Saturday, 31 October 2009
After having my expectations suitably lowered by a painfully overwrought trailer, I was slightly surprised by what is a dark, slightly less overwrought movie then expected. Its still very earnest, sometimes awkwardly so. But any kids movie thats sets itself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland is going to do fine by me. I think kids will like this, and while the stuttering dialogue and at times poor voice acting ( Elijah Wood is the LOTR franchise's Mark Hamill to Viggo Mortensen's Harrison Ford.) mean that this movie will never be something you can praise without hesitation. What it does do however is effectively execute its dark, troubling tone and for that I can cut it some slack.
It's story, which the 1 hour train ride home allowed me to paraphrase as Puppets against the Machine. We're in techno-fear apocalypse mode here, so its more The Matrix then The Road. Our 9 felt heroes walk the rubbled streets, hunted by a remnant of the machine army, a Giant ass bug with Doctor Octopus like tentacles. It tries in vain to create characters and antagonism within its characters, but it all clunks quite badly to be honest. In part due to our man Frodo's less then stellar showing, but also to some bad writing. Where it works are the numerous action sequences and the visual universe which it creates. This movie maintains quite the body count too, which even if they are puppets is still quite jarring for the kind of movie that it is.
A flawed if ambitious movie which nails its look but skimps on its story and characters. It was better then expected though, even if its not by much is always a good thing.