Saw DARK CITY last night. I liked it, I wasn't elated by it though. Here let me tell ya about where my head was at when I saw the flick.
Woke up early today (noon, HEY, I'd been up till 7am updating, so cut me some slack) and decided I would lose a hundred pounds. That's all I usually have to do. Don't know why, it's probably Hollywood's fault. All these production companies keep sending me T-Shirts that are XL, well I'd like to actually wear some of them someday, sooooo... I'll lose 100 pounds. Last time I decided to lose weight, I dropped close to 200 pounds. It wasn't very hard, just a matter of will. Actually the real reason is, my back's been hurting, and well it's probably this barrel I'm carrying around up front.
Well after deciding this would be my last weekend of 'FOOD', I had to get on the move. You see I had to go with Dad and set up at City Wide Garage Sale. You know it's amazing. I've been doing this net thing for a little over 2 years and heh heh heeeh... I'm still setting up at City Wide. Amazing. I love setting up there, but I hate having to move everything 'into' the city colesium. As I push the big ol dolly into the building I can't help but flashback to my back injury 2+ years ago. It kinda kick started all of this. When I push the heavy load in, I can feel exactly where in my back the injury is. About third from the bottom.
Dad's Achilles Tendon is acting up, so I have to get most everything in. Luckily, Glen's spy known as 'Captain Video', known to y'all as the Jedi Knight of LaserDiscs, helps me push the damn thing up the ramp. It's a tougher than usual load in. I'd asked my sister satan to help us, but she was busy with Lobo Tommy. (Babysitting she says.) After we get everything in place, we instantly head for the third last meal. (Tomorrow will be second, then Sunday night will be my last. Then I become a wabbit... huh huh huh huuuuuh)
So we head for Threadgills. Aaaahhhhhh, I decide I would get Fried Chicken Livers, Mashed Potatos and Broccli Rice Casserole. However, when the waiter dude shows up I let Dad go first, to see what he'll choose to order. Should have known, damn psychic twin. He orders EXACTLY what I had decided I would order. Sigh... It really is amazing. We are constantly in tune like this. Scarrrrrrrry...
We munch down, savoring the bites, soaking in among our last calories. For a Food-a-phile like us, this is bliss. Eating all that delicious death... what joy. Afterwards the sweet ecstacy of 'fullbelly' forces us to seek a bed, at home. So I pile up, sated, and begin to get e-mail. One piece tells me about one of AICN's readers is exhibiting for the first time before 'SUITS'. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! He needed a wish of luck, you see, he ain't no puppet, he loves what he's doing, and even looks like Fred Mertz, that neighbor we all know. He has a lot of passion, a lot of drive, and dammit I wish him the best of luck.
I begin filling the rest of the seats for DARK CITY. Contacting Glen, Copernicus, RoRo and Quint. Everything seems to be going well, Robogeek is distraught, he can't go, he's sad. Glen and I torment him. He'd do the same. Besides he has the latest Rolling Stone cover to keep him company.
Then right before I left to go to the LINE, I see an email that purports to be a review of a GODZILLA test screening. My eyes go as big as saucers, my pulse begins to race. A SUPER-SCOOP? It's an 8k piece of mail. I begin reading the review, and soon discover that there isn't a shred of truth to the entire review. This lame 'would be review' lays claim that Godzilla is captured in an Aircraft Carrier and sunk. UGH! Can't you just see that? Well, given I've read the script, this sort of fakey uncreative writing exercise won't work. I get this sort of thing from time to time. Sigh..
So it was off to "THE LINE" Quint arrived and we all load up and move out. Quint isn't playing "Fairwell and adieu to me fair Spanish Ladies..." instead I get "In the Jungle, The Mighty Jungle, The Lion Sleeps Tonight..." Sigh, Quint sat in that water too long me thinks...
We get great parking, which is a thing of note when heading into the UT campus area. We get in and Glen is there like the geek that he is awaiting us. I hand him his AICN T-Shirt complements of Geek #3 (now of the theforce.net) He smiles big, he's a geek. He's wearing his ARMAGEDDON t-shirt. We sit down and all begin talking. It's about 2 hours before the film is to start, and we are staking claims on good seats.
More and more people arrive. Copernicus and PoliceWoman arrive, RoRo, Nice Lady, Insane Woman, Tuvok, etc. Quint sneaks in to see KISSING A FOOL. Wuss. (hey, I'm seeing it Tuesday) We begin to do that REZ DOGS style dialogue. First we begin with the Flesh Eating Bacteria, which turns into rivers on Mars, which turns into Jennifer Connelly's breasts (are they real or Memorex?), which turns into Lori and Dori (the siamese twins from Jerry Springer. One is a bit shy, but the other wants to be a country western singer, so she dyed her hair reddish and called herself Reba), which turned into a desire for chocolate milkshakes, which turned into degrading the entire Trek franchise, which turned into saving the entire Trek Franchise, which turned into the Ginger and MaryAnn (who would you do?) and continued and continued until... The mob was let out of KISSING A FOOL, and instantly the crowd we were sitting in rushed forward for the theater.
You know when you go to Toys R Us the day the new Star Wars figures are released, and the door opens and you RUN to the action figure aisle? Well it was kinda like a mob scene. Luckily my group made it in, and chose to sit on the front row.
Well this is the TEXAS UNION THEATER. The bottom 15% of the screen will be taken up by an average height fella, 20% if he or she is tall or has big hair. So, it was with great trepidation that we chose the first row to simply place ourselves upfront and center.
After awhile the room darkened and we were shown the latest LOST IN SPACE trailer. There were some hoots and hollers in the theater, but mainly silence. I don't know, the trailer has cool imagery galore, but I don't get a sense for a single character, and some of the set pieces look too glossy. Oh well.
I really liked DARK CITY. I did not love it though. I'm going to go into what I felt was missing, but I want to stress that I really liked the film and will pay to see it opening weekend at the best theater in my town. I just feel that I need to say why I still hold Blade Runner, Brazil and The Crow above this film.
The number one quality that is lacking for me is passion. Now this is a tough criticism because the whole set up is suppose to make us feel all the characters are off balance. And they are, but the problem with that set up is you don't really care for any of these people. In a world as dark as this, you need a ray of light. No not Marvin the Martian DeAtomizer, but rather a character that is a ray of light in an otherwise dreary world.
In Modern Times and City Lights, Chaplin had his 'light' the girl. She was the anchor of humanity in the world he lived in. Those girls were the character's that made his Tramp care about the dirty hideous world around him. In Blade Runner, we have Sean Young, who gives Ford the humanity he had let slip away. And here... they try it, but they don't nail it. Believe me, I wanted to fall in love with Jennifer Connely in this film, but her character is so much of a 'deer in headlights' that I couldn't see that inner glow inside of her. And Rufus Sewell is literally all bug-eyed out, but doesn't have a moment to weep, to contemplate, to consider the weight of the situation he finds himself in.
That's the main problem I have, it doesn't take a breath for the characters. Instead it plunges full ahead. God, I wished the emotional side delivered for me. It might for you, I hope it does.
Now for why this film became a 'really liked'. It's a beautiful movie. The character design is superb, the execution of the action is solid, the effects work except for that one thing having to do with the Strangers. But trust me when I say that come October 31st, Alex's cronies from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE will have their opposites in Black overcoats and black bowlers and clown white faces stumbling about.
See this film, don't let my negativity towards it scare you away. There is a lot here to love, it's just that I wanted an intangible fire to ignite the characters in my mind, where they do not reside.
Glen liked it, in fact with each passing day, I think he likes it more. RoRo hated the editing and camera at the end (though I think that came from the fact we were on the first row.) Quint liked the movie. Dad really liked the movie. Copernicus and Police Woman were mixed on the film.
Can't wait to see Alex Proyas take on the Quatermass series next!!!