Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Spandex ballet

I finally caught Fantastic Four at the second-run movie theater. It's not the terrible experience that jaded film reviewers would have you believe; in fact, it fits in well as a Marvel comic adaptation that's merely meant to introduce a franchise. The filmmakers seem to follow the Spider-Man blueprint in trying to hire the best actors (regardless of current star power) for these iconic roles, and then throwing in a popular actress to lure the teenage boys who haven't yet developed good taste.

Don't get me wrong; I'm so fond of Jessica Alba that I watched Honey. And she's not nearly as detrimental to this film as Kirsten Dunst is to the Spider-Man movies. Plus, look at the picture. But she makes a lousy blonde, and lags a bit as a superhero lead. Seeing as how the far more comically adept Rachel McAdams was also in the running, I just think the wrong actress was selected.

I also saw The Island recently. Again, not as bad as you've been told. It helps that Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson can work the white jumpsuits. There's a fairly interesting plot, and (I'm not kidding) some of the most impressive stunt work I've ever seen. The shot of the office worker being gently pushed aside by a motorcycle comes to mind. I'm not sure why critics and audiences didn't support it. Particularly when over 20 million TV viewers are enthralled with a similar theme in Lost right now. I won't say more.

I've come to realize that I expect more out of the Ballet Films (movies that are considered art) and less of the Spandex Films (movies that are considered commerce). I doubt this makes me better at film criticism, but it certainly makes me a happier, more well-adjusted person. In other words, Hollywood can throw all the awards it wants at that overrated jackass Philip Seymour Hoffman, but it can't make me watch two-plus hours of him doing a nails-on-chalkboard impersonation of Truman Capote. (And no, I won't provide a link to him.)


Mainline Mom said...

That's a pretty funny film review. Much appreciated, since I haven't seen either movie yet. I don't get to go to actual movie theatres anymore, but I rent nearly everything that comes out. I'm not a fan of Lost or of Scarlett Johanssen so I'm wondering if I would still like The Island. I always like good stunt work.

Courtney said...

I'm with you. One should go into a "spandex" movie -- great term, by the way -- expecting something different. And while I still expect it to be better than, say, Spiderman (geez, I really hated that movie), I'm looking to be entertained, not enlightened.

Of course, all this is moot with the munchkins at home, because I don't see movies anymore (word, mainline mom!)

Neel Mehta said...

MM: I liked Scarlett in The Horse Whisperer, maybe because she played the least annoying character. But yeah, I don't see what the big deal is with her. The Island is mostly about Ewan McGregor, so she doesn't screw things up. A rental may be worth your time.

C: I don't know if you want to go through the experience again, but Spider-Man 2 is a much better movie. Certainly the Houston Public Library will have it.