Saturday, October 11, 2003

Kill Bill Killed

Managed to make it to see Kill Bill yesterday. I had already responded to David Edelstein's review and made some comments on Tarantino's oeuvre here. So I'll just add a few notes on the movie itself.

It is a gore fest. I haven't seen so much gore in a film since Peter Jackson's Dead-Alive (aka Braindead), and that's saying something. The dialog is silly, but silly in the way that imported martial arts movies always were. Tarantino even starts the film off with the "Filmed in ShawScope" clip, an obvious homage to the Shaw Brothers films of the '70s. What the movie has that sets it apart from being merely a genre flick is an amazing sense of style. It may be a case of style over substance, but in this instance I'd have to say that style trumps substance.

Tarantino is so obviously in love with the genre that he never devolves into parody. It is his passion that the audience is swept away with, not his smartness. And the audience was swept away. Usually I don't like seeing action movies in the theater when they first come out. Often it is crowded, noisy and full of obnoxious teens that can't keep their mouths shut (do I sound properly curmudgeonly?), but in this case it actually added to the experience to have some young males cheering the carnage. It is definitely a film meant to be seen by, or at least with, some callow youths.

A final update to the previous posting. I was making some comparisons between Welles and Tarantino, that in retrospect, I would like to amend. I think Welles was the greater artist and certainly more influential in the long term. The point and comparison I wanted to make was that they both had that boy wonder thing that is so hard for any artist to live up to. And they both changed the language of film making and story telling by breaking standard conventions of narrative. Welles went beyond that and changed the visual language as well.

Last and unrelated notes. I got to the theater just before the movie started, but managed to catch the Return of the King trailer, which I had seen online. It impressed me for its stateliness and pacing viewed on my computer. It blew me away on a big screen. That was followed by the new Matrix trailer (two trailers in a row with Hugo Weaving, and lots of Hugo Weavings at that), which looks like it has overcome the middle film weaknesses of Reloaded. I have high hopes that the Matrix trilogy will be concluded on a high note. And finally, just before the ShawScope graphic, a delightful animation of Bob and Doug McKenzie in moose form, asking the audience to shhhhhhhhh.... eh!

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