And two better films (#SFWApro)

DEJA VU (2006) has federal agent Denzel Washington assigned to Val Kilmer’s special task force to investigate a terrorist bombing, then learning the team’s advanced method for catching digital images is actually a wormhole that lets them peer back in time exactly four days, six hours (and only within a limited geographic range). While they’re able to discover and apprehend mad bomber Jim Caviezel using the tech, Washington is determined to avert the bombing and save one particular victim by going back in time through the wormhole—even though the techies insist it’s suicide to try. Once Washington’s back in the past this really comes alive; before that it’s a tedious mix of technobabble and bad action (it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer production so there’s lots of gratuitous car crashes). In a reverse of Escape from the Planet of the Apes, here it’s the hero who rejects destiny and the villain who insists he’s just carrying out the divine plan; good enough I wish it had been better.“Satan reasons like a man, God thinks of eternity.”

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004) adapts Diana Wynn Jones’ same name novel but drops the book’s parallel-world aspects (Wizard Howl is actually Howell, a Welshman from our Earth) to focus on the tale of a young woman aged overnight by a malicious witch, then becoming housekeeper to the flamboyant mage (though less of a drama queen, to use Jones’ own words, than in the book) and helping end an increasingly horrifying war. A Miyazaki production that despite some great visual touches and the director’s familiar themes (war bad, flying good) never measured up to the book for me; it doesn’t help that Christian Bale’s too stiff a voice actor for Howl. Jeans Simmons (Sophie), Lauren Bacall (the Witch of the Waste) and Blythe Danner (a very manipulative Madame Suliman) do better. “Don’t deny an old witch her pleasures.”

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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

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