Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oscar Bait: The King's Speech

You know all those movies that come out at the end of the year that have critics fawning all over them? The fact that they all come out at the end of the year isn't a coincidence. To be considered for an Oscar, films have to come out within the year prior to the ceremony. Since Americans have a short attention spans, there are about half a dozen well-made movies--all vying for the same awards--all coming out at the same time. These movies are called Oscar Bait.

The King's Speech is a feel-good movie and, out of the Oscar Bait, probably the one that is most accessible to mainstream audiences. This isn't a ballerina horror, self-amputating rock climber, gritty western, Boston-based boxing/heist, or modern website-founding story. It's just a simple movie about a stammering Prince who was never supposed to be King fighting everyone's favorite Hollywood bad-guy: Nazis.

Now, to be fair, I haven't seen any of those movies besides this one quite yet, but this one seems to be the one that the majority of people will like...except fascists, I suppose, but they don't seem to care for much anyway, do they?

I liked that I didn't know the history behind this story. I knew that the Queen of England has been a figurehead for quite some time, but I never knew the drama surrounding her father's coronation. I'm not really all that educated on the whole British monarchy thing. But to be fair, I'm an American, and we don't care for Kings over here. My favorite moment, apart from the title event, was the way that the King's daughters curtsied to their loving father after he became King. Colin Firth did a great job in that scene in particular; you could see that he hated the change that had occurred in the way his daughters saw him, but he maintained his bearing as King. Really, I could go on about the performances and how great they were, but we are entering awards season, and it's kind of a pain in the @*^ to watch these actors fall in love with themselves on stage. So I'll skip that bit of this blog and move to what I didn't like.

I didn't like some of the casting choices. Why did Colin Firth play Guy Pearce's younger brother? I don't mean to strike at a particularly sore spot for actors, but if you're going to sell the movie, maybe make less confusing casting choices. The audience isn't stupid, you know. I will say that Guy Pearce has aged since I last saw him; I guess they wanted to accentuate that he was older. He and Colin Firth were believable as royalty, so I forgave the odd casting choice. One last thing about the casting that bothered me was the Winston Churchill role. Timothy Spall essentially did a caricature of Winston Churchill instead of becoming the role and making it his own. It's really something that was only noticeable because the main cast really inhabited their roles. Small details though.

Watch this if you like behind-the-scenes moments like The Queen, or any other inspirational movies, like Remember the Titans. It has a pretty similar storyline to inspirational sports movies; there was even a montage. True story.

If you hate to be inspired, then skip this movie (I ran into such a person at the library, and I died a little on the inside). I guess an action movie like True Grit might suit you, but alas, I can not make that recommendation in good conscience, as I have yet to see it.

Colin Firth has been in a bunch of movies that I like to call "chick flicks". I wonder if it'll catch on.... He should probably win the Oscar for his spot-on and believable portrayal of King George VI. That, and he was passed over for an Oscar last year for A Single Man. There are serious politics involved in the Oscars.

Geoffrey Rush is famous for his role as Barbosa from the Pirates of the Carribean franchise.

Helen Bonham Carter wastes her talent in her husband Tim Burton's movies. She played a very sassy queen.

Guy Pearce has been in two of my favorite movies: L.A. Confidential and Memento. He isn't in enough movies.

That's all. This movie was great. I left the theater with high spirits. You should totally watch it. Or don't, whatever. I'm not your mom.

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