Friday, August 8, 2014

Boyhood: Richard Linklater's Battle Against Alcoholic Stepfathers.

Dear Richard Linklater,

You worked wonders with Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.  Every nine years, you gave us another great movie focused on the same two people in various stages of their relationship.  The series evolved with its characters; what began as a starry-eyed romance ended as an explosive bout within a long term relationship.  With only two hours every nine years, you created a believable relationship between two very real characters that easily produced empathy.

With Boyhood, you've attempted the opposite.  Instead of giving us the snapshots and letting us fill in the blanks, you've provided a full twelve years in one character's life.  We watch as Mason, the boy in question, grows from a child into a young man.  Unfortunately, the effect is not the same.  There isn't enough time for both Mason's life story and the emotions that accompany it; and at times, Mason seems more of a peripheral figure than a protagonist.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Avengers Youth Team.

Guardians of the Galaxy gets bonus points for following The Avengers formula without depending on five origin films to set up all the character development necessary to facilitate the coming together of its main characters.  That being said, the film immediately thrusts its wise-cracking protagonists into an intergalactic religious war; pausing only momentarily to produce thin explanations for the necessary plot devices.  The complexities of why–or honestly even who–the Guardians are fighting, don't seem to matter to the filmmakers.  Thankfully, it doesn't really matter to the audience either.