So today we’ll table our Favorite Movie Icon discussion til next week, because there are three big, big movies afoot this weekend. Three opportunities for movie studios to appeal to audiences with their storytelling, their graphics, their animation, and their cinematic gusto. I will be seeing just one of them. I’ve only been waiting about 360 days to see it. If only because I love the franchise. But let’s discuss the other two, which do not feature vampires, werewolves and/or South American island getaways and grotesque pregnancies.
First up, we have The Descendants. This drama was directed by Alexander Payne and it stars George Clooney. It’s a total come hither movie, if you ask me, because both director (who made Election, Sideways & About Schmidt) and star (um, George Clooney) demand a viewing. It’s set in Hawaii, it’s based on a novel that’s already gotten quite a bit of buzz (so highbrow cred that satisfies the literary crowd), and it’s Clooney dealing with disgruntled daughters on the subject of a not-necessarily-great marriage. This looks very, very good and I’m guessing that it will be around for quite some time (and especially around during Oscar time).
Also in theaters, trying to give the kids who cannot see Puss in Boots any more times a run for their money: Happy Feet Two. You wonder why “unknowns” in Hollywood are having such a hard time – they cannot get acting jobs so they turn to animation. However, nowadays, even when it’s just voices – not faces – that studios want for their films? Who do they get? Try Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Pink, Matt Damon, Common, Sofia Vergara, Brad Pitt and Hugo Weaving…just to name a few. These films now hire the best of the best, voicing even small parts, and the audiences love this. Indeed, audiences will most likely love Happy Feet Two because here Mumble’s son encounters another penguin who can fly, plus a natural enemy threatening his Emperor Penguin clan, whereupon all he!@#^$% breaks loose. Bottom line, for those kids who’ve surrendered slightly older siblings (and moms) at the cineplex for our next film, this is a winner that’ll do very nicely at the box office.
But not nearly as well as the vampire in the living room, the fourth (but fortunately penultimate) installment in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn. Part One. The one we’ve all been waiting an entire year to see, the one that makes me suddenly understand the anxiety that haunts the Harry Potter fans. See, I love the Harry Potter movies, but I don’t care when they open, I haven’t read the books, and when I do see the movies I enjoy them immensely, but couldn’t possibly tell them apart. Twilight was a pure gamechanger for reasons I don’t quite understand, although if it was unique to me, seventeen million tweens and probably more Twi-moms wouldn’t also be beating a path to their local cineplex this weekend. If you’ve never seen any of the Twilight movies, all you need know is this: Bella is an ordinary girl in a brand new school. She encounters a vampire named Edward Cullen and the two fall ridiculously and irrevocably in love. All sorts of lousy things happen because of this love, and she is frightened but determined while he feels guilty much of the time. Their love is of course, forbidden, she loves him, he alternately loves her but also want to kill her. Ultimately, after three movies’ worth of life and death turmoil he proposes and here, here is where we begin with Breaking Dawn. The part where they get married, go on honeymoon and do things that they’ve never done in prior films. Which may or may not lead to even more life and death consequences. However, we’ll only see about half of those consequences because everyone’s gotta wait a year for Breaking Dawn, Part Two. Did that make sense? It’s a fun love story with a human girl, a vampire, a werewolf, and lots of really terrible wigs. Inexplicably, The Twilight Saga is pure catnip for me, so I’ll recuse myself from further commentary and say simply that I’ll see it this weekend. Maybe twice. How about you? What looks good?
1) Happy Feet
2) The Twilight Saga; Breaking Dawn
3) The Descendants
4) The Immortals