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An improvement, but not quite there yet
I believe some people are treating this film a tad too harshly. Sure, it is nowhere near on par with the first three alien and first predator films, but it definitely outclasses the earlier AVP.
The characters certainly have a long way to go before becoming as appealing as those of earlier installments, but they're definitely an improvement over the utterly annoying personifications seen in Alien Resurrection and AVP1.
As for special effects, I was genuinely surprised at how sparingly CGI was used for the Predators and adult aliens, including the giant hybrid. Even the fast paced fight sequences between the species are evocative of late 80's, early 90's alien/predator films with the lack of flashy, computerised acrobatics.
6/10. A good effort at trying to be more evocative of earlier installments and being less child friendly, but still lacks the art and originality of the earlier films.
A review from a reader of the poem
Before I start, yes, I HAVE given the film a 7/10. And before I am doubtlessly lampooned by Beowulf purists, yes, I HAVE read the original source, and enjoyed it immensely. Not counting the countless potted children's versions supplied in my old primary school, I have read the translations by Seamus Heaney and Peter Dickinson, and have also read John Gardner's "Grendel".
I continuously hear the same complaints, which really come down to this film being Hollywood trash. How is Hollywood defined though? Predictable, unoriginal plots? Well, Beowulf is widely taught in both primary schools and universities, therefore the events in the story should never have been in any doubt, regardless of a film adaptation. Blank two-dimensional characters perhaps? And how would the characters of the original poem be defined (not counting John Gardner's novel)? I concede that maybe to call them two-dimensional would be an exaggeration, but so would stating that they were well fleshed out and complex characters. The film at least did manage to add some humanity to the characters, something to identify or connect with. And now for a few spoilers...
I'm surprised at how many critics seemingly missed this, but it is repeatedly implied that the film, rather than an actual adaptation to the poem, is actually a fictitious reconstruction of how the poem came to be, implying some inevitable distortion through the embellishments of glorifying bards, generation after generation until the truth is lost. As a European, I also could greatly identify with the character's resignation to the historical fast growing cult of Christianity washing away the culture of their ancestor's, which I think is a subtle parallel to modern Europe's spread of Islam.
I am not saying that the film is an improvement to the poem. I am simply stating that it is possible to enjoy it even if you've read and appreciated the original source.
A truly disappointing series which reeks of Hollywood
Simple fact of the matter is, is that this series relies far too much on almost cartoonish stereotypes for both people and the creatures they face.
Though I commend the producers on using underexposed prehistoric creatures as opposed to the usual dollop of T-rex and raptors, they are portrayed as little more than bloodthirsty monsters rather than animals caught out of their environments. Somehow I find it hard to believe, judging by the behaviour of modern animals, that a carnivorous dinosaur would mindlessly run about, constantly roaring and attacking everything in sight when caught in a totally alien world to it.
The character portrayals are simply cartoonish in a way reminiscent of SPACE PRECINCT. For some reason, the producers thought they MUST have a stereotypical nerd character who despite being more knowledgeable than the obligatory strapping hero, is a social and sexual failure. What exactly is the message here? It is socially unacceptable to know things? Honestly, if you're expecting an uncontaminated mixture of Dr Who and Walking With Dinosaurs as I did, you're in for a big disappointment. This is just Hollywood derivitave garbage which relies too heavily on overused stereotypes, misconceptions on saurian behaviour and stock footage.
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
My favourite Vampire film
As is probably typical of one of my generation, I was at first taken aback by the seeming slowness of certain landscape shots. However, the accompaniment of Wagner (the title of that particular composition currently eludes me) merely added to a beauty which I usually overlooked in the scenery of films.
Kinskis vampire is a criminally underrated horror icon. Forget the popular camped up image of an aristocratic and Napoleonic Dracula (and especially forget those idiotic punk rocker portrayals seen in Buffy and Blade) this is a vampire who views his own powers and immortality as a cross, yet knows the futility of going against his set destiny as a villain. It really disgusts me to see how such a complex and dark character gets overshadowed in popularity to slobbering masked killers like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.
Definitely a film for people who wish to see vampires given back the dignity they're denied nowadays.
Freddie as F.R.O.7. (1992)
THIS IS A FROGGIN MASTERPIECE!!!!
Where to start? This is one of the greatest animations to date, hell IT IS THE GREATEST ANIMATION TO DATE!!!! The story is as follows, a 17th century prince in France gets transformed into a frog, meets the loch ness monster and becomes present day secret agent Freddie the frog, fighting evil. Now the logic starts. All of Britains great monuments are disappearing because an obese warlord allied with Freddies evil aunt are shrinking them for a reason that makes perfect sense. All the Britons lives are directly linked to those monuments and if they are taken away, the British people die. Wow. What a film. So full of the logic and structure lacking in all of Spielbergs movies. It also has incredibly well done dialogue by a uniform cast and great songs that should have won an Oscar.
Best adaptation of Collodi's masterpiece.
Of all the many animated and live action adaptations of Carlo Collodi's timeless masterwork on the mischievous puppet, this is by far the best. It is the most faithful to the book showing Pinocchio not as an innocent passive child like in Disneys version but as a spoiled lazy brat who gradually gets wiser as the film continues. Many elements from the book that were disregarded as too dark in most other adaptations were included;
Pinocchio killing the cricket for lecturing him.
The fox and cat in the guise of assassins hanging Pinocchio from a tree.
The death and resurrection of the blue fairy.
The encounter with the green fisherman.
Lampwick (Lucignolo) dying of exhaustion after years of servitude to a farmer as a donkey.
The acting is top-notch for an animated film. The animation itself has a very European feel to it, while the musical score, while an acquired taste in some cases, always convey the correct moods.
A definite must for fans of the book which faithfully retains the harsh lessons inherent in the original work, yet disregarded in other "sugary" adaptations.
Anthony Ant (1999)
One of the worst cartoon series ever
This thankfully short lived series came to be in order to imitate the success of two films, "Antz" and "Bugs life". However, not only was it in 2d unlike the films it ripped off, but also it was obvious that the animators concentrated more on how the characters would look than the actual plots. The ants themselves look quite cool but the plots and morals are unbelievably bad. eg, juggling can safe your life. And may I just point out I really hate it at the end of a cartoon when someone says some stupid joke or exclamation and then everyone laughs. Thank God it stopped.