Lighting Only Accomplishes so Much...

21.9.04


Imagine what results when you combine the Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Matrix, Indiana Jones, The Rocketeer, Iron Giant... and numerous other films... Perhaps to some this would be a marvelous combination resulting in a dynamic cinematic experience. Unfortunately for me, this was not the case.

The night before my departure to vic city... my chum Wader was up for a little film watching. "Come, let's see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," he coaxed. "It's the first movie to be filmed entirely in blue screen," he gushed. Needless to say this is not what convinced me. The selection was a little slim at the aurora cinema centre... and Jude Law as a dashing pilot seemed to be the best choice.

Now as you read this post, please understand that I am not against spoiling a bad movie... it is often the case that I talk extensively about a bad movie in an effort to cleanse my system of the experience. I will approach this "review" systematically. I will try to enlighten you as to my true theatre going experience in an effort to give you, the reader, and idea of what it is was actually like to watch a movie at the cinema in FSJ (an especially bad movie).

The weather was snowy outside, Wader arrived in his white chariot complete with heated seats and tunes by uber entertainer Cher. (The boy claims not to listen to Cher all the time, but each time I saw the kid in the three weeks I was in FSJ Cher was blasting on the stereo...) The drive from my house to the theatre takes a grand total of three minutes. We arrived in style, waltzed in the doors at the Totem Mall... avoided the lineup and headed straight for the automatic teller (or whatever it is called). Now, we are still young punks ourselves... but walking into the Totem we were surrounded by the real punks in the 13-15 year old glory. We needed to shake off the shock of being in the midst of the little weirdos so we took a stroll of the mall concourse. We discussed many things in the five minutes it took to walk up and down the mall... including the merits of really ugly velour bedspreads with animals, unicorns, etc., the rather large size of the now empty SAAN store, how the DaVinci code is never in when Wade goes to buy it at Cole's Bookstore, and how the mall is undergoing renovations at Christmastime... which is ridiculous, but according to former construction worker W... it's cheaper. Then W went on to discuss various mall renovations in Edmonton... how installing drywall makes a huge difference... and metal t-bar ceilings vs. fire-retardent ceilings... He knows this stuff because he was in construction.

All this before a good dose of Jude Law? Who wouldn't have been excited about this movie... But wait, the pre-movie experience isn't over. We blew the Totem popsicle stand because the gaggle of girls and bevy of boys were increasing steadily... headed over to the old haunt Timmy HoHos to grab a cuppa java. We indulged in a little psychological warfare with John... the customer service rep with very bad teeth... who had extreme difficulty picking up my danish and the Wader's walnut crunch from the pastry tray. The movie was fast approaching, and Wader was concerned about us finishing our hot chocolattes (sorry no coffee this time) before we had to hightail it back to the Aurora. So after trying to tip John in order to avoid giving his spare change to the Tim Horton's Children's Camp of Indoctrination, but being foiled because all tips go to the camp anyways... Wader and I had a short convo and then I wrapped the chocolattes in my scarf in my bag and we were off to the movie.

With our piping hot beverages secretly stowed in my bag... we made it in auditorium one. Sparkling conversation ensued with Red-Haired Usher Boy... termed "Tim" by W. because usher boy looked like a Tim. We tried to improve "Tim's" customer service skills... asking him where the best seat in the house was... Apparently he likes the middle... or the seats where you can put your feet up. We didn't listen to "Tim" because he couldn't even tell us what his official title was, and he didn't show enough appreciation for the collective creation by W. & moi of his new and improved job title; "Official Ticket Taker and Seating Coordinator". Sorry Tim. you will go no where with that attitude.

And so the previews begin. John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix are starring in Ladder 49... I think the firefighter thing was already done by Kurt Russel and Billy Baldwin... but oh well.. more useless previews... movie begins... Blimps, Scientist being followed... mystic lighting, sepia tones... Scientist goes missing... flash to newspaper articles... Polly Prentice at her typewriter with red lipstick. She's a no nonsense girl... goes for her story with lots of zeal. In other words she is ridiculously annoying. Meets last scientist in Radio City Music Hall while watching the Wizard of Oz. Air sirens... Robots attack Gotham City. Polly is there with her trusty camera with no flash and takes pictures of robots with amazingly short exposures (says I to Wader... do you think those pictures will turn out?... I am incapable of suspending disbelief in this movie and it is only about 10 minutes into it. Not a good sign) Gotham City polizia show up with their handy dandy machine guns, attempting to shoot marching army of big robots. Much to their dismay it doesn't seem to work. So let's call for Sky Captain... He flies in... shoots em up, knocks two robots down... all while Polly is running around underneath taking her pics and narrowly escaping being crushed under the big robot feet (Damn I say... Polly is annoying... and she knows nothing about photography)... As Sky Cpt. makes last pass with plane he spots Polly on sidewalk... "Polly," he says in a bitter tone... "Joe," says Polly in an equally bitter tone.



Joe flies back to secret base in mountains only minutes away from Gotham City. How convenient because pedestrian Polly manages to go back to her office... go through all the available information twice about the mad scientist (whose name escapes me at this point) and do a lot of other research before beating Joe back to his office so she can surprise him in his darkened office while he drinks some Milk of Magnesia with her killer line, "Do you have a tummy ache or something?" Joe is startled and pulls out his gun... I get excited because I think Polly is going to be shot and wouldn't that be exciting... but then "that a boy" Dex bursts in chewing his dubbl bubbl gum. Of course Polly and Joe were once in a relationship... Polly sabotaged Joe's plane to get a picture of someone... but maybe because Joe was cheating on Polly when they were in Bei-Jing. Surprise attack on secret Sky Captain Base.... Robots with wings (like the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz) appear... Joe is forced to take back seat flyer Polly with him in his plane... big battle ensues... I'm supposed to be impressed with the special effects, but really I am not. Then we find ourselves back in Gotham City, lurking around scientist Wagner's lab. Here we meet the everyone's favourite villian... the mute Asian woman. She's beaten up the scientist... he gives two suppositories like vials to Polly as he dies.. Polly hides them from Joe because she is dumb.



Meanwhile back at the base there is another crazy attack by tentacled robots. Gadget Man Dex is taken hostage, but not before cunningly revealing the location of the control signal for the robots. Joe and Polly arrive back at the base... "Dex, Dex... where are you?"... The base is trashed, Joe is sad because his buddy has been kidnapped... Polly pretends not to know what the robots were looking for, but she finds the piece of the map with the location that Dex had affixed to the underside of a beam with his bubble gum.

(And all this time I am thinking... where is Angelina Jolie and her crazy eyepatch... she got top billing in this movie... and we are more than 45 minutes into it and she hasn't appeared yet. What the hell is going on?) Joe and Polly take off for Nepal... they arrive to meet up with Joe's old friend... and here the writers insert a ridiculous subtitled joke. Friend of Joe says in foreign language. "Cold Air. Nipples Get Hard"... What... where the hell did that come from? I look to Wader aghast... and I notice he is looking considerably uncomfortable with the poor quality of this movie. While in Nepal, Polly and Joe find an abandoned uranium mine... they are trapped inside in a room full of dynamite when the menacing porters turn on them and take the suppository vials from Polly... Poor levels of suspense build when Joe, Pollly, and friend are running from the mine to avoid the inevitable dynamite explosion. They reach the exit just in time, but all three are knocked out. Maybe Polly is dead this time?

Polly wakes up in bed naked. Flower petals are strewn on the pillow. She turns over. Joe is beside her. She tells Joe to leave. Joe is also naked so he does not. Joe turns to face away from Polly (Good Move Joe!)... portly friend is beside him. We are supposed to find this funny. A monk comes into the room... Friend translates for Joe... Joe wants to kill mad scientist... Monk decides to help Joe. Monk brings Joe to only living survivor of uranium mine. The survivor looks suspiciously like Yoda from Star Wars. He gives Joe his staff to find mad scientist's secret base... and then he asks Joe to kill him (not the mad scientist... but Yoda)... Why? They never explain.

Please note, that the Nepalese monastery where Joe, Polly, and friend are looks suspiciously like Rivendell. And the monk... was he speaking Nepalese or Elvish? The movie continues to get worse from this point on. Angelina shows up as a British flying aircraft carrier commander (might be a different rank... I really don't care...). Turns out she was the one who Joe had been seeing when he was with Polly. Couldn't see that coming a mile away. Nothing happens... the island of the mad scientist has lots of dinosaurs... we keep on coming back to Polly and her obsession with her camera... She is saving her last two shots... but in a moment of panic she shoots the ground and is very upset. Again, I don't care. And so guess what happens when they get inside the lair... The mad scientist is building an ark inside a rocket ship...and what was in those two suppository vials... but Adam and Eve. Mad scientist wanted to start a new world... but with only two humans? Polly knocks something down... this alerts the robots... they come to attack Joe and Polly while a countdown for lift off of the rocket commences...



but Dex appears with all the missing scientists in some kind of hovercraft. Lucky for them that Dex and the scientists have lightning reflexes because as soon as the countdown started they escaped... and appeared miraculously to save Joe and Polly. Dumb Dumb... Then we have to go through a whole Wizard of Oz sequence where Sir Lawrence Olivier's face appears as the mad scientist... but he is actually dead... and then in the best part of the whole movie (which I missed because I was saying something to Wader) Joe punches Polly in the face to knock her out. DAMN!!! Joe gets in a fight with the Mute Mysterious Asian Woman... Polly comes to save him and it is revealed that Mute Mysterious Asian Woman is a robot. Joe and Polly board the rocket as it takes off. Polly can read German and presses the emergency release button (why is there an emergency release button? You are a diabolical scientist and you have a way to back out of your plan????) and all the animals are shot off with their escape pods. Out of nowhere the Mute Mysterious Asian Robot appears with her light staff (like a light saber... but a staff with a glowing end). Somehow they destroy her... use her staff to destroy the rocket... and then Joe and Polly make it to their own escape pod. Defying all laws of gravity their escape pod falls to the ocean faster than all of the animals... and Polly still has one photo left. But she uses her last photo on Joe... (as you can see by the following pic I took from rottentomatoes.com)... The movie ends as Joe tells her she has the lenscap on. There is no lens cap... You're a liar Joe. This movie was ridiculous... it tried to pay homage to too many films... it had no story, I didn't like the characters, and I wasted nine dollars and fifty cents.



Jude Law should know not to make movies with Gwyneth Paltrow... Look what happened in the Talented Mr. Ripley. I thought that was the bottom of the barrel... but apparently not. I'll give the movie one thing... it had fantastic lighting.


3 comments

  1. I knew a tree hugger once. She often donned bandages on her cheeks and arms due to the splinters. I hope you hug a cactus.

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh, the terrible things one puts themself through for friends and the chance to look at beautiful people. delicious jude law. and hell, even gorgeous angelina jolie. but i must say comment that jude law seems to make some crappy choices regarding movies. "cold mountain" - no matter what anyone says was pretty terrible. and then the infamous "talented mr. ripley", which, despite the warnings of my lovely sister (the author of this marvelous blog), i saw and nearly died during. it was that bad. but hey. he is incredibly good looking.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ridiculously good looking

    ReplyDelete