Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Super-Long Movies Eliciting Very Different Reactions

How do you take a desperate mission to reignite a dying sun which morphs into a horror slasher in space, and make the audience so detached that they almost don't care? Get Danny Boyle to direct Sunshine. If anyone needed any proof that Boyle is more interested in character than in story, this movie does it. It is just too bad that he didn't do more with the characters themselves since that's all we're left with. And, all of us would appreciate having had a few plotlines explained. For example, just how did a certain person wind up on the ship? Just a word or two was all we wanted. We would have taken it from there. It was absolutely beautifully shot and the soundtrack was gorgeous as well.

Wait, I just checked the time. This was not a super-long movie after all. It just felt like it.

Then we have Once Upon a Time in the West, that 3-hour epic Western about of a mysterious, harmonica-playing stranger who is on the track of a ruthless assassin. This winds up with Harmonica occasionally working with a wanted outlaw to help a beautiful widow save her land. Classic, right? Classic Sergio Leone, that is, right down to the Ennio Morricone soundtrack and the classic cast including Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, and Jason Robards. It is quite a long film and has many lingering shots of stares (hence the illustrative photo above), which Tom thought could have been cut back on. It was long but I actually enjoyed the entire thing.


  1. During the scene where the captain sits on the hull of the ship awaiting the light to reach him I was sure I was watching a new sci-fi classic in Sunshine. Unfortunately the last 15 minutes just killed it. Sigh.

    And it ain't Leone without the stares!

  2. Tante Léonie9/7/10, 2:41 PM

    Once Upon a Time in the West is one of my favorite films. It doesn't feel long to me -- the pacing seems exactly right and helps to maintain the tension.

    Also, love how Henry Fonda was cast against type.

  3. Tante Léonie9/7/10, 2:59 PM

    Talking about looooong sci-fi movies, have you seen Tarkovsky's "Solaris"?

  4. No, I haven't ... wasn't Sunshine based on it?

  5. Tante Léonie9/7/10, 10:54 PM

    I haven't seen Sunshine, so I don't know.

    Steven Soderbergh remade Solaris in 2002 with George Clooney. It's different from Tarkovsky's version, but I liked both of them.

    My husband was enthralled by the novel by Stanislaw Lem. If you haven't read it, you might like it, being a science fiction fan.