Film Notes: In-Flight Films (Part 3)

You’ll be happy to know this is the last in the series. Nine films on four flights (including one where I slept throughout) is quite impressive, even if I do say so myself.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End posterPirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End(or, as I call it, At Wit’s End – I’m so funny …)

I really didn’t like the second film, even advising you not to see it in cinemas. I took my own advice and didn’t go anywhere near it. However, getting to see for free the end of something I had already paid to see proved too irresistible – I blame the high altitude.

Sluggish. Bloated. Pointless. Tedious. Disappointing. All words that come to mind to describe this sad waste of 3 hours but don’t take away the heartache of having actually watched it. I feel let down by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio – they have written some good movies and dispensed much wisdom about films and the film biz and screenwriting on their excellent website, Wordplay, so it’s contradictory that the script for this film is such a mess. Nothing feels organic about this; it isn’t a film that demands telling or watching. The plot is so pointless – see Rod Hilton’s Abridged Script for a further dismantling – I’m amazed the film lasts for so long. An anecdote from Keira ‘The Chin’ Knightley tells of acting scared in the first few takes with Chow Yun Fat; the director asks her what she is doing acting scared. Well, she says, he’s just kidnapped me and I don’t want to be here. To which Verbinski replies, you haven’t BEEN kidnapped. The script, supposedly for the second half of a film that was being made at the same time, wasn’t near ready and nobody knew what the hell was going on at any particular time. And it certainly feels like it.

There is nothing to recommend about this film. Chow Yun Fat is wasted in two scenes. Bloom and The Chin seem even more wooden. Even Depp can’t liven things up with his over-the-top turn as Jack Sparrow – even he feels tired with it all. The action scenes are inert and the climax of the film is so stupid and blatant in a grab for a spin-off/sequel that you actually feel a little dirty inside. Please avoid this film.

Rating: DA

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Catch and Release poster
Catch and Release

Justification for watching this film:
1. It has Kevin Smith in it
2. I like romcoms
3. It was free to watch on an airflight

Admittedly, it does have an intriguing set up for a film – the groom dies just before the wedding and the bride then discovers secrets about him afterwards – but that’s a huge hill to climb back from to get to the romance. The comedy is mainly down to Kevin Smith in the ‘fat friend/sidekick’ role, which he handles pretty well. As for the romance, we are presented with two options for Jennifer Garner: the quiet best friend of the groom who is stable and genuinely nice; or the annoying, smug tit (and friend of the groom) who shags a waitress in the bathroom at the wake and doesn’t recover in our standing for the rest of the movie. So, when she ends up with the latter (after the obligatory ‘misunderstanding/break up/go after him to show feelings’ turn of events, plus an awkward oration of affection from the quiet best friend so that he can be discarded), you feel cheated – there is nothing to suggest that they would make a good couple. It also doesn’t help that the romantic line at the end is the same as in Clerks II – ‘What took you so long?’ – and the difference between the great delivery of Rosario Dawson and the bland delivery of Tim Olyphant is astronomical, and just highlights the chasm between the two.

Rating: DA

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Blades of Glory posterBlades of Glory

Will Ferrell in mostly plot-less comedy that is an excuse for him to ad lib? Amusing, not great but hysterical in places (see Anchorman or Talladega Nights). Will Ferrell in comedy where the plot is more important? Not so funny (see Bewitched or Old School). Blades of Glory falls into the latter camp. Seeing Ferrell and Jon Heder (basically Napoleon Dynamite in a blond wig) together on the ice in their lycra is very, very funny. Outside of that, the film bumbles along, seemingly satisfied that the concept alone (of two men skating as a pairs team at the Olympics) will be enough to carry them through. They are wrong. Basically, if you watch this on DVD, fast forward through the film except where you see the two of them on the ice rink in front of the crowd.

Rating: DA

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