Remember the era of VHS? Remember when having a short, 5 minute “Making of” segment at the end of the tape was considered a special feature? Yeah -me too and now I feel really old. Anyway, it’s time to look at “Be Kind Rewind”- a film all about those magic cassettes.
The way the films are “sweded” is incredibly creative. Every single film they show being made has clearly had a lot of thought and effort put into it. My favourite of theirs has got to be “Ghostbusters” where tin foil and tinsel on a wire stand in for the Ghostbusters’ uniforms and proton packs. I guess the one recurring word for “Be Kind Rewind” is “charming”. Everything that transpires has a nice, off-the-wall quality that could disarm even the most cynical of film critics.
However, “Be Kind Rewind” seems to be trying to cater for everyone at once. One minute it’s a typical Hollywood slapstick comedy and the next it’s going for the edu-crowd, trying to cajole them into letting out a snort of laughter (ironic, of course). What Gondry doesn’t seem to grasp is that these types of comedy are at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s very difficult to pull off successfully and very few films have managed this. Story-wise there seem to be a few bits missing, including the backstory on Mike’s relationship with the rival DVD store owner, who shows up talks to Mike in a way that suggests a history and then sticks around for the rest of the film. Plus, the “big corporation taking over a small-town business” plot device is so damn hackneyed that even Disney don’t bother with it anymore. Still, nice to see Sigourney Weaver again.
Overall, I enjoyed “Be Kind Rewind” a lot more the second time than I did the first. It has heart (although not as much as it wants you to think it has) and some very funny jokes coupled with a truly innovative approach to recreating films. All together now- “When you’re walking down the street/and you see a little ghost…”