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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I took the time to write this because I had to come back to IMDB and change
my original score of a 6 to a 10. After trying to understand the German,
Spanish, and Chiricahuan (Indian) to correctly represent it in English, I
noticed how beautiful this film was as stills and in motion. The dance
between actors, frame focus, and camera movement has never been clearer to
me than after my task. Every shot composition is meticulously gorgeous.
This movie really needs to be viewed as a whole, judged only after it is complete and not during the film (which I am always guilty of). At first I faulted the film for quickly covering a lot of ground, for seemingly bizarre transitions between plot stages, and short time spent on/in many interesting characters/situations. After watching the film once, and not liking it all that much, I thought about it (as I wrote a better subtitle file) and realized how much better everything is "after the fact" - after watching it. Some people may say a movie is bad if it requires 2 viewings to appreciate and that is valid. A good memory and a moment to reflect after the credits roll should change any viewers negative opinion on Blueberry as entertainment, a story, a depiction of the classic comic book, a movie, and finally art.
This movie is definitely worth a purchase as an adventure tale similar to great comics.
It is not an Action movie. It is like the Indiana Jones series rather than the films, giving more story of a larger time period than more action in a short time period.
The Animation is CG that represents the mystical ~cacti induced Indian experiences.
Pay attention to the beginning credits. Better yet, watch them again after watching the movie. They will make a lot more sense.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I cannot believe the low ratings this film has gotten. It's got
something for everyone, and not only that, but it's the German
chocolate cake for genre-lovers. I have a list of reasons why people
SHOULD love this film: 1. Michael Madsen. He's the best thing about
this movie. He plays it subtle but he's got bad-ass pouring out of him.
He's got everything a villain needs: a quality of making you feel
guilty for loving him, a presence that blows you away and keeps you
intimidated, and most of all, he's got his own agenda. Not only is he a
great villain, but a deep, complex character as well.
2. Everybody else. Vincent Cassel, Julliette Lewis, and Djimon Hounsou especially. Cassel plays Blueberry as a likable hero, although, properly and meaningfully, bugs the audience on the factor of "he just hasn't learned yet". Julliette Lewis, though isn't given much, well, makes what she's given seem like a lot more than it is. I'm sure a lot of her wound up on the cutting room floor, though. Djimon Hounsou has an amazing presence as well. He's responsible for one of the most memorable scenes in the film. The rest of the cast played their roles respectively too. Colm Meaney played a good friend and was more than just the "comic relief character", although delivers comic relief when it's needed. Eddie Izzard loses the German accent occasionally, and plays the easy-to-hate coward in a, well, easy-to-hate way. But by the time he delivers his "men are monsters" line, you know that's all changed. Temeura Morrison add more to being the sage (yes, that's a pun) than just being the proper race. He's got the being-in-the-know thing down.
3. CGI at its best. Though your purist self may usually be screaming at CGI, you will be screaming "To Hell with practicality!" by the end of this film. Marc Caro was behind the special effects department, and you truly will be convinced that Jean-Pierre Jeunet has been wrongfully taking his credit the whole time.
4. The music! We've got our smörgåsbord of properly American West flavors with a beautiful orchestra on top of that.
5. The balance. It was in everything. From pleasing us with proper Western blood and violence while still maintaining a lack of senseless gore. The dialogue being able to remain practical and not drawing attention to itself while still keeping a Tarantino-esque flare along with it. The French art dousing the film while keeping a western attitude as its proper foundation. The cinematography of making you feel dirty and sweaty but while still making you free within the film's beautiful scenery. The pure originality this film radiates while still not forgetting what genre it's in. Even the balance between our love and hate for every single character for this film.
Here are the only possible reasons I can imagine someone not being able to like it: 1. Genre-haters, this ain't for you.
2. The "why-in-god's-name-did-Phil Collins-betray-me" purists, this film may be a tad too original for you. This film definitely defies the laws of tradition 3. Impatient sitters. Yes, it's true the first act was slow and slightly confusing. But it makes the rest all the stronger.
4. People who hate French-style heavy-handedness. Yeah, they didn't exactly need the "eyes of the eagle" thing. There's also this really bothersome scene where they have flowers blooming cut in, just to show "growth". That's actually probably the only problem with the picture actually. There's many instances where they use symbolism to state what the viewer already knows.
5. People who hate Michael Madsen. Well, there's probably enough else in this movie for you to like about it. But after you watch, I'll probably be at your house already making sure you experience a slow, horrible death.
Bottom Line: Heartbreakingly UNDERRATED. But usually with underrated films I can understand why I'm the only one who liked it, but this film seems to have a whole lot anybody of any bias can dig. In my bias, it all traces back to the balance: this film is fun and re-watchable while at the same time complex and original.
This movie really blows me away!
I'm not the biggest fan of western movies, although I do enjoy them. But almost every western I've seen seems to be written on the same pattern. This movie however takes a certain distance from the classical western-stereotypes. It's based on the images and senses more than the usual-for-western-movies classical shoot-out scenes. The action sequences however are well-acted as well as enjoyable plus they have a good flow related to the story. I must admit that I haven't ever read the comics, but I don't find that necessary in order to enjoy this movie. Some might think that this isn't a western movie to recommend to people who aren't already fan of the genre, but I think this one should be enjoyable for almost everyone who's into a movie with at little more soul and feelings, in contradistinction to the traditional westerns.
Wow! That is all I can think of....wow!!! I have never been glued to
the screen like I was with this movie. It is strange and unusual and
there were times that I wasn't sure what was happening or why, but the
visual effects are unlike anything I have seen before. I found the
scenery gorgeous and breathtaking. I watched with interest to see just
where it was filmed. The cast is very good. The main character I am
unfamiliar with but there are a lot of good character actors in this
movie. Geoffrey Lewis and his daughter Juliette play father and
daughter. Ernest Borgnine is cast as "Rolling Star", a sheriff confined
to a wheel chair. All of the characters are strong and well acted and
the computer generated sequences are majestic and at the same time,
If you are like me and find it hard to sit through the predictable movie, you will want to put this movie on your "must see" list. I recommend it highly!!
... although I see a lot of weak points in terms of narration. But
these points didn't disturb me at the first vision, which happened to
be in the place where it should be seen: a cinema. This movie is an
experience as the french tag line mentioned: "l'expérience secrète".
Don't expect a traditional western. It feels like it but isn't, because
of the fact that the hero isn't one, and the final sequence just is at
a thousand miles you've ever seen (you could compare it a bit to the
final voyage in 2001 from Kubrick). Just let go and enjoy this sensory
piece... Finally something daring and new.
Just give it a try, it's worth just for the pictures and the music.
Jan Kounen's latest effort is an existentialist western with opulent
visuals, threadbare characterization and a shamanistic undercurrent. It is
really unique, but it really isn't brilliant in its uniqueness. The only
film that it vaguely reminds me of is EL TOPO, but taken in full, it's
quite different from anything that's out there.
It's a yarn that is suffering an identity crisis - it really doesn't know what it wants to be, and no one element of it wins out in the end. It will not appeal to most western genre fans because even though it has the trappings (and cliches) of a western, it doesn't follow through with them and the characters are too one-note to be likeable or dislikeable. It fails as a revealing exploration of shamanism because it doesn't give the uninitiated any background.
BLUEBERRY has a great cast, but for the most part they're wasted (no pun intended - Tcheky Karyo, in particular) and some of the casting seems gimmicky, especially that of Ernest Borgnine. Even Cassel, who is usually compelling and tries hard, fails to engage. Juliette Lewis does hold interest in a sexy turn as the spirited girl (favorite line - after hitting the weasely character Prosit who stumbles into the saloon, interrupting her rendition of a folk tune, she blurts out "You ruined my song!") in love with the protagonist, and there are some nice full-frontal shots of her in the nude underwater towards the end - one of the film's assets.
Kounen seems to have made a conscious effort to make something really different from his previous film, the brilliantly over-the-top DOBERMANN, and he has succeeded, but the film itself is somewhat disappointing. It has its moments, though. Some sequences are very strong visual storytelling. And I'm sure some people will be annoyed by it, but I actually enjoyed the ponderous pace of the film.
The film is in English and a rare Native American language, with a light sprinkling of French. Subtitling on the non-English parts (there are some fairly extended sequences in the Native American language) would've really helped, I think. Some of the CGI visuals in the peyote trip sequences are beautiful and genuinely disturbing. In general, the parts where Blueberry is among the tribe are the most intriguing and seem to belong in a different film.
Perhaps this one gets better on a second viewing, or after a few hits on some psychotropic substances...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Apparently opinions on this film are sharply divided, maybe because of
its use of hallucinogenic substances. Well, I have never used them and
never intend to, but I still thought this film was an incredible
masterpiece of magical realism.
From the very beginning it was obvious that this was a very technically as well as aesthetically ambitious film, and throughout the film it realized and exceeded this ambition. It was shot with great beauty, originality and flair for new ways of arranging scenes. It never fell back on clichés, it was totally engaging, and filled to the brim with incredible scenery.
The fantastic "2001"-like end was the best part of it all. The computer animation was so amazingly beautiful that it blew me away. The fight on the astral plane was intricate, dramatic and fabulously visually effective. I'll definitely have to get this on DVD, as it absolutely deserves more than a single viewing.
If there's anything to criticize about this film, it is that Michael Madsen once again reprised his all-too-typical role as an evil bastard, which I thought wasn't a great idea, but fortunately it doesn't get out of hand. I would still have liked the bad guy to be a little more complex. Instead of gold, he was after the mescalin, which also shows that the film makers do not one-sidedly endorse tripping, but after the final revelation about how the saloon woman (she wasn't his GF!) from the beginning of the film was killed, I hoped the villain might be shown to be not-so-bad after all. But, oh well. They needed a really bad guy for the big finish, to ensnare Blueberry and all. One thing I didn't get at the end; was Maria ever with Blueberry in the cave, or did he just hallucinate that?
Anyway, it is a fantastic film that all serious film buffs should treat themselves to. You won't be sorry.
I rate it 9 out of 10.
All I'm going to say about this one is, if you've ever done Ayahuasca,
or a lot of Peyote, or done shamanic journeying, this film is for you.
If you haven't, you might enjoy the computer generated images -- which
are truly fantastic and amazing -- but you won't have a clue what's
going on. It's an inner drama, with the ultimate showdown taking place
in a different dimension or reality. The camera work also is creative,
appropriate, and interesting. The acting is a bit flat, but that's not
exactly where the action is -- this is a genre movie, with a hackneyed
plot (like some kind of recycled Gunsmoke episode) and mostly
stereotyped characters, but as I say, it's just a vehicle; the real
story takes place behind that. (Going to see this one stoned will NOT
help you understand it.)
One of my all time favorite movies.
First I would like to make it clear that you cannot appreciate this movie
you are, for some reason, anti-shamanism or anti-hallucinogenics -as in,
regarding those as a meaningless joke- because that's a big part of the
movie. On the other hand if you're interested in shamanism, DO make sure
Most of the movie is visually very well done and it is, really, storytelling. there is only a light amount of action, though when it does go off, you can recognize Kounen's style, like for instance his habit of zooming in really close on strange but cool facial expressions from his actors etc.
I never read the comic. And seeing this free from expectation, I found it pretty good. not as attention grabbing as Dobermann (that goes with the type of movie) but definitely worth a watch.
Don't listen to the negative comments (especially those making fun of the effects, those people seem to be obeying a deeply rooted feeling that hallucinogenics are somehow evil) and make an opinion for yourself. I give it an 8.
Here's a trick you can try right now. For an immediate sneak-preview of Blueberry's peyote-soaked finale, scrunch the ball of your palms firmly into your eye sockets. The ensuing geometric light show is but a fraction of what's on offer in this loose adaptation of Jean 'Moebius' Giraud's comic strip. In the 1870s, wild-child Mike Blueberry (Cassel) is adopted by Chiracahua Indians and, Carlos Castaneda-style, initiated into their shamanic rituals. Later, as a small-town sheriff, he encounters an old nemesis, the mysterious Wally Blount (Madsen), on the hunt for hidden Indian 'gold', climaxing in an all-out, psychedelic showdown. Suffice to say, the treasure Blount seeks isn't of the bankable variety (but it glimmers all the same). Blueberry's pretty unique; its closest cousin is probably that other 'existentialist Western' El Topo. And like Jodorowsky's movie, it's mesmerising at best, unfocused and pretentious at worst. There's some gorgeous cinematography here, while the astonishing CGI-rendered visions (featuring multi-tentacled hydras and other entheogenic plant spirits commonly reported from such trips) not only make 2001's 'Star Gate' sequence look like a walk in the park, but have also been authenticated and approved by real-life South American shamans. That's partly the problem: director Kounen spent a long time researching among the shamans, and Blueberry does betray the conviction of the newly converted at the narrative's expense; the cast (including Eddie Izzard cameoing as a Prussian mercenary) often seem slightly bemused themselves. A failure, then, but a noble and courageous one.
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