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As good as everyone says it to be, and with a GREAT ending
Finally! After waiting for years the big payoff is here and it couldn't be better. Return of the King is a definitive culmination of a journey and have essentially wrapped the trilogy into one big film.
Again I walked out the theatre with a big grin and a feeling of light-footedness, much like after watching the first two. It has great character moments akin of The Fellowship of the Ring, and spectacular battle scenes bigger than The Two Towers. But while TT focused more on the world of Men, this time the Hobbits have taken the centre stage, especially that of Frodo and Sam. Memorable visuals are plentiful like the beacon of Minas Tirith, the sight of Orc armies marching out from Minas Morgul, Trolls beating the drums of war, rampaging Mumakils and more.
What else can I say about this movie except to gush more about it? I love the book and the movies, and very grateful to both J.R.R Tolkien and Peter Jackson for their respective talents.
Those useless movie reviewers who complained that the ending "dragged on" for too long are not worth their salt. Its not even long at all! These guys just reek in their over-glorified short-attention span and they have a "Made in Hollywood" stamped over their foreheads. Since the first two did not have endings, the third film demand proper closure. This film has the dignity to say goodbye to the characters in a proper fashion. After all, when you reach the end of a gigantic NINE hours trilogy, wouldn't YOU want an ending that takes it time to reward its audiences instead of rushing straight into the credits?
Being the Disney that they are, we're given the "formula" again... and again... and again...
Good god, not another one of these Disney rubbish again. Each year after year I spent my money on tickets, hoping that they will improve. I loved all their pre-Lion King era features so I gave them my chances, my benefit of the doubt. So did they ever learn from their past mistakes? That's wishful thinking. Even my 11-year old cousin left the cinema half-asleep. This will be the LAST time I will give a Disney feature a go. EVER.
Now they stated that 2D animation is dead. Well just look WHO killed it in the first place! Disney have only themselves to blame for not listening to us for years.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Enjoyable movie, but could've been better
Its official that Nemesis is the last outing for the beloved Next Generation cast, but somehow I came out of the theatre feeling that it could've been more. There are many plot holes, and simply too many moments where its there just for the sake of being there, like the desert buggy-car chase and that infamous "mental-rape" scene involving Shinzon and Troi. The presence of B4, which in terms of story continuity does seem like a bad joke. Also, Nemesis tried too hard to be on the level that Wrath of Khan was, which incidentally is not even on my top 5 best Star Trek movies.
Despite its many flaws however, Nemesis still manages to entertain. Great all-around performances by the cast, the ships look impressive, Worf can still make me laugh, and the Remans looked cool. I enjoyed the intense persona of the villain Shinzon, and Captain Picard had never let us down. Honestly I can't understand those who slammed this movie so hard. Unlike a certain naive reviewer here, I'd rather watch Nemesis anyday than the collosal snore-fest called the Phantom Menace. In Nemesis, at least there isn't a stupid cretin named Jar-Jar, and the entire cast of Star Trek have never given us wooden "faster, more intense" performances.
I guess many fans wanted the TNG era to end with great splendour, much like The Undiscovered Country. But instead we are left scratching our heads, wanting for more. Star Trek is rapidly losing its general audiences, and this can be blamed squarely on the producers who are too busy with making money rather than telling us good stories. Nemesis also suffered from a bad stigma, because it was released at the same time when the TV show Enterprise is on the decline. I say give Star Trek a well-deserved rest for a few years and to get some breathing space. Perhaps money wouldn't be such an issue then and creativity will win out.
Now this is what I call a great superhero flick. I remembered feeling brutally robbed after seeing Batman Forever in the theatre (to this day I still cringe whenever I see Jim Carrey in his green spandex), and needed an emotional "healing" so immediately I rushed to my local videostore to rent this definitive version of our caped crusader. Tim Burton deftly combines style with great character drama, and I believe this is why the movie was such a big success.
While everyone instantly knew that they had a winner in Jack Nicholson after seeing his antics onscreen, it was Michael Keaton's brooding performance that won the hearts of fans. Forget Val Kilmer's stupid pouts, and forget George Clooney's lack of one. Keaton was the underestimated underdog as almost everyone didn't expect him to pull off the role of Bruce Wayne so well. While a natural like Christopher Reeve is every inch the dashing Superman, Keaton's appearance is much more deceiving. He is not tall, his hair is curly, and he doesn't have a big superhero jaw. But boy, when he puts on the costume he literally BECAME the very persona of the dark knight. His voice has just the right tone, and his eyes glares through his mask like a hawk on a prowl for street thugs. What can I say, except that I heard Dave Letterman had once said on TV about Keaton "Well to me, he is always going to be THE Batman," this sums it up quite well!
Less intimacy but more action-packed
What a great movie The Two Towers is, chiefly because it is the exact opposite of its smashing prequel The Fellowship of the Ring, and yet the movie still delivers and much more! My opinion on both movies stands on an equal ground, because these two complement each other. The differences are very apparent, especially on second viewing: it feels less intimate, has much more action sequences, doesn't have the prequel's linear pace and progression, the emergence of an important CGI character, and overall has a much more perilous tone than the last.
It is true that much has been left out or changed, even more so than the first movie. But most of the crucial events as well as tone & movement is all there, and that is all that matters to me (this is speaking from a BIG fan of the book who has read many of Tolkien's works and understood much of Middle-Earth's lores).
My instinct tells me to put a hold on all opinions until The Return of the King comes out, and then watch all three one after the other in the same day. We'll then realise at how AWESOME the trilogy is and marvel at its unimaginable scope. It is the only way the story can be enjoyed - after all, no die-hard fan of the book stops reading it when it gets to a certain part!
Once again well done to Peter Jackson & writers, the stellar casts, and all at Weta workshop for a wonderful movie.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
One clever movie
Quite an impressive work by Terry Gilliam, and that's a nice change after all the mind-twisting numbness of Brazil.
12 Monkeys has a brilliantly constructed plot about the destruction of mankind by a virus, but I won't go into the plot details here. Bruce Willis gave one of the best performances in his life, but I don't agree with the majority of people about Brad Pitt's acting. He is quite distracting and a bit exaggerated, but obviously he's having a time of his life playing a nutty character.
The best moment is when the character is in the theatre, feeling a sense of deja vu, that he is somewhat re-living a phase of his memory. That scene became genuinely creepy when Hitchcock's Vertigo is playing in the background.
For those of you who struggled with Brazil (watched it several times already) 12 Monkeys is more fun and comprehensible, but by no means I'm suggesting that the movie itself is simple-minded. If there is any criticism, I'll say that the ending is just isn't satisfying enough. After all the twists and thrill, one would expect an equally, if not more, startling ending. But it ended in a way like someone has walked around in a circle.
Highly recommended viewing!
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Sirrr, where's me whales???
Big accolades have been heaped upon this 2nd venture to space, and the mere mention of this movie can bring smiles upon thousands of die-hard Trekkies worldwide. Many even said that this is the best of the movie series. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, Wrath Of Khan is certainly one of the best, but it is not THE best. That honor still belongs to the 4th movie The Voyage Home, an immensely entertaining movie that holds true to the real essence of Star Trek.
All in all, its not hard to see why so many people love this movie. There are some exciting ship battles to be seen, an unusually sombre ending (and one of the most touching), and two very angry men trying to outwit one another. What more could you want? Also, the old gang are all here despite Shatner's overtly-generous screen time, the real star of this movie is the inimitable Spock. However it would have been wonderful to see the rest of the crew to interact more with each other, which is the biggest single weakness that had always plagued the original series. Luckily, they were given that chance in the excellent 4th and 6th movies (see also the action-packed First Contact, another must-see movie).
For those who hasn't watched Wrath Of Khan, do so on a relaxing weekend with a bowl of crunchy popcorns but don't bring any unrealistic expectations or criticisms. I guarantee that the moment you just 'go with the flow' and immerse yourself is when the movie will hit you right on the buttons.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Some people just don't get it
This is a brilliant movie, and I personally don't understand why some reviewers here loathed it so much. The film has great acting, deliciously dark & narcisistic characters, and a plot that at times reminded me of Hitchcock. It is a story of a great talent born out of self-hate.
As for the casts, they did a great job. Jude Law is great being an obnoxious rich boy. Cate Blanchett, while she did not have much onscreen time, she is as lovely as ever. I've always viewed Matt Damon as the more talented actor than his other "creative" counterpart, Ben Affleck. In the beginning of the story, Mr. Ripley is a social mess, always nervous around people, and hates himself. However at the end of the film, he is the epitome of moral grayness, a dangerous mix of being a sociopath and conflicting emotions. He becomes both repulsive and pathetically sad at the same time. Hoooboy, not good.
As for people hating this movie, I often hear complaints regarding the character Mr Ripley; about how bad, wacko, and crazy he is and that the movie is terrible because of him. Well I always say to these people: what is wrong with you?? It is like having an unstable element - much like the excitement of waiting for a deadly fire underneath the shimmering surface to explode - that makes Talented Mr Ripley worth watching. Another word, this movie is nothing less than a A+ grade psychological thriller. Did those who criticized this movie saw their own insecurities within Mr Ripley and in turn becomes uncomfortable to fully appreciate its finer points? Perhaps, I don't know for sure.
I loved The English Patient with its melachonly, ambient middle-eastern atmosphere, and now Anthony Minghella has taken us inside one person's dark & disturbing mind and his pathetic effort to cover his own identity ... at all costs. Highly recommended for the intelligent viewers.
The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Whoa... this movie is really BAD
After seeing Peter Jackson' miraculously brilliant movie version of The Lord of the Rings, I had to finally see the much maligned 1978 animated version.
Let me get this off my chest first. There are those out there who thinks that the movie is alright to watch, and there are those who still cannot get over the shock of seeing their beloved story being torn and shredded into little pieces. At first I thought, how bad can it be? But upon seeing this movie, I became a true believer. A believer that Ralph Bakshi had indeed turned a great novel into trash.
For those who hasn't seen this movie and need recommendation, you just hav e to watch this movie just to understand why it has deserved so much criticism for all these years. First of all, the artwork is TERRIBLE and very, very inconsistent to the point where you think that Ralph Bakshi must have ran out of time and money to do a decent job. The movie combines characters that seemed naturally hand-animated with rotoscoped human beings that looked eerily real, it doesn't look like if it belongs there. Just imagine an artist blending surrealism with cubism into one canvas, or Walt Disney with Leonardo Da Vinci. Chaotic backgrounds is often depicted as rough paintbrushing work. Visually, this movie is a total mess.
Now for the characterisations, which I'm afraid its no good either. Saruman is often pronounced as "Aruman" and he wears red and not white gown, and as a wizard who supposedly possess a beautiful and spellbinding voice, he sounded like a croaking frog. Gandalf is so theatrical its not funny, with his riverdance-esque spins and exaggerated hand-weaving gestures. Samwise Gamgee is being turned into such a coward, all he does is hug people when he gets scared (but unfortunately the other hobbits do the same thing) and instead of being down-to-earth and courageous, he is too effeminate and annoying, unlike his likeable novel counterpart. Aragorn wears Robin Hood's short skirt, Gimli is turned into a monstrously tall Dwarf, and Boromir is now a Scandinavian Viking sporting an awfully thick red beard. Why did the Nazguls limped at first but later on managed to walk normally? Also, there are a lot of bad editing, such as the fellowship suddenly arrived in front of Galadriel from Moria's exit without any transition shots of them travelling from one point to the next. The Balrog looked laughable as opposed to be striking fear into our hearts, and what's up with his growling? The Balrog is no zoo lion, and it does not growl! The soundtrack did not enhance any emotions or situations in the slightest bit, which doesn't help at all.
There are some good, well-executed moments, but they are a rarity. This movie has too many flaws, and that is not good enough considering the mythical status of Tolkien's stories. Peter Jackson's version is billions of times more superior in every single way, and thank goodness we can all watch that one instead!
More splatterfest than Friday the 13th
Let me be harsh here. I ponder what went wrong inside John Woo's head when he made this stinkbomb? Has he finally succumbed to the big dollars of Hollywood, so much that he has the nerve to make movies like M:I2? Although Windtalkers is nowhere as bad, nonetheless its still a shallow exercise in style. I sat down with a couple of friends, and throughout the movie we were bombarded with nothing but the sounds of guns, explosions, and flying corpses. Never once the movie made me feel the destructive power of mankind's stupidity. Even though some war movies depicts a lot of violence, movies like Saving Private Ryan was never gratituous. Windtalkers - or John Woo - is more in love with explosions, slo-mo gunfights and painfully cliched dialogues than its purported subject. At the end, I asked myself "Where on earth were those noble Navajo Indians???" Like many people, the "subject" of the story drew me into buying a ticket. On the big screen, the Native Americans have rarely been portrayed correctly (which also can be said to many minorities living in the states). So I thought everyone will finally get to see them being heroic and brave, and Windtalkers does that to an extent, but not nearly enough. Alas their presence and contributions here were so numbed down, and instead we get too much of Nick Cage's character, (whose job here is to sell movie tickets) looking like a madman spraying bullets to no end. Why can't we get Windtalkers starring a real Navajo Indian anyway? The entire movie feels like a false advertisement to me.