Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hot Fuzz v. Spidey - No Match

Wow, that was kinda bad. The plot was sappy and dull, and the acting kinda creepy. Many overblown "emotional" moments in which the audience cracked up at the cheesiness of it all. Personally I've been spoiled by "Heroes" - the "dark" Peter Parker in the movie was pitiful less than a week after seeing the futuristic Peter Petrelli played brilliantly on the small screen. Both actors used a change in hairstyle to signal their turn to the dark side, but for Spidey it was a cheap gimmick and for Petrelli it connected with the character, enriching the transformation, not pointing a gaudy spotlight on it.


I don't think they used the scene shot in front of my building, but the scene in front of the movie theater, yes. Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) lives in an apartment just across from the theater, and Peter stands under the movie marquee and looks up into her window; the building's exterior is clearly recognizable (and quite beautiful, even in real life.) I waited for others in the audience to recognize it, but it wasn't the usual crowd, so I doubt they even noticed. My "safe" theater was overrun with screaming kids, obnoxious parents, chattering couples, and even a woman who had a long cell phone conversation right in the middle of the movie. Thankfully it was loud and I can deal with it when it's a movie like this. Still, I had to wonder: where did these people come from? It's playing in the megaplex up the street, did they get lost on their way there?

I'm such a snob, aren't I?

Man, Thomas Hayden Church looked terrible. I hope it was done with special effects, but his whole face and body were so pumped up that he looked inhuman (and this is when his character was in its "human" form.) It was like he went crazy with the steroids. His ears stuck out like they'd been pushed aside by the muscles wrapped around his neck. Luckily, the part called for no real acting, just scenery chewing along with the rest of the cast. Tobey Maguire? Not really very good in this. Even Kirsten Dunst has some head-slappingly bad moments. Probably the only fresh voice in the film is Topher Grace, because he plays it like he knows it's a cartoon.

I haven't read any reviews yet, although I heard one on the NPR Movies podcast at the gym this morning. I agree with one thing, which is that the film loses a great opportunity to explore Peter's dark side (which is what it "supposedly" is about) when it chooses to have his evil turn sparked not by his own inner demons but by an outside force. It could have been a fascinating story if the core of Black Spidey came from within, not from without. The pieces are all there - the thirst for revenge, the feeling of loss, the guilt, the anger - instead we have black goop from space. (Oops, spoiler. Sorry. It's in the opening scene though.)

(Hey, wasn' the black oil stolen from "The X Files?" Speaking of which, David Duchovny told Elvis Mitchell on "The Treatment" that they are developing a sequel to the movie. I'm simultaneously excited and worried. This will either rock or completely suck.)

Oh, well. Did I mention I saw "Hot Fuzz" last weekend? I liked it a lot. Really funny, very smart, with interesting characters. The plot is a bit silly, but it's meant to be, so you go along with it. One thing that surprised me was the way it was shot - quick flashes of visual images, swooshing sounds, fast movement between shots. It reminded me a bit of "Requiem for a Dream" but I don't have the history of having seen "Bad Boys II" or "Point Break" or any of the other cop-buddy films that "Hot Fuzz" openly plays homage too, so I'm not sure if that's the genre or a new twist on it. (It also reminded me of the opening credits of "Dexter.") Great movie. Skip "Spiderman 3," see this instead.


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