In the latest episode of Shoot the Glass we discuss so many films! Too many, you might say, for a fifty-odd minute podcast. And you’d be correct, but hey… that whole “less is more” thing is a scam, am I right? More is always better! Like with the show Firefly. I’m just saying.
First up we look at Ang Lee‘s tale of shipwrecked teenagers and misnamed tigers on the open ocean in Life of Pi, adapted from the book by Yann Martel. It’s not really about a shipwreck, though, its about a spiritual journey. And I don’t mean that in the way that Robocop is really a Jesus story or the Terminator actually represents the inevitability of death, I mean this film tells you in the first five minutes that it can, by the end, make you believe in God.
Then we move on to Oz the Great and Powerful, which is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Yep… a prequel to one of the most iconic films ever made, a prequel to a film so firmly nestled in its own historical moment that it uses a change from black-and-white to colour as a ‘wow’ moment. What kind of idiot would watch such a stupid idea of a film, you ask? Well what if I told you it’s directed by the legendary Sam Raimi? And hey, maybe that idiot is doing a movie podcast, and it’s his goddamn job to take a bullet for you if it comes to that.
Third, we look at Spielberg‘s take on the personal and political mythology surrounding the great emancipator in Lincoln. Spielberg’s virtuosic capacities have made him such a fixture in filmmaking that he tends not to really get the respect he deserves; the man is a genius after all. You can judge for yourself whether Pete and I do anything to correct this tendency when we ask: can he resist putting awkward and mawkish bookends on this like he did for Private Ryan?
Finally we delve into Cloud Atlas, adapted from the book by David Mitchell and directed by the Wachowskis. And also Tom Tykwer, although he goes accidentally unmentioned in the podcast (Sorry Tom!). Not satisfied with being a mere sprawling epic, Cloud Atlas epically sprawls in entirely new ways, burning through more story than four or five of your garden-variety films combined along the way. Sometimes more movie is just what you want, like with the Firefly movie; Cloud Atlas gives us so much movie it’s hard to know quite what to do with it all.
Does it work, though? Does the ambition of Cloud Atlas translate into good cinema? Can Spielberg’s oft-forgotten genius make a biopic really work as a movie and not just a tribute? Can Sam Raimi make a comprehensively stupid movie idea into something wonderful? Can Ang Lee make you believe in God?
Come join Peter Wells and Justin Gibson as they tackle these questions and more in the fourth episode of Shoot the Glass. And we’re on twitter as @shoottheglass if you want to hit us up for anything.