Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Steve saw The Polar Express and The Life Aquatic

It was a banner day for Steve. I took the day off of work to go to the movies, and was able to take two people off the list of director's I had to meet.

First off, I saw "The Polar Express" this morning. I wasn't expecting much from this movie. I never read the book as a kid, but I saw a copy sitting in Toys R Us last week, so I read it. I finished the whole book in under 10 minutes, and I was confused as to how they could flesh out the story enough to fill a feature length film. Luckily, that was one of the film's high points. Unlike the colossal blunders "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Cat in the Hat," the added story points to "The Polar Express" actually make the film work. Where the film fails however, is the incredibly photo realistic CGI, and the use of motion capture technology. I can't understand why you would hire Tom Hanks (who does the voice of no less than 5 characters) to do the voice of a cartoon that looks like a photorealistic Tom Hanks (who looks more like a Tom Hanks wax figure). Motion Capture makes sense in situations like Golem from LOTR, where you capture an actors motions to create something that couldn't be made in real life, but capturing an actors motions just to create a life like human is rediculous. The music is great, the action sequences are enjoyable (at times, the movie feels more like a theme park ride) and the story works, but the performances just come off as creepy. I feel the film would have been more successful if it was either all CGI animated feature, or maybe a "Sky Captain"-like CGI backgrounds mixed with real humans combo.

Afterwards, I was able to meet Robert Zemeckis, who confirmed my fears that any hope of further Roger Rabbit adventures are dead.

Next, I saw "The Life Aquatic." I am a huge fan of Wes Anderson's films, and this movie didn't disappoint, but it didn't break any new ground for me. The cast is great, the movie is funny, and the story is interesting, but the movie isn't anything really new for Anderson. I think, in my eyes, he will never top "Rushmore" unless he does something completely stylistically different. Not that his usual is any bad, it's just becoming the same.

And after all that, I finally met Wes Anderson, who says the he wants to do a Bottle Rocket special edition DVD, but Sony has to sign off on it first, and that hasn't happened.