Frank Capra presents not only one of the best Christmas films of all time, but one of the most perfect films ever made. A film that is held together by an outstanding leading performance from James Stewart, in one of the most engaging and uplifting stories you’ll ever see in cinema. Every time I watch this film it reduces me to tears of joy and makes me feel more festive than any other film ever will. It is and always will be one of my all time favourite films, because it will never fail to make me feel happy.
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!
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.
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.
There’s a popular misconception that men hate this film, however I still maintain it is a solid romantic comedy that is hugely enjoyable. Richard Curtis is an outstanding writer, and this absolutely is one of his best films. The ambitious ensemble cast is fantastic, but there are some particularly brilliant performances from Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln, and Emma Thompson who has the best and most emotional scene of the film. What I like most about it is that it’s such a positive film, it’s one that fills a lot of people with happiness, including myself, so fuck the gender stereotypes.