Emma Watson Tom Hanks bomb out in “The Circle”

the circleTHE CIRCLE

Rated: PG-13

2017 ‧ Science fiction film/Drama film ‧ 1h 50m

Release date: April 28, 2017 (USA)


What’s it About?

“Knowing is good; knowing everything is better.”

An underprivileged 20-something young lady, Mae Holland (Emma Watson), is hard-working, ambitious, and smart.  She is introduced to the Facebook, meets Instagram, meets Apple and Google all rolled into one super company/brand, The Circle, by her best friend, Annie (played by Dr.Who’s Karen Gillan).  She is immediately singled out by the company’s founder Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) as a great asset, who is hungry for success and willing to do whatever it takes to keep her job and benefits–including ostracizing her friends and family.   Soon she finds herself involved in what they consider a groundbreaking experiment that invades privacies, crosses the boundaries of ethical business practices, and launches a major psychological attack on their 241 million users.  They’ve all had some kool-aid and it seems that the consensus is that ‘Sharing (a little too much) is Caring.’

Our Review:

When I first saw the trailer for the new film ‘The Circle’ which stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega, I was super excited about seeing the film, in fact, I am currently working on a screenplay with a similar theme (or so I thought) and I hoped I could do some great research and perhaps gain some insight or ideas from how this movie was played out.  I was disappointed, to say the least, and in the words of number 45, (I was) wrong!

According to Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat! there are several genres into which every screenplay is categorized.  I believe that The Circle can best be described as a Golden Fleece story.  You know a quest story like Jason and the Argonauts (1963).  The goal of this type of story is for the hero to go in search of one thing and in the end find him or herself.  The goal was missed in this film.  I was looking for the way our heroine would grow and change but instead, throughout her arduous, dull, and self-centered journey she just moved through like a mindless sheep sacrificing any and everyone for her own motives.

Seriously, this film made me want to just stand up and shout “boo” and “foul” as it ended. I then had a horrible thought.  I think the director tried to leave us hanging over the cliff with hopes that in two years we’ll come back to see what happens next!

What we Liked/Disliked:

This film had a great cast.  The characters were sorely underdeveloped and I wasn’t able to really get myself to care for or about any of them.  I mean why did John Boyega’s character (Tyler) stand around looking at his smartphone for most of the movie?

I have tried–but, I just don’t see why everyone is so enamored with Emma Watson?  I can think of at least five actresses Disney could have cast as Belle in the blockbuster film Beauty and the Beast (thank goodness for Luke Evan’s Gaston) and once again in this film her performances were flat and uninspired.  She just looks confused.  My daughter kept saying, “I can’t tell what reaction she is trying to portray.”  I had to agree.

The sets and locations seemed flat out uninspired.  The technology was nothing spectacular for a company touted to be the industry leaders, and frankly, most of the ideas they brought up as new are already being used.  Believe me, if our country wants to find someone they will.

We were introduced to many people during the film and most of them were inconsequential.  Even poor Mercer (can’t say more, it would be a spoiler) is uninspiring and flat. Isn’t that a big film no-no?  Why are they in the film if they don’t drive the plot, reveal information, help the protagonist by giving advice or some other way?

The movie is full of messages like privacy is bad, and transparency is good.  I am fine with the examination of these beliefs, but the story veers so far away from the novel’s storyline that it makes no sense and gives no real closure.  We never find out why Annie is going off the edge, why Tyler is always literally underground nor do we know why May decides to turn on everyone believing that we are better when we are watched. Just another take on Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother concept. The book is better.

Engine, engine number 9, headed down Chicago line, if the train should jump the track would you want your money back?  Yes? No? Maybe so?

Sorry guys I have to answer YES on this one!

Our Rating: Jumped the track


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