Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Movies Seen

Golden Compass
I saw this at the Kennedy School Theater with my teenage friend. We both liked it. As I'd recently listened to the trilogy, I really liked that the actress portraying Lyra really sounded a lot like the reader who portrayed Lyra. It was faithful to the book as far as I could tell, and I loved seeing daemons come alive onscreen, so different than in my head. This was a case where the movie complements the book, and is neither better nor worse. Do both: read the book and see the movie.

The Departed
It's Scorsese, what can I say? Undercover cop working to bring down a crime boss, undercover gangster working as a cop. Who will win? Who will find out who is the other mole first? I liked it, even with all the Scorsesian violence.

Horton Hears a Who
I also saw this in the theater with my teenage friend, and her 10 year old sister. We all three loved it. I think the interchangeable gazillion daughters and one son that saves the day is a bit dated, but is faithful to Dr. Seuss. We talked about our favorite parts, but aahh, now I've waited too long to remember. There are many adorable parts. I love Horton.

Children of Men
It is a dystopian near-future in which all humans have become infertile. World borders have changed, xenophobia is rampant, and violence reigns. I couldn't quite understand why people were so irreverent of the lives of other human beings if they were quite sure there weren't going to be any more. The extras, which are a must-see, helped explain that some. Michael Caine plays an old dope-smoking coot who does still love other people. You can take notes on how to hide out from thugs and live peaceably. Theo, played by Clive Owen, is roped into helping rebels by his ex. His task: help an immigrant woman escape England who quite possibly could be the only pregnant woman on earth.

In the extras there is a half-hour documentary in which the philosophy of the film is explored. (It is just as visually interesting as the movie.) Slavoj Zizek, Philosopher and Cultural Critic says, "Hegel says a good portrait looks more like the person who is portrayed than the person itself, like a good portrait is more you than you are yourself. And I think this is what the film does with our reality. The changes that it introduces do not point towards alternate reality, it simply make reality the more what it already is. It make us perceive our own reality as alternate reality." They talk about globalization, the human impulse towards mobility, and equality. It's refreshing to watch a bunch of philosophers, scientists, and economists talk without dumbing it down. It doesn't seem as though any of them are American.

I immediately thought I could see the movie again, with these themes in mind. It's much more of a thinker's movie than something like Mad Max.

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