Sunday, 23 December 2007

The ‘Oh Gawd, It’s Christmas’ Factor

Christmas – the time of year where I get dragged to the cinema to see a whole bunch of films I would usually cross the street to avoid...

The Golden Compass – ‘written’ and directed by Chris Weitz. Wanna know why this is currently bombing in the States? Go see it. Or rather, don’t. You have been warned.

How the flaming heck did Chris Weitz get this gig? It can’t have been on the basis of his adapted screenplay, which is so chock full of clunky exposition it actually made me want to punch myself in the face. Granted, material like this is difficult to adapt, as there is a lot of intricate back story and plenty of unfamiliar concepts for an audience to get its head round (and to be honest, I tend not to be a huge fan of the whole ‘fantasy’ genre, if that’s what you want to call it). But starting out with an explanatory voiceover which only really adds to the ensuing confusion is the ideal way to make me start chucking stuff at the screen.

Major characters appear and disappear for no good reason. At least half of the dialogue is exposition (the other half simply being unintentionally funny: Do you want to ride me? Hello! I thought this film was rated PG). Nicole Kidman is about as menacing as a tin of Quality Street. An hour in, I wanted to gouge out my eyes and throw them at people just so I had something entertaining to do.

Stardust – this is one of those films that has you alternately shouting, ‘Huzzah!’ and ‘Oh Gawd!’ ‘Huzzah!’ for the quite amazing Robert DeNiro, who completely steals the film as a cross dressing whoopsie pirate – ‘Oh Gawd!’ for the appearance of Dexter Fletcher. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good actor, but ever since he played a Yank in Press Gang, there’s something about him that makes me go, ‘Oh Gawd!’ No idea why, but there we are.

A load of marvellous old nonsense and about a hundred times better than The Golden Compost.

Enchanted – like, wow. I loved this, and what made it better is the fact that I wasn’t expecting to even like it (to be honest, the omens were not good: the writer – Bill Kelly – was responsible for that pure flapdoodle Sandra Bullock vehicle Premonition).

That said, there appears to be a much darker, naughtier story lurking just below the surface here, which seems to me to suggest that Disney has managed to plane off a few of the sharper edges from Kelly’s screenplay. No matter, it’s still great fun.

That said, my wife laughed at me callously for crying most of the way through (I’ll cry at anything, which is why I can’t watch The Secret Millionaire or any Cancer Research TV advert). However, Sarah managed to spill the entire contents of a cup of latte over the cinema floor, which meant that a throng of super-efficient cinema employees descended on us, making her feel incredibly daft and not a little embarrassed. Vengeance is mine! Or something.


martin said...

Merry Xmas sir!

Chip Smith said...

And a Merry Christmas back at you! Looking forward to some Metlab ruckus in the New Year...

Jon Peacey said...

I loved Enchanted too. Saw it in a near empty cinema right after I Am Legend... It really had that certain something.

And I can't bear Cancer Research Ads either... very uncomfortable viewing... particularly the last girl in the wedding dress.