In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_1xhk6o9re7godwsywy9dokwtkjx

Get Hard

In this exuberant but ultimately simpleminded comedy, a car wash owner (Kevin Hart) helps a wimpy hedge fund manager (Will Ferrell) get ready for prison…

Thumb_feher_isten_ver2

White God

Imagine an "R" rated "Lassie" by way of "Spartacus." That's Kornél Mundruczó's "White God," a brutal but stirring fantasy about street dogs rising up against…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

  |  

At this point when I walked out of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" -- some 45 minutes into the movie -- the hero had learned to avoid garbage and fly high, but the film, alas, had not. I hardly ever walk out of movies, and in fact I sometimes make a point of sitting through bad ones, just to get ammunition for a juicy review. But this one was too much.

It is based, to begin with, on a book so banal that it had to be sold to adults; kids would have seen through it. "The Little Engine That Could" is, by comparison, a work of some depth and ambition. Consider that the movie made from the book has now been made the object of a lawsuit by the book's author and you have some measure of the depths to which we sink as Jonathan dives.

Jonathan not only dives, and perfects his aeronautical ability, and makes his name as the flocks leading nonconformist, but he also talks. Allowing him to talk is perhaps the movie's basic strategic error. I can't imagine how the movie could have been made without spoken dialog, to be sure, but then was this movie really necessary at all? Jonathan talks under his breath with great gasping urgency: He talks to himself about how if only he could hold his wings a little different, etc., he, too, could dive for fish and not have to scavenge garbage. He sounds like he's giving himself a pep talk on the occasion of a terminal case of constipation.

And then there's the problem of the birds. The movie uses real birds. Contrary to the hope of the book, these birds in fact are just your average garden variety seagulls, and it's a little sickening to show them being knocked out and batted around in the interest of the story line. I left when Jonathan had dragged himself, groggy and bleeding, onto some flotsam, This has got to be the biggest pseudocultural, would-be metaphysical ripoff of the year.

Popular Blog Posts

“The Breakfast Club”, 30 Years Later: A Conversation Across Generations

A film teacher looks back on "The Breakfast Club," partly through the eyes of her students.

No Animals Were Harmed: The Unique Perspective of “White God”

A piece on the use of animals in film in light of "White God".

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Melodrama Of Woody Allen’s Critical Reputation

The conversation about Woody Allen's personal and professional lives intertwining continues, but to what end?

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus