Saturday, May 13, 2006

AKEELAH AND THE BEE - as dopey as it sounds, but not a total waste

This review is posted by guest reviewer, Tomiwa: I hate feel good movies. I always want art and storytelling, rather than Hollywood's string driven weepfests. There is no shortage of string instruments in this movie, it relies heavily on well mined formula and the last third of it is as cheese laden as the Quattro Formaggi at my local pizzeria. Nevertheless, it does have it's good points.

It's a far more thoughtful movie than something like this needs to be, dealing with race and class issues in generally more interesting ways than Hollywood usually manages. The one exception to this is a really weird Asian stereotyping in the form of Akeelah's major opponent who is made out as a little Asian robot whose father insists on perfection without humanity. It's kind of the succesful and hardworking Asian kid and parent stereotype pushed to the extreme and even some humanizing at the end of the movie does not excuse this weird intrusion into such a race conscious movie.

The little girl who plays Akeelah is really engaging and enjoyable and is also 100% less creepy than Dakota Fanning, so if you all go see this, maybe she can steal some of that little alien's roles. Angela Bassett plays a tough, black woman and Lawrence Fishburne plays Morpheus in a sweater vest (really difficult roles for them to pull off) but they are both absolutely excellent and as always, worth watching.

The movie does leave you with that "I believe I can fly" momentum and I wouldn't advise seeing it at the top of a tall building. Ultimately, that weird race thing and the excessive amounts of sap do draw the movie down, but if you're a geek who needs a fix or you need something family oriented to take your mom or kids to, you could do worse.

AKEELAH AND THE BEE was released in the US on April 28th 2006 and hits the UK on August 31st. No continental European or Australian release date to report, but I'll update the DVD release when I have it.

1 comment:

  1. Having seen this flick I agree with our guest reviewer: it's superior fromage, but fromage nonetheless. One to avoid.