Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury… There will be spoilers, but as these films are decades old, if you haven’t seen them yet I’m not concerned about ruining them for you if you insist on reading ahead first 😉 That’s the trouble with classics, I guess – that everyone is always spoiling them!
I discovered a few things this month. One is that I love courtroom dramas. Another is that some of my friends have very different tastes than I do. So I’ll discuss three films: two courtroom dramas and two films I didn’t care for nearly as much as I was expecting to…
I’ll start on a positive note. I really enjoyed Witness For The Prosecution. It is nearly a perfect film. The witty lead, the cunning and deceptive accused and kin, mystery and humor, the requisite twist(s) at the end. It seems the further back in time one goes the better the dramas are. Older films captured people as people. (No, I’m not going to go on for a thousand words supporting this argument.)
But that’s not to say older films are always satisfying. 12 Angry Men did make for a thirteenth angry man as I stewed and frothed at the screen as if I was a member of the jury. After all the talk from friends and family about what a great film it was I was completely dejected before the film was even halfway thru as I could see where we were going. I suppose 12 Angry Men works for you if you want every defendent to walk free, but that is not justice. By the end of the film I was still convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that kid was guilty and belonged in the chair. So, I guess the success of the film is dependent on the point of the film. If it was to drag the viewer into the stomach wrenching agony of the deliberations of a murder trial, I guess I have to say it was successful. The fact the jury ultimately reversed themselves left me with no good feelings at all, but, as it is not an unrealistic outcome (for a person to be frustrated with a jury or their verdict), I guess I have to give some credit where credit is due. But I really would have appreciated a major twist at the end – and no, the ending is no twist at all :x(
I’m not going to go on and on bitching about the bleeding heart liberal tint that Hollywood has been pushing for decades. I’m going to bitch about an entirely different film for an entirely different reason now.
Again, major spoilers here. WTF!? The Final Countdown should be called The Biggest Letdown. That’s the first problem. The title is lousy in retrospect. Before I saw the film I thought it might mean something but it really doesn’t. The title really is irrelevant to the film. Now, advancing a few minutes into this mess of a film, we find ourselves in a strange storm no one has ever seen the likes of before. Then we’re in 1941 on the Eve of Pearl Harbor. This storm is not some deus ex machina plot device – it is a huge gaping plot HOLE you could (and they did!) sail an aircraft carrier thru. The Philadelphia Experiment used a very intriguing science experiment to work their time travel magic (amongst other magics, such as the magics of people trapped IN the walls and floors of the ship! Now, that‘s cool). Nope, here we just get a strange storm that works as a time travel device, AND leaves us right at the doorstep of a major pivotal event in history. Nah, that just sucks as far as plot goes. I read that the Navy financed and promoted the film, so okay, it’s a lame recruiting tool. Okay, but still… On to the only action in the film – just how satisfying is it really to be able to dominate an enemy when there’s a forty year tech gap? It’s like fantasizing about going back in time as an adult and kicking the crap out of the eight year old who bullied you when you were six. On a very superficial level it’s kickass fun, but really it’s just not that uplifting. But I did enjoy it a heck of a lot more than 12 Angry Men. The Final Countdown at least delivered the surprise twist 😉