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Classic Science Fiction reader
Classical Music listener
At LEAST one hour too long.
Purporting to be THE story of the great Victorian operetta team of Gilbert and Sullivan, this was almost completely confined to their writing "The Mikado".
For anyone who'd never seen "The Mikado" this movie should make it abundantly clear that Mr Gilbert and Mr Sullivan knew no more about the Japanese language and culture than they did about the finer points of neurosurgery.
The director was obviously reluctant to lose a single golden word. In other words, it was AT LEAST an hour too long. They should have started cutting with Sullivan's trip to France -- and then the luncheon "negotiating" salaries. LBCA 2011/04/05
Highway to Hell (1991)
Likable. Watchable. -- IF you don't take yourself too seriously.
I really liked this campy, modern-day version of the ancient Greek story of "Orpheus and Eurydice".
Likable cast includes Chad Lowe and Kristy Swanson, plus Patrick Bergin and Adam Storke. Throw in some "very punny" tongue-in-cheek dialog, lots of equally "punny" sight gags, and then the comic cameos from Gilbert Gottfried and the entire Stiller family: Dad Jerry, Ben, Amy, and Mom Anne Meara.
Unless you're looking for the original (very serious) Greek tragedy, you may like this version.
The Mikado (1939)
Gilbert & Sullivan! D'Oyly Carte Opera Company!
I REALLY wish I could give this production 4½ stars. I find that I didn't really like it -- but I didn't really DISlike it, either.
At the start, I was SURE that this movie had been "colorized". I checked the date, I checked my screen, I checked the date, I checked my screen. Then I restarted the opening credits and saw it was, indeed, filmed in color -- in 1939.
Yes, they cut "I Have a Little List" and a couple of other favorites. And, yes, they chopped quite a lot out of "My Object All Sublime" -- among others. And yes, they switched the order of some them.
However, I think today's audiences would prefer the emended "Little List" and "Sublime" to Gilbert & Sullivan's original lyrics. I think this version was filmed BEFORE the "official" amendments to those songs -- to eliminate the N-word.
I agree with the reviewer who said that this production is better seen as a visual record of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company than as excellence in transferring a stage production to film. Now I'm off to find another version to watch. 2011/09/28.
TRANSMORPHERS -- a "must miss"
I get the strongest impression that not none of these actors were hired for their acting talent. Truth to tell, I've seen better acting in community theatre.
The acting level here reminds me of a very old joke about an actress who was leaving Hollywood. She'd been offered a position as a department store mannequin. The one she was replacing was too emotional.
And the writing reminds me of a comic strip that's almost as old as that joke: "Uncle Cosmo, why do they call it a Word Processor?" "It's really very simple, Skyler. You've seen what food processors do to food?"
Bicentennial Man (1999)
I read Asimov's original story some years before it was filmed.
My hat's off to the people who worked so hard to bring Dr Asimov's words to the screen. (Science fiction seldom gets much respect from Hollywood -- but that's an issue for another forum.)
A moving -- and well-told -- story of one individual's quest for acceptance.
I must say, the only negative items I can point out is that the Andrew character was a bit too much overlaid with Robin Williams' over-the-top style of comedic acting at the start -- and they did seem to veer off in a whole other direction at the end. (2011/03/01)
I, Robot (2004)
Good Will Smith movie -- Bad Isaac Asimov movie
If you like Will Smith's one-man-army movies, you'll like this one. If you have ever heard of Isaac Asimov and his writing, don't bother. I can recommend this movie ONLY to someone who has never read Asimov. (Example: Anyone who had ever read Asimov would know better than to have Susan Calvin terminate a robot.)
Shortly after the movie released on DVD, I found an interview with the screenwriter who explained that the studio bought his story -- then hired someone else to paste in some names and events from Asimov's stories in hope of increasing revenue. The movie was no more inspired by Isaac Asimov than Wolf Lake was inspired by Swan Lake. (2011/03/01)
I admire the film-makers' ability to get paid for this.
First and foremost: the Cyclops wasn't a Roman legend, it was Greek! (Check any decent production of Homer's "Odyssey".)
Eric Roberts was the best-known name in the cast, and therefore the first name mentioned in all the promo advertising. However, with what little screen-time Mr Roberts got, even he could not have saved this turkey. They wrote the Emperor Tiberius' character as if they'd never heard anything about the real man beyond his name. They had Tiberius completely under the sway of his evil counselor.
The CGI Cyclops effect was cartoonish not monstrous! (I've seen better amateur efforts!) It has to be seen to be (dis-)believed. And it's really not worth the trouble.
All in all, I found it not only a waste of my time but a waste of the electricity it took to power my TV.
I have to admire the film-makers' ability to get paid for this.
dreck (noun: trash - worthless trashy stuff, especially low-quality merchandise.)
Another Sci-Fi Channel V-E-R-Y Original Movie
Michael Shanks and JR Bourne do make this one of Sci-Fi Channel's better offerings. Unfortunately, that bar isn't very high.
Once again, the writers for the Sci-Fi Channel ORIGINAL Movies got so very ORIGINAL that they made a complete mish-mosh of the Aztecs, their culture and their mythology.
Half the "artifacts" looked more Mayan then Aztec; especially that stone "Key".
If they can't hire native extras of the right racial group, at least they could have sprung for some body paint for the ones they did hire. I'd not seen such pale natives in decades! Especially desert-dwellers. And flip-flops? Are they serious?
I'd always thought that one of the purposes of CGI was to give movie-makers a range of monsters above the man-in-the-rubber-suit level. Their version of Quetzalcoatl was a joke! It was supposed to be a feathered serpent, not a lizard-man with bat-wings!
Human sacrifice? That, too, was MAYAN, not AZTEC!
And the dagger that Thain's (Shanks' character) father attributed to Pizarro? Pizarro conquered the Incas in what is now Peru. Cortés conquered the Aztecs in what is now Mexico.
Note to wardrobe dept: When doing period pieces, please try to keep in mind the period in question. That flimsy top Ms Doherty was wearing would have been thoroughly unacceptable for a lady of her character's station in that era.
Do I need to mention the visible tire-tracks?
Again, I have to admire the film-makers' ability to get paid for this.
Asimov should have sued.
I have to agree with the viewers who couldn't find words bad enough to describe this perversion of a story that has been hailed as one the greatest short stories in the history of Science Fiction.
I, too, regret renting this movie. I found a copy at a local video rental over twenty years ago and thought I'd get to see my favorite author's favorite story on film. The Good Doctor should have sued. If he couldn't sue for what they did to his story, he might have sued to remove his name and all references to his characters.
I can't spoil the film because I couldn't get all the way through it. The portion I DID see left the distinct impression of having been written from a garbled treatment of a garbled synopsis of a garbled description by someone who MIGHT have heard about the story. It wasn't close enough to the original for me to know how their story ended.
The people responsible for perpetrating this travesty of Asimov's Nightfall should have their creative licenses revoked. It didn't resemble Asimov's story any more than Wolf Lake resembled Swan Lake -- at least they're both about lakes.
--GQ in Long Beach