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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subjectI want to like this film, but I don't get it
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=240898&mesg_id=241532
241532, I want to like this film, but I don't get it
Posted by celery77, Fri Dec-29-06 01:00 AM
Other criticisms echo my own -- I seriously started this movie about 5 times before I finally finished because it drags so much, and that time I finally finished it was a major piece of will power. I'll admit I didn't re-watch it before I posted this, because I kept clamming up at the thought of going through with it again. I might do it before this sinks, but then again I just might not.

Basically, much of the film feels like a re-tread to me:

A bloated, distant beauracracy? WOW -- cutting, that satire there.
Invasive government police? IT'S LIKE HE CAN SEE THE FUTURE!
Modern living disrupting personal relationships? It's like he looked at art from the 1920s or something! Amazing!
Man dissatisfied with life finds revelation in revolutionary female love interest? What a totally unique romance!

I don't get the appeal -- I've read 1984, I've read the Brave New World, I've read Fahrenheit 451, I've seen Terry Gilliam's other pieces of whimsical fantasy, I've seen huge numbers of dystopian fantasies, and this one just doesn't click with me. It seriously lifts central elements from each of the works I just mentioned -- Big Brother from 1984, strict social hierarchy from Brave New World, revolutionary love interest from Fahrenheit 451, and all the art direction you know and love in every other Terry Gilliam film.

I mean, it's Gilliam so it has all the fingerprints of his talent, and as far as these dystopian things go, it hits all the notes and hits them rather predictably, but coming to it as basically the last of all the dystopian fictions I consumed, I'd have to say I'm pretty disappointed in it. Frankly, I'm hesitant to even class it as a sci-fi -- it's more just a cheesy fantasy with a non-descript time setting.

Still, given the paucity of sci-fi film which actually makes any effort to be something besides a space soap opera or an action movie with lasers, I suppose it's refreshing in that sense. Worth watching for serious film buffs to admire Terry Gilliam's handiwork, but nothing particularly ground-breaking in light of the huge number of other works which basically do what this film does, only better.

In the end, I'd rather watch Blade Runner again, then read a Brave New World and call it a day.

If a fan of the film could give a detailed analysis of exactly what works for them, I'd be curious to hear that. The art direction is pure Gilliam magic, I know that, but that story? How is it NOT one huge rip-off, and poorly paced at that?