I’m a little behind in my NaNoWriMo efforts, so this won’t be a very long post. But I wanted to post a few brief words about the two movies I saw today. One features cartoonish characters in outlandish settings. The other is Wreck-It Ralph.
The only saving grace to Flight is Denzel Washington. He’s great here, and it’s really all him, because the script doesn’t do him any favors. He invests his character with more believability through his mannerisms and his unspoken thoughts than through the actual lines he’s given. Everybody else around him tries their best, but they all come across as clichés (John Goodman in particular), and the story plays out exactly as you’d expect. There’s a scene where Washington’s character agonizes over taking a drink from a minibar bottle of vodka, and eventually sets it down on the countertop and walks away. But Robert Zemeckis can’t be subtle about anything, and so the camera lingers on the bottle long afterward, so long that when Washington’s hand comes back into frame and snatches it up, you’re not the least bit surprised. That’s the film in a nutshell: no surprises, no interesting diversions, no unexpected moments. See it to watch Washington tear it up, but that’s about it.
Wreck-It Ralph is just the opposite. If you’re expecting a string of video game cameos draped over a flimsy story, think again. Not only are the references pretty much confined to the early part of the film, there’s an honest, surprising story here, one about acceptance and responsibility. There are good number of genuinely emotional moments, including one that memorably evokes the spirit of The Iron Giant, and it’s just packed with great voice performances, especially from John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. They’ve got great chemistry, and both their characters are so endearing and likeable, it makes one key moment just absolutely wrenching, and another near the end just a wonderful note to send the audience out on. My audience was packed with kids who absolutely ate this up, and it got some really enthusiastic applause at the end, so it looks like Disney has another hit on its hands. And deservedly so.
All right, now to get in at least 2,000 words or so tonight.