Welcome to Marwen
One evening in 2000 Mark Hogencamp, an artist in Kingston, New York, was beaten, stomped, and kicked nearly to death by five sub-humans because he had the audacity to admit that he liked to wear women’s shoes. (I wasn’t able to find out what happened to all of them, but one was sentenced to nine years. He appealed. Lost. Hurrah! I would have given him at least twenty.) Hogencamp lost all his memories before that time, as well as his ability to draw. But he began expressing himself by creating a 1/6 scale town called Marwencol. He populated it with Barbie-type dolls, and created elaborate stories concerning them, and photographed and exhibited them. A documentary called Marwencol was made about him, and that inspired this movie.
I don’t know how much of this is accurate. I’m guessing just the broad outlines. Steve Carrell plays Hogencamp, and does a fine job of it. The special effects are, for once, really special, not just the same old shit you see over and over. He is both the real man and his avatar, Hogie, a WWII pilot shot down over Belgium, and fighting Nazis with the help of five extremely beautiful and extremely violent women. That won me over right there. There is little in this world that I enjoy more than seeing Nazis perforated with 1000 rounds from a machine gun, whether they be real or dolls. The production design is incredible. They have created a dollhouse-sized world with obsessive detail. And the dolls themselves … it is hard to describe their look, which is real and artificial at the same time. I can’t explain it any better than that. It is all done with motion capture suits against green screens, and some short films in the extras show how it was done, with layer after layer of realism. Faces are the hardest part of something like that, and they nailed it.
The story itself is moving and heartfelt. We both loved the heck out of it. So what happened? It totally bombed. Everybody went to see one more fucking piece of ho-hum dumb Marvel shit instead. Honestly, friends, even if you do like the Marvel Universe (and I’m sure many if not most of you do, and I know none of you are stupid), when is the last time you saw something really interesting in one of them? Anything new? Anything with the slightest hint of originality? Black Panther? Don’t make me laugh. When did you last see real human emotion? Is that no longer needed? I would walk right by a million superhero movies for the chance to see one movie like this. But if they keep bombing, if you keep spending your dough on Avengers shit, they will eventually stop making them. They have almost stopped already.