I have a gift, and that gift is that I tend to forget what happens in a film after watching it (OK, maybe it’s not a gift), which means that when I re-watch murder mysteries, I go in not knowing what the solution is, which was the case here. This is still an enjoyable film — I generally quite like films based on Agatha Christie novels (and quite enjoy her novels), and Peter Ustinov was my Poirot growing up. Great cast, great denouement, a fun time indeed.
I was really looking forward to watching this movie, and wow, was I ever disappointed. The first mistake I did was to watch the 3+ hour version, which I didn’t remember was a thing — following its initial theatrical release, which was around 2 hours, they produced this version for its TV debut, and it seems to have become the de facto version. The main problem is that the first hour is so incredibly boring that it really took me out of it, and so when we finally get to spend time with Christopher Reeve — who still shines as both Clark Kent and Superman — I just didn’t really care anymore. The silly scenes with Luthor underground also made it that much more of a chore. Oh, and yes, the “rotate Earth to go back in time” is still beyond ridiculous, but that’s besides the point. I think a tight 90-minute version would be have been enjoyable to re-watch, but this 3-hour slog definitely wasn’t.
I’m a pretty big fan of the Omen trilogy, and so it was fun to revisit this for the first time in quite a while. I think it’s maybe the weakest of the three (I’ll need to revisit the third one though to confirm), but it’s still a good time to see Damien hit puberty and start realizing his power — all while discovering the people who are supporting him (I’d forgotten about the twist at the end). I find that it’s a shame that they don’t make horror films like this anymore — now it’s all slasher/torture porn, and the films that we do get that are supernatural are still more concerned with the violence and gore than the suspense.
I was actually angry while watching this movie. I’d completely forgotten that his was the “last” Bruce Lee film, using up a bit of footage (an entire 11 minutes) that was shot before his death, and then building this insanely dumb movie around it, using doubles to clumsily (with a beard, in shadows, wearing shades, from the back — with a fucking photo stuck on a mirror) replace Lee. It’s a horrible, horrible film, and I couldn’t believe what I was watching (I guess I was more forgiving as a kid)… and then I got to the fight scene at the end that does feature the real Lee, and it’s fucking magic. That sequence in particular where he’s fighting with yellow nunchucks in his yellow jumpsuit is just so fantastic, and gave me goosebumps while watching it. It doesn’t forgive the rest of this lousy movie, but that short sequence was enough to remind me of the genius that was Bruce Lee, and I think I’ll need to revisit his “real” movies now.
After saying goodbye to 1968, I kicked off a run of 1978 movies last night with the original Halloween film. The absolute star of this movie is the fantastic soundtrack by Carpenter — that iconic theme is just as good now as it ever was, and its use really does make it feel like it’s an integral part of the Meyers character. As for the rest of the film, sure, there’s a lot of silliness (why does she keep dropping that damn knife after using it), and the audio dubbing is at times atrocious, but it was pretty fun to watch, and I’m glad I’ve gotten this refresher ahead of the release of the new Halloween film this year, that’s a direct sequel to this (with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role, as well as the actor who played the original Michael Meyers). I really hope the same audio cues show up as well.