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The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums (Soundtrack)
The Royal Tenenbaums (Paperback)

The Royal Tenenbaums Review

Directed By: Wes Anderson.
Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller.

Synopsis: Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) had three children -- Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson) and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) -- and then they separated. Chas started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of fifty thousand dollars in the ninth grade. Richie was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbuams was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. Most of this was generally considered to be their father's fault. The Royal Tenenbaums tells the story of a family's sudden, unexpected reunion one recent winter.

So, I have to say, right off the top...I'm pretty stoked on this film. I mean, the cast list alone makes me want to see this film, add in the fact that it has now been three years since Rushmore first hit the big screen and anticipation is high to see what Wes Anderson has brought forth for his third film. Brought forth for his third film? Did I just write that? Sad.

Anyway, I'm getting all prepped to go out into a cold Canadian winter night and see this flick when I notice I have some email sitting from my friend Colin Foster, a cinematographer/producer for Big Woo Films. I should have skipped over it in retrospect but here it is:

Subject: Royal Tennenbaums - 4/10

Just in case you are checking mail from Calgary, you might want to save your money and not bother with this movie.

Slow, sloppy, and really missing the fun.

So now I have already committed myself to seeing a movie I am probably not going to like...Colin and I share pretty similar tastes, though I am still stunned he has yet to watch The Godfather Series. What does any of this have to do with the movie? Not a lot admittedly, but it does tell me one thing, a critic is about as useful as a nail in your cranium. I say this because, I came out of the movie and I totally enjoyed it. I loved the way it looked, the recurring gags, the cast, the off-beat slow line deliveries. I didn't love it as much as the two idiots who broke into applause after the film was over.

Sidenote: Why would one applaud a film? I can see applauding it if I were at the premiere and I wanted to show the cast and director how much I appreciated their work (which I do) but to simply stand and applaud at a local multi-plex because I enjoyed the film? Does that not seem a touch pompous? It's like clapping to draw attention to yourself so you can tell the audience how much YOU enjoyed the film and how much YOU appreciated it. End of sidenote.

So, when I sit down with Colin I have to say why I enjoyed it because he and Carrington (Director/Producer/Writer at Big Woo) are especially keen on telling me why I am so wrong.

Their arguments are valid.
Little in the way of story. (True)
Quirkiness for the sake of being quirky. (Possibly...but I like quirky)
Owen Wilson should not be allowed to co-write with Wes Anderson (they both hated Bottle Rocket as well but loved Wes' Rushmore.

But for me, I glossed over these things. It was like I wanted to be exposed to this dysfunctional family that wasn't just bombarding each other with stupid put-downs but avoiding the confrontations, accepting the world as it is, or just tuning out completely. I loved the way every single cast member played their roles, I liked the characters, especially the more cynical and nasty ones like Gene Hackman's portrayal of Royal. It just seemed to me to be a grown up version of a fairy tale...bizarre circumstances, bizarre characters.

I suppose had I tried to find any resemblance of reality in this film I would have been hard pressed to. There is no rhyme or reason to the Tenenbaums eccentricities, they just are...why was Humpty up on that freakin' wall if he knew to fall would kill him? Who cares. It's an escape film, let it take you into this fictitious New York world in a beat up Gypsy Co-Op cab and enjoy the ride.

So to finish off...for me a solid 7.5 out of 10. For Colin, who is still talking to me despite the lapse in my taste, a 4.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Audio Commentary by Wes Anderson
Portraits by Albert Maysles
Making-Of Featurette
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailers
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1

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Evil Ash

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