As I've mentioned elsewhere, I ended up seeing The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and House of Flying Daggers on the same day. Exiting the theater after seeing the latter, I felt that I'd done a grave disservice to miniaturist Wes Anderson by throwing his film up against the sweep and grandeur and flying silks of Zhang Yimou's movie. Because, well, next to the lush, epic filmmaking, no red cap, Speedo, or animated jaguar shark could possibly compete. Daggers was a movie movie, fit for a palace; Aquatic was a clever diorama, a herky-jerk windup toy.
And I think, in a way, that begins to get at the problems I had with I [Heart] Huckabees. At no time did I feel that the sophisticated ideas being conveyed--and they were provocative enough to get me scribbling notes in the dark--were at all matched by the choices Russell made as a director to illustrate his points. The animations looked clunky and junky, and while I laughed out loud at world's best paid lapdancer [Shania Twain] as a leitmotif and marveled anew at the genius of Mark Wahlberg, at no time did I feel the concepts were being portrayed in a way that improved on the experience of watching Bob Thurman drawing on a chalkboard in some classroom. No, not even Dustin Hoffman's free-flying schnoz.
Inflammatory words, perhaps, but with them, I'm off to catch a plane. I'll catch up with the Conversation tonight.