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2012 (I) (2009)
7/10
It's the end of the world, not anybody's career
15 November 2009
Anybody going to this movie to learn about the Mayan prophecies for 2012 or for any true science, is going to be sadly disappointed. But, that is not why we go to movies anyway, is it? That is like going to see Godzilla expecting to learn something about giant lizards that vomit radioactive spray. Emmerich has taken a fictitious subject he knew would be controversial and woven some drama into it. People who tend to be slightly paranoid will no doubt be even more so after seeing the world destroyed according to interpretations of prophecy. The people who sell the books promoting the fear make money, just like the movie producers. So what? I didn't see this movie to pick up any information I haven't learned from the History Channel, nor do I believe any more than I did before, that anything bad is going to happen on December 21, 2012. Did I go expecting to be highly entertained by great CGI and action? Yes! And I wasn't disappointed! One thing many reviewers haven't been picking up on while watching this movie is the very slight tongue-in-cheekiness of the subject that Emmerich cleverly wove into the plot. He obviously doesn't believe any of the prophecy any more than most of the rest of us do. You can see it in the actors' performances too: Woody Harrelson, to wit. It is the same as a weatherman who can deliver his forecast each night without laughing because he truly doesn't know with certainty what is going to happen, but he tries to make us believe nonetheless.

See this movie if you love cinema. Enjoy the things about cinema that make it great. Take a small pillow for your butt cheeks because almost 3 hours of sitting in an uncomfortable theater seat will make you wish you had. But fear not. There is so much non-stop action you won't notice the discomfort too much.

The film has obvious flaws, trite clichés, and phony science, but if you are a fan of 50's sci-fi, you will love this movie. And remember, don't take it too seriously folks, just enjoy it. The end of the world isn't going to happen in 2012, there really aren't any giant grasshoppers, ants, or lizards roaming the Earth, and no one's career is going to end because of their role in this movie. It is Hollywood having a good time with a controversial subject. Nothing new there.

Enjoy the show!
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300 (2006)
6/10
Graphic Art - Yes. History - No.
9 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Out of a top rating of 300, I would give it about 180. Having never read the Frank Miller graphic novel this movie is based on, I cannot say how much this movie relates to that. How much does it reflect history? Not much. Oh, the classic historic lines are mentioned, and everybody has the correct names, but beyond that, don't talk about it over the water cooler and as if you want to show you know something about the true history of the battle. I just came from its first public showing and 3/4 of the way through I already felt disappointed. Not that I am a purist. I love Hollywood CGI eye candy as much as the next LOTR or Sin City lover. That part of this movie was quite outstanding, and it never ceases to amaze me where CGI will take us ultimately. It would just be nice if for once Hollywood could produce a movie that can be graphically artistic and beautiful, yet stick to a script that was already written by history. Don't throw away your copy of "The 300 Spartans" yet. Cheesy aspects of the movie and not spoilers if you know anything about the history of this battle: Leonidas from above at the end pierced with a bazillion arrows, looking sacrificed, crucified and Christ like; and the final scene of Delios (one of the original 300 who had to leave Thermopylae to deliver the famous "Go tell the Spartans" line, or something like it, to the rest of Greece) leading a charge and yelling "For the 300!" or something like that, even though it was 299 without Delios. Elephants, Rhinos????? Ephialtes and the Immortals as freaky mutants???? No mention of the Thespians either (the Greeks, not the actors), even though possibly more of them historically died than Spartans at the pass. And what the hell is with the 7 foot tall belly dancer Xerxes??? I have to admit that the little kid in me liked the big fat guy with the bologna slicer arms. Is this Oscar material? no. Is it historically correct? well, kinda. Is it great CGI? hell yes. If you want fantasy, you might rate this movie higher than I did and think it is the greatest movie ever made. As for me, I originally couldn't wait for this movie to open and began making plans prior to seeing it for seeing it again on the big screen. But now, I'll probably just wait for the used DVD in the budget bin, or get it for $2.99 on pay per view. See the movie for the art. It's worth the matinée price. But for history's sake, go to http://www.livius.org/a/battlefields/thermopylae/thermopylae.html or to some other reputable site for historical details.
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