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Old 10-09-2009, 03:19 AM   #3623
Dungeon Master
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Poland
Posts: 4,152

Damn, I seriously hate when my recommendations don't pan out for others. I am not expecting to change your mind, but allow me to reply to your criticisms nevertheless.

Originally Posted by MoriartyL View Post
The flashbacks were so vague, I couldn't tell what they were meant to be saying (if anything).
Flashbacks, on the whole, seemed pretty pointless and were my least favourite aspect of the film, but I never had trouble following them (except for the rather off-the-wall dream sequence at the very beginning). And they paid off in the final music montage, which I loved.

Other than the racist and the foreman, nobody seems to have particularly strong feelings about anything, so it feels like a movie about twelve people sitting around wasting time.
While I concur there is more apathetic characters than in the first film (which I think is a clearly intentional point in this adaptation - compare the speech about the pipe), I think you are exaggerating. Apart from, obviously, Makovetsky's/Fonda's Guy Who Cares, can you honestly say the Jew, the "comedian", the undertaker don't get strongly emotional at one point or another? Not about things related directly to the trial, you may say, but it does influence their verdicts, which is kinda the point. And there was that simpleton who might have been primarily a comic relief but you could see how he wanted to be a useful member of the jury, just lacked brainpower and attention span for that.

Even by the end of the movie, I felt like only knew anything about a handful of the twelve.
Yet you didn't like the digressions about their personal histories?

I can't figure out what any of the artsy touches in the movie are meant to symbolize, like that "ripple" in the air.
I thought the ripple was supposed to pique our curiosity about that particular spot the juror kept looking at. It worked for me.

And I thought the resolution of that mini-mystery was incredibly touching. And I am saying it as an atheist.

If there was supposed to be some symbolic meaning to the ripple beyond that, it went over my head, too.

It just seems like Mikhalkov took a story which was excellent because it was so focused and simple, and complicated and muddied it to the point where it's hard to care.
Well, I admired he didn't retread the ground of the masterpiece and offered such a different take. The old one was tense, elegant, and universal drama, the new one is more of a baroque and contemporary satire. I liked how he took the existing story and infused it with his own ideas, while not disrespecting the source. He basically treated it as another, less faithful, staging of a theatre play (which the story originally was) rather than a "remake". We'll have to agree to disagree on whether it was a successful restaging.
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