20 June 2011

Green Lantern Review

Not extremely terrible, just horribly generic, formulaic.

If you are looking for just another superhero film, Green Lantern is great.


So, billions of years ago, there existed a group of intergalactic space cops called the Green Lantern Corp. Their powers come from a magical green ring which uses the power of "Will" to wish anything into existence. The power of "Will" directly contrasts the "Fear" which is yellow in colour. Billions of years ago, the galactic council rulers fought against the evil Fear-using Parallax Smoke Monster. Parallax was all about destroying worlds. When Parallax was defeated, he was imprisoned in an asteroid in the 'lost' sector. Well, six months ago a space ship crashed on the asteroid and accidentally released Parallax. Oops.

Well, Ryan Reynolds eventually gets one of these rings and the origin story continues.

I want to give special props to the bald scientist played by Peter Sarsgaard. He has the most interesting plot in the story… at least before he became horribly ugly. Something that didn't jive with me is the casting of his character's father. IMDB states that Peter is 40 while his movie dad is 52.

There's a bunch of plot weirdness in the film which can be overlooked if you don't attempt to think about it. That's pretty standard fare in genre films though. For example, Ryan Reynolds got teleported to a dock/beach and discovers an alien/ alien ship and calls his best friend to pick him up.  His best friend knows about the alien, a magical ring, and a lantern. In the next scene Ryan Reynolds is all alone in his house playing with the ring. Why would the best friend, being a scientist, not want to investigate the ring with Ryan Reynolds? Didn't make sense.

Another example is the prison of Parallax. So this guy can destroy whole worlds and actually wants to dominate and rule the entire universe. He was defeated… but not killed. I wouldn't want to have a threat like that alive, so there better be a reason for not killing it. Anway, the galactic council decided to put this galactic evil on a remote asteroid with security so lame that three dudes in space suits accidentally freed it by stepping on the surface of the asteroid. The deaths of billions are on you, immortal guardians of the universe. Oh, and I love the intro scene where the three aliens were calling for help in an alien language (subtitled), but when Parallax starts to escape, he was speaking English. I understand that the Green Lantern Rings have translator capabilities. That's cool. Why was Parallax speaking in English? They could have avoided the problem entirely if the three aliens were speaking English at the start too. Eh.


Green Lantern isn't bad. There are a couple of laughs in the film. There's some clunky dialogue. There's some neat visuals. In the end, it isn't as deep as 'The Dark Knight" nor as entertaining as "The Green Hornet". Just some mediocre superhero film.



12 June 2011

Super 8 Review.

Seems like JJ Abrams have been getting involved in a lot of movies and television shows recently. Alias. Lost. Fringe. Alcatraz (upcoming). He's also done a couple blockbuster movies. Mission: Impossible 3, Cloverfield, Star Trek.
One thing that Abrams brought from Star Trek: The Star Trek was the lens flare. Film makers in the past dread the lens flare. They believe that it brings the audience out of the film whenever a lens flare pops up in a shot. I'm convinced that Abrams intentionally put lens flares in the film. Super 8 ends on a lens flare. Ugh.

Super 8 is about a group of kids trying to make a movie amidst some chaos in the town. If you've seen the trailer then you can predict all of the major beats in the film. The story felt like an amalgamation of different genre films that ultimately didn't mesh into a satisfying resolution. Evil Government and Evil Military trying to do evil while the a Heroic Scientist (with the help of some kids) stops them. There's another layer of personal story beneath that about accepting loss. The moral is that life sometimes suck and that accidents happen so let the pain/resentment/guilt/necklace/whatever go. Let it go and move on with your life.

The teen actors in this film are good. They acted exactly how kids should act; They were annoying. The female lead (Elle Fanninng) was good but not spectacular.

Overall, Super 8 isn't a great film. The story was mediocre. The visual effects are about what a modern film should have. I don't think I've gained any valuable insight into humanity, or lost any brain cells by viewing this movie. It was entertaining while on but it's just an average movie without anything that's overwhelmingly positive or negative.

Super 8? More like Super 6/10

Spoiler Warning / Other Observations

I can't believe that the military (bad guys) are portrayed as such dum dums.
1) It took them four days to realize that an evacuation is probably a good idea. They knew that the monster was free the moment that the train was derailed. They should have evacuated the town the next day citing some sort of chemical spill.
2) Why would the military ship the Magic Metal back to the town in trucks? If they were intending to study the material, they probably shouldn't send it to the exact place of the monster. That just sounds like a bad idea.
3) How bad do you have to be to let a stoner and four kids get away from a refuge centre? Keep in mind that the Military knows that the Heroic Scientist had accomplices that was filming the night the train crashed. Also, let's assign only one (high ranking) guy to guard a military prisoner. Can't afford to get grunts to stand outside of the prison cell. Nope, that wouldn't make sense.

4) I liked that the monster magic metal bullshit only magnetized selective things. It didn't grab numerous other vehicles that still had people. It didn't suck in braces kid's braces. I saw tons of metal still lying around everywhere, but I guess that the magic metal ship only takes what the magic metal ship needs.

5) Hey guys, did you know that the movie is set in the past? Technology in the past used to be all huge and clunky! You didn't know that huh! Well, walkmans are the latest in technology. Stop.
The audience knows its the past. Please stop trying to spell everything out. I don't want a character to say that such and such is a Walkman and that it's the latest in technology... and that it plays cassettes. Just put it in the device in the scene. No need to explain it. Kids can figure it out.

03 June 2011

X-Men: First Class Review

It is easy to write about bad films. Great films are difficult to write about. Much easier to say that a film is bad because of plot hole X and logical fallacy Y. It's also a lot more fun to trash a movie.

This X-Men prequel is less about the First Class and more about the story of Charles and Erik. If you have had exposure to the franchise's history, then you know the basic storyline of the film.

Erik (Magneto) was raised/taken into a Fun Camp during World War 2. When the Nazis discovered his ability, they performed experiments on him. Erik believes that the rest of humanity will try to control, enslave, and exterminate mutant kind. Charles grew up in America (and miraculously retains an English accent) far away from the atrocities of man. He believes that mutants and humans can share the future and co-exist in harmony. Despite the ideological difference, Charles and Erik became Best Friends once they grew up while working on a mission for the CIA. After the mission, Magneto and Professor Xavier are put on opposite sides and sets up the status quo for future installments (hopefully).

The story is pretty hard to mess up and I'm glad that they didn't. The origins of Magneto is forever tied to the Holocaust just like Captain America with World War 2. It would have been disastrous to have changed anything.

I feel that the 'First Class' parts didn't really mesh well in the film as they didn't appear until the 60ish minute mark. This film is 130 minutes long and they had plenty of time to at least give the remaining characters a little depth. I'm sure comic enthusiasts would have gotten more out of those characters but I barely know any of them.

The only big criticism I have about First Class is all the constant 'winking' at the viewer with references. SPOILER ALERT. During the film Charles attaches some electrodes onto his skull to tap into Cerebral. "It works better if you are bald." "I'm not shaving my hair."  Charles becomes paralyzed from the waist down at the end of the film, and he's all like 'well at least I'm not bald'. Ugh. "We should give ourselves some cool man nicknames. I'm Mystique, what about you?" " Oh I'm like a Banshee because I can do this." wink "I cause a lot of Havok" wink wink "Hey you should have a cool name like Professor X and you should be called Magneto." wink wink "Even I've got to admit you're kind of a BEAST now."  Fuck you writers. We don't need you to throw in names like that. It didn't feel natural at all. The audience can figure out which characters are which if they really cared. I can't forget about the big one. "Oh we're still working along side the G-Men." "No you need to stay independent. You don't work for the G-Men. You're now an X-Men." Fuuuck.

There's also some really bad trope-y dialogue. Charles: "They were only following orders". Erik: "THE LAST TIME I HEARD THAT THEY KILLED SIX MILLION JEWS. NEVER AGAIN."

Anyway, this film doesn't really jive with the established film franchise, but that can be easily forgiven since the later films have been terrible. I understand that this is supposed to be the start of a new trilogy of films. I hope that the sequels don't falter like the last X-men trilogy.

X-Men: First Class won't win any awards in the writing department, but is well produced and well acted. Definitely solid entertainment.