Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Movie Review: Blood and Chocolate

I saw Blood and Chocolate last night. It's your basic forbidden love and werewolves movie. A girl is a reluctant member of her pack; she runs into an artist who won't stop trying to romance her, but she's called for the leader of her pack and can't really tell anybody she's a werewolf; if her pack finds out about artist dude, they'll kill him; if the artist guy finds out there are werewolves, they're afraid the humans will kill the whole pack. You can likely figure it out from there. It's pretty standard.
What's also standard--especially coming from the producers of Underworld--is that it's not actually a horror movie, as it's billed, but an action movie. There's the odd horror element thrown in, but most action movies have some suspense anyway. It's not a Die Hard action movie, because there aren't enough fight scenes for that. But anyway, I think you get the point; it lacks the sheer creepiness and the building suspense that are characteristic of real horror, and instead employs fight scenes, chase scenes, and more 'situational suspense,' in that you know that they're bound to be found out and people will then start dying. The only reason it's in the horror section of Classic Video is that it has werewolves in it.

And about those werewolves... these aren't bizarre rubbery mostrosities like in Ginger Snaps or savage CG Lycans as in Underworld. They used actual wolves. When someone turns, they glow all funny and you can't really even see the transformation. Similarly, you don't actually see any of the lycanthropes (in the move, "loup-garou," the French term) get shot or stabbed or otherwise hurt in wolf form. In general, I did not find that this detracted from the overall effect of the movie.

Plot, dialogue, pacing, and cinematography were fine. Not stellar, by any sense, but not as bad as one can expect of a genre-indecisive movie. There were some elements that I liked--I was actually quite surprised by the artist guy's backstory. Some people might find it silly, but I was actually taken in by it. Props to them for that. What was silly was that, apparently, loup-garou like to jump around a lot. It was kind of funny, actually, watching all of these people just jumping around on objects for kicks.

In retrospect, I am impressed with the lack of gratuitous sexualization of violence. I mean, it's there--in one scene particularly so--but it's not like Snakes on a Plane or Silent Hill, both of which I must write about at some point.

I think I've seen the protagonist girl before. She was attractive, but very serious looking. Very serious looking.


Jon Wong said...

Doesn't matter if she's attractive!

I've realized that I find it surprisingly unproblematic for me to separate the aesthetic from the moral. It's very De Quincey of me.

Today's word... uptob. Up-tob or up-to-b.

Cait said...

I've wanted to see this movie for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to seeing it.

I'm a fan of the whole not horror movie as well. And I have to admit I liked underworld and I kinda want to see the third one lol.

Christian H said...

Jon, tell me you're being ironic when you say, "It doesn't matter if she's attractive!" Not that I'm opposed to that sentiment; I would like to say it really doesn't. What I mean is that you're the one who said, "When I watch a movie, I want to see something aesthetically pleasing," and we were talking about female leads.

Jon Wong said...

That was careless of me. Forgetting to contextualize my comment. I mean it doesn't matter that she's serious looking if she's attractive.

That could have been disastrous. It would have rendered my De Quincey comparison impotent too! Attractive female leads are of first importance!

Christian H said...

Do you know what would have cleared the entire issue up? If you had included a comma, like you should have. The sentence ought to be as follows: "It doesn't matter, if she's attractive!" That comma would have solved all of your problems.

And her looking serious isn't necessarily a bad thing; I'm just observing that her character was very sobre or edgy for most of the movie.

Jon Wong said...

You also know that I don't use commas properly. Even now, I can't see myself ever putting that comma there of my own volition. It puts a pause in my sentence that wouldn't be there if I were saying it out loud.

Christian H said...

Punctuation, I have come to realize, is located in much more than simple pausing. It is also located in the tone of voice. A period is vocally signified as much by the movement of your voice (downwards) as by how long you break there. Similarly, you can hear in the cadence of your voice that there is a comma in that place in the sentence. Say the sentence as you meant it. Then say the sentence as according to the grammar you gave it. (The first can be rearranged to say, "If she's attractive, it doesn't matter," while the second cannot be.) You will notice that you do say the sentences differently; even if the pause is only microscopic, the pitch and tone of your voice are slightly different. Thus, you punctuate your sentence verbally--albiet not in the pause--and, thus, you should punctuate your sentence textually.

Then again, you should really control your cadences to match the structure, and thus you should be pausing there anyway, whether you do or not.

Jon Wong said...

Nuh-uh! I tried this. "If she's attractive, it doesn't matter" obviously requires a comma and I would put one there even in speech. But what I said was "Doesn't matter if she's attractive". The pitch and tone of my voice are different but the differences aren't signified by the kind of pause that comes with a comma. Even if it goes beyond simple pausing, any change in pitch and tone that result from a comma is, ultimately, a reflection of the pause that a comma would imply. Word choice and context are much better indicators in my opinion. I should have either said "It doesn't matter that she's serious looking if she's attractive" or "It doesn't matter as long as she's attractive".

Christian H said...

Well, I would put an actual pause in there, because it's clear and efficient.

And, structurally, a comma is required.

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