Wanted

by

It may matter to you, it may not – but this review definitely contains spoilers.

So, just how rubbish is Wanted?

Put it this way; if, after the movie finished, Angelina Jolie herself had come out from behind the curtain and begun to service me with her bouncy chair lips, running herself up and down my shaft and continuously muttering “I’m sorry about the film” for as long as it took before I burst my frothy top, I would still walk away with an overwhelming sense of disappointment.

That’s how rubbish it is.

Normally at this point I would be calling for the heads of the filmmakers and the actors to be brought before me as a sacrificial display of consumer power, but not this time. Here, my irk is squared directly at the people who sold me the movie, at the people who cut the trailers and the journalists who salivated over the orgy of averageness.

This is not the next great leap forward. This is not Angelina Jolie proving her worth in tabloid gossip, nor James ‘Mr Tumnus’ McAvoy becoming a leading man…

It is not the first great action film of the summer and it is not a good example of what can be done by mixing crazed Soviet directors with Western budgets.

It is balls. Pure and simple balls, and I hold those who told me it was anything but responsible.

This film is a triumph of marketing, of deceptive trailer teasing and wilful cohesion on my behalf. It’s as much my fault as anybody else’s because I chose to believe their bullshit this time around. Instead of cynically avoiding it based on past experiences I fell for their fast cuts and hyped hyperbole and it led me into a world of regret. Had I expected nothing, had I been uninformed and unexcited then I would have discovered an ok action film… but I didn’t. I was offered the moon and like a foolish and greedy child I reached for it.

Mr Tumnus plays Wesley Gibson, a pathetic loser of an American accent who has a shit job and a zero result hit on Google. Based on a clear and obvious lie about his lineage he is inducted into a fraternity of assassins who kill targets chosen by a mystical weaving ‘Loom of Fate’ and presided over by the villain – oops, I mean a gravitas-intoning Morgan Freeman. I’m not making this up. A Loom of Fate. Morgan Freeman actually says at one point ‘this is the Loom of Fate’. It’s fucking awful.

For half the film Morgan trains Tumnus by going on and on about the ripples of our actions and how they kill one person to save a thousand. Angelina is there too, playing an assassin called ‘the Fox’ but who may as well be called Emo Teenager’s Wet Dream, such is the gratuitous Nine Inch Nails soundtracking to her slow-motion tattooed fetishism. Tumnus gets beaten up by the guy from Hustle, learns to curve bullets and surfs trains before, six weeks later, becoming a world class assassin with superhuman abilities to slow time.

I know what you’re thinking – that it actually sounds pretty cool, right? Silly and forgetful, but a little bit cool. I mean, come on, a fraternity of magical assassins who kills the butterfly effectors of the world for a greater good. Looks good on paper, n’est pas?

I thought so too. I was wrong. It’s one of those films where opening a door takes 15 different cuts, angles, whip pans and needless CGI shots to achieve – where what should be gleefully celebrated as silly is taken as the height of seriousness and where every action sequence is undermined by the relentless safety net of computer highjiggerypokery.

What is particularly frustrting is that this should be a good movie. The director, Timur Bekmambetov, made the awesome Nightwatch which, while equally ludicrous and self indulgent, still manages to makes sense and is hardly shy of creativity. The action scenes, where he normally excels, are empty and marred by such bad editing that they don’t make any sense whatsoever – hiding their flaws and rampant inconsistancies behind flashes and shakes of post production meddling. This film should have been a two hour version of the Hotel Lobby scene from the Matrix – instead it was like all the bad bits from the remake of Gone in 60 Seconds.

Half way through, the plot thus far is switched and the potentially good setup is squandered on needless story twists and the sense that we should take the story seriously and care for these characters. McAvoy handles the role well, but Jolie is like a bored Lara Croft, her performance a phoned-in montage of seductive glances and blank stares. Morgan Freeman is wasted as the leader of the assassins, intoning as if at a bible meeting and wearing a huge flashing sign around his neck saying ‘Bad Guy.’ Terence Stamp pops up and then pops down again with little or no influence. It’s all so… corporate… and hardly the anarchic gunfest I was led to believe it was.

That said, it’s got style and some really nice imagery and the ideas for some of the sequences, if not the sequences themselves, are very nice. Unfortunately the tone is all wrong and instead of thrilling and delighting it bores and annoys.

This is all the fault of the marketing people. Movies have to be big these days. Big, big, big, big, BIG. They have to have big stars and big openings and big press and it all ruins the final effect of the film. Had Wanted been a slow burning word of mouth movie, it would have been so much better. Had I not been exposed to all the hype and reviews and relentless plugging I may not have expected so much and may have enjoyed it more.

Like I have said, though, this is as much my fault too. After so many years of being disappointed by movies I thought were going to be great I should have learnt my lesson. Nothing will ever be as good as you want it to be, or as you’ve heard it is, or as they tell you it is. Wanted could have been a pleasant surprise, instead it was just another rubbish movie.

There’s still The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2 to come though… and they’re obviously going to be great.

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78 Responses to “Wanted”

  1. Swineshead Says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure how you could’ve expected this to be any good… Nightwatch was a mess and Jolie’s never made a decent film in her life.

    The Loom sounds good though.

  2. Mikey Says:

    I saw on film4 “Pushing Tin” which Anjelina Jolie was in and thought that she was quite good in that. Strange film but quite enjoyable.

    In other matters, I have been banned from any frying at home. Usually I fend for myself on a Saturday lunchtime. Ms. Mikey is tired of coming back to smoke filled rooms and agrees completely with piqued. She also suggests that piqued should have a recipe page that idiots like myself should refer to. My frying ban is open ended at the moment and any potential recipes should be oven based.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    Mikey – fucking hell! Are you serious??

  4. last year's girl Says:

    I thought Wanted was hilarious. If they rebrand it as a comedy by the time it makes it into the £1 Asda DVD Bargain Bin it should shift a few copies.

  5. Swineshead Says:

    I bet neither of you went to the cinema for it. I bet you done downloaded it from off of from off the internets. You’ll be getting a letter in the post soon, according to the news.

  6. george Says:

    That’s the one where she does that turn at about 16 million miles per hour and he kind of just plops in the car, doesn’t he? You know, instead of having his legs snapped in two like twiglits by the sheer force of the car, knocking him pelvis first into the car, broken legs flailing, straight into the face of the driver, and of course the speed at which he’s been tripped into the car means his pelvis hits the face of the driver at a smooth 80mph, which causes the car to spin over and explode in a layby. What kind of superpower is that again? The ability to ignore the rules of psychics?

    If you ask me, they should have made the Matrix and said ‘right, that’s it, no more sci fi/action/super hero hybrid films.’ Is it just me who can’t see the fuss around superhero movies? I bet The Dark Knight will be boring for at least 2 hours.

  7. Swineshead Says:

    Wtf…

  8. Wenchy Says:

    I saw Wanted a while ago, and while I didn’t come out fizzing with excitement about how amazing it was, it didn’t bother me too much. I agree on most points – especially Jolie’s “performance”, which I read in one review as her “most enigmatic, charistmatic performance to date” -I sense they saw a different film. Oh, and the pedant in me has to say she’s not “The Fox”, she’s just Fox.

    I do have a certain degree of awe for people who make trailers, they really CAN polish a turd, no mean feat.

    Stu – The Dark Knight is garnering rave reviews left, right and centre, including friends of mine who saw it last night. Batman Begins is brilliant (hated all that Tim Burton bullshit) so I have high hopes for TDK, and by the sounds of it, won’t be disappointed. And anything Guillermo Del Toro is involved with (has anyone seen El Orfanato? Brilliant) always scores well in my book, so bring on Hellboy 2!

    Oh, now, Hancock – that was shit. Really, really shit.

  9. Swineshead Says:

    I’ve seen it, Wenchy

    https://watchwithmothers.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/the-orphanage/

    And it wasn’t very good. It was officially ‘alright’.

  10. Dave Says:

    The Hobbit looks interesting, Del Toro being an obvious choice. But he pulled a Tarantino and merely promoted the orphanage, didn’t he?

  11. Badger Madge Says:

    I saw it on the big screen too and really quite liked it. On reflection, it’s not AMAZING and there are weak bits, but it doesn’t try to be oscar-worthy. It’s a good bit of froth, you know? I thought it looked stunning, and loved the way it was shot. But hey ho. Each to their own. Of course, the fact that I’ve met (and like) one of the producers (Mark, who also wrote the comic is was based on) doesn’t bias me in the slightest!

  12. Swineshead Says:

    Dave – can you fuck off please?

  13. george Says:

    Wenchy; who are you in real life? How come you know my name? *closes curtains*

  14. Dave Says:

    I don’t see why that’s necessary, SH. I like this blog and it gives me something interesting to do whilst I’m at work.

  15. Quincy Phd Says:

    I quite liked the Orphanage, actually, although it’s clearly not the masterpiece that the press fell over themselves calling it…

    I went to the cinema to see Wanted, Swineshead, and that’s probably one of the reasons I feel so agrieved. Fucking £6.50 to sit in a room of jabbering morons watching a piss-poor movie in shitprojectorvision, being subjected to half an hour of adverts and told over and over again that there’s still time to ‘grab a coke…’ plus the food stall actually came in on wheels during the trailers so that the gobbling fucktards could stock up on more rustles, chomps and crunches to fuck me off with during the movie.

    I’m sure I’d enjoy films a lot more if there process of going to the cinema wasn’t so utterly hateful. I’m sure the Dark Knight is going to be awesome, but I’m dreading having to see it in a room of ‘others’ as I’m guaranteed – guaranteed! – to have some cockfuck of a munted forehead sniggering throughout and scoffing his bodyweight in Minstrels.

  16. george Says:

    I love The Simpsons. Went to the film at the cinema. Spent most of my time laughing at a joke, only to have a gaggle of six year olds in front of me laugh their heads of at the same time. Really put me off the cinema, now I just sit at home with the curtains pulled watching the Simpsons and pretending I’m the only one in the world who understands their jokes.

  17. Swineshead Says:

    Dave – email me (I did ask before)

  18. Swineshead Says:

    I know what you mean about cinemas… I think they should install high quality headphones so you can listen to the soundtrack undisturbed if you’re a miserable bastard like us. Then you won’t have to listen to idiots eating popcorn, probably the food LEAST suited to being eaten in a quiet room where people are concentrating.

  19. Swineshead Says:

    In other news, looks like Quincy made the front page of WordPress with this article (if only briefly) according to the stats. So well done, you wizened, perverted pathologist.

  20. Quincy Phd Says:

    Finally… vindication!

  21. Badger Madge Says:

    The Dark Knight is KICK ASS! Saw it last week and it’s amazing. Miuch better than Begins. Batman is a tad dull and his scenes are flatter simply because Ledger is just so god damned awesome. Seriously.

    Believe the hype.

  22. Quincy Phd Says:

    It’s talk like that which made me hate Wanted so much, so while I don’t doubt that you’re right I’m going to keep a sceptical mindset so that I can somehow be pleasantly surprised.

  23. Wenchy Says:

    Eeeep! See, it’s things like that that make me moist when it comes to films.

    El Orfanato – aww, I thought it was great, but then I like my muted horror. I think he was vaguely involved in production and promotion, not direction. You all loved Pan’s Labyrinth though, right?!

    Stu – tis Carys from EC. I changed from Clarys due to the confusion between myself and Clarry.

    SH – any chance I could write a piece on TDK? Unless nobody gives a shit, in which case, I won’t, of course.

  24. Wenchy Says:

    Sorry, just realised – TDK, The Dark Knight. Je suis un film-sad-bastard.

  25. Badger Madge Says:

    Quincy, I totally agree and I apologise for the hyperbole. (It *is* good tho)

  26. Napoleon Says:

    FAH! None of the films mentioned here are a patch on Amateur Porn Star Killer II.

  27. Swineshead Says:

    Wenchy – have you seen Dark Knight then?

  28. Wenchy Says:

    Seeing it tomorrow, after work – I’ve even booked tickets. That’s how sad it is.

  29. Napoleon Says:

    I was planning on watching that this weekend. Damned if I’m doing an article on it, mind.

  30. piqued Says:

    Mikey, simply resolve the frying ban by adding some oil to the butter as butter has a very low tolerance to heat as the milk solids of casein and whey burn. To prevent burning it needs a catalyst such as sunflower oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil et al… But I suggest you save the extra virgin for a lovely salad.
    Fry food in just butter and you’ll be stood looking gormlessly at black flecked brown sludge.

  31. Dave Says:

    Who et Al? Is that the man you would eat?

  32. Napoleon Says:

    I fried some mushrooms in butter and got no black flecked brown sludge at all. Where am I going wrong? That sludge sounds lovely.

  33. Swineshead Says:

    Go on then Wenchy – email me a review and I’ll let you know what I think.

    Be warned, I might edit things heavily because (as we’ve already ascertained) I am a content Nazi.

  34. Swineshead Says:

    Napoleon, Piqued’s already said that steak needs more heat to cook than veg… I hate to stick up for him on this one but I suspect he’s right….

  35. Napoleon Says:

    Has he? So if I turn up the heat on my butter I can get that black sludge he’s on about?

  36. Swineshead Says:

    Exactly. The black stuff is the good stuff.
    It’s similar to leaving milk in the sun – it turns into a delicious, exotic cheese.

  37. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    ‘n’est-ce pas?’*

    Sorry for the pedantry. Otherwise a very good review. Though I have absolutely no idea why you thought it would be a good film – the advert made it look awful.

  38. Mikey Says:

    The frying ban has to remain in force unfortunately. Ms. Mikey reminded me of the “Blackberry pie” incident of last year. Ignoring all advice of buying pastry that you just roll, I decided to make my own. As I progressed, I came to realise that it was not going to plan. My hands became encrusted in a sort of concrete. As my confusion increased, scratching ones head , turning on and off taps, switching the oven on and indeed touching anything… led to a trail of havoc. I managed to get something in the oven, but the end result was not happy. I was on cleaning duty for some time after that.

  39. george Says:

    Warm up a tin of tomato sauce, poach and egg in it and toast some bread.

  40. Swineshead Says:

    JQW – do I have time to go back and edit something that Quincy probably wrote in something of a hurry (what with him having a job and a life)?

    Can I fuck.

    I’d like to hear more about Ms. Mikey, she sounds like a formidable woman.

  41. piqued Says:

    She does indeed SH

    Sounds like she wears the pants in chez Mikey, eh girls?

  42. Clarry Says:

    Piqued is right about the addition of oil to butter to prevent it burning. However, if you turn the heat down a bit and cook the butter long enough you get buerre noisette (otherwise known as brown butter) which is often used for french pastries or as a simple sauce.

  43. Swineshead Says:

    Christ – this on Badger’s blog is an eye-opener

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/23/mediamonkey

    I’m with Coren though – surely a writer should get final approval?
    Not that they do on WWM.

  44. Mikey Says:

    Yes Clarry is right as the butter can make a good sauce. It’s the smoke plumes (by really heating up the butter) which Ms. Mikey objects to.
    In a newspaper (which I would never buy) that I came across on Tuesday, I did rip out the recipe for “Golden Goats Cheese tomatoes” which i am going to attempt. Seems quite straightforward and just need to whack it in the oven. Oh yes, I will be a “new man” one day!

  45. Swineshead Says:

    Sorry – should really give you Badger’s take on it too

    http://bmtv.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/not-much-to-say-other-than%e2%80%a6/

  46. piqued Says:

    I thought he was a little cock too Clarry, whilst he may have had a point he lost it by being a squeaking little fuck

    You’re quite right about the buerre noisette of course, however, I was talking of adding some oil to the butter -as butter has a very low tolerance to heat as the milk solids of casein and whey burn- only with regard to cooking steak.

  47. Clarry Says:

    God can you imagine the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach of the person who received that? And can you imagine the furious response he’ll get when he folornly tries to explain why he removed it, probably without thinking at about five to five on a Friday?

    I do agree with Coren to a point but he doesn’t exactly win you round with his charm and wit does he?

  48. Mikey Says:

    Pardonnez – moi, mais c’est “BEURRE noisette”.

  49. piqued Says:

    If I were to say that his who diatribe indicates that he is hung like gnocchi (to use the vernacular) would other readers ‘know where I was coming from?’

  50. Clarry Says:

    Fuck’s sake Mikey, who are you JQW?

  51. Swineshead Says:

    If I were to say that his who diatribe indicates that he is hung like gnocchi (to use the vernacular) would other readers ‘know where I was coming from?’

    Probably not as that sentence makes no fucking sense.

  52. piqued Says:

    Mikey, I really wouldn’t if I were you

    You’ve already been kicked out the kitchen for the second time because of your inability to apply the very fundamental basics of cooking, in the case of the latter, elementary-level chemistry, so pointing out a minor error in a foreign word itself a component of a not-altogether-famous process of European cuisine doesn’t really wash with me.

    Sonny.

  53. piqued Says:

    It makes complete sense SH. Complete

  54. Swineshead Says:

    At least admit there’s a random ‘who’ in there. And you’ve still not quite got the hang of commas, have you?

  55. Mikey Says:

    If I were to say that his who diatribe indicates that he is hung like gnocchi (to use the vernacular) would other readers ‘know where I was coming from?’

    Is the answer Italy?

  56. piqued Says:

    ‘whole’ I meant WHOLE

    Where would the comma go?

  57. Swineshead Says:

    After the end bracket.

    Just thank fuck the people at the Times aren’t having to muck about with your copy, eh? Their computers would explode.

  58. Napoleon Says:

    My copy’s been butchered a couple of times before. I can’t say I gave a fuck, mind, even when their fiddlin’ changed the meaning of something or fucked up a joke. Subs need to do something to justify their existence, after all.

    I was more bothered about getting me greedy ‘ands on the money.

  59. piqued Says:

    It’s not mandatory

    Besides, I thought this was a fucking blog, not an English degree?

  60. Dave Says:

    NC, that’s pretty darned cool.

  61. Swineshead Says:

    I think you started it….

    *checks*

    Yep.

  62. piqued Says:

    You talking to me?

    You talking to me?

    *shaves head*

    *goes on killing spree*

  63. Wenchy Says:

    “Go on then Wenchy – email me a review and I’ll let you know what I think.

    Be warned, I might edit things heavily because (as we’ve already ascertained) I am a content Nazi.”

    Is it ok to like the film? Because I know how we/you lot like to pull things to threads, and liking it might get in the way of that.

    Anyway, I shall give it the ole’ college try. Yay!

  64. Swineshead Says:

    Hmmm. I’m not sure that’d fit with the usual tone. Maybe a one off happy review.

  65. Wenchy Says:

    I shall be suitably scathing if I hate it, hell hath no fury and all that…

  66. Swineshead Says:

    I might break my unwritten rule and go to the picture house for it. Then not be very impressed and curse my own nostalgic bones.

  67. Dave Says:

    I have the harrowing decision to make between TDK (who I think are an electronics company) or a barnet chop. Hmm. As I’m seeing Moby tonight I would like to be bald for it but Christian Bale dressed as a rubber flying mammal is a tempting proposition.

  68. Jamie Says:

    Wanted looked horrifically shallow from the trailers. Never tempted by that one.

    Dark Knight is quality. Heath Ledger managed to make the Joker both terrifying and REALLY funny.

  69. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Bang on, Jamie.

  70. Dave Says:

    Not as good as Jack Nicholson’s though, who was equally dark just camp, not grungy. Batman should be camp and, favourably, directed by Tim Burton. Still okay.

  71. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Tim Burton’s one is mainly boring and generally a bit awful. Ledger’s Joker has many more dimensions.

  72. Jamie Says:

    I am a Burton fan generally but I like the new, darker direction of Batman.

    Never been that into superheroes but Batman gets my respect as he doesn’t actually have any super powers.

  73. Dave Says:

    That’s the old debate, Jamie. Is batman a superhero. And I think Burton’s Batman is dark, that’s the point, just dark in a fun, camp way. Simple.

    I’m IMAXing the foo’ tomorrow so I may be won over but, as it stand, unlike Burton’s, it’s a little introverted and overlong.

    And since when do we look for dimensions in nah-nah-nah-nah-BATMAN? Why not make a deep, inwardly-tortured resetting of Batfink while we’re at it? HUH?

  74. Jamie Says:

    Well……Batman’s evolved. You couldn’t imagine this Batman with a Robin.

    Deal with it. Like Bond has evolved. I’m not even a Bond fan and I was not happy with a brawny, blonde Bond, but then I watched it and was won over.

  75. Jamie Says:

    “Deal with it” comes across nastier and more confrontational than I meant to be.

    Ah well. Deal with it.

  76. Carpet Extractor · Says:

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  77. LASIK Laser Eye Surgeries Says:

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  78. hot movie downloads Says:

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