Finally, here's the last entry of the pending films of 2012. This time it's musicals sci-fi and fantasy (the line between both is not so clear in some cases, so I put them in the same group), as well as a Spanish film that I don't know how to categorize.
My Fair Lady
Everybody knows that "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" but not that George Bernard Shaw would die again if he knew there is a musical based on his play Pygmalion, a comedy full of social criticism that is turned into a musical love story. Meh... Enjoyable, but having studied Pygmalion for my master's thesis and my PhD, it feels like blasphemy.
Prince of Egypt
Around Easter last year I decided two adequate films for the time of the year were Prince of Egypt and Jesus Christ Superstar (review below). Prince of Egypt is one of Dreamworks's first 2D animated films to have heavy competition against Disney (more specifically, against Mulan) and I consider it to be one of the best animated films of the late 1990s, if underrated and with some minor things here and there (the comic-relief bad guys... really?). Enjoy the opening song here.
Jesus Christ Superstar
More adequate musicals for Easter time! This is a musical, thought-provoking rendition of the passion of Christ from Judas's point of view, most of the time. Great music (although having heard the Broadway version, I think a couple of main roles could have been casted from the stage show) and setting and adaptation of the gospels.
The Wizard of Oz
I might be the only person in the world that didn't watch this film as a kid... I know we have the book at home but I've never read it (shame on me) and it rings a bell that we had a school performance of the play back in ground school. I didn't know what to expect, but for a 1939 movie it hasn't aged badly. Judy Garland has a lovely voice and you'd believe she's a teenager. A nice film to watch with kids or when you're feeling a bit childish yourself. Must read the book soon, though.
I don't know how to categorize this Almodovar movie, so it'll stay here, between thrillers and musical (because Penélope Cruz sings a song in it). Volver begins with a murder and becomes a sort of road trip down memory lane and family relationships. For an Almodovar film it wasn't as weird as the other films I've seen from him. I quite enjoyed it.
Thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy
Everybody talks about this movie as though it's the best Tarantino film, like, ever. And so I saw it. And was so disappointed. I think it's Tarantino's most overrated film, and I did like some parts of it but, overall, I thought it does not deserve as much credit as it gets. Yeah, sure, Samuel L Jackson is badass, and the famous dance scene with John Travolta and Uma Thurman is cool, but I don't know, I expected more. Or something different.
I didn't want to watch this when it was in the cinemas because I'm not such a fan of sci-fi, but I saw Moon in DVD and, even though I was confused during most of the screening time, it had me thinking for a while after I saw it and actually liked the plot twist. It shows that you don't need a huge budget to make a good movie.
The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy
I haven't read the book this movie is based upon, so I have no idea if the movie is a good adaptation or not, but who cares? I enjoyed this movie like a kid. I loved the off-screen narration and the textbook-like explainations, and the Alan Rickman robot!
What if the Nazis had managed to escape to outer space at the end of World War II and were preparing an invasion from the dark side of the Moon? That's the starting point of this movie and what happens afterwards is an enjoyable comedy that loses its energy at the end and tries to sell you the obvious message that you would expect from any other movie. But, in spite of the slightly disappointing ending, it's not a bad comedy for a Saturday evening.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
I read in another blog that, if you haven't read the comics, you're totally fucked because you're going to miss most of the plot twists and things that don't make logical sense (such as the sudden change of rooms or why all of a sudden it feels like the characters have stepped into a videogame). And... I guess they were right, because I spent more time trying to understand the scene transitions than the actual plot. I think they went for one of those adaptations full of references for fans of the original work but totally neglected newcomers who don't know how Scott Pilgrim's universe works.
El laberinto del fauno
I'd seen this one before, but I watched it in December with my students before the Christmas break because, truth be told, it was the only movie in Spanish that I could find in Austria (looks like I forgot to bring my DVD collection from home). El laberinto del fauno, or Pan's Labyrinth in the English title, is a dark fairytale set within the context of the Spanish post-civil war period. The first time I saw it I liked it better because it surprised me a lot more, but this second time it got me thinking about how much fantasy and reality are going on in Ofelia's mind. Or maybe I'm just overthinking it. Oh, and I need to say this: "Pan" and a "faun" are not the same mythological creature! Get it right, damn it!