Saturday, October 4, 2008
This is a spin-off of X-Men, finally allowing Anna Paquin some time in the spotlight... no, wait, that's not right. This is a movie about a giant fucking crocodile.
Greg Mclean's last movie was Wolf Creek, which I thought was flawed but effectively tense and unnerving, and showed a lot of potential. So I was looking forward to Rogue quite a bit. The first 2/3rds of it is pretty damn good. Mclean is, I'm guessing, working with a larger budget and as a result the visuals really come through. Much of the first 30 minutes or so consists of gorgeous shots of nature, establishing the environment in which the characters are placed. Mclean builds up a little suspense as it goes a long, and piles one complication after another to make the characters seem really screwed. This leads to some memorable sequences, such as when the characters try to shimmy across a rope line, with the crocodile waiting somewhere below.
It kind of fell apart for me a bit at the end, though. Some of that has to do with the crocodile. Mclean does a great job in the early part of keeping the thing mysterious, only giving quick glimpses of it, scary stuff. So when you finally see it late in the film, it looks like... a big crocodile, exactly what you were expecting. And since, the more clearly you see it, the more clearly it looks like a special effect, a lot of the tension drains. I would have been happier if he never showed it.
But even worse is the final fight with the crocodile. The movie wasn't exactly realistic, but this really stretches credibility. The main character has to take the croc on at the end, and the silliness of the idea coupled with the not-quite-convincing special effects makes for a cartoonish finale. I guess it was still a little fun too watch, but that's a let down when the rest of the movie was more tense and exciting.
Still, I think Mclean shows some chops here again, and although he hasn't knocked one out of the park yet, I'm convinced he will eventually.