Posted on 9/24/12 12:42 AM
I'll start with I had incredibly high expectations going into this movie, yet somehow it managed to surpass those. This movie is beautiful, brutal, and magnificently bold. The acting was perfect, it was incredibly well directed and it barely scratches the surface of what may be to come.
The feel of this movie from the perspective of how it dealt with it's story and characters is very solid. It is in essence an introduction to the character of Dredd. We see how firm he is as a lawman and get a sense of how committed to upholding the corrupt law he is. That is contrasted with a do-gooder rookie, who believes that people sometimes need to do what they can to survive. It adds depth to the characters without having the need of something like a cheesy Dredd's back story or long winded dialogue. To elaborate character's in this film say all they need to say with their face and action. Which fits perfectly in this fast-paced post-grind house slaughter-fest. Any further character development, story arcs or plot twists would be unnecessary, because this isn't that kind of movie.
Moving on to the action, which feels very crisp and new. The use of slow motion in this movie was one of my concerns going in. After seeing the new Resident Evil movie, I was under the impression that slow motion was becoming on par with 3D as an overused gimmick. And while this movie doesn't re-define 3D, that being pretty much impossible, it does totally change how slo-mo works. The idea of ultra slow-mo death sequences or just regular boring shots being shot with their super cool camera is brilliant. They make something as simple as a woman throwing up her hand while in the bath into a rainbow of color and a spectacle of bright shiny things. The action itself is very fast paced which contrasts the ultra slo-mo. Which again is a perfect fit for this shoot em' up. It's not the goriest or most interesting shoot em' up movie, but the connection you feel to Dredd's character makes you feel like your inside the helmet with him. That alone adds feeling to these action sequences, a thing many movies have missed the mark on, i.e. the new Resident Evil or the new Spiderman. I've heard some comments regarding how there isn't much tension in a lot of the action scenes. Which makes perfect sense if you think about would Dredd feel very scared in these situations. He's a weathered lawman who has been in probably hundreds of gunfights, maybe even thousands. I doubt he would be scared by a few punks with machine guns. Also I'd like to note how the tensionless scenes tend to have another variable, i.e something to do with the rookies training or an ultra slo-mo death scene. There is a lot of thought that goes into this movie and if you process what you're watching it rewards you with its awesomeness.
The cinematography is something of it's own monster. The sets are beyond dystopian future. They take all the grim, crappy settings we can imagine and mash them up into Mega City One. That said it is remarkably believable and realistic when compared to something like the new Total Recall. Not bashing that movie at all, but that was definitely a very stylistic sci-fi world. One that is probably has a few too many flying cars to be within the realm of realism. Dredd's Mega City One is very reminiscent on the ghetto in District 9, a movie also shot in South Africa. Probably not a coincidence.
To end this, Dredd has drawn many comparisons to the Raid: Redemption. Even I will add a few that I haven't heard yet. Those being, there is a drug lab sequence in both movie. There is a scene where good guys run from heavy machine gun fire from a level above them. And don't forget there is a rookie cop in both movies. All of those statements are completely UNFAIR. The Raid: Redemption was a modern martial art flick with amazing action sequences, but very blank characters and a very straight forward plot. While it had brutal violence, it was nowhere near the caliber of Dredd. On top of that the character's where ridiculously different and the plot's were handled much more differently. In Dredd people have motivations and character's built on experiences. The Raid's all about the action, the character's are more or less just there to get to the next action scene. An example. Ma-ma is trying to expand her trade, but the Judges are intervening with that. We see how she changes her method of dealing with them as the film progresses and the stake's increase. Vice versa, Dredd is trying to train the rookie and as the film progresses his will to just survive prevails over the way he sees she should be trained. It's like he makes epiphanies in his head and changes his way of thinking about things completely based on what's happening in the movie. And not because anyone told him his facist ways were a little too hardcore. While The Raid was awesome, and I in no way mean to belittle it's excellence, Dredd is a much smarter film and I await what is next. Hopefully many sequels to bring us deeper into the shithole that is Mega City One.
Well I highly recommend this modern masterpiece, and say go see it, it's awesome. I mean who thought Karl Urban would be the biggest bad-ass since Ryan Gosling from drive. I sure as fuck didn't.
Posted on 9/24/12 12:37 AM
Well with Resident Evil: Afterlife coming out I decided to take a look at a few of the past entries in the movie series. Obviously starting with Resident Evil. There will be spoilers in this review so beware.
First is the plot which is a failed conspiracy plot, kind of. Umbrella a pharmaceutical company makes a t-virus in a facility called The Hive which is hidden under a mansion that two Umbrella agents live in. The Hive is locked down, without Umbrella knowing and the T-virus is released in the ventilation system making the staff into zombies. The two agents forget everything because of some knock out gas, so umbrella sends a special team to break into the Hive and find out what happened. It's a pretty good plot and it plays out on screen decently.
Next up is the action which is the best part about this movie. Not much happens for like the first 30 minutes, but after that there is a ton of cool action scenes where Alice, the main character, kicks the shit outta zombies and zombie dogs. The agents sent in to find out what's going on get schooled by this hella boss laser grid defense system, which is the coolest scene in the movie.
Time for characters and acting. This is by far the worst part of the movie. The characters are really stupid none of them are interesting and you find yourself wanting them to be killed by the zombies. This is probably why the scene where most of them get killed by lasers is so cool. The acting is terrible, other then Milla Jovovich, who plays Alice. Milla is always good, but everyone else is just so bad. They just seem like they are reading lines from their script there is a general lack of emotion from the agents and from the two other guys they just act stupidly. The characters aren't explained very well either there is a guy who goes with them because he is trying to infiltrate Umbrella, but he never really says why. I think he explains that he is a government agent of some sort, but he doesn't seem like someone who has been trained or anything he just seems like a regular guy.
Lastly I want to talk about the correlation between the movie and the first Resident Evil. I'll try not to spoil the games too much, because they are much better and more important than this movie. There is very few similarities, the largest being the fact that there are zombies and there is a T-virus. The plot in the first video game is completely different from the movie. In the game it's a squad investigating murders outside of a small town in the mountains, and they happen to stumble onto the whole Umbrella scandal. The characters are different too. In Resident Evil the main character was either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, not Alice and the other characters were Barry Burton and Albert Wesker. I don't think there is a single character in the movie that's in the game. The first game took place in a mansion, and there were labs in this mansion, but there was never a large underground facility, like The Hive in the movie. Virtually the movie is completely different from the game and this shows how much they cared about the video game they adapted. That's actually probably the reason people make really shitty video game movies, they generally don't care about the games therefore don't focus on the good things about the game.
To conclude the plot is pretty cool, the action is awesome, but the characters and acting suck. on top of that the movie doesn't stay true to the game, in fact it makes small homages to the game. This is really dumb, they should be making the game into a movie not making a movie with the same title as the game that makes small homages to the game, but isn't anything like it. Anyway it's borderline okay, I enjoy watching it, kind of, but it's still pretty bad and angers me at various times. One last good thing to note is the ending is very well done and is a good lead into the second movie. It's probably worth renting.
Posted on 9/23/12 11:47 PM
Well Paul W.S. Anderson finally made a keeper. Yea Resident Evil: Afterlife was way better then it's predecessors even though it was rated like 10% on Rotten-tomatoes. Although it was much more entertaining it still isn't that good of a movie. It's definitely shot in a blockbuster style and there are tons of stuff they have yet to fix, like Alice's dialogue, but it still is a significant improvement. Oh yeah there will be a few spoilers, but you really shouldn't see this movie for plot, so it shouldn't matter.
Starting off with the plot, which was decently okay. So Alice battles Umbrella briefly in the beginning, like she said she would in Resident Evil 3: Extinction. She sacrifices her clones, again the clones are from the previous movie, to get very close and attempt to kill Wesker. Wesker kicks her ass her, takes away her powers and almost kills her, but she gets away. Then she goes on a journey to find Arcadia which turns out to be a ship. The plot is like none of the games, and there are a few hole-ish things, but that doesn't really matter. This movie doesn't need a good plot, because it has some of the best action sequences to date.
I'm not just comparing this to the other Resident Evil movies when I say some of the best action sequences I'm talking about in general. Paul W.S. Anderson used the technology used to make Avatar and he delivers with some of the smoothest action scenes I've ever seen. The action is just so crisp and awesome, even though very exaggerated it works so well, and is the driving force behind this movie. I might also add that in a few of the scenes Anderson captures the game-play of a few of the more modern Resident Evil games. An example is the scene where Claire is getting chased by an executioner, he's from Resident Evil 5 and I'll explain it later, and I could just see there being Press Square and X to dodge on screen every time she dodged one of the swings of his axe. Overall the action deserves a fucking 10/10 it is shot so well and lots of it is so much better then say the action in The A-team or even Kick-Ass.
Time for characters and acting. The characters have improved, but the acting hasn't. Milla Jovovich is still Alice and she like I said has gotten boring. Her character is kind of developed, she wants to save everyone she possibly can, but she was like that in the first of these movies, and I'm tired of seeing her not change at all. The thing about this movie is the assholes are way more distinguishable and we can clearly focus are hate on them where as in the other movies you didn't care about the characters enough to hate their enemies. Basically everyone is written a lot better and we can definitely see their desperation a lot more clearly, however some of the acting is bad. Like Wentworth Miller does his best Sam Worthington impersonation for some idiotic reason, plus he doesn't look all that much like Chris Redfield. I also think Ali Larter is not only a dumb choice for Claire Redfield, but a bad actress. Wesker kind of not really makes up for it. Albert Wesker is played by Shawn Roberts and while he looks decently like Wesker, he doesn't really sound like him and on top of that he has shit for lines. He acts very well though and definitely captures Wesker's different breed of evil which is what makes his character so cool. So characters and acting is okay much better then in the other films, but not great.
Correlation time and I hate to say it, but Anderson actually might have played the games for once. The plot is sort of like Code Veronica, but Wesker needs Alice's blood to control the T-virus. Where as in the game he wanted the blood inside Alexia to become stronger, which was kind of a theme in the game. Wesker always wanted to become stronger, and he escaped death a lot. The second is almost exaggerated throughout the movie, but they don't even touch the first. Chris and Claire's history are completely off, as to be expected. The thing that this movie fucked up was the Executioner which is the dude with the big ass axe. Now he is from Resident Evil 5 which for the most part didn't have the T-virus/Progenitor Virus, but the Las Plagas parasite from Resident Evil 4. I assume the executioner was one of the crazy creations made with the use of the Las Plagas parasite, but he is in the movie. for all 4 movies it has been strictly the T-virus, they haven't even mentioned the G-virus, although the G-virus was a big plot device of the animated Resident Evil: Degeneration. Another small thing is the super shit coming out of their mouth zombies. They look exactly like the Experiment boss from Resident Evil 4, which again was strictly Las Plagas, not T-virus. I wouldn't be mentioning if the the only instance of shit coming out of a zombies mouth was from Resident Evil 4. This makes me feel like Anderson played Resident Evil 4 and 5, and didn't realize that the majority of those games was Las Plagas, so he put random cool shit from those games into his movie. I would be cool with that had he explained what they are instead of just inferring that the T-virus can do weird shit like that. The last correlation thing I'm angry about is Wesker uses dual Dessert Eagle's instead of the Samurai Edge. The Samurai Edge is a really bad ass looking version of the Beretta 92F with custom almost everything and it sucks that they didn't at least make one and let him use it once in the movie. Those last two to three things were very nitpicky and I guess shouldn't be taken to heart.
Last sort of complaint was the length and pacing. I felt this movie was too short and they didn't have time to cover enough stuff, like I stated in correlation the Las Plagas bit or even an homage to Wesker spreading the parasite might have been nice. This also threw the pacing off, but it didn't really matter in the end.
Well all wrap this sucker up with saying the plot is okay and they made the characters more like-able, even though the acting is a bit worse, but the real reason to see this movie is the action. Anderson uses Cameron's technology better then Cameron has used it, I might add with 1/4th the budget. Ironically enough I started this review with 70% in mind, but I raised it to 80% last second as a testament to how much fun I had at this movie. I am kind of concerned with how much critical bashing this movie got. I feel like it's turning into one of the Boondock Saints movies, where it's a good to great movie, just the critics bash the shit out of it for no apparent reason. Although not the best movie this year definitely worth paying extra for 3D IMAX and oh yeah STAY AFTER THE CREDITS for a 40 second clip for the Resident Evil 5 movie. I totally forgot to do that last thing and missed a reference to the Resident Evil 5 game, which I am now sure Anderson played while making this movie.
Posted on 11/25/11 12:38 PM
Where to start with Doctor S. I might add that I traveled from the my sanctuary in Minnesota out to this strange place called San Francisco just to see Doctor S. First off it is one of, if not the best, the greatest movies in the zombie super-camp genre. I seem to be the only person on Rotten-Tomatoes who knows about this movie which obviously makes me special.
To start off with possibly the best plot ever conceived in the brain of a human. The reds over there in Russia devise the evilest of evil plans. They are going to create a drug that is so sinister that it turns you into a sex-crazed zombie. Well they did, and it's called marijuana. There is either an inner dun dun DUN moment going on in your mind or you saw this coming due to the title. In any case Doctor S must stop this evil so he does some scientific experiment that gives him super powers and then goes to save some town from the evil sex-crazed reefer zombie virus. Let me just say this is the most off the wall ideas for a movie, yet Bryan Ortiz, the director and writer, doesn't take it too far. That said let's talk about the details.
First off is the atmosphere, because this is obviously a horror movie... I think. I've got to give it to them it is very well done. Just to say it is done in Black and white and shot mostly at night time and it is pretty eerie. Maybe not perfectly done, but for what budget they had, which I assume was pretty small seeing as the movie was in black and white, they do a very well job.
Next up is the action, which there is surprisingly a lot of. Doctor S, the main character, kicks the ass of every zombie he sees, and then belts out some of the funniest one-liners I have ever heard. There are some very creative ways for him to kill the zombies and some of the gore effects remind me a lot of the original Evil Dead's gore effects.
Next up is the acting/characters, probably the best part about this movie. I really want to think that Planet Terror had the best cheesy serious acting, but Doctor S Battles The Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie takes the cake. Doctor S, as the main character, is just so perfect and he acts so ridiculous to the point where he is actually on par with Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness. He has the voice down, he has the one-liners down and he has the mannerisms down. I want to say this is the best character acting I have seen in a very very long time. Other than Doctor S there is Mary Jane who is played by two actress's, or at least the same actress, but changes her hair color or something. In any case she plays a very stereotypical girl who wants to see her family and grows attached to main character. Her performance is very good also, but nowhere near the level of skill that Rick Carrillo put into Doctor S. The last main-ish character is named Billy Everybody and he is a sex-crazed reefer zombie. He is the first to engage in the act of lighting a joint and becoming a sex crazed reefer zombie, and he does this after having sex with Mary Jane. So obviously the first thing he would say after becoming a sex crazed reefer zombie is, "Still want to touch it?".
The last thing in which I must address when it comes to this movie is the humor. It is everywhere. In almost every action and usually every line they are either parodying the 50's or making some kind of hilarious joke. 90% of the time I was watching this movie I was laughing my ass off. That should give you an estimate to whether or not you can consider this a funny movie. And if you are still not convinced my friend and his mom saw this movie with me and they laughed as much and probably more than I did. To go into more detail the lines are great the sort of slapstick humor is great, the gross-out humor is great. Pretty much every funny moment in this movie is fucking funny and there are not many movies like that.
To finish this off, Doctor S Battles The Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie is a very rare breed of movie. Much like a more modern Army Of Darkness, it has a distinct brand of super-camp humor mixed with over the top awesome, super-hero in a way, action. This is probably my favorite movie of the 2000's, so far, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a big fan of the super-camp genre.
Posted on 6/05/11 01:05 PM
So this movie has a 67% rating on Rotten tomatoes and this consensus: "Containing more of what made the Star Wars series fun, Attack of the Clones is an improvement over The Phantom Menace." That is a blatant lie. This movie is terrible in every meaning of the word, while re-watching this I just looked for one scene I did not hate yet no such scene existed. So spoilers are abundant, but again who cares, shit is already pretty spoiled.
Once again, as made famous in The Phantom Menace, the plot makes no sense at all. Palpatine, as supreme chancellor, is petitioning they make clones to fight the droids, Padme is against it, and her decoy blows up. Then she is almost killed by space-centipedes and this instigates her and Anakin to go to Naboo and have a horrifyingly unromantic vacation then get married. At some point Obi-wan finds clones and Boba Fett, then they go tot he sand planet which has a giant coliseum and they fight dinosaurs and bugs with droids fight clones and Dooku kicks Obi-wan and Anakin's ass. While that story seems kind of coherent when you look at it as a whole, none of it makes any sense.
They never do a follow-up check on Darth Maul, like they said they would in the previous film, somehow the main bad guy, Nute Gunray is out of space jail, and for some strange reason storm-troopers are actually clone troopers. Other things not malign sense, involve the Anakin Padme relationship, Anakin killed a lot of sand-people why didn't they expel him from the Jedi order and Obi-wan saw Anakin having a relationship with Padme, why didn't they expel Anakin from the Jedi order. Basically Anakin's actions would have expelled him from the Jedi order, and the love story is thrown in their, neither character seems like they are in love and why can't Jedi's love. It makes no sense that Jedi's can't have a relationship from the standpoint that relationships generally don't inspire anger if the two people are compatible.
Onto the fun part, the characters. All of these characters are illogical, and not smart, they generally come of as cart-board cutouts reading a bad script. I think Hayden is probably the worst actor in this movie, but that's probably because of lack of material. So Obi-wan says use patience and the force, but he jumps out of windows at small objects floating in a sky full of hundreds of cars, well I guess he used the force a little. Yoda, doesn't do anything this entire movie other then sit there looking like a confused piece of cgi. I guess he fights for the first time, but that is against everything his character is about. Anakin is an evil Jedi who kills people and breaks the Jedi code and doesn't listen to his mentor at all. Why is he allowed to be a Jedi again?
The Jedi council is full of idiots because none of them can find this mysterious man in the senate who is a sith, when they could easily do a midichlorian count or something, they need to watch The Thing(1982). So there isn't a single character who we can connect with and are forced to watch these idiots act like idiots in idiotic situations, god I love this movie.
Onto the rapeage of everything Jedi performed by Mr. Lucas. While watching this movie did anyone else see Obi-Wan begin raped by George Lucas every other scene, I dunno maybe I was seeing something... but... Anyway we were never really told much about the Jedi, but this movie makes a couple things clear, that don't make sense.
1. They abduct little children from their families, to go be apart of their cult.
2. Jedi training consists of sitting in a small room with about 2 feet of space between you and the next guy and deflect blaster bolts from a small death-star with a light-saber.
3. You get to spend quality time in a dark room with venetian blinds alone with a 900 year old small green thing.
4. Those little abducted kids can't have sex with the female twi'leks, or have a relationship with the opposite gender.
Okay I'm done with that. Lucas ruins the light-saber fight, by showing the impracticality of the Yoda versus Dooku fight. So they both seem to have the same force power, but for Yoda to fight against Dooku he has to jump around everywhere. So if they have the same force power why isn't Dooku jumping around everywhere...? This shows that if your opponent matches you in force power and happens to be more muscular then you or taller then you, your basically fucked. This makes light-sabers an impractical weapon for Jedi, but also makes the force much less magical. Also wasn't Yoda against using the light-saber, I mean he never, ever trained Luke with the light-saber, so why... oh they needed an action scene.
I'm tired of this, so here's a conclusion. Thanks to bad acting, a plot filled with holes, action sequence that weren't the least bit suspenseful, terribly written characters, did I mention plot-holes,ruining of the Jedi, a terrible love story, a few more plot holes and fuck it. Everything is wrong with this movie. i really didn't even touch upon how frighteningly shit-filled like 80% of the things in this movie are, but did I have too. I mean why do some people like this movie I don't understand, maybe because it has less Jar-jar, I don't know, there is no redeeming factor, not a likeable character or scene, even the action sequences are bland, because the characters are shown to be invincible. Even the marvelous environment, made by a computer, looks fake and un-real, and sterilized. I honestly didn't think Lucas could make something worse than the Phantom Menace. Oh boy did he prove me wrong.
Posted on 5/08/11 11:55 AM
Really my first impression of Thor was, woo-hoo Marvel is making Iron-Man clones. More like an Iron Man 2 clone. Thor was very disappointing which puts a very pessimistic shadow over the coming Marvel films. I'll try to keep this review short, and there are a couple spoilers, but I don't reveal any of the twists or anything.
So the plot is there was a great war between frost giants and Thor people, I never actually remember hearing what they are called, so I'll just call them Norse Gods. The Norse gods took the glowing blue cube thing from the frost giants which I don't know what it really did, maybe took away their power or something. It really seemed like only Thor, Loki and Odin could actually fight against tons of frost giants, all the supporting Norse gods seemed to get heir ass handed to them when out-numbered. So I guess the cube was like a relic or something, but whatever, the frost giants try to steal it after a long time of peace, and then Thor gets pissed. So he goes to frost-giant land and beats the shit out of them for a little, bit then the frost giants declare war and everyone is all sad. There are some twists here and there, but the plot is pretty cliche. It's the classic hidden wisdom from the father figure plot. My biggest issue is the frost giants declaring a second war on the Norse gods. You think there would be like this big ass climactic battle or something, like a big war between two powerful nations... but there isn't. So Thor gets banished from earth because he broke the peace, but there is never a war so isn't there technically still peace. I mean maybe Thor started a cold war with the frost giants, haha...ha, but the frost giants were sending in assault squads to the Norse God realm, to get the cube back, when there was peace so weren't they kind of at cold war before Thor did anything. Really the point I'm making is Thor got banished for the reason of war, yet no war happened. So it doesn't make sense that Thor is reluctant to go back at first. I'm really nitpicking here the plot is okay I guess. That's real the only big hole and they kind of put a sheet on it to cover the hole with Loki's character, but it's still there.
The characters are kind of poorly written, per-say, and are also very 1 dimensional. Thor is supposed to be this kind of charge in first ask questions later character, but generally he comes up with pretty strategic plans of attack. I mean he doesn't really go in guns-blazing he logically addresses the situation and uses his powers to assure victory. He's really the only 3 dimensional character, but the change he makes isn't really that drastic, so it doesn't matter. Portman is like that hardcore scientist she's super 1 dimensional. Kat Dennings is like the comic relief something or other. Stellan Skarsgard, was in this movie as something, I think a scientist, he really doesn't affect anything, maybe he added some comic relief at some point. Yeah, the characters are 1 dimensional and boring.
The acting is another story, Hemsworth does a great job, Portman does too. If the movie wasn't put together so badly this could have been an awesome action comedy, because the acting was first class, but the script was so bleh. Every comedy moment was just thrown in there, and they were very funny, in theory, but there was no build up, the funny scenes generally just happened. It would be like, plot, plot, funny scene, and then some more plot and then funny scene. The worst of these occurrences is the hospital scene, where he goes crazy in the hospital and then gets knocked out with a needle to the ass. It was funny, but had nothing to do with the rest of the movie and could have been cut out without hurting the movie at all. So yea funny scenes were thrown in there. Same with Portman and Hemsworth's relationship. They never give a reason why Hemsowrth is into Portman, I guess Portman is interested in him because he like explains the similarities between Norse god powers and science, I don't really know. Portman has a thing for thrown in there relationship though, I mean she was in Attack of the Clones.
Onto the action, which is okay, but there isn't enough of it. The action scenes are pretty standard some cgi is happening for a bit then some other cgi happens, then the characters walk around a bit, then some more cgi happens. Maybe bland and tasteless are the right words, but yea there are like 4 action scenes in the entire movie. I think the total amount of action adds up to maybe 15 or 20 minutes of the movie. They had a 150$ million budget and there is 15 minutes of bland and tasteless action... really? Like I said a lot like Iron Man 2. I think Sucker Punch had better action... Oh my god I just referenced Sucker Punch positively... oh God, but it did have better action and the sequences flowed much better than Thor's.
Well Thor was very disappointing the action sucks, the plot works fine, very good acting, but terribly written characters and a script which lacks fun. The movie just flows horribly and in the end when you figure out whats happening you don't really care about the characters all that much. Hopefully DC doesn't mess up the Green Lantern or Super-hero movies are going to suck hard for the next couple years.
Posted on 4/02/11 01:02 AM
The first thing to really say is I had extremely low expectations going in and thought it was going to be like Transformers. Turns out it was more like Transformers 2. Now I used to really like Zack Snyder as a director. Watchmen and 300 were two of my favorite movies and I thought he was going to be the director who took special effects to the next level. Basically before Sucker Punch came out I would argue with my friends who the next amazing up and coming director was. I actually thought that perhaps maybe this was going to be Snyder's masterpiece and he was really going to step up to the plate with the first film he actually wrote. I was SO WRONG. There will be spoilers and angry rants, and tons of swearing, and if you want since this one is really long you can skip to the conclusion.
So first off is the plot that doesn't make sense. I seriously didn't want a fucking plot from this movie, I wanted an excuse to see girls running around blowing shit up in skimpy outfits that excited my inner 14 year old. What I got was the most confusing cluster-fuck of stupid ideas that don't make any sense.
The first 5 minutes of the movie, were nobody says anything and it's basically a cool music video to a remake of Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This, is by far the best part of the movie. It introduces the plot to us and characters with cool camera angles and excellently guided emotional tones. After that the movie doesn't make any sense. So Baby Doll goes to a mental institution where shes getting lobotomized and then shes in a whore house where they dance in a studio or something and then they fight samurai guys, then they go back to the whore house and have to find objects to help them escape, which they find in the dream world where they fight dragons and orcs and robots and robo-germans.
So I was expecting like an action packed movie that had like 5 minutes of talking then some cool action scenes, kind of like a Cinemax porno, but with action instead of sex. Not only were the action scenes scarce, but the whore house was the main setting for say about 60% of the movie. The Whore House itself never made any sense to me. Was it her imagination, was it symbolic, it sure as hell wasn't real. And than it dawned on me. Snyder thought that if he added sex appeal, chicks wearing sexy clothes instead of mental institution clothes, to the mental institution setting, i.e. He turned a fucking mental institution into a whore house, that more people would like his movie. Maybe that would have worked if they like moved around or danced or did R-rated stuff, but all they do in the whore house is talk about stuff and give way to the action scenes. I guess the whore house is all a dream, because at the end we see her getting the lobotomy, which you can apparently do by hitting someone int he face with a metal object and not leaving an incision or anything. I always thought you had to like cut open their head and snip a part of their brain and that's why people were like wait lobotomies are wrong, but according to Professor Snyder you just hit someone in the face with what looks like a cleave used for chopping wood. Well we see her getting a lobotomy right before the whore house begins so apparently it was all a dream but someone a character from the dream escapes the mental institution with Scott Glenn who is from the what I'm going to call second stage of the dream where they kill shit. So it's a dream within a dream... I think maybe Snyder just took Inception's plot and made it more confusing and less interesting and made it suck more. If that isn't enough while the plot is happening and towards the end, we get these stupid thematic statements said by characters that don't help the plot make sense or inspire any other emotion from within us other than confusion.
I would bitch about the plot all night, but I must move on to the characters and acting. Now Snyder did something very interesting with Baby-Doll's inability to talk for the first like 20 minutes or so. This kind of added some mystery to her character, maybe a deeper intelligence, or maybe horse shit I lied she's not interesting. When she talks it's not smart shit it's generally words that don't need to be said, but that isn't the issue. When she talks she emits this confusion and fear in her statements like she doesn't know whats going on and it scares her. I guess if she maybe was confident with her statements instead of timid, we might have gotten a stronger lead, but she's really shy and it makes her uninteresting and boring. All the other characters act like their in a serious movie, which is another big problem. This movie takes itself way to seriously and so do it's actors. At the end of the day there is no reason we should relate or care about these character's issues. So when they cry and bitch about stuff in the whore house, you get this question in your head. Why is/are this/these scene/scenes in the movie and why aren't they killing stuff with big guns right now?
So onto the action. I was really excited for this portion of the movie and was ready to turn my brain off and watch tension-less action scenes where chicks were really bad-ass and killed shit. Lots of it was really cool, specifically the first action scene with the samurai. Everything else was really dumb. Now I'm taking all of you back to film school and teaching you about the art of Tension-less action scenes. Now you make the main character or characters really powerful and/or invincible and you give them unlimited ammo with their guns and you make the bad guys easily kill-able so that we see lots of well done and interesting ways to kill things. Snyder does an okay job of this, until he decides to add *random tension* to his scenes. He does things like trap characters in, situations that are very easy to escape. For instance Jena Malone dies because shes in a train with a bomb in it and can't get to the helicopter to get her out of there. Earlier int he movie we saw them jump out of a plane and land on their feet, so why didn't she just jump of the train and survive. Oh right I forgot her getting exploded by a bomb was symbolic for getting stabbed by a knife in the dream whore-house, my bad. Another one was after killing like 100 robo-germans, Baby doll decides to get captured by like 10 of them and let them talk at her while she acts like she can't do anything about it. Then she did something about it or someone helped her or something happened my memory of this crap is starting to fade. Whatever the special effects were cool until they made a lord of the rings reference, like Snyder was comparing his shit to Lord of the Rings. That made me laugh out loud in the theater while everyone was telling me to shush.
The other thing is the characters actually fucking reload sometimes. This is by far the stupidest part of the movie, because there was no tension for the reloading process to add to and this is a dream world where they shouldn't even have to care about ammo. Plus they do it at moments after they've fired thousands of rounds into everything and for some reason need to reload because their 30 round clips have suddenly gone empty after the 500th round has been fired. Snyder needs to go back and watch Hard-boiled and learn the art of suspense reloading, or just have it be realistic reloading, or oh wait it's a dream so they shouldn't even need ammo.
To conclude, the plot doesn't make sense, and the action scenes aren't awesome enough to basically stop you from thinking about the confusing plot. On top of that the characters are uninteresting and none of them really have a goal other than to escape the prison, but that really doesn't matter because their in a whore house ,wait it's all a dream so none of it matters. I have praised Snyder before for some awesome direction, but here he just fails in every sense of the word, I literally can't think of anything redeeming about this movie regarding it's direction and writing. So shame on you Zack Snyder for putting a new low on my movie expectations.
So I'm going to end this by review talking about Sucker Punch's similarity to the Star Wars prequels and you all are going to see an interesting thing happen with this movie. Now Snyder, much like Lucas, was trying to do something cool with special effects, and in the process he made a really terrible film. In Lucas's case he made 3 really terrible films. Sucker Punch is basically the Phantom Menace, with less Star Wars. How you ask? Both have confusing plots that make no sense, both have no clear protagonist, I guess Baby Doll is kind of a protagonist, but she doesn't talk very much so I'm not giving her the honor of being called a protagonist. Both have really cool special effects that in 10 years will be out dated and nobody will remember either film specifically for the special effects, and lastly of all both have terrible writing. The interesting thing that will happen is it will either barely make over it's budget or fail at the box office. I have this theory that The Phantom Menace would have failed really badly at the box office if it didn't have Star Wars in front of it's title, and I guess we'll see with Sucker Punch, because it is like the exact same movie, but it doesn't have Star Wars in front of it's title.
Posted on 1/22/11 02:06 PM
After about 15 years of waiting, we get this Bullshit. So I'm sure we have all established that the original trilogy owns the shit out of the prequels, but I've been hearing lots of, oh the prequels weren't... That Bad. Yes they were and whoever doesn't think the same, well I ask this question, "Why Were They At All Okay?". There is a simple answer, they aren't and so here I will start my review of Star Wars The Phantom Menace, and yes spoilers will be abundant.
The Biggest issue with the Phantom Menace is simply the stupid illogical, un-thought out characters. There is no protagonist, unlike the original trilogy which had Luke, and there is no characters us audience are supposed to connect to. When you take people to a galaxy far far away, they need someone like them so they aren't lost. I'll give some examples: Corbin Dallas, from The Fifth Element, Luke Skywalker, from Star Wars, James T. Kirk, from the good Star Trek movies, Rick Deckard, Bladerunner, Sgt. Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity + Firefly, and Sigourney Weaver from Alien/Aliens. See those are all good movies, with people kind of like us in them, The Phantom menace just has stupid characters not at all like us.
Here are some examples of how badly written these characters are, I'll do 3 just in case you don't realize the idiocy in these characters after the first one. So it was established that Jedi Master's were wise and sage-like. Ignoring how the title screen calls Qui-Gon Jinn a Jedi knight, he is a Jedi master, and he's training Obi-Wan, who's a padawan. Off the bat Qui-Gon makes stupid calls like, lets go down with the droid army, who's invading Naboo, to warn the people of Naboo, who have no stable army and are a peaceful planet, of the droid army that's going to invade them. Well there is nothing the Naboo people can do against the droid army, and isn't it a bit late to warn them of an army that's already landed on their planet and currently in the process of invading them. If that's not enough when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan get to the planet they follow some random guy who talks like a retard and looks like a 6 foot cartoon rabbit to an underwater city. What happened to warning the Naboo of the invasion, oh did they forget about that. Getting to a more basic level, Qui-Gon seems to try and use his force powers to his advantage whenever he can. How you ask. He uses it on thee Gungans for their watercraft, he tries to use it on a trader to basically steal a ship part from the trader when their ship brakes, he uses it to cheat the dice roll to basically win Anakin, and he disobeys the Jedi Council's orders and kind of trains Anakin. So this oh so wise Jedi Master, has become little more then a petty thief. Onto character number 2, senator Palpatine. So Palpatine's plan is to use the trade federation to start a war with the Naboo, and then when the current Supreme Chancellor of the senate declares they are to not help the Naboo people because the Senate doesn't believe that Naboo was actually being invaded have Queen Amidala have a vote of no confidence for the current supreme Chancellor. Then to save the people of Naboo and take over as Supreme Chancellor. There are a couple of things I don't understand from this plan. The first being why would the Senate vote you supreme Chancellor after you helped win a war that the senate didn't believe was actually happening. The second, what if the Senate did believe that the invasion was happening then there would be no need for a vote of no confidence against the previous Supreme chancellor. And the last why didn't the supreme chancellor believe the invasion was going on when he sent the two Jedi's to go settle the trade dispute, and they come back and told him that Naboo was getting invaded. Well onto character number 3, Nute Gunray. He is the leader of the trade federation and probably by far the most retarded character. First he is blockading the planet probably because the holographic Darth Sideous told him to, but what is he gaining from this invasion. Absolutely nothing, so what did Sideous say he'd do in return for invading Naboo. We never hear about it. Also he needs Amidala too sign a treaty to make the invasion *legitimate*. Why didn't he forge the signature, I mean forcing someone to sign something kind of defeats the purpose of their signature. So none of these character's motives or plan's or anything make any sense at all, and on top of that the plot doesn't make any sense either.
Let's talk about one of the most idiotic, moronic, imbecilic, and just plain fucking stupid plots to ever be written. So starting off Sideous orders the Trade federation to kill the two Jedi. If they didn't make it back to the previous Supreme Counselor wouldn't he investigate what happened to them, find out they were killed by the federation, and probably send an army to stop the federation and arrest them. So exactly the opposite of what Sideous wanted would have happened had the Jedi died. so onto Naboo, Obi-Wan convinces the Gungans to help out the people of Naboo, because they form a symbiont circle. What symbiont means is two life forces that can't exist without the other. So wait your telling me this underwater tribe of people, on the other side of the planet, can't exist without the people of Naboo. Oh wait that doesn't make any sense. When the two Jedi save the queen, Qui-Gon insists that they try and run the blockade. Isn't the point of a blockade to keep things from going in or leaving. Apparently not in The Phantom Menace, because only one, out of life 30, of the big trade federation ships actually fires at the ship that the Jedi/Queen are in, and it rarely hits it. So onto Tantooine, when Qui-Gon tries to use the Jedi mind-trick to get the part, because their currency wasn't being accepted by the trader guy. Why didn't he just steal the part, or better why didn't they go trade currencies with someone who could use republic credits, and then use the new money to buy the part. I'm going to skip Coruscant because I already kind of talked about it, but when they return to Naboo, the 30 ship blockade is gone and it's only 1 ship and it doesn't fire at them when they try to enter the planet. Isn't that convenient. Oh yeah and the Jedi council told Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to capture Darth Maul, but Obi-Wan just decides to kill him. now you may think I'm nitpicking, but these are all synopsis plot holes, I haven't even touched the like 50 or more lines of dialogue that just don't make any sense.
Moving on to other shit in the Star Wars universe that this movie ruined. First the Phantom Menace managed to ruin the fucking force with midichlorians. How does this ruin the force you ask. Well it takes all the mysticism and magic out of it and it turns it into an ability that these aliens in this different universe can do, because they have midichlorians in there blood. Next they ruined the light-saber fight by giving them flawless choreography. See in the original trilogy during light-saber fights, whoever was battling always emitted emotions or told us something about their characters we didn't know. For instance in A New Hope we see how Vader and Obi-Wan are both old geezers and how Obi-Wan doesn't have the power to defeat Vader so he gives Luke the inspiration to defeat Vader, by dieing. This is all conveyed in the light-saber fight, and with no dialogue. Kinda neat eh? Well in the Phantom Menace we see two characters fighting a more evil looking character, with nothing really at risk. And even when Qui-Gon gets killed you think Obi-Wan will pull something like Luke did in Return of the Jedi, were he just angrily flails his saber around to the point where he tries to beat Vader into the ground with his saber. obi-Wan just jumps back into a flawlessly choreographed fight where once again no emotion is portrayed by his swings.
And Lastly the stupid ending. So this movie is the last to follow the Star Wars Ending Effect, and most hilariously the worst. So if you've watched the disc commentary you might have seen the editor trying to explain to Lucas how you can't have tones of different emotions happening in the span of 90 seconds or it won't work, but if you haven't I'll explain it for you. Basically we go from Qui-Gon dieing, which is supposed to be sad, to Anakin blowing up the ship, which is happy, to them having a shoot-out in the Throne room, which is... uuh I have no fucking idea, to Jar-Jar doing stupid shit in the Gungan battle, which is supposed to be funny, but it's not. Anyway they combine 3 different emotions, and one emotionless scene, and it turns out humans can't feel Sad-Happy while laughing and partially bored. i would've never guessed.
Well it's conclusion time, and I'm happy I can be done with this, but not really because I have to do the attack of the clones review at some point. Anyway why am I giving this 10% and not 0%, well i liked the action and the special effects are pretty cool. I feel kind of superficial for saying that and not docking that 10%, but whatever. I can safely say the Phantom Menace is one of the worst movies ever made, and although you probably have, you should never ever watch it again. The characters were stupid, the plot was stupid,and everything else about the movie is stupid. it's special effects are pretty out-dated so even those don't stand out like they used to. In all a fucking terrible movie. Thank You very much for reading my longest review yet, by far, but there is one more thing I would like to address.
It's about a movie called Fanboys, and I'm going to spoil it, because it sucked, but it's about a group of friends who want to get a sneak peak at The Phantom Menace before it comes out, because one of them had cancer. One of them gets to watch it, the one with cancer, and I feel like that movie should have been a drama, because what if you were waiting your entire life for this movie,and knew that after seeing this movie you didn't have much time left on the earth. What if that was the phantom Menace, I can't even fathom the colossal disappointment I would feel if that happened to me. Well Thanks for reading, and have a nice day not watching the Phantom Menace.
Posted on 1/09/11 02:41 PM
So onto the final chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy. Though Return of The Jedi was a fitting end for the trilogy, and it had a bigger budget for many more special effects than the other two, it just failed to reach the level of Sci-fi epicness of it's predecessors. Again with this one, there will be some spoilers.
So starting off with the plot, which has two main parts to it. The first is the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut, the second being the destruction of the new Death Star. The Han Solo side plot, for lack of a better term, is kind of lengthy at points and doesn't really make much sense. For instance there is no clear reason why Jabba didn't take Luke's money other then to move the characters further int he plot to get them to a big battle on hover crafts over the dessert. While it's not as blatantly obvious that characters just do things because they're on the script, like in the prequels, you can still tell that everything is planned a little too nicely. Another oddity is that Luke didn't go into Jabba's palace and kill everyone was because it's a movie made for children and they need to distinguish the good guys from bad guy's in this situation. I mean Luke did end up killing everyone, just he had to endure unreasonable capture previous to killing them, thus leading to painting them as the bad guys. While this may seem like nitpicking it shows pretty obvious errors in the script, those that tend to take you out of the movie. The death star part was much more tightly knitted together, leaving less exceedingly obvious plot holes or illogical character moves.
Onto characters and acting, which is still great. Luke has a new arc to endure and it shows the other parts of the dark-side, like temptation, versus the fear which led to the dark-side in Empire Strikes Back. Hamill is as good as he was in the original with no slip-ups like in Empire Strikes Back. Vader also has a cool arc, the idea behind doing the right thing and ruling the universe as a ruthless dictator. We see Han and Lando taking charge as they lead the rebel army to victory, not a big arc, but it's there. The last of the characters expose Lucas's true form as an evil business man whose business is to kill the star Wars franchise. I'm talking of course as Ewoks. The rebels could have very easily given the stormtroopers the slip or just outnumbered them, but no, they had to use the Ewoks. Now I have no personal bone to pick with the Ewoks themselves, but it's what they represent and that is the idea of appealing to certain audiences, thus writing formulaic characters to appeal to *everyone*. This didn't happen so much in the first two Star Wars movies, but in Return Of The Jedi Lucas decided he needed to appeal to younger children more. so he created a young soft furry creature that is cute enough for young girls to like and savage enough for young boys to like. I guess I'm rambling at this point, and I will go into more detail about this kind of thing in my prequels review, so I'll continue with the review and stop discussing how bad it is to convert movie making from an artistic process to a business practice.
Anyway my last big issue about this film is what I call the star Wars ending effect. In the original there was one thing going on, destroy the death-star and in Empire Strikes Back it was two endings, Luke versus Vader, and Leia trying to escape Cloud City. In Return of the Jedi there is three, destroy shield generator on Endor, Luke versus Vader 2.0, and Rebel ships outside of Death-star. Now the problem with having a greater amount of things happening at once is different emotional-tones conflicting. For instance with the rebels attacking the Death-Star you got confusion, hope, and fear. Han and Leia trying to attack the generator you got fear, humor, love and terrible Ewok comic-relief. With Luke versus Vader you got temptation, hope, fear, anger, pride, and all sorts of other ones I don't want to go into. the point I'm making is while they may share a few emotions, each scene has a different feel to it and combining three scenes with different feels draws you out of the movie making it less engaging.
To end this it may seem like I'm ripping Return of the Jedi a new asshole discussing most of it's problems versus where it succeeded in finalizing the Star Wars trilogy. That's mostly because I'm tired of saying the more obvious good stuff about these movies, and so I decided to look at the beginning of the failures the series began to have and this started with Return. Anyway I still like this movie a lot and, like the other two in the original saga, is a must-see for everybody.
Posted on 1/08/11 11:00 AM
So onto Empire Strikes Back, my personal favorite Star wars movie and a favorite among many other fans. Empire is such a brilliant fusion between great acting, emotionally driven characters, original story and excellent direction/writing, making it one of the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time. There will kind of be spoilers in this one, but you all have probably already seen it anyway.
Anyway onto the excellent story. Empire Strikes Back actually differs a lot from the original Star Wars, because it is not a simple heroes journey. The story is exceedingly interesting and very deep, but when torn apart is really just the simple plot of the rebels running from the Empire. While at it's core the story is very simplistic, it is once again decorated with the rich back story of a foreign galaxy. We get to learn a little more about the Jedi, we learn whose running the Empire, and most importantly we learn who and what Darth Vader really is. I don't think the specific details of the plot matter as much as how it is told.
That being a good lead into Direction and writing. Empire Strikes Back is the first Star Wars movie, not to be directed by Lucas. It's directed by Irvin Kershner, who did a flawless job. The camera work is once again very graceful and symbolic and the story is told with a masterful amount of emotional tone behind it to really connect the audience to the characters and really bring us along for the ride. The writing is equally as spectacular. All the main characters have their own goals and development arc throughout the film. By adding arcs and goals it adds depths to the characters making it more believable when they jump on a spaceship, this ultimately helping the audience get engaged and entertained by the movie.
Onto Acting and characters which will be a little more analytical. Now I may be alone in thinking this, but Mark Hamill seemed to do a sloppy job in this film. Not really bad, but nowhere near where he needed to be at to accomplish the end goal of how the character is written. To go into more depth, as the audience we are supposed to connect to the character of Luke Skywalker and watch his journey throughout the space opera universe of Star wars. Hamill's acting came off as a little strong in some parts and throughout the Dagobah scene he seemed really whiny and impatient. I realize the end goal of that sequence, in Dagobah, was to show that through arrogance can come failure, but Hamill portrays Skywalker with a kind of sudden arrogance that contradicts the wisdom he should be gaining from his training. That is more of a nitpicky point though and, as you see from my rating, doesn't really affect the film that much. Leia also makes a kind of interesting arc, with here revelation and figuring out that she really loves Han. What I really love about this arc is how undemanding of the overall story it is. There is no boring, badly scripted, and or stupid romantic side-plot, we just see her feelings unfold as her and Han evade the Star Destroyers. It's a nice touch and it shows that Luke is not the only complex character, which makes the film more interesting. Han also has an arc, but it's the same exact arc from the last movie. Not that that's really a bad thing, his smuggler with a heart of gold character still works perfectly.
The last thing I wanted to discuss was the shadow that Empire Strikes Back cast on any newer star Wars films, specifically Return of The Jedi. Empire Strikes back is such a tightly knit film, almost achieving perfection, thus making it hard to duplicate it's amazingness. While Return of The Jedi was a great film, and I'll probably be reviewing that next, it came nowhere near to the epic-ness of save the Third installment of the Lord Of The Rings films. This was because Empire was so good it made it practically impossible to top and this created a gap in cinematic quality between the two, making the trilogy not was wound together as Lucas probably had hoped. If you want to learn from his mistake then save your super amazing movie for the third spot on a trilogy.
Anyway Empire Strikes back is what a space adventure film should be. it is family friendly, makes homages to past classic films, has great acting, has a deep emotional tone throughout and has some of the best direction, ever. Oh yeah and the plot's not to shabby either. Well if you haven't seen Empire, then what the hell's wrong with you, Go See it. Oh yeah and this is the one were Leia kisses Luke and it's all gross and incesty and uuuuggh...
EDIT: I forgot to talk about Yoda, so this is a last second edit where I talk about Yoda. Everything about Yoda's character is excellent, how he's introduced and his immense wisdom. When Luke journey's to Dagobah you see this crappy swamp planet and expect this like bad-ass Jedi master whose mastered the elements and is chillin' on this shitty planet to train himself or something. But no we get a 3-foot Yoda. This is a play on how the audience perceives words, like "warrior", or "master" and it's rather interesting. Next is the training and wisdom he gives Luke. He doesn't train him with the light-saber at all, I'm not even sure if he mentions it, thus implying that for a Jedi mental strength is much more important than physical. It also shows that the light-saber is not the end all be all weapon, which coincides with the prequels philosophy, but I'll get into that in the prequels reviews.