Cinemas finally reopened last week. Since they’ve been open, I’ve been to see two films. The first thing I saw was “A Quiet Place Part II” and then, more as an excuse for a cinema trip than any interest, I went to see “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”. Getting back into the cinema was fantastic. I love the cinema experience. I think because it’s loud and you’re in the dark it can be a nice break for the brain. There’s no space for thinking about stress or going on your phone. It’s an almost meditative act. The film has your full undivided attention.
The two films I saw were a quick reminder of all the good and bad of the cinema. As with all sequels, the originality of the first film is lost by the time we see “A Quiet Place Part II” We’ve seen the monsters, we expect the moments of sneaking and then accidentally making some noise and then a hectic chase. We know that the girl is deaf. Seeing those things in the first film was something new. It felt like a bad situation that kept getting worse. This time around, we’re used to all that. The truth is it doesn’t up it’s game this time around. It probably could have ended at the end of the first film and been a very solid and complete story. But the best trailer for a film is a successful prequel so they had to make a second one. I also think the film wasn’t as brutal as the first. It has one initial gruesome shock but I think the first one was less worried about offending audiences with shocking choices.
It seems weird to have a film that leans so heavily on a deaf character for drama and tension but then isn’t released as subtitled. It kinda undermines all the positive work that the film and the team behind it are trying to be seen to be doing. There’s probably a lot more to that than I know, but it seems weird.
All that being said, “A Quiet Place Part II” was fun to see on the big screen. Millicent Simmonds is great and probably overtook Emily Blunt to take the leading role. It was great fun to hear jump scares in the cinema again and enjoy the shared experience of watching films together with strangers. It amplifies the tension. I also enjoyed the short cameo appearance of Scoot McNairy, the actor with the best name in Hollywood. It’s definitely worth watching. My complaints aren’t really with the film itself, but more with sequels in general and the person at Paramount Pictures decided not to subtitle a film with a deaf protagonist.
While my complaints with “A Quiet Place Part II” are ideological, my complaints with “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” are much more straight forward. It’s just not good. It’s a real case of a film being propelled forward by it’s cast and it’s capacity to advertise watches and gin. It’s terrible with some funny moments, but those moments are like reminders that people were paid money to make this so they had to do something. This is not going to be anyone’s favourite film and I hope I forget about it soon.
So my first trips back to the cinema were a pretty good reminder of what we’ve missed. Some trash, some good times, but it’s all worth it to get to sit in the dark for a while and eat popcorn.