Friday, May 28, 2004

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: In which director Roland Emmerich makes his own ON DEADLY GROUND sans Steven Seagal but with just as many enviro-speeches. The good: special effects make every disaster in this film (tornadoes, tidal waves, huge ice shelf collapses) a scary wonder to behold. It is in this light that we discuss the reason why we go watch this, or TWISTER, or ARMAGEDDON and the like: to watch the unthinkable happen before our very eyes. We watched Emmerich's INDEPENDENCE DAY because spaceships blew up the White House, and we certainly were mildly curious to see Godzilla rip up New York City in 1998's woeful GODZILLA. It is when these movies (take your pick from any of the examples) decide to try to make their entertainment "valid" by putting in some sort of plot that we should care about where all of these movies fail. I liked INDEPENDENCE DAY, but on subsequent viewings I realized how much trash there was to be watched inbetween all of the action, and I have soured on the movie a little since. In THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, the "plot" is that father and climatologist Dennis Quaid must traverse the now-frozen Earth to find his son (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is holed up in an NYC library. During all of this, we get the dangers of global warming, that all the people in power don't care or believe there are bigger problems, and some usual subplotting involving romance (Sela Ward-Dennis Quaid, estranged couple; Jake Gyllenhaal and the fabulous Emmy Rossum's (Sean Penn's daughter from MYSTIC RIVER) possible romance, etc.) We didn't come to see that! And yet, it figures into 85% of the movie. The other 15%, the disasters we came to see. So, what would be my recommendation? Just to see a bunch of disasters and make it sort of a computer-graphics enhanced nature show? No, but don't try to sell me on other things when you obviously got us into the theatre to show us New York getting drowned in water and frozen. Give me a survival story that includes, I don't know, REAL DANGER. I must say it starts off that way, and Dennis Quaid is certainly put to the test a couple of times (they encompass what's good about the movie), but I never really thought, after Gyllenhaal gets in the library, that his life was ever going to be in danger again. And that removed me from some of the tension. Overall, decent, but I do not really recommend it.

SOUL PLANE: And you should have no doubt that I will NOT be recommending this to my worst enemy. Another unfunny Afro-centric cheapie, it's no different from the dumbass Anglo-centric dick-and-fart comedies that are released ad nauseum. In these types of movies, we are laden with black-is-better nonsense while we see that fundamentally a comedy starring black people can be just as unfunny as one starring mostly Caucasians. In each of these types of movies, there are token opposite-race characters. The black guy in the white comedy is the guy who infuses hipness and fun without any real emotion about it (he's just there to say funny things and then leave). In the black comedy, the white guy (Tom Arnold) is the unhip, no-fun guy. Anyway, the whole movie generally takes place in this "soul plane" and we are walked through it to show how a stereotypical black man would run an airline if he had the money, and if a stand-up comic were to deliver the details. Snoop Dogg would be the pilot, and he would be mad-whack smoking some weed, money. There'd be a dance club inside, with lots of hot honies. And if an Arab man gets on the plane, two overzealous women acting as security will get on either side of him and MAKE SHO' HE DON' DO NU'IN. Just not funny, anyway. Too much of this comedy depends on whether you think black stereotypes are inherently funny.


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