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Green Lantern (2011)
Green Writing Spoils Green Lantern
Please, please, please get a decent writing team for the next Green Lantern movie. If only the studio pinheads would take the obvious step of hiring the team of great writers Bruce Timm put together for Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. Those guys could come up with a better script in a week just spit balling ideas together than this movie.
You've got 50 years of story material to work with. This is what you picked to make into a movie? Please, just pay Alan Moore a couple of million and shoot his script as written and you'll make the money back hundreds of times over. And it will be a movie that holds up! Everything looks great. But this is total crap. A complete waste of a solid character. This is a big step backward for superhero movies. I was embarrassed that our culture has regressed to this level of banality.
Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011)
A condensed version that clearly depicts the characters and issues.
The screenwriter has really come up with clear adaptation of the story and the key issues Ayn Rand was trying to communicate in her greatest novel. The appeal of this movie to me is how clearly the main characters and issues of Atlas Shrugged come across on-screen. The novel can be difficult to read and I think after seeing the movie, new readers will be able to follow the book a lot easier.
Seeing the faces of the characters and the issues that drive the story in context was very special. I think many, many more people will discover and read the book with proper appreciation even if this first part is the only part produced.
I got a huge kick seeing the vague depiction of John Galt in "Part 1" of the movie looking a lot like "Rorschach" from "Watchmen". Nice tip of the hat to the objectivist vigilante by the director.
It's worth going out of your way to see this. The hostile critics just don't get it. You will. It's very clear in the movie. Ayn Rand would approve. Her message is undiluted and not compromised. Great job.
Kirby Kibble: old Marvel stories changed around and retold again.
What is being done here is taking all the best plot and character development from the entire history of Marvel Comics and writing it all over again placing the characters into the context they developed into right away without any actual development. Obviously, the writers know their Marvel. It's too bad there is no credit given to the original writers and creators who actually wrote these stories and developed these characters. (In season two a tiny credit now appears in the end titles acknowledging Jack Kirby and Joe Simon as the creators of Captain America.)
The original creators and writers probably wouldn't want to take credit for the cardboard cut-out versions of these iconic characters. They've got all the details, but none of the depth that made them icons to begin with.
Every plot, character, and conflict is from previous material. It is well done and loyal to "history." There are many many obscure references such as using the super-villain's true names when they are addressed - all quite accurate and correct. But the rendition of the old material is heavily padded with chase and battle scenes and only the bare bones of the great original stories remain as a loose framework holding it all together.
Unlike the originals which never insulted your intelligence, this version is written for a very young audience with no appetite for story or proper plotting or character development. The original Marvel Super Heroes cartoons from 1966 used voice actors who had been performing in radio dramas for decades and they acted out Stan Lee's dialogue straight. The old 1966 Marvel Super Heroes voices are unforgettable and utterly professional. The voice performances here are mostly amateurish and forgettable.
Marvel has always had the best characters. I don't think that today they have the best writers in their animation projects. They must write something that goes beyond rearranging classic material. What we're seeing here is more like a tracing over of old material. The plots are tight and the stories complete because the path was paved by the work and success of others.
The theme song is catchy, but the title sequence is poor and mostly confusing they way they edit it in. They changed it partway through the first season, but it's still looks confusingly like an end credit abruptly interrupting the opening teaser. The theme song and narrative explanation of the back story is out of place. They need a real title sequence and a better musical performance of the catchy theme song they came up with and to cut out the unnecessary narrator.
I'm left wondering how many times can the old Marvel stories be updated, retold and presented as if they were new? The only reference to the original artist and writer of much of this material, Jack Kirby, is a dog food commercial the Hulk is watching on TV, "Kirby Kibble." It seemed like it might have been almost an intentional slap in the face rather than an homage.
Disney used to represent the highest quality and they've allowed a mediocre program to be produced. Look at the little details and you know the writers know the material very well. Knowing the details isn't enough. Disney needs to scrap the entire creative team and start over for season 2. It looks good, but it's so superficial when the basis for the popularity of the heroes is their "realism" and their human flaws and conflicts. What we have here isn't even close to capturing the Marvel magic. It's a standard and almost mindless children's cartoon that will be aired and forgotten. And who's fault is that? And don't tell me the standard, "this is what the audience wants." Disney does not know its audience. This should not be kiddie video. Once again, someone has dropped the ball on something that could have been really, really great.
Someone still giving super heroes a new life in animation.
I have to give this show very high marks for creativity and it rightfully has an honored spot in the DC Universe of things. Printed comic books today seem so unreadable and different from the days when these DC heroes were created. However, what we see in this show is more like the super heroes we know. In fact the show pays homage to so many heroes and characters and images from the Golden Age era to the modern era, it's pretty obvious that the people involved with this are passionate - the very element missing from printed comic books today.
The Bruce Timm versions of Batman, Superman, Justice League/Unlimited etc., set a very high standard for writing and voice acting. I won't say this is better only that it is different, but well done in the same way. It's extremely hard to make a show like this for kids and yet still satisfy the long-time fans like myself. I can only say that the creators have satisfied this long time fan. They have struck just the right balance here.
It is particularly creative they way old and obscure characters are properly developed and good stories are written around them. Fans will also appreciate the images and references from every single version of Batman from every media where he's ever appeared. Well done. These small things are invisible to kids but recognizable to the baby boomers.
I really hope the next series is "World's Finest" which was the Superman/Batman comic from days gone by. "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" is like a good comic book from the days when comic books were good.
If only someone would pay as much care and attention to the Marvel stable of heroes in animation as the creators of this series are doing with the DC stable. The only thing I took a star off for was because several voice actors, including the lead, are not speaking in their natural voices. Of course some actors, i.e., Corey Burton are skilled character voice actors and do great work here. I suppose we can all get spoiled with Kevin Conroy's Batman from the earlier shows - and he does make an appearance here as an alternate universe Batman.
I do not know if the alternate universe story lines used in this series originate from modern comics -- but they are certainly adapted to great effect here and are the best of the bunch as far as the episodes go. I think the idea of the bad guys being good guys and the good guys being bad guys in alternate universes is done so well and develops the characters so creatively -- I just can say enough good things. Who would not be intrigued by "The Red Hood" -- a heroic version of the Joker? The minor heroes like Aquaman are likewise three-dimensional.
It's worth a season pass on your Tivo for sure. Great work being done with this material.
Great story - looked beautiful in HD. Worth watching.
I don't believe this movie deserves the criticism several others have posted. I think they did a great job telling the basic story and the low-budget several have complained about makes no difference to me because the tale was told well and the movie looked great in High Definition. The credits say it was shot in St. John's Newfoundland, Hamilton, Ontario and London, England. All the locations were beautifully photographed.
I think what came through most clearly was the kindness and generosity of the population of Gander, Newfoundland. That such a thing could still happen in this modern world will come as a shock to most people, but clearly the people of Newfoundland couldn't imagine it happening any other way.
I'm glad this story was told and I appreciate the mention of the book by another poster. I do recall that the government of the United States was generally ungrateful and that's a shame. However, the people of Gander didn't do what they did to get gratitude. Their charity is appreciated and was fantastic. That came through in the movie. They probably did even more kind deeds and you couldn't make a movie long enough to include them all. The negative comments I'm reading here about the movie are just too petty to take seriously.
It was a good movie and kept my attention completely. Worth watching for sure.
Truer to the Howard Fast Novel - New take on great movie
The original Spartacus is a superior movie as movies go. However, this version has much to offer and won't disappoint. The depiction of the Gladiator fights has several authentic touches such as the branding on the neck of the losing fighter. The brand was to insure the gladiator wasn't faking death! They still got the thumbs-down crowd signal wrong. In the movies, the thumbs-down means the crowd wants the loser to die. In reality the thumbs-down meant to let the loser live and to signal the victor to put down their sword. The death signal was a thumb stabbing motion toward the heart. I suppose they can be forgiven because few people watching the movie would know that and it would probably confuse most people to change it. They likewise included the signal of the losing fighter to plead for mercy, but got that wrong slightly too because the signal is one finger, not two. Still, they obviously tried to get things more accurate. The gladiator characters were quite accurate as were their weaponry and armor. Very good job there. They obviously paid attention to the discoveries made since "Gladiator" came out in 2000.
But the gladitorial combat scenes are a very small part of this movie. This is primarily a war movie and the war is a fight for freedom by slaves against the Roman empire. The producers retained much of the social commentary from Howard Fast's book. It fact they hit you over the head with it in case you didn't read the book. Most important in this the Draba character, the black gladiator who fights Spartacus. His role, though small, is key to the story. Also pay attention to Agrippa, the Roman Senator who is constantly making Crassius' life miserable. He's not what he seems, so pay attention.
Watching the mini-series on USA Network over two separate nights days apart is unbearable. But when commercials are edited out and you can watch the whole thing without so many interruptions, the narrative is quite fluid. This would make a nice DVD because the photography is good, the costumes detailed, the acting/casting good, and the story excellent.
It is just not the same movie as the 1960 version. Don't expect a simple remake. The ending is different. Spartacus' fate is different. It's more like Howard Fast wrote it originally than what Hollywood made of it in 1960.
The 1960 version is superb, but it's not the same as this movie. It's a similar but different story. I highly recommend this version along with the original.