Monday, January 30, 2006

The Strangest Near Miss I've Ever Seen

The Yahmdallah family was desperate for a movie last Friday. We had all just finished our latest novels, our usual magazines were already consumed, homework was complete; we needed a flick.

Redbox was a void, offering only the Brad Pitt marriage-wrecker movie (which I'll take in when it hits the manly-man target market channel, whose moniker escapes me at the moment). The grocery store where we rent (less than half the price of Blockschmucker) was picked cleaner than a woman's shoe store after a buy-one-get-two-free sale that coincided with a full moon (nothing left but a few box halves, a couple price tags, and a couple handfuls of hair). So, there we were in the dreaded Blockbuster deathmarch along the outer new release wall (which contains movies over a year in release), with its odd set of social rules where you do not step ahead of the people in front of you, even if they can't easily sound out the words of some of the titles, and will not budge until they do. (The trick to getting away from this without giving offense is to cross the store and work backwards until you run up against more of the challenged.)

We ended up with The Cave, the latest Aliens rip-off, because we had no other choice. We knew it wouldn't be good, but the wife and I have a fondness for creature flicks, and have enjoyed those others have not (such as Van Helsing - it was supposed to be campy, folks), so decided to risk wasting those minutes of our life.

Watched it. Meh. The plot (such as it was) near the end appears to get bored even with itself, and characters who've lost each other join back up by merely walking in from opposite sides of the screen (it was as if the continuity person said, "Aw, fuck it.").

Then watched one of the extras where it comes out that all the cave diving, and the actual peril the characters get into (besides the encounters with alien creatures), actually happened at one point to the cave diving crew hired to do the underwater cave filming. Crikey. Now that's a story! What the hell were they doing cramming some half-baked alien in there? Just these people trying to survive real dangers encountered in a sport only slightly safer than calling Karl Rove fat to his face in public is gripping unto itself.

The biggest shock was that the underwater cave shots were so spectacular I thought they were CGI and had begun to ignore them halfway through. And they were all real. Judas on a Vespa, anyway.

I can't recommend this for the movie itself, but if you want to see some pretty spectacular underwater cave footage, particularly if you have an HDTV or good home theatre, check this out.


jult52 said...

Is the Brad Pitt marriage wrecker movie 'Mr & Mrs Smith'? Watched it last weekend. My suggestion is that you watch the first 30-40 minutes and then turn it off. For that period of time, it is a witty send-up of the marriage problems of (very good looking) careerist suburban professionals. Nice acting by Jolie. After that, it becomes a pointless mess. Trust me on this one and you can enjoy a pleasant cinematic experience.

Anonymous said...

I think Ebert suggested the proper approach to Mr. & Mrs. Smith: keep in mind that all the film is really about is two beautiful people looking beautiful on screen. That's all. Eat your popcorn, enjoy the show, and above all don't think about the plot.

Follow his advice and you might actually like it, such as it is.

Yahmdallah said...

Thanks! I delegated that one to a "if I see it free at the library" viewing - or on manly man TV (still can't think of the moniker).