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Despite attractive leading characters, it was a disappointment., 20 January 2004

I go to the cinema infrequently these days. I love the old movies, but I am usually disappointed by the chase-them, bed-them, blow-them-up approach taken by so many of our current movie makers. Advertisements for "Cold Mountain" managed to conquer my trepidation. It seemed that finally we were going to be given a real old-fashioned romance along with a bit of history. I regret to say that it was a disappointment.

There was romance, of course. I found the main story line of star-crossed lovers very appealing, and I thought that the lead actors carried it off very well. They were attractive and generally convincing. Also, the supporting cast was excellent, the cinematography was outstanding, and the director did a good job of depicting the horrors and sadness of war, both in battle and on the home front. As a student of history, however, I must say that historical accuracy did not enter into it. Perhaps this was also true of the novel. Since I have not read it, I cannot say.

The way this story is presented, the Home Guard was nore of a threat to the Southern civilian population than the Union Army. This, of course, is utter nonsense. The Home Guard was made up of men too old or too young to serve in the army, and its primary mission was home defense -- not hunting down deserters and shooting them on sight. In reality, the aim of Confederate officials was to return deserters to their units in condition to fight -- not as cadavers.

At the time our fictional hero was trying to make his way back home to the North Carolina mountains (in the winter of 1864-5), there were deserters all over the South, especially in areas of strong pro-union sentiment such the Southern highlands. Also there were thousands of former Confederate soldiers who had been seriously wounded in the fighting and invalided out of service. Under these conditions, does one think that a man like Teague, along with his murderous companions, could have terrorized and entire county for months on end? But the lack of historical accuracy is not my main problem with the movie. After all, when do you go to the cinema expecting an accurate portrayal of an historical event? Like most people, I go principally for entertainment. On that level, my real problem with this movie is some of the excessive non-battlefield violence and the graphic sexual encounter that is depicted at one point in the movie. That sexual scene was gross, unnecessary, and over the top. It made be embarrassed to be in the theater, and I was embarrassed for the actresses who had to bare their breasts and bottoms to make the scene.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Far superior to most action movies of its type., 4 October 2003

It is difficult for me to understand why this movie is not rated more highly by critics and viewers. It is an excellent action film, with attractive and likable protagonists confronted by some first class villains. The plot is logical, it flows smoothly, and the final resolution is entirely satisfying. The photography and special effects are first class. Perhaps part of the reason for this movie's rather poor showing has to do with its title and the way it was marketed. I really don't know. At any rate, I think "The Rocketeer" is far superior to most action movies of its type, including those which were commercially successful like "Spiderman" and the Indiana Jones series.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
An old-fashioned, unsophisticated, excellent family comedy., 24 August 2003

My wife and I saw this with our four young sons when it was first released, and we thought it was great. We have seen it several times since, and it is always entertaining. Unlike some critics, I thought Fred MacMurray was perfect in the title role, and the supporting cast was great. The humor may seem a bit unsophisticated and hokey by present day standards, but in my eyes it makes the movie even more enjoyable. Show this film to your unprejudiced younger children and grandchildren and watch them delight in it.

15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A thoroughly enjoyable mini-series., 24 August 2003

In my opinion this mini-series is far superior to the much praised 1956 movie starring David Niven. Pierce Brosnan is excellent as the unflappable Phileas Fogg, and Eric Idle is superb as Passepartout. The action moves from one cliff-hanger to the next, much in the fashion of a old-time Saturday matinee serial, and the story is always entertaining. The developing love interest between Fogg and the princess (Julia Nickson) is also handled well.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An Almost Perfect Movie of its Type., 4 August 2003

This version of Cinderella is one of the best musicals ever made. The cast is superb, the music is enchanting, and the story line offers some improvements on the traditional Cinderella story. It is great fun seeing so many distinguished and serious British actors (Kenneth More and others) dancing and cavorting and having such a good time. Richard Chamberlain was excellent as the prince, and Gemma Craven was almost perfect as the young. unsophisticated Cinderella.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A very disappointing sequel to the excellent original series., 16 July 2003

The "Continuing Story" is a very great disappointment to someone like me who considers "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea" as two of the best mini-series ever produced for television. The tale of Anne and Gilbert's supposed later adventures is hopelessly muddled and almost incoherent -- as well as totally unbelievable. The anti-American bias of the writer is also evident, and the historical inaccuracies are too numerous to chronicle here. My advice to everyone is to watch the originals and stay away from this sequel. It will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Perhaps the best of the swashbucklers., 15 July 2003

The film profits from excellent writing, excellent direction, and good acting. There is not a wasted scene or line of dialog in the entire movie. It is an enjoyable film experience for young and old alike. This is my favorite of the Tyrone Power movies, and the sword fight with Rathbone is a classic.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A flawed interpretation of a magnificent book by Sabatini., 14 July 2003

It is difficult to understand why a Hollywood studio bought the rights to this simple and excellent story by Rafael Sabatini and then had some writers completely rework it. I keep hoping that someday someone will go back to the original. It could a magnificent film. As it is, even though the movie has some excellent actors and exciting scenes, the overall result is mediocre or average.