Happy new year! Today I present you with the third and final list of 2011 Commemorwhatever. I've already talked about TV shows and theatrical viewings. Now it's all about movies I watched in a non-theater setting. There were some strange ones this year. I've even written about a few of them (John Adams, Gladiator) here. But there are more....
Anne Of Green Gables (1934) - So I'm watching this charming little black & white film and it's following the novel quite nicely. Sure, they've combined the Rachel Lynde and Mrs. Barry characters, but that's no big deal. Why have I heard this film is unfaithful to the novel? I'm really not seeing it... Oh hey, here's Gilbert! There's Anne whacking his head with a slate. There's them acting coy around one another. There's them falling in love and having a secret forbidden affair ...wait WHAT?! If that's not bizarre enough, get this: when Marilla finds out about it, she rubs it in Anne's face that she and Matthew did her a favor taking her pathetic orphan self in, and how dare she betray them? Guilt-ridden, Anne and Gilbert break things off, but are happily reunited a few years later. But by that point I'm beyond caring. Who are these people?!?
Alice In Wonderland (2010) - Tim Burton has always been a bit wacky. Back in the day, people appreciated the wackiness, even expected it. So he tried, it seemed, with each successive film, so push the envelope just a little further. Then there was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He adapted a Roald Dahl book. Roald Dahl was wacky. Burton made Dahl look like a tweed-donning professor of anthropology. Burton simply could not, by the laws of nature, get any kookier, but by gum, he tried anyway. Behold Alice In Wonderland. To use a Wonka analogy, remember the Everlasting Gobbstoppers? Suck, suck, suck, and nothing ever happens? Yeah, it was like that.
WALL-E - I enjoyed it a lot. I appreciate the fact that I've managed to watch most Pixar movies for the first time without knowing anything about them in advance (besides the obvious, ie "WALL-E equals robot.") WALL-E was full of surprises, from a rather important social message to some fun nostalgic throwbacks.
The Phantom (2009) - So there was a Phantom movie in 1996 and it was set in the 30s. This one is set in 2009, and there's a new actor playing the title character, but it totally doesn't feel like a reboot because, well, unlike Superman or Spiderman, there isn't just one Phantom. For hundreds of years, it's been the same - when one Phantom dies, his son takes over the purple suit. So it's easy to believe that 2009's Phantom is the actual great-grandson of the other one. If only this new guy could've retained Billy Zane's uber-hotness gene. Oh well.
The Social Network - I really wouldn't have cared if this movie had won the Oscar over The King's Speech; I thought they were equally compelling. TSN is more fast-paced, and the whole time I was bouncing back and forth betweening rooting for the main character and thinking Wow, what a jerk. Jerk, perhaps, but a brilliant one, and it's fascinating watching a project start from merely an idea and become something so huge. Facebook may have it's faults, but let's face it, even your grandma is probably on it. That's huge.
Inception - I was so keen on liking this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan... and dreaming. I love dreaming. And maybe because of that, I was disappointed. The film could've gone so many places, and yet... it didn't bother to do much of anything a dozen other recent movies hadn't already done. The movie also confused a lot of people; I was only confused as to why the film got such high praise. It was a puddle of potential, populated with Batman-franchise refugees. Let's try to do better next time, Mr. Nolan.