Sunday, May 31, 2009

Terminator, Star Trek

Today I went back to see the new Star Trek film with my parents and my cousin and loved it. It really is a fun film, and my cousin, who has never seen anything related to the TV show or the feature films, laughed at jokes I thought would be considered “in,” such as Spock’s repeated use of “illogical” and Uhura’s choosing of Spock instead of Kirk, despite what played out in the original series. From the swashbuckling to the dog fights in space, and even the seemingly unnecessary jokes that I’m sure Orci and Kurtzman threw in, forgetting that this wasn’t the next Transformers movie they were writing, all came off as great. It isn’t Oscar worthy as Dark Knight was last year, but it worked more like Iron Man, in that it didn’t really have a misstep on its way to the perfect, fun summer action film.
This brings me to a dilemma though. A few days ago I went to go see the new Terminator film. Now I thought the trailers and everything I had heard made the film sound like it was going to be a great action sci-fi movie, fitting into the series flawlessly. I was even ready to accept McG as a great director. But then the early reviews for the film came out and it got trashed as being just another stupid flick that was too dark and violent to really have any redeeming qualities. So I was apprehensive when I sat down in the theatre. And when I walked out, all I could think about was Christian Bale yelling and lights flashing against dark landscapes. Now the film was ridiculous in its concept of the timeline, really not making the most sense in those aspects. But the terminator films never really did anyway. What was missing though was the human element. At one point John Conner yells about how the humans are acting like machines and need to develop some compassion, but he never really does this. He just yells in the only volume level he seems to use for the entire film. In James Cameron’s Terminator films, numbers 1 & 2, Sarah and John Conner were wiseasses, who were deadly serious fighting the machines, but were never above the opportune one liner. Simple, stupid jokes that reminded the audience that these really were human beings with redeemable qualities. So while Christian Bale may be a hardened John Conner, there never really is that little glimmer of humanity in his eye, the thing that let the audience know why his life was worth fighting for in the first place
And while I might be putting too much into having a couple extra, stupid lines of dialogue thrown into a 2 hour war movie, it would at least have the viewers smirk, enjoy themselves and really realize why the hell we paid good money to see people fight to continue to live. I can really only speak for myself when I say that if I had to live in a world without jokes, I’m not sure I really would fight for it. And theres the thing: it isn’t the jokes that really matter, it’s the humanity. When POW’s get left in cells and starved, the idea of life at home is what keeps them alive. Home is warmth, comfort, safety and loved ones. These are serious things, but if a POW gets home and hugs his family and doesn’t smile, why the hell did he fight to stay alive? So while there really wasn’t anything wrong with the film, I didn’t smile once during the whole thing. The cast was good, there were some fantastic set pieces and the dystopian wasteland that was presented was everything the previous films led me to believe would happen. It was a great realization on the part of McG, but at no point was there anything to make me understand what the fighting was for, despite how loud John Conner’s speeches were.
So while Star Trek did everything right in making me laugh and cry and cheer for it, Terminator made me put on a straight face for the entire run time, and that really just made my jaw get sore from clenching. I can’t wait for the next Trek film, but until McG can show me a reason to give a shit about his beautifully rendered, post-Judgement Day world, I just won’t care if there’s any more stories to tell.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Comment from the Author and Wolverine

So, while I go to school for cinema studies, I have stopped updating this site. Maybe I get the itch, but I see movies around the same time everyone else does, and I usually like most movies that I would be willing to put money down to see. And, for some pieces of trash, like Wolverine, I'm not that confident that I could add anything new to the argument about why the movie wasn't good. Personally, I feel that the casting of Will.I.Am as John Wraith sums up the films problems pretty well: a focus on the flash, while substance and a comprehensible plot fell by the wayside. I hold Fox studios completely responsible for this film as Gavin Hood has demostrated that he is perfectly capable of directing a very good movie, but as soon as there were rumblings that Fox wasn't happy with the film, everyone knew the final product would suffer. Whether or not the various stories of firings, quittings, rehirings and Richard Donner appearances are true, the fact still is that the finished product was subpar. Now, I rated the film a 6/10, which was the highest score given by anyone I saw the film with or have talked to about it since. I know that it wasn't smart or put together well, and some of the CGI just looked terrible, but that didn't stop me from enjoying Ryan Reynolds brief and somewhat innacurrate appearance as the Merc with the Mouth. Hugh Jackman's acceptable to and established actors Liev Schrieber and Danny Huston seemed to have alot of fun with their roles, really relishing being bad guys who don't talk like Iago. Nothing against Shakespeare mind you, but you could tell alot of the time that as soon as the director yelled "cut" from a particular scene, everyone would just bust out laughing at what had just been said. So while I give the film some extra slack, theres nothing I could do to change what you think about the film. I would be Jesus the Copywriter if I could type out something on this black Dell that would make you overlook Will.I.Am's obviously homosexual cowboy hat or the swords coming out of Weapon XI's arms or the plot hole of Wolverine in all his mutant glory, being unable to sense a fake dead lady covered in blood with no visible wounds. I'm just sayin'...So thats what I think of Wolverine. Was I dissapointed? Sure, of course I was. I want every film to be as good as The Dark Knight, which has now replaced the original Superman for comic book glory. So if you can get your hands on some mild innebriant, then I think you should go see this movie. I actually think you should go see it anyway. If you look deeper and try to find something deep and passionate being said in this film, go watch the stupid English Patient movie. What is contained in this film is some basic, recycled themes of betrayal and revenge with alot more yelling and Australian chest hair than you would usually see. Ok, I have to go eat before the Mariners game, but I just wanted to get this out here while it was in my head. On a more personal note, I have been watching alot of B-movies lately on the Netflix instant viewer and will probably throw up a couple reviews of those in the next week or so. Day of the Dead remake with Nick Cannon was actually more fun, and shorter, than Wolverine. Danke Schoen. Can I find the stupid Uumlaud button anywhere? Or a spellcheck? I should have just said thank you and goodbye in English because now I'm like one of those awkward answering machine messages where the person runs out of things to say and just says "Umm..." for a few seconds before hanging up. Eh, night.

The Reviews