Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008)
Written By: Darren Smith, Terrence Zdunick
Directed By: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega, Anthony Head, Sarah Brightman
near future where people have contracted some sort of organ failure disease. private company takes control. loans organs out. you can't make your payment, the repo-man comes. mostly about the evil man who owns geneco, his family, and the family he has vowed revenge upon. musical.
I've spent a fair amount of time over the past 18 hours thinking about this movie and I've decided that I liked it more than not. This could be because it's the rocky island on which we've found temporary respite from the recent ocean of shit, but I don't think so. There were flaws aplenty, but at the end of the hour and a half we were discussing the film. We weren't bitching or commiserating about commercial hackery; we were conversing about its merits and faults.
The story is soap-operatic, but it led to a satisfactory conclusion which fit what preceded it. The main characters each had a discernible (interconnected) backstory. The supporting characters were largely caricatures, and this worked nicely to hold up the stars. Given the nature of opera as an art form, it's par for the course that the roles were largely overacted, and I don't think the cast (including Paris Hilton, whose Razzie award doesn't really work for me) can be faulted for quite obviously following the directions they were given. Singing here was quite good. Brightman is a singer, of course, but Sorvino really belted it and the others weren't far behind. None of my research can find a mention of Autotune. If it was employed it was either a newer version or a more-subtle use.
This film had a real, consistent aesthetic. Almost every element played into that perspective, and I especially liked how lighting in even the most affluent of settings provided at least a small element of squalor. Effects must have been a mix of CG and more-tangible techniques, but they came together to form a single backdrop. Makeup was very good. Semi-still cartoons were used for flashbacks, and while this worked I would have liked it better if the film had supported itself without them. Similarly, there was one fantasy sequence which wasn't differentiated enough from its surroundings.
This movie could have knocked my socks off. It should have blown me away, but too often the filmmakers tried too hard in the wrong places, sacrificing things which should have been nurtured. The soundtrack opened strongly with techno/industrial instrumentals and singing which fit the visual perfectly, but all too often it widened to a more-classical style which didn't quite fit. Vocals and storytelling couldn't be done in such a harsh style, but nobody tried hard enough to find a middle ground. There were plenty of missed opportunities for dancing which would have fit perfectly into the story and the look. One particular scene in a street could have been so much more without a lot of effort.
This might have been one case where some more studio intervention could have improved a piece of art. Because this was unquestionably art, but it was too much student art. Peeking out behind apprentices who were not ready to summon such power, the phantom of potential taunted us at every turn.
i couldn't decide if i liked this while i was watching it. there was a lot going for it, but it was missing something. i couldn't tell you what. when i started to lean in the 'this is pretty neat' direction it went too goth for goth's sake. it appealed to the angsty teenager i used to be, but it got a little too hot topic in some places. my reaction to liking this at some level might be the fact that we've been watching such incredibly terrible movies lately. the plot was very drama, and that was the point. operatic. i keep writing "i like" and then erasing it....i appreciated the direction. it was like a long music video. lower budget than 'moonwalker' but i kept thinking about that in my brain. 'moonwalker' i mean. 'tankgirl' also popped into my brain..... hmmmmm. ok imagine michael jackson hanging out at hot topic with lori petty. if you like that image than you may be interested in viewing this movie.