We’re currently dealing with this year’s first heatwave here in the Czech Republic, which basically means that it’s hot as hell without not much air to breath. Czech summers must be the worst kind of summers. Seriously, it’s not just hot, it’s like if you were a piece of meat on the barbecue while you’re walking the pavement. I guess it’s the perks of being right in the middle of Europe – yes, that’s right, middle of Europe. Listen up all of you film sales companies that’s been forwarding my messages to the colleagues specializing in Eastern Europe markets for years – we are actually NOT Eastern Europe as you think…
Anyway, I guess you’re wondering what the hell have all of this rant to do with Baywatch, right? Well, it’s quite simple. On days like these, when the temperature hits about 34°C, I’m not able to do much. I try to move as little as possible, avoid the outdoors, although the indoors is not always a great idea either. If I could, I’d love to just go sleep and wake up when it’s all over (so probably in the fall). I also try not to do anything that would require too much energy or brain activity as my brain is not properly oxygenated to be able to fully perform. So, with not enough oxygen in my system and feeling half asleep, I thought these are the perfect prerequisitions to go and watch the new Baywatch! So I did.
Much has been written on the new Baywatch. Most people hate it, few love it. So, now you’re probably asking, where do I stand on the Baywatch discussion, hmm? Well, I think… somewhere in the middle 😉
I honestly do not think Baywatch is bad, although it’s not great either. But you know why it’s not great? Because it’s so beautifully true to the original. I mean, in a way, the film is genius. If you’ve not seen enough episodes of Baywatch when you were younger, you won’t see it, but if you grew up with it, making it a companion for your after-breakfast-Saturday mornings or light-dinner-Sunday-evenings (oh, good old days!) and Mitch Buchannon was one of your heroes, you will recognize it.
With that said, most of what is bad about Baywatch is because the original tv show was actually bad. It is a parody, but parody made with a lot of love and respect for the original. It’s not laughing at it. It’s like when you talk to your friend about that beloved tv show of yours that you watched as a kid and seeing it years later realizing it was actually so damn ridiculous but you just still love it because it brings back memories. That ridiculousness that’s so obvious to you now, is what makes it all the more special. Baywatch, I believe, is made with that same sentiment.
Like if you brought together a bunch of your friends who were fans and you decided to play it as cool as those guys back in the days. You’d have fun doing so, right?! And so had the cast.
Everybody in this film is just so overtly cool and badass and taking themselves so damn seriously! And then there is Zac Efron. Zac Efron’s Matt Brody (not less cool than the others, probably more) is like if they took you or me and put it into the Baywatch world. He’s the only one who sees everything with clear mind of the outside observer who comes from the real world. He knows it’s all ridiculous, despite not being so bright. ‘Am I the only on who sees this is clearly a case for the police?!’, ‘We’re just lifeguards!’.
‘Just lifeguards?! It’s the way of life’ as Mitch explains in disbelief.
Seriously, Zac’s Matt is the best character, because he’s you and I among them. And I love how he’s always the victim of Mitch’s teasing, not seldom with his very own filmography references (‘Hey, High School Musical!’).
Dwayne Johnson’s Mitch is… well, damn cool. But there’s one more not so obvious gem – Priyanka Chopra. Her villain Victoria is so much like those damn beautiful villains from the good old days! She plays her character with absolute precision to her predecessors. Only with a lot of self-awareness which makes it so much fun. She surely must have seen quite a few episodes 😉
The one thing that fascinated me most, especially in the scenes with Victoria, was that the film had absolutely the same atmosphere as the original tv show. If you take away the jokes… it’s just perfectly true to it – with all the good and bad. Honestly, if it’s boring, it’s boring because it’s like the original!! Same kind of boring 😉
Another thing anyone will easily notice is just how much fun the cast had. And I don’t blame them, I mean, I’d love to be part of this, too. Not because I expected it to be groundbreaking or something that would enhance my career, but because I’d shamelessly enjoy it. It’s Baywatch people!! Who doesn’t want to be part of the Baywatch world for just one day.. !
However, with that said, it’s also probably the main issue here – everyone in the film is having way more fun than you in the audience.
There are moments that are pure genius, but unfortunately there are too few of them and it’s all a bit too long. The story is good enough for another Baywatch episode, but not enough for a film. And I would have avoided the whole fat-ugly-kid-who-makes-it-into-the-team-and-gets-the-girl theme. That just felt inappropriate, confusing the film style with American Pie and alike, which I personally hate. If they avoided this storyline altogether, it would have been a perfect tribute to our childhood/teenage idols.
With all of the boring, empty spaces, where you get your chance to leave the tv and prepare your dinner without not missing much, it really just makes it a perfect fit for tv. Cinema release was a huge overstatement. Seriously, if they aimed straight to the tv – or even better, revived the tv show in this way, it would be much better choice. In cinemas it is destined to fail, while on tv, could be fun! That is – if Baywatch ever was an ‘active’ part of your life. (But honestly, I can imagine myself tuning in regularly for these guys)
…but then again, I did not have enough oxygen in my system when I watched this, so I might as well be completely wrong… 😉 So, go see it for yourself and feel free to stop by and let me know what you think!
Meanwhile, I’ll try to find somewhere with more air..