SIFF 2008 Diary: Day 1

I’m going to try and keep a SIFF diary this year of everything I see. Notes, reviews, stories of waiting in line and dying of self-induced starvation. As you all now know, this will be no easy task. I’ve already bought tickets to 57 SIFF movies for 24 straight days of movie watching and for me to even watch all of those movies without cracking, much less write about each one, is going to be a huge task. But I think it will be an interesting exercise for me to give you a look into what goes into this particular kind of madness that I call all my own.

First up is a movie that is not even part of SIFF, but dammit, if they can screen it at Cannes, I can sure as hell screen it at my SIFF. It had that festival vibe to it anyway. There was a huge line to get into Cinerama, even 40 minutes before the movie started, and guys were handing out slices of Costco pizza and bottled water to those waiting to get in.

—–Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)——

As fun as this movie is and as glad as I am to see Harrison Ford back making good movies, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. Maybe it is the built up anticipation for a new Indiana Jones movie. Maybe it is the fact that George Lucas has somehow managed to screw up everything that he touches lately. Whatever it is, while I enjoyed watching this movie I had almost no emotional reaction to it as soon as the theater lights went up.

Perhaps it is had to do with the fact that the franchise seems to be steeped even less in reality than it ever was, even after being told in countless press before the film opened that Jones would now reflect a more mature (ie: old) Harrison Ford. Indy is even more like a superhero in this one, being beaten and blown up almost every ten minutes or so, and yet the only thing that really tells us that he’s “older” is the fact that he walks a little slower now. Where is the Indy of Raiders of the Lost Ark who was so tired of fighting masked bad guys that he just pulled out his gun and shot the last sword swinging nutjob?

Also, while I can be a big fan of CGI, it does take away from the realism of some of the stunt work in the movie. It is hard to feel frightened for a character when you can tell that he’s not in a real situation. All that said, what does work well are the actors in this computer-generated version of the 50’s. All the main players bring you into the journey, even if the reality of the situation pushes you back out again. My favorite parts usually took place in a crypt, because what more do you really need for an Indiana Jones movie other than a dark cave, booby traps, spider webs and a fedora?


…more movie madness to come…

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