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Independence Day (1996)
Incredible visuals, brilliant action - Independence Day delivers!
Independence Day is really just patriotic drivel in means of plot and adventure. But the film comes into its best moments when the action sequences hit the screen. Buildings explode and men die in beautifully choreographed fashions that raise the bar for many modern action films today.
The film is predictable, and none of the characters are particularly memorable - you aren't really bothered whether they live or die. The plot is so much like War of the Worlds, with more sky battles and aliens, that you may feel that it is just another remake under the same title.
But Roland Emmerich (the director) deserves to be called the undisputed king of action movies - he beautifully directs his films, and the special effects and sound in his films are truly stunning. This was his biggest success, and deservedly so - though The Day after Tomorrow was just as spiffing.
The script ain't strong and the plot ain't great, but this is an action-epic film, and on that scale, Independence Day delivers. It is an extremely memorable experience, and beats action flicks that are being made ten years on. A stunning job that deserves to be called a huge success (in the box office, of course). Great! 8/10
The Producers (2005)
Hilarious, if a little over-silly...
The Producers was probably one of the most hilarious films I have ever seen. Even if most of the comedy relied heavily upon the characters' abilities to just be plain idiots, at least they did it well. The whole movie felt like a play from start to finish - it could even have been filmed on stage. It was expertly choreographed and made and gave us some great musical numbers - all with dashes of humour and style. However, I do feel that the "Keep it gay..." number was a bit too long and extravagant, and the character of Leo Bloom was not very exciting. The movie just became too silly at times to bear - it started off quite funny, but after a while became hard to watch. And I don't care if Bloom managed to score with Ulla - his reunion with Bialystock in the court was dripping with homo-erotic tension. Maybe these issues are a little too taboo to discuss on IMDb, but I'm sure this has been said in another review of this film. And for good reason. There's no denying that I enjoyed The Producers - anyone who thinks it is boring and uninspired should be shot, even if they haven't seen it. The film itself is rather bad taste, so we can excuse all the Nazi propaganda and... those areas. The acting was great - not a dull performance was delivered, and the cast were truly an inspired bunch who brought this classic play to the screen with added flair. But I love realism in films, and lights suddenly appearing in prison cells and scantily-clad ladies jumping out of cupboards in the most boring accounting centre on Earth ensure that this film is really just far-fetched nonsense. But hilarious far-fetched nonsense, and far-fetched nonsense that I REALLY enjoyed. I might buy it - I don't know. I'm seeing the actual stage play soon, and having seen this film, I have a good idea of what it will be like. This film is quite a good taster for those who haven't seen the actual stage play, with the rather theatre-style cinematography, music, dances and acting. But I don't think this film did too well at the box office, for the simple reason that some things just lose a bit of their essence in the translation from stage to cinema, no matter how good you think the translation might be... 8/10
Something that went out at the right time...
They did the right thing killing Futurama. It would have been nice to have a few more seasons, this being something truly inspired, but because they did that, this will be remembered in years to come as something great, whereas the Simpsons will be shamed as something that they wore down for too long until it became the pure bullsh*t that it is now. Setting it in the year 3000 ensured that Matt Groening and co had literally millions of ideas at their disposal. They could send the characters to Mars, have intergalactic battles, have some crazy cult of robots plotting something... the possibilities were endless. It is a shame that this died after a few seasons - the characters were an interesting bunch too. Bender was my favourite and I absolutely hated Leela - but without Leela, the Planet Express crew would have been a bunch of thick d**kheads who couldn't do anything, so I guess she had to be there. And at least I could always laugh at this - in today's Simpsons, the humour is so poor and canned that I find it hard to smile. They still show it on Sky occasionally - and it is worth a watch as a reminder of when MG actually produced quality stuff. This could always warrant the viewing of a whole episode off me - in the case of the Simpsons, I now normally turn over for something else. It has real hilarity, humour, character, sci-fi and fun - when will they start releasing Futurama episode guidebooks like they do for the Simpsons? It had better be sometime soon before this gem is forgotten... 10/10
Poketto Monsutâ Aka (1996)
I liked them.
I really used to enjoy the Pokemon games. I still can't believe they're making them now - I think Pokemon should best be left as a thing of the past rather than be constantly remade and remade until everyone gets fed up of it and it isn't hailed in 40 years time. There is so much gameplay in these games - it is quite easy to see how Pokemon changed the world. Superb originality and lots of collections of many things ensured that Pokemon was to become a worldwide craze. Not to mention the many different landscapes you could go through - you always had to keep playing for something great. And you felt a real sense of accomplishment upon completing the game - I remember the days when Pokemon was the in-thing at my school. Now, it would just be called "sad". Perhaps because these games symbolise how little we've moved on since the 1980s in the world of gaming. The graphics are something that was possible for about 10-15 years before the release of this, and everything was done from a birds-eye-view, like Pac-Man, which shows the real simplicity of this game. But the simple charm always helps things, be they movies, games, or artwork. And it helped this. Nowadays, I would find it hard to play on this for hours on end, but six years ago, I could spend a day on this with ease. But now there are better things to do. Saying that, I'll probably be playing on this again in 40 years time when there'll be even more cr*p in the media industry than now, and thinking of the good old days when this was new. 9/10
Could have been better...
Pokemon The First Movie wasn't bad. But it wasn't great. It was merely OK. Personally, I cannot see how this movie inspired several sequels - it wasn't that great and the plot was a bit simple and uninspired, even if it had a dark feel and had a far more epic scope than the cartoon series - hugely climactic battles at a stadium and massive storms at sea combined both of these aspects to give the film a more cinematic feel that would work better in cinemas than just a standard episode. But the film just does not feel inspired. Mewtwo may have been quite an effective villain and he was sure someone who you really grew to hate (or should I refer to Mewtwo as an it? I don't know), but there was something slightly sterile and square about him that just didn't work. And I'm fed up with the sentimentality! Tears bringing Pokemon back to life who then slaughter massive monsters may be all good and nice, but it is just so boring and will make people take the rip. The score wasn't that great either, and Misty and everyone else except Ash and Pikachu were just kind of sitting on the sidelines watching the action instead of doing much. This film was short and action-packed enough to ensure a very small number of people walked out on it, but it should have been far more intelligent and less predictable to be called something truly special. 5/10
Cats & Dogs (2001)
It's good for the kids - that's all that matters...
I personally thought Cats and Dogs was really good. The espionage war between the cats and the dogs was an inspired, if not so original idea, and the fight scenes were hugely amusing - the ninja cats had me in stitches, to say the least. The way Mr. Tinkles suddenly finds a way to make his plan succeed is a little rushed - how did the fainting of his owner suddenly change everything? There are several plot holes in this film, and a little more explanation wouldn't have done harm. But this film didn't try to be intelligent or gripping - it's basically the Cold War with pets for most of the film, but with a climactic finish in which everything is suddenly resolved and all the baddies are ruined. Even if it is not a corkingly intelligent piece of cinema, it sure is an amusing one, and it isn't badly done either. In fact, the climactic finish is brilliantly done and very amusing - machine guns are replaced by spraying machines, and bombs are replaced by spraying machines too (you'll see what I mean). It stays funny throughout, and it is amusing to see how all of the espionage happens behind all the humans' backs. Even if it does make human beings out to be a bunch of idiots who could quite easily be invaded by animals, this is still a great film which will tickle anyone's funnybone (unless you're a cruel, heartless critic of course...) 7/10
The Ring Two (2005)
Fear comes half-heartedly...
Shame, really. After seeing the first The Ring, I didn't think the conclusion did it justice. A second film should really have sorted everything out and made everything click in my mind. But nothing else was resolved, and when the end came, I couldn't help wondering why they bothered. It really is just the same as the first Ring, with a bit more mystery added just to keep you watching, not bothering to resolve anything left unfinished from the first film. The film does become more interesting towards the end, even if Rachel going inside the TV was only played for a real climactic finish. Even if it proved nothing else, this film did at least tell me that Aidan could be a bad guy... But even worse, there's going to be the need for a third film now. And the mysteries in this film were all gratuitous and unexplained, unlike the first Ring in which they were justified and at least made sense, even if left unresolved. If they do make a third film, I demand this - no more new mysteries! This didn't exactly do a grand job, even with the director of the original Asian horror "Ringu" films on board (on which this is based). There was the occasional bit of jump-out-of-your-seat horror - if only it could have made more sense... 4/10
Recess: School's Out (2001)
I thought it was great
I used to really enjoy this film. It wasn't just a boring, derived big-screen adaptation of some cartoon - it is evident that the producers and creators had their inspiration, what with the school being turned into some sort of futuristic sci-fi base. It would never happen in real life, but the fantasy of this film shows that people actually wanted to make this film, rather than having to make it just to satisfy all Recess fans. And the flashbacks to the 60s only help matters and give the film a really interesting plot, with real character being revealed. If only Prickly and TJ's escape from their cage could have been slightly better thought up and executed, I would have given it a 10. This film really helped develop on the characters from the original show - all of TJ's gang actually showing some ambitions in life (eg. space camp, baseball camp, army camp), and Prickly not being the cruel, harsh principal he was made out to be. The film did not do badly at all - I hope its current average rating of 5.9 starts to increase. Because this film actually had some inspiration and was very funny - highly-trained guards and police being outfoxed and beaten by schoolchildren, anyone? More cartoon big screen adaptations should be like this - this felt not like one overlong episode, but a proper movie in its own right. And I definitely enjoyed it. The film had a very satisfying conclusion, which rounded off something that we only wish to see more of in cinemas today. 9/10
Meet the Parents (2000)
Great and occasionally cringe-worthy comedy...
Meet The Parents is far better in terms of genuine comedy than most of the cr*p we get in cinemas nowadays. It has its cringe-worthy moments, it has its hilarious happenings and it has its occasional disgusting humour (especially when Focker flushes the toilet and covers the back garden in poo), but it actually manages to fit in a real plot and real character, rather than just feeling like some sort of overlong sketch show. A lot of the humour relies heavily on Focker getting himself into very sticky situations - and some of the more serious things will have you cringing to death. As the movie continues, luck gets worse for Focker and the cringe factor gets higher, until the end in which everything is resolved. From cats to shrines, Focker finds himself having trouble with everything he encounters. The ending sets the scene for the sequel - which was just as good, if not better. Sometimes the emotions become painful in the film - especially at the dinner table when Jack reads the poem in memory of his mother - which only helps to make Focker get into even more trouble. There's nothing better than building up the tension... 9/10
Great action film...
Twister may not have done amazing critically, but let's be honest here - not many films have rides based on them built at Universal Studios. Twister has a ride there. And even though the ride is only there because Twister's huge explosions and scenes of chaos would work well at a theme park and frighten the nippers, it's still not a bad film. None of the science makes sense, and even though the invention that our main characters have built is interesting and easy to understand, it isn't the most exciting of things, and the end does get a bit silly - crushed up Coke cans being used as probes, anyone? But as I've said, most people care about it for the explosions only. And Twister sure delivers on the action. The start of the film is brilliantly intense (if a bit silly) - and is explained to us later in the film in a highly emotional scene - it has a link to one of the main characters. And that is the only scene which tries for sentimentality - which is good, because if the whole film tried to be a gory tear-fest (*cough*Saving Private Ryan*cough*), it would have been ruined. Character development is tried upon, but you won't really care about any of the characters by the end - you'll only want to see them going through hellish weather anyway. Some of it is breathtaking and fabulously done - take the scene where the main character scientist guy (I've forgotten his name - that's how much the action rams the characters out of your mind) and his girlfriend (forgotten her name too - and I'm not even sure if she's actually his girlfriend) have to drive straight through a house which has landed in the middle of the road (yes, it really did happen) - and some of it is a bit silly, like the cow flying through the air (this could happen in real life, but not with the results shown), but it is all action-packed and very fun, even if not that environmentally conscious. But things have changed a lot in the past 11 years. Although if this film is anything to go by, films haven't changed much. Twister may not be a masterpiece, but it will keep you entertained and will NEVER bore. 8/10