Jul 7, 2008

[Movies] Sex and the City

Sex and the CityDuring my first weekend back in Manila after spending 10 weeks in Los Angeles (and hardly blogging to boot), my partner and I decided to catch the then-new Sex and the City movie given (1) it was the opening weekend, (2) we were fans of the original series and (3) we like watching movies in the theater together. Then again, what couple doesn't right?

Anyway, on with the story / review.

So initially my personal expectations were somewhat mixed given any TV-to-film migration tends to have its fair share of difficulties and peculiarities. Let's face it - the original TV series ended years ago and there's a whole new generation of viewers who can't fully appreciate the original show and think that the ultimate definition of a strong female lead can be found amongst the cast of Grey's Anatomy. Sorry, did I mention previously that I'm not a fan of that show? If I didn't or if you didn't know that, allow me to stress that fact here.

What I had totally forgotten was how notorious the MTRCB can get when it comes to gratuitous censorship and movie editing and so my partner ended up watching Sex and the City sans the sex parts. Geez.

The Sex and the City movie takes off a few years after the original series ended, which sort of gives you that feeling of spying on your favorite characters after the narrator ends the fairy tale with "...and they live happily ever after." The characters are still pretty much the same but the circumstances are different given they're not all the same strong, independent single women the used to be. At least, not all of them.

Now as much as Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is pretty much happy as a clam with her Vogue job and her understanding with her more-or-less boyfriend, Big (his codename was so much cooler) and so it seems only natural that they take things to the next level and get married. It's around this central event that the film revolves as we follow Carrie while at the same time exploring how the other fabulous women in this quartet have developed over the years.

LONDON - MAY 12:  (UK TABLOID  Actresses (L-R)...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeOverall, it was a good movie and actually was a pretty good piece considering it was originally a TV series. I guess it helps that it was an HBO original series and not just any other run-of-the-mill network program since this represents how it has always pushed the limits of television while trying to adhere to a quality of storytelling that feels more along the lines of big screen films. Thus for the actresses and actors involved, it didn't come out as some major transition.

What I really appreciated was the plot in a general sense - it takes a certain amount of daring to have a movie based on a TV series to heavily rely on knowledge of the show. If you had never seen the original TV series before then you'd never come to understand how far the characters have come over the years, their unique perspective on things and just why Carrie has accepted her unusual status with Big in the first place. You could argue that the film could probably, possibly stand on its own but then that would be a totally inaccurate statement. This movie practically requires you to watch the original series - every single last episode.

What really bothered me and definitely hampered my viewing experience was just how much was cut out of the film. There was just so much lost ranging from full-blown nudity to two gay men kissing in the freaking background. I mean come on, that's why we have ratings, right? Who is the MTRCB to determine the ideal audience for a particular film by editing the content a they see fit? This was a movie that was definitely worth seeing in the big screen given the fashionable yet often outlandish outfits the girls wear, the elaborate sequences and even the cheesily remixed theme song. However given what was done to the film, this pretty much forces you get the film on DVD (original or otherwise) just to see all the bits you missed.

Still, let's focus on the positive.

This film is a nice way to revisit the original series and fans of the show should find a lot to like about it. If you didn't watch the original show, you still might get something out of it but I'm not quite sure if I should recommend that you go see the series just to enjoy it fully. I guess that's the ultimate question - did this movie really need to have been made? The series was pretty solid on its own and so what purpose does this film have in terms of the overall scheme of things?

What do you think?
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  1. Damn MTRCB for cutting the shower scene! I was able to watch at You tube though.

  2. I think pretty much everyone had to rely on YouTube or at least a DVD copy. ugh.