Way behind in my summer movie watching, I decided to see War of the Worlds and Batman Returns back to back on Saturday. I figured that if one was a total yawn, the movie viewing day would not be a complete loss.
After four hours of massive destruction, explosions, crashes, and major pandemonium, I was on an adrenaline high. Over and over in my brain, I kept hearing the low fog horn of alien space ships and the high pitched squeal of bats (lotsa bats). I wanted to run over rooftops and through farms in upstate New York. Yes, yes, yes, I had seen some movies.
Is Morgan Freeman in every movie these days? He is in Batman and narrated the beginning and end of War of the Worlds. He also narrates March of the Penguins which is making more money per screen than any other movie. I hope those penguins have good agents. I hope Morgan Freeman is enjoying life and all his success. He deserves it. He and Clint Eastwood made the acting thing look so easy in Million Dollar Baby.
So I'm watching War of the Worlds. After awhile, it doesn't seem all that suspenseful anymore. Space Aliens kick ass. Tom Cruise runs like hell. Next scene: Space Aliens kick ass while Tom runs. Next scene: Space Aliens kick ass while Tom swims. Gosh, I wonder if Tom is ever gonna get zapped. Nope, he's Tom.
I hope when the Space Aliens do invade, that I get to be Tom Cruise. But I probably won't be. There can only be one Tom. I'll probably be the random extra who gets turned into white powder in Act One. We all want to be Tom Cruise, but in this crazy world, we're really all just extras. We could try to be Tim Robbins, but look at what happened to him.
Still, I recommend War of the Worlds as fun summer entertainment where a lot stuff gets blown up. It's much better than the previous Spielberg/Cruise collaboration---the dumb ass Minority Report. However, I will warn you, if you've seen the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, the ending is exactly the same---right down to the hand.
Wide awake after the Martians, I decided to check out the other half of the Cruise/Holmes romance with Batman Begins. Isn't it just cool that in this wacky mixed up world, those two kids are in love? There can never be enough love. Love is all you need.
So Batman Begins begins. Duh-Dummm. Watch Bruce Wayne become what he fears most (it's bats by the way). With Christian (Mr. Not-Afraid-To-Act-The-Dark-Side) Bale as Bruce Wayne, Michael (Mr. 117 Acting Credits on IMDB) Caine as Alfred the butler, Morgan (Didn't I just hear his voice somewhere?) Freeman as Lucius Fox the head of Applied Sciences and funky gadgets, Liam Neeson as a warrior mentor (didn't I see him do this before---oh yeah, Bad Star Wars), Gary (the Chameleon) Oldman as Sgt. Gordon, and Katie Holmes as the girl.
For the second time this summer, I got to watch a totally lame ass female character. The first one was Renee Zellweger in Cinderella Man. She got stuck in the Great Depression with lines like ‘oh Jim, don't fight, you could get killed' and a lot of weepy reaction shots during the Baer fight. In Batman Begins, Katie Holmes starts off strong. Childhood playmate of Bruce Wayne, she becomes an Assistant District Attorney determined to take down the evil crime lord. I'm rooting for her. Take down the evil crime lord, Miss Thing! You go! Then, very quickly, she gets drugged, rescued, vaccinated, sedated, wakes up just in the nick of time, and protects a small boy. Uh-huh.
Why does this happen in movies? The guys are fine. Even the third or forth supporting part is pretty well-written. But the lead woman doesn't do squat. She whines, she whimpers, she goes unconscious, she gets carried from place to place. But somewhere, out there, lurking in the shadows, there must be a screenwriter who can write girl parts. Wait! I think I know the story of this screenwriter. . .
After spending years in the Himalayas with Irish ex-boxers, she has returned to Hollywood to create a persona based on her deepest fear. She became PASSIVE GIRL! She drives through Hollywood in the Passive Mobile letting drivers cut her off. She can sometimes be seen late at night at the 7-11 with her two sidekicks, Ben and Jerry. She is defender of . . .well, the defensive and fighter for not much of anything. But! From out of the shadows, she can create strong female characters with logical motivations and decent story arcs. She's here! She's there! She's everywhere! She's Passive Girl!!!
Where was I? Oh yeah. Batman.
I liked it. I was entertained.
The day after my double movie fest, I did my favorite ten mile hike. I had so much adrenaline that I ran parts of it. I later regretted the running during the last miles which were all down hill with jello legs.
As I hiked down toward the ocean and the opening of the canyon, I noticed that a cloud had rolled into the canyon below me. For the last half mile, I was walking inside the cloud. Instead of seeing the usual view of the other side of the canyon, all I saw was white.
It was quite calming. The world had become the plants around me, the trail, and this whiteness. It wasn't too cool or too hot. It just was.
You know the cliché, ‘walking with your head in the clouds', which describes someone who's flakey or artistic. It's usually a negative. Well, having actually walked in the clouds, I see it as a positive. All around me was this whiteness like a blank page to write on. If this is heaven, I think I can deal.