Friday, February 26, 2010

Kate & Leopold

Year 2, Day 57 - 2/26/10 - Movie #422

BEFORE: Last year, I transitioned from romance films to time-travel movies, and I think I'll do the same thing again this time around. After all, I just watched lovers from different races (Jungle Fever) and lovers from rival families (Romeo & Juliet), so now how about lovers from different eras?

THE PLOT: Leopold is an English baron living in New York in the end of the Nineteenth Century. Kate is a successful businesswoman also living in New York, but in 2001. Due to a time incident, they meet each other in the present days and they fall in love.

AFTER: Remember those old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ads - "You got your romantic comedy in my time-travel movie!" "You got your time-conundrum in my chick flick!" But are these two great tastes that taste great together?

Apparently time is like a "pretzel", and a naturally occuring time portal is floating over the East River - it's conveniently invisible so it doesn't freak out New Yorkers...

Essentially, this is a form of chick-flick porn - a man from the 1890's (Hugh Jackman) gets transported to modern times, but he has manners, and poise, and charm and hunkiness, like a walking Harlequin romance character. Kate (Meg Ryan) isn't charmed by him at first, because she's a modern woman with a career and a bad track record, and not used to men who write letters and stand up when a woman leaves the table.

I admit I've often wondered what a person from the 1700's or 1800's would think of our modern conveniences, and they sort of touch upon that here, as Leopold tries to figure out how to work a toaster or a dishwasher. But there's an implication that he invented some sort of counterweight system, so pulling him out of time somehow made all the elevators in New York stop working right. Even if time travel were possible, this would only have happened if he never returned to the 1800's to finish his work, but he does, so it wouldn't. Plus, after seeing modern-day New York, and then returning to his time, why didn't this guy become a bigger inventor than Edison?

Then the movie really blows the time-travel mechanics at the end - the time portal returns him to the same day he left, but at an earlier time in the day. This is a cheat for storytelling purposes - and causes temporal problems. There should be two of him walking around after he goes back, and he'd have to avoid bumping into the earlier version of himself, then wait for him to travel forward, and take his place... He wouldn't just "replace" the other version of him, and relive part of that day, with the full knowledge of his trip to the future. Fail. Points off for bending the rules of quantum mechanics to make your screenplay easier.

Also starring Liev Schreiber, Bradley Whitford and Breckin Meyer, with cameos from Spalding Gray, Kristen Schaal and Natasha Lyonne.

RATING: 6 out of 10 tubs of margarine

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