Reviews by John J. Madonna
Wes Anderson's previous movies, all four, have been unique examples of filmmaking that doesn't generally grace the major movie theatre screens. And each one of them have had a wonderful soundtrack full of classic songs and deep cuts, as well as some traditional movie soundtrack music. The Darjeeling Limited is no exception. The bulk of this is previously used soundtrack music from Indian films, but this contains some popular music including a trio of Kinks' tunes (which, if you've seen the movie, almost seem as if they were written specifically for this film,) a bouncy and catchy pop song in French, "Les Champs-Elysees," "Play With Fire" by The Stones, and more.
While I think this soundtrack probably doesn't stand on its own as Anderson's other soundtracks do, there is some great material here.
It's kind of hard to know what to do with this book. It was very popular, though probably mostly for people wanting to see what all the controversy was about than the quality of the story itself. I don't read a whole lot of books like this, that is contemporary mystery kinds of books, but as far as this goes, it wasn't terribly interesting. The characters seemed only halfway developed and mainly there for the purposes of propelling the main draw of the book, the "Truth about Jesus part."
It's the truth part that is most controversial, because even though Dan Brown in interviews will say that it's just a work of fiction, the opening page in the book says something to effect that "All the buildings, paintings, and documents discussed in this book are real," leaving people slightly confused as to what to think.
As I was reading this book, I was actually in a course about the life of Jesus, and I reckon several people in that packed classroom were there solely because they wanted some answers to the question "How could what I believe about Jesus be true if everything in this book is true?" The answer of course being, if I wrote right now, "Jesus was nine feet tall," then indeed a document now exists saying that Jesus was nine feet tall. Of course the reliability of it is quite suspect. After all, it was written two thousand years after Jesus died by a non-Nazarene no less. And that's the fiction part. Sure a book called "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene" might exist, though it was probably written in the second century, at least, long after anyone who might have even been alive when Jesus walked was dead.
And that's the fiction part, taking in a lot of sources with dubious reliability and taking them as fact, or at least, partial fact. Like I said, as a story, this book isn't terribly interesting. The characters are kind of flat, and the twist at the end is kind of interesting, but the real story here is the controversy. The least you could say about it is that it got people talking.
Do not be fooled by this CD, it is not Motown. These are all *new* recordings done by the Marvelettes without original members, written by some British producers, with a sound no where near related to the Motown sound. This CD, released on the lawsuit-inviting "Motorcity Records" succeeded in only one of its goals, which was to fool people into thinking that was the real deal. Frankly, the record label itself seems like a front (I don't trust corporations based out the Bahamas.) Do not get this.
I remember thinking back to "The Itchy And Scratchy Movie" feature on The Simpsons early on. It was the biggest event to hit Springfield featuring all star cameos of Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson. And even though they didn't use their real names, you could tell it was him. Now, just the mention of Michael Jackson in a sentence with the words "all star" give you an idea of how long that was. Had a Simpsons' Movie hit the market within their first five or so years on the air, it might have been the biggest thing to hit the silver screen. But alas, they didn't even make it within their first first ten or even fifteen years. The Simpsons find themselves on the brink of popularity, even their staunchest supporters have given up on them (I consistently watched the first fifteen seasons, but even I had to admit, they needed to throw in the towel.) So the initial reaction to a real Simpsons movie was less than excited. I went into the movie with little expectations.
And suffice to say, there were parts I thought really funny. There were parts I thought really dumb. There were parts I thought acceptable. And I hated the animation. It looked like Futurama (which is fine for Futurama, but The Simpsons has lost its hand-drawn feel.) I liked Albert Brooks. The movie was okay. I'd probably watch it again, though, because, like most Simpsons reruns, I'll watch 'em if there's nothing else to do.
I remember when I first saw trailers for this movie, it looked like something I would want to see. And when I saw it, I was just blown away. It's one of those movies that has everything. Giants, war, magic, fantasy, and true love. And underneath the entire story is a framework of a son trying to make amends with his dying father. When I saw this movie, I decided I wanted to see everything Tim Burton did, because anyone who could make something like this knows what he's doing.
The ending of this movie is one of the three movies moments that can actually move me to tears.