In case you didn’t know, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. And Steven Spielberg’s latest turd is here to tell all you kind folks out there how it all came to pass. But I’m here to tell you’s otherwise and just how Spielberg transformed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Team of Rivals from a fascinating book about the formation of Lincoln’s administration, and how he had the uncanny ability to delegate the various responsibilities to his formidable contentious cabinet members during the crisis of the Civil War, into a fucking children’s book about the fight for freedom for all mankind. Gross.
Now I’m definitely not saying I advocate slavery but aren’t we all still enslaved by the almighty dollar? Or at least by T.V. anyway. I mean, don’t even get me started about the shenanigans going on over Breaking Amish! While Daniel Day Lewis looks the part, talks the part, feels the part, but is not tall enough for the part, Spielberg deftly manages to Gandalfize him whereby cutting short the height of tables, chairs, doors, and Sally Fields’ legs – who is the epitome of the nagging fugly wife and gives General Petraeus wife a run for her money. Perhaps taking the Whig party too literal, the best prop goes to Tommy Lee Jones’ head rug while the rest of the cast proves to be the ugliest Hollywood crowd hem hawing like a bunch of kids playing with judge hammers.
Given that I’m a Lincolnite, (my handle is Honestabel if you haven’t noticed) as every time I walk by the Cooper Union building in New York City I never fail to salute and acknowledge that this was the place where he stood and coined the phrase “right makes might”, I was really looking forward to this movie to be right – but I had trepidations knowing that Spielberg has a tendency to schmaltz things up and appeal to the worst angels of my nature. This is definitely not one for the ages.
I thought Spielberg fulfilled his inner child when he made Hook and those dino movies – or with definite all time low on his last outing, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a movie that not only appealed to kids but to retards. I know Lucas is partially to blame but that’s a whole other saga. So after a 3 year directing hiatus, Spielberg leaps into the 3D animation world just in time to cash in on the holidays, reviving the beloved comic series, The Adventures of Tintin.
Like most animated features marketed to kids the first 45 minutes are dazzling, fun, and clever with the second half dragging on way too long with a series of never ending frenetic chases that always end predictably happy – leaving the door open for inevitable sequels to come. Even with the collaboration of ultimate nerd Peter Jackson, I have no interest in seeing this planned franchised trilogy especially since animation nowadays is trying to use CGI as a substitute for real life, thereby defeating it’s purpose, lacking poetry and soul. This style really only works for video games and the couch potatoes socially more awkward than me – vicariously living through their RPGs.
Writer, Edgar Wright retains his wit capturing Herge’s humor not just with the casting of his butt buddies, Simon Peg and Nick Frost, but by portraying Captain Haddock as the drunk that he really is, and not a watered down Disney version, and with Snowy the dog, who seems to generate the most laughs. But then again, I REALLY want a dog.
Throwback 1979: When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse out the corner of my eye…of aliens and spacecrafts too and had a gang of neighborhood friends that liked to ride bikes and sneak out for some innocent summer fun. Maybe that is why I felt nostalgic for the first half-hour of Super 8, as Spielberg protege J.J. Abrams revisits early 80’s coming of age boy adventure tales in small town suburbs. But like all Bad Robot productions it soon gets lost and loses steam with the loudest train wreck relegating into a campy Them! But what’s more unbelievable than flying water towers is the unbreakable Scientist warning them kids.
Bad Robot also had the bright idea with their marketing and promotion in releasing vague trailers, stupid puzzles, and going so far as to sending out secret packages to industry assholes with an actual super 8 reel. It’s too bad I didn’t get one because after seeing this movie I would’ve returned that Kodak box with a turd inside.
Besides the beautiful Vilmos Zigmond-like cinematography the only other reason for watching this movie is if your a fan of the My Sharona song. And like The Knack, J.J.’s one hit wonder might just be Star Trek because Mission Impossible is hopeless. But I hope he rebounds with the Star Trek sequel since when using his own material falls short.