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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb annihilation

Annihilation

An ambitious, challenging piece of work that people will be dissecting for years. Don’t miss it.

Thumb game night ver3

Game Night

Game Night is a nearly perfect entertainment for adults over a certain age.

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog 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.

Advertisement

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

When Is a Superhero Movie Not Just a Movie? When it is "Black Panther."

An article about the wide-ranging efforts to arrange free screenings for students and young people to see the groundb...

Dreams of Africa: The Fantasy Politics of "Black Panther"

A rare superhero fantasy that's plugged into the real world, but that still can't be all things to all viewers.

American Horror: On Criterion’s “Night of the Living Dead” and “The Silence of the Lambs”

On two excellent Criterion releases of classic horror films.

The History of Hollywood's Difficult Women

Difficult is a gendered term fueled by the Hollywood machine and maintained by the belief that actresses aren’t respo...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus