December 29, 2005 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: December 2005

For the final film fight of the year, we have a fairly forgettable bunch, with one stand-out exception among the mediocrity. Despite this lack of greatness, we shall continue.

Doom has been a long time coming, with the rights being moved around for years. Was it worth the wait? As expected, no. It’s a terrible and utterly mindless film that both misses the point of the game and pads the storyline out with some horrible faux-science. Despite some previously inspired roles, such as in the otherwise awful Be Cool, The Rock is dire; playing entirely to type, in the most unconvincing manner. Expect all the worst Hollywood action cliches. Do not see this.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, on the other hand, is surprisingly great, despite the awful trailer and eyebrow raising cast. A modern pastiche of classic noir private eye films, this film manages to raise some laughs with an expertly done take on the classic stereotypes of the genre: our hero gets beaten up constantly, the icey cool PI is gay (groomed, not camp), and the sultry lady involved in the whole affair will, and does, sleep with anyone. Throw in a slightly surreal, but well-executed, plot, some moments of inspired comic genius (the corpse in the shower), and some finely pitched characters and you’ve got a hit. Very good film.

You wouldn’t expect a documentary about the mating rituals of a kind of penguin to get an international release but, due to the American Christian right insisting it is proof of the existence of God, it did. Leaving aside the questionable reasoning in that assertion (to me, it suggests the opposite), March Of The Penguins is an okay film. It does exactly what it says it will and no more, and that’s fine; the life cycle of the Emperor Penguin is complex and interesting. Despite this, the cinematic release is fairly unwarranted. It does nothing more than any other nature documentary and suffers when compared to other films.

Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is part of the classic series of books once turned into a kids TV series by the BBC. This big-budget interpretation is quite different, sticking slightly closer to the books in tone, but losing character for it. The Christian allegory throughout the series is front and centre here, where the televisation kept it roughly in the background allowing it to shape events from there rather than saturate the story. There is, of course, nothing wrong with such allegory (the well-meaning lessons therein are to be commended). However, the manner in which they are handled seems fairly superficial and forced, as if someone read an essay on the meaning of the book before touching the screen play. While it is essentially a good kids film, it is nothing particularly special. Shame that.

Though a lot of noise has been made about this film of the musical of the classic Mel Brooks’ comedy, The Producers, the simple fact of the matter is it just isn’t as good as the original. That’s hardly suprising given how excellent that film is. What is surprising, however, is the terrible job that several of the main characters do. Matthew Broderick is the key failure here, with a characterisation both one-dimensional and crudely developed. He isn’t the only problem, with lacklustre performances by many. The pacing is wildly off as well. The climax of the film’s central play is easily a crescendo, followed by too many acts of plodding around wrapping up the story. While this is obviously necessary for the film to make sense, it’s handled in such a dull manner as to drag far longer than it should. Pedestrian, at best.

It should be fairly clear from that lot that the December winner is the fantastic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. With a winner for every month of the year, it’s only a day or two until the Film Fight Finale (who didn’t see that coming?) where the best film of the year shall be revealed.