Monday, November 16, 2009

An Overwhelming “Buffet” – “2012”

There are only two questions that you need to ask for any doom-day movie: When it comes, where will you be and who will you be with? Anything else, like the special effects, humanity issues, religions, etc., are either pure technical things or things that could be covered by these two billion-dollar questions.

The profile of Roland Emmerich (a.k.a the director) actually decreased my desire to watch this movie: From “Independence Day” (1996), “Godzilla” (1998) all the way down to “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) and “10,000 B.C.” (2008), it seems that the only thing increases is the ratio and tech level of those special effect shots in his movies. It was actually this poster and the name “John Cusack” (a.k.a the leading actor) that dragged me into the cinema.

The whole thing looks like a mixture of all disaster movies within the recent decade – You don’t need to be an expert to pinpoint the names like “Japan Sinks” (OK, if you haven’t watched this Japanese movie yet, go for it. I recommend the 2006 version.), “Titanic”, “War of Worlds” and Emmerich’s own “The Day After Tomorrow”. And of course, the Ark... It seems that Emmerich believed that if he could “extract” the classic scenes from all these movies and put them into one new movie, he could be able to create a more successful one. But what we see here is just an overwhelming “buffet” – we have everything, but we simply cannot digest.

Again a wrong role in a wrong movie for John Cusack. He could not even surpass Tom Cruise in “War of Worlds”. He should pick some more sophiscated roles to engrave his name onto some trophies.

And the writers of this movie simply “follow the rules”: Bad guys must be Caucasians; those supporting roles can find their peace in heaven so that the leading guy will reunite with his family and live happily ever after; and don’t forget these “popular” issues now:
1. BRIC: The fallen Christ in Brazil, Russian president and giant plane, the secret discovered by Indian scientist (and in India also), and China that makes the Arks.
2. Black U.S. president.
3. Brave U.S. firemen / firewomen
4. Tibet

Although, you should watch such a doom-day movie once every several yrs, just to think about those two billion-dollar questions, it’s good for your own sake.
P.S. Do you know the meaning of “Himalaya”?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Legend on the Stage – “This Is It”

Although I knew it is just a final milking from the cash cow by the production company, after watching this “Final tribute to MJ”, I still felt sad and sorry for his departure.

He belongs to the stage: Whatever he did off it, he just shines on it. Even without actually singing those songs (to protect his voice before the real show, as he said), his confident movements proved that he is really the “King of Pop”. Those 80’s costumes and movements might look “out” on anybody else, but just so “in” on him. And he is one of the only two ppl that can make the “black-shoe-white-socks” a fashion instead of a disaster – the other one is the late Bruce Lee. Now they can finally meet in the heaven.

And the stage belongs to him: As one of the two stage directors, he requests for perfection for every detail – echo, lighting, movements of the dancers, etc. The keyboard guy complains that “MJ knows every tone of every single one of his songs”. God knows that most singers have to recite the lyrics and stage positions before every single one of their shows… And I particularly like what he said to that young guitar girl when they were rehearsing for the duo – “It’s your time to shine!”.

Editing based on limited original video clips is never an easy job. (I did some trivial editing jobs recently, and that’s why I understand that.) This documentary really deserves an Oscar nomination for that. Come on, you cannot get MJ to come back and shoot for some additional cuts when you find out that you are missing them… Yup, I heard that some of the scenes were not by the “real MJ”, but, whatever…

There are so many songs that are important to me here: The anti-war “They Don’t Care About Us”, the save-the-planet “Earth Song” and “Heal the World”, the anti-discrimination “Black or White”, and a very special one for me – “Beat It” (cuz I performed this song in an aerobics way with some classmates back to the college yrs…). And so many classic movements: moonwalk, robot dance, “Billie Jean” (you know what I mean…), etc. Just like a “compilation”… After watching all these, you will have the same feeling as I do – why we have to lose him?!