A Scanner Darkly; Spider-Man; Superman Returns

I watched two films last weekend: one I’ve been dying to see for ages, and the second I swore I’d never see.

'Freck' The first was A Scanner Darkly, which is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s book of the same name. What made this film stand out, for me, is the way it was put together. It was filmed as normal and then ‘animated over‘. I don’t understand what that means, of course, but the effect was quite remarkable. (The effect for me was that it was more visually engaging than a regular film and less abstract to watch than a lot of animation.) A Scanner Darkly also sports a rather famous cast, and it’s worth watching for Robert Downey Jr alone. Keanu Reeves was predictably wooden (thank the Gods they ‘animated over’ to disguise how awful he is if nothing else), Winona Ryder was a bland as I always find her, but Downey Jr made up for both of them by being a rather adorable lunatic. In any case, if conspiratorial, paranoid and often close-to-the-bone hedonism is your thing, then you should watch this film as soon as you can. You won’t regret it. If nothing else, you’ll be chuckling about Barris (Downey Jr) for days. Also, if you get a chance, read up about Philip K. Dick’s life. He was a fascinating, if very unhinged, guy.

'Parker'The second was Spider-Man. I’ve never seen this film, mainly because I don’t really like this sort of thing (and I don’t spend enough time seeing the sort of thing I do like) but I was convinced to try it at the weekend. (I should add that I’ve generally managed to avoid that nondescript drink-of-water Tobey Maguire, and that other nondescript squeaker Kirsten Dunst, until now and I’ve been pretty happy about that, but I seem to have broken that run now.) But I watched it, and I didn’t sneer, and I have to admit here and now for all the world to see that I really liked it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t want to turn it off either. Maguire and Dunst turned in acceptable performances, but aside from that, it was just a darned good action film with swinging around the place, and baddies, and silliness, and plenty of tension. I was pleased to see William Dafoe in the leading cast, even if his character was completely naff, and Aunt May was just wonderful. I can’t quite believe it myself (and don’t tell anyone, ok?) but I’m looking forward to seeing Spider-Man 2 now. Shhh!

Oh, and I must tell you how much Scottish and I laughed when we watched Superman Returns recently! Superman seems to have become a big camp mannequin in his time away, and Lois has turned into an even punier (and more annoying) version of herself. It was truly hilarious! Kevin Spacey, though, is nothing short of God-like. Seriously! You heard it here first…

12 responses to “A Scanner Darkly; Spider-Man; Superman Returns

  1. of those three, the only one I’ve seen is “Superman Returns” – and I swear I was bored rigid. Never in me life have I been so conscious of time passing, ticking ever closer to my imminent death, during a movie.

    I’ve barely seen any films this year, there have been too many gigs on! My wee Unlimited Card is wasting away…

  2. I missed A Scanner Darkly when it played in cinemas here. Still annoyed with myself for that. Oh well, at least there’s the deev option. Don’t think i’m likely to see Spiderman … but what isn’t that what you said? 😉

  3. I could explain at length why Spiderman is the Best Superhero Film Ever Made, but I’m sure I’d only bore you. Spidey was the only comic I read when I was a kid, and Sam Raimi is one of my favourite directors, so I just splurfed my pants when I found out he was making the film. I can lend you the Spidey II DVD if you like.

  4. Scanner Darkly is awesome. Everyone should watch it.

    And congrats on spiderman. I’m glad you liked it. Its hokum but it’s really good hokum. I love comic book films. Hoping to catch Superman soon.


  5. TheJadedLotus, there is indeed the DVD option. It’s not one of these movies that you need to see on a big screen (although I saw it on a relatively big screen because himself has a projector). It’s excellent on anything, I dare say. And I did say that about Spiderman, indeed. 🙂

    LC, you could, and I would probably believe you because I don’t know a great deal about these things. Thanks for the offer but I think the housemate has it.

    Puddlejumper, I agree – it’s a film for everyone. And ‘hokum’ is a very good way to describe it. It’s good clean fun, apart from in a few places, where it did get rather violent.

  6. I like Kirsten Dunst because I think she’s not as horrible as so many other actresses. I’ve never even heard of Scanner Darkly so that’s another one to look out for.

  7. I see what you mean by that, Sinead, but she’s so bloody vacuous, it’s incredible. And that voice!!!

    Oh, and I’m not sure that Scanner would be for you but it’s not difficult viewing.

  8. I’ve read about it since and i think you might be right, I’ll not bother with it for now unless someone convinces me that I should see it.

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