[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2005-12-15

Chronicles of Yawnia

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 11:35

Susan and I saw a few movies last weekend. One of those was “The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe“. Or, as Susan calls it, “… Narnia …”.

Wow, what a dull movie. Unappealing, dough-faced English children go to a fantasy land, where they do nothing of any particular significance while various fantasy creatures fight around them. Along the way they meet a CGI lion (very impresssive, as CGI lions go), which also does nothing of any significance. In fact, the one act which seems to have significance at the time is later shown to have been a ruse, completely removing any significance it had. I won’t give away what little plot the movie has by revealing what that faux-signifiant act is, but you’ll notice it when it happens, because two of the dough-faced children cry about it for twenty minutes or so.

The film has three high points. One is Tilda Swinton as the White Queen. Tilda Swinton is good in everything (or nearly everything — even she could not bring redeeming value to The Beach). It’s a pity that she did not have a decent wardrobe: she was a woman in a bucket for most of the movie. The second high point is Maugrim, the wolf who is the head of the White Queen’s secret police. He was the most sympathetic character in the movie, showing much more personality and charm than any of the human actors. The third high point is the White Queen’s dwarf henchman, Ginarrbrik, played by Kiran Shah (not to be confused with Deep Roy of Oompa Loompa fame). Ginarrbrik contributed a sense of fun and malice that was otherwise noticeably lacking in this humorless milquetoast of a film.

Another movie we saw last weekend was “Aeon Flux“, a movie adaptation of a cartoon that apeared on MTV way back when they used to show music videos. Susan and I are of divided opinions on Aeon Flux. She enjoyed the plot, liked the costumes, and found it fun to watch. I thought the dialog was stilted, the direction was uneven, the costumes were bland, and I did not think that Charlize Theron made a very convincing femme fatale (although I normally like her a great deal, and have ever since she appeared in Two Days In The Valley).

Finally, there is the most recent Harry Potter vehicle, “Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire“. As always, the special effects are lovely, and the supporting cast is superb. Now if only there was a sympathetic protagonist or a sensible plot. Warning: I am about to spoil the plot of Goblet Of Fire. But if you have been following Harry’s adventures in previous movies, the plot should be obvious. So here it is: the entire thing, from beginning to end, is just a ridiculously convoluted scheme to get a few drops of Harry’s blood, and then kill him. It’s a plot that even Dr. Evil would consider too intricate. Many, many times during the movie, the forces of Voldemort could simply, as Scott Evil would say, “kill him right now”. But they don’t, and we get dragged along in their absurd Rube Goldberg plot device until the bitter end.

Aside from the weak plot, there is the issue of the main characters. Hermione, once so smart and adorable, has become dull and stupid. Ron, the wisecracking friend, has become an irritating boor. And Harry, poor simple Harry, is just Forrest Gump with a wand. He’s a pawn from beginning to end, and nothing that happens is due to any particular bravery or wisdom on his part. And on top of that, he is snotty to his friends and rude to his date for the school dance, lacking even the simple-minded good nature of the Tom Hanks character. The only really sympathetic character in the movie is, as usual, a villain.

Personally, I’d suggest waiting for DVD for Aeon Flux and Goblet Of Fire, and waiting for King Kong instead of seeing “… Narnia …”.