Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Waking Life (what is this movie?)

This movie is about, and I'm not kidding, a guy walking around and
talking topeople about various deep topics. It's like being in a
philosophy class, but it's animated, so I guess it's like being in
philosophy class on acid. To start off, I hate philosophy. I'm more
of a math person. With philosophy, you get a bunch of people trying
to make sense of the universe. Math is constant. Also, it's a bit
pretentious, which I wouldn't mind so much if it didn't come off as
preachy. Here's the trailer.

What I liked: the animation was done using roto-scoping, so it's
fun to look at. It was visually interesting, but my mind was glazing
over at the
ridiculous amount of philosophy going on. I really enjoyed
the characters talking about movies and how they aren't really meant
for storytelling. I don't agree, but they brings up good points. I don't
think this movie was my cup of tea.

What I didn't like: If I'm not a fan of philosophy then I'm not going to
enjoy animated people talking about philosophy am I? Also, there wasn't
much of plot. Some guy keeps dreaming within a dream (everyone knows
there's only 3 levels then limbo. He may be dead; it gets brought up a
few times in the movie but since it's in a philosophical sense, it's not
really a spoiler, just more of a hypothesis. Parts of the writing were
either bad or bad on purpose to make it seem like it was good. It just
ended up being bad. Let me give you an example:

Coffee-shop lady: What are you writing?
Frustrated Author:A novel.
Coffee Shop Lady: What's the story?
Frustrated Author:There's no story. It's just... people, gestures,
moments, bits of rapture, fleeting emotions.In short,the greatest stories
ever told.

Agh! I hate that exchange! So much! It's not edgy, it's stupid! This is
where the movie lost me.

On another note, this movie was made before the Bush/Gore election. So
you didn't really get the topics that crop up in modern filmmaking,
especially in the independent scene. There was a vacuum of things to
talk about so they made a highly philosophical movie. It's kind of the
same thing with Fight Club and The Matrix--not that Fight Club is
philosophical. That had more of a tone of a lost generation trying
to find meaning since they didn't have a war to fight or a common enemy
(It's said in the movie quite blatantly, and I agree) There really is
a noticeable tonal shift that's evidenced in movie history. After the
Watergate scandal, movies got more cynical. In the Depression, there
were a lot of great comedies. WWII brought us the film noir, which
continued into the 50s. Movies are very much a product of their time.
This movie was a product of the brief time that existed after the
Clinton/Lewinsky fervor died down and before the Bush/Gore election came
along. It was released in March of 2001, and based on animation and
post-production schedules, this is a 90s movie. People thought the
world was going to end with Y2K. In that context the movie works.
Nowadays, it doesn't seem like we have the time to spend on this.

Why should you watch this movie? If you thought Inception was a
bit mindless and want to explore deeper philosophical implications
of the dream world, this movie is for you.

Why should you skip this movie? If philosophy or lack of a coherent
plot frustrates you, skip this movie. I would really just skip this
and watch Inception personally. It's less preachy.

What about recent releases Zchill?

The Social Network looks promising. Let Me In is a bit too shot for
shot like the original
Let the Right One In. I'm looking forward to
, but it's looking far sillier than it initially did, so I don't
really know anymore. I also have another blog on the way too. Until then!