While I continue to read (more book reviews are on the way very soon!), I have seen a few great films.
Firstly, I saw Avatar.
It took me awhile, but I had to see this film considering how immensely successful it has been (it was sold out every day for 3 weeks in our town..and our town is small).
In truth, I wasn’t entirely convinced that Avatar was going to be my type of film — and the fact that there was so much hype surrounding it — I couldn’t help but wonder if it could really live up to it all. Thankfully, I believe it did.
I know some critics have had issue with the plot — stating that there simply wasn’t enough, but I think the story itself was fairly decent. The concept of an “avatar” was interesting…the romance was good, and there was enough story to satisfy. Though of course the stunning visuals were the true power of this film, I don’t feel the story lacked as much as some have stated.
Putting that aside..and going into the real reason that everyone ran out to see this movie ( 😀 )..
So many of the scenes were just jaw-dropping. There was so much beautiful scenery, and it was all quite imaginative and magical. I found myself glued to the screen for the majority of the film, and yes, that IS a large part of the reason. I simply cannot praise Avatar enough when it comes to the visuals aspect, and there’s no shame in that. It’s truly a work of art.
With that, the majority of the acting was decent as well. However, I will admit that some of the dialog was cringe-worthy. A fair share of lines had me laughing under my breath – and not for the right reasons. Despite that, I think the actors did as well as they could — and not much of the dialog was truly bad — only a small amount. I also must give props to Sigourney Weaver, who truly shined in this film when it came to both acting and character. I’ve always enjoyed her work, so I may be a bit bias, but this was no different. I was thrilled to find out that she was in this film, and I’m incredibly happy that she had such an important role. Quite frankly, we need more movies with her in them!!
..oh..and while watching this film, was I the only one thinking World of Warcraft? The Na’vi totally had me thinking “Night Elves! 😀
All in all..Avatar was a great movie. Sure there were a handful of bad lines — and perhaps the plot wasn’t exactly complex or deeply profound — but it did exactly what it was intended to do — and that was to entertain. I found myself glued to the screen for nearly the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes..and the awe-inspiring visuals just had me. I could watch this movie again and again, simply for that reason alone. This movie had everything needed for commercial success. Write up a unique story, toss in some good ol’ action..and make the visuals as beautiful as possible. There you go..instant success! Really though, it’s a lovely movie.
Secondly, I saw Precious.
For those who may not know, Precious is the story of a 16 year old girl growing up in Harlem. She has 2 children (one with Down Syndrome), lives with her terribly abusive mother and father, and is illiterate. It’s essentially a story of her struggles and how she attempts to over-come them – how she copes despite the grave circumstances of her life.
I have to say, ever since the trailer was released I felt the need to see this, but for whatever reason it never came to our town. So after being quite bored this weekend, my mom and I decided to take a little trip to a neighboring city to see it. Now that I did, I can definitely say that I’m incredibly happy with that decision — as this was an excellent film. Emotionally draining, but excellent none-the-less.
Straight from the beginning I was drawn into Precious’s story. The character was so unique and real – the horrors of her life so realistically portrayed. I truly felt for her as a character — felt pity for her situation. I wished that someone would simply swoop in and make things right – would save her from the world she was thrust into; yet at the same time, I felt inspired – inspired by the power she had..by the motivation and drive she never lost. Despite the terrible situations she conditionally found herself in (by no fault of her own), she always came out with her head up. She never gave up.
Aside from the story itself – which was incredible — I must also take time to point out how brilliant the acting was.. Monique’s portrayal of an abusive and jealous mother was both horrifying and accurate — Gabourey Sidibe’s role as Precious was beyond phenomenal (and to think she’s never acted before!), and all of the other supporting characters worked so well. I even (surprisingly) felt Mariah Carey’s role as a social worker was actually believable (and yes, I was stunned to see her without makeup..I would have never known it was her without someone telling me!).
While the acting was amazing and the story itself was intriguing..it was also very, very dark. This film dealt with so many harsh and personal topics — topics such as rape, incest, and abuse. Topics that aren’t often addressed in big-screen films. The scenes portraying these things were very ‘in your face, ‘ and the dialog to go with them was quite real. I found myself not only holding back tears on a few occasions, but also looking away — as some of it was too much to watch. Thanks to the excellent acting in which I’ve already addressed, the vividness of the scenes made everything feel so real — as if they were really happening. While that’s certainly a great quality when it comes to the art of a movie – the act of breathing life into the work – it also made certain parts very hard to watch.
Beyond the story and subject matter, I was also truly impressed with the style of the film itself. The production was great, and I was impressed by the scenes where Precious would escape inside her own mind. I felt these moments added to the film and character – helping the viewer truly get inside of Precious’s head – seeing from HER perspective — understanding how anyone could possibly deal with the things she had to deal with. I can definitely understand how someone would want to create a false reality at times to cope – to simply move beyond the moment. This again, added to the realism.
Overall, I really liked this film. The acting was great, the story was moving – and the characters were spot on. Throughout the film I REALLY cared for Precious and wanted her to prevail. Oh..and when she did have her moments, I was silently cheering for her (some in the theater weren’t as silent). The characters, the acting, the content – it all touched me as a viewer. Some in a positive way, others in negative. At times I laughed..at times I wanted to cry, and at times I was simply disgusted. The movie made me feel something, and THAT in my opinion, is what separates a decent movie from a great one. This was a GREAT film. I wonder however, if I could honestly bring myself to watch it again? In a way I’d like to..yet in a way, I’m not sure I could – for the harsh reality of the situation made things almost overwhelming.
Whether I choose to see it again, or choose not to, Precious is a film that’s going to stay with me. I suggest experiencing it if you haven’t, but take note of the subject matter before buying your ticket. If you don’t do well with such topics, it may not be the right film for you.