Alright, so Netflix once pigeonholed one of my movie tastes as “Cerebral World War II Dramas.” Needless to say, I was embarrassingly awoken to this macabre obsession I have. So when I say this was the good side of “eh,” I maybe have some cred? lol
The cinematography was well done and I did appreciate that part of seeing it in theatres. What I did not fucking appreciate because *problems* were the extremely loud pops and booms of weaponry and explosions throughout the film. And the movie is well done so THAT you are startled. Some people like this; it just makes me angry and anxious. For that reason alone, I probably would have enjoyed it more at home without the BOOMBOOM of the big speakers.
The acting was decent to tolerable. I have to admit I got really distracted once the Last Kingdom douche bag was introduced in the plot. I had a really hard time divorcing him from that other role.
Overall if you’re one of those people that really likes WWII movies/documentaries, this is probably a cool flick to watch to add to all of those other granular details you’ve picked up over the years. If you’re not a WWII nerd and you’re not into actiony, drowny, no really like so many people die movies–you can probably skip it.
Just so we’re really clear, there are SPOILERS in this review–for the books and the movie. Normally I try to write un-spoiler reviews, but I wouldn’t have much meat to discuss with this movie if I couldn’t discuss its contents and the books side by side. So for those of you who don’t want it ruined (books or movie), I give the movie 4/5.
This adaptation had very mixed reviews, to the point that I was a little scared to go see it. I love The Dark Tower series and have been really looking forward to this film because THE DARK TOWER *sigh* and IDRIS ELBA *double sigh*…but here are my speculations on why the bad reviews may have been bad:
- The reviewer is so obsessed with The Dark Tower that they can’t comprehend any adaptation that does not faithfully follow the path of the books.
- The reviewer knows little about The Dark Tower and is overwhelmed by the somewhat bizarre plot and is missing all of the nuanced details that are jam-packed into this film.
For the rest of you TDT fans who left the movie going “huh?” consider this interpretation as a salve for your fandom wounds: The key to this interpretation (and lack of some very prominent main characters) is that partway through the man in black makes a comment along the lines of “this time around the wheel.” Because this movie is not the time around the wheel described in the book series. This is some version after he steps through the door at the top. And as my husband keeps proudly pointing out, HE HAS THE HORN! XD Now I’ve never been a fan of the (in my opinion bullshit) here we go ’round again ending to the books, but at least here it makes sense.
And on a way less nerdy note! The visual working of this post-apocalypse dying-tech world was great!! Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey played their rolls perfectly. Jake was well cast. At the end of the day, if they weren’t going to make 7-8 movies out of this I think this is the best way they could have put that plot into 1. Why they felt they couldn’t make 8 is weird to me, but that’s a rant for another day I suppose. I will say that the special effects are not so glorious that you have to see them in theatres. If you’re more of a RedBoxer, that will be just fine for this one. : )
I really enjoyed this one. And I was very glad it wasn’t the “female John Wick” as some people described it. John Wick is a movie about assassins. This is a Cold War spy-action flick. Very different things.
It also had some not-surprising, but nevertheless interesting sub-points about world politics and in some ways, perhaps showing that the tension in the 80’s was not so different than some of the tensions now.
The shots are all well done and there were some more gimmicky set ups that were very clearly an allusion to the graphic novel it’s based on. I also really loved the use of lighting and specifically the color lighting throughout the film.
I did feel like the girl-on-girl sex scene was a little gratuitous. Especially because they reference the main character having had sex with a male multiple times–all of which are given the kissing-faces-and-you-know-the-rest treatment. But when it’s two girls, let’s have an all out HBO fuck fest?? Ugh. Why couldn’t they have James McAvoy having a full frontal sex scene with some other dude in the movie?! Mmmhm. That’s what I thought.
All in all, glad I saw it in the theatres. Bottom line, the action scenes were worth it. I will look forward to watching this again on one of those call in to work, PMS, rainy days. : D
This song is HARD. I don’t mean a fun challenge. I mean it is a belter masterpiece. I have been intensely studying it for about 3 or 4 months and I have ONCE hit the belted high notes. For you non-singy people this is a different ball game from just singing “high” notes at a normal level. For example go try to sing the hook for “Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna at full force…kinda hard, huh? This is higher…
When I was pre-gaming for this post I wanted to rewatch this segment of The Bodyguard (the movie this song came from, in case you weren’t alive or live under a rock) and I noticed that the lip-sync performance in the movie does not imitate belting at all, which is utterly bizarre to watch. This prompted me to go watch some live performances on the YouTube to see just how much power she was actually using to sing this song. The answer is a fucking lot.
Which almost satiated my curiosity, and frankly my need for validation that this song is fucking hard…but. Video after video…after video…after video. Even the incredibly talented goddess of melisma HERSELF does not attempt to sing it as recorded for the studio album. In every live performance I’ve watched so far, they drop the key. This results in the song not sounding that much different, and to the average pop listener maybe not noticeable at all, but makes it much easier on the vocal chords because she doesn’t have to leap up to that incredible note on “close” of “don’t make me close one more door” while still leaping to a slightly more manageable note and sounding incredible (because she is). It’s a musical illusion that saves voices and embarrassment. (And by the way Rihanna does the same thing in her live performances of “Only Girl.”)
I bring this up not to disparage the approach, but rather to reinforce that these studio vocal gymnastics are HARD. We have no idea how many times it took these professionals to reach up there and make it happen for the record, so it’s kind of foolish to say “oh I’m no (insert Diva here)” –you might be!! Even they don’t hit those spectacular notes on most days, or reliably enough to bet on it in a live setting.
This is why “I Have Nothing” is such a demanding song that I obsess over. The crown jewel of The Bodyguard, her cover of “I Will Always Love You,” is beautiful and challenging in its own way; but “I Have Nothing” is the more stunning of the two. The gentle piano harmonies, the punching horns, all just caress the roller coaster of emotions. But to be honest, the musical accompaniment could be a dump truck pouring trash and I wouldn’t give a fuck–that voice is all I hear.
If you’ve never had the privilege, check out some of these live performances–she is brilliant.
Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.