Seriously, why didn't this movie received better than the reception it had? I thought that this was a very underrated Disney flick next to Robin Hood and The Black Cauldron. Sure, it's not in the same depth as the later films including most of the Renaissance films, but it's still a good movie to watch for the whole family. Now that it celebrated it's 50th Anniversary, this is my final review for 2013 before 2014 starts.
It tells the story bout Arthur/Wart, a measly servant knave who dreams of becoming a knight but is barely certain he may act as squire to castle lord Sir Ector's son Kay. Then, the sorcerer Merlin and his grumpy, talking owl Archimedes invite themselves to the castle and move into its dilapidated north tower. Merlin, who can magically access the future, intends to prepare Wart for a grand future, so he gives the squirt dangerous lessons, transforming themselves into animals to learn the mental skills befitting a knight and a ruler.
With that said, there are a lot of good things about this film. The animation is beautiful and it's character animation is decent. The characters are likable and the voice acting is solid. The story has heart and comedy mixed perfectly, the writing is excellent, and there is a great moment where Merlin battles against Madam Mim in their animal forms which made the whole movie worth it. The songs, while not the best work from the Sherman brothers, are tolerable enough to listen to and the music score is solid.
Overall, The Sword in the Stone came this close to becoming a masterpiece, but with all of my heart, as a Disney fan, this is an extremely underrated movie that deserves a lot more recognition than the reception it received. Thumbs up! :)
Last year, author Suzanne Collins sold her film rights to Lionsgate and with that, they made her first book of a trilogy into a feature film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, etc. Produced on a 78 million budget, it became a huge hit at the box office in it's spring break weekend in 2012, received a critical acclaim from both critics and audiences along with fans of the books. With that, the second entry of a new franchise was in the works.
As a complete fan of the books, I loved the first film. Even though it lacked some of the plot twists and the ending could've used some fixing, it was well-acted from a solid cast that portrayed the characters from the books perfectly, it had some great action sequences aside from some violent ones, it had some great visual scenery (not to mention some cool special effects), and it was well-paced. So, having repeatedly read the second book, I prepared myself to see it with my family two days ago and when we saw it, it really blew me away.
Not only did this sequel exceeded my expectations, but it managed to be much more compelling than the first movie. It has the same thing that made the previous entry so perfect. The same cast of actors did a great job with their roles and the two main leads played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, Katniss and Peeta, had some great chemistry together. Woody Harrelson is still as likable as Haymitch; Donald Sutherland's sinister presence as President Snow really amazed me and Phillip Seymour Hoffman did a good job as Plutarch Heavensbee. The side characters, including Gale Hawthorne, and the new tributes in the 75th Annual Hunger Games are very interesting and the actors including Sam Clafin, Liam Hemsworth, & others.
The storyline is faithful to the book and is also touching and engaging that has some heart in the right spot. The love story is also handled perfectly well and it shows that Peeta and Gale help Katniss instead of pining her love affections unlike in the Twilight series. The writing is very strong and has some humorous bits while the dialog is very amusing. The visual scenery is great, the CGI effects on the orangutans is solid and really scary-looking. The music score from James Newton Howard is much more effective while using the same themes from the first film, but the best part would have to go to the action sequences.
The fight sequences with Katniss and Peeta along with their allies fighting against other tributes who are trying to kill them are of sheer excellence, but the final part where Katniss shoots the arrow with an electric cord tied to it to blow up the Arena is surprisingly epic. Also, the ending is very good, but I won't spoil it to those who haven't seen the movie yet.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an epic sequel to a great movie. It left me totally excited for Mockingjay in two parts in the next two years. With that, I'll be willing to anticipate for those films. Recommended to others and fans of the book trilogy. :)
Having seen the previews for the movie, I've started to read the book it was based on. When I read it, it was very fascinating. It's kind of like a mixture of Harry Potter meets Star Wars (with a little bit of Hunger Games) and has a very complex story. It's characterizations are well-done, the characters are interesting, the action is superb, and the writing is fantastic. So, when I saw this movie, I said to myself, "This isn't so bad after all." But while I do think this is a decent interpretation of the novel, it's also pretty flawed, so before I can get to the good stuff, there are three problems I would like to point out.
1) The pacing. It started out OK in the first ten minutes, but the rest of the movie is very slow. Near the end of the film, it's also a bit rushed despite having a huge set up for a sequel should the movie do well at the box office in a matter of days.
2) The script. To be fair, it does follow the source material from the novel a bit closely, but it left out some of the important details in order to shorten the minute length. Also, it should've had scenes with Ender with his relationships with the other kids including Petra, Bean, and others.
and 3) The lack of characterizations. Aside from focusing on only Ender and his training while also handling all the hard tasks that he's been going through along with Colonel Graff, the side characters a bit undeveloped. I'm not blaming it on the actors, they did a really good job. It's just that they were underwritten quite a bit.
That's it for the flaws and now to the good stuff. The visuals are nice to look at especially the Battleroom scenes. The CGI effects aren't that bad and the action sequences are very entertaining they remind me of a video game inside a stadium, which is a good thing. The storyline, despite it's flawed script, follows the book a bit closely while staying true to the message about the way we might do to protect our people, but only at what the cost to do so. The music score from Steve Jablonsky (the guy who did the music for all three Transformers movies) is very effective and atmospheric.
The best part, however, would have to go to the acting. Aside from what I've said about the side characters not given much to do even though the actors themselves did a very good job, the two actors Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford did a great job as the two characters Ender and Colonel Graff. Asa captured Ender's intelligence and humanity from the book very well and it made me relate to him and while Harrison Ford isn't given much to do other than giving orders, he did a fine job as the gruff colonel.
Overall, Ender's Game isn't a terrific movie that I would recommend to fans of science fiction movies, but aside from the flaws that I've already started, this is a decent and a bit faithful interpretation of the novel from Orson Scott Card. It's worth for at least one ticket, but to fans of the novel will be pleased by how much effort Gavin Hood (director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) had in making a classic 1980s novel come to life on the big screen.
Having grown up watching Disney, I saw the previews for this upcoming film that was about to be released. So, I went with my sister and my other siblings to see if it would exceed my expectations before the end of Thanksgiving weekend. Later, it did and to my surprise, I've just witnessed a welcoming return to Disney's classic style since the Golden Age and the Renaissance.
Let me point out the positive aspects that made it so darn good. The story is solid; even the writing and dialog is also solid. It brings back the old formula that made many of the Disney classics. It brings back the princess, a handsome guy, the villain, a comical sidekick, and the musical numbers.
The characters are great and I related to them so much. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Glad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, and others did a great job with their voice work. Anna, a princess of Arendelle, is spirited and adventurous which makes her a strong character for the film. Elsa, Anna's sister, seems like a three dimensional villain, but her sympathy to the way she worries about her sister's safety and the way she's afraid of what she is made me felt sorry for her. The heart of the movie, however, is the sister relationship which makes it very touching.
The villain, Hans, is like a Prince Charming at first, but his motives are well-written and that makes him very convincing. The side characters are great. Kristoff does what he can to help Anna and he's a good second main character. The sidekicks are hilarious and a lot of fun. Kristoff's reindeer does have some comical moments and so does Olaf, the snowman, and their moments would never get old.
The animation is beyond incredible. I've never seen such great detail on the snow and how it surrounds Arendelle, which is very unique for a Disney animated feature. The character designs are solid and the look of the Ice Castle in the film is beautiful to look at.
The best part, however, would have to go to the songs including the score. While the song sequences may not be as memorable as Beauty and the Beast and others, they're very catchy and has a lot of energy to it. "For The First Time In Forever", "Let It Go", and others are great and I would hum those tunes until the end of Christmas this year. The music score from Christophe Beck is beautiful & touching that has a lot of emotion to it.
Overall, Disney's Frozen is an epic return to it's Disney Style since the Golden Age and the Renaissance. With all of my heart, this deserves a recommendation and to those out there should go and see it before the holidays start. It's that good. :)
When I saw the trailers, I became very amused and read all five Mortal Instruments books with a sixth book coming next year. Then, as I watched it, it turned out to be a very interesting film. Although, I do understand the critical reception it had due to it's similarities of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight, but I don't think it's as bad as they say it is because what these critics don't know is that "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" is entirely different than those films and much better than Twilight in my opinion (heck, even better than the "Twilight-wannabe" Beautiful Creatures).
Before I can get to the good stuff, I would say that there are some flaws. The story is a lot more engaging than Twilight and Beautiful Creatures and the opening is well-done, but when it comes to young-adult film adaptations, it did left out some of the important stuff that have already caused an outrage to the fans, although they did give a lot of nice detail of the world created by Cassandra Clare. Also, the romance between Jace and Clary is poorly done because it transited some scenes a bit too fast and there wasn't enough chemistry.
With that said, everything else was great. The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful, the scenery is nice to look at, and the special effects are very cool (even the creepy demons look realistic). The music score, aside from a few out of place pop songs, is epic with a lot of atmospheric stuff in it. There are bits of funny moments and the action sequences are entertaining, but the best part would have to go to a decent cast of actors.
Lily Collins is very appealing as Clary and emotes very well with the supporting actors, Jamie Campbell as Jace is very witty, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is very sinister as Valentine Morgenstern. The script is fine with really smart dialog and the direction from Harold Zwart is solid.
Overall, TMI: COB isn't as excellent as the other fantasy films like "The Lord of the Rings", "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Harry Potter", but like I said before, it's a lot better than Twilight and I strongly suggest that anyone, especially those who haven't read the books, can go check it out! It is that good! :)