Three Movie Reviews

I see Cars, Superman Returns, and Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest.

I’m not normally a big movie-goer. My taste in movies limits me to comedies (but not chick flicks or National Lampoon humor or slapstick), mysteries, science fiction (but not horror), adventure (think Indiana Jones), and animation. I don’t go for drama and I hate movies that make me cry. I also don’t like movies with disturbing scenes, since they tend to keep me up at night.

So, as you can imagine, I don’t go to the movies very often.

But over the past two weeks, I’ve actually seen three movies. Here are my capsule reviews.

Cars

CarsPixar has done it again. That’s quite clear. They’ve made a movie that can appeal to people of all ages, with the incredible animation they do so well. They’ve created a world in which the “people” are really cars, fork lifts, tractors, and helicopters — in other words, motorized vehicles. And they’ve managed to make these cartoon creations act, with facial expressions and other body language that conveys emotion.

The movie is about a rookie race car with an attitude problem who gets stuck in an off-the-beaten-path town. While performing some community service jobs, he gets a few eye-opening and life-changing experiences that make him a better…well, car.

Parts of the movie really hit home. The town of Radiator Springs used to be a booming Route 66 town — until the Interstate came in and the traffic stopped driving through. The town is dried up and dying. It reminds me a little of Wickenburg, which bases part of its economy on the “Drive Thru” traffic between Phoenix and Las Vegas. In the movie, however, the town’s people learn what it means to be a destination — a lesson I really wish the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce would learn.

The other thing that hit home was the idea of driving for the pleasure of driving. Not speeding from point A to point B to get there as fast as possible. But driving along scenic roads and taking in the sights, guiding the car on curving roads through mountains and valleys. As a person who prefers back roads to freeways, I could really identify with that. But, in a way, I guess I’m glad most people prefer the freeways. It leaves those glorious back roads wide open for folks like me.

Classic scene from the movie: tractor tipping.

Superman Returns

SupermanIt’s a Superman movie. I can’t say much more about it.

Superman has been away for five years and he comes back. The people in Metropolis — especially on the Daily Planet staff — are pretty stupid. Clark Kent comes back to work and Superman shows up the same day and nobody makes the connection. (Yeah, I know. It’s the movies.)

Lex Luthor’s scheme to manufacture real estate creates an unstable and unattractive land mass off the coast of the U.S. Superman has to stop him before the land mass crowds out the rest of the world. Helping him are Lois Lane, her significant other (who happens to be boss Perry White’s nephew), and her five-year-old son. I won’t spoil it for you; I shouldn’t have to.

The movie was too long.

Classic line from the movie, spoken by Lex Luthor’s girl: “Hey, weren’t there two of those?”

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest

Pirates of the Carribean 2I read a few reviews for this flick before I went to see it. They all seemed to go on and on about how the special effects made the acting secondary. Perhaps I’m so accustomed to special effects that I just didn’t notice them. It wasn’t as if they weren’t there, though.

The plot: Will and Elizabeth are arrested by a representative of the East India Company who agrees to release Will if he brings back Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass. He tracks down Sparrow, who tricks him into boarding the Flying Dutchman, which is captained by Davey Jones and crewed by a bunch of cursed men who have definitely spent too much time under water. There’s a key and a chest and a still beating (yet bodyless) heart. I won’t spoil it for you.

The movie was long and when it was over, I was left strangely unfulfilled. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was over until the credits started to roll.

This morning, I realized what it was: a setup for Pirates 3. Just like Back to the Future 2 was a setup for Back to the Future 3. Oddly, however, it doesn’t leave me anxious to see the next installment. Instead, it leaves me kind of ticked off.

One More Thing

I saw two out of these three movies in Wickenburg’s own Saguaro Theater. This theater, which I believe is in a landmark building, is what I call a “one-plex” — just one movie under the roof. The movie plays once a day during the week (at around 7 PM) and 3 or 4 times a day on weekends. The screen is big, the sound system is fine, and the seats are in pretty decent shape, despite the fact that they were purchased used from another theater about four years ago. Although the theater is seldom very crowded, last night it was more than half full — a big deal here in town.

The closest multiplex to Wickenburg is about 40 miles away — thank heaven! — so more often than not, I wait to see a movie I want to see right here in town, with the big screen, the local advertising slides, and the fresh popcorn.

The big multiplexes are killing off the little theaters one by one, making it impossible for today’s kids to experience movies the way we (or at least I) did. Entertainment is big business and, as usual, theater owners are motivated by profit. But Brian, who owns the Saguaro Theater, seems more interested in preserving the theater than sucking money out of it. For that, I thank him every time I see him.

If you have a small theater in your town, help keep it alive by attending movies there and buying some popcorn or Skittles or Bon-bons to munch on. Consider yourself a preservationist, helping to save part of the past for the future.

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