?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Whale Rider - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Whale Rider [Jul. 14th, 2003|09:58 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |rejuvenatedrejuvenated]

The first time I saw the preview for this movie, our friend Eric and I were waiting for Kat and Ferrett to get through the snackbar line. I watched the trailer and turned to Eric and said, "That's either going to be wonderful or dreadful." The trailer was bad, but the concept seemed interesting, and the photography beautiful.

The verdict is in. Wonderful.

This movie is terrific on so many levels. I actually came out of it feeling refreshed and uplifted. The story is simple, so the characters have a chance to unfold. The director actually trusts the audience; there are subplots left in the background that add to the richness of the tale, entire life stories that no one exposes to the glare of a spotlight just to make certain the audience "gets it."

It is the tale of a Maori tribe who will lose its leadership because the hereditary chief's son has no son, only a daughter. Her grandfather, determined not to lose the old ways, starts teaching them to the village boys, but not to her because in his mind girls can't be chiefs. She enlists the help of her uncle, the second son, in learning the ways that are kept from her (the uncle is one of the most interesting characters - completely dissipate and yet living and helpful).

No one in the story is demonized. The grandfather is set up as a villain in the first 10 minutes - and then that image is turned completely on its ear. There isn't a single character with whom you don't sympathize, because each one of them is a real person, and real people are not all black or all white.

The mysticism in the story is handled in the casual, low-key manner in which other cultures that are still close to the earth handle it - the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Laura Esquivel, or African literature. It is central to the plot, but neither overwhelms or trivializes the interpersonal play between the characters. If this movie is playing anywhere near you, see it.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: magiien
2003-07-14 07:25 pm (UTC)
Wow. I'm definitely going to look this up. We got the book into the store where I work today, and it sounded interesting. What a coincidence that you've mentioned it here too. I'm having one of those "someone trying to tell you something" moments. Anyway, don't mind me. We now return you to your regularly scheduled journaling.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-07-15 12:07 pm (UTC)
It's worth the effort to track down. Simple storytelling with strong characters is such a refreshing treat. (And, no, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow doesn't count. He was a character, but hardly deep [g].)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: theferrett
2003-07-14 07:33 pm (UTC)
She is completely right. I may or may not write my own take on it... But the only difference between our reviews would be my style, not the content. It's worth your seven bucks, easy.

Now I just cross my fingers and hope the DVD extras don't suck, as they do for most indie films...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ladycathead
2003-07-15 06:01 am (UTC)
Oh wow that sounds really good! I need a break from the normal summer line up of car chases and T&A. Thanks for the review. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-07-15 11:26 am (UTC)

Re:

The one review I saw that gave it less than a glowing grade complained that the "plot was too simple."

Um...duh?

This isn't about plot, it's about character. It's not about where they are getting, it's about how they are getting there.

I've been thinking about it all day. A wonderful movie.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mizdandylynn
2003-07-15 06:53 am (UTC)
A good friend of mine in New Zealand recommended that I see this movie. She has several friends who are in the movie and I am looking forward to seeing it for that alone. Right now with budget.. I need to wait for it to come out on DVD and rent it from Netflix. Thanks for the review.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-07-15 11:22 am (UTC)

Re:

Glad it was useful - it's definitely worth seeing.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: blisterguy
2003-07-21 02:49 am (UTC)
*waves flag a bit and pronounces words funny*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-07-21 10:25 am (UTC)

Re:

Hey that's right! You're the one from Australia!

[Ducks for cover, giggling wildly]

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: blisterguy
2003-07-21 11:45 am (UTC)

Re:

*cries*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)