Sunday, November 11, 2007

Three Movies: Two Good, One Not So Good

I was manufacturing ScopeRoller 11 Deluxe sets last night, mostly in front of the TV. Not the parts done with power tools, obviously, but once I have the holes drilled, I can hand tap them, and screw all the parts together.

Anyway, the first movie was We Were Soldiers (2002), a film version of Lt. Gen. Hal Moore's memoir We Were Soldiers Once...And Young about the Battle of La Drang in 1965. It was a stirring film about a deeply religious officer looking to do his duty to God, country, and his men, in a situation that in retrospect made very little sense. It's hard to watch this and not feel tremendous respect for the soldiers involved--and contempt for the idiocy of how the civilian leadership made the decisions about how the Vietnam War was fought. It is harrowing to watch the battle scenes, and heartbreaking to watch the scenes stateside as families confront the awfulness of war.

The second movie was Mission Impossible 2--one of those reminders that you can spend a lot of money on a film, but if the screenwriters have the maturity of teenagers, the results can be very disappointing. I think I saw complaints about Mission Impossible having too complex of a plot--and they seem have gone too far the other direction, with a very direct, not terribly involving plot, but complex stunts, lots and lots of explosions, and Agent Hunt convincing a supermodel jewel thief (there are lots of those around, you know) to join the team--but of course, they hop into the sack immediately. As I said--very realistic--if you are a teenager. What a waste.

The third movie was Sahara, which was actually something of a surprise. I had seen trailers for it, and thought, "It looks like an action adventure movie. I'll wait for it to come on TV." Yet it was a far better film than I expected. It had witty dialog reminiscent of The Mummy or Tremors, which redeemed what otherwise might have been a fairly uninspiring action adventure movie. It actually had at least two major plots to it, with an incident on the beach that brings all the players together. Someone actually made the effort to create a plausible backstory for the two action leads (all expressed in the opening credits, as we see various newspaper clippings on a wall)--which otherwise would have made their derring-do laughably impossible.

I don't want to give away too much of Sahara, but imagine a historical context and involvement like National Treasure, except with far more historical plausibility. (I won't say plausible, but it only required me to press the "Historian Off" button twice or three times to enjoy it, unlike National Treasure, where my finger was getting blistered from having to keep hitting the button.) It wasn't a great movie, but it was fun, and well worth sitting through the commercials to watch!

UPDATE: A reader tells me that he really enjoyed the movie--after giving up on Clive Cussler's novel from which the movie is derived after four chapters. From the description of the novel, the screenplay took certain liberties with the location.

No comments:

Post a Comment