Why I’m Wrong
Crimson Peak suffers from saggy second half
Goddard screenplay fails The Martian
There was one thing that I think was actively wrong with The Martian: the writing. I’ve liked Drew Goddard’s screenplays in the past, even if I’ve never loved them (Cloverfield, some of his work on the Daredevil television show). But this one was hard to sit through. The humor made my friend and me cringe, the pop culture references felt tired and the lack of philosophical/existential investigation felt less like a calculated move and more like laziness. The one scene where the script really does indulge the existential issues of being the “only man on a deserted planet” is a short scene that merely explains that the idea is interesting. In the hands of a better writer (and a better, more art house-leaning director) this film could have taken some fascinating directions with a really rich concept.
Happy to support Chappie
Is it possible to agree with most of the negative, thoughtful criticism a film gets and still like it, a lot? In fact, it is.
Like the recent beautiful, to some disastrous Jupiter Ascending, Chappie is far from a perfect movie. No one would even try to say it is. But what it does have in common with that Wachowskis film (besides the goofy villains) is a startling, compelling originality that too many major release films simply lack.
The Wachowskis and Neill Blomkamp are a great comparison to make, Josh. These are filmmakers who present outrageous content, earnestly and with (seemingly) no understanding that there are going to plenty of people who find these stories too weird to digest. For every Matrix, which taps into the public consciousness in such a way that it simply cannot be ignored, there are three Cloud Atlases. And yes, you can find other characters like the characters in these films, like you can in every other film ever. I am talking about concepts here.
Back to Chappie. Yes, I certainly wondered why anyone would cast those two permanently Halloween costumed Die Antwoord people as villains. But I’ll be damned if they didn’t start to win me over. By the time Yolandi (Yo-Landi Visser) reads Chappie a book, which leads to a discussion about “what is the soul?,” I was sold. I even eventually got a handle on what I thought Hugh Jackman was trying to do as the warmongering Vincent, one of the high points of the film, according to your review. But I get it. This is deeply polarizing stuff.
The ending was another point where I was fascinated, but YMMV, as they say on the Internet.
I just can’t write off these types of big, goofy fence-swinging science fiction pictures, if for no other reason than their fearless uniqueness.