If you weren’t eager on paying the $10 ticket-fee, but still wanted to know what all the fuss is about, fear not, for I sat through the same three looping commercials, a surprise documentary, multiple on-stage speakers, and the grand-finale film so you wouldn’t have to.
And on my research trip for this review, I found a fitting anecdote that I’d like to share; Eighteenth century French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier once called the chemical element nitrogen “azote”, meaning “without life”–which, I realized, is an ironically accurate description of the professionally produced, yet superficially written, N2.
The cinematography was, surprisingly, the best part of the movie. The students took a refreshing take on traditional camera angles and equipment–at times, utilizing a drone for overhead shots and a gopro to simulate the movie’s overall playful/cartoon-ish tone.
The GoPro gave a greater, exaggerated effect to Mrs. Young’s towering and threatening demeanor, making it feel like the audience was looking down on the students with her. The drone managed to get some impressive, wide shots of the football field and gave the movie a professional edge.
While the music didn’t always match the scene, it didn’t undermine the film either. The sound quality was probably the only real flaw. At times I found myself wishing they had turned on subtitles.
All in all, the editing was fluid, the angles were interesting, and the set design/costumes were realistic.
While the technicalities and production of the film managed to avoid the dreaded stereotypes of student-produced films, the writing and acting didn’t.
Unfortunately, the script was littered with bad puns, one-note characters, and cheesy dialogue. The jokes, more often than not, fell flat. Not a single character was memorable or developed–they were boxed into labels (i.e, nerds vs. rebels) and unlike the compared-to movie, The Breakfast Club, they failed to ever actually leave those labels.
The dialogue was unnatural, making it hard for any of the actors to deliver properly. And while overreactions and exaggerated movements typically work for theater productions, that acting translated awkwardly onto the big screen.
Overall, it seemed like the curse of an over-simplified, sometimes confusing plot and poorly written script compromised the entire movie.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that the production was crunched for time and the students did put in a lot of hard work. To write, direct, and produce an original film in place of the traditional fall play was a gutsy move, but from the reception of the cast and crew, completely worthwhile.
It deserves credit for making that initial step–for doing something different. However, the film would have been a lot better if the actual content of the movie bothered to do the same.
In the end, I just found myself wishing the movie had a little more life.