Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Superman" Sucks. (No worries, I can't possibly spoil this movie).

I know that I must weigh my words carefully in this venue. There are, literally, throngs of people who hang on my every word and await my guidance as a night watchman awaits the dawn, a night watchman the dawn. Careers hang in the balance as I make my opinions known. Yet, in the end, I have absolutely no hesitation as I tell you -


Seriously. Think Judge Dredd. Heaven's Gate. Waterworld. Ishtar. Grease 2. I shudder as I contemplate just how difficult it will be to describe how much this movie sucks. No joke, I feel like I need to say the Yom Kippur hineni prayer before I begin. For the unitiated, that's a prayer sung by the cantor ("here I am, unworthy in deeds...") in which he expresses his unworthiness to stand before God and intercede on behalf of the congregation; the cantor humbly begs that God allow him to fulfill his task and not punish the congregation on account of his shortcomings. I ask for no less from the Almighty in this particular instance.

I guess I need to start somewhere, so here goes:

(1) One nit-picky point from the opening. Of course, had the movie been good, or even decent, or even watchable, I wouldn't mention it - nor, likely, would I remember it. But, given how much the movie sucked, this item presciently foreshadows the disaster ahead.

The format of the opening credits is just retarded. They attempt to wow you with these special effects (more on special effects later, by the way); the names of all the directors, producers, and other idiots come out at you in 3-D. It is somewhat cool - once. After about five minutes of the same ridiculous graphic, it seems not so much cool as gimmicky and stale. Much like the rest of the film proves to be.

(2) The dialogue in the movie stands out for its consistent ridiculousness. At one "dramatic" point (and this movie tries sooo hard, and so terribly, to be dramatic), when Lois is first alone with Superman after his unannounced 5-year absence, she hugs him and says, slowly, "I forgot how warm you are." And then they fly off silently.

I forgot how warm you are?! What is he, a pair of fucking flannel pajamas? I forgot how warm you are?! The line elicited at least 5 snorts from the general vicinity in which I was sitting.

You know, I usually don't like when critics pick out one line from a book or movie and tear it apart. I mean, every work has some line that can be criticized. How does a reader know if one line accurately reflects an entire work? But what can I tell you - in this case, that one line perfectly and fully reflects the bizarre, stilted, downright scripted interaction between the characters.

One other line comes to mind. After Superman recovers from his injuries towards the very end of the movie, he comes to visit Lois (who is living with some other dude) and thanks her. Lois asks, "Will I see you around?" To which, Superman replies, slowly, dramatically, "I'm always around," and flies away. More snorts.

(3) While we're talking about the ending, it might make sense to note here that the ending juuuuust doeeeeeesn't eeeennnd. The movie lasts two-and-a-half hours that feel like five.

It is a close call, but the last 30 minutes of the movie seem slightly more interminable than the first 30 minutes. Nothing happens during either of these two parts of the movie (and only minimally more during the middle hour and a half).

(4) The evil plot Superman must contend with just doesn't make sense; honestly, I don't even know if I can describe what the basic plot is. Lex Luther is trying to...what exactly? To build a continent out of alien crystals that will crowd out other continents by submerging them beneath rising oceans, so that people will be forced to purchase real estate on Luther's privately owned landmass? Whaaaaaat? I swear, it's like a group of Hollywood/NYTimes liberals attempted to package all of the worlds worst dangers - global warming, Israeli occupation, resource-hungry American neo-colonialists, and lack of affordable housing in Manahttan - into one terrifying plot. Superman, save us!

(5) And speaking of Lex Luther's asinine plot, can someone PLEASE explain to me what is so cool about the formation of crystal edifices? As best I can tell, the entire special effects portion of the movie's $260 million budget - that's $260 million, the most expensive movie budget in history - was earmarked for scenes featuring the emergence of stalactites and stalagmites from a crystal pilfered from Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Seriously, does it really cost $260 million to make scenes that look pretty much like this:

Wouldn't it just have been easier - and, say, oh, a hundred million dollars cheaper - to just shoot on location in any of the thousands of sites worldwide that actually look (and much more realistically) like the environment these idiot spent millions to create? And, to return to a theme mentioned earlier, does nobody realize that what is sort-of cool the first time gets really, really old by the fifth? I mean, is there some closet constituency of geology enthusiasts among the comic-book-geek crowd that the studio is trying to attract?

And these crystal structures, by the way, are the same pieces of real estate that Lex intends to sell to vacationers and others looking for a place to live. Once again - whaaaat?

Aright, I can't write anymore about this movie.

I'll close with this. "Superman Returns" is so bereft of redeeming features that I feel almost compelled to recommend seeing it; it's not every day that you can personally witness a quarter-billion dollars being flushed down the toilet.


Blogger David Rosen said...

Kraut, I loved this movie. But I'll admit I'm very biased b/c I literally watched Superman 100 times as a kid, so I was excited just to see anything back on the screen. There are many flaws with this movie. Kevin Spacey's acting just didn't feel so right. The same with Parker Posey's. Some of the lines were trying a little too hard to be dramatic (Like, "I'm always around"). The movie overall kind of felt like it didn't have a plot. Lex Luthor's scheme was very similar to his scheme in Superman I. Parker Posey's eventual turn-around for good is very similar to Lex's woman friend in Superman I. Also, Parker Posey's acting felt a little campy. But, the reason I loved the movie was that it was visually very stunning, in the special effects and the physical sets showing the crystal pillars. The action scenes were veeery exciting, like with the plane, and at the end with the earth. And, the theme music is frickin' awesome, and they really blast it throughout. In fact, I'll admit that without the theme music, a lot of the scenes would probably have a lot less impact. Although I'll admit it was a little cheesy and also trying a little too hard, I also did like the father-son theme they had throughout, and I think they pulled that off adequately. Overall, I like the scene where Superman is talking to his son (but, it is kind of funny that Superman keeps breaking and entering into Lois' house, he's kind of a peeping tom).

There are some things that need to be taken into consideration. This movie is not trying to reinvent the Superman franchise. Batman Begins did that, it took it in a whole new direction. This movie is trying to build on the solid foundation of Superman I and II.

That being said, I thought the opening credits were great and made me really excited for the movie. The opening "dinky" effects are mimicking the effects of the 80's movies. They aren't impressive, anyone can make credits flying at the screen. But it was in keeping with the style of the older movies. So, it was signaling a triumphant return of Superman.

On that same theme, Lex Luthor is back as the orignial villain. And, in the first Superman movie he discusses how he's gonna send the West Coast into the ocean by hitting the San Andreas Fault with a missile, and all the crappy land he bought up east of the fault will be expensive. So, the plot in this movie is in keeping with Lex's character about focusing on "land", its not some Hollywoody liberal thing.

Here are some nitpicky points that only dorks would really pick up on: Why did Superman need to travel from Krypton back to Earth in a meteor? If its b/c he loses his powers as he gets closer to Krypton, then how did he actually get there? How did Superman get this meteor to make it to Earth with him inside?

Why didn't Lois tell her kid to use his powers when they were drowning in the boat?

12:10 PM  

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