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The Great Gatsby (1974)
A Noble Failure
I'll tell you one reason the book will always be better than any of the film versions of "The Great Gatsby:" Knowing full well that you can't put Fitzgerald's beautiful descriptions onto the screen, the filmmakers decide to focus on character and plot. Well, all the characters in "Gatsby" are idiots, and the plot is boring! The key: through cinematography you must make everything look as beautiful as the language Fitzgerald used to describe it. After that, work on the characters, etc. But don't start with them, they are all insipid!
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Waiting for the DVD
I just saw this movie today, and I have been told that Tim Burton shot 3 different endings for the movie. Hopefully they will all be on the DVD, and one of them will be better than the one that was chosen, which was, for me, a bit confusing.
WARNING!!! SPOILER AHEAD!!!!! Ok what exactly happened? the monkey gets lost in space, Marky Mark goes looking for him in a pod, then his crew's ship goes looking for him, everyone crashes on the planet at different times. The crew's ship crashes first, starts the evolution (The planet somehow mutates the apes on board and makes them more human like, and they kill all the humans) then, thousands of years later, Marky Mark finally shows up and raises hell, starts a man-versus-monkey revolt, in the middle of it Marky Mark's chimp finally shows up and then Wahlberg takes his chimp back to Earth but when he gets there, it's the 21st century and everyones still a damn dirty ape, but they're just like us right now. Now here's where I get lost: did he crash land on earth in the first place (which wouldnt make sense since the ship was already there) and then he just went farther into the future, OR did he just go further into this Monkey Planet's future which turned out to be just like ours, OR did he leave the Monkey Planet and get back to Earth which is now also a Planet of the Apes, so now there's two???? What the hell!?
Another problem I had with this movie is that it wasn't done in Burton's traditional style. Sure it was dark, yadda yadda yadda, but usually in a Burton film you're meant to root for the outsider. Well, who's the outsider here? Mark Wahlberg or the entire POTA? The POTA makes sense because no one's normal, but Wahlberg also makes sense because he's the minority on the planet. Maybe I'm griping too much.
The Jim Henson Hour (1989)
One of the greatest Ever
Jim Henson was right up there with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. It's a real shame that this innovative show had to end so quickly, because I think that it could have gone on for a really long time. I only remember five or so episodes, but they were all great. This is one of those great shows whose segments could be culled for DVDs and such, as there were many Making-Of type segments. I wish I could watch it now that I could appreciate it.
The Ewok Adventure (1984)
Some things to keep in mind when watching this movie: 1) It was made for TV. 2) It was 1984, and 3) It was intended for children. Although many people think this is just a cheap movie made to capitalize on the popularity of the Star Wars films, I see this film and it's sequel as an interesting way to look at the Star Wars Universe when Luke and company aren't around. It's not perfect, but neither was Phantom Menace, after all.
P.S.: I'm not in any way saying Phantom Menace was a bad movie, it was one of my favorite movies of 1999. I'm just saying it's not perfect. Anything less than A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back has to live with that fact.
This is probably, along with "Akira," one of the more daring and dangerous animated films made. Not saying it is bad, it is not at all dangerous to children, but a few of the ideas and themes in the film are shocking, especially for a Family Picture, making this one of the greats.
First off, Dumbo being separated from his mother is one of the worst things that could happen to a young child. Seeing his mother take action against the children at the circus can be a bit frightening. And seeing her in the cage is such a sad sequence. The Crows that help Dumbo are stereotypical of African-Americans, but it *was* made in 1941. Watch "Holiday Inn" and tell me if the crows are still too bad.
You can't write a review of "Dumbo" without mentioning the psychedelic "Pink Elephants On Parade" sequence, brought on by Dumbo's drinking of wine. This sequence is reminiscent of the "Huphalumps and Woosles" in "Winnie The Pooh" or the cards in "Alice In Wonderland" or basically anything in "Fantasia."
Finally, Dumbo learns that he can fly at the end and does... and uses his power to get revenge on those that have wronged him. Watch the sequence when the elephant tower collapses and you see that elephants pain-induced expression, it will leave a mark on you.
With the juxtaposition of brighter-than-possible scenes and extremely dark ones, "Dumbo" is a surreal bit of animated film. And I love every minute of it.
This is one of the original, and one of the best, American horror films. It doesn't matter that it is nothing like the original book by Shelley, it doesn't have to be. What matters is that compared to other *movies* it is a superior *movie*. Remember this when watching any movie adapted from a book. "Frankenstein" is truly an American original.