I know this is a contemporary Christmas classic we all love, but it becomes somewhat confusing when you consider the following:
- It was a winner at the 2001 Academy Awards
- Anthony Hopkins narrates
- Cindy Lou now sings for the Pretty Reckless – yeah we’ve all seen her topless…
- Jim Carrey had to train for the role with CIA operatives who specialise in withstanding torture
- This was brought to us by the acclaimed director of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Rush. Why did he make this?
So basically it’s pure Dr Suess butchering, child star corrupting, comedian torturing, career threatening Christmas joy!
It’s the return of America’s worst parents, two of the flimsiest robbers with persistently underdeveloped back stories, and one of the most sadistic kids cinema has ever seen. If the plot for the first film annoyed you then rest assured because they went one step further this time, pinning the accidental loss of a child on a complete lack of security in American airports. And if this consumerist wet dream isn’t enough to piss you off already, just remember there’s a nice little cameo from Donald Trump, who surprisingly isn’t singing about a WHITE Christmas. Burn him with fire.
This is the first big film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and it still remains one of his best pieces to date. It’s a well written story that draws you into the characters through a three arch structure, as fragmented narratives interweave and characters cross paths to build a bigger picture. It shows how people are connected in the smallest of ways, without being as pretentious as other Iñárritu films such as Babel. It’s a gritty look into love, relationships, regret and redemption, with characters you can easily connect with, played brilliantly by the ensemble cast. An outstanding directional debut.
Now that we’ve grown up this film is a nightmare! A number of thoughts plagued me upon rewatching this film:
- Kevin is one sadistic little bastard.
- A happy ending after the shit Kevin pulled? Piss off!
- The robbers are like members of the fucking Justice League. How much pain can they withstand?
- This whole situation could have been avoided if the McCallister family stopped pissing about. They’ve got seven kids and can’t even control one of them.
- Child protective services know about this family right?
- How the hell is a film about a home invasion festive?
It’s just a mess.
I could have liked this film, but there are too many things about it that piss me off. I have no problem with Will Smith’s central performance because he has appeared in far worse films, but it’s just kind of everything else that sinks the film.
Flimsy plot that isn’t fully developed? Check.
Half baked tragic back story involving family? Check.
Animal sidekick with predictable downfall? Check.
Evil creatures with unexplained abilities? Check.
Fucking ridiculous conclusion to the story? Check.
Unnecessary parallel to Bob Marley that doesn’t actually work? Check.
Pissed off Adam by the end of the film? Check.
I was concerned that this film was going to be the typical Oscar-bait piece that critics would love and the public would find boring, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’d be lying if I said I loved it, however it ticked enough boxes to keep me happy. I admire Ang Lee because he took a rather complex novel that was deemed unfilmable by many and managed to make a genuinely impressive film. On a technical level alone this film is outstanding, and thankfully it has enough character to pull it forwards and doesn’t rely on visuals for entertainment value.