I am not, for instance, going to write a whole bunch on The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawntreader. Was it BAD? No, in fact, if I were ten I would have really liked it I think. It looks good, has a fairly easily discerned point and lesson (much like the blunt, hard to miss moralizing of the C.S. Lewis books). BUT I do have to say, let’s stop with the non-animated 3D films unless they are Avatar-spectacular? We won’t talk about how all movies should have plots conceived on higher than a 3rd grade level. I barely remember any reason why this was in 3D. It didn’t give me a headache like that piece of shit, Alice in Wonderland, at least.
Anyway, after this I went to see something a wee bit heftier and rewarding, 127 Hours, which is something of an acting tour de force by James Franco. Even half-hour sitcoms have trouble holding my attention when they opt for a “one-person” show, even if, like this film, they employ flashbacks, hallucinations and the like. That is, perhaps, a comment on my attention span, but it is also a comment on how most half-hour TV shows suck.
This movie holds attention throughout. You know what is going to happen; you know, more or less, when it is going to happen, but that heightens the suspense rather than lowers it (as is evidenced by the eye-covering and “ick ick IICCK” coming from the two people I went to see the film with). The direction and camera work is superb.
One of my co-viewers didn’t like the use of screens within screens that begins the film, in almost “24” like fashion. This didn’t bother me when I was watching the movie. It bothered me even less after I had time to think about it. This section, to me sort of frames the beginning of the film with the racing, modern life we live. It makes me think, for instance, about why it is that some people, even when they go out into the wild, out to where there are not thousands of others breathing down their neck, do they have to still move at breakneck speed? Why does it have to be so “extreme”? What is it about our world and us that makes this so.
And perhaps that is part of what this movie is about and why that particular directorial/editorial choice didn’t bother me.
James Franco may or may not get an Oscar for his role. The powers that be have anointed other movies that made more money. It would certainly be deserving. Who would have thought the guy who made me want to poke out my eyes while watching Spiderman 3 was such a fine actor?
But the film clearly is about focus in the face of tragedy. Could you make a bungee cord pulley (however ineffective) to try to get a boulder off your crushed hand? Would you keep your head about you and ration your water (and, eventually, your urine)? But that is pretty obvious from the story. Another part of this is about regret. We all face hand-crushing boulders every single day. Did you answer the phone when your mom called and didn’t feel like chatting? Did you at least call back? Do you treat your friends the way you should and appreciate and connect with them?
If you haven’t you never know when that boulder might trap you in the desert or that city bus might run you over and mangle you (I live in Chicago, this is a concern). Ultimately, 127 Hours gets this across as much as anything else and is one of the best films of 2010.
And for some bizarre reason this film made me want to go hiking alone.