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Mythica: The Darkspore (2015)
Did the ending fall off this movie?
This is wholly a spoiler, because as far as this kind of movie goes, the acting and dialogue was fine. I give the 2 stars for that. And what has been said about the sets, effects and fights has already been said. So here is my gripe, and the spoiler:
The tag line is: "Marek and her company must go on a journey and prevent Szorlok from obtaining all the shards of the Darkspore, or all will be lost."
So what happened? The 'heroes' give the Darkspore to Szorlock, and therefore, surely, all is lost?
But no - they head off on another adventure.
Wait - you haven't finished this one yet! Come back! The evil wizard has the most powerful artefact in the world and doom will befall all, and you've already forgotten what an utter balls-up you've made of everything...
Actually, on second thoughts - don't come back.
Not quite there... but back anyway *SPOILER*
What a dreary load of mawkish pap. If I have to see McKellen doing his puppy-eyes while watching Bilbo have a 'special moment' with someone, one more time, I'll be forced to join Sauron.
The latter half was just one more interminably drawn-out 'final' battle, all devoid of tension and ultimately, pointless. The film does well to highlight the story from the book, and how it isn't really a story. They all converge on the mountain, ostensibly to take the treasure, have an almighty row in which *spoiler* every army suffers huge casualties, the rightful king of the mountain dies, and then Bilbo goes home.
I guess the remnants of the five armies just wander off, whistling tunelessly. I know i did.
Space Station 76 (2014)
Adrift in space...
So, I don't know how many stars I'm going to give this, yet, as the film divided me completely. The setting and the Space 1999esque situation, the mock seriousness that ends up being funny, all the cinematic touches, screen shots, angles, pauses, were wonderful, and so artfully done, that for the first half of the film I did not mind that most of the characters were single-dimension and the only plotting came from character arcs that had happened before the film started.
And of course there is Captain Glenn. Head and shoulders above all the other characters, he's just brilliant. Liv Tyler was whatever. Certainly not detrimental to the role, but not really an asset either, but then Jessica's character only had relevance in the point she was making (a quite unsubtle one amidst a myriad delicate touches) of a woman with brains in a 70s space station. I must say I also enjoyed the awkwardness of pretty much every character - in an inverse way to how I absolutely hated such characters in so many mediocre and/or appalling films from the 70s, where everyone is unable to access their own feelings in any way...
But what finally let the whole thing down was the singular lack of anything even approaching a story, and all plotting merely devices for characters to react against, without consequence, except for the final one, which was underwhelming and symbolically,as empty as the whole film. Maybe the singular lack of any kind of story whatsoever may have been part of the parody...
Pretending to be meaningful in displaying a few tender moments in a set of lives otherwise as totally adrift and in space as the station itself, but for me this was a step to far, and left me rather disappointed at something which started with so much promise.
Looks good, but don't think about this movie. *SPOILERS*
Hmm, this was a tricky one. For the first 80% of the movie, I thought it was rather good. It looked pretty, the suspense was good, and the action fun and bloody - what you want form this sort of film.
As long as you could ignore: The mythology. The representation of gods, demi-gods and titans. The story. Most of the acting. You would be well satisfied with this. However the last 15 minutes or so were a complete nonsense. First, all the crap about prophecy that had been running most of the suspense up to then were just ignored. Theseus rejects Hyperion - so we are meant to believe he would have embraced him if it had not been for his burial of his mother? Er, okay... The bow, key to everything, lost and then Theseus' mate gets it, and Zeus destroys it - well that's done then. Literally, a Deus in Machina... So they are all fighting in the wall, and rather than have to fight all the way through the unbelievably strong defences of the city, Hyperion just slips up an unguarded stairway and is suddenly in the deepest sanctum? Pathetic! And then it is suddenly all over and everyone just goes home. Are Apollo, Athena and Poseidon dead? Who knows? And so like the film, this review ends abruptly, with, if you care, a lot of unanswered questions... but it is much more likely you won't. Move on, there is nothing to see here...
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Go and watch Arnie again...
I like Jason Monoa, and I feel for him, swamped by a piece of utterly tripe storytelling. The dialogue was passable, fairly good action without it being epic in any way at all. There are some nice looking props and scenes, and a few of the cast display some reasonable acting talent, when they are given the chance to. But clichéd as hell. Okay, I know this is Conan, the template for all other sword and sorcery, and thus the inventor of the cliché, but this was done in such a ham-fisted and myopic way. The plot was ridiculously contrived and each scene just jumped to the next - "Conan go here." "Okay." "Oh look, we're there." He's trailing the girl and what does he find? One of witch-girl's finger spikes. Like she'd accidentally leave one behind! And a convenient horse just waiting there for him! Actually, the more I think, the more stupid so many things become. Like, when some sort of Kraken is about to eat them, but the guards rush in to fight him anyway, and more are killed by the Kraken in their castle than Conan kills... All of which strips the plotting of any meaning, the film of any atmosphere, and the experience of any worth. As for the true nature of what the film *should* be, the director has as much feel for the exotic nature or the romantic savagery it is intended to portray as a 7-year old. I am saying that specifically, because as a 10-year old I used to choreograph better adventures. I was just an average child, and claim no special skills in this area, but seriously, Nispel, this is pathetic. No loving hand crafted this, and
did I mention the story was complete guff? Almost non-existent, actually. I blame the writers, but the director most of all. The man is a complete idiot. He has the pacing and vision of a blind tortoise... with 3 legs, and he has destroyed what should have been a masterpiece. I initially gave the 4 stars, but after writing this, it has dropped to 2. Don't watch it. The 1982 Arnie one is 100 times better.
A Sound of Thunder (2005)
If time travel were possible...
... I would go back two hours and not watch this film.
--------------------------------- CONTAINS QUITE A FEW SPOILERS - And may put you off if you thought seeing this film was a good idea. ---------------------------------
I love time travel - books and movies. I've even written a few short stories using the theme myself. And also because an SF movie with CGI is always a good way to spend a couple of hours. Sorry, I should amend that - is ALMOST always a good way.
Therefore I so wanted this film to be good. I pleaded and begged it, but to no avail. I've reread this story several times since I first read it as a teenager, and the Ray Bradbury Theatre version is OK, although filmed in that weird American style of the early eighties, as if the sound's been stuck on later and with an odd colour shift.
But it was so bad it was laughable. I couldn't give a rat's arse for the CGI - if a film is good it doesn't matter - but the insane contrivances drove me mad. I overlooked the whole way the team was worked, and only mildly cringed at Ben Kingsley taking yet another nonsense film role like Species. The tripe he came out with was pathetic and actually beyond clichéd - not a phrase I thought I would ever use, and although admittedly he tried to inject humour into his ridiculous lines, ultimately it was a pained delivery. But then all the characters were cardboard, and I mean no disrespect to the actors in anything except their choice of employer.
But in memory of the great Mr B, I was still willing to give it a further go. So I also let pass the blatant contradiction at the very foundation of the film - the bit not written by Ray - they never quite seemed to understand the different scenarios of Time Travel at all - can you change the past (Terminator) or not? (Time Machine)
But added to this the time waves (although Zemeckis used a variation of them in Back to the Future - he made it seem convincing in Christopher Lloyd's able hands) were just silly, knocking people flying, having huge trees appear (sometimes simultaneously with the waves, sometimes not), without destroying any buildings or chucking any animals around: what was all that about, except special effects?
And the combat was so sad (the big eel-thing. I don't, I think, need to say more). And the way they were continually chased by steroid-ridden mandrills, and stupid giant bats (just shoot it!) And almost all the dialogue. And was there supposed to be some chemistry there? Missed that one. And the turning a university particle accelerator into a time warp device accurate to 1 minute in 150 million years and didn't they appear right there but back in time, so how did trooping across the city put him back at the T Rex?....
The more I think about this film, the more I am coming to the conclusion that I have probably seen a worse film, but I can't think what it is at the moment. For these reasons and more, I had to come here and rant about it.
Sorry about that.
Out-hams the Hammer
Great stuff. The parodies are spot on, and with a class cast, this makes for a far more subtle vignette than can be seen at first glance. If you are an 'appreciater' of the late 60s, early 70s Hammer films (often with either Mr Lee or Mr Cushing), you should find much in this to enjoy. Of course Steve Coogan hams it up, but why else are you watching it? It's a little telling when you realise that it's no less ridiculous than the films it is sending up, and Dr Terrible is always a source of mirth.
I have not seen all the episodes, but the ones I have often encapsulate a whole sub-genre within the horror theme. There is only the one series, and it is a shame the BBC (once more) didn't have strength of character enough to commission more.
The title tells it all - and the series lives up to it admirably. It's the sort of thing you will like, if you like this sort of thing.
King Arthur (2004)
The Heroic Age is truly over...
With a complete absence of epic scale, this film is right about one thing - it is not legendary in any way. Clive Owen gives the most mind-numbingly uncharismatic rendition of King Arthur i've ever seen - his monotone would better suit a bit-part in Eastenders rather than the greatest British hero of all time. This is the fellow who supposedly united the tribes of England into one nation! Even Nigel Terry gave a better performance, but also partly because the script to Excalibur towers over the rubbish the actors come out with in 'King Arthur'. The battles were interesting, and I felt Bors and Lancelot gave the piece a lift, but as for the depiction of one of the most tragic love stories in literature - I found myself reaching for the matchsticks. But the worst thing about this film is summed up by the writer and producer themselves. Bruckheimer says, "King Arthur is the definitive story of the leader and warrior who emerged to lead the Brittons against the Saxons.". Franzoni says "The truth is that King Arthur lived in a much earlier time. There's a moment in history that we can actually pin down." This is the type of 'Faction' that should have some sort of intellectual warning on it - It is utter nonsense. Arthur very probably was born in an earlier time, but that time was most likely around 490 AD. Since the Roman army left Britain in 410 AD, Arthur and his 'Roman' knights would have had to hang around a while before the battle of Badon (518 AD). Also, if there is any truth at all in the idea that Arthur fought against the Saxons at this battle, he would have to have been the king of Powys, and therefore of strong Welsh blood, and most definitely not Roman, adopted or otherwise. My advice: see this film with a group of friends on DVD, so you can talk or forward over the dialogue, and just watch the battles. If you know anything of history, leave those ideas at the door. 4/10 Historically inaccurate, poorly written, directed, and produced.