Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Invented, Water, Bright

Movies, and a few thoughts:

"The Man Who Invented Christmas" is a slightly biographical piece about the composition and publication of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol in Prose". It is amusing and heart warming, if you don't have an allergic reaction to the sentimentality. Some of the performances (Christopher Plummer in particular) are brilliant. We enjoyed this a great deal.

"The Shape of Water" is a sort of sideways high end remake of "The Creature From the Black Lagoon." It is beautiful (though occasionally also violent and ugly) and structurally sound, though also deeply flawed. I have an affinity for the Gillman, and approached this movie with high hopes and low expectations; if my hopes were not met, my expectations were certainly significantly exceeded. If the idea of a dark, science-fantasy period romance appeals to you, this is worth seeing. I suspect that that is a very small niche, but *I* certainly enjoyed the film a great deal.

"Bright" is an original Netflix movie; as far as I know, it is the most ambitious non-theatrical movie in history, with a reported budget of $90 million. It is a fantasy-cyberpunk adventure, pretty much "Alien Nation" with orcs and elves instead of aliens. It's quite good. I hope (along, no doubt, with Netflix) that it spawns a sequel or a follow-on series; there is a great deal of implied environmental depth that would be worth exploring. Of course, the choice of title is strongly against them; it makes sense in context, once you have seen the film, but it has ZERO marketing value, and is probably one of the worst titles I can think of.

Rumination: "The Shape of Water" has at least as many flaws as some of the recent big name science fiction series (Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent), and yet it didn't bother me nearly as much (and please note, I did see ALL of the sequels for all of those); I didn't have the feeling that my brain cells were committing suicide in disgust while I was watching. The difference is that none of the flaws in "Water" were structual, merely failures of execution, while the other properties suffered from conceptual flaws in the initial design that no amount of subsequent patching and decoration could hide (and none of them were exactly flawless at the level of execution, either). I came away from "Water" with the feeling that there had been a truly brilliant movie waiting in the studio that just didn't quite get made, while the others were just pretty train wrecks.

Uncle Hyena
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