Friday, May 15, 2009

What, no protests?

Angels and Demons opens today nationwide in wide release. The Vatican has been accused by director Ron Howard as having used back channels in Rome to hamper filming on location and filming at the actual Vatican was deemed by the Holy See as forbidden. The Vatican had their own representative attend an advance screening of the film, the powers of Hollywood and the powers of divine enlightenment were squared off for conflict, controversy and condemnation. The Vatican representative met with the press and decreed the official position of the Holy Pontiff. "We think the movie is harmless entertainment."

WHAT? Are you kidding me? There were priests getting brutally murdered! How about that high falutin' stuff about science being God and God being science? Were you out getting popcorn when they got to the part about blowing up Vatican City??? C'mon! How about a little name calling here, at the least?


OK, so wait, the Vatican guy met with the press after seeing the movie. Oh, boy Opie, now you're gonna get it... "I enjoyed the film and am very impressed at the detail and accuracy of the Vatican sets that the filmmakers created for the movie."... And that Tom Hanks fellow, seems like a good Joe.

Ugghh! What fun is going to see a movie that thumbs its nose at organized religion, Catholicism and the Pope himself, and no one even calls for a boycott? Next thing you know, Ben Stiller is going to release that Simple Jack movie from Tropic Thunder and everyone is going to slap him on the back for being able to laugh in the face of life's greatest challenges. Maybe all this Obama goodwill crap is getting too deep? Suddenly the only big budget controversy looming is Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (spelling per Mr. Tarantino) way out in August. Jews and Nazi's, you'd think somebody oughta get offended about something. We can only hope.

So now that the Catholic conservative's new found common sense has taken all the fun out of week 3 of Blockbuster Summer '09, all we've got left to report on is a quiet but meaningful piece of movie history that took place earlier this week. Disney/Pixar's 10th release, Up, became the first animated film ever to open the Cannes Film Festival. (No, no booing or demonstrations there either.)

Rather the world press gathered in France for the event, donned their 3D glasses and laughed, shed a tear or two, then rose to warm and enthusiastic applause at the end credits. Later that night, the special guests, filmmakers and celebrities attending did the same. Disney/Pixar's Creative Guru in Chief, John Lassiter called the event the most special in his career and the industry in general bowed to allowing that Pixar's animation accomplishments have earned the animated medium an equal standing in film history.

We have always noted Pixar's genius for storytelling through animation, much done with the same passion and excellence of Walt Disney's early work in introducing audiences to feature length hand drawn animated movies. Once again, we're happy to tip our hat to Mr. Lassiter and company, in recognition of their work and their vision. And though we feel confident that there will be another opening night in Cannes for an animated feature, we do wonder if 3D glasses will ever again be considered the thing to wear at the opening night screening.

One more note to our readers. This is Moviedozer Dailies 100th post and our very appreciative thanks go out to all of you who return to our pages. We hope you'll continue to enjoy the time you spend here. Have another great weekend at the movies.

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