mostly because it was boring as shit. but i also didn't like it because it seemed to come at the tail end of that phase in movies where everyone was all about tying a bunch of loosely related short stories into a movie, a la 'go', 'crash', and 'traffic'. all those movies sucked too, except for traffic, which was the best example of how to do that kind of film right. in babel there really wasn't any overarching plot to tie the stories together, minus a couple randomly inserted things like the dad of the deaf perv japanese girl having sold his gun to the dude whose kid shot the woman in the bus. i felt like a way better movie could have been made that got the same point across if he would have just taken one of those stories and just made a movie from that. plus it would have left some actual time for some character development and what not. the shootout between the kid and the army dudes was a pretty legit scene though.
You're right, in Babel the linking of the stories was kind of contrived. I thought the Japanese deaf girl story was the best of the lot - and as you say would have made a great movie on its own. In Biutiful,
the story is much more disciplined and arranged around a central character.
Did you see the original version of Traffic
, titled Traffik
which was a British TV miniseries? Instead of Mexico and the USA, it's Pakistan, Germany and the UK.