Thursday, May 18, 2006

Movies I Watched Recently: Ones With Very Long Titles

By a strange coincidence, I watched two movies recently that have incredibly long names: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Banzai is a bit of a cult classic, and is a complete cheesefest in the same vein as films like Big Trouble in Little China and Army of Darkness. They're dumb fun and they know it. It's about a half American half Japanese renaissance man named Buckaroo Banzai, who's a brilliant surgeon, physicist, rock star, and martial artist all rolled into one. An experiment of his leads to a crisis as the Earth is threatened by a bunch of aliens called Lectoids who want Buckaroo to stop a war criminal from their planet who was imprisoned in the 8th Dimension. The war criminal in turn wants a device created by Buckaroo (as part of the aforementioned experiment) in order to carry out his evil plan. Aided by his team of scientists / rock band the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo must defeat the bad guy and get the girl. It's low budget and looks dated, but is a load of fun... there's a strong cast as well - Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, and Clancy Brown.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is based on C.S. Lewis's fantasy book of the same name. The story concerns four World War II era kids who get transported (via a wardrobe) to a magical land called Narnia that's in the grip of the evil White Witch (the icy Tilda Swinton). Turns out the kids are part of a prophecy to overthrow her, and with the aid of the lion king Aslan, they embark on a perilous quest to do just that. The film's no classic but it's quite good. While its stylistic trappings borrows from Lord of the Rings, it sadly lacks that series' verisimilitude. As an adaptation, it's quite faithful; it does add a lot of characterization that was not present in the book, which was quite a light read. On a technical level, everything's good while never being exceptional. My only real complaint - what went wrong with the music? It's utterly forgettable. And how come Alanis Morisette is singing during the closing credits?

1 comment:

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