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The Host (2013)
Director's weakest entry. Author's parallelism.
Unlike most of the target audience, I checked this one out because of Andrew Niccol's grasp of SF in film. Gattaca, Truman Show, S1mOne, and the recent In Time ranged from noteworthy to transcendental. He could even do non-genre films like the Terminal. I have no idea what happened with this one, as he had both writing and directorial control. He could have improved upon Stephanie Meyer's book (which I haven't read) if the dialogue therein were as cheesy as some of those found in the movie. This young-adult female movie has basically the same love triangle as Twilight. The SF content is not new either. Neither were convincing in their execution. If Meyer ever writes a sequel and Niccol directed it, I'll wait for it on cable TV. Should've watched the popcorn movie G.I. Joe instead.
The Avengers (2012)
I'd give it an 8.5, perhaps because all the hype is really difficult to live up to. Except for one scene, everyone but me seems to enjoy the humor. I disliked the Iron Man movies for the same reason and would prefer a more serious tone. The choice was however financially smart. Contrary to popular opinion, I also prefer the old Nick Fury from the original Marvel continuity. The action becomes a little repetitive towards the end since suspending disbelief that any of the heroes could ever seriously get hurt or die is impossible. Yes, all the characters are given time to shine and I've always trusted the director's name. He takes pains to explain everything, including why most of the heroes who are supposed to be masked are out strutting their actor's faces around the whole movie (which they wouldn't do in the comics). In spite of watching this expensive spectacle on 2D, I was surprised to notice a few background scenes that looked fake. I hope they make JLA darker, but given the success template of the Avengers and the greater prevalence of humor in JLA comics, that would be unlikely. I bet DC is crying over spilled milk for not letting Josh Whedon do the Wonder Woman he wanted.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Best of the franchise
Best X-Men movie I've watched. That's even going in with the high expectations borne from the exceptional reception from critics. I enjoyed it more than Thor, which my wife (not a comic book fan) enjoyed more. The story line could easily have been the planned "X-Men Origins: Magneto". Many comic book characters introduced, though much were just background fodder. Make-up effects of the blue Beast still leaves much to be desired. Maybe they should have made him CGI. Now I am certain director Vaughn's Kick-Ass wasn't just a fluke. Both improved over his OK Stardust. X-Men comics time line was compressed for this movie, and it amazingly still works. I did not hate the third movie of the franchise like many did, but at least now they need not continue with that thread and will be busy with this one's. Good thing they didn't think of doing a 3D for this one. No extra after-credits scene here.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Not as heartfelt as the first two, but a good effort.
Newcomers complained about needing knowledge from the previous installments. I felt that all the basics were recapped. Also, there were many parallelisms/ homages to the previous films. This movie measures up with the action and special effects but lacks the expected pacing of a Terminator movie. I've come to expect a progressive and relentless increase in intensity as the movie progresses but this one decreases in scale. The ending also leaves much to be desired, as even the third movie had a better one. Planning this as a new trilogy should have gave them leeway to make an ending that measures up to the previous movies, or even to the rest of this film. As it is, the ending makes T4 a complete episode in itself, with little weight to carry over to the next movies and make them a thematic whole. I'd score the first half of the movie an edge-of-your-seat 10, the end battle a passable 7, the epilogue a hokey 4. The music by Danny Elfman also seems less than an improvement over Brad Fiedel's previous score. The movie didn't seem to suffer much from the PG rating. Less blood and gore but much more explosions. All in all, the movie was inspired but lacked heart. I'd still look forward to T5.
Reign of the Fallen (2005)
low budget simple beautiful story
This was my first Star Wars fan film. It was amazing in its duration, simplicity, and beauty. First, the bad points. The slowly moving story is a bit dragging during the first half hour when the atmosphere was being set. It was confusing in some scenes since most of the characters wear the same hooded cloak. Some scene shifts, acting episodes, special effects and props hint at the minuscule (spell checker prevents me from spelling this correctly) $7000 budget. These were more than adequately made up for by the heartfelt story. The two best segments were the fight with the Jedi master and the epilogue, with the climactic battle lagging in for third. Kudos to the musical score, which although was not original, was fit to the scenes perfectly.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Spiderman 1 with updated special effects
This movie is loaded with state-of-the-art CGI special effects. The action sequences are ingenious and even better than their comic-book counterparts. Even with painstaking detail given to the characters' background stories, the overall impact is less than that of Spiderman 2. Expectations just went too high. With all 3 movies being directed by Sam Raimi, I had thought there would be a steady improvement. Maybe giving the Director story-writing control was not such a good idea. Here in my country, supermalls with 12 theaters are all simultaneously showing Spiderman 3. Comic-book fans will also not be impressed by the simplified translations. I prefer the comic book versions of Venom and Harry Osborne. Sandman may have been improved but not to the extent of Dr. Octopus in the second installment.