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The West Wing
A look at the life of Amelia Earhart (Swank), the American pilot who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 on her history-making flight around the world.
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Whenever you don't get into a film, your mind tends to wander. You can think of many things and for each individual it's what's usually on our mind that day. Most of us go to the movies to get away from our lives for at least a 90 minutes. But sometimes it does the opposite when you are watching moving pictures in the dark that mean nothing to you.
This was the case in Amelia. I personally didn't get emotionally involved in the story and therefore really couldn't care what was happening. So my mind wandered. And when that happens I will either fall asleep (dark room + boredom + never with enough sleep = snoozing) or I'll study the shots with precision.
Amelia was shot in Toronto and many of the crew members plus the minor cast I know personally. So I ended up watching where they were shooting and how they changed the art direction to look like the 30s and/or in different places around the world. Then I started to pay attention to the editing and sound design. And whenever that happens you know the film is in big trouble because those are two things an audience member is not suppose to focus on.
This film didn't work at all. Not to sound too harsh because I know a lot of people worked hard to make Amelia, but this could be one of the worst films of 2009 because on a curve it had everything going for it. A solid cast and crew plus an Oscar winning screenwriter (Ronald Bass) who co-wrote it with an Oscar nominated screenwriter (Anna Hamilton Phelan). Not to mention a healthy budget to execute a solid looking film. This shouldn't of been the film that came out. So what happened?
Whenever you tell a bio-pic, either in a book, mini-series or feature film, it has to be about a universal and interesting theme that hovers over the person we're following. AKA - the film has to be about something more than following the step by step events of the person's life. We might as well just read the person's wikipedia page. What's the point? Amelia isn't about anything accept showing Amelia Earhart fly planes and reluctantly fall for guys. And they had it right under their nose.
I will assume that this wasn't the screenplay written and something happening during filming because there is the makings of a terrific story about a defining 20th century figure that still holds true with the 21st century audience. Amelia Earhart was a conflicted person because she wasn't typically herself whenever the cameras were on. Her people (mainly George Putnam who became her husband) showed the world a woman they thought America wanted and needed. Not the woman she really was.
The story of Amelia Earhart is a classic tale of how men make women that men want. Not how women really are or want to be. This was their theme and it's quite possibly the reason why Earhart died so young in the plane crash. She was conflicted because she was forced to be a version of what men wanted so she could earn the financial guidance to do what her passion was. This is a terrific conflict and it can easily push someone over the edge, especially when you're a maverick like Amelia who was attempting to be the person she wants to be in a male world.
And the man who ruined her was the man she married. What a great story. But a story they really only brushed around because they were too busy giving us moments of fake romance and a love triangle.
There's a lot of irony in this film. The story of a true role model for women told poorly and giving us a male's version of what they think women really care about.
They all should be ashamed of themselves for giving us this final cut version. How dare they ruin this story and not give us the film we deserved about this individual. This is a terrible film because they insulted the population with what they still think we want to see. Retire all of you. Or at least think about what you did and apologize to everyone who had to see this film.