The characters were well-rounded, the special effects weren't awful, there were very few scenes where I went...well, that's just absurd. It was a totally entertaining, imaginative escape/adventure/love story.
The scene where Paul Newman orders the hanging of a criminal who doesn't think he has done anything wrong for killing a Chinese man? The real Bean made up that law himself as an excuse to release an Irish murderer from his crime - by saying that his law book ruled against killing human beings- not Chinamen.
The first man Bean ever killed was a Mexican "desperado," according to Wikipedia. At 41, he married an 18 year old Mexican girl and then was convicted of assaulting her in their marriage, which eventually led to a divorce after 4 children.
No, the real Judge Bean didn't sound at all like a person worth mythologizing, at least not THIS way, except as an example of misbehavior and notoriety - a far cry from this boring, lazy, star-vehicle movie with a truly reprehensible script that does a disservice to history and to our intelligence.
The only real interest this movie has is as a historical document and as an excuse to ogle the famous actors of the time - Paul Newman, Ava Gardner, a young Victoria Principal, who all play shallow, 2 dimensional characters.
I thought the documentary was good when it delved into Treadwell's upbringing and past connection with friends; and his ability to find entertainment in narrating himself among the bears. It was eerie, how many times Treadwell paradoxically contemplated the method of his own death. The fact is, Treadwell was something of an odd, irritating person...apparently bi-polar, with manic highs and sobbing, sentimental lows. In some scenes as he narrates the bears behind him he practically acts like Pee Wee Herman among the Grizzlies. It is no surprise when some of the documentary guests state their beliefs that Treadwell "got what he deserved" from risking death in his delusional bond with the bears.
I like everything, but the fact that Herzog would not allow the audience to hear the actual, final tape, or see photographs of the aftermath that are luridly described by a coroner but not shown.
I went into the bathroom after the movie and joined a lineup of women who were also asking each, "What exactly happened there?" --- when it's not clear it's a sign of unclear movie-making.
A great animated thrill-ride peopled with archetypes and insanely detailed, awe-inspiring machinery and backgrounds. Steamboy is repeatedly asked, to what is the best end of science? To make people happy? To make powerful weapons that will harm one another? (or conversely to keep them safe from their enemies)? Or to entertain them? The main characters are a wild man grandfather, whose runs about most of the movie as naked as a castaway, representing an innocent but wild and raging nature figure, and believes power should be used to make people happy through entertainment; a cyborg father, who has given up on nature and harnessed the fruits of science to produce weapons to be sold cynically to capitalist bankers and salesmen, and the boy, who must watch the two battle each other for dominance, even while various other international elements fight over their inventions. As usual, Japanese cartoon films pose more complex questions than American ones, nor do they provide the same type of easy good/bad, black/white resolutions Americans are so fond of. Instead, each character is allowed to describe their opinions, and the boy, like the audience, must observe, listen to all sides, and think hard before drawing conclusions as to where his own heart lies. Following the unquestioned policies of ones family or national alliances alone is unwise. If only all people could learn to think like this.
The movie is artistically shot, with plenty of great music from Lou Reed, John Cale, and Nick Rhodes, among others, which was donated as they are all socially conscious activists. Altogether an excellent movie about a depressing topic, delivered in much the way Mary Poppins delivers medicine with a spoonful of sugar. This movie reminds me of Born Into Brothels, also shown at the SIFF, which began with a female photographer who as she became more intimate with her subjects, took the opportunity to utilize the documentary form as a vehicle for enlightenment and social change.
It is comical that when they are bunked in a Roman Catholic monastery they are creeped out by the garish images of the crucifixion. Also impressive were the shots of 20,000+ N. Korean Citizens doing the most elaborate form of the "The Wave" known to man. The N. Koreans returned as heroes in N. Korea but still lived in a material way that would remind most Americans of poor people.
Team members say they were able to get as far as they did in the competition primarily through emphasis on teamwork and national pride, given their physical limitations against the Europeans. Certainly the most impressive achievements of human civilization have always been accomplished when people are united by some ideology or religion, bound together for a common purpose. It makes one think of the pros and cons of teamwork vs. individualism, free societies vs. communist ones. I was struck by how their atheistic communist ideology taught them to believe that each was responsible for their own destiny, and yet the movie is filled with numerous shots of the team making reverential references to their Great Leader, exactly in the manner in which a religious fundamentalist refers to God or Allah.
A very interesting movie, but it was obvious the team could not speak freely to the cameramen. Their words are laced with modesty and communist rhetoric. Strange how the most ideological and theologically governed societies are often the ones lacking the most in free speech. Unity vs. individualism the pros and cons of both soccer and politics.
In the first half hour, I was forced to watch 1) beautiful, depressed, self-hating woman slit her wrists with razor 2) fantasy image of same woman slit her throat 3) Rocco Siffredi's tumescent penis (okay, that wasn't so bad) 4) woman's mouth drip with sperm 5) image of boy throwing squashed baby bird on ground and stamping it to mush (it looked terribly real...where's PETA?!) 6) Outrageous comparison of Rocco's concept of female bits to smushed baby bird 7) full-on shot of female child displaying herself under a bush (perhaps they were made of wax to pass obscenity laws?) 8) boring scenes of woman offering to pay gay man she is obsessed with to "watch her" 9) Rocco sticking finger up said woman, then wiping her wetness on his hair (shades of Something About Mary?) 10) ridiculous pretentious French conversation about brutality and fragility 11) extended camera closeups of said woman's bush 12) VERY CLOSE close up of Rocco sticking his hand inside her...
Okay, I thought I was going to puke at this point, and I realized by this point all I probably had to look forward to was her pulling a tampon out or menstruating on him, or something involving feces, or fisting, or something like that. If the scenes had been leavened by some sort of interesting or meaningful dialogue, or was able to make me feel some sort of sympathy for the characters, it wouldn't be bad. I used to adore French films because they portrayed people, esp. lovers, realistically...running around naked, arguing, for example. Like the films by Rohmer, and that movie Betty Blue. But in the past few years I've seen Baise Moi, Irreversible, and now this -- and it's all just going downhill...schlock shock sex is all it seems to be now....If only someone would pay ME to watch it.