Saturday, December 1, 2007

Anti August Rush



If you're going out to the movies in the near future, I wouldn't recommend August Rush unless you are a sucker for a really cheesy movie. You have to be a person who looks beyond technicalities and accepts the unreasonable plot before you to believe that fate can really prevail despite millions of obstacles.

Okay, the movie trailer really drew me in, and especially the list of acceptable actors that appeared in the movie: Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, Keri Russell, and newcomer Freddie Highmore (the kid who is everywhere now, just like Haley Joel Osmont was years back, in movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, A Good Year, The Golden Compass, and soon to star in The Spiderwick Chronicles).

I think the idea of the movie wasn't too bad; the way that they made the pieces of the plot fall into place just didn't seem realistic to me at all. Now, I don't mind seeing a movie that I can lose myself in, a movie that is more fantasy or goes beyond the odds, but this was just too over-the-top for me. There were too many situational happenstances that just worked out for this kid. He runs away from the orphanage in search of his parents, and you can guess if they stumble across one another multiple times, in New York City nonetheless!, and eventually become a family. Some of the lines were written to be way too cheesy as well; I even predicted some of the lines to come, whispering them to Megan at the theatre and probably bugging the ladies sitting next to me due to the fact that the theatre was absolutely packed! Surprisingly enough, I think the audience had mixed views. Many people applauded at the end of the film, which was not my reaction at its conclusion. We kind of laughed to ourselves and exited the theatre. That's just my reaction.



Now, the actors did a fine job with what they were working with. I thought it would be a good movie because, normally, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams select excellent films. This one had a great theme to it, but the dialogue and sequence of events just seemed too ridiculous to even be true.

If you don't want to see it, don't read this part but continue after this paragraph: How could this kid, once stumbling into New York City, suddenly latch on to an underground orphanage of kids aspiring to play music in an abandoned auditorium, instantly giving him food, shelter, and instruments to learn on? How can a child, let alone an adult, pick up a guitar on his/her first day and be able to play better than some mastered adults? How can a child, again, be introduced to music notes and instantly compose pages and pages of songs, some that are rhapsodies? How can this child, with no papers as to his history or real name, be accepted to Juiliard School of music? In a crowd of THOUSANDS of people, how could the parents find each other in the front row of all places? How could that child know, at that moment out of the thousands, that those two in front holding hands were his parents? When he slipped his hand into hers, how could she have no reaction but to smile? Wouldn't you have more of a reaction if you've been longing for this man for over ten years? Wouldn't you have so much to tell that person that you couldn't keep your mouth shut? How could Robin Williams get away with his business? How could this child compose a symphony in New York City with that talent? Don't even get me started on the arch...

I'll stop there. I probably could go on, but I think you catch my drift.

August Rush has that cheesy sound to begin with. It sounds like it's trying to be really deep or cool-sounding, but I thought the meaning would prevail in the movie. I think the writers just thought it sounded cool, like a movie with an awesome-sounding title that would draw viewers. They just saw it off a truck and slapped the name to this kid to sound appealing to listeners. Strange.

The kid didn't even fool me in the movie that he was playing those insane chords and notes on the guitar. He looked like a beginner just hitting a guitar with his finger tips. The music didn't really follow up with his imitations.

So, if you want to see a good film, take your chance. Try it out for yourself. I was more entertained with Fred Claus, which doesn't have too much substance to it but provides a good laugh and entertainment.

Has anyone seen it or could anyone offer another review? Perhaps I'm being too harsh...

3 comments:

shortyaj617 said...

Yes, I think you are being way to harsh. This movie isn't meant to be be realistic, and most of the movie's plot points are "coincidental" to say the least, but this movie is supposed to be a modern day fairy tale. This renders most of your questions irrelevant, but I will attempt to answer them anyway.

How could this kid, once stumbling into New York City, suddenly latch on to an underground orphanage of kids aspiring to play music in an abandoned auditorium, instantly giving him food, shelter, and instruments to learn on?

-He followed a street performer home. I have never been to New York, but my Uncle lived there for a few years, and he said they were all over the place. Secondly, they are in a abandoned opera house, and thirdly, he only learns guitar.

How can a child, let alone an adult, pick up a guitar on his/her first day and be able to play better than some mastered adults?

-Because he is a child prodigy, similar to Mozart

How can a child, again, be introduced to music notes and instantly compose pages and pages of songs, some that are rhapsodies?

-Like I said, he's a prodigy, Mozart composed as early as 7 years old

How can this child, with no papers as to his history or real name, be accepted to Juiliard School of music?

-BECAUSE HE IS A PRODIGY, how ridiculous would we consider Juilliard, if they say they would not have accepted Mozart for lack of a social security number

In a crowd of THOUSANDS of people, how could the parents find each other in the front row of all places?

-They are both drawn to the stage by the music, and fyi, they weren't in the front row.

How could that child know, at that moment out of the thousands, that those two in front holding hands were his parents?

-The movie never states that he knew that they were his parents, or that he even sees them. It is implied, however, and I would give that over to the fairy tale elements

When he slipped his hand into hers, how could she have no reaction but to smile?

-her first reaction is actually the "who the hell is holding my hand" look, but she is still dazed by the music, so that's not very well communicated. Aside from that, I would say that she is too overcome by the magnitude of everything that is happening that she cannot react any more than that.

Wouldn't you have more of a reaction if you've been longing for this man for over ten years?

-Again, fairy tale. Besides, anyone who is around professional classical concerts knows to not make any kind of distraction during a performance.

Wouldn't you have so much to tell that person that you couldn't keep your mouth shut?

-see previous respeonse

How could Robin Williams get away with his business?

-It's illegal. He breaks the law. I thought that was pretty clear, considering that they live in a condemned building.

How could this child compose a symphony in New York City with that talent?

-I'm not sure I understand your question. If you are stressing that he is a child, then it's because he is a PRODIGY. If your stressing New York, I really don't understand. If your stressing his talent, it is THROUGH his talent that he can do this.

As for your comment about his name change, stranger things have been done when it come to naming a band or soloist. Look into the origins of the names of popular bands.

Finally, how can you even think to complain that a child actor did not imitate the music well enough? Come on, give the kid a break, he is an actor, not a musician. If he was a real musical prodigy, then I could understand. There's also that the audio is not done at the same time the visual is, and most of the time, the visual sequence is done without audio, so he could have been imitating a different part of the song, and doing it quite well for all we know. I do find it rather remarkable that he is the only one who did not actually perform the music that he is "performing" in the movie. Keri Russell and everyone else did a fantastic job, even though it didn't always sync up to the movements on screen.

You need to give the movie another chance. See it for what it is intended for, and if you really want to bash it because of it's lack of realism, then why the hell would you cite Fred Claus as a decent movie?

Jami said...

Sure, August Rush has elements that are fairy-tale-esque. Imdb can clarify that. Upon researching that fact, it was news to me. Honestly, even as a fairy tale, I just find it unenjoyable because of its far-fetched nature, even though it contains fairy tale elements. I would not call it a modern day fairy tale. As Imdb says, I believe it contains "elements," but it fakes the audience out to believe that circucmstances like this could actually take place. August Rush looks like other movies that try to fool us that they could really happen, but I was confronted with these fantasy elements that threw me off guard.

At the end of my blog, I noted that Fred Claus was more entertaining than August Rush, and maybe this is because that movie had obvious intentions to have fantasy and fairy tale elements. Fred Claus was meant to clearly entertain based on the fact that it's not supposed to be believable. Right off the bat, we know that the creators are not trying to sell this idea to us: it is made up. This story is not real. I can then enjoy the film knowing that this is not meant to fool us but entertain us.

August Rush, however, was masked as being something real. In the beginning, it fooled me into a story that could really take place. A kid, abandoned, prodigy, run-away, lying, naivite, etc. Then, along the lines, they inserted so many false details that it began to disrupt the initial plot establishment. Perhaps this trickery disturbed me right from the beginning. I don't mind fairy tales and getting lost in something that "isn't real," but August Rush masked reality too much. It seemed too natural to be a modern day fairy tale, in my point of view. I'm sure you could find people out there who really believe in it and bought most of its elements.

In that frame of reference, I was more easily accepting of Fred Claus even though it appears more stupid and silly than August Rush. I do find though that they both have deeper thematic meanings that are great concepts to cover and discuss through film.

These fairy tale elements, masked and hidden from the perception of the movie from the trailer, are too far-fetched to be enjoyable, in my opinion. I find myself focusing on these reality flaws instead of enjoying the movie for entertainment. I see the point of the movie, which it doesn't have bad themes that it's focusing on, but I just did not appreciate these fantasy elements to paint that picture. I think it could have been done more tastefully in other ways that were more understandable. This is just my opinion on the film.

And, I understand that he is a child prodigy. I did not feel that I needed to state it. However, my original question stated that how could he pick up an instrument "on his first day and be able to play better than mastered adults?" Given, a child prodigy has amazing talents, like Mozart, but could this child really pick it up and out-perform stellar music artists on his first day? I don't think upon touching the instrument for the first time would this prodigy be able to create such incredible music. Perhaps over a short period of time he could amount to his incredible talent, but I am not so certain about the instantaneous pick-up and mastery of the instrument.

Additionally, Juiliard seems like a prestigious school that would involve more than just a talented prodigy to walk on in off the streets and accept him immediately. I feel that they could have accepted him at some point eventually, but perhaps not on the quick terms that they did. It seemed too easy for reality. Yes, Juiliard would take child prodigies, but would they really take someone instantly without any background, let alone a homeless child with no source of identification whatsoever? I would like to think that life is that easy, but it just seems too absurd for what would really occur. I know, fantasy. Perhaps I'm playing devil's advocate, but I just can't sit back and accept these outlandish plot details even though they're supposed to be fantasy elements.

Also, once he performs his rhapsody in the park, his parents push and rush to the front of the stage. If you're really picking on technicality, perhaps it was not the first row, but that was my perception, especially since they were so prominent in front that the child locked eyes with the two of them. It was pretty close to the front, if not the front row.

I also understand the environment for a performance of that stature. Loud noises are not appropriate. However, if I have been searching for someone for over ten years, someone who is supposedly my long-lost soulamte, I feel that no environment could stop me from having more of a reaction than a smile and silence. I would have to remove myself from the environment to exude my enthusiasm and excitement. Even if it was just a tight hug or even a small scream--something more than just a subtle smile and a hand-hold. Don't we have stronger emotions than that if they're supposed to be true loves who have been separated for years on end?

And you say that they were drawn to the music to the front row--that justifies how they found each other out of thousands of people. Still, at a venue like the one they were playing at, the stage is extraordinarly large, so the odds of them still locating each other is fairly slight. I have dislocated my friends at the smallest of indoor venues, which makes this circumstance still seem extremely far-fetched.

I feel that we are supposed to get lost in movies. They provide entertainment that we can sit back and watch. Yes, I do believe that the child actor's guitar skills did not look real at all. It hindered my viewing and my experience. He did what he could do, but it just made this movie (which I intended to be somewhat realistic from the trailer) seem more fantastical.

Perhaps the point of my blog was to point out these elements of fantasy that disturbed the film for me. I do not think I would have encountered this problem if the movie did not immediately strike me as a "modern day fairy tale." Some movies DO contain those types of far-fetched plot elements, but even those hinder my viewing pleasure. I would really like to believe that events like that happen, but I guess I consider myself a realist. I don't buy into that cheesy nature of movies every time. Perhaps the initial appearance of the film tainted my experience, for I was expecting a believable, notable film, and I received one with elements of fantasy. My reactions, thus, are spurred from utter surprise and disbelief.

But that is only my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you forgot to listen...