22 March 2010

Quantum of Solace

I've been watching a lot of chase scenes lately. And I plugged this one in last night just to watch the opening 20 minutes. Instead, I ended up watching the whole thing. I've reviewed this several times, so I have nothing new to add here. Only this:

This movie gets better with each viewing. The subtle political undertones of the CIA, MI-6, Quantum relationships are just fantastic. Really watch how they work and how a blunt instrument like Bond manhandles all of them.


Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

More like three movies in one, Mad Max 3 is the worst things Australia has every exported. It's like a drunk monkey playing the zydeco.

Let's start with the obvious tone shift from the first two films and then go into the really really bad parts of this movie. George Miller and Byron Kennedy on more than one occasion have stated that Mad Max 1 was a fluke. They had never studied storytelling… they just sorta mad up a bad ass character and went with it.

It wasn't until they started working on Road Warrior, that they took time to read up on how to create the "Hero of 1,000 Faces" by Campbell, that they further developed the character of Max — and the challenges he would face.

Now. Back to 3.

Three opens with a gritty landscape and a desperate character on a half-shambled vehicle, toed by camels (how camels got to Australia is anyone's guess). A plane, piloted by the sidekick from MM2 (The Gyro Captain) and his annoying son, buzzes the "carvan," knocking Max off. The Captain makes another pass, jumps on the "wagon" and steals the goods. A monkey throws crap from the back of the wagon, presumably so that Max can follow… but it's going to Bartertown anyway, so I'm not sure what the monkey is doing.

So far. Three instance of lame. And we're only 3 minutes in. No worries, the tone certainly corrects itself by the end of the Thunderdome scene and we've just finished the first of the three movies that make up Mad Max 3.

Part two is mostly Lord of the Flies, only in this version the Captain comes back to save Fatty and the all rest and turns out to be a lazy SOB. The kids have an interesting language all their own and they've developed into a tight tribe of independents, despite the ravages of the environment. Reminds me of George's Children, but I digress.

Soon, the group is on route to Bartertown for very contrived reasons (in storytelling this is called Deux ex Machina). And the third story starts.

And this is where the atrocity happens.

Slapstick action and sound effects ensue. A mindless chase follows. And physics are ignored for the next 20 minutes as stupid event after stupid event fires in machine gun fashion from the barrel of idiocy that is Mad Max 3.

Whatever ingredients that came together accidentally in Miller and Kennedy's alchemy lab to make 1 and 2, were used up when this movie was made. The lush and idiosyncratic characters of the Collector, Aunty, Ironbar, and Master Blaster wash away by the end of the film and are replaced with vomited caricatures of contrived cliches and Three Stooges antics.

Seriously lame.

And this isn't one of those "so bad, it's fun" movies. It's painful. Just painful. And I watched it, so you don't have too.

Mad Max 2 (Road Warrior)

My favorite of the Mad Max series, this is as tight as a low-budget film can get. There's few, if any, extraneous scenes, the action is solid, the bad-guys original, and the final chase, one of the record books.

Everyone knows this movie. Do I really need to say anything else about it?