A Scanner Darkly

Bomb Rating: 

I might be willing to concede that the animation technique in this film, similar if not identical to director Richard Linklater's "Waking Life," is interesting to look at. Unfortunately, if "interesting to look at" were the only requirement to make a decent movie, we'd all be sitting in a theater watching films about Paris Hilton's prolapsed vagina for two hours. And no one (save for perhaps Paris herself) wants that.

Animated or not, there's nothing in this movie that makes it worth watching. Animated or not, I don't want to watch characters sitting around talking for two hours. I've also heard via fans of Philip K. Dick, that Linklater remained very true to the source material. This is yet another thing I don't care about. If the source material is going to make a boring movie, then you change the fucking source material. For God's sake, Linklater is supposed to be a filmmaker. That's why it's called adaptation. It implies change and hopefully for the better. He's supposed to have the knowledge and experience to know whether a book translates well or not.

Basically, Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) is either suffering from a split personality disorder or he's an undercover cop suffering the effects of drug addiction. Frankly, I had a hard time telling which. It's hard to tell whether he's just paranoid or there's more going on. It doesn't help that he shares a house with fellow druggies Ernie (Woody Harrelson) and James Barris (Robert Downey Jr.), the latter being more a dealer.There should be some kind of plot surrounding all this, but mostly the whole film is about Arctor talking about being confused. I'm not really willing to explain it more than that because I don't care. It is quite clear, however, that the idea of drug addiction is supposed to give Linklater free reign to be confusing.

And while I'm on it, I've been waiting all my life to see Winona Ryder's breasts on screen. I figured she'd do a nude scene eventually, either when she needed the money for bail or before she got too old to make it worthwhile. Let me tell you, it's some kind of shit storm that her first nude scene is animated. What the fuck is that? I'll tell you: It's cruel. I mean, since the animation technique is done by painting over the real actors, I need to know whether she was really nude somewhere while shooting this film. Are those outtakes going to be on the DVD? Let me speak for most of the males of my generation: WE WANT THOSE REAL OUTTAKE SCENES ON THE DVD!! I want a whole fucking version of the movie minus the animation.

It would be a useful exercise, because the true test is whether "A Scanner Darkly" would be worth watching as a live action film. And let me tell you, minus the "Winona factor," the only hope a non-animated version would have had for widespread distribution would be in boxes of cereal as a free DVD giveaway.

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Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Thank you.

{;-) Dan in Miami


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