Tuesday, June 23, 2009

David Edelstein

In the early 90s I lived on Brunswick Avenue, a stone's throw away from Toronto's Kensington Market and Spadina Chinatown. In the summer months it was quite common to see several city blocks taped off for the purposes of filming the David Carradine cable TV retread, "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues." There were sooooo many David Carradine stories making the rounds that I was surprised his life-span exceeded that of his (justifiably) short-lived series.

I had also lost touch with just how cool that cat could be. David Edelstein reconnected me. Edelstein doesn't focus on the tawdry — and why should he, since everyone else has that covered? — but he gets the aura right.

Also, having just watched Pixar's Up with my daughters, I couldn't quite put my finger on how this flick could move me so deeply, yet leave me feeling strangely distant when it was all over. I checked in on Edelstein, then cursed myself for doing so. He's got a whole lotta love for the film, but dig this: "Shock us with an inconsolable woe (predator eats fish’s wife and kids; a trash-heap Earth is depopulated save for a robot whose idea of culture is Hello, Dolly!); then gradually introduce sentiment, riotous chases, and a rousing cliff-hanger ... Once Fredricksen’s wife, Ellie, passes away, there are no women characters — but Pixar has always been a boys’ universe." Damn it! David got there first!

Regarding his last observation, I'll simply add a heartfelt "Amen" from the choir loft, and encourage John Lasseter to step forward and take the lead from his hero and mentor, Hayao Miyazaki (wp). The issue isn't just about providing equal time to half the world's population — it's about swimming in the deep end.

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