Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nothing insightful, but I like movies

I don't know what to do with myself anymore. It's nearly 3 am and unlike yesterday or the day before when I stayed up to an ungodly hour because I hadn't yet written a blog, today I have no excuse and I have no way to dig myself out of it anymore. I'm at a loss, it's already tomorrow, my head is falling over from exhaustion and I desperately just want to go to sleep.

Help me?

I guess to get out of this hole I'll just tell you a bit of my experience watching Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, in theaters today. If I try to figure out another subject, I fear my head might burst, so a new 007 movie in the cinema it is!

The cinema was much too packed. By the time the film started, it was almost too filled with people. At Odeons in London, tickets are sold at astronomical prices and seats may or may not be assigned. It is so unlike the five-dollar-a-pop moviehouses where I have had most of my cinematic experiences these past twenty years.

In addition to the strangeness of the seating arrangements, these cinemas only play one or two films at a time. At least the Odeons do. There aren't ten alternative choices of screen each showing a different film. There are one or two screens and you queue up prior to going into the room to watch the film.

I guess in this sense, going to see a movie becomes more of an event and less of a standard activity. People wait for the films they want to see. They anticipate. They only have the option of going to the blockbusters.

Blockbusters. Ordinarily you wouldn't find me at one of these films. But today I went. And I was pleased to have gone.

The new James Bond film is a testament to how epics, action films, new films in a series can do well. Years ago when I went with my friend and her brother to see Casino Royale, a few minutes into the film I'd been turned off by the gore and action-y aspects of it. But with a bit of patience and excitement to see some of my favorite actors on screen in this newer sequel, I managed to arrive at a point in watching the film wherein I was more exhilirated than anything else.

Still, I don't think I betrayed my cool exterior which might have those around me believing I was not enjoying myself (I'm looking at you, Alex).

But the film itself was something marvelous. It reminded me of going to see horror films. Because within both of these genres there is room for two styles of cinematic undertaking. There are the films that are ridiculous and do nothing to stave off that reputation. Then there are the films that question their historical precedence and end up proving that they can exist within the genre and without it. They transcend.

This new 007 was the latter.

Yes, you could call it an action film. There were immense chase scenes and there was some relentless gore with the purpose of keeping audiences on the edges of their seats. Categorizing the film into another category would undermine this aspect of it, which was inherently obvious and at times a bit distracting.

But in the moments when there weren't motorcycles flying on rooftops and men battling weaponless on top of a train, there were scenes of self-reflexivity and clever humor, character study and intricate developments of narrative. At times it was difficult to follow, almost like an episode of Doctor Who, but despite that it always felt like it was valuable rather than trite. That is a hard thing to accomplish within a film franchise that has existed for decades.

Leave it to an Oscar Winning director to achieve that sort of success.

Anyway, it's very late, and while I wish I could provide more insight into the film or my experience watching it, I fear that anything I'd have left to say would only be perceived as gushing. I am incredibly tired and need to start writing these blogs at a more human-friendly hour.

Until then, I hope I've convinced you of the worthiness of Skyfall. It is a movie anyone can appreciate. I believe that.

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