I'm stymied. Seems like lately, I do not enjoy movies. I should like movies, and I have some in the past. However, lately, they all fall short. It makes me wonder if movies meet us where we are at times, or if many movies truly do not have merits as they should.
My husband and I just watched "The Adjustment Bureau," and it was okay. If I apply all the liteary dimensions, I can perhaps see clearer where it went wrong.
Setting: New York with supernatural elements; the unseen "force" becomes visible. The setting seems plausible even within the "willing suspension of disbelief" and the few, fantastical elements. The buses don't morph into fighting machines; they are real. The buildings are quite normal too.
Style: I haven't thought much about style in movies, but, now that I am, I believe this film's style is somewhat jerky to me. There isn't an emphasis on cinematography or mood setting. Perhaps I want more layers which style offers in a movie.
Plot: A story is told. A senator-to-become realizes an outer, directive layer exists which comprise of men, angels, agents on a mission to keep him on course for his life plan. Falling in love with someone who he is meant to be with in an earlier plan, but not current plan, causes these agents to trail him and try to intercept this off-path love. Of course, love is stronger than fate because it illustrates free will, and the main characters maintain their love and receive permission in the end. I don't think the plot is a problem. If I want to enter into a story, why not this one? It's as good as another.
Characters: At times, plot interferes with characters, though. Although Matt Damon is a good character actor, his character is too busy running, like many modern movie thriller characters want to do. Not enough time is given to develop motivation or personality or anything to help the audience deeply identify. It must be a dilemma in action movies, and I don't think the movie fails completely -- probably does a little better job than most --at characterization. However, I think that the lack of this element causes the movie to be flat.
Theme: People can control their own destiny if they want it badly enough and assert their individual rights. "Fight for your right to party," as the song goes. Well, sort-of here. I think that the theme is a good one. The voice at the end hammers in the theme to make sure we know it, because we need interpretors of meaning in our modern day stupors (it seems they think so).
Overall, it seems the style (lack of mood setting) and the lack of character development robbed this movie, which is making me analyze it late at night. Well, I might be able to sleep afterall soon. :) Perhaps it isn't me and my unrealistic standards.
One last thought -- as I assess my appreciation of movies, I am wondering if I had more appreciation when I was younger because I wanted what the movies offered more than I do now. I will have to think about that late at night one night.