I have a long list near my computer of interesting topics I would like to write about, and a few vague ideas about what I want to say. Recent experiences, world events, social commentary, that sort of thing. All of those, though, are far too difficult to write about, and make maintaining this site seem a bit too much like real work. It’s far easier just to make trivial observances every couple of weeks. So, I’m sorry to those of you who might be expecting something worthwhile—maybe I’ll get to it eventually. In the meantime, here are some thoughts about a few films I’ve seen recently:
- First up: I, Robot. Of those of you that know me, many will have heard me complaining at great length about this film in recent months. I take it all back. While it’s no cinematic masterpiece and there are boring moments, it is entertaining and it’s not the offence to the memory of Isaac Asimov that I had expected. Asimov’s robot stories date from a time before microprocessors, and before widespread knowledge of the realities of computing. Asimov’s robots are genuine thinking machines, not programmable computers who can do only what they are told. In writing an updated story for a twenty-first century audience the film makers have altered the few things that now appear inaccurate in Asimov’s future vision. The biggest change, and the one with the greatest potential for offence, is the sacrifice of something Asimov portrayed as benevolent to modern paranoia for the sake of a more dramatic plot. However, despite these differences, the film does owe more than I had expected to the book, and the robot code names introduced at the start of the film will immediately tell those who know the book what kind of territory we’re in.
- Stigmata: This film I did find to be offensive, though I don’t know enough about the issues it attempts to cover to comment on it in great detail. I’ll be adding them to the list I mentioned earlier for possible exploration in the future. I know it’s not theologically sound and, despite not being a Catholic, I didn’t like the way it presented itself uncovering the truth about some kind of genuine conspiracy.
- And finally, The Village: This one I actually liked. In my opinion it’s far and away M Night Shyamalan’s greatest work to date, though a quick glance over the IMDB message boards shows that not everyone agrees with me. It has been said by many that Shyamalan’s recent work is cursed by the success of The Sixth Sense, which has left millions of viewers playing
guess the hoodwinkrather than enjoying his films. The Village has definitely been a victim of this, which is a shame as Shyamlan’s filmmaking has matured immeasurably in the last five years. Whereas the whole appeal of The Sixth Sense hung on those last few minutes, The Village is a complete film with a story to tell rather than just a surprise to hit you with at the end. It seems there are almost as many interpretations of what the film is about as there are viewers, but to me it was a beautiful tale of loss of innocence. That moment in all our lives when we discover for ourselves the truths in the legends our parents taught us. If I’ve a criticism it’s that for what seems like a religious community we know surprisingly little about their beliefs or the part they play in village life. Really, though, I’m nit-picking and if you can put aside your pre conceptions I guarantee you’ll love this film.