it was raining yesterday for the first time in a while, and so we decided to go to the cinema (not the movies. the cinema. that's what they call it here. movies is something you watch on the tv at home.) much like good ol' Fredericksburg, we have one cinema in town, and it's kind of low-end in terms of its circa 1976 decor, the seats that haven't been upgraded since then, and the postage-size screens. plus it's inside one of those complexes they built in that late-70s/early-80s era that is 'for the kids'--it's got a bowling alley, an arcade alcove, a Toys-R-Us (yes, they're here too), a pizza place, and about two other things, scattered through this cavernous space that makes you feel like you're in the bowels of a huge stadium. only you're not. despite all of this, we thought it would be good to get out of the house, see a film with other people, and catch something relatively new.
also like F'burg in the summer, over 50% of the films showing are kids movies. three choices to us, then: Pirates of the Caribbean, roundly panned by critics and described as 'utterly lacking a plot' by a friend of ours. The Breakup, a possibility, but not hugely praised by the critics, although we like Jennifer Aniston and will probably see this sometime in the future. seems like one for dvd. and Superman Returns, which is what we saw. people liked it. they were impressed. critical praise. at least from the few sources we read.
someone must explain to me and us what is going on here. how can people say this film is good? we're not the type of people who are all: ooo, I won't see a film without subtitles. we're in support of a good summer blockbuster. Mission Impossible. Men in Black. Bourne Identity. T2. Lord of the Rings (the first one). but Superman? King Kong? these are films that love their own special effects so much that you almost see etched on the screen: look! it's digital! how cool is this! it's not impressive to me anymore. I can tell it's digital. of course it is. it's a bunch of crystals poking out of water. it's a huge moving ape. they've gotten all excited about 'what they can do' and forgotten that they actually need to 'do' something with the, oh, I don't know, story!??!
Here's superman's story. this may be a spoiler for those who haven't seen it. or it may not.
superman heart lois. lois tough reporter. jimmy make (not-so) funny. then add: airplane disaster movie! film of shuttle disaster! film of 9/11! earthquake disaster film! film of tsunami coverage! [insert gorgeous 1930s-contemporary sets for newsroom, fab boat Lex Luthor has, and a: look how cool we can make the fortress of solitude guys!] then continue with: boat sinking scene from Titanic! a barroom fight scene! add in: three references to Atlas lifting the world! a Christ/savior reference or two! a scene from ER! and close with the on-going teleological alert of the century: the paramount importance of blood and father-son bonding.
how is this a story? how is this in any way worth my time? I'm not looking for much--just a traditional blockbuster. something that isn't rehashing something I already know--like a superhero, comic book, sequel. something that assumes I have more of a brain in my head than a pea.
someone help me out. are we utterly off-base here? out of touch? old? fine. just let me know so I can start ignoring the positive reviews of these films. perhaps mark them with a new kind of warning: vapid story! effects only! something like that.