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Dull as dirt (possible spoilers)
it's been a while since I posted a comment but after seeing this mind numbingly dull cliched film on TV tonight I had to.
What is wrong with you people?
This is a total abomination. The main element of the first film was the bugs. Big, bad and in the hundreds. That was the best part about that movie. Watching a few grunts against a relentless army of CGI. That was pretty cool.
So where are they here?
This movie falls back on one of the great cliches of all cheap budget films. The bugs now masquerade as humans! Cuts down on effects design quite a bit if they look like humans. See also the Battlestar Galactica remake.
This also means the relentless army is now reduced to several bad actors trying to look out of character while the few remaining run around a bottle show episode of Stargate. Honestly, this movie even pales in comparison to the Starship Troopers cash-in series Space: Above and Beyond on every level.
I thought the original was bit of a let down after expecting to see the huge power armor troops from the books but this makes that look like a masterpiece of satire, style and CGI.
The Time Machine (2002)
Too much time on effects, not enough on characters. *SPOILERS*
I could barely remember the 1960 version so I went into this hoping to be
reminded. Apart from the future image of human devolution this is hardly the
same film. The beginning attempts(and mostly succeeds) to capture the
atmosphere of the original but ultimately loses it's way. The Time Machine itself is quite an amazingly constructed brass and glass creation but it's
incomprehensible design is nowhere near as memorable as the Pal version.
Considering the theme this movie has all the trademarks of something that ran out of time. The effects are visually interesting and the results of Stan Winston's Creature Shop are as usual excellent. The characters have little time to develop though before we are rushed back and forth into the future. Along the way
scenery changes, the Moon falls apart (probably the most interesting visual
effect of the future) and just when the story starts to build momentum it just well, ends.
Of course the benefit of the short running time is that it doesn't outstay it's welcome. However, like movie popcorn when it's over it does leave you feeling empty, unsatisfied and in search of something a bit more fulfilling.
Acting is competent but apart from Guy Pearce nobody else has enough screen
time to make any significant contribution. Samantha Mumba breaks the curse of teen pop star to actor transitions by actually being watchable and her kid
brother is okay too. Orlando Jones (Evolution) is an entertaining if totally
unrealistic diversion who thankfully isn't as annoying as Chris tucker in the Fifth Element.
Watching Jeremy Irons you could be thinking it's David Bowie from Labyrinth
and you'll be wondering why he bothered to appear in such a ridiculous role as well. Maybe the script writers had been watching "Beneath the Planet of the
Apes" that night and (for lack of any other dramatic conclusion) thought he
would be a good thing to stick in near the end.
When the movie finishes before you expect you'll be left with a myriad of
non-paradox related questions.
Why did the producers at the test screenings fail to notice the entire audience unintentionally laughing at the supposedly sad scene near the beginning? If Future Guy Pearce is at the hospital near the beginning why doesn't Present Guy Pearce notice a huge gleaming brass Time Machine that he hasn't bult yet
in his greenhouse? If the Moon has broken up wouldn't the larger fragments be orbiting the Earth and not what remains of the Moon? It does look good though! Exactly why do they pull the boats up? How does the hologram device still operate 800,000+ years into the future
despite the earth completely and utterly changing? What are the Morlocks doing with the flames, tools and huge machinery
underground? Just how does Guy Pearce make it all the way to the top of that hill to watch the explosion in just a few seconds?
Plus many others that I just don't have the time to write here...
Joy Ride (2001)
Duel meets The Hitcher...popcorn-tastic!
Charismatic performances all round, edge-of-your-seat-car
chases, creepy moments and a good splattering of humor. What
you don't get is massive gore, overused special effects or a minute
If you go in expecting 90 or so minutes of fun and not a terribly
complicated (or at times logical) plot then you'll leave with $7 well
spent and a second glance everytime you pass an 18 wheeler.
A surprising turn for John Dahl and an entertaining one at that.
One of the best films this year in that the good points outweigh the
bad! Highly recommended.
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Stylish, but like the house ... needed work
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** When I saw the trailer for this I was intrigued by the cool house design and wanted to see it just for that. Just as well really. The house is indeed very cool and stylishly designed but unfortunately like many aspects of the movie amazingly underused. One magically inscribed glass wall is very much like another and we only see three or four rooms that allow some variation in the camera angle. The ghosts are well created and the stroboscopic flashes make the most out of their appearance but they are underused as well. We see three or four of them actually do something (the naked female ghost obviously gets the most screen time) while the others appear briefly, look a bit distressed for a second (probably disappointed they didn't get _more_ screen time) and then we don't see them again until the end. We learn nothing about their histories or how they died (do the producers expect everyone to read about them on the web site?) or where they were captured. SPOILER ...
On the way to the end of the movie plot logic gets locked out of the house and the essential "love conquers all cliche" gets locked in. Shannon Elizabeth vanishes and reappears without explanation, Embeth Davidtz changes sides for no clear reason, and the ghosts are summoned instantly to another room making this viewer wonder why it was necessary to have a super-complicated machine to set them loose to wander around the house in the first place ... Less running around screaming and a longer running time to flesh out the ghosts would have made a big difference. As it is, good undemanding entertainment on the TV, that any way you look at it makes a change from the usual slasher pic. Just don't expect the plot to live up to the style.
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
A well told, well made tale just lacking two vital parts..
... namely a beginning and an end.
A shame considering the cast and cinematography are excellent. It contains all the typical Stephen King "rites of passage" tale elements (including a character who seems to be moonlighting from Stand By Me) with good characters and an authentic 60's atmosphere.
The story however lacks any real thrust, there are no high points or sense that we are approaching any major revelations. It glides along nicely which is entertaining but leaves you feeling unfulfilled and with a lot of questions and plot points adrift.
I haven't read the book but with this movie the "supernatural" element is so slight and ineffectual that it could have been removed easily and you would probably have been left with a very similar (and probably more satisfying) movie.
And don't expect to understand what the title means either...
The Others (2001)
A classic ghost story, which isn't necessarily a good thing
From the trailer I expected a scare-a-minute creep fest. What you have is a slow , theatrical based story with good performances, nice lighting, no special effects, period costumes and one or two jumpy moments.
The atmosphere started to build eerily enough, but as the red herrings started to fall unfortunately so did the number of story revelations. Combine that with a totally pointless appearance by Christopher Eccleston who does little more than mumble 3 or 4 lines and wear a blank expression I became bored. By the time the middle hour was over and the plot started to pick up speed I didn't care.
If you've read or seen Haunted by James Herbert you can probably deduce the major twist a mile away. Some of the "surprises" are bookmarked by really obvious and out of place dialogue. Christopher Eccleston wandering out of the fog unexpectedly saying "sometimes I bleed"?? What??
Even after the credits roll you will still be wondering just what the point of Christopher Eccleston's character was.
However it was good to see British comedy veteran Eric Sykes is still alive and well. Sort of.