Friday, July 28, 2006

There's a reason it's a 12A

I’m not very good at going to the cinema*. I’m even worse at actually watching the film when I get there.

What is it with films these days? Whatever happened to investing a comfy hour and a half of your time? It doesn’t seem to be allowed any more. These days, it’s all two-and-a-half hour blockbusters, with plots stretched so thin you can see daylight through them. In an effort to focus your attention, there are an industry-standard fifteen plot twists per thirty minutes’ screen time, which must be as obscure as possible and may or may not be randomly strung together in the big reveal at the end (at which point the audience will collectively look blank), depending on whether or not a sequel is planned.

Which brings me effortlessly to last night’s trip to the cinema to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2.

Oh dear.

I saw the first film relatively late – on Sky at the end of last year. It was quite good. Funny, lusciously produced and with the added bonus of Johnny Depp bringing the concept of the sexy pirate to the masses. It’s been widely reported that the third film in the series was filmed concurrently with Dead Man’s Chest, and that the actors involved often had no clue where the scene they were filming featured in the overall narrative. I know exactly how they felt. It probably didn’t help that the slightly aged Dolby system in last night’s venue was cranked up to eleven, but the dialogue, and therefore the plot, was pretty much impenetrable. Every so often, someone on the screen would look either into the middle distance, or straight down the camera, and declaim portentous things in a sort of urgent whisper. Me? Not a fucking clue. I could have been watching anything. I fell asleep somewhere in the middle (this is not a reflection on the quality of the film, it’s just part of my cinema experience, along with hissing and snarling anyone who tries to sit within six seats of me, in any direction), woke up and was neither more nor less confused. And it went on for hours. It made me fidget, and yawn, and think about kittens, and pray to my personal god** that it would be over soon.

But it wasn’t.

And it wasn’t just the wafer-thin, hopelessly convoluted plot. Orlando Bloom still spends all his camera time expressing the emotion and urgency of a man who has just realised his library books were due back yesterday, not next Wednesday as he’d previously thought. Keira Knightley (Karen, to her mum and dad) veered between shrill hysteria and slack-jawed vapidity (a bit like a sheep on Thorazine), with all the charm and depth of character of the boy off of the Frosties advert***. There’s always Johnny though, isn’t there? Lovely, funny old Johnny. And yes, he was sexy, and rakish , and a little bit like Keith Richards. It’s just that there really wasn’t an awful lot for him to actually do. Lots of slapstick, of course. Lots of endless, carefully-choreographed swordfights with Jack Davenport too. The sort that go on and on and on and on until in your head you’re just muttering “just-STAB-him-go-on-right-in-the-heart-then-I-can-go-home-and-not-have-to-crane-round-the-back-of-that-man’s-head-any-more”. All very pretty, and nicely done, and all that. And, to be fair, if you’re a twelve year old boy, it was a work of genius from start to finish. But it was marketed with all that sly-wink innuendo of being a “Kids’ Film That Will Keep the Grown-Ups Amused!”. Except they forgot to put the bits in that amused the grown-ups.

Mackenzie Crook was ace though. Must remember to add him to my list of people that I sort of fancy but probably shouldn’t.

* It’s all linked in with my intrinsic hatred of the human race. I mean, I like people, but I don’t necessarily want them near me. And the cinema is the worst place for that sort of thing. Ugh. I’d rather go for a picnic on the moors with Myra Hindley. With this in mind, I have to seriously want to see a film for it to be worth a trip to the cinema. We don’t go to the multiplex in town, we choose the little riverside cinema in the next town down. Much better. As far as the setting goes, that is. You just can’t legislate for people, sadly.

** Marmite

*** Still not dead.


Blogger SkookumJoe chimed in with...

I like people too. As long as they make an appointment, and are not too disapointed if I don't make it.

28 July, 2006 08:40  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

Brilliant review Surly.

I'll be giving it a miss. Not that I ever go to the cinema anyhow, like.

28 July, 2006 08:57  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

Now see if you went to the multiplex you wouldn't have to crane your neck to see the film ... Last time I went there (the latest X Men film) I had to tell two sets of kids to SHUT THE FUCK UP - and my kids weren't even embarrassed by me! What do I have to do to embarrass them?

28 July, 2006 09:53  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

I'm not going now, I didn't even like the first one, despite J D sexy pants.

28 July, 2006 10:38  
Blogger The Boy chimed in with...

Supersized movies. America's belt expanding culture hits the big screen...

28 July, 2006 12:19  
Blogger LC chimed in with...

Saw it on Wednesday night too - was going to review it, but I don't need to now because you took the words right out my cake-hole.

28 July, 2006 12:20  
Blogger longcat chimed in with...

i went to see a rubbish film the other day that some european people to my left talked through... it really annoyed me that a- they were talking, and b- that i was getting annoyed being as it was rubbish anyway... (the lakehouse)

whereas pirates of the carribean 2 was great - in my opinion x

28 July, 2006 12:32  
Blogger Huw chimed in with...

You avoided Superman, so it could have been worse. Much much worse.

28 July, 2006 12:52  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

I have to admit, I loved it. But it would be hard not to love something with Johnny in it. Mmmmm.

28 July, 2006 13:07  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

I still hadn't seen it, and now will wait for DVD. And I do love that Johnny so.

"But this one goes to 11."

28 July, 2006 16:32  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

STILL going this weekend with the Stainless Steel Amazon. It's Depp in eyeliner for the luvva god.
your review tallies with everyone elses' though. ah well.

28 July, 2006 17:25  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

Does anyone else think that popcorn in the cinema smells like baby poo?

29 July, 2006 05:09  
Blogger MJ chimed in with...

I find it best to ignore the plot and just fantasize about Johnny.

29 July, 2006 13:42  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

Hail the God of Marmite.

30 July, 2006 11:10  
Blogger chendaberry chimed in with...

"I find it best to ignore the plot and just fantasize about Johnny." I second that!

It did go on for ages, didn't it. I watched it in Berlin where they put a cunningly-contrived, film-suddenly-screeches-to-a-halt-and-picks -up-again-in-wrong-place break in the middle of it.

And what was with the plot? What is that nasty British man going to do with a heart covered in sand anyway?!

31 July, 2006 11:27  
Blogger conorinsweden chimed in with...

I actually enjoyed this film... largely because of the costumes! Why can't I have sea anemones coming out of my face? Why?

I must admit though, I wish someone would chop off Keira Knightley's pouting lips.

Oh, and marmite? Some people have no taste..... vegemite all the way!

31 July, 2006 11:34  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

update: couldn't get in to see Pie Rats of the Carrie Bean for all the fortysomething housewives jamming the cinema like roaches on a wet m&m. ladies, please!

31 July, 2006 18:37  
Blogger james henry chimed in with...

I really liked the first one, but this one was an hour longer than it had to be, which meant the four good bits were unnacceptably spaced out.

Orloondo Bland (thanks Mark Kermode) is just astonishingly rubbish as well, poor mite.

31 July, 2006 19:37  
Blogger DavetheF chimed in with...

Yes, what is the point of Orlando Bloom?
I have seen only the first one, with y grandkids, and possibly for that reason was totally enamoured of it, as were they (although Thomas hid his eyes a lot).

31 July, 2006 20:48  

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