Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Bionic Woman (2007)
David, you should know better
Actually, this reminds me of another 70's "classic" - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. Take the music of the Beatles, combine with two of the most successful acts of the day, add the most successful producer of the decade, spice with Steven Tyler, Steve Martin, Alice Cooper and stir. How could you lose? Easy. No talent, no matter how good, can overcome a nonexistent script and cringeworthy "special effects".
Welcome to the new Bionic Woman.
Let's get the inevitable BSG comparison over with. Battlestar succeeds on the strength of writing and characters. The creative team is strong enough to remain true to a vision, the actors talented enough to bring astonishing writing to vivid reality.
Here comes the same team! With the same idea! (Campy 70's project with a solid idea at the core.) Revive. Make it better. Stronger. Faster. So if anything, Bionic Woman teaches us that lightning doesn't strike twice (though credit where it's due - the opening sequence kicks serious ass. Sort of BSG meets Lost.).
Jamie Sommers worked for me in the 70's because she was a bit overwhelmed, but strong, clever and determined. The new show strips all this away, then adds writing so bad it wouldn't pass for grade school. For sound effects we get wet sofa thumps and granola crunches.
Katee Sackhoff will come through this unscathed. Not only does her body of work speak for itself, but even in this situation she's more intriguing than our "leads". I'd love to see more of Will Yun Lee, and Miguel Ferrer will laugh about this later, though he may wish to have a chat with his agent. The one I wonder about is David Eick. David... what were you thinking?? You know what it takes to make something like this work. It's an ambitious project. You can NOT just phone this in.
If they sack the writers, invest in actual special effects and let Jamie grow a spine this may work (or instead of a vs. scenario, make Jamie and Sarah partners). I dashed out to download the first episode, I won't be staying home nights to catch the second. I'll let fan buzz tell me what happens next and maybe, should things improve, catch it on reruns.
The Verbinski Bruckheimer Glut Fest
When a movie is filmed it's standard to shoot a ton of footage they don't need. Present all that footage to a team of editors. They snag all the good stuff for the story and leave the rest on the cutting room floor.
Or, in the case of the Bruckheimer / Verbinski team, it'll produce a 3 hour ego driven glut fest.
I freely admit - I LOVE the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean. I'd sit down to dinner with any one of them and have a good time. So it was very comfortable to see them all again over the weekend. But sometimes people are just people. You hang out and not much happens. It's just fun. Sometimes you have adventures, but mostly it's just hanging out. That's what World's End is like - nice to be with them if you had nothing else better to do.
Technically speaking it feels like every take was forced into the film at some point. An editor with a strong will could have made sense out of this tidal wave of material, but instead they just piled on the crap hoping that some of it would appeal to someone at some point.
If, for example, they just focused on Tia Dalma - GREAT story!! I would have loved to see more of how she got involved with all this. Did we actually need the East Indian Trading Company story line in addition to hers? The inclusion of Norrington and Gov. Swann in addition to that? The Singapore story line in addition to those? (and what a waste of a world class actor!) Barbossa's return would have been fascinating on its own - yet in the middle of everything else the genuine and powerful relationship between Jack and Barbossa receives only a passing glance. Are you kidding?
More isn't more in a film like this. Rush and Depp both should have been brought down from the rafters. And what on EARTH happened to Orlando Bloom? He has grown into a compelling actor, as evident in every one of his scenes (watch him drink tea with Beckett if you think I'm kidding). Unfortunately, he's barely in the film! No, this is Keira Knightley's film start to finish. And while she's a lovely actress she can't carry it.
Oh, and one more complaint. I only understood - MAYBE - one phrase in six. Every character in this film has an accent so strong it should get its own credit. No two are alike, and most are absolute gibberish - from Barbossa on down. And that breaks my heart - especially in Barbossa's case. The man is known for his verbal skills ("I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request.") so making him and every other soul sound as though they're chewing marbles didn't help.
Like Phantom Menace this movie has more to do with trade negotiation and politics than action and adventure. There's pitiful little swash or buckle to compensate for our 3 hours spent. The climactic maelstrom at the end was like everything else - there simply for the sake of being there. A few really impressive shots came out of it, but I was left thinking "why are they even there? Is there a point to this?"
When the"Director's Cut" of this bloated tick comes out we should demand less,not more. Less politics, navel gazing, soul searching, character multiples and hopeless justifications. More rock crabs (damn those were cool). More strong Elizabeth and less shrill Elizabeth. MORE WILL. LESS hyperspaz Jack. MORE "I've survived this long because I'm crazy like a fox" Jack. MORE understandable dialog. Less meaningless maelstrom. More beautiful black ships cresting ivory sand dunes (hey, it's in the trailers - that's not a spoiler!) More content. Less filler.
Just freakin' sad. The end, when Will's fate is finally revealed, was darn near worth the whole thing. Almost. Simple, clean and beautiful. If they could get that right how could they screw up the rest so badly? At the end of the day I feel like I'm still waiting to see Pirate's 3. Nothing with that much potential, so highly anticipated, could have turned out so flat out awful.
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
It is said that there are only seven plots in all the world, and Shakespeare used all of them. His themes are universal, written so that no member of the audience - whatever his station - is left unrepresented.
This is why I found not just the direction but the casting so delightful in this particular version of Much Ado. Though arguably set in its own era, the cast mirrors a contemporary diversity which is the heart and soul of any accessible version of the plays. Thus did Don Pedro command both a dignity and humor, remembering his station while revealing himself to be quite human (Wilt thou have me, Lady?). When he's present it's impossible to look away.
Playing with social conceptions is another classic Shakespearian device, as demonstrated by the admirable casting of Don John. Again tall, noble, yet menacing to a look, few of words, and coiled for battle even when there seems none. The brothers look nothing alike, stressing John's "Bastard" state to make a point perhaps lost on a contemporary audience, and offer a relevance to his actions which to some may seem obscure.
Those were the two I found most interesting. Of the leading four it's nearly impossible to single any out - they're as outstanding as I expected. Though perhaps special mention should go to Emma Thompson for rendering tongue twisting lines with the speed and ease of a native speaker. Most of the time in a movie like this I'm aware that people are acting. Never her - her lines seem so lite and free she seems almost born in the wrong era.
Of all the modern versions of our timeless Bard, I think only Richard III (McKellen) fares better. This Much Ado is food for the soul and should be cherished.