Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What You Should Have Seen #23

Cabin in the Woods

By the time this gets posted, this movie will either be already out of theaters or won’t have much time left. Sorry. I’m writing a lot of these early posts during my off time in order to have some material banked away so I’ll be able to post consistently.

I wanted to see this movie for one reason: Joss Whedon. I became a fan with Buffy and stayed around for Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible. And Astonishing X-Men. And the new Buffy and Angel comic books. I will be there for everything he has a hand in. I mean, the Avengers? Seriously you guys, the Avengers! Gah, the freakin' AVENGERS!!!

On its surface, Cabin in the Woods is a generic kids-in-the-woods slasher flick. Joss, however, does a great job at letting us know right from the get-go that that isn’t the case. I don’t want to spoil anything in case you haven’t seen it yet, in case you’re just waiting for it to come out on DVD.

There was a feel to this movie. I really want to compare it to Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, but it would be a very narrow comparison, and I don’t know how fair it would be to compare the two. I mean, I really liked J&SB, but for a much different reason. It was juvenile and over the top. It was one big inside joke, and I was in on it. I got that inside joke vibe from Cabin in the Woods, but there is one big difference between these two movies. J&SB was an inside joke that was extremely overt and really excluded people who weren’t cool enough to get it. I can’t imagine that anybody who hadn’t seen the other View Askewniverse movies laughed as much as I did. Joss, though, was a bit more subtle. You don’t have to be a Whedonite to enjoy the movie. It helps on a few layers, but it’s not necessary. It’s accessible.

The movie felt like a conglomeration of past Joss works, but not as a weak rehashing. I got Buffy vibes (horror, monsters, a better version of The Initiative). I got Angel vibes (monsters, season five end-of-the-world, Wolfram & Hart senior partners). I got Dollhouse vibes (manipulation). I didn’t get any Firefly vibes, but I read that if you look close enough you’ll see a Reaver or two. The interplay between the main characters was spot-on Whedon. His scripting ability is one of the things I enjoy the most about his writing. It’s quick, it’s sharp, it’s witty, and more often than not it’s hilarious.

If you know anything about Joss, you know that he likes to reuse actors he’s worked with before. Here we get Amy Acker (Fred from Angel and Whiskey from Dollhouse), Fran Kranz (Topher from Dollhouse and the up-coming Much Ado About Nothing), Tom Lenk (Andrew from Buffy), and now Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s The Avengers). This last one is kind of backwards. The movie was finished a few years ago, before Hemsworth was Thor. It’s just a coincidence that he was in CitW and now he’s in a franchise movie directed and co-written by Whedon (Have you seen the Avengers or read my write-up on it? You HAVEN'T?!?! What the hell is wrong with you? Go read my write-up then watch the movie. They're both worth the price of admission.).

The best surprise, at least to me, was the inclusion of Bradley Whitford. I love him. I loved him when Aaron Sorkin was putting words in his mouth, and he made the almost-unwatchable “The Good Guys,” well, watchable. Now I get to hear him say word that Joss is putting in his mouth? Awesome. And he didn’t disappoint.

I loved this movie. I loved everything about it, and I was glad to let NCG Cinemas swipe my debit card and remove money from my checking account. And you know what? I’m going spend even more money on this movie when it comes out on DVD. I will own it. It was that good. You know what else I might get? This. THAT’S how much I liked the movie.

So if you haven’t seen the movie yet and it’s still in theaters, go. Go now. If it’s already gone, write yourself a note and buy it (screw Redbox) when it comes out on DVD.

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