It's a shame when good movies go bad, particularly when their plots sound so new and promising, stars good actors, and has good buzz with the critics.
Well, The Fountain is one of those good movies that went awry in its efforts to deliver a satisfying movie, and I'm a little mad. The movie did manage to do a good job with visual aspect and the actors were genuine in their characters. However, just like a sub-standard soldier in the Army, it fails to be all that it can be.
The Fountain is actually an interweaving of 3 stories with the same characters and the same goal-- finding the mythical, medical, and spiritual Fountain of Youth which will put an end of the pesky problems of disease and death.
The film's opening is convoluted as it introduces the 3 stories which are all in different stages of progression. The first story introduces us to a Conquistador, Tomas (Hugh Jackman), who is fiercely loyal and dedicated to the service of Queen Isabel (Rachel Weisz), the Kingdom of Spain, and its growing empire. However, the queen is embattled by the Catholic Church, which learns of her plans to find the Fountain of Youth (well actually it's a tree that gives eternal life to whomever drinks of its sap). The queen has been deemed a heretic by Father Avila (Mark Magolis) her prime opponent, who calls for her arrest and undeniably, her execution.
The second story concerns Dr. Tommy Creo (Jackman) and his stricken wife Izzi (Weisz). Tommy tirelessly toils to find a cure for the tumor that is rapidly growing inside of Izzi. Ironically, he spends so much time and energy at work to save her from death, that he squanders the precious little time that she has left to live. His long hours and consuming passion raises concern with his boss, Lillian (Ellen Burstyn), who is irked that Tommy is taking risks with unapproved drugs and not spending more time with his terminally ill wife.
The final story again features Izzi and Tommy, this time the setting is a sphere ascending the cosmos on its way to a star that was worshiped by ancient Peruvians, who believed it was the gateway to Heaven. However, we see that only Tommy is physically there, as Izzi appears solely as phantasmic flashbacks, to which Tommy reacts intensely. Along for the ride is a leafless tree from which Tommy subsists by eating tiny pieces of its bark. The tree, like Izzi, is dying and again, it's all he can do is plead for it to hold on, until he can find a way to save it.
Director Dan Aronofksty eventually manages to plait the tales, making them more clear as the movie moves forward. Loosely similar in construction to Snatch, Pulp Fiction, and Crash, each separate story in some form or another interconnects with one another.
Regrettably the final story takes a bizarre turn for the worse as it tries to incorporate the other two accounts into an ending that reminds me of the abominable Lady In The Water. In fact, apart from the CGI used transform Jackman from an earth bound being into an outer space version of Bubble Boy, the final story goes off track from its once interesting and mysterious design into something that elicits an "You gotta be fucking kidding" response, followed by a quizzical look to the person sitting next to you, who nods in agreement.
I was expecting more from The Fountain -- like an ending that didn't make you wonder if your popcorn was laced with acid. With a competent cast, and a newfangled spin to an old legend, The Fountain could have done much better in its attempt to chronicle the quest of one man's obsessive pursuit to kill death.
I saw this movie on a free preview pass, and my suggestion is that you save your money. If you think you'll find rejuvenation with this film, you will lose two hours of your precious (or worthless) life.
Czarina's First Date Rating: I rate this movie B; which means if I saw it on a first date I would*:
* Czarina does not give blow jobs on the first date... (often).
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