Mar 16, 2008
Vantage Point and free cheese fries
The kids went to spend the night in Little Rock with their Aunt Linnie on Saturday, so Shan and I had the day to ourselves. We decided to eat lunch at Texas Roadhouse and catch a movie, while getting in some shopping.
Texas Roadhouse was fantastic, as usual. But, they forgot to bring our bacon cheese fries, so when we asked about them, the waitress came back with a plateful and said she had taken them off our bill! Lunch was great!
We did some shopping and then went to see "Vantage Point." If you need a reminder, the movie is about an assassination attempt on the president as revealed through the viewpoints of about 8 characters. Of course, we bought popcorn and Milk Duds before we went in!!
I will say that I knew who one of the 'bad guys' was within the first five minutes, but that did not ruin the movie. So, if you figure it out that quickly, don't fret, you'll still be in for a decent time at the movies. Why only 'decent' and not a 'great' time? Because the 'gimmick' the movie uses gets old fast in my opinion. If you have not seen the movie, I will give you fair warning when I am going to reveal more than you may wish to know. For now, though, let me just say that the delivery mechanism the movie uses in order to present the differing 'vantage points' gets used and used to point of being abused. If no future movies in history use the same technique, that would suit me fine.
In fact, it was so overused that one of the moviegoers in the row in front of us kept us laughing with his commentary on it. At one point, he said, "You have GOT to be kidding me" which was followed during the next use of it with, "If they do that one more time, I am out of here." We all laughed.
If you can survive the gimmick, the movie is actually pretty cool. It is more than a bit far-fetched, as are most politically-based action movies, but isn't that why we go to the movies in the first place? The car chase scene is fantastic, though some parts are a bit beyond believable. Again, is that not why we go to the movies, though?
The movie would have been a "run-of-the-mill" political action film without the gimmick, and I am glad the used it as a departure from the standard method of telling a story. In the end, the viewer is left with two main thoughts to ponder: 1) No matter how insignificant it may seem that you are in a particular place at a particular time, your part may prove much larger than you could have imagined, and 2) Remember, EVERYTHING you watch has been edited in such a way that you see exactly what you are MEANT to see (be sure to pay attention to the final scene!)
I totally recommend seeing this movie, just make sure you check you sense of "reality" at the door.
After the movie, we did some more shopping, and then came home to stay up until 1AM playing "Sing Star!" When the kids are away, the parents will play!
DO NOT READ BELOW THIS LINE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT SOME OF THE SPOILERS!
Okay, here are my uncensored feelings about "Vantage Point." The first couple of times the movie "rewinds" back to 11:59:57am, it is a cool effect. After FIVE times, however, it has worn out its coolness factor and becomes annoying (in my opinion anyway; Shan loved the effect). Shan and I did remark that we seem to have stumbled on a slew of "Groundhog Day"-like movies however (see recent comment on "Premonition." At least in both movies, the gimmick actually adds a little more each time it is used. So, as we see each character's point of view, a little more is revealed about the events being played out again and again on the screen.
"The Jackal" (1997, Bruce Willis/Richard Gere) used a laptop with a remote control gun and remote camera in order to try and assassinate the First Lady. In "Vantage," the technology has 'evolved' on to (what appear to be) iPhones. Everything is remote controlled through touch screens nowadays, evidently. While it may have seemed cool to many, I don't think it was as 'believable' as Bruce Willis connecting his cell phone to his laptop to call the remote gun (which, as a sidenote: if you have not seen "The Jackal," I recommend it. Jack Black has one of the best roles in the movie - hilarious!). As I mentioned before, though, part of why we go to the movies is to escape reality.
Sigourney Weaver looks awful in this movie. It is as if someone said, "Hey, I know you just woke up, but could come down here and we'll shoot all of your scenes in one day? You won't need make-up."
During the chase scenes, Dennis Quaid survives at least two bone-crushing side impacts (one of which sends him plowing into a cement barricade), yet he simply kicks the windshield out and runs down the road. A bit of a stretch to say the least.
When Anna is standing in the middle of the road, the scene is intense, but also gets played out as one of the most cliched of movie moments - saved in the nick of time by her hero diving in front of the oncoming vehicle. There is a reason it is used so often, though - because, in reality, I think almost everyone wants to be that 'nick-of-time' savior for someone in such a defenseless predicament.
As I mentioned above, the final scene says it all: We see news in just the way the reporting station and/or government WANTS us to see it. How often are we told one thing, when the truth is much, much bigger than the "simple" version presented to us.
If you have read all of this, and you have not seen the movie, but you still WANT to see the movie, I say, "Do it!" You will have fun, and you will be shown a cool editing technique that will hopefully never be used again.