Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dumber and dumberer

Subject: Cinema
Well, even a weekend with my mom staying over couldn't go completely devoid of having a couple of DVDs make there way on the screen. Though it pretty much has to be more mainstream, "safe" fare.

I did show her the dub of "Porco Rosso", but she slept through a bit of it, and was a bit peeved at the "open-ending" aspect. Though as Japanese endings go, it's not really all that "open", but still...

We also rented a couple from Blockbuster. First up was Disney's "8 Below", the story of a team of sled dogs who were left behind at an Antartic research station after a sudden storm and crisis forced an evacuation. The parallel story of the dog's attempts to survive and their "master" trying to cope with leaving them just limps along, neither being particularly satisfying. It's filled with all the usual cliche, predictable touches you'd expect from a Disneyesque morality tale involving trained animals. And add the final "everything's going to be just fine" happy ending, and well there you have it. Blandness on a little silver platter.

But, my brother has a pair of Siberian huskies, and she's been taking care of one of them, so she wanted to see it. And it was definitely "safe".

Also "mostly safe", but very, very awful -- so awful that it makes "8 Below" seem like a quaint art film -- was the recent Steve Martin remake of "The Pink Panther".

Now, I knew this one would probably stink, but I thought it would be acceptable enough as something to pass the time with Mom. But it was so bad that even she thought it was really bad.

It's kind of like someone once watched the later Peter Sellers' "Pink Panther" sequels, wrote down that there was a character called "Inspector Clouseau" and a character called "Cheif Inspector Dreyfuss", and that one was dumb and one was crazy, and both used fake French accents. And then put a committee together to write a movie based on just that as a premise, totally without understanding even the slightest little bit of the genius that Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers bestowed on the originals.

The gags were lame, the slapstick was devoid of timing, and Martin couldn't even muster a pale shadow of an imitation of the kind of presence and suspension of disbelief that Sellers delivered with his quintissential Clouseau. Kevin Kline wasn't much use as Dreyfuss, either. Jean Reno did a reasonable job as Martin's straightman/sidekick, but it probably wasn't hard to do better than everyone else.

Oh well. At least I've confirmed that my snobby attitude towards film hasn't made me miss much of anything. And it makes me look forward to finally getting a chance to watch something good again. Whatever that might be...

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