|10.06.05||Alamo South Lamar||This Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2005|
After that, I took my same seat for the Zathura premiere. They had original planned to show the movie on two screens to accomodate everyone but it looked like just the one screen was just shy of being full. This may not bode well for FantasticFest, but the crowd gave a really good reaction so I think the filmmakers present felt sufficiently loved. Plus it's a thursday... I'm curious to see if the fest gets busier during the weekend.
This was like the big premiere of the event. They brought out this huge FantasticFest banner and Harry gave an intro and explained how tough it is to program event-heavy films early because they're usually just not done until a few weeks prior to release. Luckily though, Favreau used a lot of practical effects on this one and aside from a few effects not being done (they all looked done to me though) and a few pacing tweeks, the movie was pretty much complete. In attendance was Favrea, producer/Ralphie Peter Billingsly, the editor (sorry buddy, forgot your name), and actor/Punk'd-or Dax Shepard. I'll get to the Q&A after the movie though.
My first and still probably my biggest surprise with this movie is how good the script is. I am not a big David Koepp fan at all... and fully expected this to be klunky with the characters like Panic Room but to my pleasant surprise it wasn't at all. The first ten minutes have some really top-notch character establishment stuff that all seems natural and real while at the same time economical and efficient. Tim Robbins' small role still has a little meat to it and his interaction with the kids was great. There are a few lines right off the bat (like the teenaged daughter, whom Robbins has just woken up, saying she's hooking up with her boyfriend later. Robbins: I don't like you saying that. Daughter: It's just an expression, it doesn't mean anything. Robbins: I hope it doesn't. Daughter: it doesn't. Robbins: I hope it doesn't. Daughter: It doesn't! We should've never watched Thirteen...).
So now i thought back to how Jumanji started... with these weird period kids burying this box in a spooky graveyard or something and a statue of Colonel Sanders lit by lightning strikes. This movie is clearly another beast entirely from Jumanji. They still both have magical boardgames and like, really scary dangerous situations for kids to be in (I think Chris Van Allsburg has cornered the market on that. His children must be MESSED UP), but after that this movie leaves Jumanji in its dust.
When the game stuff starts, it's done like any well-crafted action movie. Really the only thing classifying this as a "family film" is a few lines toward the end regarding brothers being there to help eachother and that's what brothers are for. If you cut out three minutes of this film, you have a very entertaining sci-fi action movie. Granted it's still kinda light-hearted, but who cares... the Post Apocalyptic movies are coming later.
The Q&A was fun... Favreau was pretty open with his answers, Dax was funny, and the editor pleaded with us not to suggest any changes; he wants to go home. The effects were really a tight interweaving between practical and CG, sometimes even putting a guy in the robot suit but CGing his arms in and his legs out, still keeping the weight of the torso's movement though. I can't tell you how cool it was to see giant lizard guys actually there being photographed by a camera rather than moving all smooth and silky CG-style. Plus having the robot and the space ship out in the lobby helped as well.
After the questions stopped coming, I went out to my car to get a camera to snap some pics of the props. I saw all the celebs getting into their Navigators to head to the afterparty. Here's where the decision came in: go to the Elks lodge and play vintage boardgames and try to get 20 seconds of face-time with Favreau and maybe having to settle for Dax, or stay and watch Wolf Creek?
Randomosities from my notebook:
-Dax told a story about being in a theater watching a movie and having this little girl stand up in the middle of it and say "I love this movie SO much!" like she couldn't handle keeping that emotion bottled up anymore... and that's everything good about movies right there
-Dax also did a full-on impression of Mike Judge and his favorite direction to give to Dax during the shoot of his new movie Idiocracy: "Dax, in the next take, could you be a little less gay?" it was funny.