Sunday, May 20, 2012
Quick Film Reviews #6
Woody Allen in slapstick mode as a man in a coma revived after centuries. Involves a lot of people running around chasing other people in a comedy fashion. I wouldn't say it's a work of genius, but it's quite funny, though probably more for the wit than the running around.
James lent me this because it's one of his favourite sci-fi films. I didn't realise until I started watching that it's based on a book by the epitome of airport thriller writers Dean R Koontz. It's vision of a super-intelligent computer and automated house is wonderfully 70s. Proteus does seem to be the Anakin Skywalker of computers though. All that awesome intellect and knowledge of humanity, but absolutely no persuasive skills. Oh, you rebutted my one sentence argument... Then I will have to kill you! Also, let's give this computer a really sinister voice. Or maybe he's the MacGuyver of computers, able to create a reconfiguring, levitating polygon and a tailored embryo using just a laser and a mechanical arm. There's some kind of message about inhumanity and the environment, but I think it got lost somewhere.
This is actually the first David Lynch film I've seen, so I braced myself for a baffling story of mysterious symbolism. I was rather surprised to find a linear plot, clear good and bad characters and a neat resolution. It does have a "strange and brutal underside to the normal looking town" theme to it, but this is made less threatening by the fact the two sides are very clearly spatially and thematically separated. The ending is parodic in its upbeatness, even down to the mechanical robins straight out of Mary Poppins. It reminded me of the basic structure of a fantasy story where chance leads the hero into an alternate world, at least until its problems are resolved. (It also reminded me somewhat of A History of Violence.) None of which is to say there's not a depth to the film and its symbolism, and there are a number of very memorable scenes, mostly based around Dennis Hoppers legendary satanic performance.