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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Repo! The Genetic opera

This was something I'd been waiting to see for-ever. No, really. I was really excited. It has Anthony Stuart Head in it. I loved him as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He really took the role of tutor and stood it on it's head. And, besides I loved his singing voice in Once more with Feeling. His duet with Amber Benson is on my Ipod and Real Rhapsody player. So, yes, the idea of a movie with him singing was my primary goal. I loved him in this, he gets to be vicious in a way we only hoped to see in him as Ripper, and he gets to be a little crazy too, and he gets to be tough. He's no longer my favorite librarian. And, he got a voice, which from what I understand runs in the fam - his bro did the song "One night in Bangkok", and he put out a pretty good album. I do think though, I'm tired of seeing him as a parental figure, and tired. I liked the moments in this when he was angry and vengeful, it was very Jean valJean of him.
That said, I was hoping this would be primo because there's a real honest to gosh trained singer - Sarah Brightman. Plus, there is the horror/gore factor. I love me some gore.
The basic idea behind Repo! is this - you've got a population which is in deep need for organs, so, a company produces said organs, and if you can't afford the surgery and organ they've produced for you they put you on a payment plan. If you go 90 days or more without paying, they send a Repo man to take the organs back - sans anesthesia or real surgery, he just sorta brutally (this is the crew that brought you Saw II, they don't hold back) yanks whatever you rented back. In the midst of all this organ yanking there's the single/widowed father and daughter coming of age story gone wrong. She wants her freedom, he wants her caged. Surprisingly the daughter was played by Alexa Vega who I hadn't seen in anything since Spy kids, and she was decent (although she's very Avril Lavigne wanna be pissed off), although I really am befuddled by the tacky-ass wig they have her in, really, since scene one with her I knew it was a bad wig and there was no major plot revolving around said horrible wig so it was completely distracting to me. Some movies I understand the need for a wig, but in others it's just distracting. Bad wig - Smoke Signals - dude looks like he stole Prince Valient's hair. Good wig usage - Ginger Snaps (I don't understand it completely, I know they wanted Bridgette to look frumpy, but since when do socially outcast girls have to look like butt? I mean, she could have rockin' hair and still be socially outcast...not all social outcasts have to look like the cat lady with the big sweaters and horrible hair). ok, my rant on the horrible wig is now over...
Anyhow. On with this...it was appropriately bloody, and there were some nice repossessions. There was also a killer eye-gouging scene. The musical-ness of this was good. I was worried at first, there were many ways this could have gone horribly wrong and poor singing was definitely a worry. But the lyrics were alright and the singing was good, Paul Sorvino held his own as did Tony Head and even Paris Hilton did quite well. I have to admit, I forgot she was in it until the end, when she emerged blonde. She did well and surprisingly didn't upstage anyone and wasn't a complete twit.
It was stylized nice and it strayed from the world of Anne Rice and Tim Burton quite well. It was, in the words of the creators, striving for Bladerunner meets Rocky Horror. It didn't. It could never have the calm or subtly of Bladerunner, and well, it'll never have the backbone of RHPS. RHPS was confident in it's sexuality, this movie felt like a 16 year old caught reading Hustler. It flaunted the sexuality in awkward weird places and it was very bold sexuality, which I don't usually mind, but this wasn't integral in any way shape or form and really seemed to go against the whole vibe of the time period and how the people seemed to be living. Everyone looked like they were dressed by Hot Topic staff on Ecstasy.
I digress. I didn't like the overt and pushy sexuality.
I did like a few touches here and there - holographic eyes are a great idea. And, for that matter the whole idea of medical repossessions is certainly and idea whose time has come. We live in a society where debt is endemic, what if they really could start taking back your medical procedures instead of just withholding like they already do? It's a gory idea.
Part of the major plot here is the company that supplies the organs Gene Co. is run by a baron of sorts who, like Lear, has three unworthy spoiled children. Hilton's character is one, and there are two others - brothers. I loathed both characters. Mainly because they had too much screen time and were completely useless plot wise and were just weird. One had a temper issue, which didn't need to be reasserted by having him on-screen, really, it didn't. The acting was poor and silly. The other brother is strangely Italian complete with stereotypical Luigi from Mario Bros. accent. It would have been hysterical if it hadn't been so bad. The brothers were useless, I was happy they didn't have much in the way of solos. I do have to admit, and I hate saying it, Hilton did a much better job of saving face.
Sarah Brightman was beautiful and there's some great acting and singing but she's in this pretty briefly. The movie would have benefited from more of her.
That said - All in all, it's not half bad. I wish there had been more of the number "Chase the Morning" because it sounded like it was quite good, but instead we got a whole handful of opera. It really is a slightly conflicted movie, what with the gore and opera and Avril Lavigne flavor. But, if you can be open to it, it's not bad, definitely worth a watch simply for the chance to see people branching out of they're comfy zones. I think this must have been a growing experience for all involved. Besides, I really liked the duets, during them I managed to forget hot bad the brothers and the wig was.
I'd watch it, maybe with a grain or two of salt on your buttery popcorn.

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