Monday, June 28, 2010

Warning: Amelia may induce drowsiness

Note: Before sitting down to watch Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor, this blogger spent the entire afternoon trying to banish his farmers tan and taking his kids down the waterslide about 10,000 times. This reviewer is willing to acknowledge this as a contributing factor to his drowsiness while watching the aforementioned film.

The kids all in bed, the house quiet, my wife and I snuggled up on the couch to watch Amelia, which had been sitting untouched in its Netflix envelope for over a month. The movie started. Pretty pictures of planes began to slide across the screen.Some woman, whom I wouldn't care about if I didn't already know it was the famous Amelia Earhart, wants to to fly. No one expects much from her. She flies with two lazy-bum pilots across the Atlantic. There is turbulence and I wake up long enough to see one of the pilots and Hilary Swank almost fall out an open door during flight (you would think they would bolt those things shut)- I'm thinking this probably didn't really happen but was added in to keep test audiences awake. Well, they make it to Wales. Amelia becomes an overnight celebrity. Richard Gere sees her chatting with Ewan McGregor so naturally he proposes to her while heavily intoxicated. My eyes droop once. They droop twice. And, BAM, I am out.

I wake up two hours later to a darkened living room, my wife snoozing upstairs.

There is something to be said for trying to watch a movie- much less a biopic drama- after a long day in the sun. But I would also submit that the test of a great movie is its ability to hold your attention even after a long day in the sun.

When I think about, Amelia is a film of gorgeous images with little life, little pulse underneath the dressing. the principal actors literal walk through their parts, hit their marks, and move onto the next scene. But it's probably not their fault. What's on screen suggests that director and writers gave little thought on how to give these historical characters real life and depth. the movie plays like someone opened the Amelia Earhart section in the encyclopedia and crafted scenes to illustrate each notable event.

Sadly, although the title itself promises a certain degree of intimacy with the legendary woman aviator- something we've never seen before- , it never really delivers on that promise. I could have watched a History Channel documentary and gotten the same experience in half the time. Except the sleep. I probably could've stayed awake through a History Channel documentary.

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