This post is part of the Against the Crowd Blogathon, hosted by Dell over at Dell on Movies. Check out the announcement post here, and make sure to check out the other entries.
For those not in the know, the basic idea of this blogathon is simple: to showcase how us film bloggers can sometimes diverge from popular opinion, to showcase one movie everyone hates that we love, and one movie that everyone loves, which we despise entirely. So, let’s get on with it, shall we? Let us begin with the movie that everyone else loves, but I despise entirely:
You love it, I hate it:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Sorry, what was that? Just thinking about 2001 made me fall asleep for a second there. Seriously, though, 2001 is really, really boring. Hey, audience, do you want a film that would rather spend the first 3 minutes with a black screen and music than beginning a story? Do you want a film that spends its first 30 minutes focusing on speechless monkeys murdering each other in a sequence that has little bearing on the plot, and actually could easily be removed? Do you want a film that pulls a bait-and-switch on its protagonist? Do you want a film whose middle act is frustratingly good for all the bull attached on either end? Do you want a film with the most pointlessly vague and nonsensical ending possible? Well, too bad, you’re getting it anyways! Because Kubrick.
What can I say about 2001 that hasn’t been said two thousand and one times before? Oh, I know. I don’t care for it. Like, at all. I genuinely do not like it. “But why?” ask other science fiction nerds the world over. Because it’s really freaking stupid. Honestly, the film isn’t half so clever as it likes to think it is. It spends upwards of half of its runtime on special effects glory shots that really only barely hold up today, and which I don’t want to watch for 3 minutes while Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” plays. If I had wanted to hear Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” I would’ve gone to the ballet, not watched a pretentious 60’s sci-fi film! I’m sure that audiences in the 60’s were blown away by these effects, but seriously, watching them nowadays is so slow and dull, I’d rather be watching pretty much anything else. And the “monkey-man kills” beginning of this film is pointless. Don’t give me the whole “ingenuity of man is his greatest downfall, for violence and brutality are in his nature” spiel, I’ve heard it all before. Monkey-man learn kill, kill other monkey-man. What serious genius. It must have taken a true visionary to observe such a thing. I’m blown away. Wow. Also, big black door turn monkey-man smart. Yay. What a truly amazing and mind-blowing opening. Also, for a film that came out the same year as Planet of the Apes, and in fact, on the very same day, April 3, 1968, the ape make-up is surprisingly shoddy. They look like high-end Halloween costumes, and there’s no emotion, or even movement, in the face.
After that, we get a subplot about a monolith on the Moon that really doesn’t go anywhere, other than showing that stupid, unexplained monolith again, before heading into the main body of the film, with Dave and HAL. I like this part. So let’s not talk about it. It’s fine. That’s all I have to say about it. It’s just frustratingly obvious that this should’ve been the entire film. Get an editor, Kubrick!
The ending of this film is beyond frustrating. It’s vague for no particular reason. It thinks that it’s smart because it’s nonsensical and doesn’t convey information, or even any context for the situation to its audience, who are baffled and confused upon the first viewing. Let me put it this way: If one needs to use Google to understand the ending of your movie, well:
And don’t give me the whole “read the book, it all makes sense” spiel, the book has nothing to do with this. Kubrick chose to not explain what was happening, as there was originally a voiceover in the scene, which was removed, because who cares about your audience?! I don’t care about the book, if the movie can’t work on its own, without a support system, than it fails. It fails on a narrative level, on an entertainment level, and on respecting its audience enough to let them in on what the heck is happening on screen. And that, my friends, is enough reason for me to hate 2001: A Space Odyssey, a slow-moving, incredibly frustrating film that I cannot, and will not recommend to modern audiences. It has interesting ideas, and great scenes, and is a must-watch for cinephiles, but, as a piece of entertainment, it fails. And isn’t that the point of a film? To entertain, on some level? Yes, yes it is. And a slow-moving film can be entertaining. Just not if it’s 2001.
You hate it, I love it:
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Oof, that’s harsh. And, worse, I can’t even argue with any of these points. Well, let’s attempt to explain my liking for such a despiséd flick.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 action/adventure flick based on the action/adventure video game franchise of the same title. The film starred Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, and Daniel Craig, and was directed by Simon West of Con Air. Sounds like a formula for success, right? Oh, right, video game movie. But wait! For all its faults, one cannot claim that Tomb Raider is even nearly as bad as other notorious video game films. It respects its source material, unlike Super Mario Bros: The Movie. It has production value, unlike House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and countless other Uwe Boll films. And, it isn’t Paul W.S. Anderson bragging to the world how awesome his wife is, unlike the Resident Evil films. In fact, I would say that this film may be (and probably is) the greatest video game film ever committed to celluloid, and the only one worth watching (I haven’t seen its sequel). Tomb Raider certainly lacks any real substance, or even a unique style, but it’s a fun, enjoyable romp of an adventure film that holds your attention for the entirety of its 101 minute runtime. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, and it’s straight-up fun. It’s an fun, generic 2000’s action film in the best way, and also, Daniel Craig. And Angelina Jolie. In the same movie.
Yeah, you can go ahead and claim me a farce for saying this, just don’t claim 2001 to be on a level beyond Tomb Raider. Because it’s not, and it never will be. 2001 is pretentious, while Tomb Raider knows exactly what it is, and is perfectly content with itself, not needing to be perceived as some landmark achievement in narrative. Because neither film is, but Tomb Raider is definitely, definitely better.
Well, there ya have it! I’ve revealed my secrets in front of the entire Internet, and this post will be around forever, haunting me in my dreams. But, hopefully you enjoyed it! If you did, leave a comment, telling me how I’m wrong, and also an idiot. Go ahead, do it, do it right now. I can handle it. Do it. Just DO IT!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of this blogathon over at Dell On Movies, and I’ll see you next time. Bye!