Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

I hate movies that last too long. Yes, Mr. Filmmaker, I realize that all of your ideas were just pure brilliance, but they're not all relevant to this movie, so please just stick them in the bin for next time, and hire a freaking editor. This practice most often infuriates me when a movie decides to give you details of everything that happened to everybody and everything in the movie after the action and development has stopped instead of just ending the friggin movie. For a particularly awful example of this, see Casino Royale, or just a few more years and see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Lawrence of Arabia is 3 hours and 40 minutes long, and it didn't remotely seem too long to me. There was enough good plot and character development happening the whole time that I was intrigued until the end. It took me a long time to talk myself into seeing it. Over a month, actually, but it's a good one if you've got four hours that you'd rather not spend doing anything constructive. Steven Spielberg cites this as his favorite movie of all time, and even has a little spiel about it on the bonus features disc. I think the most telling thing about how much I liked this movie is that after spending 220 minutes watching it, I took the time to peruse the special features. Anyway, if there's one thing I'm not going to do, it's argue with the creator of Animaniacs about what is and is not awesome.

My favorite dialogue:

Tafas: Truly now, you are a British officer?
Lawrence: Yes.
Tafas: From Cairo?
Lawrence: Yes.
Tafas: You did not ride from Cairo?
Lawrence: No, thank heavens. It's 900 miles. I came by boat.
Tafas: And before? From Britain?
Lawrence: Yes.
Tafas: Truly?
Lawrence: From Oxfordshire.
Tafas: Is that a desert country?
Lawrence: No. A fat country. Fat people.
Tafas: You are not fat?
Lawrence: No. I'm different.

So, yeah, David Lean is quickly climbing the ranks of "Directors whose movies I'll see just because they directed it," and is now ranked just behind The Coen Brothers and Clint Eastwood.

Oh, and speaking of the Coen Brothers, I watched a TOTALLY ilLEGAL COPY of No Country For Old Men last week too. After the Oscars, I presume I'll be writing an exasperated post about how the Coens were shafted again.

Ok, so time to update the sadly neglected Board.


Nick Steffen said...

You didn't find the extensive number of camera shots a bit over done? Perhaps it's just me, but between the cinematography and the dialogue, I just got tired, tired of the arrogance, tired of the whole overdrawn, downright smarmy attitude permeating the thing. At the same time...pretty pictures.

Andy said...

C'mon, Nick. You can't really knock a movie about a British military officer for being smarmy and arrogant. That's like griping about a movie about Canadians for being too polite and healthy.

But, yeah, maybe a bit of the "Dear God is this desert ever huge" shots were unnecessary, but generally I felt they set the mood pretty well.