Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Case for Cross Breeding

What do you get when you combine Napoleon Dynamite with Footrot Flats? Some might object to me comparing of Eagle v Shark to Napoleon Dynamite on the grounds that this New Zealand film is nothing like it. But, to be honest, I found that the comparison was valid: socially awkward people get together and, through a series of misadventures, eventually find happiness with each other.

However, the Kiwi angle is definitely a major point of difference. The whimsy, the accents and the kitschiness are all so familiar, and the humour seemed to resonate in the cinema with a lot of knowing laughs. And I was very impressed by the way the Kiwiness was not “overblown” by the use of Kiwi standard songs on the soundtrack and an unrealistic New Zealand patriotism. It felt quite a natural film, laid back, and fun in a way that emphasised its quirky Kiwiality, rather than being all self conscious about it.

It was also a fairly mean spirited film. True, laughs came from some of the more outrageous and un-politically correct moments, but there were other moments that I found painful in their execution, though I was apparently in the minority considering the gales of laughter these parts seemed to elicit. Napoleon Dynamite had much the same kind of “laughing at the geekiness of people” moments, but some of the moments in Eagle v Shark seemed to have a particularly nasty edge to them, though perhaps this was me just empathising with the put-upon characters a bit too much. All credit to Loren Horsley for her portrayal of Lily, the sweet yet hopeless lead – I was sucked in by Lily’s odd charms, big time.

Overall, it was a good film, entertaining in a “look at them and laugh” kind of way, though I was never altogether sure of the spirit in which to take some of the scenes. The animated apple parts were well done if seemingly pointless, and the performances were great, even if the characters were flawed. Not sure whether I would rate this better than Napoleon Dynamite, but it definitely got big brownie points for being a fair dinkum Kiwi effort…

Verdict: Passable Victory

1 comment:

Off-Black said...

I haven't even SEEN Napoleon Dynamite and already I am sick of the comparison.....:)