Life of Pi

We ventured out to see Life of Pi tonight. Boy was I surprised when we were handed 3-D glasses. I suggested to Tuffy P that we see this one, but had I known it was in 3-D, I would have chosen a different film. I don’t like wearing 3-D glasses, at least in part because I have to wear them over my normal glasses. As well, I find the 3-D effects to be strange and artificial, at least some of the time.

In the case of Life of Pi, felt it would have been a better film if the filmmaker had made the commitment to make it without 3-D. It would have been a shorter film, and would not have taken the time to languish in filmic effects, and I would have been fine with that. On the whole, my biggest criticism of the film is that it was too long in any case. I think a full half hour could have been edited out and the film would have been stronger.

Still, it is a beautiful work and a fantastic story and it’s well worth seeing.

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

We met up with Candy and Stagg tonight to watch Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This 2010 film is a 3-D documentary about an expedition to document the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France. This cave is special not just because few people are given the opportunity to go inside it but also because it contains the oldest visual art known to be created by man.

Getting a close look inside the cave and seeing these remarkable images was fantastic. They’re over 30,000 years old and they’re riveting. As a documentary though, I thought there were numerous problems. It was slow, and the music slowed it down even further. Some of the interview sequences were very flat. At one point, they interview a perfumer inside the cave. Very strange. And then there’s the end sequence which shifts to a strange tropical environment created by steam from a nuclear power plant – which produces albino crocodiles. I guess it is a statement about how the earth has preserved this cave environment for 30,000 years, but in a matter of just a few, we are radically changing the environment around us. OK.

It’s worth watching the film to get a look at the cave paintings. The first half of the film gives you that nicely. I found the rest dragged.


Mostly unrelated – if film maker Werner Herzog were to engage in an Ultimate Fighting bout with former baseball manager Whitey Herzog (and they were the same age…in actual fact, Werner is 68 and Whitey is 79), who would win? Baseball strategy vs advanced film-making techniques. Tough call. What if instead of the Herzogs, the card featured Kid Rock, Chris Rock and Sgt. Rock? I think Sgt Rock would kick butt.