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Author Topic: The Best and Worst Movies of 2006
Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm proud to say that I haven't seen Apocalypto *or* The Passion of the Christ yet, and probably won't. I definitely wouldn't pay to see either of them.

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TallGeekyGirl
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AOL just rated the 50 best movies of 2006.

I haven't gone through the list yet, but these lists are always good for a conversation. [Big Grin]

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I haven't seen many of the movies on that list, but kudos to them for getting some of my picks. [Big Grin] Of course they put some of the worst on there, too.

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chillas
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Cars - Way back when I saw the original trailer for it, I started thinking that Pixar had finally stumbled. Anthropomorphic cars? Not seeing that work.

Lizzy and I eventually saw it at the local second run theatre ($1.00 normally, with 50¢ Tuesdays!). We had the whole theatre to ourselves. No one else was in there. We were both shocked - we loved it! Contrary to what some have said, I feel it had as much heart as Nemo, and it has some of the most amazing visuals I've ever seen. Especially during the race sequences, some of the shots look photo-realistic.

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
I'm proud to say that I haven't seen Apocalypto *or* The Passion of the Christ yet, and probably won't.

Oh, The Passion Of The Christ is hilarious.

As for that "50 Best Movies" list, I'd go through it if it was all on the one page, but I can't be arsed to load up a new page for each film, especially if each page is only going to contain about 100 actual words.

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by BrianB:

Still to see are Dreamgirls, The Pursuit of Happyness (yes, they spell it that way), Volver, Notes on a Scandal, Children of Men, Perfume, and Pan's Labyrinth so my list will probably change drastically. [Big Grin]
Brian

Pan's Labyrinth is my film of the year. I loved it. It is the only film I have seen this year at the cinema and been entirely gripped by, didn't take my eyes of the screen once. The fantasy sequences made up less of the film than I had expected, but both the fantasy and the "real life" parts are utterly compelling (and both capable of giving you nightmares), and not one bad actor in it... I find it a bit distracting when such visual films have subtitles though.

If anyone else has seen this I am desperate to argue about the ending with someone, I saw the film with my mother and the arguments as to whether it was a happy/sad ending were upsetting her.

I hate "good" films which aren't really good just worthy or pretensious - but that was a genuinely wonderful film.

Otherwise .... I can't remember what films I've seen.

I enjoyed the terribleness of Snakes on a Plane, I seem to be the only person who enjoyed the new Superman (if only it had ended 10 minutes earlier) and I liked X-men 3 better than X-men 2 but less than the original...Mission Impossible 3 I didn't like much, The Prestige was deeply baffling (and not in a good way, in a WTF sort of way - though it looked good)

Just saw Deja Vu on the 26th, that was quite fun, a bit silly (and I have still never seen Denzel Washington be bad in anything - though he has been in some bad films) but quite fast paced.

I found a list of films released in 2006 in the UK, which may help me...

Bad :
Aeon Flux
Ultraviolet (but I do want a motor bike that goes up walls and clothing that changes, what can I say, I'm impressionable)
Underworld (evolution)

Good:
Mirror Mask (doesn't always work but it is interesting)

Can't decide :
Scanner Darkly (very interesting look, and it's hard to think how you could do it better - but the whole thing seemed a bit pointless)
V for Vendetta (good, bad and annoying - and I can't stop thinking of the supply lines you'd need for that many masks and capes...)
Warrior King (incomprehsible in parts - but I am always impressed by anyone who can run up a wall, and watching a martial artist who is impressive at the best of times run up a glass wall definitely impressed me)
Fearless (looked good, but less keen on some of the "messages" of the film)

I still like going to the cinema, and I still rather enjoy the bad films...

Victoria J

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Max_Renn
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
quote:
Originally posted by BrianB:

Still to see are Dreamgirls, The Pursuit of Happyness (yes, they spell it that way), Volver, Notes on a Scandal, Children of Men, Perfume, and Pan's Labyrinth so my list will probably change drastically. [Big Grin]
Brian

Pan's Labyrinth is my film of the year. I loved it. It is the only film I have seen this year at the cinema and been entirely gripped by, didn't take my eyes of the screen once. The fantasy sequences made up less of the film than I had expected, but both the fantasy and the "real life" parts are utterly compelling (and both capable of giving you nightmares), and not one bad actor in it... I find it a bit distracting when such visual films have subtitles though.

If anyone else has seen this I am desperate to argue about the ending with someone, I saw the film with my mother and the arguments as to whether it was a happy/sad ending were upsetting her.

I hate "good" films which aren't really good just worthy or pretensious - but that was a genuinely wonderful film.

Otherwise .... I can't remember what films I've seen.

I enjoyed the terribleness of Snakes on a Plane, I seem to be the only person who enjoyed the new Superman (if only it had ended 10 minutes earlier) and I liked X-men 3 better than X-men 2 but less than the original...Mission Impossible 3 I didn't like much, The Prestige was deeply baffling (and not in a good way, in a WTF sort of way - though it looked good)

Just saw Deja Vu on the 26th, that was quite fun, a bit silly (and I have still never seen Denzel Washington be bad in anything - though he has been in some bad films) but quite fast paced.

I found a list of films released in 2006 in the UK, which may help me...

Bad :
Aeon Flux
Ultraviolet (but I do want a motor bike that goes up walls and clothing that changes, what can I say, I'm impressionable)
Underworld (evolution)

Good:
Mirror Mask (doesn't always work but it is interesting)

Can't decide :
Scanner Darkly (very interesting look, and it's hard to think how you could do it better - but the whole thing seemed a bit pointless)
V for Vendetta (good, bad and annoying - and I can't stop thinking of the supply lines you'd need for that many masks and capes...)
Warrior King (incomprehsible in parts - but I am always impressed by anyone who can run up a wall, and watching a martial artist who is impressive at the best of times run up a glass wall definitely impressed me)
Fearless (looked good, but less keen on some of the "messages" of the film)

I still like going to the cinema, and I still rather enjoy the bad films...

Victoria J

So much to respond to...I'm really curious to see Pan's Labyrinth myself and hopefully will do so this weekend. I'll gladly debate the ending with you if it stumps me.

Snakes On A Plane was entertaining enough, though quite forgettable ten minutes after I left the theatre, and the screenwriter in me is disturbed on countless levels at a movie that solicits dialogue from fans during the production phase. I also thought X-Men 3 was underrated, and I'll even dare day I liked it better than both the previous installments, if only because it doesn't spend all its time on moody setup and gets right down to superpowered asskicking.

Ultraviolet was so wretched it made me want to throw things at the screen. I kinda liked V For Vendetta (it didn't make my top twenty, though) but I agree with your point about the production line V must have been running to make all the costumes. It's the old "Where did Edward Scissorhands get the ice?" conundrum. I fell asleep during A Scanner Darkly, a blazingly brilliant Robert Downey Jr. performance notwithstanding. Since I thought Fast Food Nation was pretty awful, Linklater didn't have a great year in my eyes.

I've never heard of The Warrior King; man, I'm out of the martial arts movie loop these days, I'm gonna have to look that one up.. I did like Fearless a lot, though its slickness really made me pine for the Jet Li golden age of Fong Sai Yuk, Wong Fei Hung and Fist of Legend.

Not the worst year for movies. I'm curious to see what makes hte Oscar cut, though I'm sure there'll be plenty of threads on that subject in a month or so.

Max "Alan Moore knows the score" Renn

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by Max_Renn:

I've never heard of The Warrior King; man, I'm out of the martial arts movie loop these days, I'm gonna have to look that one up.. I did like Fearless a lot, though its slickness really made me pine for the Jet Li golden age of Fong Sai Yuk, Wong Fei Hung and Fist of Legend.

The USA title was "the Protector" which may apply to Canada as well. It has Tony Jaa from Om Bak ... if you saw a film where a man went around incomprehensibly shouting "you stole my elephant" in between martial arts moves that is the film we're talking about.

(Actually prefered Om Bak - the chase scene where someone leaps through a reel of barbed wire being carried through the street, and another chase scene involving Tuk Tuks are both huge fun. Tony Jaa is pretty impressive, he can't exactly act, but he certainly can kick people ...)

Victoria J

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Max_Renn
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
quote:
Originally posted by Max_Renn:

I've never heard of The Warrior King; man, I'm out of the martial arts movie loop these days, I'm gonna have to look that one up.. I did like Fearless a lot, though its slickness really made me pine for the Jet Li golden age of Fong Sai Yuk, Wong Fei Hung and Fist of Legend.

The USA title was "the Protector" which may apply to Canada as well. It has Tony Jaa from Om Bak ... if you saw a film where a man went around incomprehensibly shouting "you stole my elephant" in between martial arts moves that is the film we're talking about.

(Actually prefered Om Bak - the chase scene where someone leaps through a reel of barbed wire being carried through the street, and another chase scene involving Tuk Tuks are both huge fun. Tony Jaa is pretty impressive, he can't exactly act, but he certainly can kick people ...)

Victoria J

I have seen that movie actually, I picked up a bootleg early last year under the Thai title of Tom Yung Goong (sp?). I liked it a lot, I thought it had a lot less downtime than Ong-Bak did. Though I still say that Jaa, despite his mad kicking skills, has the onscreen charisma of a dead mackerel, and the cameo by the Jackie Chan not-even-close-to-being-a-lookalike was a lame joke.

Max "feeling kung fu movie geekiness restoring itself" Renn

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
Pan's Labyrinth is my film of the year. I loved it. It is the only film I have seen this year at the cinema and been entirely gripped by, didn't take my eyes of the screen once. The fantasy sequences made up less of the film than I had expected, but both the fantasy and the "real life" parts are utterly compelling (and both capable of giving you nightmares), and not one bad actor in it... I find it a bit distracting when such visual films have subtitles though.



I've not seen it yet (I'm watching it later today), but if you liked it, you should check out The Devil's Backbone by the same director. By all reports it's the same kind of "feel" to the film, and I can certainly confirm that it's utterly brilliant.

I also agree with you that Ong Bak was better than The Warrior King, but that it's still a very impressive film.

If you liked those two, you should check out Born To Fight, directed by the action director of those two films. It's far cheesier than either, but also has some impressive "ooh, that's got to hurt" fighting and some simply ludicrously dangerous stunts where people almost die (one stuntman memorably almost gets his head crushed in one of them). There's a long section in the middle without much action, but then the last 40 minutes or so are literally non-stop action. Well worth a look, if you like that sort of thing (which you evidently do).

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by Max_Renn:
So much to respond to...I'm really curious to see Pan's Labyrinth myself and hopefully will do so this weekend. I'll gladly debate the ending with you if it stumps me.

My mother is VERY soft hearted and refuses to believe it had anything other than an unambigious happy ending. It is certainly not unambigiously happy - but she actually becomes upset when I argue this.

Regarding martial arts - I do love to watch martial arts but I don't see many. It is partly just that I don't get that many DVD's and actually watch more films at the cinema, and so few martial arts films get released like that. So I have no doubt you are much more in the loop.

Trollface - I'd never of heard of that, so I will have to track it down. The director must have quite an interest in the Spanish Civil War then, it seems quite strange to me to see someone from Mexico making such very Spanish films...(but this is probably just me being very insular).

[hijack]As I watch less and less television, and more and more films and now prefer watching series on DVD where you can watch them faster (good series seem much better like that - more cohesive, the bad ones are more annoying because the repetitions and contradictions stick out more) I am considering joining one of the DVD postal services - does anyone know how good they are ? [/hijack]

Victoria J

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
Trollface - I'd never of heard of that, so I will have to track it down. The director must have quite an interest in the Spanish Civil War then, it seems quite strange to me to see someone from Mexico making such very Spanish films...(but this is probably just me being very insular).

In this interview, he has this to say:

quote:
[...]all the characters in the movie have something that they have lost. And all of them, by the end of the movie, except for one, reach closure, in one way or another. You have Jacinto, who has lost a childhood that he thoroughly hates and it haunts him. You have Cásares who is haunted by a love that he never was able to declare. You have the war, which is the biggest ghost generator in humanity because it destroys past, annuls future, and destroys life. All those children are essentially left without a childhood. And on top of everything, you have the literal ghost floating in the hallway. A terrible event doomed to repeat itself over and over again.

The Spanish Civil War, I believe, is one of those wars that never ended. It just kind of winded down very slowly and it still to this day haunts the Spanish people. I don't think it was every fully resolved. It was a war waged at home where fathers fought and killed Sons and brothers killed brothers. And like any civil war it becomes a much more cruel war in the sense that it reaches and destroys the boundaries of home and family.

It was very common before the war for a family table to be shared by a Republican father, a Fascist son, a Republican son, and a Fascist mother, for example. It was very, very common. It was less than a year after the end of the Spanish Civil War that Hitler took Poland. And yet even when the Spanish Civil War was essentially a testing ground for most Fascist practices and tactics and weaponries, Europe remained largely uninvolved.

It certainly makes for a great backdrop to a great film.

He's also said that he's kind of obsessed with death and conflict, because he grew up in a very violent part of Mexico. When he was a child he saw people get mutilated and shot, and has had a gun put to his head. He's said that when he was a child it wasn't unusual to see dead bodies just lying in the streets. That's why his more serious and personal films (he says that he makes two kinds of films, those that are deeply personal, like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, and Hollywood-friendly popcorn films, like Mimic and Blade II) tend to revolve around children dealing with terrible, adult things, and how they can escape from those things.

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
That's why his more serious and personal films (he says that he makes two kinds of films, those that are deeply personal, like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, and Hollywood-friendly popcorn films, like Mimic and Blade II) tend to revolve around children dealing with terrible, adult things, and how they can escape from those things.

I didn't know he made Blade II.

I am becoming a big fan though, I loved Pan's Labyrynth (I think I may have already made that clear [Wink] ) but I really like some of the more commercial films. I liked Hellboy - a lot of great visual humour (and the only film I've ever seen to need a "gratutious kitten" warning) - it is one of my favourite comic book adaptations, but maybe that is because I have no experience of those comics. I also thought mimic was very fine visually, plus you have to like any film that has annoying wise cracking children who get killed. It is a shame about the very stupid unscientific plot and mawkish ending with them taking care of the little autistic boy...

My family still teases me because, thanks to a misunderstanding following a review I had read, I went to see Mimic believing that the giant cockroaches bought overcoats and was wondering outloud how the people in the shops didn't notice...

Thanks for the info.

Victoria J

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trollface
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No probs. FWIW, Guillermo Del Toro lists the making and watching of Mimic as the most traumatic event in his life, including the kidnapping of his dad, because at least with his dad's kidnapping, there are "rules" and "sense" to it. With Mimic, he had huge fights with the studio for no reason, and he finds the film to be deeply upsetting because it's bad, but he can see the beautiful film that's buried within it.

He's possibly overstating his case a bit there, but I can see what he means. I own it on video, but I've always thought of it as something with some great points, but that's also deeply flawed, and could have been so much more.

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trollface
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Well, having just watched Pan's Labyrinth, I have to say that that's shot straight to the top of my "Best Films" list. By far the best film I've seen in ages.

****SPOILERS****

Victoria, I thought that the ending was rather ambiguous. But, I have to say that I actually fall on the side of it being a happy ending. I think that there's one or two bits of the film that don't quite add up if it ends up being an unhappy ending. But it's definitely not unambiguous as to whether anything other than the "real life" stuff is actually real.

Of course, I wept like a baby. And I say that with no exaggeration. No solitary manly tears for this one, but pure, open weeping that went on for several minutes after the film had ended. I was also laughing at the same time, because I do think that it's a happy ending, and because I was actually enjoying having such a good cry, but I was definitely very upset, because it's such a sad ending, too.

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trollface
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Watched it again, cried again.

*****SPOILERS******

I definitely think that it's ultimately a happy ending, and that the fantasy stuff is true. There's certain things that don't add up if it's not (such as how she got out of her locked room to get her brother), and I've just read an interview with Del Toro where he says that he believes that the fantasy stuff is true, also.

However, it's certainly still far from conclusive. Mercedes manages to get into Ofelia's room, and we don't see her unlocking the door, so maybe it was never actually locked, just guarded - and maybe she got past the guard. But, what I think is perhaps most significant is when Ofelia first moves in to the mansion. When she discovers the entrance to the labyrinth, before she's even seen the fairy as anything other than an insect, the book at the bottom of the pile in the bundle of books that she's holding looks remarkably similar to the book that Pan gives her.

I'm glad that it's ambiguous, rather than clear-cut, though. I think that either being definitely true would lessen the impact of the other story.

Incidentally, I read a review of the film that said "I wonder if Del Toro wanted to make two films, and just couldn't be bothered?". Talk about missing the point. The fantasy elements are how the girl comes to terms with the world around her. The film is about how children relate to and cope with the world around them, even when the world around them is a horrible place.

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Victoria J
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So glad you liked it.

I liked it so much I was a bit jealous you were getting to see it for the first time.

*************SPOILERS***********

It may or may not be a happy ending but it is definitely ambiguous. For me all it would take to be unambiguous is to move the last "fantasy" sequence by about 30 seconds to after she dies. It happens before and that leaves it open to being her imagination, or not.

Having said that if it was unambiguously happy I would also think it was very unsatisfying as an ending.

The biggest suggestion to me that it is fantasy is that thefantasy world comes and goes as she decides to face up to the real world. She tries to cope with what is going on around her, and gets told shes failed and can't go back to the labyrynth, then things fall apart and she is told she gets a second chance. She decides to concentrate on trying to look after her brother, and again loses the fantasy world - she loses him and then it turns out she did just the right thing to enter the world...

(But I hope it is true. I'd like her to have a happy ending).

I have never cried at a film (In real life I'm pathetic, but films just don't have that effect) but I did get close. The saddest bit for me wasn't the ending but the bit where she is talking to her unborn brother...

And it is so nice to see fantasy that isn't twee. When I first got used to the split I thought the fantasy sequences were going to be light relief ! The creature biting the heads of fairies nearly gave me nightmares.

The little girl was fantastic. But the Captain was also so impressive. He has to be one of the nastiest characters I have seen in a film for a long time, and he has no real redeeming features, but he is still a human being and not a monster.

I have just decided that I will go and see it again if I have the chance.

Isn't it nice when your best film of the year sneaks in at the end of December ?

Victoria J

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Midgard_Dragon
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quote:
I seem to be the only person who enjoyed the new Superman
Don't be so sure about that one. It's obvious that I enjoyed it, but what I don't get is this: it's gotten good reviews and good ratings all over the place, both from "real" critics and from "real" people. So how exactly is it that every time someone posts about it on a message board they're usually complaining or calling it crap? I have to come to the conclusion that those posting complaints are just louder than the average citizen who clearly enjoyed it. In my everyday life if something "Superman" comes up in conversation, people gush about how much they loved the new movie. The internet is a weird weird place. [Razz]

But even though it didn't beat John Depp's crapfest, I take heart that the public knows what it truly likes by reading about Superman's topping of the charts prior to POTC2's DVD release. http://www.comingsoon.net/news/dvdnews.php?id=17881

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
It's obvious that I enjoyed it, but what I don't get is this: it's gotten good reviews and good ratings all over the place, both from "real" critics and from "real" people. So how exactly is it that every time someone posts about it on a message board they're usually complaining or calling it crap?

Maybe it is just because the ending is so disapointing. It is an enjoyable film and it looks perfect (The Kent's farm particularly, though I rather liked the model railroad, and the tasteless yacht) but you finish watching it on a real low point because the last part drags. Why would you have an exciting action film and end it at such a slow pace ? And end it on a Lois/Superman moment when so many people will find that so much more annoying than a flying/deflecting bullets etc super-moment.

It does also make Superman look a bit petty. But I always thought he was. As he spends so much time chasing the same women in 2 different persona and actually seeming jealous of himself it seemed quite natural seeing him be jealous of someone else.

Other questionable things :
1) It has a period look without having a period setting, which is a bit jarring
2) It is slightly disturbing to see a film where a small child kills someone and nobody makes a big deal about this
3) I think I prefered it when my images of Superman didn't include him secretly hovering in a childs bedroom - that is just creepy even if he is the father (and that sort of secret is quite disturbing too)

But is still exciting and well paced until the end, and the characters are more complex than the previous films (except perhaps Lois).

ETA Actually what I never understood is why people like the old Superman films so much. I always thought they were very average (if that's possible), and are now very dated as well.

Victoria J

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
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Funny, I'm used to message boards posting about how *awesome* Superman was. So...uhh...switch boards?

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Midgard_Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by Rebochan the Retail Reindeer:
Funny, I'm used to message boards posting about how *awesome* Superman was. So...uhh...switch boards?

It's not just one board, Rebochan. And either way, I'm not going to stop posting on a message board just because people post things I disagree with. That would be "so...uhh...stupid."

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Midgard_Dragon
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quote:
1) It has a period look without having a period setting, which is a bit jarring
Nostalgia. That's what the movie was all about for me and others. They brought it into modern day and it still felt like a nostalgic flick from the 70's, one of the things it did best, IMO.

quote:
2) It is slightly disturbing to see a film where a small child kills someone and nobody makes a big deal about this
One of the weirdest complaints I see. He didn't know his own strength (obviously) and reacted in self-defense and defense of his mother. Why should a big deal be made? Not only was it an accident, but he saved his mother's life. Superman is an adult who has had time to develop a code against killing, the kid was just a kid.

quote:
3) I think I prefered it when my images of Superman didn't include him secretly hovering in a childs bedroom - that is just creepy even if he is the father (and that sort of secret is quite disturbing too)
One of the best moments in the movie, bar none, IMO. It showed that he was going to be responsible for the child, how is that a bad thing?

I think people were expecting just what you described it as, a super-hero action movie, and it wasn't. It was a super-hero drama, and thank goodness for something with a little bit of heart and soul in the genre.

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
quote:
2) It is slightly disturbing to see a film where a small child kills someone and nobody makes a big deal about this
One of the weirdest complaints I see. He didn't know his own strength (obviously) and reacted in self-defense and defense of his mother. Why should a big deal be made? Not only was it an accident, but he saved his mother's life. Superman is an adult who has had time to develop a code against killing, the kid was just a kid.

I'm not suggesting it makes the child evil in anyway - but you'd think it would take some conforting and reassuring of the child. Plus a very urgent need to start teaching him not to do things like that...

Not just ignoring it.

Victoria J

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
So glad you liked it.

I liked it so much I was a bit jealous you were getting to see it for the first time.

*************SPOILERS***********

I can understand that.

quote:
For me all it would take to be unambiguous is to move the last "fantasy" sequence by about 30 seconds to after she dies. It happens before and that leaves it open to being her imagination, or not.
I totally agree. That's the bit that really gets me - where she smiles just before she dies. That so seems to be saying that it's all in her head, and then you start thinking about it from Mercedes point of view...

My problem is that that damn lullaby is so catchy that I find myself humming it, and then I suddenly catch myself humming it and remember Mercedes when she's humming it at the end, and why she's humming it.

That scene for me is real poetry. Looking at it from Mercedes' perspective, she instantly knows that Ofelia is about to die, and that there's nothing she can do about it. And even though they like each other, and she was going to take care of Ofelia, they don't really know each other, and she's tried to keep an emotional distance. As such, the lullaby is about the only thing that they really have in common - the only real moment of emotional connection that's not driven by being scared for their own lives. So, Mercedes does the only thing she can do, hums the lullaby to try to make Ofelia's last few moments that little bit better.

There's just so much depth and so many layers in that last little scene.

quote:
The biggest suggestion to me that it is fantasy is that thefantasy world comes and goes as she decides to face up to the real world. She tries to cope with what is going on around her, and gets told shes failed and can't go back to the labyrynth, then things fall apart and she is told she gets a second chance.
I don't really think so. She gets told that she can't come back after she's put the Mandrake root under her mother's bed. So, although her mum's getting better, it's only because of the magic (at least, so she thinks).

I don't think that the point of the film is that her fantasy world is an escape from the real world, rather it's how her brain chooses to deal with the real world - how it processes it and how it comes to terms with it. As such, her fantasy world is just as horrible and brutal as the real world*. I don't think that there's any point at which she compromises her belief in the fairies and Pan.

*Certainly there's an argument that the real world is far more brutal, but she doesn't see as much of the violence and brutality that we, the audience, do.

quote:
(But I hope it is true. I'd like her to have a happy ending).
Me too. I'm normally a great one for sad endings, but this one I really want to be happy.

I suppose that another one of the things that gets me about the ending is that, although this is not a true story, it's also not an exaggerated story. Stories like this are and have been true for countless kids all across the globe. And, in the real world, I don't believe in fairies.

quote:
And it is so nice to see fantasy that isn't twee. When I first got used to the split I thought the fantasy sequences were going to be light relief ! The creature biting the heads of fairies nearly gave me nightmares.
Yeah, I must admit that I like the way that it's grim all the way through. Just like real fairy tales are.

quote:
The little girl was fantastic.
I agree. Whenever I watch foreign films with child actors, I wonder why there are so few decent American/English child actors. The girl playing Ofelia was fantastic.

I read an interview with Del Toro where he said that they auditioned her even though she was way too old for the part. She had 3 people in the room in tears just with her line readings, so Del Toro gave her the role and then set about re-writing the script for an older girl. He does say, though, that it worked out even better with her being on the cusp of adolescence, rather than the 8 or 9 year old she was originally going to be.

quote:
But the Captain was also so impressive. He has to be one of the nastiest characters I have seen in a film for a long time, and he has no real redeeming features, but he is still a human being and not a monster.
I agree. There were moments where you could almost, well not sympathise with him, but he seemed very human. Because they'd done such a fantastic job with his character, I was a bit shocked when he got shot at the end, and Mercedes said that she wouldn't even tell his son his name. I thought they'd pass the message on. Then I thought about it for a second and realised that Mercedes was totally right.

quote:
Isn't it nice when your best film of the year sneaks in at the end of December ?
Yeah. I tell you, it's not leaving me alone, and it's not often a film gets under my skin like this. I think I'm brewing a little obsession with it, which is no bad thing.

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NeeCD
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A friend of mine has suggested watching Pan's Labyrinth tonight (more fun than watching idiots drunkenly celebrate, I guess) and after seeing this thread (and not reading the spoilers, BTW) I'm actually leaning more toward that idea now.

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NeeCD
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Damn, after searching, it looks like Pan's Labyrinth isn't opening around here for a couple more weeks. Bummer. [Frown]

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by NeeCD:
A friend of mine has suggested watching Pan's Labyrinth tonight (more fun than watching idiots drunkenly celebrate, I guess) and after seeing this thread (and not reading the spoilers, BTW) I'm actually leaning more toward that idea now.

Don't read the spoilers if you are going. They'd, um, spoil it... [Wink]

Personally I think it is worth waiting for. I can't see how you could not like it (unless you object to fantasy, subtitles, some quite harrowing bits....having it tuck in your head afterwards)

Victoria J

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trollface
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I'll second what Victoria said - it's well worth waiting for. And don't read the spoilers.

And, yes, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's in any way a kid's film, just because it's got fairies and a faun in it, and because the lead character's a 12 year old girl. It's one of the grimmest (as well as the Grimmest) films I've seen for a while.

But don't let that put you off, that's a definite plus.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Victoria J
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*****SPOILERS******

quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
quote:
The biggest suggestion to me that it is fantasy is that thefantasy world comes and goes as she decides to face up to the real world. She tries to cope with what is going on around her, and gets told shes failed and can't go back to the labyrynth, then things fall apart and she is told she gets a second chance.
I don't really think so. She gets told that she can't come back after she's put the Mandrake root under her mother's bed. So, although her mum's getting better, it's only because of the magic (at least, so she thinks).

I don't think that the point of the film is that her fantasy world is an escape from the real world, rather it's how her brain chooses to deal with the real world - how it processes it and how it comes to terms with it. As such, her fantasy world is just as horrible and brutal as the real world*. I don't think that there's any point at which she compromises her belief in the fairies and Pan.

*Certainly there's an argument that the real world is far more brutal, but she doesn't see as much of the violence and brutality that we, the audience, do.

Hmm. I thought that it rather went with how torn she is between responsibility in the real world (to her mother and then brother) and the allure of the fantasy world. That she uses the magic to help her mother, and is so caught up in this that she fails to do the next part of the challenge is part of that. She is caught between the fantasy and the reality, turning to reality when she feels the need to help her family and to fantasy when the reality is overwhelming and she can do nothing...

Her invitations into the fantasy world, and the times she is barred from it, are exactly in sync to her feelings - which is a huge coincidence if it all real.

Having said that one of the things I loved was how little explanation there is for any of it. Why does the faun suddenly change his mind and give her a second chance ? I don't think it does need an explanation, any more than why the fairies were wrong about which box to unlock, or how she connected to the fantasy world in the first place (was that the only portal left because they knew she would be there ? or is that a coincidence ? Does the creature come out of the statue because it is her, or because she puts the missing piece into it ? Why does it transform from an insect into a more conventional fairy ? ...)

It follows it's own rules, which actually makes it seem more coherent.

Though I thought it was also questionable as to how nice the fantasy world was. Her challenges showed a very dark side, plus the story of the princess (choosing to give up her immortality and feel pain and die to experience the light of the real world) suggests that there were things missing there as well.

So nice to see a film worth thinking about.

Victoria J

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
I'll second what Victoria said - it's well worth waiting for. And don't read the spoilers.

And, yes, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's in any way a kid's film, just because it's got fairies and a faun in it, and because the lead character's a 12 year old girl. It's one of the grimmest (as well as the Grimmest) films I've seen for a while.

But don't let that put you off, that's a definite plus.

It's odd. I'd vote that the least suitable-for-children film I've seen in a long time (and no sex in it), I think partly because you expect fantasy (or at least little fairies and girls discovering magical worlds) to be sweet and light.

I'm very pleased it was an 18 here, I am getting very fed up of sitting next to small children at quite unsuitable films. I still remember sitting through the Lord of the Rings dead marshes scene with a child of about 6 absolutely rigid with fear next to me (her father hadn't even had the sense to sit between the 2 small children he had decided to bring - so she only had another scared little one on the other side. Grr. )

I also found the violence quite shocking. Again I think that is a plus because it is less violent than many many films, it just uses it in a very effective way.

Victoria J

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NeeCD
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Thanks for the input! I'll definitely skip any spoilers, although that isn't really an issue with me, normally.

And I absolutely love dark fairy tales. I was given "real" Grimm Bros. stories (as well as others) while I was still learning to read. The Red Shoes scarred me for life, I think - and my mom still worries that she warped me - but I wouldn't have it any other way.

ETA Well, Red Shoes was Hans Christian Anderson, but in some ways he wrote the scariest stories of all.

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trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
*****SPOILERS******
Hmm. I thought that it rather went with how torn she is between responsibility in the real world (to her mother and then brother) and the allure of the fantasy world. That she uses the magic to help her mother, and is so caught up in this that she fails to do the next part of the challenge is part of that. She is caught between the fantasy and the reality, turning to reality when she feels the need to help her family and to fantasy when the reality is overwhelming and she can do nothing...



I don't know, though, because if you look at the end where she runs away with her brother. If we take the fantasy world as being her coping with the real world, then it's a device telling her to get him out of there - to look after him. When she gets to Pan and he tells her to hand him over it's telling her that the world isn't actually all that nice, and that there aren't fairy tale endings to things.

If, however, it's an escape, then why does Pan turn nasty (as it seems), rather than welcoming her with open arms? Both the real world and the fantasy world reject her just before the last few minutes.

quote:
Having said that one of the things I loved was how little explanation there is for any of it. Why does the faun suddenly change his mind and give her a second chance ? I don't think it does need an explanation, any more than why the fairies were wrong about which box to unlock, or how she connected to the fantasy world in the first place (was that the only portal left because they knew she would be there ? or is that a coincidence ? Does the creature come out of the statue because it is her, or because she puts the missing piece into it ? Why does it transform from an insect into a more conventional fairy ? ...)

It follows it's own rules, which actually makes it seem more coherent.

I agree. There's the sense that there are rules and schemes going on behind the scenes that we just don't know about. For all we know, the Faun meant for her to eat the grapes in the first place, and that was the real point of the task. That way she gets threatened with dire consequences when she breaks the rules, and learns that she has to obey the faun without question.

Of course she, like the Doctor, doesn't obey rules without question and, like the Doctor, she pays for it. I think that that's the film's central message - Nazism is bad because it takes away the freedom of choice and freedom to be different, you just blindly obey. And freedom of will is the only really effective weapon against such a thing. Even though she dies, she still did "the right thing" and that means, whether her fantasy life is real or not, that she's "won".

quote:
So nice to see a film worth thinking about.
Definitely.

quote:
I'd vote that the least suitable-for-children film I've seen in a long time (and no sex in it), I think partly because you expect fantasy (or at least little fairies and girls discovering magical worlds) to be sweet and light.
I think you're right. And I think it's partly because it does seem like a children's film in many ways. Apparently the studio initially said to Del Toro that if he took out some of the violence that it could be a kid's film, and he flat-out refused, saying that that was missing the point entirely.

I think it's also surprising how grim it is because we're used to seeing graphic violence in films, but there's usually some kind of voyeristic, "fun" element to it. Here it's portrayed as bleak and real, and there's no cheap thrills to be got from watching it.

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
And, yes, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's in any way a kid's film, just because it's got fairies and a faun in it, and because the lead character's a 12 year old girl. It's one of the grimmest (as well as the Grimmest) films I've seen for a while.


What ages would you recommend it for, Trollface? Over 12? Over 16?

Is it more violent than the Lord of the Rings movies?

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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
What ages would you recommend it for, Trollface? Over 12? Over 16?

Difficult to say. Depends on the child, of course. I'd say that 12 might well be pushing it. I'd certainly recommend it for older viewers. Depending on the 16 year old, it might be too much for them. Come to that, there's a few adults who might rather not deal with some of the things in the film.

quote:
Is it more violent than the Lord of the Rings movies?
There's not more violence, but it's portrayed differently. In The Lord Of The Rings it's kind of "cool" violence, with people making cool moves and joking about how many people they've killed in the battle. In Pan's Labyrinth it has a kind of documentary-like unflinchingness, and it's far from "cool".

I'll give a small ****SPOILER**** for something that happens near the beginning of the film, that's based on an incident that Del Toro actually saw happen to someone. A couple of people have been caught and are suspected to be guerillas. The commander is searching the bag of one of them while the other makes protestations that they're innocent. The commander takes out a bottle of wine from their bag and hits the younger man with the bottom of it, in the face. Rather than breaking, like it would in most films, the bottle stays intact. The commander holds the man up by his shirt front and hits him maybe 10 more times in the face. You see, in close-up, his nose become flatter on subsequent hits until eventually his face is nothing but a red mess, flat on the front of his head.

And that's not the harshest thing that happens.

So, you can see, it's not the amount of violence, but the kind of violence, and the way that it's portrayed. In The Lord Of The Rings you cheer for the fact that the orcs are being slain. In Pan's Labyrinth you cringe for the fact that things like that did happen to real people at that time in Spain, and indeed do happen to real people today. And the whole film has this kind of violence as it's backdrop. Even when the violence isn't happening, or even being threatened, it's a lurking presence.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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