Captain Fantastic is not a Marvel comic super hero come to life. Not even close. He is a man who raises his six children to be hunters, self sustaining farmers, survivalist, and very well educated philosophers with an emphasis on political science. If that sounds a little weird, it’s because it is. But the weirdness, is in a sort of Utopian, hippie, Grizzly Adams (google it) sort of way. Everything’s just peachy for this cultish little family unit, until they need to go to their mom’s funeral on a mission to give her the type of burial, she, as a buddhist, requested in her will. Naturally, the antecedent of the plot, the Grandfather, wants to have a typical Christian style funeral service, and does not approve of the way his grandchildren are being raised. This is not the only conflict however. The father played convincingly by Viggo Mortenson, has to do some soul searching on whether his decisions throughout, are what was best for the mother, who suffered from mental illness, and if his style of living was best for the children, who are incredibly book smart, but socially awkward. Some of my favorite scenes happen on “Steve” the big converted school bus. It is true, I am biased toward movies that include converted hippie school buses, just can’t help it because I used to own one. It was a red, white and blue 1957 Ford school bus with a porch on the back, converted into a camper by a very talented truck mechanic; and I loved my bus. In this movie the bus (Steve) get’s a lot of screen time, and that is just fine with me. The scenery throughout the movie is very beautiful in it’s own right, but the most beautiful part was not the scenery so much as the scenes of the entire family dancing and singing Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine” around the mother’s burning corpse that they rescued from the graveyard, only to flush the ashes down an airport toilet. If this all sounds like some sort of new age weirdness, then you are getting the right idea. The family celebrates Noam Chomsky day, instead of made up fantasy holidays like Christmas. I suppose what you really want to know: Is the damn thing any good? Great question–you get two stars. Let me say this: It won’t appeal to everyone, but I found some of it refreshing and lighthearted. Whatever political points it may, or may not, be trying to make, sort of get lost along the way. One part in particular exemplifies this–when the whole family creates this big ruse to “free the food” from the grocery store. Most people call it–stealing. This scene seems out of place for this man and his families Utopian lifestyle. I can only assume the point was to emphasize that even this great father figure has faults, but I don’t think turning him and his kids into glorified boosters was the best way to express this idea. He spends all sorts of time teaching them how to be self sufficient in the world, but then turns them all into a pack of shoplifters? Just was a little bit off to me. So class, what have we learned so far? That this movie sucks? No, that is incorrect. This movie does not suck. Nor does it come close to sucking. Actually it’s pretty good. Not for everyone. But pretty good. My opinion is biased, because of my affinity towards converted school buses, therefore I may have to recuse myself from the jury pool. There you have it. You are gonna have to check it out for yourself, I have been disqualified as a neutral observer due to preconceived prejudices towards “Steve” and everyone (thing) like him. It happens. Rock on party trolls. I give this movie three out of a possible four, reconstituted road kill entrail burgers. Yum. The Smyth has Spoken.
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