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Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Mummy Review

With an opening scene lifted from Bram Stoker's Dracula, the mummy is quite obviously a homage to classic horror.

The introduction to the hero and the starscream seems based on the fact that we, the audience, already know that Brenden Fraser is the hero. Something which I'd like to criticise but can't seeing as the trailers and movie poster tell you as much. I like Brenden Fraser, he's a good actor and I enjoyed him in George of the Jungle and Bedazzled, he's even one of the few american actors I could see playing the Doctor but he's not what I would call Hollywood handsome, being a tad neanderthalic in the face department and so it's somewhat of a surprise to see him playing the hero in such a big movie (by my standards). He is very good in the role, adding just enough humour to the trope of the hero to avoid it becoming stale.

Evelyn is introduced as the love interest by being the first woman to have a full scene. That scene in particular is ridiculous because it sets up three things: 1. She's smart 2. She's got incredible balance to keep herself upright on that ladder for so long 3. The film does not give the tiniest fig about reality and runs on 'Rule of Cool' I mean how else could Evelyn falling knock over one bookshelf let alone two? Rachel Weisz plays Evelyn, someone I'd last seen in Constantine and I would say on the basis of that there's been some typecasting going on. I think in Constantine she had deeper concepts and serious acting to deal with but this film is so much better because it is so much more fun.

John Hannah plays Evelyn's Brother and the comic relief in a comedic film but for some reason I kept confusing him with Peter Capaldi, presumably because of Peter's role as another British comic relief actor in Local hero.

Special mention goes to Corey Johnson but only because it was nice to see Henry Van Statten mauled by zombies.

The mummy himself is like a cross between Dracula and Lord Voldemort only he's far less hammy in his acting, doesn't look ridiculous and it's possible to handwave the whole thing as sufficiently advanced science so I prefer it.

The story is predictable but enjoyable. I would rule this a 'Meh!' but it's just too good to be judged as such.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Farsh-nuke is dead

I've given up on NaNoWriMo under the realisation that I'm just retelling the same shit over and over. The Farsh-nuke is dead. His existence revoked. The characters and the universe he inspired may live on but he's just too much of a mary sue to be written well by me. If someone wants to take over writing the character then I've got the collected works here including an up to the minute save of the latest unfinished NaNoWriMo. If someone makes money off it then we can work out a commission nearer the time. (Yes, I'm actually that arrogant to think a better writer than me might both want to write with the Farsh-nuke and be able to make money off the character.)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Casino Royale Review

This is an odd instance where I actually read the book a few years before seeing the film and here's the thing I remember thinking the book was a bit limp. I mean this Bond was too busy falling in love and playing baccarat to be badass. The book actually ends with Bond resolving not to be like the other cold agents but to keep to his own morality and keep his distance with women to prevent falling into such traps.

The film was badass. No doubt about it Daniel Craig is a far better Bond than the one I saw in the book but I found myself unable to keep myself from playing spot the difference between the film and the book. That iconic shot that everyone claims was from Doctor No but actually happened by accident was in the book, only it happened later and Bond merely imagined it when he was recovering after the torture.

Here's the thing Casino Royale is a distinctly 'Meh!' book and Casino Royale is definitely a great film but the book does every important thing about the film better. Bond's vulnerability, romance, resolve to overcome his weaknesses, the central romance and the main plot. Each individual thing the film does brilliantly the book does better yet the book is still a worse book than the film is a film.

This seems like such a contradiction but here's what I think is happening, books can without a doubt present concepts and ideas in a stronger, more potent fashion but Bond is a filmic phenomenon. Bond needs to be told in film. Casino Royale is a better book than it is a film but as a book it's weak while as a film, flawed by the adaptation process and a needless sequel hook it may be, it's still stronger.

Oh and when Daniel Craig finally hangs up the tux, he's got my vote to play Sam Vimes.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Analysing Comic Book Film Sequels

So yesterday I watched Spider-man 2 and I said was going to post an article on this very subject. Sorry, I'm late.

I have reviewed 5 film sequels to date and these are what I will be using as my sample materials. They are as follows:
Spiderman/Spider-man 2
Fantastic Four/Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Iron Man/Iron Man 2
Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
Hell Boy/Hell Boy II The Golden Army

It has been said that superhero films tend to follow a three arch structure of Origin/Attempted Retirement/Evil Twin and to be honest I only know about that from but based on what I've seen with the aforementioned films, it's pretty damned correct. In Spider-man 2 Peter plays the trope straight, trying to quit before going back to being a hero. Fantastic Four Rise Of The Silver Surfer has Reed Richards and Susan Storm considering quitting to settle down and have a family. Iron Man 2 has the government trying to make Tony quit being Iron Man, Tony on the verge of death and his friend become an evil twin Iron Man. The Dark Knight has Batman preparing to give up the cowl now that the white knight Harvey Dent is making such an impact. Hell Boy II The Golden Army just subverts it all to hell by having the story be more of a filler episode about a temporary love interest for the quirky sidekick.

Spiderman was really the first of the modern trilogies so it was his series that played the tropes straightest. Peter Parker is a loser in life, develops a super power, learns that with great power comes great responsibility and now he can get it on with his secret crush because he's not himself. In the sequel everyone but his boss finds out who he is by the end but now his best friend doesn't just want to kill Spiderman but him 2.

Fantastic Four ignores the tropes, having the characters have press created superhero identities but be generally famous.

Iron Man loves to play with the tropes because Tony Stark is basically Bruce Wayne, only he created the Iron Man suit, well firstly because he had to so he could escape some terrorists but mainly just because he could. The Superheroing was accidental, less 'I shall become the criminals worst nightmare' and more 'Hey this is cool and I'm sorry but did you just use my tech to hurt innocents because I really don't like that and now I can kick your arse.' The real difference though beyond 'I'm a hero because it's cool' is at the end of the first film when Tony Stark does admit that he is Iron Man, dealing with the consequences of that in the second film.

Batman in Christopher Nolan's trilogy is the deconstruction of the trope to an extent. Batman exists to police the unpoliceable area so when Harvey Dent turns up, of course Batman thinks he can step down. Only because this is a deconstruction, the same thing that means Batman could retire is the very reason he never can because what does a balanced system do when the other side gets it's shit together? It summons bigger fish, namely the lunatic sadist's lunatic sadist The Joker.

Hell Boy can't do the give up the cowl thing because he is the cowl. There is no secret identity, just his and it is 'supposed' to be secret while not really being very secret at all, although they do leave the BPRD at the end of the second film.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Spider-man 2 Review

Spiderman was the first superhero film I reviewed so it's only right and appropriate that of all the superhero films I could have decided to review so long after my initial run of superhero film reviews, its sequel is the one I should choose to review, however unplanned such a decision was.

Since my reviews started out as just being facebook status updates about my opinion of a film and Spiderman was one of the very earliest, I am afraid I did not quite do it justice. So if you'll permit me I'll do a little retro review of the earlier film.

At the time I said Spiderman was the perfect antidote to Chronicle, which I'd earlier deemed rather good even if I'd felt wrong for sympathizing with the eventual antagonist. This says a lot about the two films respectively and indeed about me:

Spiderman is the tale of a smart kid who gains super powers and learns that with great powers comes great responsibility.

Chronicle is the tale of a smart kid who learns that with great powers comes great insanity.

I am not Peter Parker.

Spiderman is a moral film with a definite good and a definite evil which sees the main character conflicted because people aren't that simple. It has a message that is a knowing compromise but is just uplifting enough to counteract against the slightly disturbing implications of siding with the main character in Chronicle.

Spider-man 2 brings up again just how unlike Peter Parker I am. (well aside from the issues with hyphens in names) Peter in this film is cultivating the impression that he is brilliant but lazy due to his double life as Spiderman leaving him less time for homework and chasing girls. I am lucky if I even I think I am brilliant but lazy but for Peter this reputation just won't do, so with the added inconvenience of his super powers mysteriously vanishing now and again he decides to quit.

This movie for me brings up issues which I'd like to talk about now but two issues I've singled out for their own posts at are Writing Villains Effectively and Analysing Comic Book Film Sequels. They should be up within a day.

This is the film where everybody figures out who Spiderman is and I like that because I hate the Status Quo Is God trope. I want Merlin to tell Arthur he's a badass wizard. I want the Doctor to reveal that his name is Slartibartfast, he is half human and he was The Other. I loved that Tony Stark told everyone he was Iron Man. In this film everybody finds out, the public, the bad guy, his best friend, his almost girlfriend. The only person who doesn't find out gives us something far better, J Jonah Jameson admits Spiderman is a hero and he wants him back, even if it's for less than a minute.

Everyone in this film is badass and funny. This is quite simply sublime and for those saying the car throwing scene is a plot hole, I'll remind you that Harry only added the not hurting Peter bit after Doc Ock had stalked off.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Highlander Review

Good things first:

1. Remirez

2. Original concept

3. Macloed looks a bit like comic Constantine in the early present day parts

4. The line 'What Kept you?' during the final fight is quite badass.

Bad things:

All of it.

The first part of the story would be utterly confusing and bizarre if I hadn't seen The Spoony One rip into the sequels because it isn't even just a cold open where they don't explain what the fuck is going on but before that there's a bizarre wrestling screne with confusing flashbacks.

The guy who plays Macloed has an incredibly tall forehead which is just odd, he's clearly not Scottish yet Sean Connery's playing an Egyption Spaniad.

The effects are appallingly bad and I'm a classic Doctor Who fan,

The rules make no god damn sense. Why are they immortal? Why can they be killed by decapitation? WTF is the quickening? The only explanation we get is the implication that immortals can absorb the lifeforce of animals but if that's the case why does it send electrics nuts and blow out windows?

This movie makes Twilight and Jaws The Revenge look good.

This film is shit. There is no other valid interpretation. Now I'm going to look it up on tvtropes to see if I can find some answers.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Jumper Review

So Darth Vader discovers he can teleport and decides to live a life of travelling, free from consequences but Nick Fury decides he and his kind should be taken down and killed.

This is a fun film but the bad guys really don't seem to make any sense. Sure some agency would have developed to monitor and keep track of jumpers but the fact that they have no sense of morality is really stupid. Fortunately though casting Samuel L Jackson as the bad guy means you don't really care because he's just awesome, although the talcum powder hair is a bit ridiculous.

The rules for the jumpers, while simple, seem forgotten at times as on quite a few occasions the rule of only being able to jump somewhere you've been before is seemingly broken as the characters jump places they wouldn't conceivably get to by more conventional methods. Hanging off big ben's clock face and sitting on the sphinx's head being just two instances. These though can be fairly legitimately handwaved as the characters only need to get there once, possibly through some combination of jumping, parkour and mountaineering.

For fans of the Skulduggery Pleasant series there's a rather nice little accidental gag as Kristen Stewart meets the titular character and one is reminded of the twilight parody where the female lead must choose between the dangerous and exciting older vampire and the safe and boring teleporter.

A seriously fun if slightly stupid film, I'd highly encourage you to watch it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Serenity Review

So this is why people like Josh Whedon and why Nathon Fillion is a complete badass? I went into this thinking that for some reason Mal was going to hit the deck during a heroic speech and so expected a downer ending but instead this was an amazing completely badass story about idealism through cynicism. This movie needs a sequel because this does for space opera what Avengers Assemble does for superhero movies, makes it personal, about the characters and entirely full of win. Plus (!SPOILERS!) the moment Serenity turns up to take on the alliance with a whole heck of Reavers beats every single badsass moment in every super hero movie I've seen. It'd be like the Doctor bringing the dalek empire in as cavalry. You cannot beat that.

Monday, 5 November 2012

An American Werewolf In London Review

A romantic comedy with werewolves, like the incredible hulk but more british, cynical and horrifying.