Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cinematic Comix in 3D (Superman Returns)

I don't post most commercial flicks I see here, as there is usually a bombardment of news and reviews out there to meander through. So why add to the static? However, I just felt the need...

"Superman Returns" (dir. Bryan Singer, US, 2006, 154 minutes or so) I witnessed the 'IMAX 3D' version, so I do not know for certain whether this was an alternate version, which includes just five scenes in 3D, or a reformatted version of the original. There seems to be some debate, and I would have to go a second time on a regular screen, to be sure. However, as fun and beautiful looking as this little $360 million flick may be, I'm not that willing to turn around and go see it again.

Brandon Routh does a lovely job as the caped crusader, and in more ways than one. He is ginormously gorgeous on the IMAX screen. Though the closeups nearly reveal the shade of Revelon eye-liner he's using. They could have backed off a bit on his make-up, I think. Routh also uses his soap opera experience ("One Life To Live") to create the most romantic Superman of the bunch! Surprisingly enough, I found myself actually taken by the romantic subplot between him and Lois Lane, played by Kate Bosworth. Bosworth has the unfortunate position of being 'the girl' in this enormous action flick, and 'Lois' really isn't given much to do but stare in awe and goggle. She comes close to having some real meat to her scenes with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.

Now. One does have high expectations of Luthor, primarily based upon Gene Hackman's brilliant performance in the original some twenty odd years ago. Spacey has HUGE shoes to fill. And he doesn't. In fact, I found all of his scenes upstaged by Parker Posey (who is quickly becoming my next Screen Diva Goddess!), who plays his 'moll'. She doesn't need to do anything more than march down a spiral staircase to grab my attention with joy! She delivers some of the simplest lines with fabulous irony and wit. And there are a LOT of simple lines in this script.

One can not really seriously discuss a screenplay for this genre. However, this one was just sort of 'off'. Though I am always prepared to suspend my disbelief for such flicks, this really started to ask for too much. Yes, even though the original's 'time turning finale' was over the top, it is the inconsistencies in this plot that were more distracting than unrealistically laughable. I had some internal debate regarding a plot point involving the timing of Lois Lane's relationships. (Without giving away a spoiler, the girl is 'easy'.) I also had some internal debating about how effective is Kryptonite against the big guy, and in what amounts, etc. I guess what I am trying to say here is that some of the sequences are so drawn out that I had time to wonder about the validity, where I should have been either on the edge of my seat or visually amazed. I think there were just a few too many cooks in this kitchen, as the screenplay credits no less than five writers, which probably means there were a half dozen more asked to 'doctor' scenes.

Overall, I'd say Singer did a workmanlike job with this flick. However, his trademark subtext and fabulous wit only comes through in Parker Posey's performance. The rest of the production has the feel of having been shopped out, which the end credits validate, as the special effects were created by no less than EIGHT different companies. It is a great looking film. Actually, it is nearly a full length animated CGI flick. Why that process couldn't have been completely converted into 3D, instead of the five lone sequences, is sort of beyond me. In fact, the opening credits are some of the most thrilling visuals in the film, yet that is in standard single dimension. Why not convert that and not the boyhood flashback of running through the cornfields? Why not a nice trip through the Fortress of Crystal Dildos, er I mean, Fortress of Solitude? It is gorgeously designed yet under utilized. We do get one nice 3D flight towards the end, however even that didn't fully use the 'duck and cover' potential.

So, sure, it's worth a summer-popcorn-go-see, however, when I saw "X-Men 3" on Monday, I think felt a much higher audience anticipation during the trailer of "Snakes on a Plane". Oh, I can't wait!


Maxxxxx said...

"Such a PRETTY bird!"

Stephen said...

Well, you liked Superman a little more than I did (which isn't saying much). Parker was indeed fabulous but Routh, Bosworth and Spacey are overshadowed by the original actors (for the matter, the entire film is overshadowed by its vastly superior "original.")

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