Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pelham 123 and Its Predecessor

I saw The Taking of Pelham 123 today; I am a fan of the original 1974 movie (although I have never read the Morton Freedgood novel upon which THAT movie was based).

I admired the performances of Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro. They provided a great deal of believable characterization and intensity that gave the movie its suspenseful moments. I'm not convinced that the movie was an improvement on the original, and I think the problem that Hollywood sometimes has with this sort of re-make is that they feel they must throw all sorts of modernizations at an already good story. Weird camera angles, freeze frames, lots of loud annoying music in a downright distracting soundtrack.

I would love for a director to rediscover silence and its dramatic possibilities.

Still, it was an exciting movie, and if you don't mind an endless stream of F words and lots of blood, I'd recommend it.

However, I'm asking whoever is out there in Hollywoodland to consider removing these cliches from all future movies:

--unnecessary car crashes
--chase scenes in which no one can tell who is chasing, who is being chased, and who is in between
--dialogue that implies everyone in the world is profane
--the line "We've got company," used in any context
--casting women who look twenty to play the parts of women who are supposed to be forty-something

Okay, that's my mixed review of this summer remake. If you're a fan of any of the main characters, I think you'll like their performances in this suspenseful tale.

Image here.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Amen to all of your suggestions. It wasn't a bad movie but the derivative aspects nearly ruined it. And it lacked atmosphere due to its reliance on technology.

Julia Buckley said...

Yes! I mean, I was pulling for it, but I think directors must feel so pressured these days to use a little of everything, and then that dilutes the final experience.

Alan Orloff said...

Get rid of unnecessary car crashes?

Are you anti-American? :)

Julia Buckley said...

I realize they're popular--I just can't figure out why. All I can ever think of is how much it costs, and how wasteful it is. I suppose that's too practical.

But in this case the problem was with the storyline--there were three car crashes and I could only figure out why one was important to the story.

Alan Orloff said...

Maybe it was an effort to prop up the US car industry.

Julia Buckley said...

Lord knows it needs some propping.

pattinase (abbott) said...

As a Detroiter, that's true. But emphasizing how easily they crumble, may not be the way to go.

Julia Buckley said...

Good point, Patti! :)