My recent movie-viewing has led me to wonder if I am turning into a grown-up, albeit only in one very small thread from the complex tapestry that makes up my life.
Some of this film-watching has been in the comfort of Fish Towers thanks to the auspices of Lovefilm – now a scion of the tax-shy Amazon corporation. To be fair to Amazon, they may not be tax-shy and may just be unable to make a profit in Europe – though in this latter case, their shareholders may be somewhat distressed that their investment would be better off in a deposit account.
Some recent highlights have included Atmen (an Austrian film about a troubled young lad working for the coroner) and Le Havre (a French film directed by a Finn about helping a young boy make it to the UK). One of the joys of European cinema is that most of those on screen look like real people in contrast to much of Hollywood’s output where the cast are unfeasibly pretty. Le Havre was especially well-stocked with the interesting looking – a great comfort to those of us well into middle age and suffering the entropy-induced deterioration of our (once) matinée idol looks.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the cinema to see the current, much acclaimed entry in the Bond-oeuve: Skyfall. This has much to commend it, in particular rather more of Judi Dench than is normally the case: better still, Judi Dench quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson. Movies just don’t contain enough decent actors quoting our better 19th century poets: the last one I can recall was Bright Star which had the new Q extensively quoting John Keats (and my blubbing rather more than was seemly).
Skyfall did have some rather significant flaws. The Daniel Craig era Bond films do seem to be aiming at greater gritty realism than the more frivolous days of Roger Moore – and so egregious uses of CGI are particularly jarring. The first offender involved largish reptiles from Indonesia which was reminiscent of the worst excesses of George Lucas (though admittedly with rather better dialogue). Another involved a London Underground train in an entirely unnecessary CGI-fest which could have been more than adequately covered by a little falling masonry. The Bourne films may not be truly realistic (I’ve already discussed the liberties taken with the mobile phone acquisition process in this log), but everything that happens does seem rooted in reality and to be filmed using real objects moving in the real world which does wonders for the suspension of disbelief. I fear Mr Bond jumped the shark rather too often for my taste.
On the subject of the underground, the movie business does seem to play rather fast-and-loose with the system and Skyfall was no exception. Some of the action takes place on what is frequently (though somewhat unnecessarily) referred to as the District Line but which was clearly the Jubilee Line (not a hint of D78 stock). It was also clear that all the tube stations visited were, in fact, Charing Cross: probably because Charing Cross has a fairly modern but unused set of Jubilee line platforms which must be handy for filming. This would be no issue for an international audience, but was decidedly confusing for we locals – and as the only plot-critical tube station was Westminster, which is on the Jubilee line, somewhat unnecessary.
I seem to be much less impressed by action, bangs and flashes than was once the case – and have replaced them in my affections with character, plot and the provocation of thought (though I do still enjoy the very silly, aimed at people half my age). I blame all my recent theatre-growing – or my advancing age or dodgy chemicals in the water-supply (please delete as appropriate). We can but hope all this late-onset adulthood doesn’t spread any further … or GofaDM will be in big trouble,