gay zombie mermaids

mermaidOh how I wish there were really a movie about gay zombie mermaids…

But there isn’t,  so up this time are three movies I have watched recently: Ponyo, Zombieland, and The Closet.  None of these are particularly recent movies so watch out for SPOILERS!

Ponyo:  This is the latest from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, via Disney.   It is based very loosely on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Little Mermaid.   Ponyo is a goldfish and the daughter of Fujimoto, who appears to spend his days making potions and driving around the sea on a flippered boat.   Ponyo goes off one day to see more of the world, gets herself into trouble, and is rescued by Sosuke, a young Japanese boy.  Ponyo falls in love with Sosuke and steals some of her father’s magic to make herself into a real girl.   Unfortunately, so much magic is released that the natural world becomes imbalanced; there is a huge storm and flood, the moon comes out of its orbit, and stars fall  from the sky.  Ponyo’s mother, Granmamere, determines that if Sosuke can love Ponyo even if she is a fish then she can live as a real human child and order will be restored to the world.  If he cannot, she will dissolve into sea foam.

Because this is a Miyazaki movie you know how it will end but you also know that getting there will be wonderful.   This is in most respects a typical Miyazaki movie; it’s visually beautiful, structurally inventive, and as far as plot goes, nonsensical.   As usual, small Japanese children are preternaturally mature and old Japanese ladies have an enormous amount of fun.  There are lots of beautiful animated sequences:  during the storm Ponyo runs along the back of giant fish as she searches for Sosuke; while on a boat searching for Sosuke’s mother, Sosuke and Ponyo float over a world in which giant prehistoric fish swim among the houses and parks of Sosuke’s village; Sosuke’s father sees what he believes are thousands of stars but which turn out to be ships being pulled toward the falling moon.  One of the things I really like about Miyazaki films (which makes them very different from most Disney animated movies) is that there is rarely an “evil” character, at least not one so evil that they have to die for the story to resolve satisfactorily.  The closest thing to a bad guy in this film is Fujimoto, who is guilty only of being a harried father who has about a million children and a wife of whom he is in total awe.  He loves Ponyo and worries about her among the humans who pollute the oceans; in the end he accepts his daughter’s transformation into a  human girl and everything ends happily for everyone.

Disney does a very good job with its dubbing of Studio Ghibli films, so I watched the English  language version of the film.  The Blu-Ray disc did come with a Japanese version with English subtitles, and I’m looking forward to seeing that.

Score:  w00t!

Zombieland:  I’m  not even going to bother to review this.  It’s a zombie movie centered around a quest for twinkies and a trip to an amusement park.  Woody Harrelson beats a zombie to death with a banjo.  It’s awesome.  Go watch it.

Score:  w00t!

The Closet:   Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) is about to lose his job, basically because he is boring.  While he stands on his balcony contemplating suicide, his new next-door neighbor suggests that he pretend to be homosexual in order to keep his job.   Since his employer makes condoms the goodwill of the gay community is essential, so a few badly shopped photos later and Pignon’s job is safe.   Although Pignon doesn’t really change anything about himself suddenly everyone around him, including his neglectful son, disdainful ex-wife, homophobic co-worker (Gerard Depardieu), and beautiful supervisor (Michelle Laroque), find him interesting and compelling.   Although slightly befuddled by it all, the once diffident Pignon finds the dignity and courage to take control of his life, give up his obsession with his ex-wife, and start an affair with his  boss.   Eventually of course his ruse is discovered,  but by this time he has become self-confident enough to keep his job, his son, and his new girlfriend.

If this movie were made by an American director it would have been a totally different movie.  It would have ended up completely campy and it most likely would have sucked.  But it is French and the French are better at these things than we are.   It is not an incredibly exciting film but it is quietly pleasant.   The main character is a kind, unassuming, hard-working man who becomes interesting and exciting to others merely because their perception of him changes.    As he sees himself through other people’s eyes he himself becomes different but he does not lose his essential decency.  One of the nicest scenes in the movie is his visit to his formerly  homophobic coworker in the hospital. This coworker becomes convinced that his homophobia is due to repressed homosexuality and he eventually buys Pignon gifts and asks him to live with him. When Pignon demurs the coworker has a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized.  When Pignon visits, he wears the pink cashmere sweater the coworker gave him.  They both agree he looks fabulous in it and there are no hard feelings.

It’s a nice movie and a pleasant enough way to spend an hour and half.

score:  meh.

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~ by gun street girl on March 11, 2010.

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