Culture

Napoleon is Dynamite:

Dynamite, Napoleon: Two words and an eccentric name that have been capturing audiences in theaters across the nation. Quirky, simple and completely low-budget, Napoleon Dynamite has been the underdog of the summer movie season amassing a large amount of fans since the film’s release in early June.

Despite production by Fox Searchlight, MTV Films, and Paramount Pictures, the film is very low budget; no pyrotechnics, no fancy cars, no big actors, and frankly, a fairly simple plot line.

The main character, for which the movie is titled, is Napoleon: a tall and lanky red head with big-framed glasses, freckles, and eyes that close when he talks. Listening to Napoleon talk, eyes closed, mouth and lips pursed with his two front teeth barely visible, drool on the edge of spurting forth, sends anyone into a fit of giggles- his pure nature is humorous. Napoleon’s sidekick and best friend Pedro, a short Mexican with the same slow speech and dulled sense of self-esteem completes the perfect duo.

Together, Napoleon and Pedro tackle the conquests of high school, talking to girls, doing well in school, and surviving the embarrassments of family-life. As expected, Napoleon’s family is quite an interesting mix: an adventurous grandmother who loves to ride ATVs and feed her llama, and a brother who is obsessed with a late 80s style computer and his online girlfriend affectionately referred to as “La-fawn-da.”

Completely random and quite plain, Napoleon Dynamite has no edge of your seat plot twists, no surprise endings and no big name artist soundtrack. In fact, the whole movie is accompanied by early 90s double beat elevator music, with a hint of techno for Napoleon’s big dance scene, “I’ve got to dance, I’ve got to boogie….”

Intertwined with a sense of innocence, Napoleon Dynamite is an entertainingly unrefined take on a simple life and sure to please.

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.

September 14, 2004

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