Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jason watches SHREK FOREVER AFTER in 3D and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE

And it was an experiment that was either idiotic or the most inspired movie pairing I've ever seen.

Clearly the wrong one was in 3-D.

One movie was pure, unmitigated, practically unwatchable torture...and the other featured a mad scientist sewing people's mouths and anuses together.

Okay, that's enough snark. But seriously, SHREK had more scatological humor than THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER takes place in an alternate universe. Literally. In the beginning Rumplestiltskin tricks Shrek into signing away one day of his life in exchange for one day of being a feared ogre (rather than beloved but put-upon celebrity) again (I fully understand, we all need a bit of "me" time once in a while). Rumplestiltskin takes away...that day Shrek was born. And the rest of the movie takes place in a world where Shrek never existed, Fiona was never rescued, and Rumplestiltskin tricked the King and Queen into signing over Far Far Away Land. Once Shrek's one day as a "real ogre" is over, since he was now never born he'll disappear. But there's a way to break the curse, which he does, and everything roles back to the beginning. And while Shrek learned and Important Lesson™, nobody else realizes some crazy alternate-universe crap happened. Which is great, because I've already nearly forgotten it.


As for the HUMAN CENTIPEDE, given the hype about the disgusting premise (mad doctor kidnaps three tourists and sews them together ass-to-mouth so food goes in the first and out the last) it's a surprisingly sterile movie. The operation is described to the victims in a brisk but detailed slide show (using an overhead projector. I haven't seen that in years, get with the program and use Powerpoint, man!) It's so clinically described, that the end result is underwhelming. This is torture porn for people who consider diagrams of genitalia in medical textbooks as porn. Which isn't to say it's worthless. The fact that somebody had this idea and put it on film with a minimum of competence says a lot about human nature. Dieter Laser (BTW, great name) is born to play the role of the mad doctor. But beyond that, is there anything it says about...anything? I find it odd that so many critics have been saying it's oddly compelling. The doctor is doing this for...no discernible reason. The only clues we get are:
  1. He was (still is?) a famous surgeon specializing in separating Siamese twins. Now he's reversing his career work and creating something new by conjoining people. About the only insight is that sometimes people come up with humorously sick ideas by reversing something benign (or even beneficial). Hell, I've come up with ideas that way. For example, I once read a story about how an airport was shut down because a vibrator was mistaken for an explosive device....
  2. He tested his idea on dogs first, and he loved his 3-hound, but it died. So he decided to repeat the experiment on humans. Because he doesn't like humans? I have no idea if he's trying to create a creature he will love, or just torture people he hates.
As for the victims, they don't like it (duh!) They scream a lot, at least until the operation is over, then only one (the Japanese guy) can actually scream.

Director Tom Six has announced a sequel. This is technically THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE), the sequel is THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FINAL SEQUENCE) which is supposed to feature a 12-person centipede (and in the words of Mr. Six make the first film look like "My Little Pony"). Well, here's my suggestion: The human centipede case is a news sensation. Underground fetish clubs where people pretend to be human centipedes appear. A group of 12 people form one of these clubs and party ass-to-mouth nearly every night. But it's not enough for them, so they kidnap an unwilling surgeon and force him to perform the operation on them. As it becomes more real, some members of the group have second thoughts, but the charismatic leader keeps them in line. Now there's a vehicle where you could explore many aspects of the dark, sick side of human nature.

Instead, I suspect Mr. Six will just torture more people and make a bigger centipede, ultimately saying nothing.

Total Running Time: 183 minutes
My Total Minutes: 186,132
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