beasts of the southern wild

Just saw Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s about a young girl named Hushpuppy, played by Quvenzhané Wallis, as she lives in this delta community, similar to the swamps and bayous, at the end of the world. She has a father figure who’s tough love is preparing her for independent survival. This is very similar to The Road, just not as bleak.

The good; Wallis as Hushpuppy is brilliant, what a lovely young actress, I can’t say enough about what she delivers onscreen.
There’s also a believability in the way they create this community in what is a post-apocalyptic world. Instead of radiation and overcasted skies, this is a world where the ice at the caps melted and things are flooded. The shanties that they built for sets are great.
The aurochs are amazing, these creatures are in fact a reality, they are the ancestors of the modern cattle. To have these massive creatures stampede their way through the movie is wonderful, and there’s also use of model miniatures, I love that lost art.

The bad; the beginning of the movie is pretty bad in the way it was shot. Everything was handheld for no apparent reason, and also out of focus. There is a focus puller job… did they not hire for this position?? I really did not care for the way the kept everything in an almost macro setting, I want to see the world that these characters live in, I want to see the wonderful sets that were built.

*SPOILER* They spent a lot of time creating and establishing the community that Hushpuppy lives in, then there’s some disaster relief?? That completely threw me out of the movie. The way that the community in the delta operates shows at least fifty years of “degradation” in order for them to operate in the way they do. There’s a superstitious way of medicine, there’s farming and fishing, there are just so many signs that point to life being without modern comforts for at least a generation… then all of that is completely trashed when we see a helicopter and then our group is taken to a disaster relief center with what looks like late eighties medical staff. Ummm, what? This portion of the movie could’ve been complete cut out and it would’ve been better. Or… if they wanted to include this social commentary on things, the medical people should’ve been more futuristic, almost Star Trek-y in nature, or just hinted to and not shown at all. The helicopter should’ve been a space shuttle far off in the sky or something. *END SPOILER*

The film’s slow pace doesn’t add anything for me, it’s trying to show a slice of life, but ultimately bores me at points. And the payoff with the aurochs was a let down, or non-existant. This started off as a play and then was adapted in to the movie, it shows that it was a play and probably a good one, but when adapting for the silver screen it needed more work.

Overall, interesting concept with social commentary, but skip it. The message gets a little lost along the way. The music in the film is wonderful, just wish that the plot could’ve been up to par.

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