Saturday, May 29, 2010

Top and Bottom of the Aughts - #4

Memento (2000)
Leonard is on a mission to track down and kill his wife’s murderer. The only real hitch is that he has been unable to make new memories since the night of his wife's death. Writer-director Christopher Nolan plunges his audience into Leonard’s world of confusion by telling the story backwards, starting at the conclusion and working his way back to the beginning. Instead of being a gimmick, this device keeps the audience on the same page as Leonard as neither one knows what happened five minutes ago. Memento is full of narrative twists and turns, keeping the audience guessing through the very end, or beginning as the case may be.

10,000 BC (2008)
After watching the trailer and seeing the billboards, I knew this would be a bad movie, and the movie did not disappoint. The characters are poorly defined with no one even approaching likeability. The geography is highly improbable, as our band of “heroes” travels from a tundra-like region, crossing snow-capped mountains, through a rainforest at the base of the mountains, ending up in the desert, traveling all of that distance in about a week. Each region is filled with giant CG creatures, none of which are terribly convincing. The climax of the film is anything but thrilling, and surprisingly small considering the rest of the movie’s epic aspirations. But the real kicker of the movie is that it is The Ten Commandments (1956) remade by Nietzsche. Instead of God rescuing a nation of slaves from tyranny, the slaves themselves rise up against and kill “God” (really an alien) and then go off to live their lives as they see fit. Ultimately, 10,000 BC passes over the “so bad it’s fun” designation into “so bad it’s painful.”

Coming up next: two water movies.

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