Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sahara

Okay, okay, it was easily 30 minutes too long. Maybe 40. And one more southern rock choice in the soundtrack, I was going to go home and invent a time machine, go back in time, and sneak a sackful of rabid weasels onto Skynyrd's plane so I'd know that during the entire crash, they were ALSO being tormented by the weasel bites.

But you know what? It's good. Way better than it has any right to be. Worth your money, if this is your kind of thing. Old school 1980's action done right, with a ton of good will and just head-bobbing goddam fun. Actual chemistry between all three leads. The plot certainly makes more sense than the last three Bond movies combined. There was a moment when I realized: "Holy shit. A guy movie. An actual guy movie."

Speaking of which, the first time the sneaky little 007-style brass flourish kicks in as Pitt pulls some cool action stunt, I chuckled out loud. And, unlike almost every American director working right now, Eisner knows how to choreograph an action sequence and track geography for maximum shoot-em-up effectiveness. This is a skill completely unappreciated by anyone except those of us who write big actions scenes, and we are in frikkin' despair. He also knows how to frame a decent punch-up (or is smart enough to have a great second-unit guy). He just needs a writer or producer who'll have the discipline to keep the pacing up within the existing structure.

Having done three films for the ancien regime at Paramount which produced this, I can smell exactly what happened. The Enemies of Fun at the studio did their best to make it "a better class of movie", because some of them are elitist snobs, and Eisner, bless him, managed to keep them from completely killing it. Then, having no idea what to do with it because it wasn't a pedantic thriller, they mis-marketed it. Do I know for sure what happened? No. Do I remember the meeting where they said The Core "should be more like Das Boot"? Oh yes. Oh fuck yes. (I'm looking forward to seeing what the shake-up brings.)

But I guarantee, even if this thing rolls over at the box-office: this is a flick you'll catch five minutes of on TBS a couple years from now, and an hour later you'll realize you got some chips and diet coke and you just blew out your afternoon.

Go with your dad or 12-year old nephew. Shit blows up. People fight. Some nice old-school chase sequences. Eat Twizzlers and grin like a bastard at the explodo.

8 comments:

1031 said...

They wanted The Core to be more like Das Boot?

Oy.

Scott said...

It was a great movie. We actually saw it at the drive-in which made it all the more sweeter. I was transported back to my dad’s Chevy Blazer, where we watched Rambo, Rocky, and Raiders.

Ah, Summer.

DJ said...

“Make the Core more like Das Boot”….and you still won’t let me hit movie execs in meetings

Invector said...

Hi John... do you ever get to go back to those people who screwed up the movie and say "I told you so"? And if so... does it help?

That Girl said...

Now I feel bad. We were going to go see it for my partner's (a filmmaker) birthday but it looked so uninspired.

Now if I can tear him away from his editing deck for an hour Ill make him see it with me.

Trev said...

I enjoyed the movie but it had three problems that kept it from getting a "That's Grrrrreat"

1. Coincidence of finding the plane with the toolkits. This much coincidence only works a) if it's at the beginning of the movie (e.g. finding the coin) or b) leads to danger as opposed to resolving danger (e.g. Zahn character finding the map to the boat about 10 minutes earlier) or c) has been setup (e.g. tribespeople showing up at the end)


2. The cause of the poisoning. Should have been purposeful, to kill off the tribe, not a byproduct of the process. Would have only taken one re-write.

3. [And this only because my wife and I actually dive] You can't have Matthew aka Dirk saying "Diving is my life" and then not dive at some point after that fact in the movie.

Overall good--just needed a quick re-write and (I agree) one less southern rock song to be great.

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Riyan Cilacap said...

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