Reviews written by registered user
|39 reviews in total|
This film is like Cards Against Humanity: The Movie. Its insulting. Its
stupid. Its racist. Its definitely violent. Once you overlook the
concept of "President Sarah Palin" (and for the jokes involving
propaganda, it honestly couldn't be anyone else), its actually quite
It not a great movie and it has a slow start, but its definitely better than average and once it picks up, it really keeps its momentum. Its also an equal opportunity offender. Its not quite as good as Blazing Saddles, but its definitely in that direction.
I say watch it. You may be surprised.
Seriously. Take the current version of Doctor Who, give it guns, more
eccentric companions and a tour bus instead of a police box and boom,
you got Buckaroo Banzai and his band of Hong Kong Cavaliers. There is
no doubt in my mind that the current Doctor Who series was almost
entirely based on this film.
The best part of this film are the trio of villains played expertly by John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd and the late Vincent Schiavelli. These guys are awesome. Vincent's dead, but goddamn it, we need more productions with John Lithgow and Christopher Lloyd together. The in- fighting between these characters is just a complete joy.
Unfortunately the same can not be said for the good guys in this film. There is so little happiness to be found in this group as the tone is almost always somber despite the eccentricities of the main protagonists. Between Buckaroo Banzai trying to screw his dead wife's long lost twin sister, the gunplay (which just comes across as a letdown given the level of sophistication in the dialogue), the total nonchalance to which each team member performs their duty. Its just too dry for what this movie was attempting to create.
Its worth a viewing, but not much afterthought.
I resisted seeing this film for the longest time for two reasons. One,
I refuse to encourage or financially validate the remaking trend in
Hollywood. Two, the trailer made it look like a Twilight rip-off. But,
after being told by two different theaters in one night that the late
night showings for Man with the Iron Fist had been canceled, I finally
decided to shell out a buck twenty at a redbox for a rental.
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. It was basically a fan service film dedicated to everything that wasn't present in the first three films. First the good changes - Peter Parker is no longer a chronic whiner and as Spider-Man, he is a jokester which adds all the lightheartedness this film needs. Denis Leary nails his performance as Captain Stacy.
The rest of the changes was mediocre to flatulent. The worst being the automatic vaccine dispensing computer that took less than 8 minutes to make a completely untested vaccine for a biological compound that specifically targets lizard-based (not spider-based... that's important) genetic mutations.
Granted, in any science fiction film you have to make machines do magical things. I mean that's why they call it Science Fiction. There's just so much that's unnecessarily silly and it really depends on your personal ability to suspend disbelief. So go see it and make the choice for yourself.
Not much to say about this film's plot. All the scenes are
appropriately emotional and the actors are all good at their respective
roles, but the plot is just a standard revenge plot.
The villain has the same basic storyline as the villain from GoldenEye. He's an ex-British spy out for revenge and Javier Bardem plays him like Heath Ledger's Joker, complete with a disfigured face and a complete nonchalance towards explosives.
And the third act of this film was just spinning its wheels in reheated gibberish. The bad guy comes in referencing Apocalypse Now and the heroes counter with Home Alone.. Really? And even though MI6 knows exactly where Bond is running to, they can't send reinforcements, why? It all leads up to a fan service epilogue. Its not bad, per se... but its really just so paint-by-numbers at this point.
I'm not going to say Daniel Craig isn't a perfectly good James Bond. He's a great Bond, but so far, his villains are really weak. I want the genocidal mad-men and sinister organizations back. What we have now just feels like a series of briefly enjoyable, but ultimately empty one-night stands.
There are no scary scenes in this film and only one pseudo-startling
"large marge" reveal. The R rating is only because the kids swear a
lot. That's it. Seriously. This film is about as scary as the average
Goosebumps episode - only its three times as long and its predominately
shot with a blue filter.
I think its obvious that in Denmark (where the film originated) one can not show the amount of violence that films can show in the USA. So the filmmakers attempt to create intensity by implying dread... which it completely fails at. We learn in the first minute where the creature's origin is, so there's never any real intensity. The creature's goals and abilities are poorly defined so we have no idea why scenes are unfolding in the way they are and not according to how they unfolded in previous scenes. Its just a mess.
Its like salsa that's too mild to be considered anything but a letdown.
This was one of the first recommendations I got from the Cinema Snob
website based on his review of the film and his interview with Bill
Oberst Jr. I wasn't expecting much since its an asylum film, but I
honestly enjoyed it. I found myself drawn to some of the characters
being portrayed and Bill Oberst did an excellent job as Abraham Lincoln
and its a completely serviceable zombie film.
Of course it has its problems. The CGI effects are incredibly cheap looking (duh, its The Asylum, get over it) and the plot is fairly simplistic. Its basically a standard zombie film which includes historical figures. If you can overlook that, then you should be able to enjoy the film without much difficulty.
The first lines of this film describes in detail the concept of having
no reason behind certain aspects of a storyline. This in itself sounds
like a very comforting scenario. Without the requirement that every
questionable action and event must be explained, a person can sit back
and let a ridiculous concept like an "animate killer tire" massage his
or her mind for a while.
This concept however does have its limits. Unfortunately, this film plods over those boundaries with the elegance of a drunk rhinoceros. One scene in particular which deals with the aftermath of eating poultry created an emotionally toxic atmosphere between the filmmakers and the audience from which the film simply could not recover. The scene may have worked under different circumstances, but since the person who championed the idea of a film with no reason and the person who masterminded this scene for a specific reason were one and the same, it defeats its own meta-reasoning and the concept of showcasing a film which is based on "no reason" falls apart.
Ultimately, the film makes one wonder what came first: the idea to make a film about stuff that happens for no reason, or the idea to make a film about a killer tire. If its the former, then its a mediocre art film disguised as a b-grade horror film. If its the latter, then its b- grade horror film using half-assed style to justify its ridiculous existence.
I can neither recommend this film nor muster the energy to actively dislike it either. It exists upon itself and structurally fails upon itself as well. Take it for what you will.
I can't help but be a little reminded of Sergio Aragones' take on
Marvel Comics where all the marvel characters had gotten together to
face off against the Seagoing Soarer, only to be reminded that whenever
Marvel comic characters assemble in large numbers they must always
fight amongst themselves, regardless of the reason or the consequences.
Its the same with most buddy cop movies. Such introductory films require a little adversarial tension in order for headstrong individualistic alphas to come together and overcome the foe that is bigger than either could handle alone. Lethal Weapon. 48 Hours. Tango and Cash. The Last Boyscout. Red Heat. Etcetera. Etcetera.
This is the same basic formula that the Avengers follows. Its a buddy cop film with more explosions and the Hulk. The animosity here, however, tends to come from the machinations of Loki, and the general distrust of working with a secret organization, albeit one with our best interests in mind.
The characters are not two dimensional caricatures. Each with their own emotional weaknesses and psychological strengths. The development is meager, but adequate for an action film. One moment of blatant Chekov's Gun exists where a character's devotion is called into question and then takes on a "suicide" mission at the end of the final battle. I'm not quite willing to call it lazy writing at this point, but it is painfully reminiscent of the "you're a valued part of the team, too" episodes that every 80's cartoon series had. Multiple viewings may be needed to come to a final verdict on that minor and relatively unneeded subplot.
The only other minor gripe I had with the film is that there was very few scenes where the heroes worked together in a fight. A couple more well choreographed fight scenes involving multiple heroes would have been welcome, but its nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
The Earth's Mightiest Buddy Cop Film.
The powers of the gods are dwindling and the gods are slowly fading
into oblivion. Monsters are being raised from wherever. Buildings are
sliding all around the place. And there is no reason to care about ANY
Ares and Hades are villains just as we've seen in nearly EVERY Greek mythology based storyline. I just want to pound my head against the wall every time I see this cinematic flatulence.
The love interest from the first movie is gone and instead of recasting the part, they just kill off the character. Bobo the Owl makes another cameo in this movie, playing the role of Wilson the Volleyball from Castaway. The blue ents are gone... I guess the action figures must not have sold that well.
When the Titan emerges (and it is the ONLY titan in the movie), he looks like the lava Titan from Disney's Hercules. The Titan shouts a lot, but hell if I could ever understand a word he said.
At least Perseus doesn't look like he came from the Jarhead Clan anymore. But he is still an idiot. Zeus comes to him in the beginning of the story to tell him that the world is coming to an end and he needs his help. Perseus refuses because... get this... he refuses to leave his son. Apparently despite having god blood in his veins he is still unable to think far enough in advance to realize that if the world comes to an end, he'll be leaving his son permanently.
The roles of Hades, Zeus and Hephaestus were really good, but three good performances just could not save this turkey from its bad writing and a dreadfully boring plot riddled with clichés.
Five Years Earlier...
When Ghost Busters arrived on the scene in 1984, it was a phenomenal success. It was a roller coaster of charm, thrills and wit for all ages. Following the film there were plans to make it a TV series, but the funding simply wasn't there. Instead it was made into a series of animated series aimed for the kiddie audience that about half of the movie was intended for. Mind you the animated series was respectively dark for its time and in order to bring more humor into the series, the producers brought in a comical sidekick in the form of one of the Ghost Buster's first spectral nemeses. A ghost referred to behind the scenes as Onionhead, but would come to be known as the gluttonous Slimer.
In many ways Slimer represents the nature of favoring marketing over substance. he was R2D2 without the subtlety and about half as useful. Fortunately the writers of the sequel foresaw this issue and he only makes two useless cameos in the film and never completely embarrasses the film by making it interact with the main characters.
Unfortunately the taint of marketing over substance didn't end with Slimer. The majority of the film is seasoned with similar laziness. The main characters are reduced in the very beginning to underdogs again instead of the heroes they were at the end of the first film. This eventually leads to a redemption scene in which the antagonist is a despotic judge who for some bizarre reason chooses not believe in ghosts, despite the fact that a 50 ft giant ghost was captured on live television during the climactic battle of the first film only five years ago.
Also returning is Dana Barret who plays the mother of the impending victim, Oscar. In the original film, Dana was a victim because she simply lived in the wrong apartment complex. Now her baby is the impending victim because... he's cute? I have my own personal issues with the use of babies or young children as plot devices because it eliminates any real drama. Nothing ever happens to these kids (Hollywood wouldn't dare risk it) and so no legitimate dramatic tension can be established by placing them "in harm's way". I'll get into the laziness of Oscar's character a little later. Dana portrays Peter's love interest again, because it would have made too much sense for them to simply still be together after the events of the first film and her character is just a little too well-adjusted for someone whose baby daddy just left her with a newborn for a job in Europe.
Slightly less lazy is the return of Louis Tully and his new love interest, Janine Melnitz, whose character is disappointingly reduced to a sexually aggressive caricature. While the chemistry between the two isn't entirely absent, Annie Potts' character was better in the first film as a snarkier assistant at odds with her employers and a thing for intellectuals. Louis Tully is Louis Tully, but unfortunately for Rick Moranis, his character role this time around is downgraded by the two aforementioned cameos with Slimer.
The meat and potatoes of the plot is established with the introduction of Vigo the Carpathian. A despotic sorcerer and tyrant whose spirit exists in a painting bearing his likeness. His main weapons of choice are a Renfield-like servant who is given vague supernatural abilities and is only slightly less annoying than Andy Dick and a powerful, spiritually charged sludge that manifests and feeds on negative emotions. The latter would have had a better execution if they had come up with a better solution to dealing with it other than happy, cheerful slime and serving the oldest possible cliché of objectified good versus objectified evil. Vigo's plan is to take over the world (Of Course!) and in order to do so he needs to possess a human body and that someone is baby Oscar.
This leads us to the true laziness of using a baby for a plot device. Oscar's character is entirely unnecessary except to serve as a springboard to bring Dana and Peter back together because we need to revisit this relationship from the first film. Also, it is obvious that Vigo intends to begin his reign from very beginning and yet he favors a host that would be relatively defenseless and lacking in basic communication abilities. It is also seen through his actions that he could possess practically any other human so the question begs why not choose any older child in New York City from ages 8-13 instead of learning how to walk, talk, feed yourself and use a toilet all over again.
Plot and general character laziness aside, the effects are decent but the music lacks the pop of the 'original' score from Ray Parker Jr (with my own respects to Huey Lewis and the News). Perhaps hip hop was not the way to go with this film.
Despite its flaws, its still a very watchable and moderately enjoyable film. It still manages to produce some genuinely creepy and funny moments which is what a Ghostbusters movie should have and it was nice to see Ernie Hudson's Winston Zeddemore do more in the film than be a stand-in fourth and the main four characters are still true to form. Its definitely worth a watch or two.
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