Eagle vs Shark reviews
There were so many Eagle vs Shark reviews out there I was tripping over them in my brain. Or something. So I've compiled them all on one page for you and escaped with my sanity intact!
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Eagle vs Shark reviews
680 News The lady over at 680 News was full of choice descriptions for how dire the film was. But hey, she at least was original and compared it to some film called Napoleon Dynamite
CinemaBlend gives Eagle vs Shark a lovely review. Positive stuff. What's that? Do I detect a faint whiff of a mention of some film called Napoleon Dynamite? Never!
Windrider - Reviewer liked it. Quite a lot. Summed up saying 'Of all the films I got to see at Sundance, I'm not sure it was the best, but it was definitely the one I enjoyed the most.' This reviewer mentions the film is a mix of Pride and Prejudice, Monty Python, Homestar Runner and some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Cinematical - What can I say, its says nice things. And mentions some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Firstshowing.net - Gives it a 7 out of 10 rating. And mentions that its even better than some film called Napoleon Dynamite
/film - Gave it a film rating of 8.5 out of 10, 'nuff said. Almost. The review mentions a few other films, to help you out. The Royal Tenenbaums, Little Miss Sunshine and some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Indiewire - Second from bottom paragraph on the page. Another one who liked it. Says 'Director Waititi has a promising future'. What might also catch your eye is the mention of some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Spin and Stir - Says 'You can read a synopsis of the film here, but it doesn't do it justice (YES JUSTICE not JUSTIN you'll get that joke if you see the movie) because the execution is fantastic and just makes this film work.' So thats a feeling the love vote for Taika methinks! And the reviewer gets in a mention of some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Quint's AICN review - 'I really hate making this comparison because it's becoming the go-to reference when talking about off-kilter indie comedies, but EAGLE VS. SHARK reminded me a lot of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. The worlds are completely different, but there's a similar tone. There's a kind of nerdy kitsch that is shared, the lead character is an annoying idiot, but somehow he's still likable. The performances are all great, there are no lulls in the pacing and the funny is consistent. It's a really sweet movie.' Awwww sweet. And nerdy. And reminiscent of some film called Napoleon Dynamite
Quintana Books - One reviewer used lots of long words but seemed to enjoy it, the other said 'Bah' and talked about The Castle a gem of a movie from 1997. One of my top films I have to admit. The review also mentions some film called Napolean Dynamite. Never heard of it ;)
Moviehole - Thought it was an 'absolute gem' and says to watch out for it. Wooo, ladies and gents, we have a winner. No mention of some film called Napoleon Dynamite. O wait, I just typed ... o crudlet
Yes I'm trying ;)
I'm impressed! How did Jemaine/Jarrod not fall out of his sleeping bag? Did he stick himself in with sticky tape? Glue? Or... or... sheer mind power held him there :o (Click image to view larger size poster)
The good and the not so good. Reviews from the July test screening.
EAGLE VS SHARK 2006
Director: Taika Cohen with Jemaine Clement and Loren Horsley
At the end of July, I attended a Miramax test screening of the film, Eagle vs Shark. I was at the time, completely unfamiliar with both the film's director, Taika Cohen, and the film's stars Jemaine Clement and Loren Horsley. I was given both the title, which I mocked mercilessly prior to the screening, and a brief synopsis: "Eagle vs Shark is the tale of two socially awkward misfits and the strange ways they try to find love; through revenge on high-school bullies, burgers, and video games." Nothing about the title or the synopsis intrigued me, and to make matter worse, I was completely convinced that the movie was titled Eagle vs. Snake, so I was prepared on some level to view a story that delved into the symbolism of the Mexican flag. Really, it just all sounded to darn precious to be any damn good. Imagine my surprise then, when I found myself in the focus group following the screening doggedly defending the movie.
Most who disliked the movie felt it was way too derivative of a handful of small pictures that have achieved great mainstream success over the last few years. Indeed, many felt that the sole purpose of the movie was to cash in on what they perceived to be a thriving quirky cinema market. One woman went so far as to say, "Like, um, if Me and You and Everyone We Know had a baby with Napoleon Dynamite, it would be this movie." I would like to think the director was well aware that such comparisons might be drawn, and he spat on the ground and said, "Fuck it, I like this movie, scratch that, I love this movie, and I'm going to risk it." And that is the feel of the movie. It feels warm and sincere, but at the same time one is slightly aware that even the slightest misstep could sink the story, so fragile and basic is its premise. The risk pays off, and the movie never once careens off course.
The acting is very strong, with Jemaine Clement filling the role of awkward and self-important social retard with such ease and humanity that it is hard to legitimately compare his character Jarrod with Jon Heder's well-crafted caricature, Napoleon. I do believe that the character of Napoleon, love him or hate him, forever changed the mainstream face of the social misfit/geek stock character or stereotype (gone finally are the days of the taped up glasses and pocket protector), but it is in the character of Jarrod that we really start to see the genuine article. And it makes you squirm because, damn, you know that guy. In my particular case that guy asked me to prom. Twice. Anyway, even if one is not entirely sold on Clement's performance, all would be hard pressed to find flaws in Loren Horsley's performance. Not since Angela Bettis's inspired turn as the title character in the film May, have I seen a better or more complex representation of the female social misfit/geek. Horsley's portrayal of chronic loser, Lily, is incredibly complete. Her performance is so subtle and believable, that I found myself connecting with her, and leaning forward in my seat as I might during a gripping live
There are even some cleverly cloying bits of stop motion animation that put me more in the mind set of Savage Steve Holland's Better Off Dead, then any of the indie darlings that the other folks in the focus group kept referencing. It is just a very well put together film, and I did my damnedest during the focus group to voice my enjoyment of it in hopes that this one will not end up simply collecting dust on shelf at Miramax. I do not actually believe in this mythic thriving quirky cinema market that other focus group members told tale of, and it seems the fate of this film's future here in the states is hardly set in stone. Fortunately, there still seems to be some buzz about Cohen's Oscar nod in 2005 for the short film, "Two Cars, One Night," and his Sundance screened honorable mention short Tama Tu, and even a little buzz for Eagle vs Shark itself which was reportedly workshopped at the snooty Sundance Directors/Screenwriters Labs. I'll resist the urge to call Cohen a pure bred puppy, and instead reaffirm that he really did his job well in the case of Eagle vs. Shark, and I hope to see it's release in the near future.
Thanks very much to Jenni for this review. And thanks Deirdre for tracking it down :)
The Not So Good
I hate to break it to all of you, but having now seen and walked out of Eagle vs. Shark (it was a test screening in NY so Miramax could see how to market it, but the product looks very much finished), you will have a hard time tolerating it unless you are the biggest fan of Napoleon Dynamite. Basically, it is a duplicate of that film in virtually all ways, the same tone, the same characters, the same sucked the air out of the room feel, the same jokes, situations, and just as insufferable. People acting out and intending to be as obnoxious as they can with no rhyme or reason except for the fact that the camera is rolling. The director really loathing the characters but pretending he doesn't for the amusement of the audience. The constant focus on what makes people unpleasant without any relief or introspection, just the thought that having them act "weird" will carry the day. The differences are minor, the profanity is awkwardly siphoned in which will garner it an R rating so only adults will be able to see it, and it takes place in New Zealand as opposed to the middle of the USA. The same strange plot and time inconsistencies that plagued Napoleon are prevalent, the focus on animals and newfangled gadgets, and the bored way that everyone speaks is all the same.
The reasons I couldn't stand Napoleon Dynamite were myriad, it seemed to condescend to its own characters and pander to the audience. It made its subjects not just unpopular but impossible to tolerate. They weren't nerdy, they, especially Napoleon, needed diagnosis. To laugh at it would be like laughing at retarded children for being retarded. Both Eagle vs. Shark and Napoleon have the same issues, they think that because nerds aren't able to be well liked by the majority, that they can't have fun at all. There's a scene in Eagle which mirrors virtually every one in Napoleon; Jemaine and the lead character (a female obviously modeled on Jane Adams in Happiness, with a touch of Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse) are at a party where they have to dress up like animals, which Jemaine is hosting. They express no joy in any of this, not the other adults or other children there. It isn't about trying to remain "cool" and not get too excited, it looks like everyone upped their Valium intake. They then play a Mortal Kombat style game for the right to be champion. Again, despite the supposed enthusiasm of the situation, everyone appears to be lobotomized, glazed looks in their eyes and deadened ways of speaking. It isn't deadpan. It's just dead. Is the idea that those who aren't cool live their lives virtually in a coma? Even dorks who play Dungeons and Dragons enjoy the actual playing of the game. Eagle vs. Shark goes on and on like this for the hour my girlfriend and I sat through (we were supposed to be in the focus group, but walking out makes you ineligible, I can't really make suggestions that they change the tone anyway, that's the way the movie is going to be) and every minute will seem like an eternity for those not on board for watching Napoleon Dynamite at 30.
Now I'm a big fan of FOTC, and I was rooting for this film, but I would have walked out in five minutes had anyone else been the lead. They sap the natural energy and goofiness that Jemaine has, give him an ungainly mole and awful hair, that it actually became more depressing that it wasn't someone as naturally uncharismatic as Jon Heder playing the role.
Thanks to ElmoOxygen for this review.
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