June 30th, 2013

krazy koati

The logic is erratic, potato in a jacket

And another movie we saw recently: Epic, at the Sun theater in Williamston. This is the theater that ran a kickstarter to afford conversion to digital projectors (the one where we saw Les Miserables by accident); bunny_hugger had got two tickets and popcorns as reward for her donation and we'd been waiting for the movie to see it with. If we'd known we would want to see The Croods we could've caught it as their grand reopening with the new projector, but, we didn't, and we missed the announcement anyway.

The film's not an epic, naturally; we were ready to blame this on whatever the book it was based on was titled, but that turns out to have been William Joyce's The Leaf Men And The Brave Good Bugs, so we don't know who to blame for this one. It's set deep in the roughly average woods, and the struggle between the forces of life and decay and this human kid gets roped into it because the life-force queen needs to preserve the forest's ``balance'' which the forces of decay, being evil and all, don't respect so. Movies like this are always big about preserving balance and nobody ever explains what's so great about balance anyway. It's great if ``balance'' has put you on the top rungs, but remember what Snoopy said about those who believe in the ``balance of nature''.

(I say they're the designated villains, and yeah, they're causing death and decay. But we couldn't avoid noticing at several points that in this conflict between the designated villains and the heroes that the villains don't do more harm than necessary. Notably, in one scene where it would be very easy to harm a lot of people who are, while not combattants, at least members of the opposing nation, and the Bad Guys don't. The impression is certainly one of rival nations that are eternally at war, but seem to be careful to avoid Total War. It seems like one could tell the parallel story with the designated villains as the heroes with surprisingly little difficulty. You can't call one power ``evil'' solely on the grounds that it wants to be more powerful than its rivals, and acting in a restrained way while pursuing supreme victory is a sign of a moral compass.)

It's an enjoyable film, mostly, particularly in the diversity of plant- and animal-inspired characters and adventures, and there's a magnificent scene with a mouse that shouldn't be missed. Meanwhile, the designated romantic lead is this idiot of a ``Leafman'', something like a knight for the life-forces side, whom we're apparently supposed to like because MK, the human girl dropped into this world, realizes reluctantly that she's supposed to like him too for some reason. No matter. There's bits in the film where MK and the designated-evil leader show better-than-average intelligence, though; and there's also MK's father's dog, a three-legged pug who hits that range of Ugly Enough To Be Adorable, again, enormously worth seeing.

The film is set in Generic Forested Land, although in the closing credits suddenly the movie starts name-dropping Connecticut places like they're getting paid for it. Well, they are; the credits thank Connecticut for support in the filmmaking. Fine enough, and after all, it doesn't really matter what's on Nutty Scientist Dad's coffee mug so why not have it name-drop North Stonington or whatever? (Actually, I think his coffee mug mentions White Plains's science fair, which is New York state, but it's certainly in easy range for a Nutty Scientist Dad from Connecticut.) I'm not sure how the forest could have been made a little more Connecticut-y, but it'd have felt less odd if this were more prominent throughout the film. (Well, there's a New York cabbie early on, but he's easily overlooked as All Movie Cabbies Are New York Cabbies.)

Trivia: Within a year of arriving in the United States in 1927, Harry Lender had set up his own wholesale bagel factory in New Haven, Connecticut. Source: The Bagel: The Surprising History Of A Modest Bread, Maria Balinska.

Currently Reading: Asimov's Science Fiction, August 2013, Editor Sheila Williams.