Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban, and a couple other thoughts

I had forgotten until today, when I saw a 9-minute snippet of Star Trek II in memoriam of Ricardo Montalban's death, what a good film that is (unlike most in the Star Trek series.) The Trek movies became the classic example of something too familiar to criticize; I saw them so many times with my father that I could never critique them as films. But II is good, maybe even quite good, on the strength of Montalban.

Heroes are so boring. For the first time in a decade, I watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves this week. Again, oddly familiar from so long ago. And Kevin Costner plays the part ably, but he's so... bland. Morgan Freeman is decent. The only exceptional part is Alan Rickman, playing the hell out of the Sheriff of Nottingham. When you're 14 you follow the heroes, and a decade later you realize that the villains are so much more fun.

Say what you want about Shatner: at least he knew how to play a hero with some pizzazz.

Before I leave films, one last thing about Benjamin Button -- whomever made the decision to leave in the story-within-a-story construction was wrong. It drags out the film, and all you really get out of it is the scene where the daughter realized Benjamin is her true father, which isn't terribly dramatic anyway. And enough has been said about the weirdness of the Hurricane Katrina subplot. You want to see the right way to do the story within a story? The Princess Bride. I don't know how much total screen time Peter Falk gets with Fred Savage—it can't be much. But he carries those scenes; they matter.

Something else that's awesome—giant telescopes. Writing them for PM this week.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Star Trek II = Shakespeare in space. Beautiful. And so quotable. "He tasks me! He tasks me and I shall have him!" "I've done far worse than KILL you. I've HURT you. And I wish to go" "YOU are in a position to demand...nothing. I, on the other hand, am in a position to grant nothing." (That one comes in handy as a TA.)

Have you seen The Treasure of the Sierra Madre? We watched it last week. Perfect, wonderful movie. You'd love it.