This week-end was the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival and we celebrated by going to the movies on two consecutive days! Of course, instead of the art-house classics that most Festival patrons were there to see, we saw (among the four of us) the mainstream films The Polar Express, After the Sunset, and The Incredibles.
On Saturday, Christina and I went to The Polar Express while Colleen saw After the Sunset with several of her friends. Polar Express is a visually stunning film, with a sweet "the true meaning of Christmas is in your heart" plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I will admit that I am a sentimentalist -- have been since the girls were born -- so I am a sucker for this gentle sort of film with a deep but not preachy or too treacly message.
And the visuals of this film are gorgeous, using innovative new techniques to capture the craft of great actors such as Tom Hanks and liberate the film from the constraints of film reality. The characters in the movie are clearly animations, but the performances are true. What most impressed me were the fore- and backgrounds, they were deep and rich and imaginative. They brought to the screen that wonderful visual version of a story that we all saw on our inner movie screens as young children, sparked by book illustrations but sparkling to a life of their own.
On Sunday, Karen, Christina, Colleen and I all went to see The Incredibles. This film is all that we have come to expect from a Pixar production. Visually interesting and challenging, funny, with a strong plot and plenty of adventure. Good stuff, and enjoyed by all in a crowded theatre.
I had felt bad about not going to see any of the hundred or so movies featured at the Film Festival. The truth is, though, that as much as I love The Cinema, what is more important at this point in my life is sharing that love with the girls and helping them build their film-going experiences up to a point where, when they are grown, they will be able to draw full enjoyment and value from all types and genres of film. For that purpose, the films we saw this week-end were the right sort of Festival.