Tuesday, August 30, 2011


trailer | website

A sweet, somewhat predictable story about beautiful delusions, relationships, superheroics, and superscience. So, of course I enjoyed it! =)

The predictable factor (at least that's how it was for a nerdy type like myself) is countered by the performances of Ryan "Jason Stackhouse" Kwanten as the mild-mannered Griff and superpowered vigilante, and the lovely Maeve Dermody as the potential romantic sidekick, Melody.

Okay, maybe I crushed on her and her character instantly, and hard, as soon as she banged her head for the first time. =)

It's great seeing Kwanten do something other than Jason. I've always thought that he deserved some serious recognition for his role on TRUE BLOOD. I mean, he is just SO good at making the improbable Jason real and naively consistent. Not that Griff is a particularly challenging part, but it's a nice change.

Especially the change of accent. Crizazy. Made me snicker when another character in GRIFF talks to him about how an accent can change a person's identity.

Synopsis. Griff leads two lives. One life, as Griff the customer service rep, working the phone in a cubicle. The other life, as Griff The Invisible, a defender of justice and powerful protector of the innocent, dispatching villainous thugs with a costumed fist to the face and boot to the bum. Or does he? His brother Tim moved back to town to help him out once his "episodes" got out of hand. Griff, you see, BELIEVES he's The Invisible, but what everyone else knows is that he is running around in a superhero costume prompting complaints to the police of a weird stalker in the neighborhood. The question is: is that so wrong? When Melody, Tim's new girlfriend and self-styled Experimentalist researcher meets him, her answer turns out to be: nope.

*** SPOILERS *** follow... Reflections on moments that I dig and such...

I love the Oscar Wilde quote that begins the film...
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

It was not familiar to me, and I couldn't remember ever reading or hearing it in the context of comic book superheroes, but surely it must have been, right? It's just so perfect.

I love how Melody almost instantly knowingly buys into Griff's superheroics, plugging her experimentalist science into his superpowered reality. She immediately recognizes that he's trying to create an invisibility suit and then applies her own science to improve upon it.

There's some sadness in the idea that Melody's differentness is somehow "above" Griff's, that she can see and understand his reality from her reality, AND know how to tweak her behavior to fit into his reality, playing along, in other words, when from Griff's point of view, he is not playing, but living.

Griff challenges her motivation once he's snapped out of it (when he overhears Melody's conversation w his brother Tim about how she could never invite him to dinner with her parents because he's just as much of a freak as she is) - something like "Was I just a monkey to you?" That IS how it looks from the outside. But Melody's delivery of her situation as living in a bubble that only he could get thru FELT enough like an answer that Griff ultimately has to forgive her. Or is it return to her?

Actually, he rejects her after that explanation, but only after he witnesses Melody's own unbelievable gift do they both realize that they belong together.

In the end, I'm not sure what they're existence is really like except that they are together and they are happy. It's sweet to see Tim being a willing enabler/helper, but I think that lends weight to the notion that Melody and Griff are sharing a life in the "normal" real world, and visiting Griff The Invisible's alternate reality strictly for fun, in an almost cosplay sort of scenario. Which is the proper happy ending, I guess.

The other path leads to the end of MAZES AND MONSTERS. A totally valid option, but tonight, I'm glad that it went happy.

It's a simple, and absolutely required bit of dis/continuity in telling a story like this, but I appreciate the proper flipping of props, costumes, and sets between Griff's reality and the everyday. The effects for the super-reality were pretty damn good, too. Not POW! BIFF! BLAM!, but just cool enough and cool.

A lot of the supporting cast have some great moments...

When Griff's boss Gary speaks to him about how he could make life easier for himself if he learned to be invisible, it's a very thoughtful take on living day-to-day life, surviving it. And it seems like, for a minute, it might sink in with Griff. Of course, he goes another way entirely. =)

Melody's parents each get a sweet moment. Almost John Hughesian. When dad walks in on Melody busy at work, which yields some pointilist art inspired by the space in between atomic particles, he nods at her explanations and theories, and she smiles, knowing that he's nodding, and he tells her that he and her mother just want her to be happy. It's sweet.

When mom walks in to call her down to dinner and ultimately meet the new, de-powered, Griff, Melody hits her with a big Question: something like... Do you think that life exists by chance, or by design...? Oh, and leave religion out of it. Mom comes back with, "I think it's like gymnastics... You look up at the stars and you see infinity. You look down in a microscope and you see infinity again. And here, in the middle, this is life. And it's like being on the balance beam, perfectly balanced, in the middle... This is life." Something like that, at least. And it was quite lovely.

Yeah, I'm a sucker. Wanna fight about it?

The music was fun, and in particular this one theme that starts out with this, like, I dunno, Casio keyboard, one-key-at-a-time melody, and then builds up in layers. I'd like to learn to make some music like that some day. It seems simple, but builds up to something really fun.

The first time it sort of speaks up, the first time I pay attention to it, is when Melody first appears. I didn't quite recognize it as such, but maybe it's her theme? It's the music that leads up to her first *bonk* of the film, and, comic book nerd that I am, I instantly wish-know why it is she knocks herself into the wall. She is testing herself for a superpower - phasing.

There's a cut to her scribbling in her notebook right after that, apparently recording the result of her test, maybe suggesting a modification for her next test, but alas, I couldn't make out enough of the handwriting to know for sure.

Still, in my fanboy heart, I knew. I guess the movie probably won me right there.

I wish I could've seen this for the first time with a date who would get what was going on.

Eh, who am I kidding? I wish I could've seen this for the first time with Melody. =)

Keep on keepin on~


Karolita said...

Glad you enjoyed the movie..I liked it but not enough to do the detailed analysis you did. Thanks for the infinity quote...I could't remember it.

Karolita said...

Thanks for the infinity quote...I couldn't remember it

Anonymous said...

"Life was inevitable...
You look at the stars and see infinity. You look into a microscope and see infinity.
Like being in the middle of those two extremities, perched on a balance beam,
is us. Life. In the middle. Inevitable".

cabinboy said...

Very welcome, Karolita, that's the best my cyborg brain could recollect on its own. I'm a bit of a sucker for the superhero phenom, quirky characters, and comic books, so this did a fine job of pushing my buttons.

Thanks, Anon Y. Mous, for filling in the quote details.