Thursday, February 12, 2009

Movie Trailer Preview - Inglourious Basterds

First, I'll let you simply take a look before diving right in.

My first thoughts?

Read more on the flip side...

It makes me nervous.

My feelings for Tarantino films run hot and cold. I love his early stuff, as pretty much everyone does, but feel he has lost his way a little bit of late.

Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown is a series of three that is hard to beat by any director. There's nary a misstep there anywhere. And that level of superiority seems to hurt Tarantino. My theory is after completing the complex and mature Jackie Brown, and not getting the kudos it deserved (at least in my opinion) Tarantino figured people simply wanted him to go and make violent movies with a lot of pop culture refrerences, cool music, and nods to his influences.

And that's a shame. Because Jackie Brown really showed off his skill and growing experience as a director. Not only did it prove he could craft something from someone else's source material, it showed he wasn't a one trick pony.

Unfortunately, it also wasn't what his core fanbase was looking for after the too hip for the room movies that preceded it. And I think that affected Tarantino and he drifted back to his wheelhouse.

Don't get me wrong, that isn't a bad thing. People working in the genres and things they love can produce magic. And Tarantino's films will never be considered safe, boring, or "generic." They will always have something cool to look at.

But when you don't stretch your wings, you don't take risks, and you don't fail, and you don't learn. And then a funny thing get complacent. And once you get complacent, you start to become irrelevant.

I'm not a huge fan of Kill Bill. Not because it doesn't have a lot of great ideas or great shots in it - it does. I don't like it because to me it feels as though it's just a series of cool looking scenes loosely tied together. I mean I enjoy the Crazy 88s fight:

It's beautifully choreographed and is full of cool looking action. The problem I have with the movie isn't the ideas and large action scenes - it's the transitions between these scenes. There really aren't any. The narrative doesn't flow. Yes, there is an overarching story about revenge, and it follows a typical story structure, but the transitions between each of the bigger scenes are scarce and poorly executed at best.

And don't get me started on Death Proof. The car chase is exciting, and QT deserves props for doing it without CGI - a rare feat these days that gives the entire chase an added sense of danger, but the first hour drags considerably and serves little purpose. It's one thing to show off dialog and cool things in movies when you can, but the scene feels flat and meandering, and you wind up waiting for it to end instead of really watching it.

I understand the theory of trying to recreate an exploitation film, I just think QT got caught up in himself and forgot about it. He knew he had a cool car chase and didn't really know how he was going to get there.

Enough background though. Let's go back to his new movie: Inglourious Basterds.

What makes me nervous?

  • Eli Roth has a large role. He wasn't good in Death Proof, and I can't imagine he's gotten better.
  • Brad Pitt seems to be playing a caricature. Therefore, I can't imagine the other characters are all that fleshed out. And when I say fleshed out, I don't mean we're not told their back stories. But I don't want to be told. I want to be shown. QT does a lot of telling in his movies of late.
  • Violence for violence sake. From the trailer, it seems this should have been his exploitation movie.
  • The hack Dirty Dozen vibe that's coming off it. Brad Pitt seems to be channeling a version of Lee Marvin. Brad Pitt is not Lee Marvin.

Look, I know it's only a trailer, and that trailers are created to get people excited by movies. So they don't necessarily show what the film is about. I get that.

But "100 Nazi scalps?"


I'll leave it at that.

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