Archive for December 2010
New Years Resolution: Blog. I just completed my first semester at college. I’m ready to make this a habit again. I’ve been needing a creative outlet, and I think this is it. 🙂 My movie-lovin’ hasn’t died down in the slightest – I still take notes and everything. I just haven’t quite taken the plunge to write organized reviews like I used to. But watch out folks, it’s a comin’. Hopefully. I’ll be trying my best, that’s for sure. In the meantime, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a Happy New Year!
I remember so well when this movie was released. I was 10-years-old, and i wanted sooo badly to see it – but due to its PG-13 rating my mom wouldn’t let me. I got over it. I’m glad, now, that I didn’t see it then because when I finally was able to, I could appreciate it. At 10-years I already loved movies and knew all about Steven Spielberg; E.T., Close Encounters, Jaws, & Jurrasic Park were favorites from my childhood. I did not, however, know who Stanley Kubrick was (pretty sure that name came along when I was 12 or 13). This began as Kubrick’s project and you can see his prints all over it.
Sometime in the future, where the world is starting to freeze over and couples must obtain a license to have children, technology has advanced so much that man can create life. Artificial intelligence (robots) are hardly distinguishable from human beings. Scientist Allan Hobby (William Hurt) wants to take it a step further: What if we could create a Robot that could love. Not physical lust but love like a child would care for his mother.
And so David was created (Haley Joel Osment). Monica (Frances O’Connor) and Henry (Sam Robards) Swintons – whose child is being held in cryostasis until a cure is found for his disease – decide to test out this new product. (Yeah, I totally stole that from IMDb. But I didn’t really know what the kid’s problem was. So sue me). Henry brings him home and Monica is initially furious. No “mecha” could replace her own physical child. Trial period ensues. Should they choose to keep David, they must perform an irreversable imprint ritual. Monica spends time with David and they begin to bond. She decides to do the imprint thing (sadly, this now makes me think of Breaking Dawn…) and David is now in for good. The transformation is instant – Monica is now Mommy and David wants nothing but to make her happy.
Problems arrive when their “real” son, Martin (Jake Thomas) recovers and comes home. Suddenly David’s got competition. Suddenly “Daddy” has changed his mind about the entire ordeal. Suddenly David is getting in trouble and doesn’t know how to get mommy’s love anymore. David cuts a lock off Monica’s hair to gain her love but is falsely accused of sinister motives. Things get worse when he’s found holding Martin at the bottom of a pool… but only because he was frightened seconds earlier and wanted protection. Monica (sob sob sob) can’t take it anymore, David’s gotta go.
So what does she do? She drops him in the middle of the woods with nothing but a smart Teddy, some money, and a dismal parting message: “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world.” WTF? He may be artificial, but he’s still a kid. All he can figure is that his mother must not love him because he isn’t real like Martin. He decides to search for the Blue Fairy so that he can become a real boy like Pinnochio.
Part two, the story takes a turn and we are introduced to (though we don’t thoroughly explore) this “world.” Mecha exist everywhere, but humans resent their presence. “Flesh Fairs” are held to destroy and publicly ridicule mecha, led by Lord Johnson-Johnson (Brendan Gleeson). Human nature hasn’t degraded far enough for them to ridicule an 8-year-old boy, however, when David is under display.
David still searches for the Blue Fairy, still accompanied by Teddy and newly accompanied by Gigolo Joe – Hey Joe what do you know? (Jude Law). He is led (guided by Dr. Know (Robin Williams)) to an underwater Manhattan.
The end to this film is an end for discussion, and I must admit I have a few issues with it myself.
David is reunited with Dr. Hobby, creator. We learn that David is the new frontier. Soon he will be available to anyone who wants a child that can love. Suddeny, though, David leaves. Hey Joe what do you know is taken by the police. David finds the remains of a Pinnochio exhibit on an underwater Coney Island. David and Teddy stay in the helicopter thing for, wait for it, two thousand years praying to the Blue Fairy. After those two thousand years – the Mecha of the future and some sort of real Blue Fairy (Meryl Streep) find David and are able to reunite him with his mother for a day only. The film ends after a perfect day spent with Monica.
I’m not in the habit of writing an entire synopsis for a simple review, that’s not my thing. But I’ve been thinking about this movie so much that it helps me to sort it all out. I’m even having difficulty throwing in sarcastic comments, made-up words and dumb jokes I’m thinking about this so hard. Allow me to interject now with a big WTfreakingF??? Like, seriously. I don’t even know what to think. But now that I’ve gotten this out of my system, thanks for listening to that really boring summary instead of our usual review format. I feel much better now, folks. Anyway, there are the little things that bug me… for example though I liked Jude Law’s character I found the sexual innuendos unnecessary. It gave an interesting perspective to David’s unique ability to truly love, but in the end it contributed nothing. I also wonder what the point is of owning a perpetual 8-year-old. But those are small things.
Many complain about the end. Many are convinced that Spielberg took this film a completely different direction than was the intention of Kubrick. (Spielberg has been quoted to say that this is false, Kubrick’s intentions were met in the finished product. Apparently). Granted, I had a WTF moment myself and it took two viewings to really place it but seeing as mecha cannot become human, this is sci-fi not fantasy, I found the ending appropriate. David found closure. His wish essentially came true. He was able to spend a perfect day with his mother and do the things he wanted to. Who knows what his future holds – he is one of a kind, now.
My issue concerns the almost-end. Apparently he was led to Manhattan as part of a plan. Apparently he was special. Apparently the fellow scientists (including Miles from Lost!) were dying to meet him. He was made in the image of Doctor Hobby’s son for crying out loud! Yet…. nothing else happens? David… gets left? Did they search for him? What would have happened next? Now do their Davids and Darlenes get shipped to the world? We are led to this moment and nothing happens. That threw me. And really bothers me.
My admiration for this film outweighs my contempt for its faults, and although I was thrown by the ending it adds to my appreciation. Though I love Spielberg and Sci-Fi always – the selling point is Haley Joel Osment. He may be the very best child actor to have passed through cinema, and yeah I’m being serious. It’s not easy for an adult to correctly display artificial emotions, yet he does it without a single misstep. His eyes tell the story. His performance could not be duplicated. If anything, the film is worth it for him.
It is unique. It is fascinating. I was invested every second. As with all works of art, it’s now left to interpretation, so do what you will with the ending. I, however, highly recommend the film. It must have been worth it if I’m already eager to watch it again. 🙂 8/10
On a side note – I want a Teddy. That’s my kind of companion!
Just when we thought Toy Story was the best thing there was – Toy Story 2 comes out. Pixar’s third effort is out to prove that these flicks are way more than just kids’ movies because seriously this movie has got more emotional baggage than Terms of Endearment. Okay, not really, but you get the picture. Toy Story 2 opens with awesome exchange between Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and his nemesis Emperor Zurg (Andrew Stanton) complete with Star Wars references. After Buzz gets his top blown off, we’re initially scared out of our pants. Luckily, he’s actually in his very own video game – and other than Rex’s (Wallace Shawn) short arms things are well in the world of Andy’s bedroom. Our favorite Woody (Tom Hanks) is off to Cowboy Camp, Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) is lovin’ married life, and Buzz is still Mr. Popular. That is, until Woody gets his arm torn and then he gets sold in a yard sale to a crazy chicken man only to find out he’s worth bank and then be sold to a museum in Tokyo… Okay I just got way ahead of myself on that one.
Anyway. Throughout this whole climax, we find out that Woody isn’t just Andy’s favorite toy. He’s a rare Sheriff Woody doll, with a round-up gang and his face on a yo-yo to boot. Woody doesn’t know what to think of his gang at first, but soon bonds with Jessie the cowgirl (Joan Cusack), The Prospector aka Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer) and Bulls Eye (a real, live horse I’m sure). Meanwhile, his friends from Andy’s room (Buzz, Rex, Slink, Tater head, and Hamm) are doing everything in their power to rescue him – even crossing the street without adult supervision. In the end, it’ll come down to whatever Woody decides is more important, being loved by a child or being preserved in top-notch condition forever and ever while being pampered with cocktails and other special treatment along the way.
Toy Story 2 is driven by emotion. One of the most moving and sad moments occurs when Jessie tells her tale of being forgotten by her owner, Emily. Man is that heavy stuff. First, Woody’s havin’ creepy nightmares about his being left behind by Andy, then Jessie REALLY gets left behind by Emily, then Buzz gets rejected by Woody … it really makes you think doesn’t it? The boundary between toys and humans thins considerably as we find our eyes watering at the realization that we, too, could be forgotten one day. Morbid.
But this movie is far from depressing – it’s hilarious! Witty one-liners and Buzz Lightyear imposters and married spuds and tour guide Barbies. Oh, and more Star Wars homages. That’s when you KNOW a movie is good. Just kidding. But not really.
On a last note, the animation is incredible. Those cheeto puffs look as edible as any I’ve ever eaten – I am absolutely amazed at the detail. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve prob been living under a rock in Ghana, but see it. You won’t regret it. 10/10