Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Couple More Movies

Coming off Ella Enchanted, I ended up watching The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. I didnt really like The Princess Diaries but I liked the sequel a little more. There are as many in-jokes and references as there are in a Kevin Smith film. Garry Marshall's daughter has a good-sized supporting role. An actor from Pretty Woman (the guy who caught the clam) shows up to catch something from the clumsy princess (he was also in the original movie in a similar role). The love interest from the first film is written out as playing music with his band.That actor is a member of the band Rooney. Of course, Hector Elizondo is back from the first film...playing a part similar to his in Pretty Woman. The movie itself has the princess in danger of losing the throne if she doesnt get married in 30 days. Another heir to the throne would take her place if she didnt get married (how the guy is an heir to the throne is never really explained). The movie is cute and fun at times but it didnt translate into a movie I wanted to see again. However, it is better than the first film, which continues the trend of sequels better than the original films.

Speaking of sequels, I also watched Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, the sequel to the film that undoubtedly had an influence on the Matrix films. I never saw the original film for some reason. Yet, that didnt stop me from watching this film. I had a familiarity with the world from watching the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV show, even though the series and movie are separate from each other. Also, some text at the beginning let you know what happened in the first movie. First off, this movie is beautiful. The 2D and 3DCG animation are very good. The look of the film isdark, creepy, colorful, and haunting. Production I.G. continues to amaze me with their animation work. As for the story...well, its about a series of murders of humans by robotic dolls. Batou, a man who is essentially a cyborg, is teamed with his primarily human partner Togusa to investigate. Batou's former partner, Major Kusanagi, has evolved past humanity and may (or may not) be alive out in the Net. The dialogue of this film reminded me more of Waking Life than an anime film. As questions about the murders abound (Why would a robot kill a human and then itself?), they lead to discussions about the nature of life, humanity, science, and artificial intelligence. A philosophy class would have a field day with this film and the countless interesting and intriguing quotations it brings up. The dialogue is simultaneously the best and worst thing about this film. While there are some enlightening ideas brought up, its not necessarily entertaining. In fact, after a while, it becomes draining. What the movie boils down to is a beautiful, haunting (and at times action-packed) philosophy lesson. It packs a series-worth of mind-bending ideas and situations into 100 minutes. Its both fascinating and incredibly hard-to-watch. Part of me wishes that I had watched it with the directors commentary.

I watched the making-of special on the DVD and it really makes you appreciate the amount of work put into the production. For one scene, they recorded the sound of a music box. Then, to get the proper sound for the scene, they played the recording in a large space and re-recorded it. People in faraway crowd scenes are actually animated. Every item in a store was created and modeled in CG. There is enormous detail throughout. Ultimately, I have to recommend it...especially to those who have seen the first film or those who want a film that requires some complex thought. I have one complaint about the DVD of this film and its the same one of DreamWorksother anime release, Millennium Actress...the lack of a dub. The beauty and complexity of this film almost demands a dub. I know that for many people, it will be tough to view and enjoy this film without having to look at subtitles. Disney took the time to create very good dubs for their Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki releases. Subbed only releases are rare in the anime world...why didnt DreamWorks take the time to produce a dub?

No comments:

Post a Comment