multi move weekend
November 24, 2014
Big Hero 6
This was fun and straightforward. The best part for me was having a movie where all the kids (a diverse group of kids!) are scientists, interested in science, and being interested in science is shown as a good thing that can solve problems and do cool stuff. Between this and Interstellar, maybe we’ve turned a corner on the “science=bad” in movies thing.
Other things: It was a smooth blending of anime aesthetics and western superhero tropes, and I can’t help but think this is totally on purpose, given the city’s name is San Fransokyo. Also — very, very cool villain. Awfully scary. The plot: predictable. I understand why people like this a whole lot, but I wasn’t engaged, not like I expected to be on a film like this.
Another observation, and this is just an observation not a dig — this felt young to me. Like a middle grade book as opposed to YA. The target age I’m guessing is 10-12. I’ve gotten used to animated movies that aim older, or at least work on multiple levels, so this had a different feel. Although as a friend pointed out, the lack of shoehorned romance (part of what made this feel young) was really nice.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1
Loved it. My favorite scene is when Haymitch asks for people to think of times Katniss inspired them and Effie is the only one who says anything. Effie’s just great. And then I had a bit of a gut punch seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sigh.
Anyway, this is the first time I feel like splitting the book into two movies was justified. There’s a complete story here, and I have every confidence they’re going to stick the landing in the next film. I love the books, I love the movies, and here’s why: It’s a character study, one designed to take down the trope of the uber-competent action hero. It’s a picture of heroism tempered by a post-Vietnam understanding of post-traumatic stress. Katniss is absolutely an uber-competent action hero. But she doesn’t have any of the trappings normally associated with that character type. She isn’t in charge — she’s never in charge. She’s reactive, she’s a tool, she’s constantly being manipulated and she knows it, but there’s not much she can do about it. She isn’t going to get a reward. She isn’t going to win romance or acclaim, or even safety. She never smiles because her victories aren’t celebrations. She’s deeply, deeply broken, and that’s the point. I’ve never seen a character quite like Katniss. Except maybe in Robin McKinley’s books, and that may be why I’m liking this story so much.
As we left the theater, my friend who has not read the books announced that he hates President Coin and thinks she’s an awful person. I just laughed. He’s going to love the next movie.