R and I went to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. today. Upon exiting the movie theater, I offered the typical, “So, what did you think?”
He replied, deadpan, “Not the best spy movie I’ve seen this week.”
I have not asked him how long he’d planned that line, but it made me laugh out loud.
We also saw Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation this week and that movie, upon leaving the theater, got from me, a “Wow. That was seriously not as mediocre as I was expecting it to be.”
So, two movies, two quickie reviews:
The Man from UNCLE is gorgeously filmed, stylistically beautiful, with set pieces that will make you want to applaud for the cinematographer and the editor and the set designer. And the characters lack charm. A little bit of warmth, a smile that reached the eyes, a few sentences that were self-deprecating instead of arrogant, would have gone such a long, long way to making it a better movie. As it was, eh. It was a pleasant afternoon with my son, but I bet I forget all the details within two weeks.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is your basic summer blockbuster fare, except almost impeccably delivered, and with a female character who is actually interesting and granted agency. Yes, it ran a little long, and yes, it basically suffers from the same old Smurfette syndrome of most action movies (why does Hollywood think the world only includes a single woman?) but the plot was interesting, the action sequences were fun, it made a car chase exciting — ticket to success: add motorcycles — and the payoff of the ending was perfect. Will I remember it? For longer than two weeks, sure. Did I love it? No, not really. But I was pleasantly surprised.
And now a third review… except that I’m not sure I can deliver on it.
It’s terrible, in so many ways. Really, in so many ways, it is… bad. But then there are all the ways in which it is good. And a fair numbers of ways in which it is wonderful. It took me four episodes to get caught, six episodes to fall in love, and then basically, I wanted to do nothing else but find out what happened next. And since then, I mostly just want to talk about it.
My first words on walking out of UNCLE were “The Russian would have been so much better if the part were played by the actor who played Wolfgang in Sense8. He could have made that role so much more worthwhile.” R, who is halfway through the season, agreed with me.
On the way home, we were talking about something, and I brought up Sense8. This afternoon, he came in my room and asked me a question about my thoughts on the nature of time, and I tied it to Sense8. And now… he just started watching episode 7, so I have to stop writing now and go watch television.
But if you have a choice about watching any of these three things, invest the time in Sense8. The first four hours will feel stupid. Once you’re finished, you’ll want to argue with so much. There are so many things to complain about — so many! Stereotypes and tropes and gratuitous sex and boring background details and incoherent world-building… but I have to go watch television now so that I can see an episode for the fourth time because watching Capheus discover the clouds and hearing Riley talk privilege vs luck is a really great way to spend some time.