by Greg Muskewitz
A philosophizing wannabe innovative animated movie from Richard Linklater that chats up a multitude of pretentious and bloviated speeches on dreams, nature, humans, existentialism, alienation, etc.The shifting and sifting “new style” of animation was achieved by filming everything in live-action on digital videocameras, transferring it all into the computer, and assigning about 30 animators to draw and color on top of the images. Regardless of the new technology and the creative idea, the execution isn’t nearly as favorable. Distracting is an understatement (“I say color outside of the lines,” voices a character at one point); much of everything has a disagreeable dizzying feeling, and the vacillating styles and tricks of the animation to assist different levels of dreams, are all slipshod and inconsistent. None of the characters have names, all of them sort of show up and disappear in Wiley Wiggins’ dreams-within-dreams, unable to wake up. People just show up — some of the characters or actors from Linklater’s previous movies — pop in, drop some heavy philosophies and theories, and just as suddenly drop out, or fly away, or even turn into clouds. There’s no shortage of ideas, opinions, philosophies or theories at all, but there are far too many, tossed out for no other reason that to say them, and make our heads spin as much as Wiley’s. Linklater sounds pompous, though he knows how to be funny when he tries (“It’s bad enough they get your fuckin’ life for minimum wage, but now they get your dreams for free”). For every one thing or idea that is interesting and creative, there are five that are big-headed, tumid and pretentious. Waking Life works too hard rodomontade than to share its ideas, and once you get lecture after lecture, it quickly begins to feel like a nightmare you may never get out of, either.
"Analyze this: Linklater lacks Lynch's authority on dreams."
With Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Timothy “Speed” Levitch, Adam Goldberg, Nicky Katt, Steven Soderbergh (using an anecdote about Louis Malle and Billy Wilder), and many, many others (approximately 60) including Linklater himself.[Not to be bothered with.]
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4879&reviewer=172
originally posted: 10/20/01 01:32:09