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Essentially what I expected...
Man, was that movie long.
About 1 hour too long in its 2 hour, 45 minute running time.
By far, one of the most graphic Disney movies ever. It had a very dark tone, while surprisingly bordering on "R" with its violent nature, yet paradoxically juvenile with its slapstick comedy, (even some sex was thrown in for good measure *GASP*.) The plot was ridiculous, muddled, convoluted and all other synonyms. And not much really happened that couldn't have finished up in 2 hours.
The Ennio Morricone (Spaghetti Western) music in a few scenes was also really odd.
Nevertheless, the movie will make heaps of cash and continue to drive the Disney machine.
Sadly it leaves open a fourth film :( So basically, it was everything I expected.
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Better than I expected
I had the privilege to go to an advanced screening of this film in Seattle on April 6. Since it was my first advanced screening I may be biased (due to the fact it cost nothing for me.) This is my first review for an advanced screening, so it may be lacking in some respects. Please excuse this.
"The Lords of Dogtown" us based on a group of rag-tag revolutionary skaters in the 1970s in Santa Monica, CA (aka Dogtown). Of the main group of skaters, I was only able to recognize the lead, Stacy, played by John Robinson of 2003's "Elephant." This group of skaters includes world famous skate champion Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk), rich boy skater Sid, Michael Angarano, and problematic, Jay (Emile Hirsch.) The group of skaters, all teens at the time were once surfers who were introduced into the world of skateboarding via their older mentor(ish) friend, Skip, played by Heath Ledger. Skip creates the "Zephyr's" (Z boys) skateboarding team of his beachside surf shop. The Z Boys go around SoCal and go into competitions of skateboard and blow away the other competitors.
Each of the original "Z Boys" had their own cameo appearance in subtle locations throughout the film. Since most of the target audience, namely 13-21 year olds do not recognize these skaters, an there is a obvious newsreel cameo by Tony Hawk, playing an astronaut, (Who had more screen time than any other cameo, but who was, however, not a part of the Z Boys.) The possible 40-55 age group, who actually lived during this time, is only given teases of the original "Z Boys" Early in the film all of the characters are introduced as very similar, each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Conveniently, the writer, Stacy Peralta, is the main character, which is the stand out of the group of friends, (He has a job, and responsibilities.) The movie does not really get interesting until the drought, Tony Alva devises a plan to use an empty pool as the skate locale. At this point in the film, his has been made and is presented in a manner for anyone to see that any city or private owned skate bowl was first derived from empty pools in Southern California.
The "surfing world" of the movie is shown with grainy, washed out images and looks to have used the same bleach bypass that Saving Private Ryan did. This part of the film gave the audience the impression that surfing was something to be washed out in their lives and to slowly fade away as their hobby/occupation of choice. The movie also employed, several times, the camera works of skateboarding videos, (Use of fish eye lenses and the "man on the skateboard following people" technique.) However, the use of these techniques is minimal and not consistent throughout the film. Some scenes we see it used on the streets, other times we see the streets, but no use of it at all. The beginning seemed to have a conflict of whether it was trying to be documentary/skate video like or Hollywood movie.
The rest of the film chronicles the fame (and downfall for some) its characters, and their conflict between one another. The skaters start out as young, juvenile delinquents into famous, rich skaters. I expected this film to be as brainless as "Grind," yet; I also expected something of quality given my previous viewing of "The Dogtown and Z-Boys." I was surprised that I was entertained and interested in the characters throughout the film.
The movie never feels like its leading up to a large climax, and the "main event" for the skaters never really feels like its important. It ends however on a good note, given all of the problems of each character. The movie was overall entertaining and gives an opportunity for current, young skaters to look into the past or even gasp talk to their parents about skateboarding in their day. When it "Dogtown" comes out on June 3rd, it will be the quintessential summer film, and may hopefully breathe new life into the excellent documentary it is connected with as well as the origin of modern skateboarding.