Thursday, January 01, 2009

Recent movies - Wall-E, The Quiet Man, Quantum of Solace

(I started this post back at the end of November, and finally got around to finishing it this morning.)

Wall-E (2008) - Finally caught this one while at home for Thanksgiving. It's a fun and cute movie. It's not up there with some of my other Pixar favorites for pure entertainment value (The Incredibles, Monster's Inc.), but it entertained me more than Cars and Ratatouille.

The environmental message wasn't as heavy-handed as I'd feared, so that was nice. It's certainly present (evidenced further by the environmentally safe DVD packaging it came in), but it was subtle and didn't preach in annoying ways.

I appreciated the unique folly of the human characters in the film. The sins of trashing the planet and destroying plants and animals (yawn) were present, but attributed to their forefathers (us -- we suck so bad you guys!). The sins of their descendants were sloth, complacency, a lack of human interaction, and a lack of awe for the universe. The way the man and woman reconnect was touching, and the captain fighting HAL (the first thing he's ever fought) was genuinely moving. It made me cheer out loud for him!

Everyone else has written about the romance between Wall-E and Eve, so I'll just say it was very well-done. They're both great characters.

The most interesting thing to me was reading the director's thoughts afterwards, and then this interpretation of the movie as being about Adam and Eve and sexual roles. Very interesting stuff.

The Quiet Man (1952) - Great story, characters, and setting.

Awful DVD transfer. Really terrible. It would be noticeable on a 12" black-and-white TV. Someone needs to find some good original elements and transfer this sucker right. I can only conjecture that, because this is a beloved Ford/Wayne collaboration, and because it hasn't been done yet, the restoration process would be quite expensive.

But the movie is charming enough to get past your eyeballs and into your heart. (Awww.) The story concerns Wayne's character returning to his childhood homestead in Ireland. As it turns out, he used to be a boxer of some renown in America, though we don't discover his reasons for leaving until much later. He discovers a local beauty, played by Maureen O'Hara, and falls instantly in love. The rest of the movie deals with their romance, which is encouraged by all the charming locals save for Maureen's thuggish brother, who despises Wayne because he was after the same spot of land.

Some of the great characters were the Father, the Reverend, and the well-meaning and mostly helpful drunk played with great scene-stealing skill by Barry Fitzgerald.

Quantum of Solace (2008) - I'd echo Nobody's and Jeri's reviews. I enjoyed it, it wasn't as great as Casino Royale, it played well as a direct sequel best viewed shortly after watching CR, some of the editing was annoying at the beginning, had some good action, I would still rather watch it any day over any of the Brosnan movies. (No disrespect to Brosnan, by the way; I like him, but his Bond movies were awful. I caught part of The World Is Not Enough on TV this week, and EESH. Why did anyone think Denise Richards should play that role?) Can anyone tell me if QoS is unique in the Bond catalog in that Bond never "has" the main Bond girl?


jeri said...

I kind of wish Strawberry Fields would have been the main girl. I liked her better than the other, who was a little too forgettable (for goodness' sake, I had to look up her name just now in imdb to remember that it was Camille).

I just asked Ric about Bond 'having' the main Bond girl and he can't remember any other movies where he doesn't off the top of his head.

Nobody said...

Nice ones, Ryan. You inspired me to dig out my own review of Wall-E from six months ago which I hadn't yet posted. I don't think it reaches the perfection of Ratatouille but it is still a worthy addition to Pixar's ongoing apologia for animation as an art form.

I thought the gratuitous shots of Wall-E and EVE flying (or dancing?) outside the spaceship were evocative of Fantasia (as was Remy the rat's description of the combination of flavors).

Ryan said...

You're right, Jeri; Fields was more fun to watch.

I'd love to read your review of Wall-E, Nobody, so don't hesitate to post it just because it's old!

Nobody said...

I already did. ;-)