11.16.2004

Movies without real characters

The Incredibles were incredible. That's all I really need to say. It's one of those rare movies I want to see again--not because of any admirable art or craft, but just because they told the story so compellingly. Almost every line and scene seems fresh (though no doubt it's had a precursor elsewhere). Advice: go with duct tape if you must attend with someone who wants to tell you what happens next. If you need a story teaser, then: the superheroes of the world get sued into hiding.

Team America is tough to criticize since they are out to make fun of everyone who wants to get involved in the current mess we're in. The puppets are a great gag to hang the story on. Kim Jong-il takes the biggest hit--I hope, undeservedly so, though we've got to have a scapegoat, no?--but he gives the funniest moments:

"Hans Bricks! Oh no! Oh, herro, great to see you again, Hans...."

"Let me see your whole palace or else."

"Or else what?"

"Or else we will be very very angry with you, and we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are."

"Okay. I'll show you, Hans. You ready? Stand a little to your left. A little more...."

What's funny in a sadly humourous way is that one group may not get the ridicule inherent in the flashy suits and theme song and the hokey Americana scenes--or maybe I sell them short (they probably wouldn't attend, anyway, once they heard the South Park folk had created the movie). If you think only one person or group is to blame for the problems of the world, you probably fall into one of the three groups ridiculed and won't enjoy the movie.

Polar Express had great illustration and North Pole-mechanized imagination--if you loved the original, you'll revel in the movie that embellishes further into the imagination with a little more story--but it's difficult to hang a story on a tale that never really had one to begin with. Unlike The Incredibles, although some of the movements are incredibly life-like, the shoulders, hands, and mouths don't capture much of real movement. Otherwise, they've made real strides in CGI. Go to bask in the imagination and recapture some of that old Santa/kid spirit--if you ever had it. Or take your kids. They won't notice the lack of story but soak up the spirit--that is, for me anyway, most of the Christmas tales I loved as a kid never had a proper story, either.

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