I’d normally start with a description of the premise of the movie, but there’s not much of that in “Napoleon Dynamite”. It’s just a Napoleon Dynamite, a high school student, that lives in small town Idaho. There’s not much going on. Napoleon is awkward and doesn’t like school. He’s not the relatable to everybody kind of awkward common in teen movies. He’s an over the top caricature of awkward that in those teen movies, even the loveable main character won’t hang out with. The plot is somewhat complicated, but almost completely unimportant. I’ve looked at various synopsis of the movie, but I don’t like any of them. So here’s my crack at one: Napoleon and his associates just try to live. If that doesn’t sound interesting to you, that doesn’t surprise me. It’s not. I didn’t find the characters relatable either. The first time I watched “Napoleon Dynamite”, I hated it. Despised it. Cursed its very existence. I have since come to enjoy it.
If you want to see a compelling life altering story, “Napoleon Dynamite” is the wrong choice. “Napoleon Dynamite” had been hyped to me as one of the greatest films of all time. It’s not and as I searched the film for meaning, impressive cinematography, or innovative story telling, and found none, I was greatly disappointed. I found a disjointed collection of seemingly random events. There is a scene where Napoleon tastes different milks and describes what’s wrong with them. To me, a city boy, there was no context for this and seemed to come out of nowhere and disappear into nothing. I’ve since learned about the Future Farmers of America of FFA and that this kind of activity actually happens. Still, in the movie, it does come out of nowhere and amounts to nothing in the story.
The second time I saw “Napoleon Dynamite” I wasn’t expecting anything from the movie. I now knew it wasn’t the world shaking masterpiece it had been described to me as. I just watched each scene as it’s own event. Every scene is funny… to me. Not everyone is going to think so and you’re not laughing with the characters. You’re laughing at the characters. If you are alright with laughing ant the suffering and pain of others, “Napoleon Dynamite” might be for you. I’ll tell you what. If you don’t laugh at the very first scene in “Napoleon Dynamite” you’re probably not in the right mood for this movie. You could warm up to it as the film continues, but the intro is supposed to funny. It is, but if you don’t know it’s supposed to be, you probably won’t laugh.
Also it’s a pretty clean movie. There are quite a few exclamations fo “dang it”, “flip”, and others of the like and mild violence with bullying. There are also some references to female enhancement supplements. I’m confident the mini-reviewers would not enjoy “Napoleon Dynamite”, but I wouldn’t be at all concerned if they saw it.
I think “Napoleon Dynamite” could use a first time watchers guide. First, don’t worry about the story. Second, it’s okay to laugh at these people, they’re not real. Third, there is a story, don’t worry about the story.
“Napoleon Dynamite” isn’t the world changing movie that some describe it as, but it did pave the way for some other films. “Nacho Libre” is one that benefited from the work Napoleon Dynamite did convincing big studios there’s a market for this kind of stuff. If you like Nacho you’ll probably like Napoleon. I give “Napoleon Dynamite” a 7/10. It’s worth watching, but you might hate it.
Bluray - https://amzn.to/3tzdi9u
DVD - https://amzn.to/3to3wXv