Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Golden Suckass

I'm still getting over a cold, but I felt well enough to travel through the so-so winter weather for the magic of Le Cinema.

What were my choices?

Michael Clayton - I am really not a big fan of the films of George Clooney, whether they be directed by Steven Soderbergh, the Coen Brothers, George Clooney or whoever the extremely talented and important director that made this movie was. Yes, yes, I'm aware that his films are all politically earnest and heartfelt and shit, yes, I appreciate that. Move along now, move along. You're blocking the remainder of my post.

P.S. I Love You - I don't even want to know what the hell this is. I want to punch the title of this movie in the nose.

Enchanted - No.

The Golden Compass - Yes, of course!

This is a first for me. My choice of film at the LaGrange tonight was made via unusual means. I'm a fan of the snarky blog post title when it comes to my Two Buck Schmuck feature. When I saw that The Golden Compass was playing this week, I immediately thought, "Ah ha! The Golden Suckass!"

So, I watched this damn movie just so I could use that post title. Pathetic, ain't I?

Thankfully, this movie sucked ass, so I'm not really giving any false or misleading information.

As we learn in the prologue of the film, there are lots of parallel worlds. Unlike our own world, where the soul of a human resides within the body, in the world of GC the souls walk beside the body in animal form. My oh my was this distracting. In any scene with a lot of people, I compulsively scanned the screen to ensure that every human had his or her own personal lovingly-CGI-rendered animal form. I have a feeling that the techie people forced to render these goddamn creatures were about as annoyed as I was making sure everybody had an animal buddy.

Anyways, Daniel Craig is some royal dude who is a scientist who discovers a portal to another world at the North Pole, and he wants to see if he can cross over. There is an autocratic authority, the Magisterium (not to be confused with Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium), that doesn't want him to do this, for whatever reason. In fact, we later learn the Magisterium actually *wants* to make contact with other worlds in order to conquer them. I throw my hands up and do not try to understand.

When looking up the spelling for Magisterium, I noted that it is a term referring to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Then I remember hearing something about how there were some complaints The Golden Compass promotes atheism. If there are Catholics or other religiously-minded people that might feel threatened or offended by the material contained in this film, let me assure you that it does not threaten or offend in any kind of entertaining fashion. All its offenses are quite boring, accompanied by perhaps the worst orchestral score experienced thus far by this humble reviewer. Scratch that -- Van Helsing's score was a tad worse.

Oh, before I forget, there's some horseshit they go on about regarding "dust". What is dust, you ask? I honestly don't really care. But it's important, essence of life, or some such thing.

So there's this girl, who is Daniel Craig's niece, though maybe she is his daughter, and she's the main character, meeting swarthy foreigners and CGI'ed genital-less polar bears with the voices of Ian McKellen and Ian McShane (polar bears have to be voiced by Ians, apparently).

The Ians' voiceovers were another source of distraction for me. At one point, McKellen the polar bear and the girl need to cross this chasm over a flimsy icy-rocky bridge. So the bridge collapses as the girl is running across it (McKellen stays back because he's quite heavy). I could not help thinking of a line for McKellen: "I.... SHALL.... NOT..... PASS!!!!!!"

The girl has a creepy scene with McShane the Polar Bear King, where she is sort of flirting with him. I just thought, man, in Deadwood, a young girl flirting with Ian McShane is a baaaaaaaad idea.

Lessee, who else was in this.... Nicole Kidman is a bad guy in it who may or may not be the girl's mother. She has a large part that pretty much evaporates in the latter half of the film. Daniel Craig also sort of disappears. He is taken captive by some swarthy foreigners. We learn in a very brief voiceover near the end of the film that he was let go because he bribed them, and now has some underground lab where he is cooking meth or something. There's danger afoot for Mr. Craig, however -- the Magisterium is a-coming to get him but good!

Oh crap, I almost forgot. Sam Elliott has a relatively big role as a Cowboy Aeronaut. The less said about him the better, I think.

There is so much to tell you that I have no intention of doing!

The ending may have been one of the stinkier things about this movie. First some setup I have to unfortunately do:

  • The girl and McKellen Polar Bear have rescued some children from a secret lab where they are separating people from their animal souls
  • They are riding in Sam Elliott's cowboy space balloon
  • They are going to rescue Daniel Craig
  • There is a group of kids that already had their souls separated from them, and nobody knows what to do about it.

So, the last scene of the movie is the girl telling her friend what their next tasks are going to be -- "so, we gotta rescue my dad, we gotta do something about those animal-soulless kids, etc."

And that's the end. Normally a movie franchise earns a filmgoer's trust in the first installment, and then shits on them in the second and third (Back To The Future, The Matrix), but this movie has the audacity to assume we're going to want another gazillion dollar movie made to show this girl hug Daniel Craig. It ain't gonna happen!


SamuraiFrog said...

I didn't feel the movie promoted atheism so much as it promoted ass-numbing boredom. It did get me to think about Jesus, though. From about the first quarter on I was thinking, "Christ, am I bored."

I liked Sam Elliott. But in a movie that bad I tend to enjoy the most nonsensically goofy part.

p0nk said...

PS I Love You was actually pretty good, but it's definitely a date movie. ...and take lots of kleenex.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I went to school with a kid named Michael Clayton and he was always being picked on. I wonder if he grew up to be George Clooney?

dguzman said...

Wow, thanks for the warning; I had contemplated a rental. Now I know better, even though I actually like Clooney movies.

Diamond Dave Diggler said...

I have heard good things about "Enchanted"

But I @#*!ing HATE McDreamy!!!

Fran said...

Don't let this particular (liberal, progressive, agitator) Roman Catholic get started.

If some members of my faith are so puny that they think a freaking movie will undo their God, they are more f*cked up than I can say.

I hate when this happens.

Manx said...

Thank you for the reaffirmation of why I will never waste valuable consciousness on this hole of a movie.

Tanya Espanya said...

I reviewed the 5 best picture noms, but nowhere near as smatly as what you just wrote.

MeaMea said...

I like the Golden Compass!! :( But then again I read the entire series about a year before the movie came so I actually knew what was happening. I think if I hadn't had read thebook before hand I was would have been really lost. The book was 10x better but I liked the movie as well

Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

I liked it (Golden Compass), too. But, I'm no where near as compulsive as you, so some of those details didn't bother me. Plus, my daughter is 12 (right in the primary demographic for this film) and it's always fun to see her enjoying a movie. She'd been looking forward to this for some time, as she'd read the books. (She did admit, however, that the books were better than the movie.)

ps P.S. I Love You wasn't very good. Seriously, who cast Hilary Swank in that role?

Splotchy said...

For the record, these Schmuck posts are me at the tallest heights of snark.

I wouldn't necessarily use these reviews and career retrospectives as guidelines to see or not see a movie, except when the fetid output of Joel Schumacher is concerned -- a director so awful that you should carefully track his career, in order to not accidentally see one of his films.

Anonymous said...

The film was rubbish and the ending was so flat. The book ends with that "royal dude" killing a child and using the power generated by that to blast a hole through into a another universe - now that would have been an ending. The books are awesome.

Splotchy said...

grange85, now *that* is a story I can get behind. Sounds a lot cooler than the movie.