So I watched Sing on netflix the other day, it was exactly what you think it is from the trailers. The only surprise was that one of the main characters is Seth MacFarlane playing a mouse (maybe that was in a trailer but none of the ones I saw). Otherwise I just wanted to see what the final playlist of the movie was. Again, no surprises, a middle of the road selection of pop songs. On the whole? I am officially done with celebrity voice acting. Unless they’re a comedian – they just can’t do it. It’s especially bad when you watch animated shows and hear great, talented voice actors really bring to life characters. Then you watch one of these movies and can’t remember anything about it you just watched. The only one I can remember from Sing is Seth MacFarlane’s mouse oh and HE does a lot of voice work! He really stands out in the cast and just highlights the problem of celebrities that can’t act behind the camera. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, Billy West may not be able to act in front of a camera but damn can that man do voices.)
This was especially clear to me when I watched an episode of Comrade Detective and boy is their voice work sleep-inducing.
Valerian was a movie I wanted to lie but oh man does the dialog make it hard. We’re talking Star Wars prequels level. It also allows modern-day politics to seep into the film and ruin story points. It also runs into the problem I’ve seen a lot of movies have where they want to do a plot about a cover-up, but then when you think about the movie from another angle, the cover up doesn’t work. It also runs afoul of the sci-fi fantasy problem of why can a person do X but not Y; how does the protagonist figure out X but not Y; etc.
Dunkirk was an interesting movie. I’ll admit, if it was put out by any other director, I would probably not care for it, but Nolan has built up so much good will from me that I actually want to try and figure out what his goal is with the movie. I also think that in making it very unlike other war movies, he wants it to be better remembered.
I’ve been on an 80s catch-up binge lately, watching stuff like They Live. It’s sometimes almost a bit of culture shock how “slow” these old films are. Of course back then films actually breathed and worried about getting from point A to B. I want to object to anybody who might protest that older films are boring. I know I feel the same temptation to pull out my phone during downtime moments but honestly, just try and make yourself focus on the entire film for the entire time. And you realize that the film as a whole ends up sticking with you. It’s started to remind me of something Verbose Stoic once said:
The movies are overstuffed with shallow story and plotlines, so much so that the only way to really get the plotlines is because they are so tropey that we immediately recognize the scenes and what they indicate even if things aren’t set up properly in advance.
. . .
Again, we recognize the events because we know that this is what happens, but they aren’t developed enough in movie for us to really get the emotional connection to work.
Now he’s talking about the Despicable Me films in particular but I think it’s becoming a regular feature of more and more movies. Part of it may just be the ADD times we live in, where we assume the audience is going: “Oh this is where they fall in love, yeah we get it, move along.” But part of it may also be lazy writers. Heck I admit, when trying to write out my own stuff it’s easy to start falling into the trap of rushing stuff along.
Plus I think there’s a real difference – a frustration with storytellers – when we see a moment in our minds, but when trying to crystallize that moment, and make it real into the world so others can see the moment in their minds, it ends up being less than we first thought. Bringing an imagined moment, or character, or setting, into reality causes it to lose something, and it is frustrating. So I wonder if some storytellers think they can preserve that thought if they hint at it enough, keep it from harsh reality. It’s the difference between “she was the most beautiful woman in the world” and “She had long, flowing red hair with curls at the end. Ruby red lips that begged to be kissed… etc” I don’t know for certain, but it’s something I’m noticing more and more.
And Spider-man:Homecoming was ok. I’m starting to place bets that Marvel movies are going to crater after Infinity War.