Sunday, June 11, 2006

V for Vendetta versus Mission Impossible 3 (contains spoilers AND rants)

We're lucky to live 4 miles from an IMAX cinema, and when we saw V for Vendetta was going to be an IMAX feature we were well pleased. This film was on our "must see" list. Apart from anything, the Man of the House is a huge Alan Moore fan (he has a treasured drawing of Evey, that Moore did on-the-spot for him when they met ;) As a die-hard fan, he was prepared for the rewrite for big screen, and actually thought they’d managed it quite well for the blockbuster effect, (unlike some PITAs who were whining about it afterwards.) IMAX had the advantage of great images of the cityscapes and wide pan action, and rather scary disadvantages of huge close ups, I mean, stuff like John Hurt’s teeth, 20 feet tall. Yikes.

Loved the film, can’t wait to get it on DVD and see it again. The best part for me was Hugo Weaving’s acting. Compelling or what? He was my favourite part of the Matrix, and he excelled in V for Vendetta. So much compelling acting, without facial expression. Magic. Hugo, I’m a big fan. Ms Portman's performance was also good, although my fave film of hers still remains Garden State. V for V was a great story about the underdog bringing down a totally unjust future society. It was gripping, and had enough conflict, intellect and romance for this viewer to be kept hooked. The only thing that would have made it better for me was if we had seen more of V’s actual machinations. He obviously used PCs, but we never saw them, and he made bombs, but we never saw them until they were done. Other than that, the film was a magical combination of British quirk and blockbuster appeal, all in all, a great view. Verdict -- bring on the DVD!

MI3, on the other hand… well, if you’re after a glowing review, go elsewhere. The critics loved it. Author pal Jordan rated it better than I am about to, so maybe go there if you don’t want to see me trash it. ;-) For me the magic MI mix is glamorous action and adventure with a convoluted plot to be resolved. This is what the TV series was about, and this is what the first two films achieved too. MI2 is a real favourite of mine. Not this one, though. For a start, I really missed John Woo’s stylish directing, which suited MI so well. There was a serious lack of marital arts, too. Boohiss!

I went to the film with an open mind, although I did wonder how they’d ever top that opening of MI2, the rock climbing/helicopter/shades -- awesome, glamorous, sexy, and… well, they tried to top it by going to the other end of the scale, with ultra grit, pain, death seconds away, totally cringing-in-your-seat stuff. It kind of went from there. Grim. In fact we both noticed that there was a serious lack of the theme music throughout, probably because it would have been too up-tempo for what was going on...!

They gave us the penultimate cliff-hanger in the opening scene, then flashed back (not a good tactic in a film like this, if you ask me) The writing on MI films is usually OTT --with over use of pull-off face masks, and agents who never need to look around and think “which way from here?” when in a new locale -- but it was part of the appeal; this time it fed into a different type of image, darker, less of a ride more of a haul through the dirt. Here’s an example -- the women in previous films have been strong characters, even if they are bad girls. In this film they were largely victims, imprisoned, beaten, tied up and killed, with the exception of one sidekick and Hunt’s wife in the final scene, where she flips over.

The writing was lazy, with gaping plot holes. The most amusing was an anonymous macguffin, (the thing that everyone's after.) In MI2, the macguffin was Chimera, a virus that would kill thousands and make the bad guys millions in sales of the antidote, Balleraphon. In this, the macguffin was never actually identified. Known as “the rabbits foot,” they didn’t even show the action sequence where Hunt liberated it, in case we might notice we didn’t know what it actually was -- well, we noticed. Maybe it didn't bother some viewers, but I need to know what it is, to be convinced and get emotionally involved. Believe me, not one of my editors would let me get away with it! Short cuts like that abounded. The main plot here is that Hunt got married, so puts a member of the public in danger (his wife.) It was clumsily done IMO. Work-pals advise he should never get married. Hunt tells them he already has. Work pals look doom laden. Then they catch the bad guy. What’s the first thing the bad guy says when he realises they’ve got him? Logic would say “I’m gong to kick the s*** out of you” right? But no, its “If you’ve got a wife I’m going kick the s*** out of her” I’ve paraphrased, but you get the point. Couldn’t they have built up to it a bit more, to make it a teensy bit more credible? You wouldn’t get away with contrived and shallow plotting like this in fiction! Although I did like it when Hunt flipped and dangled him out of the cargo chute. :-)

I am not even going to mention Jonathan Rhys Meyers attempted Irish accent. LOL In case you haven’t figured it, I groaned a lot. I did however think thatPhillip Seymour Hoffmanwho played the bad guy, and Keri Russell who played agent Lindsey Farris gave terrific performances. Finally -- big spoiler coming -- Tom Cruise dies for a minute there. Imagine my amusement when a girl in the cinema was blubbing her heart out, very loudly. The sound of her woe was almost (but not quite) drowned out by the ensuing laughter from the rest of the audience. Verdict – bring back John Woo.


Jordan Summers said...

I didn't say it was great. I said I was able to forget that it was TC for a few minutes at a time. *ggg* ;)

Saskia Walker said...

I just ignore that it's him LOL Not into him either. You enjoyed it better than I did, believe me ;-)