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Heavy Metal 2000 (2000)
Beautiful CG animation and that's about it.
beautiful CG (computer graphics) animation. conspicuously bad cel (hand-drawn) animation. mediocre story-line. weak dialogue, altho not weak enough to be entertaining, if you know what i mean.
the only real connection to the first film is the idea of the green immortality key as a tribute to the green sphere of dominance, but the best aspect of the first film was missing, i.e. instead of taking the best stories from a group of submissions, we were stuck with one long story of virtually complete unoriginality. how kevin eastman's crew wound up being in charge of this film would be far more interesting to hear, at this point.
on the PRO side: i haven't seen too many films that mixed CG and cel animation. it didn't really work aesthetically, but at least the CG bailed out the film visually. this was not an outright bad film, and it wasn't hard to sit through it (i.e. give eastman props for keeping the plot in motion), but it simply didn't deserve to have the "heavy metal" stamp put on it. perhaps it was necessary for marketing reasons, but the mystique, imagination and originality of the first film (a flawed masterpiece IMO) were pretty-much missing in action.
Vivement dimanche! (1983)
Stunned in Too Many Ways
i was up late, scamming for some reason to continue my slackful ways... i chanced upon this little gem, halfway through... i knew nothing about this work except it being from overseas...
i was hooked; entranced; captivated by the style, dialogue, pacing and FANNY... what a spark of life she was... beautiful and damaged...
well, i am stunned that this film is from 1983??? surely it's a mistake- 1963 perhaps? and i don't mean the fact it's B&W- this production style is long since passed... isn't it??
stunned also by these user reviews... they are professional-grade, i swear... as good as the movie, i think... something tells me i must watch much more truffaut... and FANNY...
Special Edition: Very Nice But NOT for Tolkien Purists
well, i have been digesting this film for some time and feel 'qualified' to finally comment: (i have the special edition DVD so have seen everything there is to see)
peter jackson is a master craftsman and shrewd cookie who after much work got one studio to bite for the budget... not to mention, shooting back-to-back-to-back is unheard of, of course... he's also a really decent, likable fellow- a friend of both the actor and the crew... plus he's quite a hard worker, a realist, and knows how to delegate authority, something many directors would certainly be insecure with...
this is a great film for people who simply enjoy tolkien's work or better yet, are completely unfamiliar with it... it is easy and enjoyable to sit through the whole, long movie and to see it multiple times... and hopefully to use it as a spring-board to jump into the wide, wonderful world of JRR...
everything is likable and comprehensible here- the characters have been shaded towards fantasy stereotypes while still maintaining aspects of the originals and all kinds of visual and music cues have ensured that the viewer feels at home, and not confused, despite the depth of information in middle earth...
the "special edition" behind-the-scenes segments are utterly enthralling... it is somehow both fascinating and warming to see how this movie got made, down to very fine detail... having FOUR different audio commentaries (director, tech crew, production crew, actors) to the film is amazing, and that's the least of the extra features... somehow even though i've watched plenty of 'FX' and behind-the-scenes projects, this one i could just watch endlessly, and there is SO much to see... WELL worth the price of the DVD!
the cave troll CG in moria is pretty damn wonderful! the effects and technical crew have done amazing jobs virtually everywhere- even hand-forging every single piece of armour and weaponry and constructing a profusion of immensely-detailed miniatures where backdrops could have been used...
christopher lee is astounding as saruman... sean astin is lovely as samwise, hugo weaving great as elrond, ditto sala baker as sauron (unusual choice, eh?), liv tyler as arwen, viggo mortensen as aragorn (although just a bit too 'pretty')
in all fairness, making a literature-based movie necessarily demands chopping (lots and lots of chopping) and altering... having this project be bankrolled by hollywood necessarily means it will be produced a certain way... upon first viewing of the film i took these things into account and thought: "jackson's done a smash-up job"... upon repeated viewings i have evolved a different opinion...
concerning peter jackson, he is a great craftsman, but he is certainly no artist... granted, it's a very tough book to capture properly, but the guy has completely missed much of the nuance and charm of the original... the whole middle earth experience is slanted in a kind of surface-level depth, this includes the scenes and actors chosen... tolkien's world comes across as a fairly-standard swords-and-sorcery motiff, while those who have delved deep the books could tell you it is so much more!
there are too many long weepy, maudlin moments when characters are dyiing or threatened... as a hollywood standard all the nearby monsters obligingly pause and film speed switches into slo-mo... the music is pretty uninspired and repetitive, conspicuously gloomy and one-dimensional in many stretches... enya's stuff is not bad but somehow something more authentic and/or melodic would have been nice... rankin-bass came up with some pretty good songs (amidst several clunkers) from the animated tolkien that could have been put to good use here...
certain scenes, sequences or themes are badly botched: the complete 'joi-de-vivre' feeling and charm (sort of symbolised by the missing tom bombadill charcter) is quite missing; the fascinating, evolving friendship between gimli-and-legolas; the little epiphany between gimli and galadriel which sparks all of this is pretty-much gone; ian mckellan does a wonderful job and yet is somehow completely miscast as gandalf (who should have been a sterner, more impressive-in-wrath presence); the breaking of the fellowship scene, while handled well craft-wise, made zero sense with aragorn being altered to willingly send frodo off on his own; the theatre-film sequence at rivendell in which gandalf invokes sauron's ring inscription is sorely lacking (although corrected fairly well in the SE version), and the fascinating glimpse into the world of the contending, feuding orcish tribes seems to have been totally written out- all the orcs which capture merry and pippin being saruman's uruk-hai (it's possible it will be fixed in "two towers" but doesn't seem hopeful)
in short, for tolkien devotees, this is a comic-book telling of a real book which already bordered upon being an inarguable history and culture of a world and peoples, immense in its proportions and depth... it can still be enjoyable to see favorite characters and sequences pantomimed, but it is still just a comic-book... this might not sound fair to jackson and company, but it's not so much the troupe's failings that makes this the case, but the material they chose to tackle!
also, quite amusing is the attempt to enlist the goodwill of the 'official' tolkien fan clubs by printing the names of THOUSANDS of charter tolkien fans in the credits... it's hard to believe, but there they all are- ten minutes worth?!? is that ALL that it takes to mollify your critics these days? :)