Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Paul

Running time 104 minutes
Budget $40 million Box office $97,591,665
directed by Greg Mottola,
written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
starring Pegg and Frost, and the voice of Seth Rogen doing the voice of Paul.

The best way to describe Paul is to call it a sci-fi geek road movie. Pegg and Frost play Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings - two English comic book nerds and best friends who have traveled to America to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con. They decide on a road trip and rent an rv to see some of the more famous UFO and sci-fi sights.

The misadventures start soon after when they accidentally hit a couple of comic rednecks truck.

The pair feel they are being chased by the redneck pair, but when they come upon a wreck they just witnessed they find a car instead...empty.

While calling for help, Paul appears and the road trip ensues.

During the trip (to someplace that Paul needs to get to so he can be rescued after years) Lorenzo Zoil is played by Jason Bateman who seems to have a separate agenda but for the most part he is part of the organization that need Paul captured. He is also aided by two FBI agents that are ineptness personified. They add to the troupe with Ruth Buggs, played by Kristen Wiig. Ruth is a Christian fundamentalist who’s world view is challenged by the appearance of Paul. Rounding out the group is Tara Walton played masterfully by Blythe Danner. Tara saved his life 1947 when his ship crashed. As an old woman, in present time, Tara has been driven a bit loopy by all the ridicule and treatment she has undergone over he ages and who subsequently, is more than a bit pleased to know that she did not imagine Paul.

At this point it is off to the rescue point with more than a few misdirections.

The film contains numerous references to other science fiction films, especially those of Steven Spielberg, as well as to general science fiction fan-dom. The final fight scene is dealt out by “the Big Guy” who I can’t give away now as it is a surprise that will have you laughing out loud at the “gotcha!”

The use of CGI is of course all over the place, but so well done that you buy right into the effect.
Paul is one of the most lifelike cgi actors that I have ever seen. Why, because for the most part he is your standard Gray. But the eye are alive. The skin has multiple reflectivity points. The skeleton and muscles are very believable. CGI done right!

As for a review.... How often have I said that you can often see how much faith producers of a disk are by how the extras are handled. Most of the time there are a goodly smattering. A good film that everyone is behind will often have many extra, sometimes, no matter how good the film may look, often have none. This tell you quite a bit about the studio, producers etc. So when you look at the extras of Paul that include everything by the kitchen sink included, you really do get the idea that there was plenty of love going around for this movie. A theatrical cut and a no hold barred movie release. bloopers, director voice commentary, featurettes , making of, You name it. The movie is a 9....a 10 in my book, but if you are not into the movies that the references are pulled from it could be aggravating. And extras? If you can’t think what should be included that isn’t already there then it is a 10 so that gets us a 9.5. A bit off for just maybe being to much of a nerd or too geeky, but this is a curious problem, because for me it is one of these movies that is going to set the bar again and in my mind on of the best of its’ type so far. So for me it’s a ten and will be for you too...unless you don’t get what the lizard mask and the fight scene means, or if Paul’s finger wriggling inside a couple of doughnuts does not elicit gales of laughter, then it is somewhat less than great! lol Most will just plain love the film is my guess.

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