hopscotchee: michael shannon score: 67.5 rating: R time: 130 minutes
hopscotching. c'mon! all the cool kids are doing it. do it. do it now! LOL - yes, we are trying to ben-stiller-bandwagon you right now!! we know it might not be as fun as re-watching gossip girl for the fifth-hundredth time, but who needs dan humphrey when you can literally put yourself in a position to watch movies you wouldn't typically throw on. like isn't that much more exciting?? yyyyeeeaahh, we can see how this seems more fun for film buffs, but if you're at all a curious human being, we strongly encourage you to try it even if just for a week. it might surprise you, and, who knows, you might stumble across a special gem like 12 strong. but, who knows?
we do. we'll answer that one for you.
you see, never in a million years would we have watched a movie like 12 strong. better yet, never had we even heard of the movie, 12 strong, until we came up with batch 2 of our hopscotch. but if it wasn't for that, we would've never been exposed to the amazing set design in this film. now, obviously major props need to be given to the fact that they were able to scout locations rather than having to rely on green screen for the scenery, but, that said, the set design is what really glued this whole movie together. and while there are several other movies that have perfectly fine set design, there is something refreshingly fun and noteworthy about noticing how great something is from something unexpected. so, cool, there were real rocks in the background instead of fake, what's so special about that?? the great thing about the natural backdrop is that it added a sense of realism that the green screen would've crapped up and let you submerge yourself into the war and be in that state of intensity and adrenaline with the soldiers. (this was also nicely done with the sharp use of the dop (director of photography)'s deep focus wide shots - just something we also have to give credit to).
similarly, in addition, if we hadn't come across this movie while hopscotching, we also wouldn't have been able to appreciate the storytelling's ability despite the lack of dialogue in the script. although, this movie had more dialogue than most war movies, the plot was heavily influenced by the motions and actions of the characters, which were all so kindly directed and coordinated for us to a 't'. especially in the sequences with horses - like dang!! we don't know how they were able to do what they did, all while keeping perfect timing, but mad respect and claps from us. and, also mad respect to the actors!! because the training for that must've been hecka rigorous. like, it was a lot, but it really conveyed the situations and storylines, so thanks.
and, lastly, set aside whether war movies are your go-to-genre and take it from two girls who normally stick to sci-fi than historical flicks when we say that this movie had incredible pacing. while most historical films can be stereotyped to 'drag on' or be 'slow', this movie's timing and editing style borrowed heavily from that of a typical action movie, setting up the protagonists and antagonists on their on time instead of letting time take control.
so, while 12 strong didn't steal the place of either of our favorite movies, there were a lot of hidden strengths in this film that someone wouldn't pick up from just from a first glance that we enjoyed uncovering.
-- thanks, mickey shay xo