Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've never been a huge fan of this show. I find it contrived and
poorly-written, and even at its best (in my opinion, the first 2
seasons) there were problems. But I was willing to overlook them for
seasons 1 and 2 when the show was about a group of likable people
trying to survive in a horrific new world. Ever since season 3, I've
sensed a slow but consistent decline in quality. By the start of season
3, the writers had built a solid-enough fan base that there was no
longer a need to dazzle us with competent storytelling. Sadly, this has
progressed to the point where any cheap gimmick will do, because the
audience sheep have been established.
Season 6 is the culmination of poor choices years in the making. The characters are badly- developed and inconsistent, more so than ever in the past. The cliffhanger at the end of the episode marks the third time this season relied on the possibility of character death as a (poorly-executed) suspense-building tactic. First there was the Glenn dumpster debacle, which a competent director should never have allowed to pass from page to screen. No matter whether Glenn lived or died, there would have been uproar: if he died, a well-known character gets written off in an anticlimactic and terrible death; if he survived, it would have been so surreally improbable that any tension the show once had would have evaporated. Alas, they went with the latter option, effectively erasing any sense of dread in the remainder of the season. Honestly, did anyone fear for Maggie and Carol when they were trapped by the Saviors? Or any other main cast character, ever, for that matter?
Then there was Daryl's fake death with the shoehorned "You'll be alright" line added in response to the Glenn mistake. Somehow, this obvious cliffhanger still had some fans worried about Daryl's fate (how viewers could be that stupid, I'll never know).
But this worst insult, the Negan cliffhanger, comes at the end of a half-season which has led up to Negan's introduction and the presumed death of a loved character in a shocking, heartbreaking scene. But, as TWD is wont to do, they'd rather tease us than deliver the payoff and effectively ruined would could have been a terrific moment.
Now, I'll say that JDM as Negan is a great casting choice. But even if there had been a suitable payoff, this episode was poor from start to finish with a meandering, tension-less first half and a boring side visit to Carol and Morgan. Add that to the cliffhanger which was really a middle-finger to the audience and you get an episode which, in my opinion, is the worst this show has ever aired.
I've never reviewed an episode of The Walking Dead before, but I would place most in the 4-6 star range with maybe a 7 or an 8 from time to time for some of the better episodes. But this insulting, manipulative, gimmicky, desperate rating-whoring abortion of a finale deserves absolutely the lowest possible score. Shame on the writers, AMC, and on all involved for having no desire to tell a good story and for kicking its audience in the crotch. The show deserves every bit of criticism it is about to get.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was an excellent step up from the first film, which I enjoyed
immensely. I think the best choice the filmmakers made was depicting
greater stakes at this point--the feeling of the upcoming revolution
was ever-present and the bleakness of the situation was unable to be
ignored. That urgency, I think, is what makes this a better film than
The acting throughout was superb, particularly Jennifer Lawrence (of course). I was also pleasantly surprised by Jena Malone and Sam Claflin, who both gave memorable and strong personalities to their characters.
The build-up to the Arena--all the District 12 scenes and the Victory Tour--was so well-handled that they could have made up the entire movie by itself. I almost forgot there was an Arena section of the story. The Arena itself was beautifully filmed and incredibly tense throughout. Even as a book reader and someone who is very familiar with the story, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
I feel that the only weaknesses were the last 10 minutes or so, which could have been expanded just a bit to better explain the situation. I would also have liked to see a bit more of the other Tributes in the Quarter Quell, especially the brother/sister pair which could have been a real interesting dynamic to explore (how did being in the Games together affect them? Did it make them less willing to be "Careers" again?). A missed opportunity, but it is understandable why the director chose to focus on the other, more important themes and characters.
All in all, my issues with the film are simply minor gripes. It is well-acted, well-shot and thrilling throughout and never, ever drags, despite its 146-minute running time. I wholeheartedly recommend the movie, both as an adaptation of the novel and as a stand-alone cinema experience. It is not to be missed.
Now I'm not a huge fan of superhero flicks, so maybe there's something
I'm missing here. But walking out of the theater, all I felt was that I
had seen 2.5 hours of nothing but action and drama. Maybe that's its
purpose? Maybe it's just not my cup of tea? For whatever reason, I was
not invested. This is hardly an interesting or exciting film, and I see
no reason for the rave reviews or exceptional $$ it is making.
I suppose it has something to do with being a "fan"; as I said earlier, I am in no way a "fan" of hero movies but this one got such good reviews that I had to check it out. I was disappointed because, surprise surprise, it felt EXACTLY like every other superhero movie that had ever been made. Even more so since its a combination of all of the previous heroes into one film. So really, it's not original, or different, or exciting, or moving, or anything. It just IS.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved these books, and I positively love the film version as well.
Everything was almost just as I had pictured it, and the acting was
superb across the board--JL especially. The violence was depicted
tastefully but still indicated the brutality of the Games and the
sadistic nature of the Capitol. Donald Sutherland and Wes Bentley were
also great in their roles as Snow and Seneca Crane. Some highlights for
-JL portrayed Katniss flawlessly. Now I can never picture anyone else but her playing Katniss- -her emotion, body language, voice, everything is spot-on. They couldn't have picked a better actress.
-Josh Hutcherson was actually quite great as Peeta. I liked how they made him less lover- boy-esque in the film, and I liked his portrayal of the character better than I liked reading about Peeta in the book.
-Harrelson as Haymitch: hilarious. Also spot-on. Same goes for Banks as Effie.
-Tributes: The ones who stand out are Cato (Ludwig) and Clove (Fuhrman). Ludwig nailed the brutality of Cato's character, while still managing to somehow make the audience feel sympathetic toward him before he meets his end. Fuhrman's Clove comes across as a psychotic and malicious killing machine, which really comes to a head at the Feast scene (my favorite part of the film). All of Clove's raw hatred for Katniss was really perfectly portrayed, and her pleasure in killing was illustrated at numerous points throughout the film.
-Too bad Glimmer (Leven Rambin) didn't get more screen time--her death scene was very well-acted on her part. Tracker Jackers looked great.
-Rue (Stenberg) was gorgeous and perfect. Her big scene was extremely emotional and portrayed with spot-on accuracy as to what I felt while reading the book. Also wished for more screen time from her, but what little screen time she does get she absolutely nails.
-Foxface (Emerson) was so intriguing. Just like the book, I wish we could have known more about her, but it definitely portrayed the fact that she was a genius and very light on her feet.
-Thresh (Okeniyi) made a bigger impact on me than expected. His scene at the Feast was very intense and I loved the passion he put into the character, especially when it came to avenging Rue.
-Pre-Arena stuff was so exciting; you could feel the anticipation leading up to the Games. It was kind of fun to watch (like all the interviews and the chariot rides), but an unavoidable sense of dread filled the entire sequence. It felt like watching a roller coaster that could go off its tracks at any second.
-Arena stuff was great. Shaky-cam effects blunted some of the violence, but added to the feeling of desperation throughout. Opening bloodbath was spectacular, but unusual in its execution (not a bad thing). Feast was amazing, and Muttations were surprisingly thrilling to watch.
-Music was phenomenal; not much to be said there. JNH at his best.
I'm no film critic (obviously) so these are just my personal observations. I did notice some areas where the moral of the story could have been made even clearer, but these were few and far-between.
My only disappointment is that feeling you get when you've been looking forward to something for a very long time, and then it happens and it's over--and you feel kind of empty. It's not a disappointment with the film itself--I just loved the pre-film excitement, waiting process, cast interviews, etc., and I feel like I now have nothing to check for updates consistently! But I suppose a feeling like this just stands as a testament to what an excellent job the company has done in preparing, advertising, and promoting the film. I will truly miss the excitement I had building up for this movie--it was well-deserved, and I cannot wait to get onto the pre-movie-hype bandwagon for Catching Fire.
As a fan of the books and as a fan of thought-provoking films, though, I would highly recommend this movie to anybody. It really makes you think, and though the message could have been made even more explicit, it's clear what the film is trying to say about society and morality. Gary Ross has done an excellent job and I'm sure the sequels won't disappoint.