Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Movie Review: "2046" (2004)

Chinese movies have a way of fooling you. Wong Kar Wai's 2046 is not an exception.
First of all, you can smack yourself upside the head if you think this is a futuristic movie. They should put up a sign on the theater doors that says that this is not a sci fi futuristic movie. Because a lot of people actually thought they were watching a Chinese version of Star Wars (getting into a movie theater to watch a foreign language movie without reading about it before hand is beyond me).
Of course, as an avid reviewer of asian films I always give a movie credit for something intended but not exactly correctly conceived. 2046 has a lot of these.
Firs let me complain that the film stock is terrible. Have you ever seen one of those old Regal Films movies where the shots look like they were taken with an instamatic camera. Some, no a lot of the scenes were like that. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t Wong Kar Wai 's intention for it to look like a Sharon movie, but the distributors sure did a bang up job with transferring the film. The sound skipped from mono to stereo in very awkward parts of the film too.
Technical flaws aside, we here, have a story of a writer Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) seeking inspiration for his new creations. He moves into a hotel and chooses the room 2046 because of its significance to him in a previous experience, another story by Wong Kar Wai called “In the Mood for Love” (having not seen it yet, I presume was the ‘better film’). The room was not ready then so he had to settle for the next room , 2047. Women from all walks of life move into the room 2046 like Lulu the entertainer (Lau Kar-ling) , Wang Ji Wen (Faye Wong) and , of course Bai Ling (Zhang Ziyi) and engage in a relationship, in one form or another with Chow. Chow then, as he writes, unconsciously incorporates these ladies into his story about a train called 2046 that people ride to recapture lost memories. I wont get into all the deep stuff as that it gives me a headache all the time.
I liked the parallelism of the actual story to the virtual world Chow created for himself with the train serving as his timeline with all his experiences, but over all, I wouldn’t consider this at all a great film. WKW was reported to have cut the movie so many times bfore its premiere that it had lost its continuity. The film does have a choppy, unsyncopated feel to it. I still can’t get over the bad film stock, too.
Unless you are a WKW fan be advised. This one will make you think hard. Yep. You’ll be thinking..”What the heck was that?”

Rocketboy's Rating: * (1 out of 5)


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