20 September 2012
05 July 2012
26 June 2012
01 January 2012
Sherlock Holmes 2. Game of Shadows.
I'm not really a fan of old timey period pieces. I actually fell asleep in the theatre briefly during the first Sherlock Holmes.
The film works as an action movie, but there's not really a lot of meat to the story. I'm not sure if it's entirely unreasonable to expect a Sherlock Holmes property to have a great mystery that needs to be solved. The movie begins with Professor Moriarty, who is Holmes' intellectual equal, orchestrating various bombings in Europe… at least that's what Holmes suspects. It turns out that Moriarty has been orchestrating events which were meant to destabilize Europe so that there would be rising tensions for a new, modernized World War. Good thing Holmes is there to stop him, right?
There's no real mystery in this movie, and that's probably its biggest flaw. Holmes and Watson gallivants from place to place exploding things and running from explosions in slow motion.
The movie isn't great, but there are no significant flaws. I just wish that it ended on a different note. I would not have minded if Moriarty did not lose at the end. It would have been refreshing to see the villain win in a movie for once. I would have enjoyed it more if Sherlock Holmes was not explicitly shown at the end of the film as well. A little bit more ambiguity would have been appreciated.
Note: Some of the action sequences were visually annoying. Mixing slow motion with 'fast motion' in the same scene is really distracting. It's absolutely terrible during the Forest scene. If you've seen this you'll know what I mean.
PS: I am really tired of seeing Robert Downey Junior playing his smart douchebag role.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Complex.
I have not watched any Mission Impossible movies before this. I don't think I've really missed a beat on the story though.
Does the story really matter for this type of movie? It's about Tom Cruise and his team pulling off near impossible missions in dangerous circumstances. It's barely relevant. The story here is that there's a crazy highly intelligent man who believes that the world should be bathed in the glow of nuclear light… that the world and humanity will come out of it stronger. He's actually probably got a point. Whatever can survive a mass extinction will probably be the best of the best… I mean just look at the Walking Dead. Those survivors show the best parts of humanity.
Regarding the action, it's fairly well done. I imagine it looks great on IMAX 3D. There's a problem with the Dubai scenes though. When the team is halfway set up with the infiltration, they realize that an unexpected factor has arisen (which is used to raise the tension) , and that the characters have to trade real data to the terrorists. At this point, they decide to continue the ruse. It would actually have made a lot more sense if they decided to not stick with the plan. I don't get it.
My main gripe with the film is that for a super intelligent villain, he's actually pretty darn stupid.
Tin Tin is a boy-detective-reporter who goes on crazy adventures solving mysteries with his adorable dog. I am not really familiar with the series at all. I've seen some characters before but I don't really know their names. At first, I thought the dog was named Tin Tin, and the movie was about its crazy adventure.
The first part of the movie is slow, but it crescendos nicely by the end of the film. Scenes are lively, but not distracting. There's just enough going on in each scene to be visually appealing without being bombarded by weird antics. What's really surprising for me is that, while marketed for a younger audience, the film features the main character owning and using his gun, and the side-character captain is an alcoholic. It seems like something that would have had a lot of discussion behind the scenes. I'm just glad it ended up the way it did.
The setup for the story is pretty sloppy. Tin Tin is at the local market when he spots an awesome model ship. Just after he buys it, two mysterious persons try to purchase it from him on the spot. Turns out the model ship contains a clue to the adventure. A bit too convenient.
I would have liked to see more consequence to the character's actions. A lot of property is damaged during the movie, and people don't really seem to react to that appropriately. They're really minor criticism. Is it hypocritical for me to judge this film more lightly on the basis that it's a cartoon? I thought the end product was good, and that the characters (especially the dog) to be endearing. Turns out that people are able to put up with more garbage with things that they enjoy.
Sherlock Holmes 2 - 5/10
Mission Impossible - 6/10
Tin Tin - 7/10
06 November 2011
16 October 2011
It's a good imitation of the 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name, but it isn't the real thing.
If you aren't familiar with what The Thing is, then you need to go and watch the 1982 version right the heck now. It's better than this movie.
Don't bother reading the rest of this.
Now that you've presumably watched the 1982 Thing, this prequel basically follows the same structure. You already know what happens in this film as it links directly to the 1982 Thing.
2011 Thing tells the story of the Norwegian Camp. They discovered an alien spacecraft by following an ancient energy signal. They discovered a body encased in ice outside of the spacecraft so they fly in Kate, an American paleontologist who has experience with thawing creatures, to the Norwegian Base. Eventually, the Thing breaks free from the ice and starts killing or assimilating people. Hilarious things ensue and people die.
One of the great aspects to Carpenter's version is that all of the creature shots are practical effects. As a result, the creature looks and feels real and the characters respond to it in a realistic manner. In Carpenter's version, the Thing is shown to be an intelligent creature. It only attacks when cornered, and prefers to assess the situation in order to sow distrust.
With the prequel, they've opted to use both CGI and practical effects. I found a couple of cgi shots which bordered on being completely unbelievable and absurd. It didn't feel possible or helpful or realistic for the creature to 'thing out' by splitting in half down the centre and to grow some teeth. Humans are shown to be ultra fragile in that one touch from the thing can cause skin merging and subdue the prey. It makes no sense for the thing to even need to transform out of humanoid shell.
Thanks to modern computer technology, the Thing is now able to move around thing out in gruesome detail. So we get scenes where a ridiculous monster trapezes down hallways knocking everything apart. I guess that's cool. The creature in this film doesn't feel very smart. It feels like an unrealistic, dumb monster.
There's a lot of room for improvement for 2011 Thing. The characters in this film don't feel distinct in either their looks or their behavior. There are really only three or four characters that stood out. I think the main problem is that many of the characters have the same beard. Was this intended to throw off the trail of who ends up on the helicopter at the end? Like some kind of Beard-Plot-Shield? We know that at least two bearded men survive in the helicopter at the start of the 1982 Carpenter film. Most of the characters are merely thing-fodder. Contrast this with 1982 Thing where each character felt real and unique, despite how little screen time they got.
It feels to me like Kate was acting not smart for a lot of the film. Imagine you found living alien cells that imitate other cells under the microscope. What would you do in a facility full of scientists? Kate decides not to tell anyone. Remember, this was before the shower/helicopter scene so she didn't really have any reason to mistrust anybody. When she's telling everyone about the imitation the next day, the dialogue felt like it was ripped straight out of Kurt Russell's mouth. Same with her speech outside in the snow. I was seriously contemplating leaving the theatre when she says she has a test for the thing. If it turned out to be a fire-blood test, I would have left.
As the film progresses, the Norwegian camp looks more and more like the one we see in the 1982 film. We see why weird monster remains are where they are. We see holes get put in buildings, and axes in walls.
It's largely faithful to 1982 Thing and has dialogue which could be lifted directly from that film. No real big plot hole (Norwegians were shown to be using dynamite to uncover the alien ship in 1982!), and everything mostly fits. There's no sense of real paranoia, and they could have used the language barrier better. I think the tension would have been much better if certain lines were not subtitled. Thing 2011 is an entertaining film which adds interesting things to the franchise. It just won't be as well regarded as The Thing 1982.
The 1982 movie didn't leave things very clear. We didn't know if either of the characters we see at the end was human or Thing. There's not really that kind of ambiguity to this film.
So when the Thing escaped from the ice-block, it inflected a dog, which was unseen for the rest of the film until the end credits. It can be used to infect explain any of the characters… including the woman character, and the helicopter doctor guy. It brings up the question… why didn't the dog try and infect Lars during the night? Why didn't the dog thing the suicide scientist?
Why did the doctor guy thing out in the helicopter? There's not really any reason for it to Thing out at that time. It wasn't cornered. For all it knew, they were landing again because they forgot something… but it decided to thing out and cause the helicopter to crash.
There are two possible times for him to be assimilated… after the crash and inside the spaceship. If two humans could survive the crash, then the thing probably could have too. It could assimilate Carter if he's unconscious or something. The problem is that his black co-pilot was with him the entire time and he was human the entire movie (as demonstrated in the breakroom scene.) Would the thing infect one while leaving the other human? It seems like a really weird stratagem. This means that both were human when they attacked Lars and stole his flamethrower.
So he must have been turned while in the alien spaceship. As he's calling out for Kate, the thing tracked him down. So why wouldn't Carter-thing try and convert Kate right then and there in the spaceship. He had the weapons and she's not really suspecting anything. In a one-on-one encounter, it doesn't really make sense for the thing to not engage.
When he's pleading with her to not burn him, I thought it would have been interesting if Carter actually breaks out of character and speaks as the thing. Maybe throw lines like "I don't even care about your world. I just want to go home." Or something.
Now, what if Carter was human right at the end of the film? That he removed his earrings because it's god damn cold and the metal saps heat away. Or that he sometimes wears his earring on either side of his face. Other people say that they heard him scream like a thing as he's burning. I was paying attention to see if he things out with tentacles, which he never did. I think it would be poignant to see Kate burn the only other human due to mistrust.
28 September 2011
|Two guards chilling at a tower.|
|Security perimeter is so poor that people can just crawl outside the gate. If jurassic park taught me anything, is that there are small killer velociraptor everywhere.|
|No guards at all. I guess that's why the little girl was able to feed the brontosaurus some leaves.|
|One guard on tower.|
Is this show worth watching? I wouldn't say so. There's not really anything here that's done particularly well. There's better things to do with your time. Go watch Breaking Bad, or Fringe, or Supernatural. Go back and watch SGU or Alphas.
I am curious to see what kind of storyline they can do to sustain a full season.