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First it was rides being made out of movies, now it's movies being made out of rides...And it works!
There is one rule that I try to always keep when watching a movie: don't have expectations. When I'm seeing a movie in the theater, I also add on to just see the movie for fun. Well, due to all of the comments I read on here saying that the movie was great, I broke my own rule. And surprisingly, I was still impressed.
This movie is one that I will definitely be seeing again in the theater, and buying as soon as it comes out on DVD (hopefully with director's and actors commentary). When I saw the first preview for this, I thought "hmm, interesting". Then I started seeing more, this time with scenes from the movie instead of just a list of the cast. Finally, they started to reveal the basics of the plot, and I knew that I would have to see this movie. It's based on one of my favorite rides at Disney, with an amazingly contagious song (which is sung in the film), and I was looking forward to seeing how it would be portrayed in a cinematic point of view.
Acting in this movie was near to perfect. Johnny Depp gave one of his best performances ever. No one would be able to tear their eyes away from him. His Captain Jack Sparrow wasn't what I was expecting when I first heard of his part, and it was a better character for it. He wasn't the typical pirate. You expect a swagger, but he has a sway. He seems to be permanently drunk. And although he is a pirate, he's honest in many of his tales, because no one would believe him anyway, especially as most of them are outrageous. I would go to the theater again just for him alone.
Orlando Bloom, there so that young girls will go see this movie, does a very good job at his role as Will Turner. Unfortunately, there wasn't that much to his role. He's a bit too love-struck with Elizabeth Swann to be interesting, though his role is needed in the film. His sword play was probably the most interesting part about his character, and the fact that he has pirate blood in him despite holding a hatred towards their kind.
The audience can almost feel Geoffrey Rush's evil in the movie as Barbossa. He plays his role well just as one would expect from an actor like him. He even gets to deliver a few of the funny lines, although most of them were awarded to Depp.
For the least known of all the leads, Kiera Knightley seemed to hold her own against veterans such as Depp and Rush. While they were still the ones that eyes were kept on, she delivered a great performance, and will probably be awarded quite a few roles stemming from this film.
There are few problems that I had with this film. The acting was impressive, the sets were amazing, the CGI well used, and the storyline went along smoothly. One thing that I greatly enjoyed was the Errol Flynn style fighting, instead of the Matrix style that most films are trying to use, despite the century that it is set in. One doesn't need that sort of thing in a movie about swashbucklers. Fluid is the only way to describe the CGI usage of the pirate skeletons. It was as smoothly as the moonlight shining on them. And the added references to the ride (ie. the dog with the keys never moving, the song) gave it the perfect touch. Granted, some might complain about the length, but none of it was wasted. Just don't drink a large soda while viewing. And the final scene with Will & Elizabeth seemed a bit forced. But those can be forgiven when the film is looked at as a whole.
It was impressive from start to finish, grabbing the viewers attention and never letting go. Like the ride, you can just kick back and enjoy the show going on around you. Not one to miss.
Die Hard (1988)
Yippi Ki Yay
All I can say about this movie is that it's my all time favorite. The action, the suspense, and even the love story in it all work. I have yet to find a better action film, and although as a girl I should like dramas and heartfelt things, I can't help but need to watch this movie at least once a month. Not to mention, what could be better than watching Bruce Willis run around sweaty, shirtless, and with a gun.
The film was amazingly cast, especially with Alan Rickman as, in my opinion, one of the best villains of all time.
So far unsurpassed in my mind, and probably will always remain that way. I just wish that there would be more movies like this out there today.
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
The King's to this Movie
Warning: Tons of spoilers
Ever since I saw the preview to this movie, I have wanted to see it. Unfortunately, I missed it at the theaters, so I had to catch it on video. And all I could say after I saw it was "Wow." I couldn't stop shaking, because after renting so many movies lately that were disappointing, this was a great refreshment.
I had read the book in a French class years before, so for me to try to compare the two at that time was difficult (both because it was in French, and it was years ago), as far as I could recall, it was similar enough. Then I recently read the book, this time in English, and found that the two were dramatically different. And both of them were excellent, in their own ways.
For all of you "purists" out there, who think that this was a bastardization of the book, and that it was too "Hollywood" for you tastes, I only have 3 words to say to you: Get over it. Hello, every book changes when it goes into screenplay format. Granted, some more than others. But with this one, the changes they made were excellent. And also, IT WAS A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE!!! Mid-size budget, experienced director, actors with a few movies already under their belts.
Jim Caviezel I thought was amazing at portraying Edmond Dantes/Count of Monte Cristo. I have loved his acting since "Frequency", and this movie did not disappoint me in regards to him. Especially after watching the DVD with director's comments, and finding that he had to switch daily from being the sophisticated Count to the naive Dantes. And for all of those who thought that his transformation was too simple, and that his enemies should have been able to tell who he was at once, you only have to remember one character to get into it: Superman. All Clark Kent needed was a pair of glasses and red lycra suit. The Count had the pouffy hair, the goatee, the stylish clothes, and his voice is even different. Not to mention, Guy Pearce can't remember anything for longer than 15 minutes (watch Memento and you'll get my joke there).
Guy Pearce was amazing as Mondego. You hate him almost immediately for being such a coniving, "oh, I hate my rich life," pretty boy cad. You hate him even more as the movie goes on. James Frain is fantastic as Villefort, so power hungry that he would have his own father murdered to suit his needs. And you can believe that the man who played Danglars is as big of a jerk as he is.
Dagmara Dominczyk is wonderful as Mercedes, who even gets revenge of her own on Mondego for putting her through such a miserable marriage. When she leaves him, and sends the dagger through him by saying Albert isn't his, the audience gets so much satisfaction. First, Mondego deserves this. Second, she truly stands up for herself. And third, you realize why exactly she did get married so soon after Edmond was sent off.
In minor/somewhat major roles, Abbe (Richard Harris), Jacopo (Luiz Guzman), and the warden (Michael Wincott), are perfectly cast. Harris does the most amazing job as Abbe, giving Edmond both a friend and a father figure in the prison. Guzman not only adds comic relief, but is the voice of reason to Edmond at times, even if he doesn't listen. Many have complained about his accent, Brooklyn instead of European, but remember, he's a pirate. He's been all over, and no one knows his origin. And as for Wincott, he's wonderfully sadistic and cruel.
Yes, the revenge isn't as intricate as it is in the book, but it is nevertheless perfect, and poetic justice. Danglars is imprisoned for theft, but first made to hang right after learning the Count's true origin. Villefort is imprisoned for conspiracy, and the scene in the carriage is perfect. Can there be anything more cruel than giving him an empty gun, and then saying "Do you think I'd make it that easy?" And Mondego loses everything. His fortune, his wife, "his" son, and finally, his life. As he has committed the most crimes, he is the one most deserving of this. And I love it when he opens the final case he stole from the Count to find the chess piece, the King, inside.
In addition, the sword fights are amazing. This is a classic film, so it doesn't need the fancy, Matrix-style sword play that's in most films. This happened to be one of my favorite things about this film.
I can't say all that I want to say about this film, but I give it a 9.5 out of 10. I loved the book, but I can't over how much I adored this movie. It was recommended to my friends before, and I will continue to do so. Congratulations to all who were involved, since they made it into my top 10 favorite movies of all time (and that's a pretty hard feat to accomplish).