Friday, May 16, 2008

Uwe Boll Postal Screening Vancouver
Postal: It wasn't as offensive as I thought it would be.

A screening for Uwe Boll's much talked about 9/11 inspired licensed videogame film Postal, proved that, 1) the movie wasn't as bad as many have said it would be, and 2) the audience loved it, and were quite in support of the director.

Tickets for the screening were made available through various outlets, from local newspapers, websites like, and businesses like Videomatica. Taking place at the Granville 7 Empire Cinema, with a Q&A by the director after the screening, the show was pretty packed with movie-goers who dared to see what this film was all about. Surprisingly when I spoke to people in the lineup prior to the show, many weren't angry Boll-haters. I noticed this again inside the theater where people applauded Boll, rather than booing. And cheered, rather than insulting. The Q&A after the show also didn't really have anyone making sarcastic remarks, but were more curious to see his thoughts on things like the Anti-Boll petition, the Michael Bay boxing invitational, and movies he enjoys. In other words, respectful. Being I forgot my camera, I unfortunately wasn't able to document this event in images/video.

Boll thanked everyone once they were seated for taking a chance on his indie film rather than the big Hollywood pictures like Speed Racer, from there the show began... This was the third time this week that I've been to a special screening in the same theater, the first being for the Cop drama Vice, (A movie that Boll was previously interested in during the script stage, but passed on it), then Syd Mead/Blade Runner Lecture, and now Postal with Uwe Boll. It definitely feels like film festival season, even though there is no festival going on.

Let me cut to the chase. Postal is a film that relies on politically incorrect humor, to convey Boll's frustrations with the events surrounding 9/11 -- George Bush, the Taliban, Germans, and organic loving hippie cults. The film opens with an amusing conversation of two middle eastern men piloting a plane, as they talk about the number of virgins they'll received upon their death as martyrs. As you would expect, passengers begin fighting their way into the cockpit, and eventually the plane crashes. This scene pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film. The humor based on the beliefs of others, and how they go to the extremes to achieve their god given promises. The audience found this opening scene hilarious, and it seemed that Boll's film had an effect on them from the get go.

The story takes place in a small American town (actually filmed here in Vancouver), in which the main character who is down on his luck, can't seem to find a job, so he hatches a plan to make money, by stealing a shipment of penis dolls called "Krotchy". Osama and company express an interest in gaining these dolls too, as they hold little cylindrical containers with Bird Flu. Both camps collide and the movie ends up being a fight for these Krotchy dolls.

Personally I think the humor in the movie isn't anything new, brilliant or revolutionary. (A woman in the theater during the Q&A actually called Postal brilliant, which I beg to differ) Though the film is FUNNY, it ISN'T the greatest piece of cinema ever made, far from it. I've seen skits on various sketch comedy programs, that attempted the same type of gags, and many times they didn't work, but for some reason, Boll's writing got many laughs, which I noticed throughout the film, even when I thought that a lot of the jokes fell flat. I also don't think the so-called 'offensive' material was pushed ENOUGH, and though many weren't spared when it comes to the jokes, there's a lot that could have been said, (and done), that I expected, but never happened. Which has me wondering why 'people', critics who have seen it, are so repulsed by the material. Stuff like this is on American television all the time.

In fact, I've seen cartoons on SNL's TV Funhouse, and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim that are far far better in terms of pushing the envelope, being able to get a laugh out of how wrong the jokes are. Many in the theater compared Postal to South Park, which would be I guess similar in some respects, but if I had to compare Postal to live-action material, the movie would fall somewhere between a strange cross of Joel Schumacher's Falling Down, and Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, (which I enjoyed) but with less famous people. I would draw the comparison even further with the film sharing the same type of violent, stereotyping, satire that the Grand Theft Auto series is known for, and of course, the Postal game aswell. Which I think he was successful in that respect.

Now I know what you're thinking. How could this be? It's Uwe Boll, and most people hate him, for hating on his videogame material. Well, since I've been playing many hours of GTAIV the last few weeks, going into this movie seemed like a seamless transition. It was like watching a live-action GTA in a way. I know I'm gonna get shit for saying that, but I don't care, they are not that dissimilar from each other. A game that broke record sales, with millions of people sitting in front of their TV's doing exactly the same questionable actions that appear in this movie, gamers should at the very least find Postal humorous, and entertaining.

Though, it isn't perfect, and it felt sometimes as if there wasn't anything worth caring about in the movie, not the main characters, no one. I think the movie starts to slow down during the last half of the film, rather than coming to an exciting climax, it becomes a mess of 'stuff happening' on screen that kinda bored me. There's this one scene in particular that involves a massive shootout, and a speech that the main character gives, which seriously irked me, it wasn't funny, just badly done. To top it off there are many shots of female breasts, and nudity if that's the only thing that'll get you to watch the movie.

If anything Boll is successful in making an odd comedy, and perhaps should stick to this type of genre. His next few films though, definitely sound much more serious.

Boll, on feeling like a Black Sheep, and struggling indie filmmaker.

During the Q&A Boll expressed his dislike for Hollywood, and the machine in which movies are made. He mentioned that a few Sony executives saw Postal, and enjoyed it, but turned it down for distribution because they felt "they're demographic wouldn't get it". Boll thinks that the entire Hollywood system is fucked up, when someone like Michael Bay who made such an expensive blockbuster gone wrong (Pearl Harbor) continues to make movies. He also mentioned that Bay's lawyers have stopped him from making Boxing challenges. Boll, also felt sorry for investors of Hollywood films, saying that only people at the top of the chain make money whereas those at the bottom, never really make big bucks from their investments, and used The Lord of the Rings as an example. He had an LA agent for 3 weeks, but then fired him, and prefers to get his films out there himself. Europe also has been unkind to his movie Postal, being unable to secure theaters in UK.

In the end...

I can't argue against a theater packed with people who laughed with the movie, rather than at it. It was a funny movie. Whether it was a good movie, is an entirely different thing. Is the world coming to an end? Maybe. Watch it and you be the judge. That is all.

related: Raging Boll Boxing Match, Signing the Petition?, "They Wait" Horror Film

1 comment:

Stickynote Theatre said...

It's incredibly refreshing to get an actual intelligent take on this film for once, instead of "omgomgomg Uwe sux." I probably still wouldn't waste my money on it, but maybe it's not the disaster everyone's made it out to be.