| November 3, 2006

Welcome to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s third feature, Babel–or, as I like to call it, Whammy Bear: The Movie–wherein every five minutes the screen freezes and a cartoon Whammy Bear (I call this one Sir Whammerson III) pops up and yells out, “WHAMMY!”
The Whammy Bear always rears his head in an Iñárritu film, and while the first hour of Whammy Bear: The Movie is a very strong build, by far the strongest thing Iñárritu has done despite Arriaga’s pretensions, ultimately it’s all building towards a rapid succession of WHAMMYs designed to wear on the soul. Sir Whammerson III has a field day with the storylines, with Brad Pitt and the Moroccan village, but what he really loves are the ones with The Spanish Maid and The Deaf-Mute/Hairy-Vagged Asian Girl, because all things considered, they only involve the story metaphorically. “Who provided the gun” and “Who’s taking care of the kids” are good questions to ask, but really, these storylines only serve to provide a different flavor of suffering for The Whammy Bear to jizz all over.
And once The Whammy Bear has done all he can with the characters–to be somewhat revealing but ultimately not, there is a “Happy Ending” of sorts, but certainly not onscreen–he’s done with them. Characters only live to suffer in Whammy Bear: The Movie. And it seems like some people really enjoy that, especially because The Whammy Bear begins to address important issues, which is important. But The Whammy Bear is busy, so he really can’t finish up in time for the big finale. So, we’re left with an “important” movie that really has nothing much to say with characters that really are never allowed any degree of happiness; if they get some by an unexpected WHAMMY! of roundabout good luck, it’s safely locked away offscreen, because that would interfere with a worldview that plainly states that nothing has ever or will ever go right in this world, ever.
And remember: blame the WHAMMY!, not The Whammy Bear.
(The term ‘Whammy!’ refers to God kicking you in the nuts, or, if not available, a screenwriter who can’t really be bothered to write one story all the way through.)

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