Friday, December 14, 2007

Movies - Christmas 2007

We don't get out to movies much, because it's very expensive. By the time we drive to the theater, buy two tickets, and pay a sitter, we could have bought three or four full priced DVD's. But for one reason or another, I've seen three movies in the last month.

First up was Beowulf in 3D. This effects laden retelling of an old english poem was entertaining, but I don't think it is what anyone would call a great movie. I also don't think I would have enjoyed it as much in 2D, and that's a very real problem. When a film virtually requires a gimmick, that is not a good thing.

The whole movie is animated using a technique similar to what was done for the Polar Express, only it doesn't look as creepy. While neat, I think I would have enjoyed it more as live action. In the end I was entertained, which is the point I guess, but it's not a movie I can see owning and certainly not a "must see" film by any stretch. If I was rating it, I'd give it a C, or perhaps a B- if you see it in 3D.

The second movie I saw was Noelle. I really liked this film, and would have enjoyed it even if I didn't know David. Unfortunately, this movie will be gone from most theaters by the time you read this because of a poor first weekend showing. The movie business is very unforgiving, and if the first weekend isn't a resounding success, the movie will be gone very quickly.

Noelle is a story about a catholic priest who is sent to shut down a small cape cod church that is no longer viable. That is the story on the surface, but there is a much larger undercurrent of faith and forgiveness. The movie has a nice blend of humor and drama, and generally produces tears by the end in all but the most hardened person.

This is one of the few movies we have gone to see as a couple, and both Patty and I enjoyed it. I wish this movie had been promoted better. I have only talked to one person who had heard of it before I mentioned it, and they might have read about it here in my earlier entry, because I know they had read my blog... I'm very disappointed at how this whole thing has gone. I would like to have seen Noelle do a lot better, and I think better promotion could have made a big difference here. Overall this movie was probably a B to me. Not perfect, but well worth seeing.

Last night I went to see I am Legend. This movie stars Will Smith as a (not exactly) the last man alive on earth. To be honest, I really like the premise here. Will Smith is utterly alone in New York City. He is the only "normal" living citizen. The rest of the planet has been wiped out by a virus that was originally produced to cure cancer (which it did). Unfortunately, the virus mutated and went from curing cancer to effectively giving the entire human race something like rabies that makes their hair fall out and turns them into gollum like ultra violent creatures that cannot be exposed to sunlight.

The movie was a mix of suspense, action, and save the world heroics. Will Smith plays the role well, as he tries to survive in Manhattan, avoiding the creatures that come out at night. This is by far my favorite of these three films. While I really liked Noelle, I am Legend is more the type of movie I enjoy seeing. It makes me want to see The Omega Man, a 1970's movie based on the same book, simply to see how cheesy it can be :-)

There is an interesting subplot of faith in I am Legend as well. I don't want to go into it too much because I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone. I am Legend is well worth seeing. It's not perfect, but I give it an A-...


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