Saturday, January 5, 2013

Looper is . . . fine

I feel about Looper the same way I felt about Moon - - it was a competently executed movie with realistic characters and a coherent plot.*  Big budget scifi movies like Prometheus have so lowered the bar, that just putting together a movie where the characters don't behave like morons seems like a triumph.

That said, the movie was simply fine.  It wasn't particularly stylish.  It wasn't funny.  It didn't offer any brilliant new designs or costumes.  There was no mindbending twist.  I didn't care if the protagonist "won."  JGL's efforts to look like young Bruce Willis just resulted in a lot of really strange facial expressions.  And the movie comes to a screeching halt 3/4 of the way through so Emily Blunt can give a little speech and smoke. I can't even remember what she soliloquized about, but presumably adding the scene was a precondition to her taking the part.

It felt like an assembly of ideas from countless other superior comics and movies and anime.  It's fine, and worth a viewing.  But that's it.

*Not to say the plot was great.  It only worked if you accepted that one character was an unstoppable remorseless murder machine, except when the plot required him not to be.


  1. Sounds like you and I are cut from the same cloth. I haven't seen Looper yet, but similarly I thought Moon was only "okay" compared to other movies and I'm just not sure what the point of Prometheus was supposed to be.

    Its a heck of a thing being so critically indifferent to genre pieces like these. I don't love them and yet I don't hate them and can't really adequately explain why.

  2. I didn't pay attention to those facial expressions. Pretty cool idea to try out at least. And yes, it's an OK movie. I don't regret seeing it in a theater.

  3. I liked "Moon" for it's clever-ness and because it never fell back into the glossy, brainless kind of sci-fi that the studies seem so enamored with.

    "Looper" was, just as you said, fine. There was certainly nothing about it that would inspire me to watch it a second time. The prosthetic nose and contorted facial expressions were distracting and unnecessary. I think there should've been more of the young & old versions of the character collaborating. The restaurant scene was almost great. The tricks with sending a message forward to the older self were clever too.

    1. Yeah, to be clear, Moon had a more provocative story and a more interesting look. And good music. But it was good enough to enjoy once. Not a classic worth repeat views.

  4. Agreed on multiple points. I think I was also really excited for the potential of Looper, but became sorely disappointed after seeing it due to the three points you mentioned (in order of how much they irked me): i) JGL's bizarre and creepy jeune Bruce Willis botox face, ii) terrible and completely unnecessary addition of TK angle, and iii) Emily Blunt smoking.

    Man, I would have even forgiven all the above trespasses if they would only just have left JGL's original handsome face alone. No one wants another Bruce Willis.

  5. It was a bit of a directorial let down for someone like Rian Johnson... who I've loved stylistically up till this point. Perhaps we can credit him with not letting this movie suck too bad.

    ...and not to get too hung up on time travel movie inconsistencies, but... it seemed the turning point for either version of the protagonist was when a woman helped him get over his drug addiction. Wouldn't that alone have changed the mentality of the Bruce Willis character? I mean, if you can leave messages on your skin, then i'd think you could change someone's mind using the same technique.

    I didn't hate the ending, but it was still pretty "meh."

    The bad: I wanted to kill that little kid half-way through the movie myself,
    and the Brando-esque JGL faces were a total joke.

  6. yeesh, what a bias and uninformative review that was. If you thought the movie was 'fine' why was everything you said about it negative?

    If it was just some other actor and not Joseph Gordon Levitt I doubt his facial contortions would stand out as much. I personally wasn't as bothered by him acting like Bruce Wilis, thought it was a good idea that occasionally felt awkward but mostly worked.

    I thought the manner in which they told the story was pretty stylish, the way they jumped back and ran through Bruce Wilis' timeline for instance, the money-making montage, but those things could have worked for me more because of the soundtrack. I liked how they played with the idea that things happening to the young one affects the old one. A basic time-travel trope that is rarely this coherent. The overall look wasn't too stylish I guess, maybe that's what you mean? but it's only like 30 years into the future, so I thought it had a refreshingly realistic take on what kinds of "future-tech" we'd actually see. It wasn't over the top.

    You did hit a couple of big gripes I had with the film though. I hated the action hero Die Hard scene where Bruce Wilis takes out a building full of goons with zero problems. And Emily Blunt's character was pretty forgettable.

    I didn't see Looper until after it came out on bluray, so maybe I missed some of the Prometheus style hype that builds a movie up to the point where you had no choice but to be disappointed, but I liked the movie. It had a lot of scenes and ideas that were very well executed, and some clunky things that I chose to overlook.