Monday, January 30, 2012

Betty's Mini Movie Reviews (A Not Remotely Regular Feature)

Last night's DVD viewing: Source Code. This one turned out to disappoint me, mostly because I started out quite liking it. In fact, a little way through, I was thinking that this seemed to be one of those movies which is predicated on absolute nonsense, but is so well-constructed otherwise that it succeeds in making you not care too much about that fact. Which is something that always kinds of impresses me. When you get to the end, though -- and I'm going to try to put this in a non-spoilery way -- when you get to the end, you kind of have to care about the nonsense, and the whole thing falls apart in ways that just annoy me more the more I think about them. I think what really bugs me is the fact that clearly the people who made this movie either a) did not think through the logic and the implications for two whole seconds, or b) they didn't believe their viewing audience would bother to or be smart enough to think about it for two seconds. I'm not entirely sure which of those possibilities is worse. (If you'd like a spoilery analysis of what's wrong with it, I think Cracked does a great job of it, although I might have one or two things to add to their complaints. Also, I have no problem with their third point, although their discussion of it is hilarious.)

Man, I should have gone with my first instinct, which said that any movie with that title that wasn't about computer programming was clearly wearing its cluelessness on its sleeve and was probably best avoided.

4 comments:

  1. I pretty much agreed with the everything the AV Club said about it:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/source-code,53950/

    I liked it, more or less, but I didn't think it was remarkable in any way.

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    1. Yeah, I'd pretty much agree with that review, too, especially the description of it as "cleverly structured up until a problematic finale." Unfortunately, I think said finale means, ultimately, that this film doesn't support the idea "even movies with explosions don’t have to be dumb to entertain" (much as I like that thought), because however smart it initially appears to be, that's an entire movie's worth of dumb, right there. (What particularly bugs me is that it could have been avoided. Give me a chance with that script, and I swear I could turn it into something approximately 400% better. Ah, if only I had a series of eight-minute intervals in which to fix things...)

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  2. I rather liked the film, actually, and the fact that the ending is kind of messed up -- and knows it (otherwise, why show the main character standing in front of that giant mirror, in which the reflection we see is not his own?) -- is part of what I like about it.

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    1. (Warning: spoilers ahoy!)

      I dunno, it didn't give me sufficient impression that it knew exactly how messed up it was. It seemed to me to think it had a happy ending, which it so, so didn't. It's not very thematically coherent, either. If it's not OK to sacrifice and exploit Our Hero for the potential good of others, why is it OK to sacrifice the guy he displaced? Why does nobody care about that?

      It also has some logical problems, too. The problem isn't that the way we find out the whole thing works at the end doesn't make sense. It's that nothing else does make sense, and I can't see how even the person who invented the thing could fail to see that. What's really annoying is that that problem could have been easily avoided with a few subtle indicators that the scientist actually knew perfectly well, but was deliberately not telling the guy because then he would really want to rescue all those alternate people, and that's not the mission HQ cares about. But, while all the elements for that are there, you never get the sense that that's what was happening, not even in retrospect.

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