The Descendants Review and Trailer

I was exited to go out on a bro-date with my good friend visiting from Boston to see Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants.  Not only am I a fan of Sideways (also directed by Payne) but it had been a while since I had seen a film on the big silver screen.  We got a few drinks and headed into the 21+ screening at the Kabuki, our bro-date so far had gone off without a hitch, and then it happened.  The worst voice-over narration in the history of cinema.

Voice-over narration in a narrative film is almost always a mistake because most of the time it’s done for all the wrong reasons.  Such is the case in The Descendants.  Not only does it provide no insight into the characters, setting, or plot but it is so poorly written that it comes off as unintentionally humorous.  It is essentially an “Idiots Guide to The Descendants”. Here is a loose recreation of the opening lines: “Hi, I’m George Clooney, my wife and I were having a rough patch in outr relationship.  She recently got into a boating accident and now she’s in a coma.  I still love her though so I hope she gets better.  Now I have to reconnect with my children who I have alienated because of my demanding work life.”

The film then goes on to show all of this very clearly which only magnifies how absolutely awful the narration really was.  The one positive here is that the main narration ends about thirty minutes into the film and, then in the last few minutes, we are treated to Morgan Freeman narration as if to apologize for the earlier mistreatment.

The rest of the film is quite good.  It has the ability to  make you tear up one second and laugh the next.  Even with the complete exploitation of Hawaiian music in almost every scene I still felt myself connecting with the story and characters.  This connection was aided by the excellent acting of George Clooney and an actress I have never even heard of until now, Shailene Woodley.  I was even surprised by some good performances from actors who I had previously considered the bottom of the barrel type.

I think this film would have been great if it had been kept entirely out of the Hollywood system.  That system, I’m guessing, was responsible for the abominable narration, a la Blade Runner, and furthering the myth that all foreign music is outlawed in Hawaii (which gives me a great idea for the next Footloose remake).  I enjoyed this film, but not a single part of it is worthy of an award except maybe a Razzie for the retarding narration.

Footloose 3: Bacon all the rules

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Categories: Reviews

2 Comments on “The Descendants Review and Trailer”

  1. November 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Clooney and everybody else included is great but it’s really Payne who shines as the writer bringing out some funny humor but not without forgetting about the real rich moments of human drama. Good review. Check out mine when you get the chance.

  2. Adam Cuttler
    November 27, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    I’m only seeing Footloose 3 if the Bacon is in 3D!

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