Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

I give this movie two thumbs down. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my opinions of this movie at about 1 am CT this morning when it finally ended and I tried not to rip my eyes out and/or find Quinten Tarantino and punch him in the face. For those of you that don't know the plot, it's basically about a group of Jewish-American soldiers in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. They're sent over to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by brutally killing (and by their own accord, scalping) Nazis. There's also a story that eventually intertwines with theirs about a Jewish woman who escaped being massacred with her family and ends up owning a cinema that is forced to host a Nazi movie premiere (oh, sweet irony). It sounds like a decent enough plot, but having seen it, I'm finding myself asking (not for the first time) why Tarantino's so revered as a great movie-maker.
  • It's not funny. At all. One of the "funnier" characters, Col. Hans Landa (played by Christoph Waltz), is simply annoying. He doesn't make any sense as a character, one moment appearing slightly homosexual, the next a womanizer, the next a ruthless murder, the next a nice man that loves good French cuisine, and the next a babbling idiot. There's no continuity to his character and his lines that are supposed to be funny simply aren't.
  • Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) really grated on me the most, I think. He's supposed to be this American Hero from Tennessee, killing Nazis (or as he'd say nat-si's) and disturbing the order of the Third Reich. However, he comes across as a dumbass who's only interest in life is senseless killing. I understand that death is a necessary by-product of war, blah blah blah, but that doesn't mean that soldiers are bloodthirsty. Pitt's character certainly is violent and bloodthirsty, though, and it's to a point of being slightly disgusting. I mean, I can handle blood (I wanted to be a surgeon for a while) but parts of this movie that made me gag. On top of that, I was actually kind of insulted at the portrayal of American military men as all being bloodthirsty, not very intelligent, cruel, and so ethnocentric that they refuse to learn another language. His treatment of Diane Kruger's character was also less than wonderful, bordering on torturing her for something she couldn't have controlled. The only redeeming quality of this character had nothing to do with the movie -- instead, it proved once again that Brad Pitt is a great actor. If I didn't hope for better, I would be tempted to think that this movie was made entirely to show off Pitt's acting skills, and not to actually be worthwhile entertainment.
  • Also, I'm slightly disappointed in Diane Kruger's role in this movie. She seemed an utterly pointless character, serving only as a pretty face to differentiate from the endless supply of annoying men and a big name to draw more viewers in the US. If they wanted her for that that, they could have had her play Melanie Laurent's part (though Laurent is pretty enough to play Kruger's) and had her kill two (or three) birds with one stone -- being pretty, drawing viewers, and actually moving the plot along.
  • That reminds me -- this movie is painfully long. Length wouldn't be bad if it were like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which has an endless supply of explosions and running to keep you entertained for the 150 minutes it's playing. Inglourious Basterds though, even at a mere three minutes longer, felt hours longer because it's mostly people sitting around chatting. There's a lot of planning in this movie, which while it would have happened in real life (if this movie were remotely true to history), is incredibly boring to watch.
All this is to say -- please don't waste your money seeing it. Because I'm a student, I luckily only wasted $4, but I still wish I hadn't;I could have spent that $4 on a grande iced white chocolate mocha with soy from starbucks and read a good book for three hours (Freakonomics, Atlas Shrugged, This Child Will Be Great...), which would have been an infinitely better way to spend my time.

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