Archive for September 2016
The other day I asked a comic book writer, “What is your favorite comic book?” His answer? “Ahh… ummmm.” In other words, he didn’t know.
The ancient Greeks said, “Know thyself,” that is, know what makes you tick, know what turns you on, know what turns you off.
Recently, the BBC published the results of a poll which answered the question: what are the greatest films of the 21st century. Of course, they didn’t ask me, but that didn’t stop me from answering the question because I find lists are great tools for helping me “know myself.”
The BBC’s list names 100 films. I’ve only seen a bit more than half those titles, so perhaps I’m unqualified to make a list. However, of the ones I have seen there was no question of ever including most of them. They just weren’t interesting enough. Or at least not nearly as interesting (to me) as the following:
1. In the Mood for Love
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. The Big Short
5. The Hateful Eight
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
7. La Commune
8. The Avengers/The Avengers: Age of Ultron
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox
10. The Host (2006)
11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
12. Los Angeles Plays Itself
13. Where to Invade Next
These are the new films I’ve seen since January 2000 that knocked my socks off. Others, at best, were “OK.” For example, Mulholland Drive, which tops the BBC poll, is a film I find inferior to other works by Lynch, mainly Eraserhead and Twin Peaks. But it’s “OK.”
So, having done this list, do I know myself a bit better? Yes, status confirmed: still a weirdo.
This film was not boring.
It was not boring despite not being original.
It’s not original in the same way most movies out of Hollywood are not original nowadays.
It’s a re-mix. A re-mix of many familiar elements.
First and foremost, X-Men. The posters already suggested that, as did the title.
But it’s also Brigadoon.
A bit of Grimm, the TV show.
And especially Burton movies. Lots of them. In fact, you could say it’s a Burton sampler, a parade of his greatest hits.
Alice in Wonderland.
A lot’s there, all cleverly stitched together.
Like I said, a re-mix, or as Burton likes to say, “re-imagining,” but it’s a re-imagining of stuff that’s been re-imagined several times already.
No, it’s never boring, but it’s not original, either.
Not for lack of trying. There are some peculiar things in the mix that could just be new to the Burton universe.
Maybe. Possibly. I’m not so sure.
But even if there’s something new there, it’s not enough to add up to something unique and memorable like the originals from which this film borrows (steals?) so much.
But rest assured, don’t worry, you won’t be bored, or maybe you will. Maybe the film needs you need to be peculiar, too; that is, peculiar enough to have never seen a Burton film.
I don’t know.
However, I do know this: if you choose to stay home and watch Frankenweenie, or Edward Scissorhands, or Ed Wood, or even Big Fish, instead, don’t worry. You won’t miss a thing.
But that’s just sad.
I saw the film about a week ago at a Hollywood preview.
Martin Landau (who was present at the footprint ceremony that preceded the screening) may have been in the audience, watching the film with the rest of us. Why do I think this? Because I spotted him making his way to the nearest restroom. No one bothered him, perhaps because they did not recognize him. Perhaps they did not care. I cared, but I, too, did not bother him. (However, it would be a lie to say the thought did not cross my mind for I was carrying a script of Ed Wood and that script was calling out, indeed, screaming for the signature of Martin Landau.)
Back to the preview: it was supposedly a “fan screening,” according to my ticket, but most seats were off-limits to fans:
The few seats that weren’t reserved were already taken. So we experienced a bit of adventure as we waited to see if any of those “reserved” seats would open up. Finally, they opened the unfilled reserved seats, we sat down, and the show began.
It began on an exciting note with short intro’s by the novel’s author (Ransom Riggs) and the film’s director (Tim Burton).
And then, more than two hours later, it ended with scattered, polite applause.