Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Le vovage dans la lune & Das Cabinet des Dr.Caligari review

Le voyage dans la lune review (1902)

An unexpected film that delivers a huge amount of fun.

Le voyage dans la lune (“A trip to the moon” translated into English) is an absolute bizarre but enjoyable film to experience despite being made over one hundred years ago, has no dialog and it has cheesy but lovable visuals. The story starts off with a group of scientist that wants to explore the moon. They managed to accomplish this by shooting a rocket ship from a cannon to the moon’s face (seriously) and ends up exploring and coming across new planets and life forms, of which they battle and try to escape back to their ship.

It’s a simple story but just because it is simple doesn't mean it’s not effective. It knew what it wants to be and aims to just that by charging ahead without changing the tone or style of the movie. You should see this short film in the same way you are supposed see “Kung Pow: enter the fist” or new “Gardens of the galaxy” where you are not meant to take it too seriously but you are meant to have fun and to see new things that brings laughter and enjoyment back into your lives. What also make this film unexpectedly great is that even though that this old film wasn't designed to be for my general target audience it was still enjoyable for my demographic.

It's really am amusing that that the audience could be so entertained for something that is outdated with no dialog but the movie seems to be smart enough that it can explain everything though its visuals so dialog is considered as pointless in this movie. The visuals are so cheesy that you could considered it obvious that it was fake but unlike like most fake visuals that we see today this film knows about it and aims to continue on being silly and fun like in “Kung Pow” where the film itself is a joke on cliché tropes and story lines. It feels like an early self-joke and it works. You can also feel that they put effort into the background designs as they are made out of realistic objects and not cheap lifeless green screen effects so when you are watching this you get this sense of understanding of the character’s wonder instead of blandness of an obvious green screen shot where everything feels boring.

Overall I give this movie an 8/10. Take this information from a guy that lives in the modern world where the latest technology is supposed to amaze me “This movie is fun to watch and worth seeing into. It’s quick so even if you happen to disagree and become bored at least it is 15 minutes and not an hour and half long”. 

Das Cabinet des Dr.Caligari review (1920)

Das cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that translated in English) is a strange but interesting film that most films has evolved from by following the so called nowadays “cliche tropes” or “A hero’s journey” that focus on creating its own ideal themes that we see in modern films today and may have been perfected in other films. For example they created the “suspense in the murder scene” however “Psycho” (1960) perfected it by having the audio of a violin screeching in a high pitch tone that makes the audience feel uncomfortable and they also gave us details and understanding of the character so we would care for their safety.

The story is very complex and all about the human mind with the link it has towards insanity. The story starts off with the main character called Cesare talking to a random man on a bench about his past, long flashback was shown that Cesare once had a close friend and that they went to see the somnambulist (sleepwalker) at the circus only to be told that his friend will die by the sun rise tomorrow. Before the predicted death scene happened they met a lovely women called Jane, which they both agreed that no matter which of them she marries they will still be best friends. During the night the somnambulist’s predictions came true and the friend was no more. Cesare was in shock and aims to find the murderer. He suspected that it was Dr. Caligari who murdered his friend however it turned out to be the somnambulist himself, during the night he went over to Jane’s house to attack her however she awoke and screamed, the somnambulist was confused about what he had to do so he took Jane from her house and fled only to be caught up by the civilians. During the mean time Cesare still on the look for evidence that Dr. Caligari was the one behind all those attacks and he ended up in the insane asylum where he found proof from Dr. Caligari’s dairy that he planned everything so the other doctors sealed Dr. Caligari into one of the cells only to be revert back to where this story began where Cesare was talking to a man on the bench only to be told that he was insane.

The film is quite questionable. It's classed as a good movie because it took a new direction in telling a story or it's a bad movie because of how the whole idea was put together and deliver. It’s amazing that one film managed to cause the next generation of films however it feels like some films that was inspired by this feature length film done some of its original ideals better, for example: this film ends in a cliff hanger that the main character is insane however in "Inception" (2010) they ended with the question “is it a dream or not?” It was more effective as we know about the main character in this movie but in "Des cabinet des Dr.Caligari" we was given so little information about Cesare that the audience might as call him average Joe.

The only character was interesting enough to continue to watch this was Dr. Caligari with his weird, hilarious acting abilities while everyone else just looks like a cut-out cardboard. This film by no means is bad, in fact it was pretty good however the previous movie (Le voyage dans la lune) seems to understand the direction to go and understands how to be itself and not for other movies to rip off and do better. The one thing that "Le voyage dans la lune" does better than this movie is that Le voyage dans la lune can be watched for fun and silliness however the same can be said for this film however this film was designed to be a horror and unless if it’s a spoof it won’t work for this generation as we have seen more scarier visuals and story so in simple terms “Le voyage dans la lune” can work for both generations while “Das Cabinet des Dr.Caligari” can only seem to work its best during its time.

Overall this movie is a 6/10. The ideas are really good and it has a unique art direction it took was superb and fitting towards its tone however basic character introductions other than names and what they look like isn't enough for me to care what happens to them. Even though that the other film had this problem they showed the passion of their main character by having him arguing to go to the moon so I at least want him to succeed. The duration of the movie is too long and any line of dialog was exchanged by subtitles in its own frame, which can be annoying as if you can read too fast and you would have to wait for the next scene or too slow and not care about the story at all, again: the other film managed to get around that and only allowing their visuals to tell the story and that's why "Le voyage dans la lune" is objectively a better movie.


"The influence of Robert Wiene's Caligari is so great that it threatens to obscure the work itself." - Rob Humanick  


""The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" as a viewing experience must have been unsettling to the audiences of 1920." - Roger Ebert

"Early filmmaking at its best." -  Wesley Lovell