29 September 2007
I began the day by not even getting out of bed for the first couple of hours I was awake. Kyle was hosting a conference call, and after playing with the cat for while, I decided to finish the book I was involved in–The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. A movie entitled The Seeker opens soon, and since it’s at least loosely based on Ms Cooper’s writings, I wanted to re-read the book before I saw the film.
When I got up I found Kyle, finished with his work commitments and watching an Arsenal match. We tried in vain to come up with a plan for the day, and finally chose to see a movie at two o’clock. We went out, thinking we were going to see a comedy called Good Luck, Chuck and decided as we parked to see the football movie starring the Rock, instead. Then, while waiting to buy tickets, we realised that Saturday afternoon might not be the best time to go see a Disney movie, and we chose at the very last moment to buy tickets to The Kingdom, starting in just moments.
First, let me say that this movie begins with the very best history lesson I’ve had in many years. The opening segment is a narrative—like a stylized power point presentation—giving the history of American-Arab relations for the last hundred years or so. In today’s world, I strongly believe that this five (or so)-minute clip from this film should be required viewing for every American. Maybe it could be played in Driver’s License office waiting rooms, or bank lobbies, or grocery store check-out lanes, or someplace where nearly every American eventually goes. And without a doubt it should be shown in every classroom of every school of every type—public, private, tech, vo-tech, etc. It is a brilliant encapsulation of how we got . . . here.
Second, I’d say that the acting is top-notch. The story is excellent, although disturbing. The special effects are well-done enough to be freaking scary. And as a wonderfully, unexpected bonus—the music is amazing. The soundtrack, is beautiful, perfect, and haunting. Danny Elfman has long been on my personal list of musical geniuses, but he has completely outdone himself with this one.
All that praise should indicate that I enjoyed the film. But, honestly, I don’t think that’s possible. Enjoying this film, that is. It is excellent. By all means go see it. But, do not expect to enjoy it. I cannot remember the last time I left a theatre feeling so completely emotionally drained.
I get “involved” in movies. I love movies and I really do get involved. I don’t go to movies to “escape” as some people claim. I go to be entertained. And entertainment, for me, is emotional. Whether I’m laughing or crying, happy, sad, mad, scared, intrigued, inspired, or merely interested—I’m feeling emotions. Now, I’m also the sap who cries at the old McDonald’s commercials, the new American Airlines commercials, and yesterday morning I teared up watching the Bruce Springsteen concert in Rockefeller Center on the Today Show. But, today, while listening to the music over the closing credits at the end of The Kingdom, I cried like a baby.
I cried because I live in a world where people can hate each other so much. I cried for the intolerance and misunderstanding and injustice. I cried for the victims, living and dead, from Oklahoma City and New York and Washington D.C. and Madrid and London. I cried for the soldiers—on both sides—doing what their sense of duty dictates. And for the ones who die doing it.
In fact, it’s been hours, now . . . we went out and bought the device we needed from Fry’s to complete my computer transition, and we had a delightful dinner at BJ’s Brew House, where I took this photo of the bottles on the barback. It’s been hours and I still have tears in my eyes.