November 22, 2006

Review: The Fountain

Anxiously waiting for this movie to come out for a several months, I was anticipating (upon reflection of my Borat experience) whether going to see it on opening night would be worth the hassle.

When I got to the theatre, though, and after waiting for my friend Dan up until just minute before show-time, I was surprised to see adequate seating available when we entered the cinema. Then I remembered I'd only seen one trailer on TV for The Fountain, so I guess it wasn't really advertised that much.

As expected, the non-CGI visual effects were amazing, much better than anything CGI I've ever seen. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Wired had an article on how the effects were made here. Much of the rest of the movie is also steeped in elaborate visuals of costumes and architecture, creating a very unique mood for many of the scenes.

The story was a little confusing. From what I understood before seeing the movie, it was to be divided into three time lines: 1500 AD, 2000 AD and 2500 AD. Besides jumping around through time throughout the movie, none of the specific dates are hinted at, but the concept is portrayed more to be connected to psychological states or fictional themes. Kind of a bummer for nerds like me, but much of it seemed open to interpretation.

It also wasn't as epic as I'd expected; I don't even think it ran two hours. There are a lot of scenes that are great for the big screen, but the story seemed a little constrained, perhaps too focused on portraying the main characters' relationship while quickly skimming over the more adventurous moments. If there's a director's cut of the movie released, I'm hoping that it will be a little more stimulating.

Some of the film's shortfalls may be due to its tight budget and production history, but it's still worth it to go see in the theatre. Darren Aronofsky has directed some of my favourite movies (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) and I'm still a big fan of his work after seeing this one.

Also, Mogwai and Kronos Quartet performed the score composed by Clint Mansell-- another one of the movie's more delightful aspect.

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