Got together with Michael for a screening tonight. He showed up a bit early, so we went and got some dinner from California Chicken Cafe. (Really good wraps!) We then headed down to MGM for a screening of John Woo’s latest film: Windtalkers.
After coming to America to make films, John Woo never seems to have gotten his own way. Fighting the studio system seemed to be par for the course, and his films – while entertaining – always seemed to lack the character depth, emotion, and human relationships that made most of his Hong Kong films so compelling. Finally, though, he seems to have returned to what made him great
with Windtalkers. This film is about a Navajo code-talker (Adam Beach) during WWII, protected by a war-weary marine (Nicholas Cage). Tradition, faith, friendship, honor, courage, and duty – all of those themes are explored in the film. Of course, there is action – plenty of it. But unlike Black Hawk Down (which this film will of course be compared with), the action was never too intense to pull you away from the focus of the story – the people.
Ultimately, this is a really good film. I’m delighted to have seen it, and I’m excited for Woo because hopefully now people will remember him for his storytelling skills, and not just his action shots. As for James Horner‘s score: I found the album to be like musical wallpaper, so my expectations for it in the film were not high, to say the least. However, I was surprised at how much good music in the film is missing from the album. (Conversely, there is a lot of music on the album seemingly not in the film.)
I had heard that Horner rescored parts of the film because he had delivered his score before the film’s edit was locked down – and then complained about how cut up his score was. (Note to John Williams – complain to George Lucas!) So he went back and reworked it to fit the final cut of the film. (What a novel idea!)
So do I recommend it? Yes. Go see it when it comes out next month. And then let me know what you think.