There’s a part of me that feels bad for loving this movie as much as I do. I’m generally not an action guy, and I feel weird enjoying an action film with a textbook “Hollywood screenplay” and its fair share of “action hero movie” tropes and catchphrases. That being said, I just love this movie.
Part of it must have to do with the fact that I’m currently going through a phase in which I appreciate slick screenwriting that manages to be a logical causal chain and very formulaic, while still presenting cleverness, originality, and strong emotional appeal. Who would have thought that I would care about these characters so much? Is it the acting? The writing? The music? I don’t know, but I know I was along for the ride every step of the way.
I will say that it is a little too stupid for my tastes. I’m not sold on Willis, and I’m really bothered by how unbelievably stupid everyone who represents the government is because it pushes the tone too far in the direction of a Nickelodeon cartoon. One might even go so far as to say that these scenes depicting the head of the police and all the higher-up government agents dismissing important claims without a care (preferring instead to stick to their tried and tested methodology) is actually an example of the anti-skepticism that runs rampant in Hollywood cinema, which I am known to claim is immoral. And it is. But this is a fairly weak example of that, and most of these scenes are trying to make America look bad, not skeptics, so I don’t think this is a deal-breaker for me. What I appreciate about the film, largely due to these scenes, is the amount of negative, gloomy cynicism that is carefully blended into this fun, charming Christmas tale.
Oh, and Alan Rickman is the greatest.