10 Movies Everyone Seems to Hate, but I Absolutely Love, Part 2

10/15/11

Remember how I said this would be up two days after the first part, at the most? Yeah, never mind.

We're on the top five now. I should probably give these entries more descriptive titles. Not like anyone's reading them, anyway. You're going to want to keep in mind, here, that these are not necessarily movies I think are good; they are merely movies I enjoy. I also enjoy, say, a McDouble with cheese, but that doesn't mean it's a good burger. It's a pretty crappy burger. But I like burgers in general, and there are far worse burgers out there than the McDouble. Metaphorically speaking, I mean. I'm talking about movies, here. You... you got that, right?

5. Van Helsing
The story's a mess, the acting's passable at best, and there are so many monsters featured, not one of them gets ample screen time. But this movie is awesome. For one thing, there is a disheartening dearth of action films taking place in the nineteenth century, which is really quite a shame, because that was kind of an awesome century. This is just a personal preference, but any film that takes place in Victorian England pretty much automatically gets a passing grade from me. That that atmosphere is suitably dark and gloomy while still being colorful  - as opposed to the browns and blacks of today's dark movies - is a plus, as well.

Further, this movie gets one thing right in a way very few others do nowadays - it presents classic movie monsters as classic movie monsters. Dracula is threatening and monstrous, not sexy. Frankenstein is angsty and morose, rather than the mindless brute our culture makes him out to be. It's really quite refreshing.

Plus, as was the case with Sucker Punch in my last post, this movie tries to look good, and succeeds enormously. The sets look cool. The costumes look cool. The effects look cool. This is a cool movie. I know you shouldn't place style above substance, but I'm kind of an aestheticist - sometimes style has a substance of its own. The important thing is, the movie made me want to be a part of the world it presented, and thus drew me, the viewer, into it.

4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The first strike this movie had against it was that it was based on an Alan Moore book, which naturally meant that fans of the book were going to detest it. The issue is that, at least with V for Vendetta and Watchmen, the public in general liked the films. Not so here. League was a critical and commercial failure, and even SyFy won't show it. Most people remember it as "The movie that made Sean Connery quit doing movies."

So why do I love it? Well, firstly, everything I said about Van Helsing applies here - the time period, the atmosphere, the fact that everything looks awesome. Not to mention, I actually enjoyed the characters here - Sawyer aside, of course. If they made a movie specifically about this interpretation of Dorian Gray - as a badass immortal secret agent - I would watch the hell out of that movie. The story's fairly mundane "save the world" stuff, but the character interactions are legitimately interesting, and the acting was actually really good, given that the story was about a group of mutant secret agents who need to save the world from a group of mutant evil secret agents. Not much else to say, really.

3. Prince of Persia
For some reason, a complaint frequently leveled against this movie is that the Irish Jake Gyllenhaal was playing a Persian. I never really got why that was a problem. I mean, Charlton Heston once played a Mexican. Now, Gyllenhaal's no Charlton Heston, but he still gets the job done here. As for the unfortunate implications surrounding the fact that the only white actor is playing the protagonist, well, those are legitimate, but they don't have much of a bearing on the film's actual quality.

Once again, the story is nothing to write home about - although the ending, in my opinion, was very, very clever - and the dialog here is pretty shoddy, as well. So why do I like it? The characters. You've seen all of them millions of times before - you could call them clich├ęd - but they're used very well here, and they're all likable, and so they make the movie likable. They're all iconic figures, from the rebellious prince to his evil usurping uncle to the creepy snake antagonist, and that makes the movie feel iconic, as well. I'm not saying it's a classic - though if the dialog were better, it easily could have been - but I am saying that watching it felt a lot like watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Just, you know, without the clever dialog. Or Johnny Depp.

2. Final Fantsy: The Spirits Within
Basically, there is one reason that people hate this movie: it has "Final Fantasy" in the title. So, naturally, fans of the video games hate it because it didn't fit in with the series' canon (though, considering that they allowed in the monstrosity that is Final Fantasy XIII, their standards clearly aren't very high) and non-fans hated it because they assumed it would only be entertaining to fans of the games.

The film's notable for the fact that it was a full-length animated feature to use photo-realistic CGI, and I thought it did a very nice job, especially with eyes. Some people had complaints about the hair, but I only really notice that it looks off if I specifically concentrate on the hair, which is kind of a weird thing to do while watching a movie. At any rate, it was better-looking than The Polar Express.

Unlike most of the other movies on this list, this one's got a very, very interesting story, but very, very bland characters. It involves alien ghosts inhabiting a meteor that's slowly coming to earth and causing all sorts of ecological issues. It's very new-agey stuff, and I'd like to imagine that it partially influenced the story of District 9. The characters, on the other hand, are all either scientists or space marines, or, in a few cases, both. But their bland shells react to the impending doom appropriately enough, and it all works together pretty well - the world, not the characters, are the focus, anyway.

So, what's number one? I mean, it doesn't really matter, since - for the most part - I pretty much just put these down in random order, but I did specifically set this one aside for the number one slot for some reason or another:

1. The Brothers Grimm
With most of these movies, I know exactly why people hate them - I can see what's wrong with them, I acknowledge their flaws, I'm just too busy enjoying myself to mind. But with this, I have absolutely no idea why it gets so much flak. I mean, there's no real vitriol directed at it, it's more of just this pervading societal acceptance, for whatever reason, that this is a bad movie. I mean, it's got a 5.9 on imdb. I don't really take imdb ratings seriously, but that's still pretty low for a movie without any gaping flaws, to my mind.

The characters are great. I love these guys. Their schtick is, they'll trick some villagers into believing a monster is haunting their town, and then they'll "kill" the monster for a pretty hefty sum of gold. They're con men of the most entertaining sort. So, one day, they stumble across a real monster attack, and naturally they have to help - I admit, I suppose that premise might sound a bit hackneyed, but stay with me here.

 The movie plays out like a super-adult fairy tale - think Pan's Labyrinth. As Damon and Ledger - did I mention Heath Ledger's in this? Because Heath Ledger's in this - investigate further into the disappearing kids, they discover progressively more grotesque renditions of classic fairy tales. The gingerbread man will haunt your dreams. There is a scene with a cat. Spoilers: good things do not happen to this cat.

It has an interesting story, great characters, and great acting. Go out and watch it. Right now.

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