Sunday, July 08, 2007

---Warning! Incoming Movie Reviews! 

Pixar has done the whole---Pixar thing---again. Yeah, I know, I almost ignored this one too. I could see some guys sitting around a table, and one says, “Hey! What if rataouille was called that because it's made by rats?”---and whoosh!, they made a movie out of it. [I didn't know what the dish was actually made of, either.]

But it actually is easily the most entertaining movie so far this year, and maybe last year, too---I can't remember what I saw last year. I won't belabor the story details, which are covered elsewhere. They do take a break from the hilarious rat and cooking gags---many of which they didn't use in the trailers ( but where else can you get that much mileage from a sack of baguets and a Citroen?), and which are surprisingly sophisticated---to throw in the obligatory young-mammals-pursuing-their-dreams-while-being-misunderstood-and-maybe-falling-in-love stuff, but otherwise the laughs are pretty much wall-to-wall.

Now I have to see it again to find all the supposed Incredibles allusions....

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
(spoilers, sort of, I guess)
Ok, so they had to finish the series, and the movie wasn't all bad. It had humorous moments, and some excitement, but overall it was even more confusing than the second one---until much later, when I finally figured out what it was about:

If you've ever been to one of those big amusement parks---it's been a few years in my case—and waited in line for a series of rides, you'll get the idea soon enough. In lieu of a plot, they have strung together a series of audio-visual “rides”, which you have to wait for as they line up the details. Some of them weren't on the map when we came into the park---the writers evidently had to sort of pop in this legend or or that backstory seemingly out of nowhere, whenever it looked like the movie was going to be too short. Trust me---it can't be that they were trying to plug plot holes.

One “ride” in particular seems to end very abruptly, which is especially jarring since we've been on and off of it since the end of the second movie. It literally ends suddenly in a hole in the floor----of the ocean.

The progression of "rides" is certainly dizzying. From “rocking the boat” taken to extremes, to what must be the only attempt in cinematic history to portray a dogfight between square-rigged sailing ships, to the unexplained conversion of the first movie's villainous enemy pirate captain into the proverbial “pretty nice guy”, to some moral admonitions about who are the “real bad guys”, the action is nearly continuous, if mostly rudderless.

There are a couple of completely mismatched attempts to “spice things up” with sexual innuendo and some half-heartedly profane humor, as if Mike Meyers wandered in from a voice-over session for “Shrek 3” near the end of shooting to counsel the writers on how childrens' movies ought to be made, or at least stretched out to over three hours.

Along the way, all of the secondary characters of any importance get killed off for no imaginable reason other than to reduce the size of the cast, as far as I could tell. It was about as emotionally involving as pitching some worn out sock bunnies in the trash.

...and having mastered that, they have made it clear that they're good for at least one more. There's supposed to be a POC-4---apparently something about the “fountain of youth”. I'm pretty sure I'll be having better things to do.


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