the darjeeling limited.
the thing i've always loved about wes anderson more than anything has been his ability to make me care about his quirky, detached from reality, and sometime asshole characters. whether it was steve zissou, royal tenenbaum, dignan or max & herman i always had a vested interest in the characters. i wanted steve's relationship with ned to grow. i wanted royal to find a place of comfort and understanding with his family. i wanted dignan to not be an idiot while still remaining his idiotic self (if that makes sense to anyone) and i really wanted max & herman to not kill one another but to come close .. you know, for the enjoyment of the audience (and by audience i mean me).
but in darjeeling i never really cared about the whitman brothers. i had a small interest in jack after seeing hotel chevalier but that vanished after the first few scenes. i mean yeah, the whitman's definitely had back stories. i got the whole jack/ex-girlfriend thing. i got the whole peter marriage/baby thing. i got the whole francis bandage/possible suicide/controlling thing. i also got the whole luggage thing (hitting us over the head there, wes?) but at no point did i care about any of it.
maybe i had some expectations that were a bit off. the original story that i'd read about a year ago was so damn lively. three brothers on an spiritual adventure to find the soul of their father who they believed had been reincarnated into a wild tiger who just so happened to be terrorizing the village where their mother lived. oh and bill murray was along for the ride as their tour guide. so maybe i set myself up for the let down by expecting something totally different. but then again, it became pretty obvious before the release of darjeeling that the film wasn't going to be following that storyline so yeah .. scratch that expectations bit.
i guess that for whatever reason i just couldn't make a connection with any of the characters and without that a movie will usually do nothing for me. i mean shit, i even cared about bow wow in fast & the furious: tokyo drift! granted, i cared about how horrific his death scene would be but whatever (boy was i disappointed when he lived .. that was my only reason for watching that damn movie!).
all in all, the movie was shot beautifully and i can't say anything bad about owen wilson, adrien brody or jason schwartzman's performances. i just wish the story had pulled me in a bit more. but the end of the day i don't put it as a strike to wes anderson, no matter how much i've loved a number of directors no one has ever made a great movie every time out. so regardless of how i feel about darjeeling, i'm still definitely looking forward to the fantastic mr fox in 2009.