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Dune (1984)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Should have been great (SPOILERS), 19 June 2006

I'll say this up front: I never finished watching Dune. Maybe it gets a heck of a lot better later on. But if it can't hold my interest...

I don't understand how it came out as bad as it did. It had the finest source material to draw on, and there was certainly a reverence to that source evident in portions of the script taken word for word from the text. But it all falls apart rather quickly.

I have no beef with what changes were made from the book. The problem is with the script. How any professional screenwriter can write something so filled with useless Exposition Dump is beyond me. No one could utter 'Kwisatz Haderach' without taking on the explanation that they are referring to a super-being, despite the fact that the explanation comes naturally from Paul's conversation with the Reverend Mother. Similarly, the first scene with the Guild Navigator talking with the Emperor could have been eliminated out of hand, and it would only have added to the script.

But the point that made me switch off my DVD player was the first scene with Baron Harkonnen, ridiculously over-the-top, with comically stereotypical villain mannerisms and needlessly gruesome imagery.

How'd they get hold of Patrick Stewart with such a poorly written script?

Fight Club (1999)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A fine, and often misunderstood film, 24 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you haven't seen it, and don't know others who have seen it, you probably think this is a movie that glorifies violence. And you'd be wrong. The movie is certainly charged with testosterone, but it is actually a deep, thought provoking movie examining the rampant consumerism of society versus ideas of nihilism and primitivism.

The central figure to all the philosophizing is Tyler Durden, played to perfection by Brad Pitt. Durden is perhaps one of the most charismatic villains since Richard III, with eminently quotable sound bites that speak to the disillusionment in all of us. Pair that off with Ed Norton as a sardonic narrator, at first a wreck lost to the 'IKEA nesting instinct' and rendered cynical by the amorality of his job, and we have a scathing indictment of the consumerism smothering society.

The bloody underground boxing of the Fight Club is a way the characters can gain control of their life, break free of the bonds society shackles them with. This in turn becomes Project Mayhem a terrorist organization aiming to send society 'back to zero.' In one chilling scene, Tyler evokes his dream world from the shadows: a world of post-apocalyptic proportions where people worry about things that matter--i.e. survival. Clearly, the violence has escalated beyond the point where it makes sense, but at the same time we can't shake the truth beyond Tyler's words, the desire to live one's own life.

The film doesn't tell you 'do this' or 'do that.' It just asks you to think.

(Some may be put off by a few plot holes the twist creates. These are actually fewer than they first appear, and further, the film is not the poster child for realism. Just ride with it.)

557 out of 934 people found the following review useful:
Overrated tripe, 18 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

2001 is one of those movies where, if you don't like it, you are told that you don't 'get it' and need to look at the deeper meaning and symbolism. You're told that you clearly have a slow attention span, and just want to see sex, explosions, and have the plot handed to you on a platter.

Let's break down the movie shall we? Three minutes of blackness, with something that sounds like a dying hippo in the background. Then we get the opening credits. A minute of fascinating shots of the Savannah. Then a bunch of monkeys find a black rock and start killing things with bones. Cut to the first of many 20-minute shots of ships doing things while the 'Blue Danube' plays in the background. A bunch of pointless dialogue, and a group of moon scientists find another monolith.

Cut to a spaceship that's too long for the crew complement--three sleeping people, two people named Dave and Frank, who have only slightly more personality than the stiffs in hibernation. And then there's HAL, the 'perfect' supercomputer who runs the ship. Predictably, he snaps and starts breaking the First Law of Robotics. Now this is something that has potential. An evil, coldly ruthless super-mind who controls the surrounding environment and can predict your every move. And what does he do? He lets one guy float into space and turns off the hibernation machines so the three sleeping guys die, leaving Dave floating in a pod. He simply uses the airlock, puts on a spacesuit, and turns HAL off--agonizingly slowly. Then, apparently, there's some psychedelic 'evolution' at Jupiter.

Here's the movie with the pauses taken out: Apes see monolith, kill things. Scientists find moon monolith. HAL kills people. HAL dies; Dave gets a prerecorded message, and evolves at Jupiter.

This is not me 'not getting it.' This is me being bored to tears by long stretches of absolutely nothing. Sure, it's realistic, but I find I have no reason to care. No matter the message, no movie can be good without being entertaining. Frankly, every character could be replaced with Keanu Reeves, and nothing would change.

7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
The Bourne Identity Theft, 26 July 2004

The one big problem with this movie: The scriptwriter never read the book. Evidence, you ask for? Simple: the movie has nothing whatsoever to do with Ludlum's book--which was genius--beyond the name of the main character. Where was Carlos and his insidious, far-reaching organization? Where was Dr. Washburn and Ile de Port Noir? What the hell is Bourne doing sleeping on a park bench? Where the hell did that dictator come from? Marie Greutz? Anyone with a passing knowledge of the book knows Bourne's lady love is Marie St. Jacques, an economist working for the Canadian government. And what the hell did they do to Treadstone and the Monk?

This is 'Bourne' in name only, and deserves none of the praise it is inexplicably receiving. The awful animated Lord of the Rings was more faithful to source material than this monstrosity.