Tracking shots! Muthafuckin tracking shots! You know the great thing about Europe? It's the little differences, NOT so many fuckin dull endless boring FUCKIN TRACKING SHOTS!
The whole thing is like someone else has tried to copy Tarantino and
missed the point, like with a oldies soundtrack, muthafuckin gangster
talk, a mixed bag of characters, and that touch of violence. But the man
has lost it, like he's left it lying in a warehouse bleeding to death.
And there aint no muthafuckin way on this earth he's ever gonna get it
We have the blind man with super-human hearing and smell, the man-in-controls who is sceptical, corrupt and nasty - no redeeming features at all, the government official who is obsessed with alien invasion, and the eccentric millionaire who controls EVERYTHING, and what about the evangelist terrorist - I couldn't tell that THAT was going to happen.
We have the constantly repeated phrase "... But if it's just us, it would be an awful waste of space," the terrible dialog with the aliens, half her father half avuncular entity, and her passionate "what if man had been too afraid to build the aeroplane" speech.
We have a nice jungle scene to indicate the nutty/hippie scientists, a BIG office were she goes to get the money, also the dark, close room in the plane with all the surveillance cameras, and everything centres on the good old U.S.A. Oh, and did you notice the "British" news reporter wearing a tweed suit and a bow tie?
Almost all of the film is made up of things you've seen before, the business meeting with the boss secretly looking in (Working Girl), the use of a real President (Forrest Gump), the blind man who "discovers" the hidden secret (Sneakers), the military obsession with invasion (Independence Day etc.), the little girl at the funeral (Silence of the Lambs) and from the same film the whole business of men versus women. Of course I still haven't mentioned the obvious glaring CRIME that has been committed by Zemeckis, the THEFT of the 2001 transportation experience, admittedly it was nicely done, but if Kubrik had made it today it would probably be better (did you notice the brief hint of "Also Sprach" during the sequence - he couldn't even be bothered to get new music).
It was too long, had too many slow moments with no clear pay off, although the slow beginning could have been to represent the hours spent listening to static before they finally get THE signal. But, if that was the case then the rest of the film should have been better.
Like Forrest Gump, this film has too many loose threads dangling around looking for a needle. He never really gets down and makes his point, he always seems to be adding another idea until we are swamped with bit and pieces all over the place. Why was the priest lapsed, the only reason that I can see is so that he could sleep with Jodie Foster - which added NOTHING to the story. What was Rob Lowe doing, I am still trying to think of ONE good reason for his character (unless it's just to get work for Rob Lowe).
And Bill Clinton was a BIG mistake, it simply dates the film.
I read something on the internet that suggests it was taken from an award winning novel, in which case it's a shame it wasn't given to a good director, the kind that can take a story and TELL it, not turn it into an excuse for more special effects. I know I always say this, but I think Rob Reiner would have done a much better job.
Lastly I think the PG certificate was a bad idea, not because of the
content, but because it is impossible to watch with bored children shuffling
around behind you (and I speak from experience).
The problems that I have with this film start with the original script. One night I picked up The Complete Shakespeare just to read a few pages, I turned to this play and couple of hours later put it down finished, and though to myself "is that it?" I still find it hard to believe that the same person wrote King Lear. Much Ado was predictable, formula, without challenge or originality, and the "comedy" scenes were some of the worst.
The film didn't start out too well with a comical gratuitous nude scene with the women desperately washing, ready for the men coming home from ... something ... ? And then Emma Thompson sang the nauseating "Hey Nonny Nonny." The highlights of this composition include the "amusing" deck-chair scene, Kenneth Branagh's "comedy" Spanish accent, The Good Life's own Dicky Briers (who isn't too bad really, but it was impossible to banish the phantom of Jerry and Margot hovering round with a gin and tonic) and Ben Elton playing Pythonesque airhorse to Michael Keaton's Benny Hill impression, I still wonder which film he thought he was in.
The only two performances which were OK were by Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves, Denzel was a fairly standard princely type ... er ... Prince, and Keanu survived mainly by trying to play it as straight and moody as possible (although I could not suppress the occasional visions of Bill and Ted).
The real problem lies with Kenneth Branagh's reputation as a gifted Shakespearean actor. I am not a fan of Shakespeare, and I am not an English scholar, but it seems blindingly obvious to me that the two central characters start by hating each other, then, through their friends' psychology games, begin to like each other, then FINALLY to love each other. When each first mistakenly discovers that the other is in love with them they simply question their own feeling, they do NOT immediately fall head over heels in love in return (literally in Branagh's case - the fountain scene).
Frankly I found the whole thing an embarrassment. If you want to see this play done well watch the BBC version starring Jenny Agutter.