Quick Synopsis: Aliens
Time changes a film. Despite the fact I have only watched it once, my opinions on IT: Chapter 2 are very different now than they are when I left the cinema after seeing it. Now I’ve had time for the mistakes of that film to bounce around my head a bit more, the inconsistencies in plotting have made themselves known. I have the opposite feeling with this film, I came out thinking “that was okay”, and if I reviewed it immediately, or even that day, this review would mostly be about how disappointed I was with it, how I’m worried Peele has slightly lost it and the lack of a big twist and that special “something” let it down, that the film veered off into strange diversions that just slowed the plot down.
But I just couldn’t forget about certain parts of this film, and then I realised certain things. My brain recognised thematic continuity, it realised the diversions weren’t really diversions, they were character explanations that said a lot about humanity and how they exploit things for entertainment purposes. It’s ironic that this film is about being watched, as it seems to be spending its entire runtime staring back, judging the audience for their participation in cruel acts. Once this film had time to breathe and spread itself through the recesses of my mind I realised this is actually genius. I’ve heard of a film being described as a slow burner, but “a week after you leave the cinema” is taking the piss a bit. A lot of people won’t like that, you don’t want to have to sit there and analyze a film to enjoy it. You shouldn’t have to delve deep into the themes to enjoy a film, but I think you do for this. An alien invasion film should be mass-market, and though Peele’s previous work has been highbrow, they’ve also been instantly accessible in a way that I’m not entirely sure this is.
I mean, it makes sense as a film, but if you watch it and don’t think about it, then it’s just going to be “okay”, if anything it’s going to seem too simple. It’s only when you think about it that the complexities reveal themselves. It’s kind of frustrating that that’s the case because it means it’s hard to defend this film without sounding like an obnoxious prick “no no, that was there because it’s about how that animal was being watched by a room full of people showing their teeth and it interpreted it as a violent gesture and lashed out. This ties into the main themes because humans feel they can control things when they can’t, they forget basic animal instincts and get cocky which leads to their destruction, it led to the deaths on set, and to the mass deaths in the theme park, it’s ALL CONNECTED”.
It’s a shame as this VERY smart and deserves plaudits. It looks fantastic, there’s a lot tension when there needs to be, and the performances are amazing. I do highly recommend this, but there is a chance you just won’t like. It’s one of those “1 or 5 star” films, I don’t think there’s an in between. But I’d rather that than a “meh” film.