The Sacred, the Profane and the Johnny Depp Movie

The mouse has every reason to hide, when you think about itYou can feel the transition in the air, can’t you? The studios are shaking off that post-Thanksgiving haze and gearing up for an end-of-year frenzy of big Christmas movies and blatant Oscar bait … and I get to gorge on all of it, because the TFCA votes this weekend and I’m seeing absolutely everything. Which is a little exhausting, I admit, but it also means I’ve got this week’s new movies in my back pocket:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader“: Or as Glenn Kenny‘s been calling it, “Jesus Kitty III”. And as with “Prince Caspian”, I’d be much quicker to forgive the preaching, the thin characterizations and the empty visual effects if something would actually happen. But no, Michael Apted’s direction is perhaps even more distant and uninvolved than it was in “The World is Not Enough” … and we all remember that one, don’t we?

The King’s Speech“: Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush square off in Tom Hooper’s crackling historical drama, which is as perfectly calibrated a crowd-pleaser as anything Harvey Weinstein’s released since “Shakespeare in Love”. The difference is that this is also much smarter and sharper than that regrettably Oscar-anointed trifle. It’s also rated R in the U.S., because the MPAA is afraid people might not be able to handle a little cussing.

The Tourist“: What happens when you put Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in the same movie? A whole lot of nothing, as it happens, if it’s this movie. Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck is not going to be going back to the Oscars any time soon, I can tell you that.

And that’s all there is this week. Enjoy the quiet; it’s about to get much, much noisier on the megaplex front …

3 thoughts on “The Sacred, the Profane and the Johnny Depp Movie”

  1. Do kids really clue in to the Christian allegory aspects of the Narnia books/movies. You linked to Glenn Kenny’s review, who thought that the movies were deliberately toning down that side of things. When I ran a bookstore, however, I met quite a few adults who had read the books as children without any awareness of the theology, who were then appalled when they took Children’s Lit in university, for example, and suddenly found out, “Wait…what? Aslan is JESUS?” I think the “Jesus Kitty” aspect goes over a lot of kids’ heads, both in the books and movies, and what they see is adventure with clearcut, generic good vs evil.

  2. And maybe the ratings board misread and thought The King’s Speech was directed by Tobe Hooper instead of Tom Hooper?

  3. First things first: I would LOVE to see Tobe Hooper direct a costume picture.

    And as for the current Narnia movies, the first film did downplay the Christian stuff considerably (except for the scourging sequence, which plays like the Passion of the Kitty), but the subtext started to squirm out during “Prince Caspian” and, fully becomes text in the new picture.

    I think Glenn was distracted from the content of Aslan’s climactic speech (“In your world, you know me by another name”) by the urge to reach out and stroke his photo-realistic mane.

    I read the books as a kid and didn’t catch the allegory — though I knew virtually nothing of that Jesus bloke at the time, so that doesn’t surprise me — but I imagine there’ll be more than a few kids wondering what they’re being sold at the end of “Dawn Treader”.

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