Friday, January 12, 2007

Children of Men/Primeval

So within 14 hour span I went from seeing the worst film (so far) of 2007, to one of the best of 2006. How's that for a time warp.


Children of Men

Set a mere 20 years in the future, Children of Men is an extremely bleak look at what the world would be like if women could no longer procreate. While it clearly divided the audience, I was completely enthralled with the film. The film has its flaws, but the questions posed out weighs the shortcomings. How Alfson Cuaron did not get a Director's Guild nomination is wonder. Cuaron’s films have always been compelling, but this is the first time I can remember his technical work being so stunning. It completely overshadows the acting. There are some sequences in this film that are truly jaw dropping. In one scene in the latter half of the film, Clive Owen must navigate his way through the hallway of a dilapidated building while being caught in the crossfire between the army and insurgents. Instead of using quick cuts, Cuaron opts for a single tracking shot to emphasize the tension. It is masterfully orchestrated. It is these types of images that will last long in your memory while you sort through all the questions raised.

As I mention earlier, the film received mix reactions from the crowd. Which mainly stemmed from the fact that the film never really explains how the world got to this state. We are just told that women can no longer have children; and watch as immigrants are being caged up like dogs. While I admit it would have been nice to have a few answers, I liked the fact that they leave it up to your imagination. Although there are several allusions to things in our current, and past, political landscape that could be the catalyst. Regardless, it is the questions that are raised that are the most important thing to take away from the film. Despite it flaws, Children of Men is one of the best films of 2006.


Primeval


During an "Amazing Grace" sing-a-long moment, Orlando Jones jokingly remarks: "This is some embarrassing shit." That line pretty much sums up the movie perfectly. Primeval is currently being marketed as Texas Chainsaw Massacre style horror flick; which explains the larger than expected turnout at the previewing screen last night. The truth is, Primeval is nothing more than 90-minute episode of "When Animals Attack". That's right folks, despite a whopping 300 kills to his credit, the killer known as Gustav is nothing more than a crocodile with a weight problem. Essentially the film is a mixture of Anaconda, Lake Placid, and Jaws. There is also a splash of Deep Blue Sea and Hotel Rwanda. Now I know you're probably scratching your head about the Rwanda reference. It's okay, I was scratching my head throughout the whole film. The main plot revolves around a group of American journalist traveling to Africa to do story on Gustav. There is also a sub-plot about a civil war, and a warlord named Little Gustav. The film makes several statements about America ignoring the genocides in Africa. Which is important because without killer croc films we would never know what is going on in the world politically. Having said that, they probably should not have had the token black guy (Jones) make jokes about slavery being a good thing. Just a thought.

If Primeval had not taken itself so seriously, it may have made the "so bad it's good" canon of films. Lord knows I was laughing throughout this debacle. Unfortunately this wasn't the case, which means you have to endure every cliché in the book. There is the woman risking her life to save a dog, the blood thirsty tour guide with a grudge, the sensitive Aussie croc hunter, etc... Let's not forget the smarter than your average bear...err...croc, Gustav. He can set elaborate traps, save women from being raped, and still find time to eat through Land Rovers. While it is still early, it will be tough to top this level of fromage. Current front-runner for worst film of 2007.

1 comment:

  1. I consider Children of Men to be one of the finest SF films ever made and one of the best films of the last decade. In addition to the story, I felt that it had the best "you are there" cinematography I had ever seen, both in the scene you mentioned, and in the car scene.

    Thank you for not mentioning why Clive Owen is doing that. Almost every summary of the movie, even short ones, even Netflix's couple sentence summary, even on the back of the DVD itself, spoils what should be the biggest moment in the film. I have literally loaned it to people by placing the disk in a blank DVD case so they can't read the back of the regular case and be spoiled.

    I have to admit I was completely caught by surprise when I read questions on IMDB from people wanting to know why women couldn't have babies any more, and being pissed because the movie doesn't tell us. It never even occurred to me to think that that was what the movie was about.

    I plan to review this soon as part of my After Star Wars category. (If I can ever make it to the end of your posts.)

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