Looking a free afternoon with most people out of town, I decided today would be a good opportunity to take in a matinee double header downtown. I don’t get to the theatre as much as I used to, and there were a few films that I really wanted to get to see on the big screen.

The first was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I’ve wanted to see it since I saw the first trailers over a year ago. I fell completely in love with the stylized visuals of the film. And while I’ve heard mixed reactions from those who’ve seen the film, I was still determined to see it before it left theatres. And as the movie began, I could certainly understand the complaints about the extensive green screen work. But it didn’t take very long for me to abandon any reservations in the face of the director’s remarkable vision. As soon as the flapping mechanical creatures attacked the base in the second action piece of the film, I was completely lost in the fantasy. And the film just continued to layer on the pulp influences. But the key is how un-self-concious the movie is. Nothing is tongue-in-cheek, there are no jarring popular culture references. Everything is completely serious while at the same time not taking itself too seriously. I’m sure that it would be easy to reject the film out of hand given the fantastical elements of the plot, but for those who can appreciate an adventure film, this is the purest example I’ve seen since perhaps Raiders of the Lost Ark. High praise perhaps, and Sky Captain would suffer from direct comparison. But it is a refreshing entry in a genre that has been under-represented as of late. Of course, I believe I was in perhaps the perfect mood to see it this afternoon, so they may color my strong reaction.

The second movie was Hero. I’ve read about it online for years now and the few reports I’ve gotten from friends were very enthusiastic. The movie started well, with a beautifully stylish fight sequence in the rain, but I found the repeated retelling of the second encounter that made up the middle of the film to be somewhat tiresome. I think my expectations got in the way, anticipating more action instead to the measured pace I should have expected of a Chinese film. By the end my feelings were mixed, but ultimately I was a bit unsatisfied. But a strange thing happened as I got up from my seat and exited the theatre. Somehow things fell into place in my head and I felt a greater appreciation for the entirety of the tale. Even now, I still have the movie on my tongue, appreciating the unanticipated aftertaste. A strange reaction for sure, but definitely an interesting contrast to the pure candy flavour of Sky Captain.

All in all, I’d highly recommend both films and I imagine I will be adding both to my DVD collection when they are released.

One Response to “Matinees”

  1. Pauly says:

    Gwyneth and Angelina? I’m all in!