Posted in Films, Reviews

‘I Tried Not To…’

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

2 Stars

You may have noticed a theme occurring with these film review posts titles, they’re all named after a song or track from the film’s soundtrack. I’m possibly more proud of this fact than I should be, and I’m so glad I found this song hidden away on the depths of Apple Music, because I think it sums up what I’m about to say about this film. I tried not to like it.

At the heart of most of the films we watch, there’s a positive message that binds the film together and gives it a central film. This is one film that happens to be exempt from this rule. Now you can choose to subvert people’s expectations in a playful, ironic or intelligent way or you can choose to do this quite ambivalently and almost, it seems, by mistake.

At first glance the trailer of this film had me intrigued by the premise of two people awoken too early from stasis purely coincidentally who just happen to make it work and fall in love. Of course, they save the ship from total disaster and against all odds it has a happy ending. This isn’t quite the film that you get. The ‘Avalon’ does indeed have problems and someone is awoken accidentally due to a failure I’d guess, though this isn’t really explained past the point of ‘It can’t happen, but it did.’ but the meeting of these two people was not coincidental but in fact, purely selfish.

On one hand, it’s a story and why shouldn’t you represent characters who are flawed as all of us are, what interests me about this film is how despite Jim Preston’s decision (which is a moral challenge for the character admittedly) to gather information, stalk and without her permission spend time getting to know the still sleeping Aurora Lane via intelligence gathered aboard the Avalon he still makes the decision to wake her from cryo-sleep essentially choosing to take her life, many years before she should even be awake. When this is challenged by Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Jim frequently tries to win her back because obviously why wouldn’t he be a talented blacksmith, jeweller, architect and gardener to name but a few. The narrative seems, ultimately, to reward him for an action which I’d assume would lead to the breakdown of trust in a relationship. Fundamentally, would this not be the end of your relationship?

I can forgive his actions being overlooked ultimately by his female counterpart, but it seems to me that this could have been a much deeper film about morals and understanding of the human psyche as a social experiment and less of a romantic film about two characters who save the Avalon against all odds, and quite unrealistically they survive unscathed. To say that I did not enjoy this film would be lying, I did, it strikes me though quite alike most films screened in the cinema as disposable love stories that should be consumed and then forgotten, despite their extensive budget. I suppose in a way, that’s largely what the genre of animation appears but I saw a lot more value in the message portrayed by a koala, a porcupine, a pig and an elephant than I did here. Which is a shame because this film was visually stunning and the concept could have been great.

 

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