Jim Hunter (hunterjt13)Evansville
Jim's Recent Reviews
A aeronautical engineer dreams of building the perfect plane. Slow and meandering, this film's central conflict is more technical than human, more a matter of engineering, an aspect into which the audience has no reference, than universal. While there are some sections in which we get fine interpersonal conflicts, the majority of the film involves Jiro conversing with his dream characters, and there's little to stand in the way of the love plot, thus little source for conflict. Many critics have written about the film's beauty, and I can't see what they're referring to. Many times I thought that the film didn't take advantage of all the creative liberties that animation could allow. Overall, when characters' central conflicts relate to their jobs, the audience must be able to participate in the suspense, and that's not the case with The Wind Rises.
P.L. Travers protects her novel Mary Poppins from what she perceives as the fluffy work of Walt Disney.
Emma Thompson is at the top of her game once again as the imperious but damaged author of Mary Poppins. While the film is heavy-handed with its insistent flashbacks and over-wrought pop psychology, Thompson's performance grounds the central conflict. Her severe manner turn an artistic battle into an exploration of the clash between serious British arts and letters and the flash of American movies. This is Thompson's film, and Tom Hanks with a mustache passes through.
The story's dramatic question is whether the film version of Mary Poppins and its producer will understand P.L. Travers's authorial intent, and I wish the film had been more direct about Disney's failure in this regard. It's clear from the Mary Poppins clips we see at the end that the final product doesn't live up to Travers's hopes, but Travers's cathartic crying doesn't recognize the film's failure but is rather a purging of damage. So are we supposed to leave the theater thinking that she achieved her goal even if the film isn't all she dreamed it could be? It's an ironic ending, to be sure, but one that's also doused with uncertainty about director John Lee Hancock's own authorial intent.
Overall, Emma Thompson is the reason to see this film, as she is with most of her work.