Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Films Make A Post: Father and Son Related By Blood!!! Everyone's Blood!!

Inception (2010): Somehow, we have managed to arrive in The Future, a strange place where major Hollywood studios throw money at really pretty great directors like Christopher Nolan to make Philip K. Dick adaptations not based on an actual book by the author that still really feel a lot like Dick. It's quite unlike The Past, when major Hollywood studios threw money at directors to make Philip K. Dick adaptations based on actual books by the author that didn't have the slightest idea of what Dick's books were all about (and yes, I do count Blade Runner among the latter, which is a triumph of production design, but not much of an adaptation of the book it purports to be based on, what with it completely ignoring anything but the simplest among the questions the book asks).

I for one greet this bright future, even though I wasn't as confused by the film as many mainstream film critics seem to have been. Is it really that difficult to follow a clearly told, mostly linear story?

Child's Eye (2010): Some travelling young non-entities from Hong Kong find themselves trapped in Thailand during the red shirt protests. Stranded in a cheap, dark hotel, the group is soon confronted with the local female ghost and a dog-faced boy, and the dark secret of the hotel's owner.

The Pang Brothers are a sad case. While all of their films show a pair of directors perfectly able to apply their slick technical chops in interesting and visually arresting ways, most of these films are too conventional at heart to be memorable. This one is really no exception, even though (or because?) it is in 3D. There are a lot of really pretty pictures to gawp at, but not much is going on with them. Characters are uninteresting, the plot is about as fascinating as a slide show about your parents' holiday in Buxtehude, the timely historical background is wasted as a mere impediment to the protagonists running away, and there's no thematic depth or interesting subtext worth half a brain cell. To make matters even worse, the shocks are just not working at all, which leaves the audience with a film that's professionally boring and as vapidly pretty as its lead actors.

G-9 (2006): How little of interest there is about the Pang Brothers' film shows even more when I compare it to this fifteen minute ganime (which is a word that can be used for many types of non-traditional Japanese animation, but in this case means "narrated ink-drawings") by the (somewhat inescapable on this blog these days) Keita Amemiya. It's really a just a small trifle mixing elements of new wave SF with a bit of monster bashing and a sense of melancholy given expression more through the mood of the drawings and the simplicity of (barely) animation style than anything more concrete. Yet even so, it's much more human than anything that can be found in Child's Eye.

No comments: