To the few faithful followers of my blog, the day has come for me to announce that I am closing Oneonethreeeight down. A time may come when she may need to rise again like the phoenix from the desert but for now she shall remain dormant. I know what you’re thinking – the word desert? I was going for a Flight of the Phoenix reference? Too obscure?
This is not to say that I’m not writing – My reviews are continuing and the Di Caprio retrospective may heat up again, but the new housing for my written work can be found at the very cool site FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE which I now call home. Head over there now for my latest reviews of Freelancers and Bel Ami but also be sure to check out all the other articles and updates that are ready for consumption!
I’m not going to provide a real review or a star rating for this movie because I haven’t watched it. Yeah… there’s my confession up front. Essentially I saw this movie on Leo’s filmography where he was a little bit further down the credits list than usual and so I googled it, only to find out that he’s only in the movie for 5 seconds. How he got credited for this I’ll never know. But I present to you his role… ‘Guy’. Enjoy!
So today we’re kicking off our look back over the career of Leonardo DiCaprio by starting with his debut big screen outing in Critters 3. Off the bat, I’m sure that most readers will safely assume that this is not a great movie and you’re spot on.
The movie is essentially a cheap and nasty immitation of some of the Spielberg’s most beloved and best works of the 70’s and 80’s. There are shades of Close Encounters, E.T., and most obviously, the Spielberg produced Gremlins. Unlike some of those classics however the script is shoddy, with no stand out characters. These characters also don’t carry and convey the dread and horror of what is really happening—it’s all just one big cartoon with no one really deasling with the fact that their step-father or friend has just been eaten alive. It feels like one big cartoon. There is no effort in the story telling or the film-making, although I must admit, the critters them selves are quite cool, if ridiculous.
It’s kind of freaky seeing Leo at age 14/15. Many of his expressions and mannerisms are still there which make it more clear when looking at his later films which are really ‘Leo’s mannerisms’ as oppossed to the individual character he is portraying. Hearing little Leo say ‘horse shit’ exactly the way he does in Titanic, with the same expression on his face is something you have to see for yourself.
If I’m honest, DiCaprio is the only reason I got through this film. There are films that are a lot worse than this, I can think of many, and it’s not that DiCaprio is particularly amazing at all, it’s just that he is the only familiar face and the only one that your eye is really drawn to.
He has nothing really to work with from a performance stand point and as previously mentioned, the script does him absolutely no favours. Two things are quite clear to me from this first film though:-
1) You can see the potential all over young Leo in his convicing dialogue for the most part as well as his screen presence.
2) Down the line, Leo is going to be known as someone who carefully picks what films he does , often for it’s dramatic potential, but it’s clear as day here that this was just his first opportunity to get into a real movie and he took it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. He had to start somewhere and get more recognition. It’s just a very clear observation.
Over the next couple of months, I’ve taken it upon myself to watch all of Leonardo DiCaprio’s films since his debut in Critters 3 in 1991. Leo is an actor I highly respect not only because he is someone who didn’t lose the plot as a child/teen star but also because he has simply made such good and interesting career moves and I honestly rate him as probably the best actor of his generation. I also happen to really enjoy a lot of the movies he is in so it will be quite a pleasure.
Why Leo? Well, I’m looking forward to trying to study (not sure how exactly) someone that i both respect and enjoy watching. The guy is a 3 time Oscar Nominee and has worked with almost all of my favourite directors so what’s not to like.
Critters 3 will be up first and I’m going to be reviewing each one as I go through them slowly but surely up to the release of his next two films The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wallstreet before he hangs up acting for the next few years which he has just announced. For that reason also, I think the timing is great.
So the word on the street is that one of my favourite directors, JJ Abrams is now going to helm the next installment in my favourite franchise… Star Wars.
I just thought I’d drop my thoughts quick. Firstly, I’m very excited because I think JJ is just a talented wonderful dude who I really admire. Star Trek, MI3, Super 8, Lost…. this man’s CV speaks for itself.
The only concerns are more around how people will react and how he will handle the reaction of being the guiding force behind both Star Trek and Star Wars. The two franchises have often stood apart, staring at each other ready to duel and the fanboys of each franchise are usually very fired up against the other. I happen to fall into both camps so I’m very happy.
The other concern is that I wonder how much JJ will have to reign in some of his certain styles so that they are ‘in line’ if you will with what has gone before in the previous episodes. It would not be right for lens flares to all of a sudden pop out of every corner just because the Empire has fallen and he may have to reserve that special camera shake for one or two moments.