Some Thoughts on the Oscar Bait that Oscar Mostly Didn’t Take.

Well, with only a few days to go until the Oscars, I finally saw The Impossible.  Here are some of my thoughts, presented for you in a unique stream of consciousness:

  • The first half of the film is very much like a horror movie.
    • It’s gut-wrenchingly terrifying, and nearly as bloody and gory as any scary movie I saw last year, with the exception of Cabin in the Woods.  In fact, I’m sure an actual horror movie with this level of gore and death on display would have gotten an automatic R-rating.  Somehow, The Impossible walked away with a PG-13, probably because it’s based on a true story, and it’s all dramatic Oscar bait and what-not.
    • Nevertheless, the first act plays out much like a horror film.  And every horror movie needs a monster.  Well, that tsunami is one heck of a mean monster—probably one of the worst you’ll see this year.
    • That monstrous tsunami beats the normally super-sexy Naomi Watts to a bloody pulp in the first act.  She comes off looking like a Bruce Campbell character in a Sam Raimi film.
    • Speaking of Miss Watts, I must say that although she is quite good in the film, I think young Tom Holland is the real breakout star of this film.
  • My biggest complaint with the movie was that it was way too lily-white. 
    • The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the deadliest natural disasters in all of recorded history, killing over 200,000 people in Southeast Asia.  An estimated 4,000-8,000 of those victims were in Thailand, the country in which The Impossible takes place.  Almost all of the confirmed deaths took place in the town of Khao Lak, which is the setting of the film.  Another 8,000 or so were injured by the tsunami in Thailand.  2,000 people went missing, and 7,000 were displaced from their homes.  As in, their homes in Thailand where they lived their lives.  And yet, all the main characters in this movie are rich white people on vacation.  All the secondary characters are rich white people on vacation.  The only Thai characters with speaking roles are trying to help the white folks, and none of those characters are important enough to get names in the end credits.
      • (Apparently, this reflects the actual recollection of the rich white survivors.)
  • Look, I know that this is the story of a wealthy Spanish family on vacation, and that the decidedly more ethnic-looking, real-life Maria Belón hand-picked Naomi Watts to play her character in the film, based on Watts’ performance in 21 Grams.  That’s fine.  I don’t even mind that much that the main family is portrayed as white, even though it smacks of typical Hollywood whitewashing.  But in a movie about a massive Southeast Asian disaster in which white people made up less than 5% of the victims, is a little ethnic variety asking too much?
  • Although Naomi Watts is nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for this film, The Impossible was snubbed in a couple of other categories:
    • It should have been nominated for best visual effects, for the jaw-dropping spectacle of the great tsunami, which looks absolutely realer than real.  Bonus points for not using CGI.
    • I can’t wait to find out how they did this.
    • It should also have been nominated for make-up, for the various bruises, lacerations, gashes, and other various injuries that cover everyone in the film.  All the actors look like the morning after their first night at Fight Club.
  • This movie made me want to go home and hug my sweet little baby boy.  Ever since I became a dad, kids in danger always get to me; especially little boys.  There’s one particularly cute and sweet little blonde boy, maybe around three years old or so, that reminded me a lot of my little son Celyn.  I teared up a bit when Warning! Spoiler area! To read click here!, because I couldn’t help but imagine myself and my own little one in a similar situation.
  • A fun drinking game:  down a shot whenever anything “impossible” happens (like an “impossible” coincidence or turn of events), or someone is faced with an “impossible” decision.