“The City of Lost Children” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 17
“When you’re born in the gutter, you end up in the port.”
It’s so French!
I’ve been pretty intrigued by this film. I’ve heard of it, knew of its director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who did great work with Amélie, and not-so-great work with Alien Resurrection), and knew it was a highly regarded sci-fi film I’d yet to see.
I do appreciate the strong use of color, the absurd fantasy of it, Ron Perlman’s convincing French dialogue delivery, the richly designed characters, and the film’s overall dark and dystopian aesthetic.
I didn’t like the editing (much too long on some takes, much too fast on others), and the sort of meandering way it tells its story that never seems to make its point. I have a feeling this must be better appreciated by the French, or maybe it just takes multiple viewings to really sink into it properly.
It reminded me a lot of Brazil, and a lot of Terry Gilliam’s stylings, but I’m not a fan of that film. At all.
The film didn’t grab me – it just sort of caught my eye. It’s pretty, and it has a lot of character, but that’s about all I got out of it.
The City of Lost Children was at the time of this review at #257 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #501 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
The City of Lost Children vs. The Weather Man
The Weather Man is a pretty decent Nic Cage flick, but it’s a real downer, too. City of Lost Children is going to win this matchup.
The City of Lost Children vs. The Rocketeer
The Rocketeer is entertaining and charismatic. The City of Lost Children is weird and kind of garish. The Rocketeer wins.
The City of Lost Children vs. Ex Machina
Ex Machina is an excellent sci-fi thriller that’s super-compelling. I struggled to make it to the end of The City of Lost Children. Ex Machina wins.
The City of Lost Children vs. Owning Mahowny
Owning Mahowny was pretty difficult to watch and had a few elements I disliked, but it accomplishes its goal of putting the audience into the mindset of a gambling addict quite well. It’ll take the matchup over The City of Lost Children.
The City of Lost Children vs. Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us is a comedy the likes of which you don’t see much of anymore. It’s all about the dynamic between Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd. They’re just inherently funny men. They make it look effortless. It’s gonna win over The City of Lost Children.
The City of Lost Children vs. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
While I don’t love Zack and Miri, it’s one of the better post-Mallrats comedies Kevin Smith has made to date. That being said, I think there’s a lot more to like even from a purely aesthetic standpoint in City of Lost Children, so it will win here.
The City of Lost Children vs. Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek Into Darkness is the demo reel to make Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s a little hackneyed, and not as powerful as Abrams’s first Trek, but it’s still a good film. It’ll beat The City of Lost Children.
The City of Lost Children vs. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Visual design goes a long way with me, so I’ll give it to The City of Lost Children over Planes, Trains & Automobiles. There’s definitely some real artistic talent on display in Jeunet’s film.
The City of Lost Children vs. Die Another Day
Die Another Day isn’t one of the best Bond films, but it is a fun one. Also, I’m a big fan of Rosamund Pike. It’ll win the last battle over The City of Lost Children.
The City of Lost Children is now ranked #674 out of 1403 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Last up for this week’s films is Blue Velvet. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.