GerbilMechs 072 : Diamond Marking

09Dec03 (Monthenor): This weekend was packed with movies. In short:

The Last Samurai: Hoo boy, this movie packs in every single Oscar cliche possible.

  • Stirring orchestral soundtrack
  • Lingering pan/fades over misty/snowy hills
  • Foreign culture explained in baby talk for American consumption
  • Protagonist is initally opposed to said foreign culture but comes to respect its beauty while seeing nothing but ugliness from his own culture
  • Tragic untimely death of secondary character while everybody else is unharmed
  • Growing romance between white male hero and initially-antagonistic native female
  • Epic battle scenes that hide the extras' lack of fight training with quick cuts and motion blur

Wow, this movie has everything! I give it a weak recommendation...I enjoyed myself for the most part, but the density of the dramatic conventions was jarring.

Gothika: Another weak positive from me. The first half of the movie was an above-average supernatural thriller that is almost ignored by the second half in favor of a below-average serial killer flick. You can almost draw a line down the movie, right where they forget about all the mystic stuff that was going on. I would recommend watching The Ring followed by Seven, if that's really what you want.

Timeline: Holy crap, it's as bad as I thought. Paul Walker is ostensibly the lead, playing a pretty stupid 20-something, and he can't even be convincing with that. You'd think he would have that character down after his previous work, but no. The rest of the cast is similarly hampered by their lack of talent. They travel 600 years into the past, ending up in medieval France, but fortunately everybody they meet speaks modern French, the modern conception of old English, or both. I've muddled my way through a translation of The Canterbury Tales, and I know that even when the words are in "modern English" they had some wacky grammar back 600 years. The number of medieval citizens fluent in both languages seems abnormally high, which is good because the number of bilingual time travelers is precisely one. Totally weak, and not even fun to mock. On top of everything else, it lasts for nearly two hours! Last Samurai was only 2:20, there's not two hours of movie here!