Friday, August 06, 2004

Willow and The Whole Wide World

These, of course, both tie into the sword and sorcery kick going on at my house.

I hadn't seen Willow since, well, 1988. My memory was better than my experience, but it's certainly entertaining.

Ultimately, the failings are basic. It never quite rises above being Star Wars through a Lord Of The Rings lens. Ron Howard's sappiness always works best when put up against a more cynical edge and George Lucas's story doesn't have it.

The story gets off to a really slow start. Not bad, but it doesn't quite have the feeling that I think it was intended to. It never quite comes together as an adventure or a piece of whimsy. Certainly the acting is all fantastic, in fact, it's quite a shame that Warwick Davis never had a real career, he has quite the rising star here.

The Whole Wide World, on the other hand, is a remarkable achievement. Based on a memoir - One Who Walked Alone, which is a much better title - by Novalyne Price Ellis, about her relationship with Robert E. Howard.

This quiet little movie about a young teacher and her romance/friendship with the emotionally struggling pulp writer creeps up on you slowly and just pulls you in to the beauty and truth.

Vincent D'Onofrio is utterly brilliant, as usual, and this may actually still be Renée Zellweger's best performance. I don't think I know what more to say, since it's so much about the emotional truth and the connection between these two people that saying anything really loses something in the translation.

If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor.

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