The Fall vs. Indiana Jones

I’m in the mood to go see a movie this weekend. None of the current crop looks interesting, but the on-campus second-run theater is showing The Fall and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Kingdom of the Last Crystal Skull of Doom (OK, so the title isn’t quite that long). Are either of them worth seeing?

Indy’s worth seeing if you don’t go in expecting anything more than mindless entertainment. I haven’t seen the other, so I can’t speak to it.

Go for Indy. It’s a pure matinee movie! Loads of fun if you don’t expect anything to make sense.

Which is the way I saw it, and liked it.

See The Fall.

I’ve seen both. Indy is a perfectly fine popcorn movie. The Fall is an astounding visual experience, and the little girl starring in it gives the best performance by a child actor in decades. If you skip it and later see it on TV, you’ll kick yourself over not catching such luscious visuals on the big screen. None of them are computer graphics (CG) either. The director traveled the world and found these astounding locations. Indy IV, by contrast, features a boatload of shots of CG versions of the actors in CG environments, and - while fun - is nowhere near as involving.

Sorry, which one is the Fall?

There’s a 2006 movie, here.

Or a 2008 movie, that doesn’t actually seem to be out yet, here.

Which “The Fall” are you talking about?

I’ve seen the Indy flick, and it’s certainly fun. Be warned that a lot of the action is way, way overdone. If your suspension of disbelief is easily taxed, it may just come off as silly nonsense to you. For me, silly nonsense was totally fine.

The 2006 “The Fall” is directed by Tarsem Singh. I haven’t seen the movie, but I did see “The Cell”, with Jennifer Lopez, which was also directed by Singh. Great visuals, no plot to speak of. The Vince Vaughn detective bits could have been interesting, but were left undeveloped in favour of the extended dream-sequence imagery.

I agree with gaffa, I’m throwing a vote to The Fall if it’s the 2006 one noted above. I love the interactions between the main characters (Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies) and the little girl. The imagery is amazing as well, just a beautiful film.

OK, I saw The Fall (the 2006 one, apparently). There’s nothing wrong with a brainless movie, but that wasn’t what I was in the mood for tonight. It was good, but I can certainly see why it wasn’t a blockbuster: How do you market a movie like that?

They change movies on Wednesdays, so I might still see Indy some time in the next few days.

(ETA: ooops, too late. You posted while I was writing. I probably should but I can’t bring myself to delete this post)

It’s the 2006 movie. It took him years and years to make it, then years to find a distributor to get it released. It’s my (possibly faulty) understanding that it was David Fincher and Spike Jonze stepping up and offering to lend their names to “present” it that even made a theatrical release possible. Otherwise it might have gone straight to DVD. The director knew that it was a big screen movie though, and fought against that. Financially, it was a “bomb” but it was the movie Tarsem wanted to make, and that’s good enough for him.

I’m so biased it’s not even funny, because The Fall is my favorite movie from this year so far and I can’t see another movie coming along by the end of the year pushing it out of first place. People think I’m crazy (I am), but I saw it 9 times in the theater and if it came back I’d see it again. 8 of those viewings were full price at a theater I despise, so that tells you a little bit more of how much I loved this film. The first screening was via a free pass. The second screening was not free, but Tarsem, the director, was there for a question and answer session. I was awe-struck meeting him after seeing the film for the second time, when the movie made even more of an impact on me. Tarsem’s a really nice guy, and quite funny too. The Fall was his passion, a true labor of love, of the type we just don’t see too often anymore.

I agree wholeheartedly with gaffa in that if you have the chance to see it on the big screen, don’t pass it up. The hospital scenes set in 1915 where the character of Roy (Lee Pace) meets Alexandra (Catinca Untaru) are gorgeous, but it’s when Roy starts telling Alexandra stories that the movie switches to exotic locales and bright colors and wide vistas that will be very much appreciated on the big screen.

One reason why the movie took so long to make was that Tarsem was waiting to find the perfect child for the lead role. He had a specific age in mind and had scouts all over the world sending him video of possibilities. Then he got a video of a Romanian girl who, although slightly older than what he had in mind, was, simply was, the character of Alexandria. He’d been waiting for Catinca Untaru all these years, and there she was. He immediately mobilized everyone involved and flew to Romania (and then on to South Africa, where the hospital scenes were filmed) to catch her at that moment. He said he knew that she’d be a different child in 6 months, so he filmed all her scenes in chronological order and in as much real time as possible, meaning, for instance, the first time Alexandria meets Roy on film, was the first time that Catinca Untaru met Lee Pace in real life. Their instant chemistry only grows during the film.

The chronological order worked out wonderfully because Alexandra starts the movie with two missing front teeth, while Alexandra at the end of the movie has two front teeth. They wrote in lines to explain how teeth give strength, and it becomes part of the story. In fact, in the same way that Alexandra’s input into Roy’s story changes the story he’s telling her, Catinca’s input into Tarsem’s story changed the story Tarsem was trying to tell. She called the shots. He filmed and edited all around her. She’s glorious, amazing, phenomenal. I could watch the movie a thousand times just to hear her speak, to watch her smile, to cry with her, to laugh with her, to worry for her, to fret about her, to delight in her. She’s unlike any other child actress I’ve ever seen, but of course, she’s not really an actress. The Fall was her first movie, and might well be her last. Her moment in time was to be in this movie, the way Victoire Thivisol’s moment was to be in Ponette (a huge influence on the type of naturalistic, non-actorly performance Tarsem wanted to find).

After filming Catinca’s scenes, he put the movie on hold and spent several years trying to find more funding for the film. He took jobs as a commercial and video director (REM’s “Losing My Religion” is one) and whenever possible he’d ask to be sent to some exotic location, where he’d film scenes for The Fall on the side. One of the jobs he took was as diretor-for-hire on The Cell. I happen to really like The Cell, but it got a lot of bad reviews. Tarsem’s visual sense though, was hailed everywhere. He put his own stamp on what could have been pretty much a standard serial killer thriller and is worth seeing, if nothing else, for the visuals. The Cell helped pay the bills that led to The Fall, so I love it just for that alone.

Indy’s fun, but it’s just a movie. The Fall is An Experience. Even if it doesn’t float your boat*, it’s worth seeing on film if only to make future Fall fanatics melt with envy when you tell them you saw it in the theater. It was in VERY limited release, and only played in 111 theaters. It only played in one theater in Chicago, which is why I had to see it over and over at a theater I hated. If it had been playing anywhere else, I would have seen it even more times.

*I add that because a lot of people hated it. I have thoughts as to why most of them hated it, but they’re better left unsaid. Not that it’s a perfect film, it isn’t. It has flaws, but many of the criticisms I read had nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the reviewer. Not being your cup of tea is one thing, and is fine, but many of the criticisms were bizarre and had nothing to do with the movie.

I thought the tread was going to be about the respective virtues of an ageing Indy vs. an ageing Indie band from the UK. :wink:

Indy is lots of fun, but I would see The Fall just because it very visual and is an indy that won’t be out on the big screen very long, and I wouldn’t miss a chance to see it on the big screen.