I was blown away by the trailer on HDNet for Tarsem's "The Fall" a few months back and have been chomping at the bit ever since. It turned out it was a capstone for a banner month of summer movies starting with Iron Man and moving through Speed Racer, Indiana Jones, Prince Caspian and Son of Rambow. It was my busiest month in going out to movies in many years. It was a great capper, too. In an odd way, it captures what many of the previous movies tried to do in their own ways. It was more visually interesting and arresting than the bombastic and hyper-colored Speed Racer. It was more intriguing fantasy storytelling than the solid yet safe Prince Caspian. Unlike the green screen special effects of Indiana Jones world tour, this movie actually did tour the world being shot in India, South Africa, Egypt, Greece, Italy, and Spain (and much more, I am sure). It even takes a bit of the Iron Man's fall and redemption themes for a ride. And like the sweet Son of Rambow, it relishes the power of storytelling. But comparisons aside, I was in awe of this movie. The visuals were certainly the treat and the icing on the cake but by far the glorious draw to me was the relationship between the charismatic Lee Pace as a early 20th century stunt man and a little immigrant orange tree harvester played by Catinca Untaru. I have read a bit about how they did this but this was one of the best screen relationship I have seen in a long time. The director and Pace found the best environment to pull every possible ounce of wonder from this young actress. She is at once cute without saccharin or self-aware, believable without coming off as forced, and invested in telling this story and responding to the world around her in a way most actors of any age have a hard time doing. It was a magical romance of sorts with real warmth between the two actors. To me it was one of the most endearing screen performances by a child actor going way back. I am kind of surprised at the wealth of negative reviews this film garnered. It is epic in scope by not length (2 hours for a vanity movie like this? P. Jackson couldn't come in under nearly 3 with his last vanity project). It is a feast for the eyes with the director boldly declaring not an ounce of computer graphic special effects and it is better for it. This movie actually celebrates the early days of movie making and there is even a wonderful montage of silent era stunt men at work and it makes you shake your head with wonder that any of them lived to tell about it. I really was drawn into this movie and if it never left the hospital room I would have been happy. But they did and it was great. The fantasy story being told to this girl (and imagined by her...this is her version of Pace's story) and the visual is amazing to behold. What is great is how the story elements are mirrored in the real world and vice versa. Very much a "Wizard of Oz" sort of moment with people popping up in both stories as well as little touches beyond just personalities. I could go on (and have!) but I really want to recommend this film to anyone who can get out and see it. It is said a lot but this is very much a "big screen" movie that, while wonderful on a nice HD set, no doubt, just can't be beat when on a gigantic screen. Get out and see it before it disappears under the deluge of more CGI-fests and remake-o-ramas. This one is an original.