Napoleon Dynamite
Call it morbid curiosity, but I had been hearing about this guy Napoleon Dynamite for a while, and decided to take the plunge into his world with the release of the DVD. I’ll start with the specifications for the DVD before I try and explain exactly why it is I liked this move, although I doubt that even after that I will be able to put my finger on it. There aren’t a whole lot of extras on the disc but it does include a commentary track featuring the director, Jared Hess and some of the actors. There is a short film “Peluca” with a commentary track, a making of featurette about the wedding of the century (watch past the end credits and you’ll know where it comes from), deleted scenes, a still gallery, and MTV on air promos. This disk also features both the full screen and widescreen versions of the film in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Spanish Dolby Surround sound, while being subtitled in English, Spanish and French. The film is rated PG and for some strange reason, quite entertaining. Here is the summary from the back of the box: “Napoleon Dynamite is a new kind of hero, complete with a tight ‘fro, sweet moon boots, and skills that can’t be topped. Napoleon spends his days drawing mythical beasts, duking it out with his brother Kip and avoiding his scheming Uncle Rico. When two new friends enter Napoleons life- Shy Deb and mustachioed Pedro- the trio launches a campaign to elect Pedro for class president and make the student body’s wildest dreams come true. But if Pedro is to beat stuck up Summer, Napoleon will have to unleash his secret weapon…”

No way does the description on the back of the box prepare you for the awkwardness that resides inside. I’ll admit, the first viewing of this movie left me kind of unimpressed, I didn’t think it was all that great, the performances were kind of flat and the story was sort of odd. I’d like to say it lacked direction but I know it was basically following Napoleon and his friends around. It didn’t seem that funny and I didn’t know what all the raving was about…then I watched it again and began to get it. It was exactly what it was supposed to be, which was nothing much, but that I think was the point. This movie wasn’t meant to be one of those “world changer” movies, nor was it meant to make you do any kind of self examination. This is one of those movies that just kind of sits there and gets better with each viewing. I’ve watched this film probably four times and it gets more entertaining each time. I mentioned the acting was sort of flat, but upon a second viewing, I figured out that the acting was spot on perfect for the characters. The popular school figures seemed livelier than Napoleon and his friends, but I think that speaks to the high school environment, where the popular kids are generally looked on as more exciting than the kids on the fringes, like Napoleon and his “gang”. There are no clever dialog exchanges between the characters, just conversations that seem awkward and real, at least between these characters. Nothing to prove and nothing to loose, Napoleon, Pedro and Deb just do what they do, with no concern how they look to everyone else. While being a movie that I think not everyone will enjoy right away, I do think that everyone who does watch it should watch it at least twice, whether they like it the first time. It’s something that takes a while to “get”.

Napoleon starts his day on the bus, then craves chap-stick, meets Pedro, takes a pretty sweet jump on Pedro’s bike, meeting Deb, feeding Tina and dealing with Kip and Uncle Rico. There are some pretty entertaining exchanges between all of them; Napoleon and Deb’s first meeting, Kip challenging Napoleon to see if he can hit him, the time traveling device, Ligers, sweet drawings, and tots. I wish I could explain what exactly it is about this movie that I like but I can’t identify anything that jumps out at me besides the earnest of the performances and the situations they characters go through, being one of the fringe kids in High School, I think helps. Napoleon Dynamite is one sweet ride.

"Just break the grip and walk away"

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