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March 6, 2003



Let me tell you about Daredevil.

Did you know that Daredevil is the most Catholic action movie ever? It is. Even more Catholic than Desperado. From the very beginning, Catholic imagery dominates the film almost as much as Jennifer Garner's apparently fake boobs -- even more than Ben Affleck's fake "red" hair -- but not as much as Ben Affleck's inert acting. The funny thing is, the Catholic imagery in the film is like a tale told by an idiot -- full of sound, full of fury, but signifying nothing. Or maybe signifying the wrong thing, as in the shot that made me laugh outloud, when Bullseye, played by the nearly mute Colin Farrell, gets stigmata-fied and pleads to the camera with outstretched bloody hands. Inasmuch as Bullseye is one of the most amoral characters ever depicted on film, it seemed odd to me that he was being offered up as an image of Christ.

If that doesn't do it for you, how about Daredevil's messianic blood dripping down a stained glass portrait of the Virgin Mary? Deeply moving. Or the priest non-chalantly grabbing a votive candle out of the candles-for-dead-people section of the church so that he can navigate his way through the dark cathedral. Or Daredevil clinging to the cross on top of said cathedral until dropping (again, inertly) onto its floor with a thump and lying there prone, looking as he'd just been taken down from THE cross. Yes, wonderful work, everybody, but, uh, isn't there supposed to be more to this imagery thing than just making pretty pictures? It's supposed to mean something. Otherwise, your movie ends up being churlish, facile, and dumb. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Elsewhere in the movie, Jennifer Garner was ok, although a bit cross-eyed (I've heard she's always like that), in the role of the Latina-ified Greek heiress. Jon Favreau was good as a young Albert Brooks, and Joe Pantoliano played his gold-hearted reporter a little more menacingly than you'd expect, so that his gold heart wasn't revealed until...the moment of truth. In this case, (spoilers coming!) the moment of truth happens to be a tacked on, Carrie Bradshaw/Agent Scully close-up-of-the-word-processor voice-over scene in which he can't bring himself to do something truthful but not nice. See ya in the sequel, Joe.

Also, if you're going to spend $1 gazillion on your comic book movie, can you please tell the computer animators to take the time to do some decent animation of the human body when you are showing your hero jumping from building to building? Otherwise, as is the case here, it looks like a badly-drawn cartoon and disallows the old suspension of disbelief, which is so crucial to crappy movies like this. Give that up, and all is lost. You wouldn't believe how fake the jumping around looked. It was like the animators had never watched a human being move around before. Newsflash guys: it doesn't look like that.

This was just a part of a larger problem with the movie, namely the over-reliance on computer graphics to do what modeling or creative shooting could have accomplished much more convincingly. Here are examples of some of the things that were CG'd into mediocrity: a single rat, rain, an unremarkable office building. All of them looked terrible.

I was the only person in the theater when I saw it.

Update: Anyway, here is the US Catholic Bishops review of the film, which scarcely mentions its religious aspects, and ignores the hilarious confession scene in which Daredevil is absolved of sins he's obviously not sorry he committed.

categories: Movies
posted by adm at 3:55 PM | #


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