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Justice League (2017)
Critics be damned!!
Okay, I often like to hear what movie critics have to say, and I can't dispute their honesty as to their outlook. All I can say is that through the bulk of the movie, I was enjoying the characters, the story, and the imagery too much to remember the frequent flaws I kept hearing about. One consistent positive in all the reviews, character and character interaction, I was able to put together to find an engrossing story. The diversity of character personalities, backgrounds, and abilities made for a tough and driven Batman, compassionate and resilient WonderWoman, stubborn and find-his-own-way Aquaman, self-conscious yet grounded Cyborg, quick-witted yet angsty Flash, and finally a morally driven and also resilient Superman.
Steppenwolf? Loved him as a villain. Not in my top ten villains, but a worthy opponent to our heroes. along those same lines---CGI? I'll lay it all on the table, I have HUGE threshold of acceptance of it. Don't get the idea that I praise the CGI in "Birdemic"; and any appeal found in SyFy movies' CGI hinges on how much laughter it stimulates. I draw the line below the Yetis in Mummy 3, anything of at least that quality won't take me out of the movie.
Overall I felt a great balance in all areas that count.
I'm not part of the Frank Miller bandwagon
I'm a lifelong HUGE Batman fan, just 'The Dark Knight Returns" was never akin to my tastes. Still I decided to watch this making every effort to take on a fresh outlook, hoping it would help me see everything in a new light, but I'm sorry to say it made things worse by magnifying some of flaws I already sensed. When reading the comic I had a good sense of Batman as an amped up version of the rogue cop, with the established cops gunning for him, and that's the standout flaw. The cops gunning at Batman made the Stormtroopers look like certified sharpshooters, and they repeated that scenario OVER and OVER, making less and less confident in strength of the conflict facing Batman.
I do like Peter Weller's performance as gritty Bats, and he makes his tough guy dialogue count. The actions scenes, not including rapid and inaccurate gunfire, do adrenalize. The story in the comic depicted Batman being far more aggressive and edgy than I prefer him to be, and I watched this knowing to expect that here. Between that issue I already had, Frank Miller's art style implemented which I'm not big on, some dialogue that feels shoehorned in (Carrie Kelly's parents talking about the sixties), anti-Reagan sentiment, and as mentioned before--unrealistic depictions of dodging swaths of bullets, it didn't work for me. All power to Frank Miller die-hards (I myself am a Jeph Loeb die-hard) who felt refreshed over this oft called Batman magnum opus.
Not the first time the general critic population and I have been in different worlds
I heard it said over and over that this movie is hard to follow if you're not in the know with the DC Universe, and I can see some of that from inside-looking-out, but I have to believe there's something for everyone here. It has timeless elements of storytelling; the much heard "God vs. Man", as well as Light vs. Dark; just lots of Yin and Yang. I LOVE how they show Batman's struggles, as well as Superman's struggles, and how their ideals end up in conflict. I had heard some reviews say that during the big Bats/Supes Smack \down there's hardly any verbal exchange between the two. After watching the movie I wondered if they put on earplugs for that scene. The clash of ideals is very much at play here.
Ben Affleck's Batman? The man hasn't had the kind of career so praised for bringing the kind of gravitas that Christian Bale (whose Batman I still back to the hilt) has in various roles, but he's got solid acting chops, and that combined with his lifelong love of Batman gave us a Batman IN SPADES!!!! I shirk not to say he's now my all-time favorite Batman. He defied all previous conventions of what kind of physique can be expected from an actor, and how well he can throw his weight around with it. He awesomely played the public facade for Bruce Wayne, brooding private Bruce Wayne, and tough-as-nails/don't-trifle-with Batman.
Henry Cavill once again delivered beautifully as Clark Kent/Superman, and his wanting to help people, along with hurt that no one will accept him runs deep to where you have to cry for the man. The man deserves a place alongside Christopher Reeve in Man of Steel honors.
There was a universal fear that Gal Gadot would become the Sarah Palin of the DCEU, and I would say not even close. The movie makes limited use of her, in such a way that would be expected in a movie that leaves her name out of the title. I say she positively adds to the movie whenever she shows up. Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor? You do get just that, a Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor, and I understand if that doesn't work for some, but for me it worked in spades.
I read about the plot being too crammed. Not to me. It has become quite clear that I can be entertained by setup of future related movies if it's handled right. For all the understanding of other DC heroes being included, they don't clog up the movie by any means. One thing I will understand when it comes to those uninitiated in the deeper DC universe that is akin to Thor's hallucination in "Avengers: Age of Ultron", just know you could easily get the idea with a simple Google search.
In the end it's about personal struggles, reconciliation and redemption; and BRILLIANTLY depicted. I wholly adore this movie
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Take an 80's pill and enjoy
I don't know if it was on purpose, but here they took an 80's property, gave it the same flavor as "Commando" with all its extreme scenarios, and gave it 10's level practical effects. This is one movie I obligated myself to watch it. Why? It had my favorite Joe in Roadblock, who was given the best possible casting (seeing how Michael Clarke Duncan's passing made him unavailable). It's generally accepted that Dwayne Johnson makes good with his time on camera in every role, and I loved every minute of it here. No argument that the plot is paper-thin...OK--RICE paper, but you take on that 80's mentality, it becomes a worthwhile guilty pleasure. Cobra Commander's few scenes showed him being more convincing than what we saw in the 80's cartoons. It was something interesting to see Jonathan Pryce as a good guy, though he's cast to primarily use his bad guy acting skills. Too bad we didn't get much of Arnold Vosloo. I enjoyed Flint (though in the cartoon, he was much higher in command) and Lady Jay. So overall, a good bit of "check your brains at the box office fun".
Miracle on 34th Street (1973)
Nothing beats '47, but this is a decent remake
I thought the Thomas Mitchell version as OK as we'll, while Richard Attenborough's left a bitter taste in my mouth. What stood out was that it's set up blended so well into the 70's era. I confess, I always thought of David Hartman as a newsman, but here I realize he wasn't a bad actor at all. Cabot's Santa? Loved him! Convincingly kind and gentle, and showed brilliant Santa magic.
In some ways it does feel like you'd get lost following this if you didn't already know the story, because you don't get a lot to tell you just what the characters as set up are all about, and you don't get hardly any exposition of Karen Walker as an unbeliever, but familiarity saves it. As well, I feel like i wouldn't like it as much if not for wanting some reprieve from the forced resolution I got out of the Attenborough version. The Post Office miracle doesn't feel as brilliant, but still different enough to feel fresh, a nd believable enough to appreciate as a miracle.
I won't put as much diligence into making this a Christmas season must-see, but I'll definitely get to a point where it feels like another go is in order. Not a bad version at all.
Same SW positives and negatives
Star Wars (before "A New Hope" was added) was the first movie I ever saw in the theater, and I fell in love with everything everybody else did. It had an engaging story, interesting characters, great action, and awesome special effects. I was fortunate enough to get to see Empire and Jedi in the theater as well.
My love of the Star Wars kept with me, though during my late teen years i was starting see flaws in the dialogue and a few plot hole; but story, character, and action still kept that love going.
The comes this, the first prequel. Same engaging level of story, same calibre characters, same level of special effects (when you factor the time of release), same great kind of action. Dialogue is once again flawed at times, and there are plot holes. Acting? As good as it can be with the dialogue.
When it comes down to it, if I were to abandon this (and its sequels) for its flaws, I would have abandoned the original trilogy for the same reasons.
DIC's better? Not feeling it.
I'm live-and-let-live when it comes to personal taste. It's just here I feel the need to bring my perspective. I think on the Garfield strips and then the cartoons, and they complement each other well with story lines that gradually build to the big comedic payoff.Not so much with the DIC Heathliff episodes. They follow Garfield episode pacing, and yes, good comedic playoffs, but that doesn't jibe with what we get from Heathcliff comics. They were single picture strips (occasionally an extra panel) with single actions and usually a single line that made it an ingenious running gag. That's the spirit of the Ruby-Spears eps; fast- paced with the comedy running in the whole plot process. I often laughed during the start, sometime in the middle, and at the big payoff. I enjoyed DIC (A biig help that they kept Mel Blanc), but Ruby-Spears' fluidity in their presentation makes it my unquestionable preference.
Man of Steel (2013)
Finally after 33 years the Superman Movie Bar has been Raised!
One criticism that stood out as I was getting ready to see it was that the film get excessive with the actions scenes, alien aspects, and CGI. (Chiasmus Warning) Amid liking "Hulk" and the Star Wars prequels, I may not be the one to ask if a movie's CGI is excessive ore even good, but it worked splendidly and convincingly for me. I have to wonder if it's just an adjustment for the uninitiated to see more elaborate Kryptonian settings or images, because this film's props of such felt very familiar in light of what I've seen in the comics and on more recent Supes cartoons. I think about the Kryptonian v. Kryptonian fight scenes that do go for an extended period, realizing that such would be the norm for beings who can both give and take a lot of punishment. I tend to think on how long and drawn the Supes v. Darkseid fight lasted in the animated feature "Apokolips" based on the Superman/Batman comic mini-series. It had over a dozen cases of a big uppercut that sent the opponent flying for miles. So this was nothing new either, and the movements of these fights made the battles completely epic and adrenalizing.
What I loved so much about the 1978 Superman movie was the back-story, showing how much of an influence Jonathan and Martha Kent were on their special adopted son, and this film succeeded in upping the ante on that aspect, seeing Clark develop mentally and emotionally, while struggling to adapt to his incredible abilities. Prior to that we get the obligatory sequence involving Jor-El's facing his planet's destruction, and giving his all to seeing the preservation of his son's life. This too was a major upgrade. Then comes Kal El's pivotal moment when he masters all of his powers, followed by the arrival of General Zod, who created such havoc in his home world to offer the same to earth with hyper-megalomania, and the movie truly shines in creating some major conflict for our hero at this juncture, and Kal El (who, thankfully, does get properly acknowledged as 'Superman' during the movie's run, just won't say where) shows that he's got all the heart and will to meet the challenge head-on.
I saw no slouching by anybody in the cast. I was amazed at Henry Cavill, and how he was completely spot-on in showing his emotions during his many close-ups, he was extremely convincing as both a man struggling to find his place in the world, and a man with a sense of priority in protecting the world he had still come to love. Russell Crowe played Jor-El to the hilt as the wise Kryptonian patriarch, with his world's best interests at heart, and all the heart to help see to earth's defense. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane ably played Clark's adoptive parents, selfless and compassionate. Amy Adams was a wonderful Lois Lane, accomplishing that daunting task of coming off as a hard-working researcher without appearing to be too snoopy. My favorite kind of villain is the megalomaniacal kind, and we get that in spades from Michael Shannon as Zod, who you have to look upon with both disdain and sympathy. Laurence Fishburne's Perry White, Christopher Meloni's Colonel Hardy, Antje Traue's Faora-Ul, and on and on--were all great in their respective roles.
There is a bit of a problem with so many (mainly in Smallville) who are presumably privy to Clark's secret, but for all the scope the entire movie offered, it was worth overlooking. I liked "Superman Returns", just didn't love it for the fact that the action was so understated at a point where so many people were hungry for Superman to deliver on the action after being gone for nineteen years, and after not having been a very strong movie about the Man of Steel since 1980. This one suddenly made that wait worthwhile. It was incredible!
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
I really wanted to enjoy this
I tend to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to remakes, and had a little more faith than usual in this one, as much as I like Richard Attenborough. What bothered me more than anything is that what I'm seeing in this film is "Santa with an ego." For all of Santa's selflessness, compassion, and belief in what he does, it goes against all those qualities to see him on the defensive in terms of any heckling in a department store where kids are waiting in line to sit on his lap, as well as being quickly drawn to strike the same guy who presented no real threat to him on the street other than continued heckling. What also bothered me was the lack of substance I saw in the resolution. In the original, Kris's lawyer found a legal loophole for the government to recognize him as the real Santa, while here an apparent parallel philosophy to the belief in Santa is enough for a judge to make his ruling of--I'm not sure what. There is indeed plenty of holiday warmth in this film, but no strong reasoning to what is at stake, on either side, in the plot. I've read enough reviews to see what reasons others have found that lead them to like the movie, and I have no problem if they keep watching it based on that. For me, it just simply did not have a strong foundation to make it a good movie, even without comparing it to the 1947 version.
The Godfather: Part III (1990)
A serving of sirloin after 2 previous helpings of prime rib
It helped that I saw this, understanding that it was a major disappointment for those with high expectations after the first 2. It was interesting backtracking to this and seeing Andy Garcia as a young buck, much in the same vein as Al Pacino was in GF I, while Pacino is still his own man, out of Brando's shadow. It draws well from the previous 2, leaving you understanding why it waited 16 years to be made. I loved how it rounded out Michael's destiny after showing how much the years wore on him. Talia Shire shows herself as being more than capable of playing a tough mafia woman after her character had previously been so feeble. Overall, a more than decent end to the this epic film series.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A More than Fitting End to this Film Series Juggernaut
I'm a die-hard Batman fan and, at best, Luke-warm Burton/Keaton fan. The Nolan/Bale franchise was a welcome change in terms of what I see in Batman as a character. In this installment of that series, Bruce Wayne suffers enough guilt after the deaths of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes that he has been living a Howard Hughes lifestyle for the eight years that followed "The Dark Knight." He finds himself needing to get back into the game when a new threat enters Gotham city--a greater threat to him personally than he has ever confronted before. His ultimate struggle becomes that he has to pick himself up from rock bottom so he can save Gotham from its big threat.
The movie pulls from several great Batman stories, including "The Dark Knight Returns," "Knightfall," and "No Man's Land", and at the same time reminds us of historical events like the recent "Occupy Wall street" and even the French Revolution. It delves into the entire moral spectrum, where the good guys have to find their ethical core, while bad guys never even stop to consider theirs.
Christian Bale nails it as the conflicted Bruce Wayne, and the menacing Batman, while Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy all deliver in spades in their respective roles in a monstrous and powerhouse plot. This is one for the ages.
Conflicted, to say the least
Lately I've been taking every superhero click I can get my hands on whenever the chance comes. Certainly wasn't going to pay rent $$ when I knew sometime it was going to find its way to the tube. I'm guessing that Sharon Stone's career has hit the backburner enough if she's taking on a "Basic Instinct *Lite*" role here. The plot, of itself, has an interesting spin, but the characters that are supposed to hold it up have too many laughable moments to give it any structure. The dialogue quality goes up and down like an EKG after a mega-dose of Red Bull, that I stopped having any expectations about 2/3 of the way through the film. Catwoman as a character gets annoying when we're supposed to be entertained by her 'cat' attributes finding their way into the picture, but are completely lame. And while you're rooting for her to win the day, you couldn't care less about what else becomes of her social life or her career. Just an all-round hollow movie.
There are things in this Doc you can't ignore.
Make no mistake, Vince McMahon has an ego that would fill 20 Donald Trumps. Still, I can't imagine that he'd have this many people from the Warrior's era in his pocket; many of whom had been distanced from him for many years. I was a big fan of Warrior when he first came out. Any wrestling fan from that era would tell that he brought a unique and intense energy to the (then) WWF. I predicted that he would 'legitimately' pin Hulk Hogan for the World title in Wrestlemania 6, and was actually excited to see what he would give us with it. I can remember how the producers did everything they could to get everybody into excitement by practically merging the Ultimate Warrior's image with their big emblem -- right down to starting the "Superstars of Wrestling" TV show with a sequence showing an animated Warrior in a dark rocky place, but energized with all kinds of lightning and shockwaves. But it was around that time that The Ultimate Warrior suddenly changed in his demeanor. He went from consistent raging powerful dialogue (and I will give him that I had no problem following it) to an annoying softspeak, coupled with a lame snarl. When I watched this documentary, and recollected my viewing experiences, so many things fit together perfectly. Shortly after Warrior lost the World title he suddenly disappeared (of the many things that bothered me about Vince McMahon was that he never said anything about any wrestler's departure. You had find out from some other source after going months asking, "when are we going to see '___' again?"). Then in Wrestlemania 7 we see a big dramatic comeback. After that we saw Warrior go through gimmick after gimmick in revving up his appearance. I stopped watching wrestling shortly after that (not really because of the Warrior's changes, it just faded from me). And Eric Bischoff (WCW owner) and all others in the WCW made a solid case for how problematic Warrior was for them. The title is a bit extreme, and I do see that as a product of Vince's ego, but even before I watched it, I had the sense that the Warrior had much the same problem.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
I Believe in Possibilities, therefore I love this Movie
I am a little shocked by the criticisms of the portrayal of George as being selfless amid so much opportunity. I'll admit that I'm nowhere near that level of dedication toward improving the lives of people in a community, but I've known several people of that caliber and have always been in awe of what they do. If you watch George at the very end and all you can think is that he short-changed himself in life, you're overdue for a thoracic stone removal. I, like many, have made "It's a Wonderful Life" a Christmas tradition. One of the bits of magic I appreciate more and more in movies is when the ending brings such a sweet atmosphere that stands as complete resolution to all the bleekness and despair that permeates the plot. In the end I have nothing but admiration and gratification for the character of George Bailey.
The Man from Utah (1934)
Worthwhile Wayne Artifact
I had watched this movie before when it came out on TV, and was, like most, perturbed at the effort to make the Duke a traveling troubadour. The story is western B-movie grade, and would probably not have seen the light of day, beyond its original release if it did not have John Wayne (or someone else who would eventually reach superstardom). It has an interesting enough plot, with some rodeo stunts that are, of themselves, impressive. Yes, the acting is stilted, but you expect that with these fly-by-night productions. I read the gripes about 'the original music' not used in this film, and replaced by modern day synthesizer music. I myself prefer the added music for the simple reason that (other than the opening song supposed sung by Wayne), there is no original music. And it was actually my first experience watching this film that I came to realize that not only does music in a movie amp up the drama, but it also help you feel the pacing of the storyline. Perhaps the movie's events should be dramatic of themselves, but again, this is a B-movie we're watching. Overall, it's worth wading through all the cheesiness just to feel the full scope of John Wayne's career.
Atom Man vs. Superman (1950)
On the higher end of serials--especially Columbia
The film actually has its clever moments, mainly in how Clark manages to make a good case to deter suspicion concerning him and his alter-ego. You do come to realize that Chris Reeves Superman carrying Mariel Hemingway in space and her having no trouble breathing was not a first. We actually get that same scenario here (that's all I'll say).
You get plenty of run-of-the-mill serial gimmicks here. And with all of Superman's abilities, many of the cliffhangers leave you with little, if any, doubt that he will have no trouble saving all the lives in danger in the next episode. I know a lot of people were really bothered (I know some have used the word, 'disoriented') by the animation of Superman's flight (except in close ups), and while I don't quite understand why they had no trouble morphing Supes into the cartoon when he took off and then have him land behind some hill or building before he'd walk out live action, the animation itself didn't bother me too much.
When you see snapshots of Kirk Alyn you want to think he's a complete wuss, but seeing him in action, and hearing impressive baritone voice leaves you quite convinces he's the Man of Steel. The rest of the cast and acting is solid by serial standards./ Overall a worthwhile artifact to experience and story to watch.
Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)
The rating is essentially grading it on the 'serial' curve.
I'll even go so far as to call it the 'Citizen Kane' of serials. I've seen both Batman serials, Flash Gordon, and Dick Tracy. I've only seen part of Captain America, and we'll see if I can get enough stomach to complete it (already understanding that they knowingly threw its source material to the winds), and enough of Superman to know that they were sloppy with it all because of the budget they were stuck with, and plan on getting all of it very soon.
Captain Marvel shines not only because of how true they stay to the core of the character, but because the story remains interesting from start to finish, the audience is kept guessing on who exactly the villain is (I watched the entire movie with the hope they wouldn't go with the obvious choice of the Arab member of the good guy team, and they didn't disappoint), and you didn't always guess right on the cliffhanger resolution (Billy Batson didn't always shout 'Shazam!' to get out of a tight spot).
Frank Coghlan's Billy Batson is convincing enough as a young boy (of course he was in his mid-20's) who gets plenty done by himself. Tom Tyler is a very robust Captain Marvel who manages to impress during the action scenes (you watch Victor Mature in 'Samson and Delilah' and the assistance from wires, while lifting bad guys, is pathetically obvious, while Tyler's heavings move on a natural arc), though the voice is a bit uncharacteristic for a superhero.
The supporting cast is pretty run-of-the-mill, and fills the slots of the character categories that seem obligatory in every serial, but the pacing, the tension, and the conflicts keep the story moving.
During this time the issue of superheroes killing bad guys was still evolving as evident here with Captain Marvel, early on, subduing villains who were firing at him with a machine gun, only to turn it on a second wave of them charging at him. Then later we see Captain Marvel gorilla-pressing a thug, then tossing him off the roof of a big skyscraper.
Overall a worthwhile film when it comes to experiencing a cinematic artifact, and enjoying a good story.
Song of the South (1946)
I had to jump through hoops to watch this, and for stupid reasons.
I do believe the NAACP exists for a good reason, but this is one of a few issues in which they disappoint me. There's this reasoning that it paints a negative picture of Afro-Americans, whereas I get the exact opposite. It does show the unequal turf that existed between blacks and whites in the post-civil war south, and it was many of the southern whites who hampered the progress of the blacks there during the time, but in no way did I feel that these blacks were dimwits. If dialect, as it was spoken here by blacks, is meant to educate me about Negro intelligence, how worried should I be about who watches "Deliverance"? The whole time I was watching it I thought about how excited I would be if Uncle Remus moved next door to me. Here was an unprejudiced, loving man who cared for everyone around him, and knew he could enrich the people of his town with his fun stories.
Just how accurate this movie could be about ethnic relationships in this time period I don't know, but the essence of these characters, and how they dealt with conflicts here make this movie worthy of a '10' rating without question. What gets me in that regard is that the protesters make this movie they're whipping boy with an indication a "don't dare" attitude when it comes to a movie that did depict amicable slave/master relationships during the civil war---"Gone with the Wind."
The Dark Knight (2008)
Keeps you on EDGE!!!
It was a weird movie-going experience. I came in not knowing really what to expect and yet I left feeling like I got much more than I bargained for. I've been a avid reader of Batman comics, and yet I don't recall the Joker ever creating chaos on this level. It's a HUGE package of darkness, ambiguity, and complexity. You won't believe the ethical choices Batman makes this time around, and the rift created among the 'comrades' Batman, Gordon, and Dent. You won't feel hunger for action, drama, or suspense. This movie has it all!! And yes, Ledger unquestionably deserves an Oscar nod, and not just to help him rest in peace.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Hooray for Batman & Robin!!!
Do the summary and the rating match up? Of course. After I first saw "Batman Begins" I sent Joel Schumacher a "Thank You" letter. The previous franchise was such an underachievement in getting to the core of Batman as a character that the only way to get it right, finally was to destroy it with this, yes, poorly made film that failed as a Batman film and even as an homage to the very enjoyable 60's series. From the beginning of the franchise we don't get Batman we get "Bat-WUSS" who looks like Bane should have hammered him into the ground with the first punch (of course Bane wasn't the extremely intelligent and not-so-slow fighter we know could do that that with the first three actors).
So a backhanded complement to the Grandfather of the first true-blue Batman movie ever! Way to go Joel!!!!
Batman Begins (2005)
More Fun than Challenging
For the record, I fall under the "casual gamer" category and have played a total of seven games on the current run of consoles (sans X-Box 360). I've played the likes of this game in "Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb" and "Obi Wan Kenobi" (hey, this brings my screen name full circle with video games!) and love them for the sheer challenge involving coordination and problem solving. "Batman Begins" isn't quite at the same level in terms of challenge. It often uses visual cues to tip you off, while the latter games leave you mostly looking for the objects by yourself. But it makes up for it out of the sheer fun! One of the lesser things about Batman that I love are his use of the grapple gun, and there are plenty of opportunities to use it. Also the whole "predator" feel of it is very empowering. The drama comes out high as well.
Perhaps it's both naive and cynical of me to love the game out of theme (like you haven't caught onto that yet) and ease of wielding power throughout the game, but I think everyone is entitled to choose an entertainment genre they can play the simpleton to.
Star Wars (1977)
Very first film I saw in the theater
And what a way to start! Imagine being four years old the year it was released and being overwhelmed by such incredible images as the Star Destroyer in the very beginning with all the explosive sounds that you felt go right through you. Of course I was too young to really know what was going on, but I knew who the good guys and bad guys were and had a sense of when they were in trouble and when they victorious. It was enough at the time. The heroes were the kind you had to root for and laugh amidst their bickering, and it was here that I discovered the greatest movie villain of all time in Darth Vader (of course the real reasoning behind that statement would have to develop over time and had "Revenge of the Sith" as its capstone).
Speaking for it now, I come to see it weak points in dialog and a few plot holes (for Vader wanting the rebels to escape, the stormtoopers were sure trying awfully hard in that fire fight against them), but it will never take for the pure mystique, engrossing mythological application, and all round adrenalizing action. You just have to love this film!
Batman Begins (2005)
Best movie of the year? Try MY LIFETIME!
I've never come out of a theater feeling so invigorated about a movie! After the collapse of the previous franchise, I found myself long for a movie with a strong story and deep character development. I thought the best way to do justice to Batman was to probe his past and show the very evolution of 8 year old Bruce Wayne into emerging Dark Knight. Batman Begins has delivered on thatIN SPADES!!! Christian Bale has now emerged as the best Batman YET! One thing I had always hoped for is that Batman would finally exude as it's called in Detective Comics #33 (and again in Batman #1), "physical perfection." I knew after hearing that Bale got the part that we would get that. Beyond that I wanted a strong working relationship between Bats and Gordon; we get that. I wanted something of Batman's mastercraft of intimidating thugs; OH, do we get that! The story is compelling, the acting by all the big players is straight and top notch, the pacing is championship caliber, and the action sequences keep you glued to your seat. This is, indeed, the Batman film I've waited for, and feared all to long I'd never get. Nolan, Goyer, Bale, TAKE A BOW!!!
A fine transitional setup for the "Star Wars" original trilogy
Here's the truth, I've shamelessly LOVED both the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. Star Wars was the first movie I EVER saw in the theater, and I've seen all the others that way as well. In the beginning I knew only that it had cool space ships, epic space and lightsaber battles, an engaging mythos, and to this day---the GREATEST villain EVER! Then as I matured I came to feel that the stories and dialogue were lacking, but well compensated by the positives mentioned before, and I felt that both "Menace" and "Clones" were no exception to that rule. I went to "Sith" with the idea that I'd get nothing different, only to be surprised beyond my expectations. The dialogue problem was comparatively limited, the story with only a couple small plot holes, but otherwise powerfully engaging; and the emotional tension was incredible throughout the movie
Barely Passable, maybe because I was ready for bed
This was not a shadow of the original. There's not a chance that Rankin/Bass would let this one go. It did have some interesting plot points and there were moments I had to grin (the group posing as misfit toys---then Bumble comes out at the the back of the line), and it was fun to get some more from Rudolph, Yukon, Hermey, and even the once grouchy-at-Rudolph during the reindeer games Comet; but this is, to say the least, nothing I'd take time out to watch again. I have to say the best part about watching this mediocre special was seeing the "Toy Story"/"Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" elements come together and just stating about 10 minutes before the Toy Taker's revelation---"he's got to be a disgruntled toy----I'll bet a Teddy Bear." Imagine the bow I took at the end. I was even looking forward to the reunion between the Teddy and his now grown up former owner, and it showed no emotion at all. Dreyfuss, Curtis, Moranis---y'all didn't have better projects available?