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Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Can't suspend your disbelief as much as this film requires...
As a theatre actor, I am familiar with the need in entertainment for the "willing suspension of disbelief", but no matter how hard I tried, "Olympus Has Fallen" was just too ridiculous for me to accept its premise.
Even admittedly having only cursory knowledge of the White House, POTUS, and Secret Service operational procedures, the plot holes in this movie are large enough to drive a truck though:
- An unknown C130 makes it into POTUS restricted airspace and only 3 fighter jets are scrambled to take it down, and barely succeed. After 9/11? Not bloody likely.
- A squad of 40 North Koreans are able to take the White House in 13 minutes, and it takes our forces 15 minutes to respond. With the FBI, Secret Service, and numerous other armed agencies within WALKING distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? Not bloody likely.
- The President goes to the bunker under the White House with unknown foreign nationals and all of the senior staff in tow (including the VP)? No way in HELL.
- Admitted N. Korean Terrorists have assaulted the White House and taken POTUS with demands to pull out of N. Korea and we do? Not even China or Russia would come to N. Korea's aid if we invaded them, which we definitely WOULD have done..
And we won't even get into how the CEREBUS codes are useless on UNARMED ICBM's.
To take a line from Gerard Butler's character in the film, "Let's play a game of f*** off, Olympus Has Fallen. You go first."
Fantastic Four (2005)
Acceptable, but not Memorable
Well, I broke down and saw the Fantastic Four the other day. Now I'll begin by saying that I am a fan of the comics. I work in a comic shop, I regularly receive "Marvel Knights 4" (A fantastic four book) as well as "Ultimate Fantasitc Four" (another F4 title). But as a movie goer, I know that I need to keep an open mind when going to see films. Especially films adapted from pre-existing media. So My fiancée and I broke down and went to the theater.
So, all in all I must say there were aspects I was quite glad they touched on and others that I was a bit disappointed about.
The story basically touches on the Fantastic Four's roots. Fleshing out the character development that made Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)< Sue Storm (Invisible Woman), Ben Grimm (The Thing), and Johnny Storm (The Human Torch II) into super heroes. It also shows the emergence of their rogues gallery beginning with Victor VonDoom, who becomes (you guessed it) Dr. Doom. It deals with the science experiment gone awry, the rising popularity of the 4, the downfall of VonDoom and the eventual Final Battle.
I won't ruin the end but I have to say, comparable to battle scenes in the Comic, this one was spot on (albeit short). If anything the movie really touches on the human aspect and problem solving that usually fills the pages of the Fantastic Four Comics. Not all comics are for kids, much less nothing but nonstop actions. They are mediums to tell stories, and usually F4 deals with the issues of Reed and His Gang and how they overcome popularity, bankruptcy, global terrors, etc. The movie captured this aspect perfectly, but the storyline itself is questionable.
As most movies like this do, it tries to squeeze all the best an most popular stories it can into one film. Usually acquired at the expense of comic continuity. And whereas many of us comic fans can say that certain story aspects are out of order, we have to realize that no movie can be completely true to the books all in one sitting. It is nearly impossible for a movie to take another media's concept that has had a history such as F4's and put it into a 3 hour film. it's not do-able. It is the same problem that the movie "Watchmen" will be faced with: How can you make a 400 Page Graphic novel into a 3 hour film, and still do the original story justice? It can't really be done. So whereas I do give some "props" to the way the story for F4 was handled, I also have the comic geek inside of me saying "NO NO NO! That's not supposed to happen until much later!" In any case, the movie does a fine job of rendering the story as believable, and many fans will recognize many aspect of the Four's plight.
Casting wise, I was never too keen on casting Michael Chiklis as the thing. I personally thought he should've been played by Brad Garrett (of Everybody Loves Raymond). He had the size and most definitely the voice that would've been perfect. Plus the fact that the Thing is small in the film and is lacking in his huge eyebrows truly put me off. But after seeing the movie my little nitpickiness became a moot point. Chiklis wasn't at all disappointing and the rest of the cast seemed to do just as well. I know we've all had reservations about Jessica Alba (especially when Naomi Watts would'dve been a lot better) and actors Like Iaon Guffard and Chris Evans who are relatively Unknown. But let's keep in mind everyone has to get their break somewhere and just because unknown names signed on to a product that garners millions of comic fans, we shouldn't hold it against them. The only person in the cast that truly disappointed me was the portrayal of Dr. Doom. by Julian McMahon. Dr.Doom has always been portrayed as a mad doctor, and on top of that a very angry one at that. The voice, I feel, was not creepy and evil enough. It should've been closer to Darth Vader, rather than just regular old Julian McMahon. It took me out of the moment, and was a very unfortunate choice.
Overall, I'll give the movie a 7 out of 10. Not just for effort, but also for the fact that that it was miles away from the Corman film of the same name. Jeez, have you seen that "movie"? Wow. Anyway, the film is well put together. The casting is odd but by far not abominable as many people on the Message Boards have stated. And as for the comic fans, don't bash it because you feel it's your job. Try it, you might like it.
Sin City (2005)
Someone finally was able to mix Apples and Oranges...
I am a comic book fan. I am also a film/movie fan. And I mostly get involved when the two mediums cross over into one another. But, on occasion they disappoint. Let's take for example Daredevil. I think we can all come to the consensus as film fans that it was not a very well done movie, and us comic book fans register it up there as one of the worst Comic book movies of all time. But Sin City is in a world of it's own.
Before going to the movie, I hadn't read any of Frank Millar's Sin City books. I'd read some of the other stuff he'd done for Batman: Dark Knight, etc, and was impressed by his use of words. I had also seen once upon a time in Mexico, so I thought that the movie would be at least as good as Rodriguez's last film. But after 10 minutes in the theatre I was blown away.
The Shots were near perfect. I'd seen some pictures of the comic in the last Wizard Magtazine I'd been reading, and the panels from the Grapohic Novels look uncannily similar to what you see in the finished film, easy enough to do with a completely digital set. Also, the black and white element with certain things in color to show their importance, was another brilliant feat, and something that I will always wonder how they do in the film medium. So the visuals as I've said, I freakin' loved.
The Script is just as brilliant. It uses all of Millar's wordplay and beautiful descriptors while not having to resort to poor tactics that film usually employs that Comics usually can do in a Narrative or a thought bubble. But if you've gone to see the movie and wonder why there is so much narration, it's because that is how Millar does his comics. it's nearly all narrative, and it is something I believe that film companies are desperately afraid of. They fear we may get bored, walk out, hate the movie, but I think that they don't give us enough credit. If employed like Rodriguez/Millar did in Sin City, there is no time for us to get bored because we are glued to the screen 99.9% of the time.
Lastly, they no holds barred attitude toward the film sealed the deal for me. I only found this out after I'd seen the movie. Afterwards I went out and bought 3 Sin City graphic novels to see what else Millar had written and developed through these characters and was totally amazed at how much they had actually used in th movie. Usually in films about comics, the backgrounds are changed, or specific elements are made different so as to adapt it to our believability of the film. But with Sin City we are expected to use our willing suspension of disbelief and embrace everything that has been on the page that was then transferred to the screen. beautifully done, in my opinion.
Some of you may not like the certain points of dialogue where it sounds stilted, or cheesy, or campy, but the point of Sin City is to have it be Hardboiled Film Noir, and if you read up on the media Sin City (the movie and the Comic) is based on you'll see that it fits right in. Perfect in it's place. And I've also heard some complaints about following the storyline. And all I can say is either go see it again, or take each story as it comes on it's own, independent of ll the other 4. Either way, there is very little about this movie to complain about. Someone may pipe up bashing the fact that all the women in the film are prostitutes, but alas none as we know them.
The movie is a hardboiled, beautiful, visual festival of true comic to movie genius and I hope that people will find the movie as intriguing as I have. The creators of this fill have truly learned how to mix apples and oranges, and turn out a piece of art.
King Solomon's Mines (1985)
A wonderful bastardization of a great hero...
For those of you who've seen the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, that is probably as close as you'll ever get to a good modern Allan Quartermaine movie. This film was at best a good Idea that went sour very quickly, and turned out a mediocre product.
I remember first seeing this movie when I was nine, and thought it was great. And that's all I can say, it's great for a nine year old Indiana Jones Fan. There are discrepancies, masses of poor dialogue, and very heavy handed (and I mean beating you over the head) moments of Plot summary, Love scenes, and...cannibals. even though there aren't that many tribes of cannibals in Africa, Hm...
The discrepancies, are as such that it:
-Takes place in the midst of WWI, not pre turn of the centruy. -Allsn Quartermaine was about Richard Chamberlains age in about 1845, so the movie is way off. - If Allan is the great white hunter, why does he have a sawed off shotgun, instead of a Hunters rifle? -What is an arabic/turkish town doing in the middle of africa? -What hapened to that great thing called exposition which tells you the background information? -Um...ALLAN QUARTERMAINE IS BRITISH.
Aside from all these discrepancies (which plague the movie), it brims with campy jokes and situations. Which is okay if done in moderation, not every other line. The sad part about this movie is that it seems to have only been made to cash in on the popularity of Indiana Jones, which was made at about the same time. I mean, it has Sallah (john rhys davies), a pulling behind the moving vehicle stunt, and other tidbits stolen from the Indiana Jones Films that have been worked into a butchered version of H. Rider Haggard's original book (which is very well written, by the way).
All in all it's a sad film that is mostly only good for a laugh, and reliving childhood memories. Beleive me, I liked it better as a fond childhood memory than as I do now.
A beautiful moving comic book...
This movie was amazing. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I'm sure that if you're a Hellboy fan, you were relatively pleased and if you're just a fan of superhero movies or just movie in general, you were also pleased.
The images were beautful, the characters beleivable, and the story well done. Many people don't know much about the Hellboy comic (unlike say Batman or Superman) but the reluctant hero of Hellboy, is masterfully pulled off by the Director Guillermo Del Toro. And the fact that Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) approved and helped helm this film makes it all the better.
fore those of you who do not know the comic, it stays as true as possible (for a movie) to the story and it's images. The hellboy costume is right on, and the dialogue fits right in with the style Mignola wrote for years. Also, the lighting in the comic books (hyper-realistic lighting; lots of solid blacks obscuring views and showing very heavy shadows)is reproduced with astoiunding accuracy in this movie.
WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILER IN THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH!
Notice I say movie and not film, as we all know that there is a considerable difference between the two. One is done for the art, the other is done for the fun of it (more or less, yet again, my opinion). This is definetly a movie, and not one without some flaws. Such as some subpar acting from lesser characters, underplayed scenes, and muffled dialogue( Hellboy, take the damn cigar out of your mouth!). But if you look at it, it is a relatively realistic fantasy movie. I mean it's more likely you'll just have an intense conversation, rather than fire and brimstone rising everywhere making each bit of dialogue like the last words of god (i.e. Rasputins "No listen to me!" before the coming of the Ogdru Jahad god).
If I have one complaint, it's that Marco beltrami really copped out on the score for this film. He did such a wonderful job making the soundtrack for other Action hits like Blade II, I really felt that he didn't punch it up to the grandiose and dark scale Hellboy was reminiscent of. Shame on you Marco, try harder next time!
So all in all (and cheating a bit because I'm a Hellboy fan) I'd give this one an 8 out of 10 as a good film, but a 10 out of 10 for staying true to the original. I mean how many times can you say that about Batman, superman, or any of the other millions of Superhero flicks out there? The Hulk? Give me Hellboy anyday.