This is the first post in a series where I am going back and watching things that were quite impressionable on me as a child and young adult, but haven’t watched in quite some time. Movies that have at one point in your life could be the best movie ever can have quite a different effect as an adult. While hanging out with some friends the other night we were discussing Halloween costumes ideas. The idea came up for my wife to dress up like Leeloo. One thing leads to another and we find out that my one friend had never seen it. This seemed preposterous for someone our age. I’ve owned the DVD for quite a while, but haven’t watched it in at least 8 years, but probably longer. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit my childhood.
One of my early impressions was that the acting was pretty hoo hum. In particular, the first scene that takes place in the future. It gets better as the film continues and the big name actors start showing up. I think the problem is that the weaker actors all happen to appear early on. This film reminds me how much I enjoy watching Gary Oldman in character roles. This one seems to be a little over the top in the beginning, but it works for the film. The one actor I really can’t stand is Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister in the role of President Lindberg. His performance is very flat. It almost seems that the Federation has put a robot in charge. I think the effect they were going for was almost melodrama, but the result is meh.
The next thing that screamed out to me that I didn’t notice is how the entire production design feels like it is about 10 years too late. The outifts, the music, and the settings all look like a sci-fi movie from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Oddly enough, one you would think it would feel dated being released in 1997. Then again, I may not have been old enough to have those sort of opinions. This doesn’t distract from my enjoyment.
I don’t know if this is a dated observation or if this still occurs today, but all the women that have speaking parts in the film are incredibly attractive, incredibly skinny women. I’m talking model-grade actresses. This did not occur to me when I younger, but then again you don’t notice that the original Star Wars Trilogy doesn’t have any good female characters besides Princess Leia. This is most likely a comment on how appearances have become so important that technology has been put towards perfecting all women’s looks. Also, this means that there is Logan’s Run-esque age limit for most women.
I did appreciate that this movie was made at a time when cgi was not overdone. It was the perfect combination of practical and digital effects. For example, the spaceships are models with digital accents to add to the realism. I really like that the aliens are costumes, animatronics, and prosthetics. Even though CGI characters are getting better all the time and it may be the aesthetics of movies I was raised on, but there needs to be more combinations of the two.
The film to me has an originality to it that is hard to do especially when you have an all-encompassing universe. It’s really easy to create an entire futuristic reality and it be really hokey. The film does still hold up which is really all you can ask from an action/sci-fi movie. My friend who hadn’t seen it before really enjoyed it.