When the twentieth anniversary of director Baz Luhrmann’s audacious Shakespeare adaptation Romeo + Juliet recently arrived, people took notice. Articles popped up in publications large and small, and fans reminisced and celebrated on social media. Like Scream and Trainspotting – two other youth-oriented films from 1996 – Romeo + Juliet, which relocates the classic play’s action to a surreal, contemporary urban landscape while retaining an abridged version of the Bard’s original text, is iconic and epochal. There are images from it that are not only instantly recognizable for swaths of filmgoers, but also powerfully evocative of an era. So why, on this auspicious anniversary, am I feeling a bit defensive regarding the film?
Tag: Leonardo DiCaprio
Inception – 2010 – dir. Christopher Nolan
It’s one of the cliches of film criticism for a critic unimpressed with a big action movie to compare it to a video game. It’s understandable, seeing as the movies at the receiving end of these complaints generally would be a lot more fun to play than to watch. It’s also unfair to the medium of video games, which has seen a fast-paced evolution in artistic creativity and experimentation. In the summer of 2010, two films were released that could be compared to video games without it being an insult. One was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a still underrated soon-to-be cult classic mash-up of video game-inspired style with manga, rock musical, and indie romcom influences. The other film didn’t show its influences as overtly; to those not familiar with games, their influence could completely be ignored while enjoying this particular film. But it occurs to me that the reason Inception was able to captivate so many audiences was because, in essence, the film was a game.