Whiteout Movie Review: Frozen to Dullness in Antarctica
Whiteout is like the impending six months of darkness in Antarctica. Not with the chilling thrills, but with the total bore of staying inside a scientific research facility with only the endless stretches of Antarctic ice as companion.
Whiteout Movie Review: Frozen to Dullness in Antarctica
James Cameron’s Avatar Breaks DVD Records During Its Earth Day Release
The initial DVD and Blu-ray releases of James Cameron’s eco sci-fi epic Avatar further proves its high market value as fans rushed to purchase the video copies of the film during its Apr. 22, 2010 release.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Movie Review: A Slick and Solid Family Slapstick
This eye-popping and mouth-watering film cooks up a veritable buffet of the bland and the bizarre, the sweet and the sour, and all other tastes generously offered on screen. It serves up a riot of glee, color, and absurdity.
Avatar Movie Review: Avatar is What Jaw-Dropping 3D Can Be
As a feat of fearless imagination and audacity, Avatar is a bold eco-opus examining technological wonders and morality.
2012 Movie Review: A Spectacular Disaster
2012 is totally not credible especially with its unequivocally cheesy, ridiculous story; and yet, this cinematic popcorn is hugely engaging with its mind-boggling visual effects.
Deep Sea 3D Movie Review: An Underwater Magic Inside the Movie Theater
This IMAX experience lets you sink way down for an amazing experience that blends the grandeur of the deep seas with the spectacular IMAX 3D underwater cinematography.
A Slick and Solid Family Slapstick
By Rianne Hill Soriano
Catch colorful candies and marshmallows from the sky. Play around ice cream snowballs. Hop around nacho cheese fountains. Slide onto a giant gumball hill. Go gaga with a palace of Jell-O. Get endless supply of jellybeans. Then there comes the massive pancakes, tornados of pasta, pools of nacho cheese, hailstorm of jellybeans, ice cream blizzard, pizza flurries, and deadly gummy bears… Suddenly, it’s raining steak and gumballs! It’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”
The story is engagingly ridiculous. And it’s fun. And it works.
This eye-popping and mouth-watering film cooks up a veritable buffet of the bland and the bizarre, the sweet and the sour, and all other tastes generously offered on screen. It serves up a riot of glee, color, and absurdity. And it actually looks fresh and witty beyond the expectation for it.
With a solid gag ratio and a pretty good animation, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” serves as a commentary on the potential perils of genetically engineered food and the downside of “overabundance.” It makes a social point about how people now have too much of what they need. It’s a culture of excess where wastefulness seems next to coolness.
This impressive film from Sony Pictures is a downright odd family flick with exuberant animation, quirky humor, and plucky characters. It’s a slick and solid slapstick made with technical sophistication and engaging storytelling. This animated venture from writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have utilized the popular children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett into a nice movie feature.
The filmmakers know how to play with their food. And at the same time, they capitalize well on the universal compulsion for stomach-filling delight. As a computer-animated 3D extravaganza, it provides entertaining food fights and pleasurable food trips. It amusingly expands the book for the big screen. It provides whimsical detail through: increasingly surreal weather activities, in a way that climate change in the real world suggests a call for action; and a hunger for more when everything is too much already, in a way that capitalism and consumerism in the real world becomes an alarming concern for every nation.
From the gloriously surreal buffet of predatory giant chickens to the psychopathic gummy bears fighting to death, things are quite weird but really wonderful. Mutated food isn’t that far from the reality of junk food and some unwholesome fast food stuff. And all these are actually best seen in 3D splendor. Technically, this 3D food adventure makes terrific use of the format. Things really look stunning, but that doesn’t mean that its conventional 2D counterpart is of no good value. In fact, the film is a good DVD collectible. It’s just that, dining on 3D is another cool treat. It looks natural for the format and it enhances the story. And it’s good to know that the excellent animation is a veritable feast for the eyes and doesn’t overwhelm the storytelling.
As a computer-animated flick, it is bright, cheery, and at times flat-out hilarious as it provides winsome sight gags involving giant food, references to disaster film clichés (including “Independence Day” and “Twilight Zone”), and endearing characters that vividly come to life. The running gags are pretty neat clichés. It’s mostly slapstick yes, but it’s a pretty charming kind of slapstick that works well for its intended commercial value.
The sophisticated presentation doesn’t look pretentious, and it doesn’t sweat the message. As a family-friendly movie, it provides a frenetically tasty offer. It’s insanely funny and at times wonderfully weird. Things work well with the gastronomically hilarious pace and tone of the comedy. It’s visually inventive and can be swallowed very easily while serving some serious food for thought on the side.
Unlike most children movies being insipid and lowbrow, this film doesn’t insult its audiences. It’s light on its feet and it’s quick-witted. It is silly and surprisingly enjoyable – not to mention, a little trippy. It bursts with random sight gags that boast intricate design and goofy humor. It has some grown-up gags to keep the adults amused as well. The characters are likeable amidst the fact that in terms of character development, they don’t render something of the caliber of Pixar’s “Up.” Yet, this movie really assures the audience with such a tasty adventure.
As a hyperbolic exposé of human greed, abusive behavior, and environmental destruction, this food revolting spin of the 30-page children’s book into a 90-minute bountiful big screen buffet is something that the general viewer won’t regret sinking his/her teeth into. Its delicious and imaginative concept takes flight with a real tasty family delight. And while it rains big food, it also rains big laughs and sheer fun.February 5th, 2010 Posted by Rianne | 3D, Adaptation and Films with Related Inspirations from Lit, Animation, Children's/Family, Classic, Comedy, Environmental, Film Review, Films, Films I Like, Flicks, Heroes/Superheroes, Hollywood Films, Sci Fi/Cyberspace | no comments
An Apocalyptic Spookyrology
By Rianne Hill Soriano
The apocalyptic, allegorical sci-fi film “Knowing” is imperfect but effective in some ways – even with all sorts of outlandish premises afoot. It has the heights of psychological and visceral bravado, atmospheric design, jarring special effects, and some absorbing performances for its level. Its blending of sci-fi and religion, fate and faith has a gripping premise that qualifies as a pleasant surprise; but what mainly pulls it down is an overcooked execution of dealing with the clichés of the genre.
As a hybrid of disaster movie with some deep-rooted philosophical underpinnings, “Knowing” surprisingly works in a certain level above the expectation from its very typical trailer. This dreary and far-fetched story about numerology and alien life forms functions as a gloomy existential thriller that can even provide some metaphysical rumination on things. It is carefully anchored not by the mere explosions, but by mood and psychology. Moreover, it has the evangelical fervor of a popcorn movie that utilizes the needed supernatural suspense and nightmarish imagery. No matter how preposterous the plot may seem, it puts up the gloomy atmospherics into a theologically minded sci-fi offer. And its anticlimactic leap into some N. Night Shyamalan-ish elements seems to work for its needs.
The film starts with director Alex Proyas’ fairly basic sci-fi concept built on the idea of a time capsule project about to be opened after 50 years as planned in John Koestler’s (Nicolas Cage) son’s elementary school. In it comes out some spooky predictions about major catastrophes primarily in America and he runs around trying to warn people about the numbers while his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) gets chased by some weird, pale-skinned men. And while trying to get into the root of these things, he meets Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne), the daughter of the creepy Lucinda Embry, the now deceased writer of the prophetic note in the time capsule. And along with Diana’s daughter Abby (Lara Robinson), they team up to understand Lucinda’s work before it’s too late.
“Knowing” is interestingly shot digitally with the Red One camera. And with some help from colorgrading, it works for such a treatment where everything gets literally hotter and hotter as the fiery sun poses for apocalypse. Proyas makes good use of mood and spectacle, special effects, and a monumentally large-scale, shock-and-awe finale to put things in the entertainment perspective. He fills the disaster movie spectacle with tension and thrills to let the audience suspend their disbelief against such a preposterous premise. Underplaying with conviction, Cage lends some gravitas to keep up with his contentions on the ‘intelligent design in the universe’ issue. And he keep things working for his relationship with his son. Robinson as the young Lucinda of the past is quite spooky, but her as Byrne’s daughter Abby suffers with a paper-thin character – just like with Byrne’s performance.
“Knowing” is in between being a solid escapist cinematic experience enhanced by its chilling symbolism and a run-of-the-mill effects-driven extravaganza with a touch of moderate fundamentalism. As threats of annihilation in cinematic entertainment come and go, what makes this movie a watchable fare and not just a mere idiotic leap and throwback to countless disaster spectacles of the past is that it presents the bigger picture with some thoughtful atmosphere. And what seems to be an overused theme actually unravels as something more resonant and perplexing. And with its design as a ticking-clock thriller, “Knowing” is frightening and suspenseful when it needs to be.
The Remake That Stood Still
By Rianne Hill Soriano
“The Day the Earth Stood Still”
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith
With its fitting ecological message about saving the planet, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” becomes a serviceable remake of the 1951 science-fiction classic of the same title. The film is caught between the need to bring the material up-to-date and the pressure to recycle the familiar tone and elements from the first film. In doing so, it turns itself into a semi-coherent spectacle primarily dependent on technical effects. Perhaps, the best thing about it is that it shows a clear message that could tap the people’s consciousness with its discussions on philosophical and pseudo-cosmic concerns and humans’ survival instincts. But cinematically speaking, the screenplay and treatment make it nothing but a pale shadow of the original, piling on special effects and apocalypse flick clichés more than anything else.
Based on the black-and-white alien invasion picture helmed by Robert Wise, this 2008 version gets bulked up and kind of dumbed down as a modern remake merely taking advantage of today’s film technology to improve its technical aspect. However, the treatment and story don’t get the same improvement. It becomes a boldly mediocre remake of the story about humans meeting an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart. If the 1951 movie was set in a scary Cold War-era sternly warning about the misuse of atomic energy, the new film repositions its story as a vague, half-baked, pro-green flick. In its own time, the first film turned itself as a considerably alarming, menace-filled cautionary tale; while the remake serves a certain purpose of putting on another wake up call to people about the dreaded global warming. And yet, it doesn’t transcend its message the way a really good film can touch and impress.
The film’s environmentalist agenda resettled into the mindset of man’s inhumanity to the planet may be occasionally bringing that consciousness to the viewers – survival, respect, interdependence, diplomacy, stewardship, and spirituality – but only within the surface. With its storytelling, it can somehow feed that sense of concern and remind people about ecological, social, political, and personal issues, but it doesn’t get solid enough with its statements as a cinematic offer. It’s even not clear if the film is supposed to be an intense, character-driven tale within the sci-fi genre or meant to be a mere effects-galore blowout in an apocalyptic setting.
Other than the film’s many plotholes, it also wimps out on driving the message home. A better screenplay could have elevated much of the film. Having a big special effects budget, the many technical effects could not cover up what the storytelling lacks. Nevertheless, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” becomes a passable flick for those who have time to spare and for those hardcore sci-fi fans who are into any sci-fi offer laid on the table. At the least, it has some moderately entertaining and suspense-filled moments, with some collective parts offering a certain touch of humanity still.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” may also be remembered for its too intrusive product placements. The sponsors are the happiest on this part.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” is fairly pretty for a teaser-trailer treat, but thoroughly getting into it provides nothing but vagueness to the viewers. Director Scott Derrickson attempts to build and sustain a sense of thoughtful tension. However, this remake, as befitting the times, generally falls flat because of serving up too much movie clichés. It is nothing more than a disaster/sci-fi flick with mediocre special effects (in present Hollywood standards) and an ill-conceived script. It also has underused computer graphics and not so uninteresting characters. From the many scenes filled with fog machine effects, giant glowing spheres, and a funny-looking giant robot (without the supposed comic intentions), to the trumped-up climax, to the gratuitous destruction by swarms of metallic bugs, the film’s ending becomes nothing but a corny homily about the necessity of peace and saving the world – with all these due to the film’s lame script and dull treatment.
Keanu Reeves as the human-looking alien Klaatu works with his wooden, expressionless character. Not talking much and showing no much emotion, his blank facial expressions make him a considerably believable extraterrestrial newly inhabiting a human body. The idea of having no character depth provides a good physical performance for him. However, character depth is still of key importance to the other human characters – which the film actually lacks. Some droll lines pull down the film’s quality further. Despite a good enough performance from Jennifer Connelly as Dr. Helen Benson, most roles’ characterization are too stiff and lacking a natural flow. Amidst some parts working for the emotional aspect of the film, overall, Jaden Smith as Jacob Benson looks too conscious with his acting. His interactions with Connelly as his surrogate mother become an inconsistent mix of touching and overacting moments. John Cleese as Professor Barnhardt delivers a good performance for what his role requires. Kathy Bates as US Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson seems to act for what she is instructed to do. But strangely, her aura for the character makes the scenes look awkward and not so believable. Understandably, the filmmakers put in female characters for the needed emotional weight and make them more effective diplomats and negotiators in the story, but there seems to be something too trying hard in how all the elements are mounted on screen.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” becomes another tired attempt to update a classic. It may not be offensively bad, but it’s nothing particularly great. It doesn’t completely lack heart as it still brings a good message across in a general way, but as a film offer, it’s still a forgettable flick. It needs more courage to explore the creative side of its storytelling, and the final scenes play like a rushed, embarrassed concession to the general audience’s need for happy endings. And this is where the movie seemed to stand too still.January 4th, 2009 Posted by Rianne | Adaptation and Films with Related Inspirations from Lit, Environmental, Film Review, Flicks, Hollywood Films, Religion/Mystical/Supernatural, Sci Fi/Cyberspace | no comments
High fantasy vs. pop culture kitsch
By: Rianne Hill Soriano
“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” is filled with visionary sense. It has a wide imagination and a heartfelt plea for environmental concern and cultural diversity. However, its spectacular sense of artistry could have worked much better if it has not yielded much on those commercial aspects. The visuals are a triumph of imagination, and yet, the story falls from the too high expectations from director Guillermo del Toro, the man behind the Academy Award-winning film “Pan’s Labyrinth” and heir to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise through the two upcoming “The Hobbit” films.
Operating with unbridled invention, this downright goofy monster movie is made memorable by the dark, freaky visions of a thinking person’s creature feature. For its best parts, what makes “Hellboy 2” stand out is how del Toro mounts the playful, offbeat, freakish, magical, and surreal universe of Hellboy and company. It has a decidedly droll sense of humor and richly ingenious chaos while dealing with its amazingly conceived characters. Impressively, the film shows moments of gleeful comedy and refined eclecticism. One of the most weirdly cheesy but strikingly worth a watch scene features the blotto red beast Hellboy and the aquatic genius humanoid Abe Sapien singing “I Can’t Smile Without You.” Indeed, Del Toro’s fantastic imagination, peculiar ideas, and stylish direction succeed in creating a really entertaining fantasy universe of his own.
Being from the man who made “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a part of this film becomes a disappointment. Not that the film is crap… In fact, it is still considerably something within the above average scale, but given the expectations from such an accomplished filmmaker, “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” has rather kept some vital things in reserve somewhere. Its expansive imagination does elevate the material, but things could have gained more splendor if the too formulaic, underwhelming elements were rather put into service for something greater. Even though the consideration for it to not be within the art film requirements of “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a given, some of its creaky dialogues tend to be clichéd and passing any of the two routes: some work well for the purpose, while some don’t. Though there are a number of well-crafted scenes, the too obvious plotting and predictable story pulls its quality down into a visually spectacular, occasionally wonderful, but frustratingly predictable film. It may be something backwards from del Toro’s Oscar-winning fantasy masterpiece, and yet, the more positive thing is that it shows some improvements compared to the original “Hellboy.”
Armed with his untamed creativity, Del Toro’s compositions are brimming and dense with effects and background creatures that take a very similar route to the physical elements of “Pan’s Labyrinth.” The arresting visuals and rounded characters are created with such fantastic make-up artistry, steampunk creature creation, and intricate set designs. His love for dark creatures clearly shows as he takes advantage of the soft, organic textures of his imaginary beasts. He sympathizes with the monsters and misfits while presenting the preachy but undoubtedly important issues about human being’s greed and their worsening destructive tendencies against the environment. Del Toro anchors it with authentic humanism; thus making the film render enough sensibility that is light on its feet and generous on spirit. And its flaws somehow wither in the light of its brilliant visual panache and central character work.
Combining animatronics and digital effects, color and texture, and lyricism and horror, “Hellboy 2” seems to provide a taste of the kind of magic del Toro would most likely bring to Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Perhaps, it is a good experience to generate strength for the upcoming franchise follow-up to the historical “Lord of the Rings Trilogy.”
Poetic, funny, and darkly romantic, the film is just as strange and endearing as its red, ill-tempered protagonist. With its juggle brash for both enthusiasm and hardened sarcasm, its monster yarn is keen on the characters’ sardonic banters and gags. If the first film explores Hellboy’s struggle to find his humanity, this second installment centers on his struggle to find his place in the world.
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” is not a sequel that soars to the greatest heights, but its creative inventiveness still provides a likable enough entertainment for the general public. There may be a sort of mash-up of pop culture kitsch and high fantasy going in, but del Toro’s ability to spin a tall tale still makes it work. Well, the “Hellboy” franchise is all about fun and kick ass pleasure anyway.September 28th, 2008 Posted by Rianne | Adaptation and Films with Related Inspirations from Lit, Environmental, Epic/Adventure, Fantasy, Film Review, Films, Films I Like, Flicks, Heroes/Superheroes, Hollywood Films, Pinoy Films, Religion/Mystical/Supernatural | no comments
A Robot’s Heart
By: Rianne Hill Soriano
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
For the nth time, Pixar creates an animated masterpiece pushing the limits of computer animation and storytelling possibilities. By now, it’s safe to say that its creative genius appears to have no boundaries – from the vastness of the sea to the nooks and cranny of the kitchen to the galaxy far, far away… Wistful and whimsical, this visionary robotic romance is a moving parable of what humans waste and what they should treasure – wrapped around in a romance so touching and engaging courtesy of its pair of robots in the main roles.
Another groundbreaking work from the makers of the now classic animated films “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” and “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E” is one of the best love stories ever told in the big screen. This animated masterpiece about a robot’s journey as he travels the vastness of the universe to be with his beloved robot wins the heart of the human audience as it leaps beyond its mechanical pieces to convey emotions of true love. It is very simple on many aspects, but at the same time, it is pure of movie magic. It is a rare picture of hope, wonder, and joy. Its every deft little touch brings complex, heartfelt circuitry to the characters – transporting the viewers to a cosmic place filled with the future’s “what if’s” through the main character WALL•E being a poetic figure of a robot drawn to human splendor.
So far and yet so near… The story primarily showcases robots and humans enslaved by technology. And this archetypal fable about loneliness and love is both simple and deep. The filmmakers have extended the parameters of the art form to create a whole new universe of pure emotional content amidst the film’s very superficial blueprint and physicality. The genuinely heartwarming story may happen hundreds or thousands of years and light-years away with machines programmed to do specific physical works and humans who don’t even know what touching a fellow human being is like, but there is an amazing amount of life and humanity all throughout. Indeed, the wit, invention, and sheer charm of a wonderful story told well can never lose its touch regardless of the kind of character and mise-en-scene used.
Withstanding the pitfalls of human existence as a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class robot, “WALL•E” is an utterly adorable character with a welcome surge of honesty, impishness, introspection, humor, determination, and sentimentality. This humanly mechanical hero supplies such surprising and engaging moments with his earnest robot reverie. He is built with such emotion, brains, and humor that the heart of the story revolve around his whirring tones and binocular eyes. And amidst his mechanized clunks and beeps, he moves like a true human character holding on to his dreams. His fantastic journey on a never-before-imagined vision of the future is deeply moving and fun. His irresistible rattles and eye rolls keep up with his ingenious sight gags needing no words for them to work. And for the most part, this considerably silent comedy reveals a lot of personality with its robots – more than its human characters who seem to have actually lost the true humanity in them.
This computer-animated cosmic comedy is nothing short of magical. At the same time, it is an endearing post-apocalyptic romantic adventure that is as fresh as it is funny, as heartwarming as it is innovative. “WALL•E” never feels preachy or pushy. Its animation is spectacular without being a mere show-off. While the film’s social message comes through loud and clear, it never detracts the heart of the film – especially the unlikely romance between the knick-knack collector Wall•E and the sleek search robot EVE. It works in recreating such an intricate world that is moving too fast and changing too rapidly. It gives serious moments to pause and reflect on what makes life valuable to live without losing its sense of wonder. It has a social and moral conscience without pushing too hard. It promotes an ecologically minded message with an artful nod for its modestly profound portrait of loneliness, duty, and desire for reciprocated attention. And this film saves the world through the “power of holding hands.”
On a personal note, what makes “WALL•E” even more striking to me is how it successfully pays homage to one of my best-loved films “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick. From the music to the visuals to the aspect of the story where the computer tries to outwit the human and vice versa, this film gives justice to paying homage to the work of a master. It also has a Charlie Chaplin feel to it especially with its almost comedic splendor for its non-talking scenes.
Academy Award-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) and his crew incorporate surprising elements that mix vintage sci-fi with old musicals, armageddon environment, and a futuristic rendering of man’s complete dependence on technology. “WALL•E” is in full battery – powered up as it makes a massive leap in technological talent with its textural, tactile quality pushing CGI and 3D animation into uncharted artistic heights. With its technical aspect as artful as it is state of the art, and its approach being committed to a touching robot romance, it validates how animation is capable of much more than talking animals and fairy tale characters. Along with its fantastic and hearty visual value through the innovation of its Pixar talents in film and animation, it also provides a marvel of sound design and music courtesy of Ben Burtt and Thomas Newman. Indeed, this film illustrates Pixar’s downright heroic commitment to the craft by combining the wonder of art and fantastic entertainment value for the audience. Add up its continuing take on featuring a short animated film as a worthy prologue for its every feature film and things just become even more wonderful. Pixar really lets the witty storytelling and expressive animation transport the viewers into a whole new but touchingly familiar world.
Central to its serious, thoughtful, and vital messages about the environment and humanity, “WALL•E” is a smart, heartwarming, and savvy story about love, loneliness, perseverance, and triumph. And it hits its pro-green, anti-consumerist points remarkably as well. It truly shows the transformational power of love in such a beautiful, energetic, intelligent, and satirical way.
Joining WALL•E and EVE is a hilarious cast of a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots, a pet cockroach, “evolutionized” human beings, and a “pasaway” computer. The film’s visions of a ravaged, abandoned Earth of the future and a mechanized, corporately controlled space ark/pleasure cruiser vs. a small waste collecting robot doing his job in the barren planet makes up an exciting and imaginative adventure. WALL•E’s determined courtship to the completely indifferent EVE has as much truth about humanity’s sweetness and struggle as any piece of story with real human characters. Take note, the central characters merely show affection with their overall body movements, the rolling of eyes, and the mechanical sound they make. Everything just works so stunningly. And with WALL•E chasing EVE across the galaxy – against all odds – the story validates the human need to find a partner and friends with whom they can share their life experiences.
“WALL•E” is a rare and precious gem in cinema. It’s a great work of art. It’s a sci-fi funhouse and a romantic animated feature film for all ages. It draws the moviegoers with a close encounter with an enduring classic.September 2nd, 2008 Posted by Rianne | Animation, Children's/Family, Classic, Comedy, Environmental, Epic/Adventure, Film Review, Films I Like, Flicks, Heroes/Superheroes, Hollywood Films, Love Story, Sci Fi/Cyberspace | no comments
That toxic breeze
By: Rianne Hill Sorano
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Betty Buckley
Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan crafts another chilling cautionary tale acknowledging the mystery that lies behind the terrors of the natural world in the “The Happening.” This paranoid eco-thriller presents an unclear natural crisis bringing a large-scale threat to humanity through an unknown toxic breeze beginning to blow from nowhere. With pervasive eeriness, the film features an effectively stylized physical environment that allows some disturbing violence and chilly moments to set in. With such a promising concept, the film could have just been more effective if he had been a little less cautious, while taking more time to polish the script and let the idea evolve prior to moving on to production. And there seems to be a too tight control over how the commercial aspects should surface – and this has significantly drifted away much of the best expectations for the “Sixth Sense” director’s latest work.
The major strength of “The Happening” is Shyamalan’s approach in using landscapes, rustling greeneries, and staged suicides to create a mundane depiction of tragedy other than the usual terrorist attacks, military wars, biochemical issues, and typical crimes in the streets seen in many movies. With a quiet but weighty resonance, the animistic bent of the film crafts moments of shivery and twitchy suspense and psychological horror. Here, he tries his best to make the rustling of the wind evoke the shudders in the most ominous tone he could keep up with. Accompanied by moments of drama and danger, this kind of sci-fi disaster film makes a clear effort to be socially conscious about humanity’s relationship with nature.
Overall, the performances of Mark Wahlberg as Science teacher Elliot Moore and Zooey Deschanel as his wife Alma Moore still bring a quiet dignity to their characters amidst some unclear emotions that seem to be left out in the middle of the mysterious breeze – as if these particular moments have left them clueless or confused (acting-wise) on what the director wants them to exude for the story. And along with the portentous pacing and stiff dialogue, the film’s atmospherics degenerates at a particular level. Nevertheless, they are able to generally keep up with the needed moments of tension and suspense between their stretches of running scared. Wahlberg has a certain appeal for the role while Deschanel has those physical features utilized for weird angles and exaggerated features that have worked with the likes of actresses including Christina Ricci and Helena-Bonham Carter for certain eerie roles in mystery, suspense, and horror movies. The rest of the characters including John Leguizamo as the Math teacher Julian and Ashlyn Sanchez as his innocent daughter Jess are filmed with such mysterious orientations trying to benefit from the rhythms and gory details of horror and suspense storytelling. As usual, Shyamalan makes a cameo in his film as Joey.
The idea is quite neat with people left pondering on probabilities and possibilities of what the world could unexpectedly bring. Left with no answers, explanation, or narrative closure, the style of letting the viewer fill in the blanks is okay. However, in certain aspects of the storytelling, with how the film turns out, it seems like Shyamalan has made the set-ups better than the pay-offs. “The Happening” builds up some creeps, but the intensity isn’t kept with a good enough pace all throughout. As a message film filled with ominousness, the film merely lives up to the shock value more than the cinematic awe nor the reformist temperament of its gut-wrenching horror requirements and the issues on humanity’s relationship with the environment. While there are some parts becoming effectively acquainted with the emotional language of the story, there are also some awkward moments and scenes that don’t seem to have been given enough time to really prosper.
“The Happening” provides genuine creepiness in a fictional fashion. With its chilling and hanging moments, there is such untapped potential to it – somewhere, there is a great movie struggling to break free. There is a good concept with valuable meaning and depth. However, much of the toxic breeze of commercialism and the urge for such a rushed completion has really victimized it. And while it is entertaining and creepy in certain aspects, it falls short in becoming a topnotch film or a classic on its own.June 20th, 2008 Posted by Rianne | Environmental, Film Review, Hollywood Films, Religion/Mystical/Supernatural, Sci Fi/Cyberspace, Suspense/Thriller | no comments
By: Rianne Hill Soriano
Starring: Iza Calzado, Ken Zhu
Directed by: Adolf Alix Jr. and Dave Hukom
‘Batanes’ establishes an intimate portrait of a woman’s relationship with the sea after painfully losing her loving husband from a tragic accident. Set in the vast landscapes, rough seas, and ever-changing weather of Luzon’s northernmost paradise island of Batanes, this picturesque romantic story represents the struggle of emotions from a whirlwind romance between the city girl Pam (Iza Calzado) and the Ivatan Rico (Joem Bascon), the simple but happy life they have lovingly embraced in Batanes, the loss of life and love from the hands of the angry sea, and a new love bestowed in the most unexpected times of mourning.
‘Batanes’ is essentially a heartwarming study of a relationship between two cultures. With the tagline ‘Love knows no borders,’ this poignant love story explores the lives of two individuals from different places and cultures losing their will to live because of lost love and finally meeting up and finding themselves falling in love again.
It is interesting to follow the story of romantic love struggling through the giant sea waves and bumping into huge, dangerous rocks if not travailing the serene waves of the waters in a sunny day. Like the most unpredictable weather in Batanes, things seem so unexpected, uncontrollable, and at some point, unfair. And as the story progresses, it effectively shows that above all, love is universal and emotions find no boundaries, no language differences, no cultural borders in the midst of the most dangerous currents and storms.
‘Batanes’ is a joint venture of Ignite Media and GMA Films and written and co-directed by Adolf Alix Jr. and Dave Hukom. The story is very simple, but it works for the level it has chosen to take. The build up of the story passionately affects the audience for both the painful and happy moments of the main character Pam. And this becomes the film’s main source of strength.
The story begins with Pam’s newfound love and her embracing of the Ivatan way of life. Like any other person used to urban living, she struggles to adjust to provincial life. And she is rewarded well – with a simple, rural family and a peaceful married life where the sea and weather conditions are the only violent elements around. As Pam’s Ivatan husband Rico shares with her how the powerful and temperamental sea becomes a jealous lover demanding respect and attention, Pam later finds out what Rico initially meant when she goes head to head with the strength of the mighty waters after Rico’s death in the hands of the sea he respects and admires. On her continuous mourning, she sails off to an island and gets stranded in a storm. There she finds a man lying on the sand. She saves the also heartbroken Taiwanese fisherman Kao (Ken Zhu) and brings him to the village. In no time, without any intention of getting things complicated, she starts to be drawn towards him the way he gets drawn to her as well. And despite the language and cultural differences, a new love blooms in the harshest times amidst their own losses.
Iza Calzado who is also starring in ‘The Echo,’ the Hollywood remake of Yam Laranas’ Pinoy film ‘Sigaw,’ exceptionally plays the main character Pam. Taiwanese superstar and F4 member Ken Zhu effectively plays the role of Kao, a Taiwanese fisherman who gets stranded in Batanes. And newcomer Joem Bascon renders a compelling performance as the character Rico as well. And the film boasts of a powerhouse ensemble cast including Bembol Roco, Daria Ramirez, Julio Diaz, Sid Lucero, Coco Martin, Mike Tan, and Glaiza de Castro.
Love is indeed at the center of this moving and powerful film about the relationship between two cultures. It is a moving story of love crossing the boundaries of language and culture.January 7th, 2008 Posted by Rianne | Environmental, Film Review, Love Story, Melodrama, Pinoy Films | no comments
A Red Alert to the Human Race
By Rianne Hill Soriano
More than anything else, ‘The 11th Hour,’ like a kindred spirit to ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ is something the world should watch, not exactly for the mere aesthetic values, but it goes far beyond the major cinematic intentions and need for entertainment: the film is another great inquiry into humankind’s bafflingly self-destructive tendencies because of the blind rush towards progress. It is something that is definitely worth a watch to get that tap on the shoulder on how we should rethink our relationship between ourselves and the planet. ‘The 11th Hour’ is another slick and passionate call to action to EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD.
The documentary as a cinematic offer:
Other than this paragraph, I am not going to delve much into the cinematic values and concerns of this 95-minute documentary film directed by Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen and narrated by co-writer and co-producer Leonardo DiCaprio. I believe that the more serious issues the film raises are more important to discuss and think about. In terms of visual style, tone, and scope, it is not an artsy motion picture offer, but thematically, it has a great weight to push its call. It may not have that cache and cinematic style for a filmic art form nor an Oscar-winning treatment, presentation, and gravitas, but this timely docu strikes the heart and touches the conscience. The film is merely a global warming documentary of talking heads of dozens of experts from different backgrounds, but it works. The shadowy photography of the interviewees lends an ominous tone that becomes more like preaching to the choir, but it’s still a pretty sound sermon with certain suggestions in the end. Overall, it feels like a college lecture more than a cinematic experience, but it promotes essential viewing for all. The first half of the film takes a look at the state of the global environment, the details of what’s wrong with our world and what we do, the destruction and disasters happening all over the globe, and how close we are getting to the point of no return. The second half of the film presents the needed changes and the challenges our generation must accept, what we can do, and what technology can do to adapt to the needed changes. As the film gets more hopeful, presenting amazing opportunities and challenges, it becomes quite moving; however, the profound suggestions including the visionary solutions for restoring the planet’s ecosystems still seem too idealistic and quite far-fetched in terms of social and economic reasons – which are primarily the very cause of all these environmental problems. This film, just like ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ gives the overall picture. It gives global and generalized means to go about the situation. Maybe next time around, filmmakers can come up with other environmental films that can focus more on how an individual, group, country, or continent can keep up with the needed changes so that the call to action will be more deliverable in a more personal and practical scope.
The documentary as a call to action:
‘The 11th Hour’ is clearly a disturbing tale about the earth’s current plight. As we continue to disregard the devastating effects of human industry, the film shows the tragic consequences and the bleak future that awaits us – connecting the issues into larger patterns of human misbehavior against nature. It debates over policy, resources, money, discusses the issues of power, politics, and industrialization, and culminates in a truly global call for astounding major lifestyle changes. The film covers a wide range of socio-ecological issues and suggests constructive ways through some intelligent designs and eco-friendly structures from concerned architects, designers, scientists, and visionaries as progressive remedies to this alarming situation.
‘The 11th Hour’ pushes the debate further down the road. DiCaprio’s star power clearly propels this film further – and hopefully, his celebrity influence succeeds in getting the message across to the mainstream audience, especially those who have thought Al Gore comes out too political, in one way or another, in ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’
During the screening of this film at Glorietta 4, the audience was given the chance to ask questions and air out comments and suggestions to some authorities present and to the rest of the people in the said event. The people start asking about realty, mining, and political issues. They start thinking about the light bulbs they buy, the trash they throw, and their current gas mileage. There was a unified sense of alarm… but I reckoned, “How would all the people present in the said event take their sense of alarm as they step out of the moviehouse? How far could the film influence their littlest ways by accepting those good old-fashioned considerations? How much of the film’s points could they carry out to promote the alarm? How much guilt would they have after the cinematic experience leaves them to their everyday life at home and at work? How far could they consider the ideas with their works and businesses greatly affected? Overall, how strong is the message to let them CONSISTENTLY ACT NOW? – and that includes myself – pondering hard on how a human being deals with such a situation and how stepping on the thin line between guilt-filled alarm and personal convenience becomes such a very hard choice.’
During the event, most were left without any words to air out. But I knew people where thinking among themselves. People were contemplating how to go about the situation. And they started to further realize ‘how difficult it is to do these major changes with all the politics and power revolving around the oil and money.’
And if you ask me, this film, just like any other environmental films, strikes you in a few minutes, or hours, or days, or even more… but it doesn’t let everyone act together in a common ground. Try to think about the idea of ‘ningas kugon’ coming into play. And from this, upon going deeper into the issue in a more individualistic term for me to see how I can better contribute to this alarming condition, I am now convinced that the power of media can be one of the greatest ways to let the people act consistently by giving constant reminders. This is how we can consistently tap the shoulders of each individual in the world – only if the media continuously do their part in informing and touching the people on this greatest concern of our century. We all know for a fact that media (consisting mainly of TV, film, radio, print, and the internet), is such a powerful tool that can oust a president, dictate fads and trends, bring an ordinary person to ultimate fame, make products sell millions… the list never ends… In this regard, as an urgent call to the people in media and the artists, why don’t we use our power and our influence to further support the initiatives of ‘The 11th Hour,’ along with the other films, TV features, blogs, essays, exhibits, art works and what not… in order to constantly remind the people. And I can bet on this one: As politicians, businessmen, along with their families and friends and all the classes of people in the society, get a consistent tap on their shoulders (digging into the deepest of their consciences slowly but surely) while living their day to day with the right tools the concerned media can bring, we can better change our consciousness and transform our lives by living in harmony with mother earth in a faster and more ideal scale.
I think it is human nature having that need for a constant reminder every now and then so that we continue to act with our concern: What ever happened to the Guimaras oil spill issue after the news on TV, radio, and print was gone? There were a lot of concerns when the media bombarded us with the sense of alarm. What ever happened to the significant reactions and actions from the mass groups after the issue faded away from our eyes and ears? Was the issue ever been resolved really? Were there consistent actions from the authorities all these times? Come to think of it, this is where media can greatly help – for the people to keep up with those constant reminders so that we can act accordingly. It’s really a matter of pushing the concerns to the human consciousness. Not unless we see a mass destruction from natural calamities or human-related devastation, we tend to be complacent.
Personally, with myself being a part of media as a writer and a filmmaker, it makes me think and feel quite guilty that I spend more time working for more artistic and more commercial pursuits than contributing further to help raise awareness in the global warming issue. But I have to eat, I have to pay my bills… I need to work. If I don’t work, I’ll die of starvation or I’ll have my electricity cut off… and how can I write about global warming to contribute to raising awareness about it? See the problems?
All people should work on this. But the bigger, more powerful, and more influential ones should be on top of it so that the ones under their scale can effectively follow. How can we get them convinced and let those selfish ones having a heart of stone melt into their human sides? With their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents, wives and husbands, consistently bringing the message across as they get to see them in newspapers, watch them on TV and films, see them on the internet, hear about them in school and the office, notice them on malls and other public places… these little ways of tapping the people within the family unit, radiating to the localities, stretching to the national domain, and finally reaching the global sphere is the way to go.
And once again, my stand for this now is that there should be more awareness of the issue – with the media working hand and hand – because it’s human nature to somehow seek constant reminders so that the person can act consistently on the concern and lose that sense of complacency. Conduct various conferences. Tap schools with discussions and performances. Organize symposia and theatrical presentations. Compose songs and poems and show them to the public. Make art works and sponsor art competitions. Advertise. Make some Youtube environment-friendly ads using even the smallest handycams. Come up with some deviantART works expressing how the issue is being seen in the lightest or most serious points. Show these works in alternative venues, or maybe even the major venues if the right contacts, power, and influence are there. If the likes of Oprah gets to sell books in a few seconds of words on TV, Al Gore coming up with an Oscar-winning documentary gets to create that major shake about global warming, and Leonardo DiCaprio producing a new film to remind us about our environmental concerns; if Kris Aquino, Willie Revillame, and Edu Manzano get to sell albums big time without being ultimately talented singers, why can’t such big personalities come up with albums relating to more human and environmental concerns where they can feature or endorse greatly talented or even smaller or independent bands and music artists? Why can’t we organize film festivals and events as big as the ‘Octoberfest’ and the ‘Lovapalooza’ and advertise products that could help our environmental problems with the help of both the government and private sectors? Here in the Philippines, the Filipinos are generally creative, talented, sensitive, and appreciative. Why don’t we use our creativity to come up with good works in the various fields in order to keep up with our need to find entertainment without getting hard core on things all the time? I am not saying that all the things media should bring to the people should be point blank ‘global warming, global warming, global warming…’ We can also bring valuable messages by just putting in some lessons to what we normally show. Amidst some major works clearly showing environmental themes, we can still keep up with our general programming, write-ups, books, and films, but we can also add small sips of ‘artistically/mainstreamly presented life lessons or concerns.’ It’s a matter of creativity, good intentions, and healthy competition within the various fields.
On a more serious note, it wouldn’t really hurt to have more write-ups and researches about global warming in our newspapers and magazines, more producers helping out in making environmental films (both art films and commercial films using star power to help raise the concern and reach all classes of people), more TV shows promoting a better way to live in an eco-friendly set-up (yes, let’s use celebrity power hand in hand with quality scripts and good production values for the show to rate and survive). If all the competing TV stations, newspapers, publishing houses, advertising agencies, and even production outfits share a common goal of raising the awareness of the people about our environmental and lifestyle concerns (or at the least, be sensitive enough about these concerns with what they give out to the public), the healthy competition can still make the various industries prosper – as long as they live within a common ground, accept certain sacrifices, and embrace the best intentions for everyone’s welfare.
The film ‘The 11th Hour’ does exactly what it is set out to do: to remind the audience on the doom and gloom that awaits us – that it’s a matter of a few years before our tolerance and complacency hasten our demise – that we have to act together now. AND WE SHOULD NOT JUST ACT NOW. WE SHOULD CONSISTENTLY ACT FROM NOW ON.October 15th, 2007 Posted by Rianne | Documentary, Environmental, Films I Like | no comments
By: Rianne Hill Soriano
Directed by: Howard Hall
Do you fancy going for a scuba dive and feel the magic of the sights and sounds of the gasp-provoking array of sea creatures without actually getting wet? Then get ready for a magical experience as you submerge into the coolest underground deserts and forests with ‘Deep Sea 3D.’ Clocking in at around 40 minutes, this film shows how the sight of the real becomes magic in cinematic form. This IMAX experience lets you sink down for an amazing experience that blends the grandeur of the deep with the spectacular IMAX 3D underwater cinematography to grab you by your very soul. Indeed, with 3D images so crisp and engrossing, such an IMAX movie in 3D takes you to another world.
This fascinating tour of the world’s oceans and the bizarre-looking life forms make you spend every moment oohing and aahing at the delicate balance of nature. You’ll find yourself holding your breath as the entire film envelops you with a fascinating look at some of the ocean’s irreplaceable treasures both gently and wildly swaying the deep blue seas. IMAX gives a new privilege to the moviegoers as it transports exotic sea species literally to your noses – upfront and ready to be touched by your own hands through the magic of cinema. Young and adults alike, you tend to share awe and delight – trying to touch the luminous moon jellyfish and shimmering glassy minnows that swim past your ways. The film may not provide the conventional thrills of a full-length narrative film, but what’s surprising is how intimately real this documentary makes the ocean seem to the audience. You feel like swimming alongside the splendid coral reefs, friendly sharks, colorful school of fishes, deadly squids, thinking starfishes, comic shrimps, character crabs, monstrous octopus – all drifting to and fro on currents of sheer underwater beauty.
‘Deep Sea 3D’ magically goes deep down the ocean floor with its gorgeous cinematography – that in some ways, you can actually overlook any loose ends of the film’s structure, and you start flowing in harmony with the underwater life forms. You start agreeing with the importance of relationships under the sea. You get more concerned about the violence humans do to nature. You become more conscious of the sad state in which humans have left the oceans and why humans should not upset the delicate balance of nature. This film creates a vision of nature that anybody, at some point, would get to appreciate and would want to conserve and save the ocean’s natural resources and species.
More than its documentary thread, this film’s beautiful underwater footages become its ultimate source of artistic leap. The visuals wrap themselves around a magical treat that entertains the eyes and touches the heart. Indeed, ‘Deep Sea 3D’ is a real marvel of filmmaking.
IMAX films may be expensive to produce, but with ‘Deep Sea 3D,’ it’s all worth it. With the charming and magical appeal of this short film in the company of the voices of Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and the many wonderful creatures of the sea world, it shows how good the IMAX 3D experience can get nowadays. The technology is clearly evolving, getting better. If the typical IMAX offering has a handful of unforgettable shots, this one delivers more than the usual number. And apart from certain minor annoyances and occasional drifts, this film is one of the more solidly entertaining deep-sea documentaries filmed in IMAX. Hopefully in a couple of years, IMAX would improve much more to bring a wider array of 3D magic to the big screen.September 13th, 2007 Posted by Rianne | Children's/Family, Documentary, Environmental, Epic/Adventure, Film Review, Films I Like, Hollywood Films | no comments
The Simpsons in Big Screen
By: Rianne Hill Soriano
Directed by: David Silverman
‘The Simpsons Movie,’ the absurd comedy people have loved for the past 18 years, finally makes a grand entrance into the widescreen. Compacting the memories of almost two decades of episodes of the TV series into an 87-minute cinematic treat, this film revisits the series’ most enduring situations and themes while adapting these into the present issues and setting.
‘The Simpsons Movie’ lives up to the satirical plotting Simpson fans are accustomed to. This long-awaited movie adaptation of Matt Groening’s brilliant creation is filled with subversive wits, satirical elements, irreverent plotting, and irrepressible humor. It has plenty of laughs and milestones for fans that validate its return since the glory days of the TV show. It is full of the anarchic, absurd, and generous humor that is the show’s enduring signature.
The movie keeps the 2D, old school look of the series. But more than just being traditionally animated, the filmmakers have also used computer animation in making the backgrounds. And yet, the film definitely lives up to its own fine standards – making a funny magnification of what has made the show tick and tickle for 18 years. ‘The Simpsons Movie’ is undoubtedly funny and filled with a thousand of quickie jokes and odd angles that enhance the central story. It certainly keeps up with the ‘Simpsons trademark.’
This movie offer kicks off with a sort of a satirical short film that turns out to be a show watched by the Simpsons family in the beginning of the story. Carefully crafted the ‘Simpsons way,’ the many plots relate themselves with funny renditions from various scenes on films like ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ ‘Spiderman,’ ‘28 Weeks Later,’ among others.
Inspired by the seminal boob tube hit, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ makes a smooth transition from the small to the big screen with its trademark naughty and comic lines. Director David Silverman convincingly creates a snappy, funny animated motion picture version. It is good that he has been able to keep up with the same treatment as how the early 90’s golden years of the seminal TV series have become a smashing success. This film addresses present societal, environmental, and familial issues including the flipside of the Bush administration, the global warming problems, and the breaks in family relationships. It takes aim at its middle-American milieu with a satirical comedy that is just as effective in making the audience become cheerfully willing victims. And it clearly delivers with its solid goal to really make the audience laugh. Its rude comedy, inclusive of a scene in the beginning of the film where Homer Simpson addresses the audience and calling them suckers, and a number of other sardonic situations within the film’s storyline even until the end of its closing credits, will really make the viewers chortle over and over.
‘The Simpsons Movie’ possesses a fancy good time offer to the general audience. It has a manic energy stuffing the screen with layers of humor. And it becomes a delectable antidote to the ad nauseam imposed on contemporary conservative or good-natured movies by utilizing the TV series’ brash attitude for subversive and radical purposes. Ironically, it is good-hearted, and at the same time, offensive without actually meaning itself to be. And though it has certain rudeness and violence that are not convincingly good for the little children (psychologically speaking, especially for the more conservative people), its twisted appeal maintains a broad range of slapstick and satire that are better served for the adolescent and adults. With its living gusto, the story shows how Homer is still crazy after all these years and that TV’s most enduring sitcom family, the Simpsons, is a still reliable source for stories utilized by stupid sight gags and one-liners with satirical meanings.
Just like its TV counterpart, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ keeps a certain agelessness while it effectively tackles universal issues in a rudely comic way. Indeed, the bold yellow characters making a conclusive portrait of a dysfunctional family in a screwed-up world of hypocrisy and lardy stuff continue to charm generations of fans.
The vocal work is so finely honed by the cast. And no doubt, they all possess the needed timing and skill to enliven their characters. The musical score also contributes to the film’s great appeal.
‘The Simpsons Movie’ may not be a contender for ‘the best movie ever,’ nor will it make fans forget the show’s early-’90s golden year episodes, but this movie offer will surely make the audiences laugh that they will probably be too busy laughing to complain about any of the film’s minor shortcomings.
Overall, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ becomes a smart and consistently funny animated film worthy of the series’ legacy.August 3rd, 2007 Posted by Rianne | Adaptation and Films with Related Inspirations from Lit, Animation, Children's/Family, Comedy, Environmental, Film Review, Films I Like, Flicks, Heroes/Superheroes, Hollywood Films | no comments
‘WE’ Are More Powerful Than Carbon Dioxide
By Rianne Hill Soriano
‘An Inconvenient Truth’ presents the collision between civilization and mother earth, the fast track of the world economy vs. the environment, and the eye-popping gold bars vs. the fate of the planet. More than any doom-and-gloom story made for the big screen, this film grips a haunting message that every people in the world should really take seriously. Its important message needs to be heard. And for all the positive and negative things about this film, any sane person would agree to me when I say that the very essence of this film is an urgent call to action to every person in the world – and we are running out of time.
Al Gore’s green documentary presents vital facts and conclusions through alarming charts, shocking images, and dramatic bits of personal life stories. The film’s impact overcomes any discomfort with a politician being the central character of the story. Director Davis Guggenheim bravely weaves the science of global warming with bits of Gore’s personal history and commitment to the environment. The film’s totality clearly becomes a major public announcement appealing to every person’s conscience about the fatal and the irreversible effects of global warming. It lays out the facts and the striking conclusions about the serious subject matter in a serious but charming, funny, and engaging style. And by the end of the film, the viewers are nothing less than struck by the destructive natural forces relentlessly affecting the earth – which are all due to our own misdoings and abusive acts against the environment.
On a personal note, I am quite sure that a number of people would have the same initial reaction as mine: that this film becomes a 96-minute political ad to promote Al Gore (side-tripping on Gore’s family history and his personal and political life to incorporate a simple story within the laid out facts about global warming). But by the end of the film, I have my mind pondering: even if Gore is polishing his own image for his political ambitions through the propaganda he acquires from this film, and regardless of how any other person feels about this politician, this film has an ultimate message, and Gore’s arguments have force, and he uses this film to promote something more than himself. The film’s message is utterly convincing and emotionally powerful. And the film becomes a well-reasoned, clearly-proven, and engaging documentary about the grave, distressing, and apocalyptic effects of global warming to the world we live in. And whether or not I or anyone else get consciously or unconsciously affected by the political motives of the film, what matters most is that it effectively captures our hearts and consciences for a seriously persuasive call to action to stop the ill effects of the constantly rising temperature causing worldwide melting of the polar caps and glaciers and the abnormally changing climate and weather conditions in the various areas of the world causing catastrophic events, disease, epidemic, and death. It would probably be best to ignore the film’s political subtext and simply concentrate on its alarming message – and become constantly vigilant about it.
‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a fine example of making good use of power and influence for the greater good. And just like the United Nations asking Hollywood superstars to be their ambassadors and celebrities making their own foundations for charity causes, the larger, positive effects of this film becomes more validating and absorbing than the issues of shameless promotion, personal fame, and political success. This absorbing documentary pushes a message that every human being of sound mind cannot ignore. Its surprising mountain of scientific data creates the larger picture clearer – and igniting worthy discussions and acts of commitment to a subject that is consuming our mother earth and ourselves.
This is a film that becomes more and more striking by bringing in more hard data and charts to lay out its conflicts and its convictions more clearly. It doesn’t bore amidst the dense of information presented like a school lecture. And amidst its lacking aesthetics considering a film is an art form, the bad sound (though Gore’s lines are still quite understandable) and its other cinematic missteps are overcome by its engaging, universal message that are far less than alarming. Dry as it is, this film evokes something devastating and startling for anyone who watches it. Indeed, the truth in this film aren’t just inconvenient, they are undeniably scary.
The film is more suspenseful than many thrillers, more emotional than many tear-jerkers, and scarier than many horror flicks – all of these delivered on the big screen by one guy talking. And more than the millions of dollars in locations, extras, and special effects allotted for epic films, the torrents of scientific data, eye-opening graphs, and compelling lines of one man promoting a greatly alarming case that tells every one of us how our actions are affecting the planet make more impact in this more than an hour of moving picture warning mankind of what possible future we can have. It clearly shows that we are both the villains and victims of the story. And for its call to action, its ultimate message still brings hope and emphasizes the duty of every citizen of the world to stop global warming and save everyone’s future.
‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a film we can ignore only at our own peril. The dissemination of its urgent message should be encouraged. It is a film with impassioned moral drive for an ultimately alarming environmental concern. And more than making it an educational tool or acknowledging it with a documentary film award, its very essence makes us hope of a brighter future ahead if we act now.
The motivated sense of morality and environmental concern has really found an outlet in ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ It is truly a mind-boggling disaster epic that says that the changing weather patterns have the largest impact more than bombs in war films. Just like any art work, essay, poem, song, thesis, or dissertation, filmmaking for this kind of cause proves to make a big difference. And as a filmmaker myself, it touches me with the firm belief that such a film can bring a good change. It makes me think of the next films I will make. As a writer, it makes me think of the future stories and articles I will write about. And as a citizen of the world, it makes me think of my means of throwing garbage without harming nature and creating an imbalance to the ecosystem. It also makes me think of the more important things other than my personal needs and aspirations amidst my being a struggling middle class artist in dire need of stable income – this film strikes me to become a more responsible human being. And this cautionary tale is definitely more relevant than acquiring a wonderful life from high salaries and business income, and fighting terrorism and initiating wars that further pollute minds, hearts, and the environment.
Acting against the climate crisis and the tremendously increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing global warming is nothing more than life-changing. It is very clear now that we face a deepening global environmental crisis that requires everyone of us to act wisely, quickly, and vigilantly. If we come to think of it, we don’t actually need too much reminders already, because for all these years, we have been feeling the various ill effects of global warming already. We see and hear about tragedies relating to it on films, TV, newspapers, radio, and blogs. But just like the frog presented in the film as a comparison to the people’s reaction to alarming situations, at most times, we need to get that sudden jolt to make our eyes wide open and make us act. And ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ becomes a stern warning and a call to arms to save the world from ignorance and inaction, and most of all, save the world from the fatal effects of global warming.
What can a person, such as myself, do right now to help stop global warming? What can we do? We know lots of ways to act responsibly. It’s just that, we don’t easily want to give up our conveniences. I don’t have to enumerate any of them. We see and hear them everywhere. And our common sense gives us everything we need to know.
Let us all act for our own good. Global warming is a crisis that is rapidly accelerating along with the planet’s population, the waste products of every household, the global economy, and science and technology. Global warming is real, and we are all responsible for it. And we can all do something about it. We just have to change our lifestyles and sacrifice certain conveniences for the good of mankind. And we have to hurry because time is running out. And we should all remember that our acts are more powerful than carbon dioxide.May 5th, 2007 Posted by Rianne | Environmental, Film Review, Films I Like, Hollywood Films, Personal/Expression | no comments
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