As much as I like David Lynch, this is not his finest work. Some hailed it as his masterpiece, others tore it shreds, but personally I’m somewhere in the middle. There are elements that I like; I can’t fault the central performance by Laura Dern, but it’s not enough to fix the film. Most annoyingly it takes things I previously liked about Lynch, the ambiguity, the strange imagery, the confusing non-linear narrative, and it made me dislike them. I didn’t feel as angry other people, but I was certainly disappointed because I know Lynch is capable of so much more.
Robert Zemeckis returns to motion capture territory to deliver one of the most redundant adaptations of the Dickens classic, that makes you wish you were watching the far superior Muppet Christmas Carol. Jim Carrey is at the very height of overacting as we see him play numerous roles within the film, turning each character up to eleven and subsequently making them beyond annoying. Even the ambitious attempt at visual style is not commendable, as the whole film feels like a series of cut away scenes from an early 2000s Playstation 2 game. Loud and uninspired rubbish that simply is not funny.
It’s annoying to see so many talented people, such as Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey and Kathy Bates being sucked into the Hollywood tradition of making god awful comedies around Christmas time. Having Vince Vaughn as the titular character is enough to ruin the film, but why push some genuinely talented people on to the sinking ship? (no Kathy Bates Titanic related pun intended) It’s over the top and over sentimental drivel that’s designed to give parents a break for an hour and a half while their kids finally sit still. It’s not a Christmas classic, it’s a waste of time.
I know a lot of people will assume I don’t like this film, and they’ll be expecting a rant from me, but I can honestly say this film doesn’t bother me. It’s a bit like a text message from someone you don’t particularly like: you see it, you acknowledge its existence, then you simply ignore it and go about the rest of your day. I admit it’s funny to an extent, but the funniest element has to be the fact the filmmakers saw no irony in casting Will Ferrell to play a man refusing to grow up.
Many people will try to convince you that this film is “cute” or “romantic” but I would argue that it’s actually rather frustrating. The UK has Kate Winslet, a national treasure, and in this film we see her sent to the US and replaced by Cameron Diaz, much like in a science fiction horror when a human is abducted and replaced by a soul harvesting alien clone. It’s more stress than I need over the Christmas period quite frankly. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance films, but I much prefer them when they’re well written and less self indulgent.
For many The Polar Express is a much loved Christmas classic that unites the family and makes everyone feel festive. However for film geeks this is a film that is generally not spoken of.
When you speak of Indiana Jones you forget number four, when you speak of Star Wars you forget the prequels, and when you speak of Robert Zemeckis you forget his strange experimenting with motion capture.
It’s one of those films that just kind of happened and some people liked it, but for the rest of us we move on with life and forget it happened.
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!
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.
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 admire this film for a number of reasons, mostly because it still stands as one of the best comic book films we’ve been given. Sam Raimi is a fantastic filmmaker and he cares about the source material, and that’s what makes the film so good. The passion he’s had since a child for the character of Peter Parker really comes through in his work for this film because it means so much to him. I think the cast is superb, the action sequences are well directed, and the film is written as a character heavy piece which works perfectly.