Tuesday, September 08, 2015

"The Man from UNCLE" (2015) -- More Thoughts and a Soundtrack Review

I've now seen The Man from U.N.C.L.E. four times, and I'm hoping to go for a fifth viewing this weekend.  (Cowboy is the coolest husband ever, by the way -- he does not bat an eye at me going to the same movie over and over anymore.  I guess he's grown accustomed to my weirdness.)  This movie is just plain fun, folks.  It's like going on a vacation.  Pretty views, attractive people, cheerful music -- it's a playful, play-filled movie, and I love it.  I do.


The first two viewings, I mostly loved Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) and focused on him.  But by the third, I had gotten used to Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and decided I could trust him.  Um, yes, this was an issue for me.  Sometimes I don't trust fictional characters, especially if they don't always treat other fictional characters I love the way I think they should.  I loved Illya from the get-go -- yes, yes, I was predisposed toward him because he's played by Armie Hammer, but by the time they finished filling in his back story in a few deft sentences, I was a goner.  So I got really upset with Solo the first time I watched it, especially when he took a long time to rescue Illya at one point, and i was getting desperate.  The second time, I was more okay with him, but it took until that third viewing for me to truly like him.  But now I do, so it's all good.


And then there's Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander).  She's like a sparkler -- spitting and fizzing and lighting up everything around her.  She's just as smart and intrepid as the boys, and has no problem taking them to task if she thinks they're going off track.  She's also beautiful, and her hair is about the same color as mine, which makes me ridiculously happy.  She's not afraid to get dirty, she's willing to admit it when she's scared, and she's not afraid to be feminine.  I want her hats.  And Illya's.


I've read a criticism or two of the fact that Gaby needs to be rescued in the final act being a damsel-in-distress cliche, but I find this completely fatuous.  Solo had to rescue Illya, and Illya had to rescue Solo, so why shouldn't Gaby get her turn being rescued?  Silly people.


I wish soooo much that this movie had done better at the box office, because I crave a sequel.  But I fear it is not to be.  Which is a crying shame, because this movie works so well on so many levels and truly deserves a sequel.  It's smart, playful, funny, stylish... the leads are genuinely likable (yes, Solo too -- it's only my protectiveness of Illya that made me not like him at first), the sets and costumes are delicious, and overall... I love it.  Did I say that already?


Time to talk about the soundtrack.  I've reviewed it for James the Movie Reviewer's blog, and you can read my thoughts about it here.  While I don't love every track on the album, I do enjoy it as a whole, and there's only one track that I generally skip ("Compared to What" by Roberta Flack has a bad word in it I don't want my kids hearing).  Sam likes one song ("Circular Story") so much he asked if I could put it on his laptop so he can listen to it while he writes.  (When my first laptop got old and crotchety and wasn't supported by Microsoft anymore, we took all the internet capabilities and most of the programs off it and gave it to Sam.  He loves to write stories on it while listening to music "just like Mommy.")


I have a million other things I could say about this movie -- favorite lines, favorite moments, things that make me laugh (Solo's apron!  Illya changing his tie because Solo says it doesn't match his suit!  Gaby dancing!), plot points I find so smart and sensible... but I'm tired, and I need to post this so you know where to find my soundtrack review.

18 comments:

  1. I watch my favorite movies over and over, too--and I listen to the same favorite songs so many times in a row, I'm sure it seems quite ridiculous. But I don't CARE! It's FUN, peoples!
    Mmmmmmm . . . I need to see "Bernadette" again . . . and also "Amazing Grace" . . . and . . . yeah. I like movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just explaining to someone this weekend that I only buy movies that I know I want to watch multiple times. A movie being "good" doesn't mean I want to own it; it needs to be one I want to revisit often. Same goes for books: I buy the ones I'm going to reread and can't bear to be without. Except at library book sales -- there I also buy books that I want to read but haven't yet, because they're only 50 cents.

      Delete
    2. That's a sensible way of doing it--because if you were to buy every single book you wanted to read just ONCE, then you would end up with way too many books and no space to keep them all.

      Delete
    3. Precisely. Though if there's a book I really want to read, or movie I really want to watch that I can't get through the library or find elsewhere, I do buy used copies on Amazon now and then. That and buying stuff at library book sales is how I wind up with all those books to give away, lol.

      Delete
  2. You're really making me want to find the time to go see this, Hamlette. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it already. You're love is infectious!

    The potentially iffy content is the main thing holding me back right now. I read Plugged In's content review and they made it sound not great in one spot in particular, but it's probably not as bad as I'm thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there is one quite objectionable scene, with a woman in underpants like you'd see in a Victoria's Secret ad and no bra -- she's silhouetted, so you don't see any details, but it's enough to make me want to fast-forward too. You can just not watch that scene really easily by closing your eyes when Solo's alarm clock rings and he's sitting in bed in his dressing robe, and then open them AFTER you hear his alarm clock ring again after the girl says, "I know your five minutes, Mr. Debney."

      It's also implied that Solo has sex with another woman -- you see nothing, but you hear moaning over a radio transmitter, and the floor under them shakes. Illya and Gaby "wrestle," and they almost kiss several times, but they clearly don't have sex (though he teases her later about getting to know each other "more intimately," but I think it's clear he's only teasing). There's a little innuendo here and there, like you'd see in an old-school James Bond movie from the '60s and '70s -- double entendres and so on.

      I checked out Plugged In's review, and I disagree with their conclusion -- this movie feels playful and joyous to me, and while Solo may be very devil-may-care about it all, Illya and Gaby seem genuinely concerned with doing The Right Thing. Their assessment of the content is accurate, though.

      Delete
    2. The nude lady wouldn't bother me too much, but I also have brothers that would be seeing it too -- but I guess you can looks away in a theater just as easily as at home. It would be the implied sex that I'd have the biggest problem with. Sometimes hearing it is just as bad as seeing it for me, and it's not something you can fix by closing your eyes. I would love to have mute capabilities. :P Can I ask -- about how long does that scene last? Thanks for this rundown Hamlette. :)

      Delete
    3. The implied sex... a woman enters Solo's hotel room and they shut the door. One floor below, Illya pulls out his radio receiver to listen in via the bugs he's planted in Solo's room and clothes because he thinks Solo is going to be confronted by this woman about some thieving. Instead, he hears a couple of moans and groans, and he looks terribly embarrassed. Gaby makes a flippant remark, and he turns off the receiver as the chandelier above them rattles. All of that takes 20-30 seconds.

      The only other mildly suggestive part is when Illya has to adjust a tracker that Gaby is wearing on a garter, so she stands on a table and they trade wisecracks while he has his hands under her very short skirt.

      Delete
    4. Okay, see that makes it sound not too bad! Just enough so you know what's going on kind of thing? I made the mistake before dismissing a scene like that and going to see the movie and it turned out way worse than I expected. It was in The Great Gatsby, and the way Plugged In described it was very similar to the way they described this one -- but by your description it's considerably less rude than the scene in Gatsby was. Thanks so much for this Hamlette! Maybe we actually will get around to it in theaters after all!

      Delete
    5. It's played for laughs, not titillation, if that makes sense.

      Delete
    6. Also, when Illya digs out his surveillance equipment in that scene, you could just stick your fingers in your ears until after you see the chandelier shake.

      Delete
  3. Yay! I was interested in this, and like Sarah I had a couple reservations with the content I'd read about. So it was great to get that explained; thanks!:D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olivia, you're welcome!

      (And oh dear, now I'm worried that you'll both see it and be horrified by it and come back here and glare at me.)

      Delete
    2. Haha, no worries--even if I do decide to watch it, I promise I shan't blame you if I'm horrified.

      Delete
  4. I saw this film last Wednesday and I really enjoyed it! The action scenes were really well-done, it was funny, the female villain was great and the three leading characters were all really likeable and had a lot of chemistry :) I did have some trouble keeping up with the plot at times (hopefully it will make more sense on a repeat viewing) but overall I did really like it and it definitely deserves a sequel.

    And I LOVED Ilya! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hannah, I'm SOOOOOOOO glad you saw it and liked it! And loved Illya, but really, how can one not love Illya?

      After I went to it the second time, the first thing I told DKoren was, "The plot holds up!" Sometimes spy movies only really work the first time when you don't know what's going on, but such is not the case here. And yes, it's a little twisty, but that second viewing makes everything pretty clear.

      Ahhhhhh, Illya <3

      Delete

Agree or disagree? That is the question...

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)