Totally bleak and very realistic, this historical story set in the time of the bubonic plague which really is quite depressing. The plot is of course religious based and see's a group of warriors and a young monk off to a small village untouched by plague. The reason? because they think a witch is there and keeping the plague out, which would seem beneficial really, but that's not Christian damn it!.
Sean Bean heads a good character driven cast (including Tim McInnerny of 'Blackadder' fame) despite still looking like 'Boromir' of 'LOTR'. His mates are a dirty ugly bunch all set on pushing the Christian faith through England and that's it. The plot is basically just a gang of warriors on a mission getting taken down one by one, usual affair, but its niche is it being set in the time of the bubonic plague and rather grotty. Last man standing film ritual really, nothing new.
It looks great, you can almost smell the rotting filth in the air and taste the mud the group slowly wades through, all accompanied by that typical eerie chanting you tend to hear in old fashioned Abbeys by monks. The musical score is very spiritual, deep and haunting with an ethereal essence about it, it works very well for the era. Its just a shame the ending gets a little bit silly and kinda 'Wicker Man-ish'. Still its a good film that has gone under the radar probably because its a British/German production, I don't think the Yanks know what the bubonic plague was.
In all fairness this could easily be an unofficial sequel to the Star Trek franchise, a freak alternate universe thingy hehe. A cool satire or parody of the classic sci-fi franchise that mocks and homages whilst being immensely enjoyable to boot.
I never really thought I would like a Tim Allen film, he's never been my cup of tea and his films aren't exactly gold dust. This has to be his best and funniest film to date with a terrific Shatner type performance as the Captain. I love the way he oozes around the conventions basking in the glory that is he. The show revolves around him, it would fold without him, grasping at all the attention that comes his way...brilliantly done.
The rest of the crew is also created, cast and visualized perfectly. The best for me being Rickman as the tired failed dramatic actor 'Dane aka...'Dr Lazarus'. Alongside Allen with his ego trip Rickman is so so damn hilarious, the way he cringes at all the fans, shuns the ridiculous questions, the attention and rolls his eyes whilst squirming at the geeks that swarm around him.
Kudos to the extras that played the geeks and nerds. I dunno if they were actual fans of Star Trek or general sci-fi (I'm guessing they were) but I'll bet they were regulars to conventions. Whoever they were they really nailed the whole image and reputation these type of folk have . The interaction with Rickman's character in one sequence is flippin' comedy gold!.
The whole crew line up is excellent but the way the film floats between the in-film TV show and the real situation they are all thrown into is sheer quality. Surely the best humour must be how Allen's crew must adapt and recreate how to actually take command of a real starship, fire torpedoes, land, use communications etc...like they pretend to do in their show.
What is really hilarious is how its all so accurate to Star Trek! its so darn close you forget they are taking the piss. I love how Shalhoub tries to explain to Allen that their engine is basically screwed but in the most basic babyish terms he can. The way Rockwell points out that there's a red thingy moving towards the green thingy on the radar screen, and that he thinks they are the green thingy. Also the way he has constant panic attacks as he knows he's the expendable crew member that always bites the dust in these types of situations (redshirt).
The only crew/cast member that I didn't think fit was Weaver as 'DeMarco'. I realise the whole point of her character is she does nothing in their show but poor old Weaver does pretty much nothing in the film also. Its odd to see her so sexed up too, the blonde doesn't suit her methinks, I reckon they should of cast more of a bimbo for that role myself (in reality), space slut played by a real life slut of sorts. Mitchell was another character that didn't have as much of the screen time but the sequences where he's trying to fly the ship, especially as they leave space dock, are priceless.
I don't think it was too hard to nail the look of this film at tall, it only needed rickety sets and the odd bit of CGI. The 'TV in-show' scenes were nicely crafted to look cheesy, the actual sets for the real ship were also slightly leaning towards cheesy so no problems there. CGI in space was average but that went along with the films vision where as the makeup and prosthetics for the evil 'Sarris' by Stan Winston was both childish yet really cool. He pretty much looked like a missing mutant character from a 'TMNT' kids film, a typical action figure type design which kinda looked like the bad guy from 'Suburban Commando'.
Gotta love the way Allen's character slimes his way around 'Sarris' his first time in space yet not realising its all real, yes its obvious humour but come on...its funny stuff.
Such a perfect sent up of Star Trek, if I were one of the real Trek cast I probably would have been rather embarrassed to watch it. Its not suppose to look fantastic and its not suppose to be grand or serious in any way obviously. The humour is very silly, childish in parts yet devilishly wry, dark, sarcastic and ironic in others. If you love Star Trek or sci-fi you can't fail to enjoy this.
'Quellek... by Grabthar's hammer... by the Sons of Warvan... you shall be... avenged'
Its a shame Mostel didn't have the chance to make more films with Wilder as they are such a fantastic pair more so than Wilder n Pryor even. Mostel was such a brilliant comedian with his facial expressions, heavy set movement and brilliant verbal skills, this Mel Brooks classic shows us this in every way.
The plot is actually very clever, simple but clever, but the way each and every character is formed and played out by the terrific cast is the key to the films genius. The whole film is basically quite insane, loony even, Mostel is like a cartoon character as he transforms from cunning to charming on a dime, then U-turns with in your face rants. Wilder's meek, clever and paranoid performance compliments the odd couple duo, very much the new Laurel n Hardy of the time if you will.
Brooks favourite choice Kenneth Mars is again in a role that is quite memorable as the shell shocked loyal Nazi whose love letter to Hitler becomes a surprise hit. His performance like everyone else is quite loony and in my opinion better than his character from 'Young Frankenstein', yet not as amusing as the two star leads.
The film is off the wall and almost comes across as a feature length 'Monty Python' sketch with some of the best crazy characters ever created. What also works so well are the sets and costumes used, everything is really quite down to earth and of its time. There doesn't appear to be anything fancy used or any large amounts of money spend. Its simply a great example of a character/plot driven film which is purely relying on the genuine skills of its cast, possibly a touch of improvisation.
Unlike other Brooks films as its actually kinda sensible, totally over the top and in your face with outrageous acting, but its not an out right spoof. It also still holds up perfectly well to this day and doesn't seem dated in a comedy sense, obviously the costumes and Nazi aspect are getting on a bit these days.
Easily some of the wildest and most unconventional comedy (and hair!) you will have seen for a long time, and its genius.
Hmmmmmm so very very tricky to decide here, what can I say...I enjoyed this as a stand alone film on its own, and when not compared to the original. As a stand alone farce its a great piece of comedy but of course it so difficult not to think and look back to the original material.
To be honest this is a classic example of a remake that, in terms of the movie, didn't succeed in doing anything other than show you should never try to remake a classic. Of course because of the flick there was a big renewed interest in the forgotten classic and a very popular theatre show, which is all good as its perfect for the theatre in every sense but the actual film is a poor imitation.
There are certain parts in this film I loved, mainly anything to do with Nathan Lane who is a superb comedic actor with fantastic skills in facial and physical comedy. Some of his leers and chubby prat falls are brilliant and really compete with Mostel's first performance. On the other hand there are some truly awful moments of...plagiarism basically where the same funny line or sequence has been attempted from the original and it just bombs hard. Some scenes simply cannot be replicated from the genius of Wilder and Mostel.
A huge issue with me was the casting of Broderick who is so so so so weak an actor I just don't understand how he gets work. Is it all simply down to 'Ferris Bueller'!!?. Terrible actor and he really shows it here with a dreadful performance that lets the whole film down badly. Sure he can sing a little, move well and he does look the part but he just isn't a strong enough character for comedy, he's too shy and reserved and a bad partner to Lanes terrific greasy comb over sleaze.
To be honest some of the casting is poor in this film accept for Lane, Beach and Bart all of which were inspired choices. Thurman and Ferrell were totally out of place and show why it can be a bad decision to cast big names when lesser known folk would work so much better. Also Lovitz could of been used in a better role instead of the extra unnecessary sequence he was in. Where was Dom Deluise that's what I wanna know, the perfect film for him.
The film looks fantastic I gotta say, well it basically looks like a stage performance that's just been filmed really. Not a bad thing as the colour and razzle dazzle is all very well directed and comes up peachy on your screen. Lots of musical numbers and extra padding to fill out the length which is again nice but also loses some of the originals charm. The old adage of less is more and this new film really does go overboard when it didn't have to. Obviously the film was meant to be a precursor to the real theatre production (a prequel of sorts to see how it would fare) which is fine but I don't know why they went down the musical route with the film instead of sticking to the better farcical comedic angle. I just felt a lot of the source materials essence was lost trying to craft the film into something else when they still could of done the theatre show and kept this film like the original.
Last thoughts are positive for the film as its nice to see musicals back on the big screen looking as lush as this but as a remake its nowhere near as good as its forebearer. Quite a poor copy in places but it does have its highlights which can make you forgive. If your seeing this for the first time then I strongly recommend the original first of course.
Released one year after the Australian drag queen comedy 'Priscilla', Hollywood had taken notice of its popularity and as Hollywood does, it churns out a US version. Now this film isn't a remake of 'Priscilla' but quite clearly a leap on the drag queen bandwagon in hopes to hover up the new found success.
The outcome? need I really tell you?? its obvious isn't it, a poor equivalent naturally. You see the thing is, the Aussie flick was original and had a heart, a soul, there was a good story inside that made you love and care for the characters. The very real sensitive issues weren't rammed in your face, plus the casting was excellent and didn't utilize big name stars (at the time...apart from Stamp).
This glitzy US contender had none of that, the plot is as predictable as the rising sun. Two drag queens (and another that hitches along which they call their apprentice) go off on a road trip across the US to enter into a kind of national Miss Drag Queen contest in CA. Along the way they get stranded in a small male chauvinistic run town where...guess what! they manage to change the towns bigoted ways (the men) and help the women become more independent and free from their male overlords.
Oh and they also assault a bigoted corrupt redneck police office type played perfectly by Chris Penn. He chases them through the film and displays the kind of prejudice you would expect whilst also begging the question, is his character in the closest perhaps?.
So you have every sexist homophobic angle you can think of covered just to try and scrape together an interest with the right audience and get on their side. The whole plot is so contrived and phony, no soul here, just a money spinner. A typical Hollywood production that forces the ideas of female oppression in a male-dominated society and homophobia down your throat, so heavy and obvious its hokey.
I think the main hook was just the fact that three big tough butch male stars (well two) are the drag queens. Normally in serious films or violent action films, Swayze and Snipes are the draw. Swayze actually does look quite elegant and beautiful as a wealthy looking middle aged female in 50's (I think) attire. Snipes doesn't fair quite so well frankly but Leguizamo as the third queen is again surprisingly cute looking, but bordering on slutty n easy which is his Latino character not my desires.
So really the only thing here was the shock value of seeing two hard action heroes and a serious character actor play screaming queens, that's why they cast them I reckon. Although I must give Swayze his dues, he does play the part of a man struggling with his inner feelings well. The battle against his disapproving parents is briefly played on but overall Swayze definitely musters some tender moments.
Apart from that there really is nothing else here to shout about, good morals maybe, but overdone. Had the Aussie film never existed then this would be looked upon as much more original and fresh instead of an average follow up. The soundtrack isn't in the same class as 'Priscilla', there are too many cheesy cameos, the plot is so artificial/mainstream/forced/laboured with an ending that rips off 'Spartacus' and of course overall, its just not as good as 'Priscilla'.