Friday, March 25, 2011

They'll Get Better... I hope


I wanted to write a review for the movie Splice; it’s been over a decade since I reviewed anything. I wanted to watch it and pick it apart. I wanted to learn all about it. I wanted to tell people they needed to watch it. I don’t do science fiction. I’m usually afraid that the violence and special effects will outdo the story. I was a mess after District 9 and almost took out some old lady in the tea and coffee isle because she was in my way and the movie had pushed me to a place I didn’t like.

First there are two ways I’ve noticed to watch a movie, I’m sure there are more but with my friends this is what I’ve noticed. You like, or dislike the movie by what happens “Romeo and Juliette sucked because the lovers died in the end.” or “Romeo and Juliette was awesome because the way the death is set up and getting there is timed out and weighed perfectly; this makes the ending totally believable.” I’m part 2. I like a movie with a great ending as much as anyone, but if the story tellers have done a good job getting to a tragic messed up ending I can take it. I won’t give away the ending but it’s messed up and I liked it.

There were a lot of things wrong with the movie. Clive had sex with a character that was basically his daughter. They kept Dren (the spliced monster) in a barn with walls full of holes. The tub of water didn’t freeze even though there was no heat source in the barn and it was winter time. Dren ran around in a tiny dress, in the barn, in the winter while everyone else wore jackets. And she died a few times. Sarah Polly gives her character no growth and the relationship between Elsa and Clive is dead and boring from the beginning. But I still loved the movie; watched it twice, the whole way through, both times. Trust me that’s like two thumbs up from Roger Ebert.

The good parts: The monster goes from being cute and childlike to sexy and I never I never lost interest in her. There are times when she is just a human trying to be a beautiful monster, but for the most part her Dren grows, emotes and remains interesting and dangerous.

Elsa believes Dren is like the doll she had to hide from her mother. Dren is something illegal they’ve created and that part of the story is enhanced by the doll. I like those sort of things. There’s a lot of overlapping of images; something said one point in time about one problem or action or reaction can be transferred to something else. Clive and Elsa the two main characters are like Ginger and Fred, the spliced monsters they created before Dren; they are killing each other.

I love doing things like this in my own writing and love watching someone else do it.

In a scene where Clive and Elsa are trying to contain Dren, Clive says I love you to her, this is sweet except that we never hear him say it to Elsa. It’s the way the writer/director has chosen to move the story forward and make the actions of Clive believable; the big picture comes together in one moment.

The second time I watched the movie I was writing the review in my head and thought “I know Elsa’s name, he says it all the time, but what’s his name? Elsa really only mentions Clive’s name at the very end when everything is falling apart, sort of like when you’re at work and you’ve spent an hour with an important client and they’re about to leave and you realize you’ve never called them by name. Do you even know their name?

In the begging Clive and Elsa spend too much time on Dren to see Ginger and Fred fall apart. Fred and Ginger were supposed to be the great pride of the NERD Company (OK the name is kind of dumb and obvious) but something goes very wrong in front of the news and sponsors, something they had plenty of warning about, but didn’t pay attention to. By the end of the movie Clive and Elsa have spent too much time on Dren to see themselves fall apart.

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