Reviews written by registered user
|65 reviews in total|
Which isn't to say it's better (or as good as) the original KONG, which is a film that will never be equaled (as De Laurentis and Peter Jackson spent millions proving). But as sequels go this one is just right. When modern film makers produce a sequel to a hit movie they essentially remake it only bigger. If the original had ten explosion the sequel has a hundred, if the original had one big angry monster the sequel has five. In other words they take a good idea and turn it into something tedious and overblown. The producers of SON OF KONG shrewdly realized that they could never top the original so they gave us a pleasant little followup instead. As another reviewer aptly noted, SON is a light dessert after a steak dinner, which is just what you want. The effects and action are good, the humor is excellent, and I for one prefer Helen Mack's spunky gal to Fay Wray's insipid heroine. So sue me.
I'm referring to Guy Williams, not the movie. The movie itself, though not up to Harryhausen's SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, is nonetheless a lot of fun and far more entertaining that either GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD or the awful SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER. Williams is excellent in the title role, physically perfect and far more dashing than any other actor I can think of in the part. And those who carp about the cheap special effects are (as usual) totally missing the point. Aside from the absurdity of using CGI as your yardstick (does anyone actually think the effects in AVATAR or LORD OF THE RINGS look real? Come on...) the manifestly theatrical menaces in CAPTAIN SINDBAD are part of the fun. The villain's pulsing disembodied heart, like a big satin pillow, is a clear tip-off: none of this is MEANT to be real! It's like an elaborate Christmas pantomime. And that giant mechanical hand is terrific. A cross between this movie and SEVENTH VOYAGE would have been the perfect Sinbad movie. Or Sindbad. Take your pick.
You have to be a die hard monster movie fan to enjoy this movie, but I'm guessing if you are you'll like it a lot. I certainly did. That's not to imply that GODZILLA & OTHER MOVIE MONSTERS is particularly well done. It's crude and the footage from myriad monster movies is grainy, scratchy, and faded, but the sheer volume material, going all the way back to beginning of movies, is a pleasure in itself. Some of the clips here I'd never seen before, and I've spent a lifetime in front of the tube enjoying these kinds of films. Not a lot of scholarly research is evident, but again so what. And to correct what another reviewer wrote, this movie does not claim that BEGINNING OF THE END was the first giant insect movie --- although it shows clips from the giant grasshopper flick first, it goes on to cite THEM as the original monster bug movie --- and then treats us to an entertaining montage of giant scorpions, ants, spiders etc. to the tune of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee"! All in all this movie is a treat for un-discriminating B movie monster fans.
Let me say right from the start that I am a big, big Morecambe and Wise fan and have been ever since I was a kid. I'd heard that their features were but pale shadows of their TV work but even thus forewarned I was shocked by the total lack of humor in this film. THE MAGNIFICENT TWO is clearly meant to be something like the Hope and Crosby ROAD movies and I can't think of two comics who could have carried it off better than Eric and Ernie --- like Bob and Bing, they relied much on spirited ad-libs and spontaneity to earn their laughs, but this movie saddles them with a dreadfully humorless script which they seemed to follow like leaden zombies. Let me give you an example of what this movie's creators thought was funny: Eric and Ernie have an argument with their mouths so stuffed with food you can't hear what they're saying. Laugh? You'll never start. The only reason I gave THE MAGNIFICENT TWO two stars instead of only one is out of respect for the boys. Check out their stuff on YouTube. They were funny, funny men.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Probably not. Most likely (and I mean this in all seriousness) this movie just went over the heads of most reviewers. They were expecting a DUKES OF HAZARD romp and instead were presented with a scathingly accurate portrayal of the good ol' boy lifestyle in all it's Neanderthal glory. Also they saw a movie made on the cheap in the 70s, two very big strikes against it in the eyes of contemporary viewers. Sure, the garish colors and harsh lighting scream "cheesy" to audiences weaned on the kind of multi-zillion dollar Hollywood crap that lost touch with reality decades ago. The verisimilitude of this movie is stunning (again, no irony intended). The characters are dead on representations of their type, a very real type I assure you, and the cheap location shooting only adds to the realism. Even the girls in the wet tee-shirt contest don't look like models or actresses, they look like the kind of women you'd really find in a red-neck bar shaking their hooters for the amusement of a bunch of drunks (no offense to these ladies, wherever they are). And the most surprising thing about THE BOYS/Texas LIGHTNING are the occasional subtleties, the little nuances of character. The whole scene where they hunters are stopped in their pick-up truck (complete with gun rack, of course) by a black policemen is nothing but a small but revealing character aside. It's great. I never thought I could say this about a movie called Texas LIGHTNING but it's really an art film. It should be appreciated by more discriminating movie fans. Unfortunately I suspect most people only watched this movie hoping to see Marcia Brady naked. (Possible spoiler: they must have been sorely disappointed).
Few films have ever captured the feel of a fantasy world better than this one. The opening sequence alone (no, I'm not talking about the Hugh Downes intro) is absolutely masterful, presenting us with a seemingly unending series of striking images done using a technique (described at length by other reviewers) I don't think has ever been used again in a feature. Fantastic planes, trains, and airships soar past evoking a sort of "steam-punk" atmosphere of retro technology before that term was ever coined. Film fans, Verne fans, fans of pure hand-crafted cinema artistry and imagination must do themselves a favor and check this movie out.
I have to reluctantly join the majority who gave this film a thumbs down. I rented it fully expecting to enjoy it so it's not like I didn't give it a fair shot --- I gave it a more than fair shot, sticking with it all the way to the end, but it wasn't easy. There's a great deal of talent on display but it doesn't add up to much. I find the frequent references to WITHNAIL'S "hilarity" truly baffling. I laughed exactly twice during the whole movie, and now I can't remember why. Certainly it's possible to make a good movie about obnoxious losers --- TRAINSPOTTING did it beautifully --- but WITHNAIL reminded me of nothing so much as being trapped on a long bus ride next to an obnoxious bore who won't shut up. You don't want to be rude but man do you want that ride to be over.
I'd be mildly interested in knowing a little more about the background of this movie. It's supposed to be a comedy but I found nothing vaguely amusing about it. It looks more than anything like a portfolio piece designed to showcase the talents of Watts and/or the director and open a few doors, and the fact that it seems to have been a short expanded to feature length makes this all the more likely. At any rate, from what I can tell (to be honest I lost interest after the first fifteen minutes or so and skimmed it on fast forward) it has all the hallmarks of a credit card movie, that is a movie put together with little more than a maxed out credit card and the good will of the people involved. The image looks shot with a consumer grade camcorder although the lighting was respectable. The sound is awful but I get the sense this was intentional, to give the movie a more "cinema verite" feel. To top it off Watts' performance is all overwrought angst --- I have never seen more huge close-ups of an actress sobbing uncontrollably in any one movie. This is the kind of thing that performers expect will really impress producers, reinforcing my idea that ELLIE PARKER was intended as a promotional tool for its star. Good luck. I hope she makes it.
I rented this movie expecting, at best, an hour and a half of mindless fun, and the first few minutes seemed to confirm this. Some of the jokes fell flat, the whole thing had a limp, directionless feel. Just goes to show how wrong I can be. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. The satire of 60s/70s exploitation film making is dead on. Jerry Stiller is hilarious. The line-up of cameos is amazing. And Jeannine Garafolo is superb, not underused at all but used with subtlety and humor. She holds the movie together and makes it more than just a bunch of gags, and it's largely thanks to her (and Stiller) that the ending is not only funny but, amazingly enough, touching as well. For fans of bottom of the barrel film-making and for aspiring movie makers everywhere this is a must-see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Taken for what it's intended to be this movie isn't nearly as bad as
most others have said. Unfortunately many people are quick to criticize
a film for not living up to their preconceptions, and even more just
like to slam movies to make themselves feel superior to the film
makers, as if mocking a film were somehow a greater accomplishment than
creating one in the first place. People like that should limit their
opinions to two words --- "It sucks" --- and let it go at that.
Anything more is a waste of time.
Getting back to MONSTER ISLAND: First the good points. It's well produced and quite well photographed. The sets look good and the locations, while limited, are beautiful. And despite the rather violent opening it is clearly intended for children, and rather young children at that. It reminds me more than anything of the old BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR. I'm quite sure if you sat a bunch of six year olds down with this movie they'd be quite entertained, and a kid's film that entertains kids can hardly be called a failure. Regarding the much maligned monster effects, granted they're not convincing but this is explained away in a reasonably plausible manner, and bad as they are they're integrated into the film with clever and reasonably successful perspective shots. The seaweed creatures are simple but initially impressive even if they lose something in the full shots. And the "French" castaway is certainly cute.
On the debit side: Well, crappy monsters even plausibly explained still look like crap, and the comic professor becomes just unbearable after a while. And the action is staged very poorly.
Final verdict: watch it with a bunch of little kids before you pass judgment. Smug frat boys and MST3K fans are worthless when assessing a movie like this.
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