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Tycho / on Wed, Dec 11 2002 at 7:57 am

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It is safe to say that we were both pleasantly surprised by the movie Equilibrium.  Perhaps him more than me, but I’m still just learning to enjoy movies that don’t have French titles.

Now, this is not to say that absolutely every human being when presented with Equilibrium will fall to their knees and begin to worship it, or burst into extemporaneous song.  Indeed, I was cautioned just before I went by (the powerful) Mach5, who linked me to the review he’d done on the film with a desperate urgency.  You are welcome to read what he as written, as well as gauge the freshness of the movie at Rotten Tomatoes, as they will stand in contrast to anything I write here.  Trying to argue about a movie is, as I told Mr. 5, like trying to argue whether or not chocolate tastes good. 

I am not, myself, terribly fond of chocolate.  I think the color unseemly, and this suspicion underpins everything I believe about it.  That conversation is over already, you can tell me that you had some chocolate syrup on some ice cream, and that was quite tasty, or you bought an exotic truffle from a Chocolatier and you thought it would kill you it was so good.  I don’t care.  How you can eat something that color is beyond me.

It is the same thing with Equilibrium.  I firmly believe that objectivity is mythological in this context, people just like some things or don’t like them, and then they craft elaborate mechanisms after the fact to explain why or why not.  Many reviewers, for instance, get really caught up on some of the material the film uses for inspiration - classic dystopian works like F451 or Brave New World - and believe it isn’t treated the way it should be.  I don’t know if somebody told them it wasn’t an action movie, or what, but this narrative quality compares favorably with most, if not all, movies of the genre.  I don’t know if you’ve seen Commando.  It’s not Proust.  Nor is Equilibrium Orwell.  It takes what it needs to and hurtles forward.

The cries of “Matrix Ripoff” were predictable, but sort of sad.  To paint The Matrix as some kind of solitary, unaided fundamental of modern sci-fi action without recognizing the liberal plunder of Gibson, Stephenson, and Woo is laughable.  I don’t want to hear it.  You don’t have to hate Equilibrium to like The Matrix, or vice-versa.  They aren’t sporting teams, they’re fucking action movies.  And if you think that Gun-Kata, the fighting style of the Grammaton Clericks is somehow derivative of The Matrix, then you are an alien being from another planet.  Who knows how, or why, but they pulled off two of the most inventive action scenes I’ve ever witnessed.  I actually covered my mouth with my hand and stopped breathing.

I guess it depends why you’re going to it.  I expected sci-fi lite with inventive action scenes, and pow, direct hit.  If you’re expecting 1984: The Movie it is not for you, and if you’re expecting a big-budget special effects spectacular this is not for you.   

(CW)TB out.

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