Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2003-07-02 Entry: "Movie News"

I've managed to see two Summer blockbusters in the past week. "The Hulk," and "2 Fast, 2 Furious." There's a vast number I'd still like to see (hey, I haven't even managed to see the fish film yet), but these are the only two that I managed to get to (and the car film was only seen because it was the only thing on at the time I arrived).

Fortunately, I was expecting mindless drivel for 2 Fast, so it was actually quite entertaining. Gone is the moral ambiguity of the first film. Instead bring in a thoroughly unlikeable side-kick and a bunch of really inept cops.

For a film that's sole purpose is attempting to show off a lot of fast cars, it actually has quite a bit of plot. Unfortunately this is marred by truly bizarre camera work. Whenever they engage the NO2 cylinders in the car, the guy holding the camera seems to have decided that the scenery should go all blurry and wobbly in a sort of psychadelic neon haze. As such, these scenes become completely unwatchable. The car chases where they don't bother with the NO2 are perfectly fine, and if you ignore the rat-in-a-bucket scene, the film isn't all that bad.

Meanwhile, The Hulk (or is that just Hulk? Is there a The to clutter things up?). For a start it's at least an hour too long - absolutely nothing happens for the first hour or so, then there's some actual action, before another hour of running around the desert, followed by a brief, undecipherable denouement.

The big green CGI creature is slightly better than the trailers made out, but he's still not all that realistic. The title sequence is an exact copy of every other super-hero film in recent history (well, X-Men and the Avengers spring to mind immediately, but I know I've seen that "Flying through extreme close-ups of genetic code and swirly green stuff" motif in half a dozen other recent films). Ang Lee seems to take it on himself to make bits of the film look like a comic book, with square panels taking up the screen. This would be okay in moderation, but it's every five minutes when nothing else is going on (and there's lots of nothing else going on in this movie).

And what's with the giant jellyfish?!

The trailers seemed to be chock full of blockbusters, and if the super-hero genre is ever going to have any life in it, they'd better not screw up the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (although how they'll manage not to I've no idea... barring the first Batman film, have there been any really well done super-hero films in recent years? X-Men was bearable I suppose, although the sequel was more a set up for the third film than a film in its own right).

Maybe I should just stick to pointless fast car films (or lower my expectations to the point they were at when I went to see 2Fast)...

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