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W - The Movie (2008)

Posted: October 20, 2008 20:00:34 • 618 words

Over the weekend, I went to see W., a satirical portrayal of Dubya's adult life. From the previews, it looked quite entertaining, and it appeared to make him look like the retarded monkey that I see him as in my mind. So, sure, let's check it out.

And, my impression of it afterwards was a resounding "Meh". This was a really poorly-written movie, and not the same way as most comedies these days. The storyline didn't really go anywhere, with no real beginning or end, and it constantly jumped around through different time periods. The producers did have the courtesy to put the year in huge font at the start of every scene, but the constant switching made it really hard to follow.

Another fallacy is that they didn't really identify who the supporting characters were. You'd think that everyone could figure this out on their own, but when you have actors portraying real-life people, some of whom aren't particularly noteworthy outside of their names, you need to have something to identify them. There's one character, presumably a family member, who I still can't figure out who they were supposed to be. And, in presidential movies, one of the earliest scenes in the film is usually always either a cabinet meeting with conspicuous nametags, or an Oval Office staff meeting with subtitled names to introduce the characters. W didn't have the latter at all, and the former didn't happen until halfway through the movie. Even then, only a couple of the nametags were legible, and they lacked names, only titles.

Lastly, the movie didn't really accomplish anything. Given the premise and subject matter, one would expect this movie to either showcase how inept Dubya really is, or characterize him as a heartwarming, lovable screw-up, like that relative everyone has who can't go two minutes without doing something wrong. Failing that, it could showcase how the other members of Bush's cabinet are really the ones in control, with him just as a puppet. Or, it could just be a generic presidential movie, showing what really went on behind the scenes of a particular scandal/crisis. This movie attempted to do all four simultaneously, and did a really poor job with all of them, making it feel like there was no focus. The storyline flailed wildly between different areas of focus, and started down a number of different paths without really bringing them to a coherent conclusion. Even the ending felt like "That's it?", and had to actually put "The End" on the screen; a big no-no, according to every film connoisseur I've talked to.

On the plus side, it had an incredible A-list cast, and the characters who were identifiable were very skillfully portrayed. And, scenes containing speeches were seamlessly blended with actual footage from those speeches, making it very hard to tell which parts were made for this movie, and which ones were taken from real life.

Overall, it's not really a bad movie, but it's not really a good one. It had a lot of potential for greatness, but by trying to do everything all at once, they not only killed the movie they were working on, but they made it much more difficult for anyone else to make a movie about Dubya and still be original. Plus, presidential movies are typically made about 20 years after the president they portray, and this is evidence that there's a reason for that; without the information from people on the inside, it's very difficult to effectively portray the true character of a president while he/she's in office.

Final Opinion: Mediocre movie that's good for a few cheap laughs at Dubya's expense, but not really worth seeing in the theatre.