June 30, 2005 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: June 2005

Bloody hell, what a month. This way, with exams and ensuing celebrations completely done (with the exception of some results night outs), it’s back to the classic four films.

First up, is the absolutely stunning Sin City. Enough has been said about how it’s a near frame for frame adaptation of the comic book of the same name to know that this is something a little different. An abnormal amount of time has been spent getting everything just right visually, and it pays off. We’re pulled into a world where it doesn’t seem absurd to have a goliath of a man (theinimitable and invincible Marv) jump through the windscreen of a car and be unharmed. Or where prostitutes use fairly extreme measures to defend their turf. Or where a central character can, because he knows the right people, change his appearance when necessary. The characters may be simple and have one-track minds, but that’s the point. It’s such a perfect realisation of a world that you can’t help but smile from start to finish.

Heading into more bizarre territory is The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse. The characters of Royston Vasey find out their world is being destroyed because the writers (who play the characters) have moved on to other projects. Several characters then fleet between “the real world”, their home of Royston Vasey and other stranger places. It’s fair to say it’s an odd film and, not surprisingly, wouldn’t have much appeal for people who didn’t know the show. The jokes were fairly consistent, but giggles rather than gut-wrenching. Worth seeing for the mini-film half-way through.

Next is Batman Begins, the effective reset of the wayward Batman movie franchise, taking us through the earliest pertinent periods of Bruce Wayne’s life. For a huge budget Hollywood film, it does it with a surprising amount of tact and reliance on effects. That’s not say the film isn’t rammed with CG (it is) but director Christopher Nolan (see Memento for another example of his skill) makes it seem like it’s a useful addition to the film, rather than the basis for it. He certainly manages to bring a wayward series back on track, with Christian Bale tackling the most difficult period of Wayne’s youth with remarkable talent. The film goes awry in a few areas (criminal underuse of both Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, the Bat Tank, the love story, the gliding at the end), but these are largely conceptual nitpicking and don’t undermine everything that Nolan got right. The character has finally been done justice.

Finally, Kung Fu Hustle is from the same people that gave us Shaolin Soccer. Again, this is more a concept than a complete film and, in some ways, shows considerable talent. The usage of surround sound and CG is imaginative and usually of the highest quality, with the effects being central throughtout. Shame that the rest of the film is so poor. Even through the language barrier, you can’t help but cringe at the woeful acting on display. Coupled with the comedy aspects (slapstick was never funny, remember that), it falls down pretty fasty.

All in all, a good month for cinema. League Of Gentleman could have scrapped a win in other months and Batman Begins would almost certainly have won if it were not for the sheer brilliance of Sin City. However, with the exception of Kung Fu Hustle (and League if you’re not at least a casual fan of the show), I highly recommend all of this month’s films.