11 November 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Fountain"

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Fountain"
November 11, 2006 06:07 PM EST
© 2006 by Digital Dogs

Completely annoying and impossible to understand, The Fountain is a pretentious and cryptic musing on immortality that fails miserably in comparison to the ultimate musing on the same fascinating topic, Highlander, and it's many offshoots (Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame, TV's outstanding Highlander: The Series, and Highlander: The Raven). How this film ever got the money it needed to be made is beyond reason, other than to suppose the studio had a deal with Rachel Weisz and gave money to this film so she would star in another 2oth Century Fox (international distribution) or Warner Bros. Pictures (domestic distribution) vehicle.

This reviewer has heard director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi) compare this film with classics like The Matrix, and 2001: A Space Odyssey and could barely constrain their laughter in the packed screening room. Aronofsky was asked why he made The Fountain, his answer: "Why? Because it's fun to watch conquistadors fight Mayans, and it's fun to shoot guys into outer space floating around, so I wanted to do a little bit of everything." This is where the trouble begins. It seems as if Aronofsky tossed together whatever odd unconnected ideas he got from watching sicfi channel marathons resulting in a troubled and confusing mélange that blends these ideas with metaphysical mythology into a confusing mess with some interesting SpEfx, incredibly beautiful close-ups of Weisz, and a boring and repetitive new-agey score.

Aronofsky hoped to make a film about one man's eternal struggle to save the woman he loves, and after forty five minutes you will begin to grok that plot point, but at that point you probably won't care anymore. The always interesting Hugh Jackman (Tomas, Tommy Creo) does his best to make you care about his character, and the gorgeous Rachel Weisz (Izzi, Isabel Creo) is featured in some of the most beautiful close-ups of any film star in recent history – but she does little acting. Their efforts aren't enough to save this confusing time-traveling, star-traveling, conquistador and Queen Isabella of Spain, Tree-of-Life, Tree-of-Knowledge, and Fountain of Youth seeking Tai Chi-practicing Vedic-leaning story. The blame falls directly to the feet of the director, as his hand is not seen at all in the actors work. It seems that mega-stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchette have good advisors as they both backed out of the film while in pre-pro.

Weisz said she prepared for the film by reading "lots of books about people who had been terminally ill." She goes on to say, "I spoke to people in hospice, it's wonderful, I had never heard of hospice before, have you?" And then she went on to explain it. The audience snickered, as the hospice care movement was founded in the UK before Weisz was born, and Brit Dr. Cicely Saunders is widely regarded as the founder of the hospice movement. In 2005 there were close to 1700 hospice services. How could someone who graduated from Trinity Hall, Cambridge not have heard of the hospice movement made famous by her own country? Actors legacy admission anyone?

The film begins in 16th century Guatemala where conquistador Tomas is searching for something we later find out is the Tree of Life. He and two scared comrades face an army of pointy-teethed Mayan warriors out for their blood. Then we meet Tomas as he is sitting in lotus position in a bubble of light – which Weisz describes as a spaceship from the future, though it looked like a huge clear balloon filled with extreme close-ups of undersea life. About fifty percent of Tomas' and Izzi's dialog is whispered one liners like, "Finish," "I'm coming," and "I love you." Vague whispers that mean nothing to the audience except to let us know we're in for a pretentious 96 minutes. At some point someone says "Death is the path to awe" and you will have visions of suicide bombers being brainwashed to think this. Death is not the path to awe, death is the path to the end of life. Thankfully this film is under two hours.

We finally realize that Izzi is dying of brain cancer and Tomas is a scientist experimenting on animals to find a cure for her disease. He uses an untested herb from South America and the monkey he experiments on recovers from his human-induced brain cancer… but it is too late to save Izzi. By that time you probably won't care any more. Izzi is also writing a book – in longhand, with no errors (so how bad could her brain cancer really be?) – about the Mayan connection to a nebula in space called something like "Mohamma," and she gives the book to Tommy with the last chapter, Chapter Twelve, for him to finish.

The film ends with Tomas drinking a thick white liquid (that looks just like cum) from the Tree of Life which turns him into a tree, leaving us to assume he is joining Izzi in their death-heaven of Trees of Life and Knowledge. This convoluted mess might look beautiful, but it will bore you to tears.


Digital Dogs rating: D, An incomplete. Don't waste your hard-earned bucks to rent, wait for cable.

MPAA rating: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language. Originally rated R for "some violence."

Producers Darren Aronofsky, Arnon Milchan, Iain Smith, Eric Watson, Director Darren Aronofsky, Screenplay Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, Music Clint Mansell, Editor Jay Rabinowitz, DP Matthew Libatique, Actors Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Patrick Thomas,

Running Time: 96 minutes

© Digital Dogs



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home