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post #1 of 157 Old 11-17-2006, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Just got back from theater night with my pals, the subject was the film Babel. The film gets a solid B- from me and a reluctant thumbs up.

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There are four interconnected plots, two in Morocco, one in Mexico, and one in Japan. The timeline is non-linear, as in the film Memento, and done again with variations in Crash. That was clever and inventive the first time, but now on the third or fourth turn I'm tired of it as a plot device. IMHO these plot elements could have been related in linear form with no loss of impact.

Each one of the four stories has drama and evokes emotion. At the end of not quite two and a half hours you have been through an emotional wringer, and as the credits rolled, I found myself asking WHY was it necessary to subject the audience to such an emotional ride? No special wisdom or insight has been communicated, there is a message or two or three within the film but without exception these are trivial.


This is a well-crafted film, competently and even beautifully photographed. Unfortunately many of the scenes are shot in one bleak desert or another - so arid and barren they are almost monochromatic. All in all, I will probably never allocate the time to see this one again. However I am not wanting those two and a half hours of my life back, which is lots better than some films made today.

Perhaps the worst part is I was expecting a better film than I saw and am somewhat disappointed. Don't concern yourself about waiting for the DVD, but rent before you buy.

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post #2 of 157 Old 11-21-2006, 08:11 AM
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As nice as some of the visuals were, the only thing I experienced was 2.5 hours of dread. It wasn't a roller coaster ride of emotion, it was pervasive dread. The story set in Mexico was overly contrived to be emotionally manipulative and had me rolling my eyes. I hated this movie.

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post #3 of 157 Old 11-27-2006, 06:43 PM
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I loved this movie. I love this type of disparate, interconnecting storyline structure. I found each of the stories very engaging -- you're so involved in the "active" storyline that it's almost a little jolting when we cut back to another.

I'm sure it will be in my Top 10 for the year.
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post #4 of 157 Old 11-28-2006, 08:18 AM
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it was a good movie, but why sooo long lol
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post #5 of 157 Old 01-09-2007, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EPlay View Post

I loved this movie. I love this type of disparate, interconnecting storyline structure. I found each of the stories very engaging -- you're so involved in the "active" storyline that it's almost a little jolting when we cut back to another.

I'm sure it will be in my Top 10 for the year.

I'm with EPlay on this one, I loved it and found it very intriguing.

Yes the
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timeline was non-linear and did remain me, to a certain extent, of 'Crash' (but not 'Memento') but I enjoy movies with non-linear timelines.
As EPlay said you will find yourself involved with the "active" storyline and the quick transition can be a little jolting.

As the credits rolled I felt the sense of satisfaction you get from watching a thoroughly enjoyable, rewarding movie. I guess 'Babel' would fall into the "you either lover or hate it" categories.

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post #6 of 157 Old 01-20-2007, 09:09 PM
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Just saw this movie. Did anyone else sort of think this was a rip off on Crash?

OK, so why *again* do we need a bigger one?
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post #7 of 157 Old 01-20-2007, 10:52 PM
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Both my wife and I loved this film when we saw it at the theater. I loved the music so much I picked up the 2-disc soundtrack from the film that night.

As to the comment about putting the stories in chronological order - they happen very much out of order. The Mexico segment starts around the end of the Morocco story. The stories needed to be presented in parallel, even though they weren't going on simultaneously.

Quote:


WHY was it necessary to subject the audience to such an emotional ride? No special wisdom or insight has been communicated, there is a message or two or three within the film but without exception these are trivial.

Maybe that emotional ride was the point of the film. Then again, maybe not.


With so much crap being made out there, when a provocative and moving film like Babel comes along and people (not you, Gary) dump on it, I just wonder if anything out there would actually please them.
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post #8 of 157 Old 01-21-2007, 06:31 PM
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I wasn't saying it was a bad movie. AAMOF, I thought it was the best movie I saw this year, but it is very much like crash in that a lot of strangers are connected by a series of events to tell a bunch of seperate stories.

OK, so why *again* do we need a bigger one?
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post #9 of 157 Old 02-20-2007, 02:51 PM
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I have come to the point where movies like this are some kind of random act of film-making that show all of the craft of cinema, but nothing of the art of entertaining story-telling.

This review sums up pretty well my thoughts on Babel
Quote:
Babel has the material of greatness -- vast scope, humane vision, fine actors -- but sadly not the ability to make it all into something beyond mildly pretty and pretentious blather. In striving to recreate the chaotic din of a God-cursed global humanity, it succeeds only in making noise.

http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/empor...3?OpenDocument

On the other hand, a movie like "Weeping Camel" I thoroughly enjoyed. Go figure...

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post #10 of 157 Old 02-21-2007, 02:42 PM
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I thought it was among the better movies of late, with some great performances, mostly from the unknown cast members. Some of the political "suggestions" were just simply off the mark, and weakens the story telling by inserting the director's obvious stance on those issues. However if a viewer shares those opinions, this may not be big deal for those. So YMMV.

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post #11 of 157 Old 02-21-2007, 02:45 PM
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Saw this in the theater and of course loved it. I also picked up the soundtrack to the film that night.

But I just picked up the HD-DVD version of this (with a new HD-DVD player, add-on to the Xbox 360 actually), so I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks, and what I think and notice on my second viewing.
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post #12 of 157 Old 02-21-2007, 03:00 PM
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Surprisingly NF is shipping the HD-DVD to me today. I should be able to watch it this weekend.

larry

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post #13 of 157 Old 02-23-2007, 02:37 PM
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We liked it well enough.

It's mostly a fairly interesting character study, but the is so good that it deserves its own movie. I kept looking forward to when the story would go back to it, and I wanted more. I hope Rinko Kikuchi will somehow pull the upset and win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance was especially powerful.
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post #14 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri View Post

As to the comment about putting the stories in chronological order - they happen very much out of order. The Mexico segment starts around the end of the Morocco story. The stories needed to be presented in parallel, even though they weren't going on simultaneously.


Really? I'll take your word for it but I sure coudn't figure out why -- and I'm a big fan of non-linear storytelling. But only if there's a reason for it. To me, this felt like the A story was originally linear and then they realized it was mindnumbingly boring so they just stuck it in the hopper and gave it a spin. Luckily, my copy is an Academy screening copy so I only wasted time not money. This was one of the few movies after which I felt like I'd just wasted 4 or 5 hours of my life.
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post #15 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 05:46 AM
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I watched this last night. A couple times I almost turned it off, it was moving too slow for me. However, the movie was filmed and put together very well so I decided to stick with it. When it was over I wasn't disappointed that I stayed with it but I don't see myself watching it again. The stories were told very well but didn't give us anything new.

larry

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post #16 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 07:15 AM
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Watched the movie yesterday. I agree with most of the comments on here. Good stories on thier own. Tying them together with loose stings didn't seem to take too much away from any of the plots. The Mexican story was much too over the top in my opinion.

Going into it, I wanted too see what all of the buzz about Pitt's performace was all about. Having watched it, I would have to say I'm baffled as to why he or anyone would feel he was snubbed for an Oscar. What did I miss??

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post #17 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmanBP View Post

Really? I'll take your word for it but I sure coudn't figure out why -- and I'm a big fan of non-linear storytelling. But only if there's a reason for it. To me, this felt like the A story was originally linear and then they realized it was mindnumbingly boring so they just stuck it in the hopper and gave it a spin. Luckily, my copy is an Academy screening copy so I only wasted time not money. This was one of the few movies after which I felt like I'd just wasted 4 or 5 hours of my life.


Have you seen Amores Perros, the director's first in this pseudo trilogy? It has three stories, slightly inter-related, but told A, then B, then C. It worked for that movie, but I don't know if Babel would have been as powerful if told in that fashion, as each of the stories in Babel are connected much more than in Amores Perros. In the latter, they simply take place in the same city and we see a few tiny bits of the other stories within the main one.
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post #18 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 04:08 PM
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Odd that the music toward the end is also used in parts of HBO's 'Deadwood'. But Deadwood and Babel have two different composers.

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post #19 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 08:15 PM
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This movie sucked. Interconnected stories with no point. Who cares. Oh yeah... "character development"
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post #20 of 157 Old 02-24-2007, 08:26 PM
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post #21 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri View Post

Have you seen Amores Perros, the director's first in this pseudo trilogy? It has three stories, slightly inter-related, but told A, then B, then C. It worked for that movie, but I don't know if Babel would have been as powerful if told in that fashion, as each of the stories in Babel are connected much more than in Amores Perros. In the latter, they simply take place in the same city and we see a few tiny bits of the other stories within the main one.

No, I haven't seen Amores Perros. And honestly, I doubt I'll be running out to pick up a copy any time soon. Again, I don't have a bit of problem with the non-linear of it. What irritated me was the apparent lack of any reason to do it with this A story. Maybe I'm remembering it incorrectly, but I don't think Pitt's character had any knowledge of the Mexico fiasco or the jeapordy to his kids, so piling that story on top of his Middle East misadventure didn't raise the stakes for the character at all.

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It wasn't about character development...

You can say that again, brother.
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post #22 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 07:08 AM
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I liked Amores Perros much better than Babel. bibmapBP don't judge it based on Babel. Everybody's tastes are different but AP is a better movie IMO.

larry

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post #23 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 07:37 AM
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I'll have to say that I liked this movie. I don't know how re-watchable it is though. Plus, I have to agree that the film in it's entirety ends up being quite pointless.
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Towards the end I was thinking there was going to be an 'anti-gun' message hitting us over the head, since the rifle was the one object that tied all of the events in the film loosely together. But that message never materialized. At least not blatantly.
Film making styles aside, I think I would put this film in the same category such as 'Barry Lyndon'. They're voyeuristic stories that simply let us follows the paths of some ordinary people, through some extraordinary circumstances.

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post #24 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 09:51 AM
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I watched the first half last nite, so far I am disappointed.

This movie feels so contrived, with the different plots forced together it begs comparisons to "Crash", and I dont mean that in a positive way. Crash I felt was Hollywood at its worst.

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A tourist bus full of Americans cruising through what looks like Afghanistan. Who goes on romantic getaways in Afghanistan? And an American gets shot ACCIDENTALLY? Talk about unplausible!

And as soon as you see the maid bringing her charges across the mexican border, I just know they are going to be arrested for that. Of course their parents are living it up in Afghanistan, but they are planning on being in LA the next day as if there are direct flights from Kabul to Los Angeles. PLEASE thats about a 2 day flight-trip under the best conditions.Then theres the the fat american with the camera.


Ok I will watch the second half tonite
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post #25 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 09:53 AM
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^^^^ It is somewhat contrived, but not on the order of Crash.

larry

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post #26 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 12:38 PM
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Wouldn't the Mexican housekeeper have a hard time getting back in to U.S. no matter who was with her, let alone taking two American children who were not hers? She willing risked 16 years of being in U.S. to see son's wedding? Can illegales travel back and forth easily?
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post #27 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 12:43 PM
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post #28 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 01:07 PM
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Ok thats a day's flight then I guess
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post #29 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 01:54 PM
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I thought a person named Rachel was going to watch the kids so the housekeeper could go to the wedding. I'm not so sure if Pitt and his wife Susan were suppose to make it back in time for the wedding.
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post #30 of 157 Old 02-25-2007, 02:28 PM
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OK, what's it going to be tonite?
Babel or The Departed???

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