Wow what a surprise, I haven't seen Clerks and I had a load of preconceptions about what it was all about. I had an image of a teen slacker movie which wouldn't connect or appeal to me and just try to insult and offend.
I also imagined that this would be a series of sketches and diatribes, and although at first glance it does fit that, through it runs the connecting threads of an enjoyable story. It's also funny and at times very funny, with quite a heart inside it all.
Mr Smith please accept my apology and welcome me into your fan club.
What struck me most is that these have well written, very funny characters that leap out of the screen at you. Not just that but the situations they find themselves in are well orchestrated, funny, and again very well written.
The characters take you in slowly, and before long (and sometimes your better judgment) you're connecting with them and believing in them. Even with Randal Graves, yes even him.
Smith has created a story with a great deal of heart and love, which really did surprise me. Also his social and political diatribes from the characters are insightful, sharp, and apart from one, surprisingly inoffensive. He even makes me believe in the equal rights of those who believe in inter-species erotica. Okay, maybe I was caught up in the moment at that point!
There was one scene though that I cringed at a little, and not because I was offended, but because so many racist words were said in one sentence. Yet again though, and to a much lesser degree let it be said, I found myself agreeing with Randal and finding some common ground. It's amazing how these speeches disarm your preconceptions and make you think of the topic from a slightly different angle.
Even if you don't get some of what Randal is saying on this speech, and you do find it offensive, if you stick it out you find that there's a payoff at the end, a sort of retribution of sorts. So he's even covered those who might find it offensive.
I'd been pre-warned that there was a need to see Clerks first, but I don't think so. This film and the characters stand alone, and that's all down to the well written script.
Smith is obviously an excellent story teller as well as a developer of characters. You could see his style working well with character based films, and so the idea of him doing Superman or Green Hornet doesn't seem that far fetched. It would certainly provide the scripts with strong characterisations, but the rest of the films would be a grey area.
Rosario Dawson is excellent, and Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran do well alongside. Anderson is perhaps the stronger with some great deliveries of lines, but how could you not be with a character like that? A mention has to be given to Trevor Fehrman for his characters excellent journey in the film…oh, and that troll speech. Weird.
The cameo's are also a lot of fun, and I wish there had been a few more. Kevin Weisman was hilarious, and the whole poking fun at fanatical fans was a superb scene.
There are lot's of little touches like this that just pop in, some are small eye catching moments and others are complete scenes, like the Hobbit lovers above, or the dance number. They all connect with the main story somehow, but some of them are a bit off the path. It didn't matter though, they make you laugh and you're soon back to the story itself.
I head some other press talking about it after the film and they said that it was disappointing and that the most romantic moment was with the donkey. Frankly I think they were watching the wrong movie, or perhaps Clerks is so much better than this film that this was a disappointment, but I can't see that. They must have been on drugs, or looking for a Cannes standing ovation.
Overall I was very impressed and surprised at how good the film is. It's very funny, has great characters, and is very well written. I'm off to rent Clerks now. Oh, and one more thing, you should really wait until the closing credits, the very end credits that is. This is probably the first occasion I've ever wanted the credits to go slower.