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Arthur Christmas (2011)
The Christmas Heart
Arthur Christmas is one of those animated films that throws too much craziness throughout the adventure and ends with a powerful heartwarming twist. There is an animated film just released this year and last year that is really similar to the storyline of this(Despicable Me and Mars Needs Moms). The plot is too simple but the whole matter goes to the heart and the comedy because it's a family movie. It works well enough but it could have been better if the adventure is quite interesting and less mediocre. It's also good as a Christmas movie. It has the true heart of the holiday. Arthur Christmas might be one of the best holiday films I've seen this year so far.
Arthur Christmas is a futuristic turn to the life's work of Santa Claus. It's a great concept. From sleigh and reindeers to a flying ship. But the whole story belongs to Santa's son, Arthur. His heart really shines the very small plot and makes it bigger. It's disappointing in the second act though. It relies to nothing but throwing all the gags they could give. GrandSanta keeps going to the wrong way and do something crazy all around the world. It feels mediocre and extraneous. But it can be pretty fun though. The third act saves most of the film. Bringing back the true heart and spirit of Christmas.
The characters are fun. No wonder, this is Aardman and they always have great character development. The CGI is really solid. It's not clay animation nor a CGI animation that tries to look like stop motion. It's just solid. The score keeps the spirits up. The performances were great. James McAvoy makes Arthur a one lovable dork. We loved it. Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent are both delightful and Bill Nighy nearly steals the show. He has the best gags. Grandsanta's loyalty to his generation and his crazy antics. The rest of the cast are also fun.
Saddest thing about Aardman, most of their movies (besides of Chicken Rush and Wallace and Gromit) ends up being forgettable even though they are pretty good and imaginative. And it looks like Arthur Christmas didn't do well in the box office. Well, I strongly recommend Arthur Christmas this Holiday. It's a perfect Christmas movie to watch this year. The second act may be crazy and mediocre but the film ends beautifully. Then there, I saw this in 3D, it ends giving me a smile in my face, ran away when the song in the end credits started, and is happy.
Not Enough Fascination
It's too obvious to compare Immortals to 300 since it has the same producer and the sky and slow-mo violence are also in it. But for me, don't get me wrong, it's like Tron Legacy. It wastes a lot of good merits. Even the tone is great. It's great for a blockbuster epic. The visuals, production designs, and the costumes are fascinating but it lacks a better plot. Tarsem Singh isn't quite much of a storyteller. He only makes his costumes look fascinating. It could be entertaining and fun but it feels unsatisfying.
Let's start with the performances, Henry Cavill hams it up when he's yelling but it's good when he's not. His fighting is pretty good though. Stephen Dorff could have been a good back up if he's not underused. Mickey Rourke is always a threatening villain. Frieda Pinto plays another pointless role in a blockbuster film. The best goes to the gods. Luke Evans and Isabel Lucas are both soulful to their roles. Evans should've gotten more screen time though. Nothing goes wrong with John Hurt. He's a pro.
The visuals are undeniably great. The costumes are truly fascinating. Especially the ones where the Virgin Oracle was introduced to Theseus and the other slaves. The action is impressive. Fanboys may love it for the non-stop violence and exploding heads. Some people may call the CGI inferior but it's actually not. It's probably unique and not headache big unlike the rest of the blockbusters out there with too much CGI.
Since the filmmaking is solid, the storytelling limits the fascination. The characters doesn't do anything necessary to the story until the end. It's disappointing. With all the decent narration in the beginning and a great tone. The gods doesn't showed that much. But what's more disappointing is the fight of the Minotaur is like it's just another fight sequence. He got the bow there but the fight seems just nothing. The film could have been better if the director was more interested with Greek Mythology.
People who liked 300 or any gory violent film may still find this ridiculously entertaining and fun. I gotta admit, this is pretty awesome but the storytelling is just too disappointing to make this good. If this movie has another director who can make the slow moments better and Singh makes the visuals, violence and costumes, the film might work better. Greek Mythology fans will definitely be disappointed but if you are in for some non-stop gore, exploding heads, throat slashing, decapitations, then this film is just for you. Better than Clash of the Titans.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Recapturing The Excitement
The Adventures of Tintin is a movie made by the most brilliant filmmakers of Hollywood and there is no doubt that this movie will be good. They got Steven Spielberg directing, Peter Jackson producing, Edgar Wright co-writing, and some great actors. The execution, it's a load of big fun. Steven Spielberg recreates his classic trademark action sequence. The performances were excellent. The animation is uncanny valley but it's done well though. The film may have its dragging moments but throughout it's undeniably enjoyable.
Let's begin with the performances. Jamie Bell really brings Tintin to life. Andy Serkis is always great at motion capture and he actually steals the show as Haddock. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are always a good pair. Even without their faces, they are still fun to watch. Daniel Craig gives a brilliantly fascinating performance. The motion capture helped their fancy movements. Even though it looks weird.
The film has Spielberg. After all of his alien movies, he returned to action adventures. He keeps it big and exciting. Every action scenes are ridiculously thrilling. The mystery works enough telling it. The weakest parts might be the over introduction of the characters. The opening credits already shows who Tintin is. The beginning of the story just stretched it a bit more longer. Haddock's introduction is also stretched. Maybe to make things clear but it's a little bit dragging. The rest of the film enjoyable.
The animation, like I say, is weird for the characters but it makes it easy for its action sequences. Visuals are incredibly spectacular and it obviously makes the whole adventure exciting. The score is fancy. When it comes to the action scenes, it gets adventurous. And the homage of the original Tintin is scattered. The cinematography fits to its animation. The camera is shaky in a different manner.
Fans of Spielberg and Hergé's Tintin comics will definitely love this movie for recapturing their classic homage. While the other moviegoers might find it fascinating. Yes, the movie's excitingly thrilling and undeniably enjoyable. Since this is just the beginning of a series, It's a perfect reintroduction of an iconic character. Although, it lingers too much. I hope it gets more bigger in the sequels. Again, it's big, exciting, hilarious and really enjoyable.
Happy Feet Two (2011)
Happy Feet is definitely one of those films that doesn't need a sequel but it has a purpose to give us an environmental message and that message became the main plot of this film. But for some reason, it's unnecessary. Extraneous characters like the Krills. There's nothing much to do with this. Just a lot of unnecessary things scattered throughout. The visuals are largely stunning and still has its powerful tone but even with those things, it still falls short.
The first Happy Feet movie sets with a powerful tone and an absurd but interesting premise. That was acceptable as a penguin movie. Happy Feet 2 has its similarity with the first one by the father-son relationship. The rest is all about the crisis of the climate change but unnecessary things are happening especially with the two Krills, Will and Bill. They appear like Scrat from the Ice Age series. They are funny though but again, unnecessary.
The film itself is also unnecessary. The problem of Mumble's tap dancing was already solved. They lived happily ever after in Antarctica since the "aliens" moderated their fishing. The climate change is a really good idea. But after the movie, it feels like it's just another sequel. Well, the movie never fails to its cast. Elijah Wood and Robin Williams did the same thing in the first movie but still good in this sequel. The newbies, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are both fun even though they are playing the most extraneous characters of the film. Pink and Common are good replacements. What happened to Fat Joe? And the last but never the least is Hank Azaria who nearly steals the show.
The movie gives some nostalgia and powerful tone from the first movie but it doesn't help at all but the visuals are really stunningly beautiful. Keeps the film large and worth it to the cinema and 3D. Realistic textures to make it look like it's Animal Planet but the elephant seals looks cartoony in some part but it's still good to look at. The songs are decent.
There are only two reasons why this exists. Environmental Propaganda and money. It's the 21st Century of Hollywood and they are somewhat running out of ideas. With all of their technology and talented filmmakers, they can make as many unnecessary sequels as they want. The Environmental Message is stuck in the plot but there is nothing wrong with that. Happy Feet 2 is not a bad movie. It's just unnecessary.
Bland To Shallowness
I never liked Twilight films but I still have faith to their upcoming movies. Unfortunately this is the second to the last Twilight movie. Breaking Dawn Part 1 still has the same problems. Blandness and dullness. Breaking Dawn has its darkness to its plot but it was executed differently. It has its intensity but mostly it's like a joke. The film is also too long. It feel longer than any two hour blockbuster we get this year. But at least this movie gave die hard Edward Cullen fans a lesson. Vampire Sex Is Deadly.
The story is all about the danger of Bella's pregnancy. But the whole plot happens in the near end of the film. The whole first act feels tedious. The movie spends most of the time to Bella and Edward's honeymoon and their never ending sex. This film could've been intriguing. But it saves too much to the last part of the story. The acting also remains the same with their dull and bland personalities. The fun only occurs in the very short scene of Michael Sheen in the mid credits.
The filmmaking isn't really the problem of this series. The cinematography is indeed decent. The score always fits to this series. The production design and the special effects are obviously well made. However the directors are trying to fit their style to the story. The directing here is probably decent but the grim dark moments ends up looking shallow and some of it is ludicrous.
This is just the first half of the story. The next film will reveal all the questions asked in this film but this wasted 117 minutes for asking those questions. Then again, it's just another Twilight film with tedious long runtime, dullness and blandness, and any other nonsense. This film had potential by its intriguing plot but we've been cheated by splitting the story in half. I don't think it's necessary to split this book in half. Only Twilight fans will appreciate this.
Killer Elite (2011)
The trailer was a false advertisement. It shows how crazy action packed fun this film will be. Even with the "Based On A True Story" tagline on it. Sadly, the trailer is quite different to the film. Both the film and the trailer were good but it's strangely different. The film is a thriller with an ordinary type of action film but it's not a crazy action fun film that the trailer advertised. It's really disappointing but the film stays a bit faithful to the story that it's based on. Although, it's quite absurd as a true story. Jason Statham is always awesome to watch. Clive Owen does that too with his mustache. Killer Elite is entertaining but it feels like it's just another afternoon boredom cure.
It does not stand as a crazy filled action flick but it's still entertaining. It's never tiring to watch Statham, Owen, and De Niro even if they're playing their same old roles all over again. It's sad that we don't see anything new about them except Clive Owen looks fascinating with his mustache. The film has action but not quite often. Most of it is spying and chasing each other. The fights are ridiculously fun.
It's all about the thrills. The suspense is well executed. In the end, we don't get to see anything new or crazy exciting fun about it. The storytelling was good enough. The script is a bit mediocre. The direction is just as basic as any other action films. You may notice the film's runtime is 1 hour and 50 minutes but it feels kinda longer. Probably because of the quick pacing and the perpetual climax. It's a true story but most of the picture is too unrealistic. But it's easy to ignore that problem.
It's an interesting story but it could've been more fun. But again the film is entertaining enough to cure your afternoon boredom. Jason Statham and Clive Owen will always entertain you no matter what. If you are in for some action violence then you might enjoy this. It's still disappointing. Someday, Killer Elite will remain just another Jason Statham film. His films are interesting actually but they end up being mediocre by its script and sometimes the filmmaking. He's the only one who's saving it. Then again, he will cure your boredom and nothing else.
Puss in Boots (2011)
Boots Too Tight
Puss in Boots is one of my favorite characters in the Shrek series. Giving him a stand alone film is an interesting idea. It's suppose to be cool and exciting. It get what it wants. The movie is fun and often hilarious. The cat jokes are clever. Bunch of impressive scenes. The 3D is great. The scale is large. But the plot is too small for its large scale. It gets lazy in the second half and a bit predictable in the end. Though the film is pretty enjoyable but it could have been a lot better.
Puss In Boots starts in a solid blockbuster way. And one part of the beginning, the dancing, is very impressive. It's more than funny. That scene excites me which gives me a feeling that this film will be very great. I don't know why but it's just my feeling. The first half is exciting and great to introduce the cat hero. But when it comes to the second half(after the flashback), it's large but the story has a very little plot. It's a big adventure but ends up a little bit unsatisfying.
The story is like what Dreamworks Animated films usually do. Flashbacks of these critters when they were babies. They grew up being themselves. The rest of the story of Puss In Boots is Jack in the Beanstalk with Puss in Boots and Humpty Dumpty. It's not faithful to the original story. It's just another fairytale collaboration but this one has Mexican culture. The problem is the laziness of the storytelling. They mixed all the fairytale stories and threw some heart. These things are collaborated and nothing else. It's close to Direct-to-Video type of storytelling since this film was originally planned to be that.
But the film is never meant to be in the small screen since the scale is large. The movie is in 3D, as usual. The 3D is great. Just like Megamind, the camera is flying again. Swashbuckling cats and a lot giant stuff. The humor is clever. The natural instincts of cats are used as a joke. Like drinking milk, chasing a light, and some meows. It's adorable. The "Ooooh" cat is the "Do the roar" kid of this film. Here's the thing, cats are adorable and their instincts are funny.
In the end, it's just like Monsters Vs. Aliens and Shark Tale. But this has its heart but it's not well executed. It's still enjoyable to watch in the big screen and 3D. The filmmaking is good enough and everything is large. It just needs to make the story better. The film has ambitions for a sequel. Well I got to admit, it really needs a sequel because this adventure is not quite satisfying. More adventures to this kitty cat could be fun. Again, this film is fun but it won't blow your mind or touch your heart too much.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Delivering The Scares
To be honest, I never liked Paranormal Activity movies. It's about people who lived in a house with cameras and there are evil spirits haunting them then all of the events are caught on tape. The idea is interesting but the execution always end up being unsatisfying. Paranormal Activity 3 is the very beginning of the series. It's not actually a prequel. It's more of a backward trilogy to make the ending of the rest of the Paranormal Activity films mysterious. Although, the twist is a little bit predictable but Paranormal Activity 3 has a decent story to tell with these found footage. And it really has the scares. Finally, this series has a genuine scare.
Paranormal Activity 3 reveals all the mysteries of the first two movies. Unlike the first two, instead of watching the lives of these people and wait for the spirits to come out, this one really tells a story through the videos. The story is not anything new though but the execution is decent. The second Paranormal Activity narrates almost everything in the story. Here you don't need it, you just have to look at the video footage to know the story.
Aside from its storytelling, Paranormal Activity is all about the scares. They improved the scares by moderating the slow burns and keep the objects floating. The ghosts aren't quite invisible like the first two. Here, it's campy. You can see its shadows. And of course, there's a lot of threat from the ghost. The scares are more than just jump scares. It has more terror and gumption to the thrills which is kinda fun. The cameras are well shot. Everything is well made. But the twist remains predictable for some reason.
Paranormal Activity 3 is not earning the fear anymore. It's now earning the scares. It's great to see Paranormal Activity with exact scares than wait for more than five minutes to be scared. It's not the scariest horror movie of the year but it's the best part of the series and also the most decent horror of the year. I still wanna see the parts on the trailer that wasn't show in the actual film but Paranormal Activity 3 is satisfying enough in its short runtime. Decent enough as a found-footage-horror-film.
The Three Musketeers (2011)
All For Fun
At first glance, we all know that this will never be a great version of The Three Musketeers but with all the flying ships and the swashbucklery, we can still give it a try. The film ends up pretty fun. Even with all the silly nonsense and the modern stuff scattered in the film. The cast made it enjoyable. The 3D is surprisingly good. But in the end, it's just another blockbuster. The film also had troubles to its pacing and the writing is a bit modern. The Three Musketeers won't end up as a classic but it can be fun in some times.
The baffle goes to the director. Paul W.S. Anderson is an unusual person to direct a film like this since he's more of a futuristic action movie guy. Adding some steampunk and plenty of slow-mos. The film didn't end up being too faithful to the original story. The director just wants to feel comfortable to his style. Modernism, Cool Devices, Hot Women, and Slow-Mo. The pacing is problematic in the second act. It shows the plan of the villains and in parts, you won't notice that it already passes another day.
The other thing about the second act, the Musketeers are mostly absent. It shows more of the antagonists and their plans. It's like Transformers where the titular characters only appear when there's danger and mostly focuses to a kid and the villains. But here, the titular characters are not bland.
Some of the cast made their scenes enjoyable. Logan Lerman does his thing. Not quite appreciating though. But his female fans will love it. The actors who played the three musketeers gives plenty of personality to their roles. Matthew Macfadyen is pretty cool as Athos. We don't get to see much Luke Evans but he is cunning as Aramis. Ray Stevenson is as usual, funny and had much character. In the antagonists, Christophe Waltz has many style of being a villain. Orlando Bloom looks like he's enjoying but a little threat in his little scenes. Mads Mikkelsen is the only serious villain among them. Milla Jovovich does her swagger and seductiveness but a little personality.
The action is pretty cool. But so much slow-mos. Just like in Resident Evil Afterlife. Slow-motion to make it cool. Anderson started these excessive slow-mos in Resident Evil 4. Maybe he thought these things will affect the 3D or maybe he just wanted to be cool. It's cool enough but when the musketeers was helping D'Artagnan to fight Rochefort's army, there is one moment of this scene that looks too similar to 300. When Athos was slashing them but here there are no blood. No matter how violent they kill, you won't see a single drop. The 3D is surprisingly good. It's almost like a gimmick but this gimmick is actually good. Swords, Bombs, Pointy Objects, and other stuff.
The production design is decent. The costumes and the setting are well made. The CGI were obviously good. The flying battleships and some CGI swords. CGI bombs. CGI background. The music score fits the whole theme but every single score repeats in every scene. The writing isn't good. Too modern. They said the S word but it's funny anyways.
Fans of the original story will definitely be disappointed with this adaptation but if you are in for some steampunk, slow-mos, swashbuckling swordfights then try watch this. It will not remain a classic or one of the best. It's not really trying to be the best. It's just a version with futuristic elements or it could be just a 3D gimmick. The movie wasn't bad as I expected but it has those flaws that aren't easy to ignore. It just wanted to be fun. It's good to watch as an action film. As an adaptation, it's good to watch right now but someday it'll be forgotten or ignored. But really, this is fun.
Real Steel (2011)
The Heart Of Steel
Based on what everybody said, Real Steal is like Over The Top plus Rocky with Robots. Over The Top because there's a man, his son, and a truck. Rocky because it's obvious. Put these films together and add robots and minus Stallone. Real Steel is not very innovating though but it's excitingly great and has plenty of heart. It's also the return of Hugh Jackman although we just saw him a little last June. There are lot of things to recommend in Real Steel.
The premise isn't really that intriguing. It's boxing replaced by robots. Films with Giant CGI Robots are not innovating since we have Michael Bay's Transformers. But the heart and soul lies to the relationship of Charlie and Max and their robot, Atom. It's fun to watch them. The fighting scenes are pretty exciting. That is what most underdog fighting movies do. The only problem here is the weak major antagonist. It's not really that threatening or a big deal. Ricky was more threatening than the gigantic Zeus.
The filmmaking is pretty decent. Well shot scenes. The CGI robots and the music score are good enough. Nothing to say about the production design except Charlie's truck. It looks fascinating for some reason. The performances were great. We don't see Hugh Jackman in action movies after two years and there's a small cameo of him, flipping off two characters(it's obvious but I won't tell you the title). Here in Real Steel, Jackman is energetic and somewhat perfect for the role. Dakota Goyo is a bit charming. Chemistry of him and Jackman shines through the film. It's fun to watch them together.
There aren't much new here in Real Steel but in the end, it's enjoyable and has plenty of heart. The climax isn't so much overwhelming but it intends to be more heartfelt. Again, it's like Over The Top which the father is trying to make his son proud and Rocky because it's boxing and add some robots in it. Even without thinking much about the robots, there is always human heart in this film. Hugh Jackman does it again. The underdog fighting movie genre does it again. It's really a fun film for the whole family.