Thursday, July 13, 2006

how to do a movie review

"a scanner darkly"

written and directed by richard linklater
from a novel by philip k. dick
starring keanu reeves, robert downey jr,
woody harrelson and winona ryder
viewed at the embarcadero movie theater, san francisco, ca

i think richard linklater is one of the most innovative film directors around. he's just very solid. even a movie like "school of rock" that should have sucked was very entertaining.

i have a problem with this one, though.

look, he already did a movie with rotoscoping, which is the process of animating over film. and "waking life" was a ballsy, experimental failure. but ballsy. and in that time, there has been a crappy ad campaign by schwab that not only used that process but also the same art style.

the point is that "waking life" and those schwab ads had no reason for their film to be rotoscoped. it was done just to be done. in linklater's case, it was to bring back and perfect a forgotten art form. in schwab's case, it's because 95% of advertising is crap.

and that brings us to "a scanner darkly", an adaptation of a philip k. dick novel. and if there's someone whose work should be experimental, it should be him.

but that's the problem with this film. the whole movie is done in rotoscoping, when it really should have been used delicately. the movie is about addiction, and this style would have worked while we were in the midst of it. it would have put us in that frame of mind. but since the whole movie was done that way, and since it took place only seven years in the future, the whole style just seems so overdone.

what's my point? unless the concept calls for rotoscoping, it shouldn't be done.

the logic for it has to be airtight. and it wasn't for this movie.

and it just kept on getting in the way. i mean, it's animation, but the animation is governed by the film underneath it, so it couldn't get that crazy. and all that took the starch out of the movie for me. it really did.

and it's a shame, because i think i would have loved the film of it.

1 comment:

Jaime Schwarz said...

Haven't seen a scanner darkly and don't know much about it, agree totally with the Schwab ads, no reason for them, but as for waking life, which, as a story line goes is very sophomoric and is GREAT when high, is perfect for rotoscoping because the whole movie is a dream sequence, reality is out of kilter in a dream and that's when rotoscoping can work I think. I will try to see this one though.