Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Movie Tuesday - Aquatic Creatures

Alrighty, Cinemaphiles, it's Movie Tuesday, and today's is a Doozy!

The first movie stars Adam Sandler, and the second stars a giant, slimy, fish-lizard mutant thing. They are both hilarious! If you watch them in English. Curious? Read on.

50 First Dates - 5 stars

If you haven't seen this one, it is worth a rental. If your stomach isn't turned by the idea of an Adam Sandler comedy, or Romantic Comedy in general, this is a terrific rental.

Adam Sandler plays a Marine Biologist/Veterinarian who works for a zoo-like tourist attraction in Hawai'i with some very funny walrus co-stars. (that's the "Aquatic Creatures" connection, get it?) He fiercely resists getting "tied down" in a romantic relationship, to the point where he only dates tourists, so that he won't have to see them more than once. When he meets a girl who gets to meet him for the first time every day all over again, it seems a match made in heaven.

The comedy is funny, the romance is believable, the plot is full of interesting twists, and the drama is engaging all the way through. I had seen "Memento" (the awesome Christopher Nolan film) and "Clean Slate" (the dreadful Dana Carvey film), which both deal with short term memory loss, and I had serious doubts as to whether a slapstick Adam Sandler film would handle the topic well.

(Info-cational point: the more accurate term for the condition is "Anterograde Amnesia", but I don't think that's as catchy, so I won't use it.)

Anyway, the short answer is - Yes, the film does handle the topic well. I won't spend much more time on this one, because I want to move on to The Host, but I do need to add one more note. Sean "I made a promise, Mr Frodo" Astin is in this movie, in a role I never saw coming for him. I didn't realize it was him at first, and when I did, it made his every second on screen that much funnier.

The Host - 4, possibly 5 stars...

I still don't know what to think of this movie. They say "You never get a second chance to make a first impression", and unfortunately for this film it seems to be true.

The movie is Korean, and if you watch it in Korean, with English subtitles, I am pretty sure it is a good film. It is a movie about Family, about Corrupt Government, about International Relations, about Loss, and Redemption, and Greed and Valor, but mostly it is a movie about a Big Scary Fish-Lizard Monster that lives in the Han River (There's the "Aquatic Creatures" connection again...) which goes around killing people and eating them. Viewed with its Original Korean-Language Soundtrack, it is better than the Jurassic Park Sequels, and maybe even as good as the original.

It is a Monster movie, but not a Horror movie. It is more of a Disaster movie, like War of The Worlds, or Independence Day. There is a lot of fear and confusion, but not a lot of Hack-and-Slash Gore. The real Bad Guys in the film are humans: friends, family members, and public officials, who react in various negative ways to the threat of the rampaging Mutant Beast.

The Cinematography is outstanding in this picture, and the special effects are so realistic you don't even notice them most of the time. The plot is good, and the acting is mostly good, but the dialogue is a little stupid at times(even in the subtitled version), as if there is a lot getting lost in the translation. There is one scene in a gymnasium, toward the beginning of the film, that is really, really irritating and completely unnecessary, but when you get past that the movie is thoroughly enjoyable, all the way to the end. Especially at the end.

I read another review of this film, which noted that the Sci-Fi monster movie typically falls prey to the "I can guess who's gonna get killed right at the beginning" complex. This movie is not so formulaic, and doesn't have the predictability that Hollywood so frequently dishes out. I also learned from reading other reviews of this movie that the opening scene, in which gallons upon gallons of formaldehyde are dumped into the Han River, is actually based on a real event.

Now, those are my feelings about the movie in Korean, with Subtitles. If you just pop this DVD into your player and press play, you will begin watching the Dubbed English version, which may very well be acted by the cast of Sailor Moon, or Speed Racer. The voice actors are doing cartoony parodies of real people, and are concentrating more on trying to make the lip motions match the words than on trying to speak coherent sentences that convey a thought. If you watch this version first, you may have difficulty appreciating the good version - First Impressons, remember? So Do yourself a favor and watch the film with the Korean Soundtrack, and English Subtitles first. Then watch the English Dubbed version in the spirit of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and laugh your head off. If you still have the movie sitting around later, you can do a third pass with the English vocals AND subtitles simultaneously, so you can appreciate more fully just how bad the translation truly is.

here are my favorite snippets, for your amusement.

  • Suicidal Businessman's Final Words to his Associates, before Jumping off the Han River Bridge....
"Have a good life."
"I'll see you in Hell."
  • Watching their Sister/Aunt in Archery Match on TV while Grandpa Cooks Outside.

Hyun-Seo:(threatening to tattle)"I'll tell Grandpa."
Gang-Du:"Go Head, tell the Geezer.
Hyun-Seo:(excited that her aunt's turn is coming up)"Grandpa!"
Gang-Du:"The old man has to run the shop, let's watch it ourselves"
Hyun-Seo:"What do you mean? We've all got to support her! Grandpa!!
Gang-Du:(silencing her)"Let the Geezer roast some squid."
Hyun-Seo:(threatening to tattle)"I'm gonna' tell Grandpa."
Gang-Du:"Hush, don't tell that old Slowpoke.
Hyun-Seo:(excited that her aunt's turn is coming up)"Grandpa!"
Gang-Du:"Don't worry about that, he's gotta be working all day."
Hyun-Seo:"What are you talking about? We've got to send all the Force we can! Grandpa!!
Gang-Du:(silencing her)"Hey, let's just leave that alone."

  • Police Officer, Stubbornly Denying the Family's Belief that Hyun-Seo is Still Alive...
Officer:"Your daughter ... She's on the Deceased List."
Gang-Du:(slightly delirious)"She's Deceased...But she's still alive"
Officer:"Now you're talking in circles."
Grandfather: (offering bribe) "Please, Officer..."
Officer: (to Gang-Du)"Your daughter never called you in the first place, okay?
(to Grandfather) "Your son just had a dream... but it was so real that..

Officer:(to nearby Doctor)"He's received psychological treatment?"
Doctor:"He's not a bad man.. but he's in shock. We should understand."
Officer:"Your daughter ... She's officially passed on, huh?"
Gang-Du:(slightly delirious)"She's Deceased...But she's still alive"
Officer:"Now you are talking in multiple circles."
Grandfather: (offering bribe)"Mr Police, sir..."
Officer: (to Gang-Du)"Anyway...To begin with...I mean, did she really make a phone call?
(to Grandfather)"Y'know, I reckon that this guy here just had a dream early in the morning, and...

Officer:(to nearby Doctor)"Does he have a mental illness?"
Doctor:"No, but Severe shock could lead to...temporary schizophrenia?"

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