Posts Tagged ‘Review’
I’m going to get this out of the way right now: I think the Nolan Batman movies are overrated. I honestly do not be the massive obsession with Batman that the internet seems to have grown as of recently. I just don’t get it. I just…don’t like him all that much. As a character I honestly, just despise him. He’s a thug who puts on a costume and beats the crap out of people in Gotham because he lost his parents? Could just, I don’t know, fund the cities police with his personal fortune? Or you set up projects to help the slums of Gotham or…sigh. Whatever. Look I have my problems with Batman. But don’t get me wrong, I honestly still love the Nolan Batman movies. I don’t think they’re “the greatest movies of the last generation”. Regaining focus, Dark Knight Rises. On it.
Okay so the plot opens eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne is now a shut in, finding his life meaningless without Batman and without Rachel Dawes. Gordon helped to create something known as the Dent Act which has been ripping apart the criminal underworld and finds himself barely able to manage lying to the public about the death of Harvey Dent. And on Harvey Dent day eight years later, a man named Bane escapes CIA custody. The story begins here and I’m going to stop talking now that I’ve set this up mainly because the plot is excellent and I really don’t want to reveal anything to you.
What you’ve seen in the trailers can work as your marker for now: Bane wants a revolution of the people. To take Gotham from the rich by force. To equalize. And from there to let the world run. So obvious stuff right now, of course Bruce comes out of retired despite Alfred’s complaints to the otherwise, of course Gordon and the police chase after him like a criminal for the “death of Harvey Dent”, of course Selena Kyle shows up at as Catwoman and starts stealing everything not nailed down. However, predictability is something that this movie may seem like it has…but trust me it does not. The beginning is a little bit predictable but this movie starts pulling some ridiculous twists soon enough. I will bet good money that the only way you can predict the second to last twist is if you’ve seen spoilers or you’ve seen the movie already.
The big question on everyone’s mind though, how was Bane when compared to Heath Ledger’s amazing performance as the Joker. Well…he isn’t as good. But comparing to Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is like comparing a film to Citizen Kane. I know it’s a cliche but there’s good…then there’s Citizen Kane. And that’s really the main fault with this movie. Bane doesn’t seem as charismatic as his men think of him as. The voice does help though, just through that he comes across less as a thug and more as an intellectual warlord. His voice when you first hear it…is kind of hilarious honestly, but after a few minutes of exposure, you get used to it. Once again though, despite all the nitpicks, Tom Hardy does an amazing job in his portrayal of Bane and is utterly terrifying.
Everyone who knows me, knows my opinion of Christian Bale as Batman. I love his Bruce Wayne but hate his Batman. His voice, when it’s not making me laugh, is just incredibly stupid. But enough of my personal complaints because somehow Bale listened to me, without knowing I even exist. His Batman somehow became remarkably better. His Batman is now matching his Bruce and I am extraordinarily happy about that. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman may have been the best casting decision made by Nolan in regards to these films (besides The Joker of course). She manages this effortless, sultry, sexy appeal that fits Catwoman so perfectly. Everything she does in this movie is absolutely amazing and there is honestly not much to say that wouldn’t be complimentary. And obvious statement coming up, Michael Caine’s Alfred steals every scene he’s in. Oh and Morgan Freemans Lucius Fox as well.
The acting is solid and the story is solid, but the question remains, is it better than The Dark Knight? Well…I don’t honestly know if I can answer that question. Main villain, Joker to Bane: Joker. Side villain, Catwoman (yes I know it’s a stretch but shut up) to Two-Face: Catwoman. Dark Knight Batman to Rises Batman: Rises Batman. Storyline…and this is the rub everyone. I don’t really know quite honestly. But for the sake of making a choice, I’m going to say Dark Knight Rises. So yeah. That’s my choice. Dark Knight Rises wins here.
One thing you’re going to want to know in advance, is that this is an exhausting movie. And no it’s not because the sadists at the theater I was at yesterday opted to turn the AC off, this movie has three climaxes and toys with your adrenaline because of it. You’ll end up on the edge of your seat, wired of your own system’s caffeine, just praying for things to finally hit the true ending. this is not a movie I want to see again…in another three months. It’s great but so very tiring (much like how the Dark Knight was and still is for me).
Final judgment then is a five out five everyone. It’s better than the Dark Knight and if you loved that movie (which I know pretty much every human being did) you’ll love this one.
Also, two things. A) there is no after credits scene so don’t waste your time. B) MAN OF STEEL TRAILER DEAR GOD I CAN’T WAIT. You better not screw up Superman, Schneider. Or I will find you.
Good parody is annoyingly hard to come by in films nowadays. I would blame this on the annoyingly prevalent Scary Movie franchise, as well as it’s equally frustrating spin offs, but that was mostly a late 90s/early 2000s thing (yes, I realize that Vampires Suck, the franchises most recent film, came out as recently as two years ago, but hey it didn’t do amazingly well so I’ll just forget that it exists). Anyway, as I was saying, parody has slowly become a more forgotten section of film thanks to circumstance and has mostly been left to shows like SNL or other such programs, without taking into account Cabin in the Woods. However, this film was Cabin in the Woods before Joss Whedon even came up with the idea for Cabin in the Woods. Ladies and gentlemen, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.
The premise of this is incredibly funny. The movie starts off with a bunch of college kids going out for a camping trip out in the middle of nowhere (oh look, slasher movie plot). While out there they happen to run into Tucker and Dale, two rednecks who had recently purchased a vacation home out in the area. We follow both groups as the college kids do stereotypical slasher movie college kid things (spooky stories, roasting hot dogs, skinny dipping, etc.) and as Tucker and Dale move into their new vacation home, which they find to be the former home of a serial killer, although they don’t really piece that together. Since the trailer spoils this, I’ll just say it, one of the girls gets a concussion while swimming and Dale fishes her out of the lake. The college kids think that they’ve kidnapped her and try and get her back and so hijinks ensue. Trust me, I’m not saying anymore, it gets too hilarious.
The acting is actually really good for a comedy movie. The actors manage to play their roles completely straight which manages to add so much of the humor that this movie has to it. Tucker and Dale are very well defined and are utterly hilarious in this and the girl playing Ally also manages to have some wonderful chemistry with her “kidnappers”. The college kids themselves are pretty under developed but considering where the plot goes, that makes perfect sense. I don’t want to say why, but trust me.
The film, while good though, gets sadly predictable really fast. While watching this, one of my friends managed to predict every single plot point that came up. The movie is still incredibly funny as in regardless of the fact that you know where the plot is going, you still find yourself laughing really hard at the events on screen, but it’s a bit disappointing that there weren’t a few more twists and turns in the plot.
There is not an amazing amount more to discuss. The gore effects are absolutely great and horrifically brutal although funny beyond all belief. The movie is absolutely hilarious and manages to turn more than a few cliches into excellent jokes. It’s gory, funny and a wonderfully acted parody. I give Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, 4 out of 5 stars. I will say one thing about this movie: it’s all about perspective. There’s your hint. I suggest you watch the redband trailer if at all possible.
I’m making a warning right now, there are a ridiculous number of spoilers in the upcoming article. If you have not, please play the mass effect series. It’s one of the greatest sci-fi trilogies of the past generation and you should play it if you have either a working computer or if you have an XBox360 you should play this series immediately. If you have a PS3 you should play it but the fact that Mass Effect 1 does not exist on it, really does bother me. Look, just play the game, and I’m going to start this review.
Okay since I would bet that most of you know the controversy about the Mass Effect 3 endings I’m not going to bother explaining this stuff. Basically, the endings didn’t really fit the series, were generally pretty crap, and extraordinarily short. So what’s the point of the extended cut then? Well to add more of what Mass Effect is to the game’s ending. To see more of your crew, to experience more of the universe, and to generally see the results of your actions. There are extended epilogues scenes after each ending, there are monologues at the end, there are new cutscenes at the end showing the various races uniting or killing each other I really don’t know as in the lead up to this review I was only allowed my one file, but the fact is that Bioware tried their damnedest to fix everything that was wrong with the original endings.
Well they didn’t succeed. Don’t get me wrong, they did pretty damn well. They fixed all the plotholes that I found infuriating about the original. The Crucible is explained, Space God is actually a manifestation of all reaper knowledge which makes one hell of a lot more sense, the races are shown far more at the end, there are actually ending epilogues which was very nice to see after all that work. The new endings give me explanations to everything I had needed explained and I’m happy about that. However, was this the ending I wanted?
Going back to my original review, you will see that I’m a supporter of indoctrination theory. This theory basically says that the Mass Effect 3 endings are not actually real and are Shepard’s mind suffering from reaper indoctrination. Basically that after you’re hit with Harbinger’s beam, reality stops being reality. Shepard is actually covered in rubble on Earth and is going through the indoctrination process and the section afterward are all in shepard’s mind, meaning that everything is symbolic. The reaper’s see more value in Shepard than death. They can turn Shepard into their new Saren. They just need Shepard to submit. Look up Indoctrination theory on youtube and it’s likely still the very first hit. It explained things rather nicely and actually added a very intense creepy aura to the whole ending. Honestly, I was terrified when I first started this theory over. The idea of completely losing your mind and losing all control and not in any way knowing the difference is incredibly terrifying to me. The indoctrination theory would have been an excellent way for Mass Effect to continue thematically, all I wanted was an end where Shepard lifted out of the rubble having broken out of indoctrination and charged up the beam. From there, a quick shoot out and no space god.
My general problem is that as brilliant as these endings are, they are not indoctrination theory. And, I know it’s childish, but I’m a little pissed. I thought Bioware might be willing to do that considering the backlash and considering how artistically brilliant the decision would be. I hate being proven wrong. Also, another huge problem with the endings, are that they really show you how BAD the original endings were. Watching and experiencing the new ones when compared to the old ones, just…god. They were such CRAP. I hate to be this negative but they were so utterly goddamn terrible. I can’t even believe they were endings after experiencing the new ones. I would bet good money that if these were the original endings, no one would have complained. At all.
Alright so final thoughts. The extended cut is good. Good enough to keep me playing the series. Good enough to have me playing through it over and over. Good enough to really redeem the original endings. But not enough to be perfect. So for scores I’m going to give two: one with extended cut, one without, because now that I’ve seen the extended cut it really does harm the original endings. Mass Effect 3 with the original ending is a 2 out of 5. But Mass Effect 3 with the extended cut is a 4 out of 5. Go play it the second you get the chance, if you haven’t and if you’re reading this without playing Mass Effect, I appreciate the traffic but go play the series and stop reading.
Let me put this very simply to start: the trailer’s do NOT do it justice. Bam. There’s your introduction.
The story of Prometheus begins on Earth with a research team finding ancient cave drawings from 3500 years ago. Their excitement at this discovery comes from the fact that these cave drawings document what appears to be giant humanoid figures pointing towards some kind of star map. And they have found this star map all over the world. After convincing the head of the Weyland Corporation to fund them, the two scientists head out with the crew of the ship Prometheus to find this star system. And that’s your premise. Two scientists have quite literally begun the search for God. The very concept of this is so very intriguing. Also, if you’re in any way a fan of Alien, you know the ship they find is the Prometheus which tells you that things went horrendously wrong. I find myself extraordinarily interested in this concept as it reminds me so much of Cosmicism from the Lovecraft Universe. That God exists as Aliens, they just don’t care about humanity. That we are insignificant on the Galactic stage. But let me add this bit in now: if you think you predicted what was going to happen in this movie because of the trailers, you’re wrong. I went with two good friends of mine, both of which love the Alien universe, and all three of us predicted what was going to happen. We were wrong, so so wrong.
The movie itself has more than a few genuinely terrifying moments. You eventually see what happens to the crew, and the kills are all pretty gloriously awesome and absolutely terrifying. I’m not going to tell you what happens to them sadly but I’ll just say the kill during the twist is pretty good. The general atmosphere of the movie is what makes this movie so very creepy though. It’s literally an exploratory mission, that lands on a planet with giant pyramids complexes built on it. And the scientists proceed to think it’s a great idea to just run in and scan through them. At some point you do have to realize, that what you think is a great idea, is incredibly stupid. Or maybe I just have great survival instincts.
The acting in this movie is phenomenal. Each character feels unique and manages to stand by themselves without the rest of the cast supporting them (much like how Alien felt). But also much like Alien, one woman steals the show. Noomi Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw is quite easily the most memorable and effective character in this movie much like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley from the original series. I would tell you what happens but honestly that would ruin some of the magic in my opinion.
And here’s where I talk about the 3D. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I generally hate it. It ends up making my eyes ache, the glasses are generally too small, and the effect is mostly lost on me. However, this was a very different case. Prometheus’ 3D was absolutely fantastic. Let me just give you an example. The film opens with a panoramic view of the planet. It cuts between different viewpoints as the credits play. I don’t think I have seen a more realistic planetscape in…well ever. It was absolutely amazing. The 3D was easily some of the best I have ever seen and, if you get the chance and have the money, go see it in 3D. The effects themselves were also absolutely fantastic. The planet, the pyramid, the creatures, the ship…everything looks so very real. To an astonishing degree.
Well then everyone, I think you know what I’m about to say. It lives up to every OUNCE of the hype. It’s not only worth your time, but if you’re in any way a fan of horror or science fiction, you owe it to yourself to go see this movie. Trust me, you’ll love it. An easy 5 out of 5. Let me just say one thing that you’ll understand when you see it: Surgery sucks. Enjoy everyone!
Oh boy. This is something that I have long been working at people. Bleach is…well it’s interesting. Bleach was one of the first animes that I started watching and I generally have a soft spot for it. The concept was generally interesting and the characters were entertaining and ran then line between funny and action packed. Here’st the thing though, and I really do want you to read the rest of my review, but it really went off the rails really fast. I’m just gonna go into my review now, but I thought I’d mention this in advance.
So okay the premise is that the main character, a high schooler by the name of Ichigo Kurosaki, can somehow see ghosts. He has lived with this power all of his life but one day (the first episode) he spots a woman in a black kimono with a katana who goes by the name Rukia. Her job is the position of Shinigami (someone who ferries the spirits of the dead to Soul Society and rids the world of dark spirits known as Hollows). After a Hollow attacks and horribly injures her, she passes her powers to Ichigo. The show then goes from there, with Ichigo taking his new found position and working it into his own life. Sure there are other arcs later about the entry into Soul Society and invasion of the Hollow home plane but the basic premise is Ichigo working as his hometown’s Shinigami. The premise is quite strong, as it’s rather interesting to see Ichigo balancing the life of a Shinigami and his teenage life. The story does however, go off the rails later in the series. But I’ll get into that later.
The characters are staggered in their introduction so I don’t actually want to talk about them here as I really do not want to unveil some of them to you. But let me just say that Ichigo is nowhere near the only man with powers in this show.
The music is one of the best parts of this show actually. It manages to be perfect for the mood of the show and enhance things without seeming in any way forceful or out of place. This is actually generally pretty shocking, there have been more than a few shows that would be absolutely perfect if not for the soundtrack.
The writing is high quality, with the characters managing to play off each other really well, especially the relationship between Rukia and Ichigo. When the other characters do show up, I won’t say who they are, they manage to mesh perfectly with the other members. Another thing I generally like is how for the first couple arcs, the cast generally stays small. This, much like with DBZ, changes very fast though to a huge number of people you generally don’t care about though. This get’s frustrating far too fast, mainly because the scenes constantly keep switching and can’t hold a coherent narrative structure.
Here’s the main problem I have with this show though, despite all the positives, this show completely lost its mind. The scale went completely out of whack and power levels are all over the damn place. For example, the main villain (who is revealed during arc 2, spoilers) somehow manages to fight off the entire Gotei 13 and all their lieutenants and not break a sweat. Makes me wonder why he evens bothers with his master plan. It doesn’t even understand it’s own system of power in the later arcs, with blows that cut characters in half in the first season, barely slicing someone’s skin later on. Not saying this shouldn’t happen, but when you define how strong someone is and define what kind of damage they can do, then show the earthshattering kaboom style effect, I WANT TO SEE BLOOD. Or at least some kind of damage. I get the “every increasing power level” thing, I love DBZ. And that show also lost it’s mind. When we see they can cut down buildings without even trying early in the series, you can’t really go too much higher from there. Also, the fights, just like in DBZ, have an annoying habit of taking four episodes. I looked up, for this review, a fight between main characters later in the show, it was on youtube at 45 minutes. That also isn’t even the main fight for the arc. Who thought that was necessary? Since the majority of that time, they’re just trading slashes that mean absolutely nothing and exchanging pointless repetitive dialogue. Also, the anime has this annoying habit of going into year long boring filler arcs. I know this is a normal thing for long running anime but with Bleach it really just starts getting terrible. So those are my complaints in a nutshell: villain’s too strong, fights too long, gore disappears, cast too huge, dialogue is repetitive.
Look here’s the thing though, all of the problems I just stated come later on in the show. It’s more of a steady decline. The show starts out amazing and stays that way for the first two arcs. Even the third arc, although filler, is generally pretty badass. However, the Arrancar arc is where it just starts to go downhill. Trust me on this. Just watch the first arcs. Those are absolutely great. So I’m giving this show a 2 out of 5. The later negatives just outweigh the initial positives too much.
Look, I know it’s technically not a single show but I feel the need to review this because Toonami was a part of my childhood and I was more than a bit excited to see that it was coming back. Especially on Adult Swim. No more censorship. So what I’m going to do is a rundown of all the shows, my recommendations based on the episodes, and then a simple review of Toonami itself.
First show up is Bleach. I have a full review up already so I’m not going to bother talking about this one.
Next show, Deadman Wonderland. Series premiere and my god this show is ridiculous. I don’t think I’ve run into such a dark show in a long time. A friend of mine was trying to get me to watch it a while back and man I am pissed at myself for not taking his suggestion. The show is ludicrously dark sure, but my god is it interesting. The basic premise is that a middle school class is randomly slaughtered, leaving the main character as the only survivor. He is accused of the crime and, due to what appears to be fake video footage, is sentenced to life in Deadman Wonderland. Deadman Wonderland is a prison theme park deal that is all that’s currently left of Tokyo. The show is massively messed-up but I am intrigued. I’ll be hopefully reviewing the whole thing for you guys soon.
Next up, another new one, Casshern Sins. This show, was odd. To say the least. As far as opening episodes, unlike Deadman Wonderland, it really doesn’t set up the premise that well, leaving with more than a few moments with me scratching my head in confusion. Weirdest thing, I knew I recognized the art style so I decided to look up the show on Wikipedia. Apparently this show is a gritty reboot of an old Tatsunoko anime. Weird stuff. Anyway, it seems that the basic premise is that the world is currently in ruin with mainly robots left, there are implied to be humans although in exceptionally small numbers. Casshern returns to this destroyed world with no memory of who he is and all of the robots then begin to hunt him down without remorse, believing that consuming him will stop the rot that has so infected the world. So yeah, first episode is Casshern having flashbacks and slaughtering robots, trying desperately to remember who he is. Not bad, just not really a very strong opener. Still gonna watch it though.
Next up, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. Not gonna bother with this one for now. Just watch it.
Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG was on after that. Truth be told, I caught the episode but it didn’t really appeal to me. Seems like I may have caught it mid season, wouldn’t be all that shocked. It was good, animation was great, characters were interesting, and cyberpunk is always awesome, but I couldn’t really get into it.
Moving on, we have one of the greatest animes I’ve ever seen: Cowboy Bebop. Let me just say in advance that I, up to that point, had never actually seen Cowboy Bebop. Now I’m very angry at myself that I hadn’t. Started watch it yesterday and just never stopped. This show is absolutely amazing and even if you don’t like anime, this show is fantastic. The premise is that two characters by the name of Jet and Spike work on their ship, Bebop, as bounty hunters, also known as cowboys (understand the name now?). This show is just one of a kind and a must see for anyone who considers themselves a fan of television in general.
As for Toonami’s reboot, it was interesting. Was definitely nice to see Tom back in command of the Absolution and they managed to bring new anime to the table that I had never even heard of, which was precisely what Toonami should be doing. I was a little bit pissed that the revival wasn’t nearly as grand. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting a 30 minute montage of the series’ awesomeness, but was expecting maybe one show from Toonami’s history back (maybe a Gundam or something).
As far as things go though, it’s nice to see Toonami back and it’s nic to see decent anime appear on Adult Swim again. Keep it up Adult Swim and I’ll be back every Saturday night.
And it’s finally out ladies and gentleman. The movie we’ve all been waiting for. I would explain things for those of who don’t know but the problem is that this explanation would be so many forms of unnecessary. If you don’t know what this film is about, I would like to know how you’ve managed to successfully live under a boulder for the past four years. This movie really does not need the usual set up. So let’s just jump right in.
The plot is expertly crafted in that the movie itself seems to run the plot as a sideline to the main conflict of the group not working as an actual team. And that works shockingly well in this movie. That isn’t to say the plot itself isn’t in any way a major element of this film. It just is not the central conflict per say. The general idea is pretty much everything you’ve see in the trailers. Loki is back, with an army of god knows what, to destroy Earth. It’s seriously that simple. Loki is going to kill all of us and the Avengers are tapped to stop him. Simple.
The characters are truly what make this movie shine though. They are all extraordinarily well done with each managing to bring exactly the personality they had in their own movies together into the team. This, of course, causes a massive personality clash which works as the central conflict of the film. You have the boy scout, the arrogant genius, the repressed monster, the god, the sultry spy, and the brash marksman with none of them really agreeing with each other. Each actor manages to not just portray, but quite literally BE their character. You can look at Robert Downey Jr. and think Tony Stark. You can look at Mark Ruffalo and see Bruce Banner. You can look at Chris Hemsworth and see Thor. Very few movies are able to do that perfectly but they manage it here. And that is why the characters drive this movie. The actors give so much and we see it all play out on screen beautifully. The writing also manages to give each character a very noticeable arc through the film. I’m not going to reveal all of those now because I’m not that much of a jerk. But just trust me in that the characters are what make this movie as good as it is. By the end of it, you’ll have your favorite. I can guarantee that.
The effects need to be talked about, because they are absolutely AMAZING. I never really find myself to be a huge fan of CGI (I’m much more a traditional effects kind of guy) but these blew me away. The actions scenes, when they hit, are absolutely fantastic because of the great CGI and it genuinely looks like a real battle between aliens and super heroes (never thought I’d say that one). For another great example, the Helicarrier. I was blown away when it first transforms and takes off. The movie just looks absolutely great and whoever did their special effects work honestly needs an award of some sort.
As far as negatives go, I have heard one major complaint: that SHIELD as an organization doesn’t really do as much in this film as they should. In the comics, SHIELD is basically the most powerful Earth based defense super group in history. And honestly, they don’t do very much. They seem mostly to be based on The Avengers Initiative which seems to be a lot more “eggs in on basket” than a man like Nick Fury would be. However, I was really in the realm of uncaring on the whole issue. SHIELD does what it is supposed to do and, do to plot developments from mid-way through the film, it does seem like they were actually trying to grow into an organization that can more easily do that.
The interesting thing is this movie is actually incredibly funny. I found myself laughing far more than I thought I would. This probably comes from this movie, much like last time, being written by Joss Whedon and, much like before, it does nothing but help this movie come across as more realistic and natural. Overall the film is absolutely amazing. I was one of the few who was actually expecting a little less from it. Why? Because I’m cynical and I thought that there would be no way that Marvel could manage to tie all of these storylines up perfectly. I was more than happy to be proven completely and utterly wrong. Marvel, for the moment, can apparently do no wrong. If you in any way enjoyed the other films in the series, you’ll love this movie. Oh and don’t worry about it if you haven’t seen the Hulk because no one has. His character is also given a great explanation in this movie. I’m giving The Avengers a 5 out of 5. Go out, see it, love it, see it again, love it again, until eventually you’re out of cash. Also, stay through the credits. And I mean THE WHOLE credits. It’s worth it.
Okay so let’s discuss this now shall we?
The plot is one of the best satires I’ve seen come out of mainstream cinema in a while, probably since Hot Fuzz. It manages to take the conventions of the genre, turn them on their head and yet still manage to keep things interesting and, most important of all, funny. The movie is incredibly funny and I was definitely not expecting that, considering the way the trailers manage to mislead the audience. I walked in expecting an intriguing, if not somewhat stupid, slasher movie. But instead I got a smart, sophisticated, and hilarious satire. I found myself laughing my ass off in the first couple of minutes. And then it just kept going. The blows hit fast and hard and I don’t think I was in any way bored. The satire element manages to keep things interesting and entertaining as you watch the usual genre conventions continue and yet know everything is fake. As a friend of mine mentioned, “this movie will forever change the way you look at all slasher films. From here on out I’m going to be wondering who’s pulling the strings.”
The acting was absolutely phenomenal with every actor managing to portray the archetype they eventually assume beautifully. I would say the stoner was my favorite, but honestly all of them stand out well with their own distinct moments. The writing keeps everyone in focus while still making them three dimensional characters…filling two dimensional archetypes. God this movie is odd.
The effects are absolutely great. Couldn’t mention it in the other review because it’s really tied into the end of the film. The effects on everything during the final few scenes are extraordinarily well done with each creature portraying the film series they’re ripping off way too well. Favorite of the finale is still probably Fornicus, lord of pain and bondage. Who names these things, I mean honestly. I know they were mimicking the Hellraiser franchise but they’re not even trying to be subtle.
The movie itself is just overall great. Final verdict’s on the other page, because if you’re reading this, then you’ve already seen the movie. Or at least I hope you are.
I’m just going to say this now to save myself some time, I have not read the books. I am reviewing this film from the perspective of someone who has not experienced the books. And I recognize that the view I take is at least partially unfair, it would be like reviewing Harry Potter without having read the books. However, my opinion on this is simple. If it is the first in a franchise that is being adapted to film, it is acceptable to see it and not actually read the books in advance. Getting back on topic then…I never actually even heard of The Hunger Games until the trailers for the film came out, I guess I’m just too old. Or at least I act like I’m older than I am. I mostly just don’t understand why 20 year olds are seeing films based on young adult books. It’s the same reason why I don’t understand the Harry Potter franchise. But I digress.
The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future, in a nation known as Panem. As punishment for a past rebellion, the capital initiates what are known as The Hunger Games which takes a girl and boy from each one of the twelve districts and has all 24 combatants fight to the death in an arena until one remains. The event is televised and from here begins the part that interested me the most. The audience can send supplies to the combatants. That’s right, the more popular you are on the “show”, the more support you can get. Throws an interesting wrench into the usual archetype of deathmatch brawls doesn’t it? Anyway, from here we meet Katniss Everdeen, from District 12, as she volunteers to take the place of her younger sister after she gets chosen to compete. A boy gets chosen, obviously, and they both head out to the capital. The set up itself, is rather intriguing as I find the whole deathmatch archetype to be extremely interesting, however, they do spend an annoying amount of time focused on the actual introduction. Once again it is necessary, being that this is bound to be part of a series, but I found myself somewhat frustrated.
The design is something I rarely talk about but I feel it’s quite necessary here. I actually really love the design of the movie. We first see the poorer class in the districts obviously and it reminds one of a town from the early 1800s then, BAM Elizabeth Banks’ character shows up and looks just completely alien. The fact is that the way the design of the movie goes, color seems to be reserved specifically for denizens of the capital. Not only that but the design decides to go straight up bizarre with their clothing style. It looks great in my opinion, especially when contrasted with the rather normal looking combatants. Also I happen to love me a decent looking futuristic city. So there’s that too.
The acting is quite good actually. I say actually because at this point I am generally used to the first movie in the series not really having that good of acting from the main stars. But once again, these aren’t child actors like the Harry Potter series so they do wonderfully. The characters are very interesting and the writing is overall excellent. Katniss is easily the most interesting protagonist in the young adult genre in a long time in my opinion as she clearly has the smarts and the skill to stay alive unlike some chosen one stuff like in Star Wars or others. Peeta on the other hand, while intelligent, managed to just bore me. And that feeling applies to a lot of the younger actors. Either the parts themselves are rather two dimensional in the books which, after hearing some of the things left out of the movie, I rather doubt. Or the actors just aren’t that amazing. The great actors are the older cast. They manage to truly sell this futuristic world which, considering the set up, is quite a feat. Hell, just looking at the names you can figure out why. Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and so on. Also, Lenny Kravitz is in this. Yeah that threw me off too.
The action is the one thing that really will not stop bothering me though. Here’s my general opinion, in a deathmatch archetype movie like say Battle Royale, Death Race, the book that I’m writing…forget I just said that. Anyway, you’re supposed to be able to not count the main character as an instant winner. In my opinion it just makes it boring if there’s a guaranteed win in their hands. A deathmatch story is supposed to cover other people and not really have a main character that way everyone can be a target. And I have got to say, I knew she and Peeta were going to win. I never even had a doubt in my mind. I know the whole star-crossed lover thing was in their favor and they were probably going to go for the Romeo and Juliet thing at the end but honestly it just seemed…forced. And I do recognize this is a movie for a younger audience, so asking for it to show grit would probably be out of place but the whole thing seemed so…defanged. Even the actual action didn’t seem to carry that much weight. Sigh. I really am getting old.
I did hear, pretty consistently, from the people I went to go see this with as well as friends of mine that the movie did not follow the storyline exactly. Pieces were missing, certain sections were replaced that could have gone better and I find that interesting. After hearing some of the parts that I missed by not reading the book I realized a lot of my complaints would have likely be satisfied. For one example, Katniss apparently suffers incredibly bad dehydration before finding water, almost dying in the process. That would have certainly made it seem a lot more survival based rather than suffering from main character syndrome (somehow managing to survive despite stupidly impossible odds. Just think of every storm trooper missing when firing at Luke, Leia and Han). I would have actually felt that syndrome disappear a little if the dehydration thing came up. Also, a few fights were missing, the narration was also gone (although that was obviously a stylistic choice, I see how they could have worked it in) and the list goes on. Once again, I can only review what I saw, but I thought I would mention these complaints.
So how is the movie in general? The acting is great, the design is shockingly good, the writing is interesting and the plot is intriguing. And yet I still can’t give it higher than a 3. Why? Well…I just couldn’t latch onto the movie. I don’t know why. It did everything right and yet struck me as so…boring. Once again though, I’m a different person than the target audience here. There’s a high chance that I didn’t like it simply because it wasn’t aimed at my age group. And I can openly accept that. I can’t give it higher than a 3 because I just didn’t care and I can’t give it a 2 because it did everything so well. So there’s my final judgement everyone, if you like the series, you probably already saw it by this point and if you haven’t heard of it like myself, try reading the first book then go see this. And if you’re a fan of more violent movies when it comes to the deathmatch subgenre…don’t bother. Just go watch Cabin in the Woods or something to burn some time. I’m giving The Hunger Games a 3 out of 5.
Game of thrones is once again something I never really have gotten into. To explain that statement I feel like I have to offer another explanation: fantasy has generally bored me. I don’t honestly know if that’s just because I have never enjoyed the whole Tolkien-esque fantasy deal with elves and dwarves and men and blah blah very rather banal stuff. Not to say I don’t like Lord of the Rings but I don’t like the fantasy films and books that intentionally try to imitate everything that made the series great while failing miserably. So for the longest time I dodged most forms of fantasy novels, movies and games and such because they were simply bland (most notably Dragon Age: Origins). However, Game of Thrones has been something that everyone has been saying I should watch and honestly I never really…wanted to. It took seriously far too much convincing but I finally got around to watching the first season.
The story deals with the aristocratic inner politics of the lands of Westeros and Essos and the various islands and such in between. The plot from there separates into a ridiculous number of plotlines dealing with the various families. These families start out with only a few members followed by the audience and then slowly grow more massive in number. You start with following Lord Starke and grow into following at least 4 members from the main families and good god it gets ridiculous to keep track of. Although I managed it, I will openly admit it’s a feat to pull off without any prior knowledge of the books…although I could just be an idiot. There is that distinct possibility. Anyway, it’s basically the ridiculous politics between the various families, wars, skirmishes, various dealings with each other for control, and so on.
The acting is, to put it simply, quite likely the best acting I’ve seen on television. I’m not even kidding is the interesting part (yes I do at least realize that I’m usually some form of sarcastic). There are a few rather big name actors, at least for some people but most of this cast, at least by my standards is completely unknown. The actors are extraordinarily convincing in their roles which, for a fantasy, is extraordinarily hard to come by because convincing people that magic, dragons and such really exist is quite hard to do. Also, I have heard a bit of complaining regarding the child actors. I can see where the people complaining are coming from although I don’t agree. The child actors do extremely well and, considering my main references for child actors are from the star wars franchise and indiana jones, that’s pretty impressive.
That’s really all I can easily review right now due to, not necessarily a lack of memorable action, but my need to not give out spoilers as when the major action comes, it is definitely plot relevant. Let me just say it’s great and call it good.
The series so far has been nothing but fantastic. The plot, although occasionally convoluted and a bit of a mess at first, cleans up and you truly begin to understand the intricacies and deals of the court. The acting is absolutely phenomenal and has a cast deserving of a high budget oscar worthy movie rather than a tv show. One quick note before the overall score, the intro scene is one of the best I have ever scene and uses amazing music. Just thought I’d mention that as I do appreciate a TV show that has a good introduction. Anyway, if you can’t tell, the score is a 5 out of 5. Go out and watch it, the show is currently in it’s second season so you can easily catch up in a week. Season 2 Episode 3 came out this Sunday so hop to it people.