Judging by my wife's unbridled excitement every time Toothless came on screen, my issue connecting with this film stems from my lack of desire to have my own dragon -- or winged cat-dog that breathes fire. He's charming enough, I guess. Just like this movie. The American-accented children jarred among the Scots adults at first, but the surprising turns in the story and the lessons learned won me over by the end.
What a strange, uneven film. It tries to be dark and funny in equal measure, usually not at the same time, and intermittently succeeds at both. It has a very good car chase and a spectacular hand-to-hand climactic fight scene. In the most audacious piece of stunt casting in recent history, it has Werner Herzog as a single-digited arch-villain. The problem is when people start talking, they tend not to stop. Good thing so many sequences play out with only the score for company.
The Romeo and Juliet comparison is obligatory, so let's get that out of the way.
But no, really, Tanna is a *lot* like Romeo and Juliet. Except it's set in tribal lands in Vanuatu, where residents have rejected money, Christianity, democracy, and t-shirts, instead choosing a traditional life. And this story really happened, only a few decades ago.
And instead of going all in with the tragedy, it ends with hope -- the hope that if you look at the…
It is our nature to disappoint ourselves, and each other; to fall short of expectations, over and over, until we accept our flaws and lower the bar. We cannot bank on others to be there when we need them; to act nobly and selflessly in times of trial. Likewise, we cannot hold ourselves up as paragons of humanity because in the end, we all have a limit at which we give up and go back to looking out for ourselves.…