Reviews written by registered user
|24 reviews in total|
I don't know what to think about Emmerich, I'm aware of all the
negative press he gets and some I think isn't really deserved. I
haven't seen Stargate in a decade and can't accurately comment on it, I
like ID4 for what it was, Godzilla was wasted potential and I have yet
to see the Patriot. The biggest fall that Emmerich had is that his
films are VERY impressive from a CGI and action scene standpoint, but
suffer horribly in character and plot development. In fact, ID4 turned
out so good in my eyes because it had plenty of good CGI and action to
make up for the terrible plot. Godzilla failed because all the good
stuff was at the beginning while the character and plot carried the
last three-quarters of the flick. Now, after so many years out of the
Hollywood limelight, Emmerich returns sans-Dean Devlin for another stab
at the multi-million dollar summer project. This time, he decides to
tread on even more dangerous waters with a global warming flick that is
sure to agitate many a scientist. Surprisingly though, the film manages
to keep the crap to a minimum.
Day After Tomorrow is a global warming themed-flick that doesn't shy from bringing that issue to the front. There are countless scenes where characters will rant and rave over thermal currents, ice storms and whatnot and how "we weren't quick enough". Personally, I never believed in global warming, but I did try to keep personal feelings away from judging this film. On the other hand, there was plenty of attempts to turn a real-life debate into multi-gazillion dollar CGI-fest, (which were quite nice, might I add). Marvel at Los Angeles getting torn apart by tornadoes or New York getting hit by a massive flood. Watch the world freeze over and storms pound at the survivors. In fact, you'll have so much fun watching this that it more than makes up for the terrible character and plot development. Yes, a patented Emmerich trademark returns in full-force with more forced "crisis's" involving love and/or family interjected into odd moments. Watch a man walk across a sixth of the nation to locate his son or a love triangle that completely keels over and dies by the half-way point. Sadly, this is the entire last half of the film with poor CGI wolves being the only real action scene worth mentioning during that half. The underutilization of characters is a big problem, as there were literally dozens of characters added at various points that received little or no development and when they would die or "contribute" you felt no emotion.
But for what it is, I was glad to see a couple good CGI scenes right away but I do wish they were more spaced out so I didn't have to pace through poor dialogue and underdeveloped or underutilized characters.
Too Cool vs. Right to Censor - 6-Man Tag Team - **
I loved the 2000 version of Too Cool back when it was Sexay, Scotty & Rikishi dancing to crazy techno music during Royal Rumbles. It was so entertaining to watch and so fresh for it's time, shame Rikishi's heel turn in October 2000 killed the group. Right to Censor was an even better idea, sure it was a rip on the PTC but my God was it so well executed. They came out and "censored" and had great heel heat...like Too Cool it was fresh and original. Anyways, enough gloating, onto the match. Both teams worked the crowd very well with Goodfather getting heat for assaulting the ho's while the crowd popping hard during the "buttslams" spot, (no idea what that move is called, so I'll refer to it as that). It was below average in terms of work rate, but the gimmick is where the two teams excelled at.
Road Dogg vs. X-Pac *3/4
DX really faded away in 2000, didn't it? To make matters worse, this tag team break-up was the last hurrah that DX ever had, (aside from their brief renewal at a November 2000 SmackDown and perhaps that brief tease at a return in 2002). This match wasn't really any good from a technical standpoint. The crowd has only mildly into this and the only point they really gave a damn at what was occurring in the ring was giving bad heat in the form of "X-Pac sucks!".
Eddie Guerrero & Chyna vs. Val Venis & Trish Stratus - IC Title - *1/4
I never liked Chyna, having her win the IC strap did not help my perception of this match. Fairly uneventful, though the chemistry between Eddie & Chyna worked during this period of time. The plain white trunk wearing-phase of Val Venis was a really watered-down concept while mixed-tag matches rarely raise above the **1/2 mark.
King vs. Tazz - 1/2*
I wanted the WWF to push Tazz during this time, why did they put him in this feud with King that accomplished nothing? Oh well, at least his commentary on SmackDown nowadays is top-notch. I really don't like these "commentator" matches because it always leaves one guy on the mike and it just doesn't sound right to listen to just the PBP guy. The match was pretty lame and didn't do much for either men and certainly did not get Tazz even remotely over, (getting pummelled by the commentating team rarely does...anything).
Shane McMahon vs. Steve Blackman - Hardcore Title - ***
After witnessing four consecutive sub-** matches, I was thinking that maybe this PPV wasn't such a good idea. The along comes this major bump-fest featuring the daredevil Shane. His fall from the 50-foot mark onto a wooden elevation is one hell of a spot. Like any hardcore match, it's all about the bumps and spots and less about the work rate and both men have shown to be able to accomplish that with Blackman carrying non-wrestler Shane to a good match.
Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - ***3/4
I expected great things from this match and boy did I get it. Benoit and Jericho are such good workers that they put on one great match. The first fall is all reversals and attempted submission holds, all of which are paced very well. The rest of the match is like this, with men trading spots back and forth resulting in an great match to their fantastic series. Jericho's top rope hurricanrama being the highlight for me.
Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian - TLC - *****
Mark this down folks, this is the best match of 2000 and you should buy the DVD/VHS simply for this one match alone. This is a massive spot-fest with insane bumps all around. We have people falling through four stacked-up tables, Lita getting speared hitting her head on a ladder and many "my God that killed him!"-style falls to the outside. When I saw their initial match at WM16, I saw great things in this style of match and by God did this TLC match show it. I really don't want to get into too much detail on the bumps or spots because they are so damn good to watch for the first time.
The Kat vs. Terri - Thong Stickface Match - DUD
Did the WWF really think an encore of the train wreck from WrestleMania 16 would be a suitable match to have after a classic TLC match? Let's just let this mess be forgotten and move on.
Undertaker vs. Kane - *1/2
I have to admit, Undertaker and Kane had great chemistry as both allies and heels during their heyday. This match isn't really much of a match, due to Undertaker spending much of the time trying to remove Kane's mask. So, I'll just be a little lenient with the score.
Kurt Angle vs. The Rock vs. Triple H - WWF Championship - ***1/2
This was a great storyline at the time: Kurt Angle subtly wooing away Stephanie McMahon from her husband Triple H. It was the sheer nature of the Angle character, a mildly nerdy self-absorbed Olympic hero and Triple H the jealous husband that, when combined, made for great chemistry. This match should have been Angle/HHH with the focus on Stephanie, because by this time the angle was fresh. The match didn't happen until Unforgiven the following month, but anyways...
Match starts off with Angle getting on the mike and trashing Trips, Trips comes out and the two brawl. Nasty spot here where Triple H goes for the Pedigree on the table, but it breaks under the weight of Triple H and Angle giving the latter a legitimate concussion. Triple H and Rock work while trainers attend to Angle, who later joins the match. Rock really felt like the odd man out, the focus being entirely on Triple H and Angle for much of the match. Still, the three managed to work to make a great main event for a great PPV.
Best Match: Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian - *****
Worst Match: The Kat vs. Terri - DUD
The first half of the PPV is filler, the middle is pure gold and the main-event is a great ending to a solid PPV. The filler isn't all that bad with the only real offence being the Stinkface match. If anything, watch this PPV solely for the TLC match, which is one of the best matches the WWF has put on in the last 5 years. Simply put: if any PPV has a strong MOTY contender, it is worth watching for that alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bad Blood was an PPV experiment the WWE conducted back a year ago, not only was it the first PPV to feature only half the roster but it was the replacement for the King of the Ring tournament. I was sad to see the idea go, but it's not like it didn't have it's share of crap with Billy Gunn & Mabel winning the damn thing in the last decade. With the new Bad Blood, RAW would host this PPV event and all the superstars employed to that show would fill the card. The result is a mixture to say the least, while there are good PPV-style matches on the card (Ric Flair/Shawn Michaels) there was filler (Dudleyz vs. Nowinski/Mack) as well. This was going to be a problem with the start as you can get half the card filled with PPV-calibre matches, but then have to fill the rest in with filler.
Dudley Boyz (Bubba & D-Von Dudley) vs. Christopher Nowinski & Rodney Mack
Typical curtain jerker filler, with the most advanced move being a spinebuster. It's a shame that they didn't move more into D-Vons teased heel turn because it could have worked out storyline wise, (though the idea of giving singles pushes to them as a result causes me to think otherwise now). Rodney Mack I never really liked, primarily due to his lack of personality which impacts the heat he gets, Nowinski works well and considering his Tough Enough background he can improve.
Test vs. Scott Steiner - Winner gets Stacy Kiebler
I pretty much railed on Steiner for most of last year, and with good reason as the guy botches the very first move he does in this match. After slipping on the apron while performing a double axe handle, the match progresses very uneventfully. The storyline featuring these two I will admit gave them something worthwhile to do, problem was it was all they could do and the feud lasted six months. Thankfully, this match occurred earlier in the feud which meant much of the psychology was still present. Test played a very good heel and was able to maintain his heat, shame the match wasn't any better.
Christian vs. Booker T - Intercontinental Title
You'd think the best way to send a crowd home happy is to have the hometown hero go home with the gold, didn't happen. Instead of what should have been, we get a DQ ending that results in really nothing. The match itself was average with Booker, for some reason, being unable to work the crowd as much as he should. But he still pulled off some good spots such as a rollup off the turnbuckle and a nice missile dropkick. Christian as well works and plays a great heel and the heat he can pull off is seen as the crowd chants "Christian Sucks!" after he leaves.
On a side note here to the WWE bookers: please, please do not put Mae Young on TV anymore. She was WrestleCrap three years prior and has been since and needs to be kept off to prevent any more mental scarring. I always had my theories that the only reason Vince hired Bischoff was to humiliate him on TV to get revenge...after watching this one segment, I now have reason to believe it.
Kane & RVD vs. La Resistance - World Tag Team Title
It was a pretty good match, though it felt a little short for what it was aiming for and that was putting La Resistance over. The two worked a good match and Rene being a complete natural considering his age (19). To be honest: looking back, RVD & Kane did make a good tag team in terms of chemistry (try to catch the subtle drug overtones in their promos). Also their ring styles (RVD's agility with Kane's power) seem to blend together well. Nothing really special to point out here, but it ended well and achieved the desired effect with La Resistance winning the Tag Titles.
Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg
The interesting thing with Goldberg is this: the WWE immediately pushes him into a main-event feud with Rock, which ends shortly after Backlash 2003 when Rock goes back to Hollywood. This leaves a gaping hole in Goldberg's booking as he now has nowhere to go, Triple H was too busy working a feud with Kevin Nash at the time (which continued into this PPV). So after missing Judgment Day, Goldberg gets put into a midcard feud with Jericho and the result being this match. While not a bad match by any rate, you could tell that the Goldberg hype was beginning to show weakness here.
The build-up had a legitimate background to it: Jericho really did resent Goldberg back in their WCW days and pretty much every word he said regarding their relationship then is a shoot. He did blame Goldberg for his lack of a push, he blamed him for killing any chances for reaching the top and other resentments he had.
Jericho sells for Goldberg, puts him over and does the job...nothing really else to note folks. Well, except for the Tigger guy heckling Goldberg in the front row that actually caused Goldberg to go over and yell at him. Besides a guard rail bump where Goldberg speared through the thing, watching a Winnie the Pooh character get yelled was the best part.
Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
On paper it looks excellent, in execution you can tell this match should have happened ten years ago, (yes, Flair wasn't with the WWE back in '93, but let's just pretend). Both men did not look on top of their game, taking into consideration their prime years are behind them, (though both can perform better than other men their age). Some spots looked a little sloppy, both men looked a little tired but it was the best match on the card so I can give them that. The dirty ending didn't really work out, quite frankly this match could have been so much better if built up properly and executed at a better time.
Triple H vs. Kevin Nash - World Heavyweight Championship
The last HIAC match took place in No Mercy 2002 and showed that it was possible for a great HIAC to occur even if it doesn't make it up to the roof. This match was the conclusion for a pretty lacklustre feud between Nash and Triple H, adding a HIAC was an attempt to salvage it and while it didn't do quite that, it made the feud a little better. I guess the one reason why HIAC's have been so successful in the past are due to the illusion of bump-taking, ever since the days of the original Bad Blood with Taker/HBK people expected spots, bumps and psychology to go along with the cell. Neither Triple H and especially Nash have the illusion of bump taking, meaning that potential is gone. Like I said before though, having a good brawl like the No Mercy HIAC can make up for it.
This one had some good bumps, only problem is that Foley, the guest referee, took them, (such as being knocked off the apron into the cage wall). The brawling was there and better than I expected, which included a hammer to the skull and a 2x4 wrapped with barbed wire. The reason why Lesnar/Taker's HIAC at No Mercy 2002 was a better executed brawl was the psychology, like seeing Taker's hand cast get repeatedly pounded with a steel chair, (is sends a chill down my spine when I see it). It's all about execution, and it just didn't click right between these two.
Best Match: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels: ***
Worst Match: Dudleyz vs. Christopher Nowinski & Rodney Mack: *1/2
Overall PPV Rating: 4.5/10
Bad Blood was a below average PPV and certainly not what the WWE would have wanted when they started experimenting with the idea of brand exclusive PPVs. A big problem I had was with the length, this PPV is a full half hour shorter than the norm 3 hours. That can be attributed to the bookers only putting seven matches instead of the norm eight on the card. Thankfully, a spectacular Vengeance showed that brand PPVs could work a month later and earlier this month RAW put on Backlash 2004, an excellent PPV.
When it comes to PPVs, SmackDown lacks the name power but in terms of
workrate it excels above RAW. The cards are rarely impressive, but the
effort is noticeable. Vengeance is the first SmackDown-exclusive PPV and
after a sub-par RAW-exclusive Bad Blood this one had some big shoes to
and make up for. Thankfully, the PPV itself is not only an improvement
Bad Blood but is one of the best PPVs of the year.
Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero - ****
Was I looking forward to this match when it was announced, back when this happened both were upper-midcarders looking up. Thankfully, within eight months they were both champions and rightfully so. This was a great match, filled with great technical spots (submission holds and the like). Combined with great acrobatic action such as torpedo dives and Eddie's constant "screwjob" attempts to win which are pretty hilarious to watch, this match is a sight to watch. The ending I didn't like and is the only real bad part, it would have been nice seeing a clean finish to complement the hard work of these to, (though if Eddie did the screwjob, it would work because he is so good at making them look good).
Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble **
Problem with PPVs is that there is the "Crap, we still have 10 minutes left in the show! Quick, get the list of lower midcarders and we'll book like the wind!' type of match. The stipulation was that if Noble won, Billy's "girlfriend" Torrie Wilson would sleep with him...and that lead to a segment involving fourplay that is better left forgotten. I never understood why Billy Gunn has been around as long as he has, ever since DX broke up he's been in severe limbo. But I'm not going to rant about that, onto the match!
Being a lower-midcard match, expectations were not high but the match managed to be a little better than it had any right to be. Billy Gunn was pretty stiff at times with his spots, matching the emotion that his character was supposed to be exerting. There were some good spots here, Noble's top rope DDT being the highlight. Basically it was an above average match by two of the most unlikely participants of all.
Not being reviewed as it is more of a segment than a match, good for cheap laughs and some good spots. Having the Easter Bunny and Doink in the segment resulting in some priceless moments, (not going to spoil anything). This is filler, but some damn good filler.
World's Greatest Tag Team vs. Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio - ****1/2
Holy, this is the best match of the entire show and an easy Match of the Year contender. We get amazing spots like Kidman's top rope SSP to the outside, Mysterio's running leaping Hurricanrama with Kidman assisting and a massive Electric Chair for the finish. I can't say enough, all four men in this match showed massive work skills and WGTT showed their huge potential in this classic of a match.
Stephanie McMahon vs. Sable *
Isn't it interesting that after a classic of a match we decide to keep the crowd happy with...this? Well, it's a match involving Stephanie McMahon and Sable so there isn't much to say other than it lived up to whatever remote expectations I had.
Undertaker vs. John Cena ***
Back-and-forth really, not much to this match as both men carried each other and put forth an average match. It's nice to see the bookers trying to rub some of Taker's success onto Cena, this match and later the one against Angle would showcase his true potential as a wrestler.
Vince McMahon vs. Zach Gowen **1/2
Yes, the match looked really terrible on paper but it was surprisingly acceptable. I'm going to try to review this like I would any other match but be a little more accepting as it is impossible for Gowen to operate on a level of any other wrestler. This match is very infamous for the big bladejob Vince did in which he was literally gushing blood near the mid-point. The biggest problem Gowen has is that he just isn't very convincing as a wrestler, mostly due to his paper-thin physique. Nothing against him personally but I think there wasn't much the bookers could do with him other than work his condition over to get sympathy from the crowd. Even that dried up and six month after this match ended, he was released by the WWE. It had some good spots, like Gowen's Asai Moonsault but in the end it wasn't much to write home about.
Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle vs. Big Show - ***1/2
Lesnar and Angle carried this match, Show did little but the focus was thankfully on these two. Lesnar and Angle do have great chemistry together and can put forth ***+ matches with ease. Great spots like Angle's Release German Suplex and Angle/Lesnar's double chokeslam to Big Show. Plus, having Kurt get over and win the title was a great finish and a nice moment in the timeline of this feud.
This is the second best PPV of 2003, after WrestleMania XIX. Great matches from a card that looked unimpressive on paper but more than made up for it with execution.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Royal Rumble has always been be a personal favourite of mine when it comes to WWE PPVs. Not so much for the card but the Rumble match itself. It is just an incredibly ingenious and suspenseful idea that results in some of the most entertaining moments of the year. While we do get some dud/predictable Rumbles, every once in a while we get an excellent one that remains the single memory of the event itself. The 1992 Rumble is still the best one; due to Flair, the work rate and the commentary work by Heenan and Monsoon. This Rumble gives that one a run for it's money though.
The card for the Rumble PPV has traditionally been pretty weak, mostly due to the immense time the Rumble itself takes. This one was no exception with matches being duds, disappointments or booked with the "let's wrap this up as fast as we can to make more time for the Rumble" line of thinking.
Dudley Boyz vs. Batista/Ric Flair was a 1/2* match, with little build-up and a poor finish.
The Cruiserweight match with Jamie Noble/Rey Mysterio was something you can see for free on SmackDown, it was a ** match at best.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero was the best non-Rumble match on the card, with the two providing a better-than-expected work rate with a *** performance.
Brock Lesnar vs. Hardcore Holly for the WWE Championship had zero expectations from me, I mean this is a Championship match and they couldn't get someone better to face Brock for the title. The match lived up to those low expectations and gave a *1/2 performance.
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H was rushed, these two can work so damn well together recently with SummerSlam 2002 and the 12/29/2003 episode of RAW coming quickly to mind. The match was again shortened to make room for the Rumble, so we got a **1/2 performance from this match.
The 2004 Rumble is one of the best Rumble matches I have ever seen with countless mark-out moments and a fantastic ending by the booking crew. Hearing Undertaker's 'Gong' during the match was an instant mark-out moment for me while seeing Benoit win it all is what I paid to see. This match gets a ***** from me, in terms of it being a Rumble.
So, what does the Royal Rumble 2004 get overall? I think a 7.0/10 is in order as the card was weak but the Rumble was classic and since that has always been the focal point of the show, I think that tips the scales in favour of the show.
I have never been a big fan of Michael Bay, personally I have a love/hate
relationship with his works. Bad Boys was pretty good, The Rock I didn't
like, Armageddon was watch-able and Pearl Harbour bored me to disinterest.
It wasn't until I witnessed McG's disaster films that I began to pity Bay a
bit, at least he puts forth the effort to make entertaining summer
I haven't seen the original Bad Boys in years now, but I still recall what great chemistry Smith and Lawrence had on the screen. Smith has improved a lot in terms of acting ability since 1995 while Lawrence has had some modest success. Bad Boys 2 succeeds, stumbles and fails at some parts of the film. The first half of the film succeeds, the causeway chase is seriously on my Top 10 car chase list. I always found stunt drivers and pyrotechnics is so much better at creating tension than watching a CGI figure jump on cars. It stumbles around the end because the film just feels like it was stretched a half-hour too long, with too many breaks between action scenes with plot (which has never been a Bay strength). By the end, the film feels exhausted and like it ran out of ideas or scenes to create.
This is a part that I'm going to write a separate paragraph for due to the attention it's getting. I'm sure you've heard about the "bad taste" humour this film has. There is a line that exists between dark humour and poor taste, this line is in different places for different people and with some there is no line. In my case, I felt a little disgusted when Smith was reaching into a dead body for drugs but felt really nothing when Smith & Lawrence were "interrogating" the latter's date with a gun. Like I said, the line is usually there and your tastes will guide you in finding that line.
Otherwise, the film is standard Bay stuff: big action, large explosions, non-existant plot and star power. In Bad Boys 2 an equilibrium is discovered that makes it all worthwhile.
This is an interesting PPV as it contains what I consider to be both the
best and worst of the year. In one corner we have
the Angle/Benoit match that was so good the entire arena gave it a standing
ovation. This is my personal MOTY for 2003, a
technical classic up there with all the other greats. We also have the
Jericho/HBK feud start
to build with Jericho eliminating HBK from the Rumble via cheating, this
would climax with a 5-star match at WrestleMania two
months later after it simmered a bit. Finally we also have the Rumble
match, the first one after the brand extension, which
actually made it more interesting as we saw RAW talent "compete" against
SmackDown talent in a quasi-brand war.
On the bad side of things, we got a Steiner/HHH match which is great for getting yourself to sleep just by counting the botched moves instead of sheep. Then we have the Torrie Wilson/Dawn Marie match which, thankfully, ended their feud over Torrie's "dead" father Al Wilson but we had to go through this dud of a match.
Then we have the one curtain-jerker match with Big Show/Brock Lesnar and a midcard match with Dudley Boyz/Lance Storm & William Regal to round everything out, resulting in a PPV that is stangely balanced between good and bad.
Before I start this review, let me say that when it comes to the whole
"Bennifer" story I remain neutral. I never cared about Hollywood romances
and never will, so I approached this movie with no bias against or for
I was aware of all the extremely negative press this film had been
receiving, so I saw this little title out of curiosity. Like all other
potential Razzie candidates, I try to keep an open-mind when watching
films. For example, I'm one of the few that enjoyed Little Nicky quite a
bit and still think the Razzies were off their rocker nominating this over
real crap like Dungeons and Dragons. Upon renting the DVD from the store,
popping it into the player and hitting 'Play', a whole new world of pain
Gigli is not as bad as the critics have been saying, it's much worse and cannot be describe with any word in the English language relating to "bad"
This has got to be one of the most painfully paced, poorly scripted and horrendously acted films that have ever met the camera lens. I still cannot get it through my head that a studio spent 85 MILLION on this one project alone, what the hell did they spend the budget on when the film mostly took place in Gigli's apartment? Oh, of course...the addition of new respected Oscar-winning actors to the project, (more on that later). First off, let me just say that Martin Brest has got to stop pretending he's Quentin Tarantino because he just cannot compare to a man who has Pulp Fiction under his belt. Tarantino creates characters that we can respect and relate to...Brest creates a mentally-challenged character who is a cheap shot to anyone with the affliction. Tarantino writes excellent scripts that contain careful detail and develop characters to their full potential...Brest creates a scene where Lopez talks about her reproductive organ and includes the line "It's turkey time. Come on, gobble gobble.". I just feel dirty for typing that line alone when I could have used that memory to write something intelligent.
The acting is nothing more than a waste, and when it is used it is horribly executed. Lopez needs to read the script and understand who her character is. She cannot go from design-to-design changing from a sensitive figure to a serious fighter failing at every turn. Ben Affleck needs to break out, I see some degree of potential in him...yes, you heard me...and needs to find what he's good at and work at that. As for the rest of the cast, I want to ask a serious question: how did Christopher Walken and Al Pacino end up in this film when they have an incredible amount of talent still left in their tank? Why does Walken and Pacino arrive in one scene, give a horribly written personal monologue which no one has any right to care about, then disappear from the film never to be heard from again? Speaking of horrible monologues...did I mention they are horrible? I seriously simply lost interest five words into them, they are that poorly conceived and executed.
I need a separate paragraph for this one: the music in here is so abysmally composed one must listen to it to gain it's full impact. If you're willing to sacrifice your hearing you must give it a listen. It is in essence one poorly-composed piece of music that plays during "emotional and sensitive" moments that sounds like it loops every five seconds. It haunts this film and just when you think you are rid of it...it arrives to assault your precious eardrums.
You know, I think this is the best, (or worst?) decade for bad films...taking a look at the last 3-4 years of Razzies and you can see why those guys are going to have a field day for the next six years or so.
Every summer Hollywood studios release their big 100+ million dollar movies
with 50M marketing budgets attached. Pretty soon we are subjected to fast
food tie-ins, massive billboards along freeways, magazine covers, TV
specials and basically anything else that the studio can think of to
convince us to watch their film. To be honest, I always thought of their
marketing as an insurance policy by the studio as opposed to building hype
for a big project. When a film costs 170M you want to make damn well sure
the bills get paid and the studio doesn't deny you future projects, (plus,
the studio wants to make sure they make a good profit off of the film).
It's a sad fact in Hollywood when films only get made for that one goal: to
make money and to do whatever it takes to make sure that gets
Wild Wild West is a big-budget movie that a degree of hype that was only overshadowed by Phantom Menace during it's summer of release, basically that means that besides a Star Wars film it was the most hyped film of that summer. I recall seeing trailers for this film in front of TPM and quite frankly I didn't think much of it. That's to say I wasn't intrigued into seeing it nor did I refer to it as a "flop in the making" when I would talk about it in future conversations. Naturally, when the film faded out of memory of the press and whimpered out of the box office only to be quietly released on video, I had to see this one to see what went wrong.
One of the oldest arguments I've heard is that "summer films are supposed to be unrealistic and are supposed to be fake", this argument should only be used in certain cases. It should only be used when small nitpicks are made such as me saying "in scene 124 I noticed a small discrepancy in the backgrounds used for shot #121", but when a 80 foot tall steam-powered tarantula walks across the desert shooting fireballs in local towns...then the argument gains meaning. This movie tries hard to re-create the Wild West, considering the amount of effort they went into making costumes, sets and showing little details to re-create the atmosphere, (such as showing the construction of the Capitol building). Ironically, it seems the filmmakers at the same time figured that they shouldn't follow history and are basically free to do whatever they want, so "unleash the tarantulas and the henchmen with armour-played scalps" the producers probably said the first day of filming.
Wild Wild West tries, it really does, it has the star power of Will Smith and the acting abilities of Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh. It has the CGI which I must say looks impressive for what it does, it has the action, it has the atmosphere executed rather well like I've stated before. What went wrong?
The script was terrible and no attention was paid to keeping anything believable or intact with poor pacing dragging everything down. Will Smith's style of humour and acting does not belong in a film about the wild west, nor does Kevin Kline's abilities deserve to be wasted trying to be a foil to Will Smith's acting or a prostitute, don't even get me started on Branagh's accent which borderlines on stereotypical and just plain annoying. The film tries to institute gadgets into the plot as well, none of which are particular clever and most are just trying to look "good" in a 19th century setting, (such as using a man's head for photographic evidence, sounds marginally clever but just looks ridiculous in practise. Then there are the scenes intended for comedy, such as the lynching scene where Will Smith tries to explain his actions and the word "redneck" which just plain falls flat as it tries to use out-dated 19th century stereotypes for comedic purposes, (such as using examples of drumming in Africa and Smith's alleged "roots" there).
It's not a horrible film, and I'm still a little hesitant it won Worst Picture and is now in the ranks of Battlefield Earth & Showgirls in badness according to the Razzies. It's more of an overly ambitious summer film that tries too hard and as a result all of it's flaws are brought into a larger focus. It really isn't as bad as watching Travolta play a Klingon rip-off or watching Elizabeth Berkley trying to act.
When I first saw the Elf trailers, my initial reaction was "oh great, this
looks pretty bad". Judging
from the low quality of the trailers and the fact it was opening up on the
same weekend Matrix Revolutions
was opening I had little faith in this film. But after watching it actually
take out the titan it shared a
weekend with and continue to stay near the top combined with the positive
reviews and excellent word-of-mouth
I decided to see what made Elf so special.
Well, what I can basically say about Elf is that it takes almost every single Christmas movie cliche and throws it together to make a two hour movie. We have the "disgruntled man who needs to be shown Christmas spirit", "Santa is unable to deliver presents so main character must help him", plus with a sappy ending that reeks of positive spirit. But what I believe prevented this from turning into another I'll Be Home for Christmas is that Will Ferrell shows so much potential as a comedian and as an actor and his performance did save this film.
Of course, many of the good jokes were spoiled in the trailers which I personally hate when it comes to any comedy so that did impact my perception of Elf's humour a lot. But what I was seen for the first time was very humourous and the way that Ferrell brings the Buddy the Elf character to life is amazing. All he needs is one consistantly good film and his career will take off, I guarentee that. I'm saying that because I only see potential in Ferrell, Old School was too short and the jokes were badly paced while this one just feels like another Christmas movie. Considering the immense success of Elf however, I can honestly say we will be seeing that one film very soon as demand for Ferrell goes up. The choice to make James Caan the father of Buddy was a pure genius move since Caan still has the ability to make his character seem rough around the edges, (though his "good ending" was a little forced). A lot of Ferrell's scenes clicked and many of his jokes did indeed hit and that is what I feel makes Ferrell so gifted.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Elf is a basic Christmas movie with little surprises but Ferrell's performance truely shows his potential.
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