Old Notes On DVDs: Part 5

[Yes, I’m still talking about films I saw on DVD a long time ago, wrote about and then forgot to post on my blog, but I’m now doing that very thing.]

The Queen

This is a television movie, pure and simple, but it is well done and has a strong performance from Helen Mirren – but Oscar worthy? I’m not sure. I think that the US still has a fascination for the royal family that exceeds their understanding of it, which distorted the appreciation of this performance.

The film is about the reaction of Queen Elizabeth II and family in response to the death of Diana, the former Princess of Wales, and the ridiculous mass hysteria and outpouring of emotion the public displayed. This was in contrast to the lack of anything from Buckingham Palace, because they were brought up to grieve in private. It was perhaps only due to the intervention of the then prime minister Tony Blair (an excellent Michael Sheen) that they were able to turn around the negative press and bring the royals into the 20th century.

The fascinating behind-the-scenes stuff of the royal life and their interaction with normal people (Tony and Cherie being told, ‘It’s “ma’am” as in “ham”, not “ma’am” as in “farm”’) is what makes the film enjoyable to watch; however, although well acted and well written, it never completely escapes its television origins.

Rating: DVD

*********************

Snakes on a Plane

This film is Exhibit A in the case for a good title not producing a good film. After the internet hype, this is a very average film (not that it could live up to all the buzz). Sam Jackson doesn’t care – he always comes out well from anything he is in – and I can see why a fun-loving guy would want to do this film, but it is a B-movie trifle.

The set-up is ludicrous – to kill a witness being escorted back to the mainland by Sam and his partner, a Hawaiian gang puts snakes in the cargo that will be released in the middle of the flight and be attracted/incensed by the chemicals put on the lei that people are wearing. Snakes. On a plane. Ta-da.

And so we have it: effectively, an animal documentary show in the form of a disaster movie. Because that is what the film becomes: I realised about halfway through that I’m just watching a snake attack programme in fictional form. You’re just waiting for the next different snake to come along and wonder in what form it will bite somebody. It stops being a film and ends up a catalogue of snake strikes.

Sam says THE line (you know the one I mean; you can tell they filmed it afterwards) and the film ends satisfactorily (well, except for people who died of snake bite poisoning of course), but it will always be remembered for the internet campaign that had no effect than for the film itself.

Rating: DVD

[Explanation of my updated film rating system]

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