Jovovich as her 2d in command, and drop Jude Law off the edge of the platform.

Kali said...

OMG--Frankie and Milla Jovovich? Together?

I have to go change.

But yeah, Tom Sawyer was a bit much. I confess, I loved Captain Nemo and his Nautilus; I have a thing for men in turbans, I think. Go figure.

Mina. Yum.