Wednesday, May 10, 2017
The Lost City of Z Review
Moving forward with "The Lost City of Z," as I said, this is a movie that I knew practically nothing about. I knew it had good reviews, the box office for a film of its size was good (up to $6.8 million so far) and it probably had something to do with a lost city. But you know, I don't often get the experience of going to a movie completely blind and when an independent film like this comes out of nowhere to get a nationwide expansion after solid reviews, I often like to take that chance. So that's what I did here. If you love seeing all kinds of movies and you want to go in blind like me, then feel free to close this review and head out to the theater because I think this is a good movie worth seeing. I'm assuming, though, that most of you are wondering what in the heck is this movie and you're going to need a bit more description about what this is. And outside the big movie buffs who are fine with seeing everything, I do think this is the type of movie that's worth knowing what you're getting into before you dive in because I don't think it's the type of movie that everyone is going to love, as is shown by it's 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to its 63 percent audience score. It's a slow-paced journey through a thick wilderness, both literally and metaphorically.
What's really interesting about this movie is that in general I think we as humans have a fascination towards the unknown. We like mysteries and it's almost better when a mystery is left unsolved because sometimes its anticlimactic when when we learn the answer to the mystery. This movie is definitely shrouded in mystery as it tells the real life story of a man searching for an ancient, mythical city that may or may not actually exist. Atlantis and El Dorado are two rather famous examples in fiction of cities that people are always searching for. In fact, this movie reminded me a lot of a live action version of the 2000 DreamWorks Animation movie "The Road to El Dorado." In fact, El Dorado and Z might actually be the same city. "The Road to El Dorado" is obviously a fictional film about people finding El Dorado and is similar to Disney's "Atlantis: The Lost Empire," which came out a year later. But the general premise is the same. Except "The Lost City of Z" is a whole heck of a lot more searching and is about actual events that happened to a guy who got obsessed with finding this city after seeing potential evidence of its existence. Thus I was on the edge of my seat as I was curious to discover the answers that this man spent his life searching for.
As my biggest criticism, I will say that this movie feels really long. It's just under two and half hours at 141 minutes, but it felt like I was in the theater for three hours from when the movie started. There were several moments where I honestly felt like the movie was heading into its final act, but then it kept going and we went on several more adventures through the wilderness after I first thought the movie was going to end. Given the story it was telling, this length was a necessary thing as I think rushing this movie or cutting out some of the adventures would've compromised the overall experience as I imagine there's even more about this man's life that they didn't get to. Thus I imagine a 13-episode Netflix show may have been the best way to do this story complete justice, but they decided to go with the movie version and thus I think they did the best they could in telling this story in their chosen format. If you want to know more, I imagine the book that this movie is based off of might be your cup of tea. But if you go into the movie, just be prepared for what you are getting yourself into. Thus given that I went into this movie completely blind, it was a bit of an unpleasant surprise that we kept going and going with no signs of an end in sight.
Overall, this movie comes with an interesting recommendation from me. It's definitely a bit of a non-typical adventure movie, thus I can't necessarily recommend this to everyone. But if you get too bogged down with the slate of summer blockbusters and you need a change of pace, a change of pace is exactly what you're going to get here and it's quite possible that you will find this super refreshing as it's a movie a bit like "National Treasure" or "Indiana Jones" without all the fast-paced action that those movies bring. We're just wandering around in the jungle with this man and his team searching for something mythical and it's kind of fun in its own unique way. Without giving much detail away, I will also quickly throw in there that this is not all about adventure. There's a lot of family themes in the movie as this man tries to balance his adventures with his family life and probably doesn't focus as much on family as he probably should, so there's lessons to be learned there. The movie also stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland and I had no idea it was any of them until the end credits informed me, so pleasant surprise there with them disappearing into their roles. Overall, I'm going to give "The Lost City of Z" an 8/10.