Friday, November 24, 2006

The Kingdom II (1997)

See, cause they're special they understand all the stuff going on in the spirit world, and they explain it to us. Yeah, like Rainman.

Genre: Drama Horror Mystery Comedy Mini-Series (Sweden, Italy, France, NOrway, Germany, Denmark)

Starring: Ernst-Hugo Järegård (Europa), Peter Mygind

Directed By: Lars Von Trier (Dancer In The Dark; Breaking The Waves), Morten Arnfred ("The Kingdom")

Overview: In this sequel of "The Kingdom", we actually get to see the freak baby, and explore the continuing saga of the patients, staff and ghosts in the best 'damned' hospital in Denmark!

Acting: With names even well-known enough in the West like Stellan Skarsgård (Exorcist: The Beginning; Beowulf and Grendel), it's a sure thing that the players are just as good this time around as they were the first. No it's nothing super fantastic but a couple of the characters really know how to deliver their roles just perfectly. Without characters so messed up this wouldn't have been a little too lame, to tell you the truth. They carry a lot, and they deserve their kudos.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The Lars loved the orange filter, but at least it's not as pronounced as in The Element Of Crime, high-art that it was. In the three years since the first "The Kingdom" was made, special effects technology improved greatly... or at least this time around they didn't try doing something knowing it wouldn't look good. Television being what it is doesn't use heavy art forms in its narrative but this one goes places you'd never expect, including nudity and mutant babies and one hell car accident stunt. There's a real effort put into the look of this, but I myself found it just shy of impressive.
Rating: 7

Script: The script, I'd say is much better than the first time, however that may be due to the fact that we all know the characters already and have a synaptic sense of what they're going to say, which makes it more enjoyable. The comedy plays quite heavily this time around and though it's out of place, it's actually pretty hilarious in that dark comedy kind of way. I'd say speaking to your own turds to explain your motivations is a great way of doing exposition...
Rating: 8

Plot: The plot this time around is STILL one guy facing malpractice and trying to sneakily get himself out of it, there's still the haunted investigation bit and there's still the bureaucratic inquest into the hospital's potential improprieties. We enjoyed it, but in that "let it slide because there's no more way". Knowing there wasn't a finale made it easier to swallow, even though only a couple things got resolved.
Rating: 7

Mood: So yeah, when you get a mix of Satan and cock jokes you tend to end up with, well with something not so solid in themes. On the one hand there's this haunted hospital with an evil presence and on the other hand you don't know whether to laugh or cry at the man-headed mutant baby, and also at the same time there's some real hilarious content that plants this solidly in the comedy genre. I don't know what to make of it. Wishy-washy.
Rating: 7

Praise the motherly instinct of Girlfriend of Squish, this is her favorite part!

Overall Rating: 74% (Two Crowns Aren't Better Than One)

Aftertaste: This Ernst-Hugo Järegård guy dies between Part II and the final instalment, and so for some reason because one actor is gone, the whole production stops. Why on earth would every single actor need to be in the last one you ask? I ask too. It's frustrating because this one ends with almost as big a cliff-hanger as the last one, and I heard rumours that it was well part the deciding if it was going to be produced stage. Whatever. I bet Lars wouldn't look at doing this again, given his place in his career today.