Sunday, March 28, 2010

Like a rock

RocknRolla is the 5th feature film from director Guy Ritchie. Like the others, he wrote this one too.
Unfortunately, unlike Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, RocknRolla just doesn't work.
The other two films give us some nice charcter development prior to the caper plot. RocknRolla starts in with a ceaseless narration from a charcter and throws you headfirst into the caper plot. Instead of being interesting, it's annoying. You have no reason to be interested in the caper going down if you have no emotional investment with the characters. I'd love to blame this on Mark Strong, the actor who does the narration as the character Archie, but I can't. Morgan Freeman could be doing the narrating, it still wouldn't stop anyone from thinking "wait, what? this movie just started! who are these people? and why am I supposed to care?" There's no one to blame there is the writer and the editor.
And somehow, the frenetic pace in the beginning doesn't stop the movie from having slow points. The timing is very uneven, and the plot lacks the same hilarious wit Ritchie's other films had in abundance.
However, the dialogue is good, and the acting is very good. The characters are even quite good, once you actually get to know them about halfway through the movie. Mark Strong was, by far, the stand-out character.
Unfortunately, the plot is just too muddled. It's like five pounds of meat stuffed into a two pound sausage casing. It still tastes okay, but it's not satisfying.

And I saw Alice in Wonderland last night. It made me sad. Sad because Tim Burton keeps making the same mistakes. Sad because the acting was so wonderful, but the dialogue and plot was terrible. Sad because, I love the stories about Alice, and I really never thought to myself "Gee, I sure wish there was a sequel to Through the Looking Glass that changed the motives of all the characters and stole several plot points from the original works."
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Tim Burton, yet again, tried to fix something that wasn't broken. The same way he tried to fix Planet of the Apes and Sweeney Todd. The end results are always so utterly disappinting precisely because you can see their potential, and how far the project fell from acheiving that potential. Burton now lacks any will power, he cannot hold back. It's strange to see that when Tarantino, as evidenced by Inglourious Basterds (see last post), has learned how to hold back and his films seem more sophisticated because of it. Sweeney Todd was almost there, I thought maybe Burton was going back to a healthy creative place, but instead he's gone in the other direction full-speed.
You'll like Burton's Alice in Wonderland if you think classics can be improved upon. I, unfortunately, do not.
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2 comments:

Erin said...

I completely agree about Alice and Wonderland. I left feeling so disappointed. I was anticipating this movie a year in advanced, I actually believe you and I spoke about it when we first saw the trailer last spring. I also think the 3D was not very impressive, maybe it is because the last 3D movie I saw was Avatar. I was thinking there would be smoke rings coming towards my face or something creative.

Noel said...

The only movie I've seen where I've been impressed by the 3D was <UP but I haven't seen Avatar yet. I'm not a big fan of James Cameron.