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Here is my website: http://sites.google.com/site/mattsmoviewatchingworld/
Here is my top 100:
1. The Incredibles (2004) 10
2. Toy Story 2 (1999) 10
3. Toy Story (1995) 10
4. Aladdin (1992) 10
5. Lilo & Stitch (2002) 10
6. Toy Story 3 (2010) 10
7. Frozen (2013) 10
8. The Best Two Years (2003) 10
9. Beauty and the Beast (1991) 10
10. The Land Before Time (1988) 10
11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) 10
12. Wreck-It Ralph (2012) 10
13. The Lion King (1994) 10
14. National Treasure (2004) 10
15. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) 10-
16. Signs (2002) 10-
17. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) 10-
18. Back to the Future - Part III (1990) 10-
19. Back to the Future (1985) 10-
20. Back to the Future - Part II (1989) 9+
21. Jurassic Park (1993) 9+
22. Monsters, Inc. (2001) 9+
23. Independence Day (1996) 9+
24. Lilo & Stitch 2 (2005) 9+
25. Pinocchio (1940) 9+
26. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) 9+
27. King Kong (2005) 9+
28. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) 9+
29. Home Alone (1990) 9+
30. Mary Poppins (1964) 9+
31. Kung Fu Panda (2008) 9+
32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010) 9+
33. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011) 9+
34. Matilda (1996) 9
35. Peter Pan (1953) 9
36. The NeverEnding Story (1984) 9
37. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) 9
38. The Emperor's New Groove (2000) 9
39. The Iron Giant (1999) 9
40. Mighty Joe Young (1998) 9
41. Spider-Man 3 (2007) 9
42. Monsters University (2013) 9
43. Chicken Little (2005) 9
44. Short Circuit (1986) 9
45. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 9
46. Joe versus the Volcano (1990) 9
47. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 9
48. The Truman Show (1998) 9
49. Spider-Man (2002) 9
50. Leroy & Stitch (2006) 9
51. The Prince of Egypt (1998) 9
52. Despicable Me (2010) 9
53. We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993) 9
54. Casper (1995) 9
55. Cars (2006) 9
56. Mulan (1998) 9
57. Gremlins (1984) 9
58. WALL-E (2008) 9-
59. Turbo (2013) 9-
60. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) 9-
61. Bee Movie (2007) 9-
62. DuckTales - the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990) 9-
63. The Lego Movie (2014) 9-
64. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) 9-
65. Alice in Wonderland (1985) 9-
66. Space Jam (1996) 9-
67. Stitch! The Movie (2003) 9-
68. A Goofy Movie (1995) 9-
69. The Core (2003) 9-
70. The Rescuers Down Under (1990) 9-
71. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) 9-
72. Despicable Me 2 (2013) 9-
73. Little Shop of Horrors (1986) 9-
74. Forrest Gump (1994) 9-
75. Hook (1991) 9-
76. Groundhog Day (1993) 9-
77. The Princess Bride (1987) 9-
78. Gravity (2013) 9-
79. Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns) (2002) 9-
80. Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1995) 9-
81. The Little Mermaid (1989) 9-
82. 9 (2009) 9-
83. Godzilla (1998) 9-
84. Coneheads (1993) 9-
85. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 8+
86. Titan A.E. (2000) 8+
87. Finding Nemo (2003) 8+
88. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) 8+
89. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) 8+
90. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) 8+
91. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013) 8+
92. The BFG (1989) 8+
93. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) 8+
94. Jumanji (1995) 8+
95. One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) 8+
96. The Terminator (1984) 8+
97. Cloverfield (2008) 8+
98. Horton Hears a Who! (2008) 8+
99. Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) 8+
100. Tangled (2010) 8+
If you want to see my full list of my movies and what scores I gave them out of 10, here is my website's list, from favorite to least favorite:
Here is my website's chart of my movie reviews, listed alphabetically:
Understanding my rating system:
10 - rare, perfect or near perfect
9 - above average, with some minor flaws
8 - the better half of the average movies
7 - the lesser half of the average movies
6 - below average, but more good than bad
5 - not quality, but good and bad are about even
4 - bad, but some good
3 - very bad, few good qualities
2 - a lot of bad, minor snippets of good
1 - this movie should not have been made (I've never seen one)
Because the average filmmaker at least attempts to make a good movie, and because I don't usually see movies I don't think would be good, the average is 7 or 8.
In, summary, 1 - 4: Bad 5 - 7: Okay 8 - 10: Good
The Avengers (2012)
Marvelous action, but average characters in an average superhero movie
This movie is getting immensely good reviews, universal critical acclaim. I'd hate to be the sore thumb standing out giving the movie an average review, or what sounds below-average compared to all the other reviews, but I was having a hard time enjoying this movie. Part of the problem was an overwhelmingly distracting midnight-premiere audience. I liked it better the second time, a few weeks later when the theater was much less attended, but not a whole lot because of reasons I'll explain next.
Though this is a combination superhero movie, the idea of which I really like, and though it's likable how the interactions between the heroes was important, I wasn't so completely sure the relationships between the heroes was very believable. Sometimes it seemed so, but not really. I expected there to be more time devoted to the heroes getting to know each other, as if they were actually unaware of each other before the start of the movie, but instead they all knew each other pretty well pretty early. It seemed the heroes showed a little less respect to each other than they probably should have. In fact, in several parts, heroes got into fights with each other, which I really don't like seeing in the movies. I would have liked to see Captain America, my personal favorite of the Avengers heroes, in more of a leadership role than what he was given. But would the Captain's shield, forged by mortal Muggles back in the 1940's, really be able to deflect Iron Man's or Loki's power beams (which is maybe just a minor complaint)? Speaking of Loki, he and his brother are back from Thor, and Loki seemed to stand out a little more as a good villain than he did in Thor. But then there is the awkward situation that those characters, as gods or demigods or whatever you call them, contribute to the story. This combination superhero movie makes the point that a team of superheroes can do more than what one superhero could do by himself. But because Loki, a god, was the main bad guy, I spent most of the movie believing that Thor, also a god, would have been the only hero capable of stopping Loki.
I would also have liked to see more of the supporting characters from the pre-Avengers movies show up in this movie. Erik Selvig from Thor and Pepper Potts from Iron Man were good showing up, and it had to have been hard bringing back most or all of the Captain America characters what with them being from the 1940's. But I wish we could have seen Don Cheadle (or Terrence Howard) as Rhodey from the Iron Man movies, William Hurt as General Ross from The Incredible Hulk, Anthony Hopkins as Odin from Thor, or the heroes' girlfriends, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster from Thor, or Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter from Captain America (pictures of Jane and Peggy both appeared briefly, so that was okay). The existing supporting characters were good for the most part, particularly Nick Fury and Phil Coulson (though I don't know how Nick Fury's apparent lack of superpowers puts him in a rightful place to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. or a team of superheroes). But I also have to say it was awkward that Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) were on the Avengers team. Though Romanoff is pretty good at spying and kicking butt, she's not a superhero. I'm sure that some showbiz news story reported back in 2009 or so that Black Widow would be a villain alongside Whiplash in Iron Man 2, but it was a disappointment to me watching Iron Man 2 that she never turned out to be a villain (she's still not a villain in The Avengers). Her name "Natalie Rushman" as used in Iron Man 2 seems to be completely fake, and her name "Black Widow" was used a couple times in The Avengers, which was infinitely more than the number of times it was used in Iron Man 2. And why is she called "Black Widow"? She's not African-American, she doesn't have a dead husband (that I know of), and she was never bitten by a radioactive spider. Hawkeye doesn't have any interesting or significant name either, and his superpower is nothing more than notable skill in using a bow and arrow, and though he appeared briefly in Thor, which I didn't notice the first time I watched it, I couldn't tell how his involvement made the movie much more interesting. So describe this movie as being about four superheroes (not five or six or seven), one supervillain, a supervillain's army of evil baddies, and four Muggle supporting heroes. Maybe I'm just not familiar with the comic books these characters are based on, and maybe I'm just overthinking this a little too much.
On the other hand, the action was marvelous, and if I was to judge this movie entirely by its action, it would be the best or almost best action movie ever made. While still sitting in the theater my first time, I was a little bothered by how pessimistic about this I seemed to be, but walking out of the theater I felt a little more optimistic, that I'm sure I'll like this more when I see it more times.
The Hunger Games (2012)
How The Hunger Games movie compares to the first chapter of The Hunger Games book
My review for this movie probably started back a year and a half or so before the movie came out. I think the book Mockingjay had just come out, and I heard of some people who were reading and recommending it. Before long, it was the newest big book series on the popularity level of Harry Potter and Twilight, even though at that point I had never heard of the previous two books in the trilogy, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. (Some people close to the books could tell me that the previous books were always popular, but I have no proof.) It seemed undeniable that it would be the next big movie franchise. If it was, I knew I would eventually see it. But when I did would depend on what I knew about it. My awareness of what it was about changed over the course of a year or so. My first bare assumption of its content guessed it was some cheesy love story. But when I picked up a book and read the description on the back, it looked like a potentially intriguing story of a battle to the death on live television within an oppressive nation, which is pretty close to what it really is. Over a little more time, I thought I understood some premise that it's in the sci-fi genre, more so than Harry Potter and Twilight, and that represented the point where I began strongly considering reading the book. Then over a little more time, I started feeling a little pessimism about it. Really, 24 teenagers from throughout Panem, being forced by their government to kill each other on television until one is left? Is that a necessarily sci-fi premise, and would it really be uplifting enough for me to put it in a classic place in my history?
Then a month or so before the movie's release, I decided to go to the bookstore, pick up the book, sit down, read the first chapter, and leave the bookstore, considering that I would decide to read the whole book (and see the movie early) if the first chapter was particularly compelling. I considered the book fairly difficult to read, and it took five or ten pages before I could really understand what the first two to four pages were saying. But the book made enough sense by the time I read a couple pages into the second chapter, which was where I decided would be as far as I would get with the book, and I would see the movie in the discount theater. The first chapter is about the characters Katniss, her younger sister Primrose, and her friend Gale, and the second chapter as far as I read introduced Peeta. The story seems to emphasize that it's about Katniss volunteering to replace Primrose as District 12 tribute to the Hunger Games, but that's really only what the first chapter is about. Primrose and Gale have very little to do with the rest of the story. I was able to figure this out even as I stopped at that point in the book and before I watched the movie. I hope (and people who have read all the books could confirm or deny) that the sequels are a little more focused on them.
The Hunger Games came to the discount theater when the London Olympics were on TV, which interestingly enough, was a good time to watch it, though it goes without saying that it's nice to live in a world where the Olympics are not the Hunger Games. My impression of the rest of the book seemed pretty close to what I saw on the screen. Somewhat intriguing, but nothing really compelling. Nothing that made me cheer, and the logical lack of applause from the citizens of Panem probably had something to do with that. People I had talked to who had read the book said that there are dramatic interactions between the characters, particularly before the Games begin, and that's basically true. The big picture of the story doesn't really put it all the way into the sci-fi genre, but some little sci-fi elements, including genetically engineered creatures, made the movie a little closer to my kind of thing. There is obviously quite a bit of disturbing violent content, and I was right that it wouldn't be very uplifting.
As for the cinematic artwork of the filmmakers, the directing and acting were okay, and the music which I often pay attention to was also okay. It is an action movie, but because the sci-fi elements are somewhat subdued and almost the whole thing could theoretically happen in two hundred years or so, that doesn't really justify it for classic visual effects. The costume design, makeup, and hairstyling were obviously really weird, especially on the government people, and I don't know how much the book suggested that. I guess that justifies it for consideration for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup of the year. Is "may the odds be ever in your favor" supposed to be the new "may the Force be with you"? It's quotable, but I don't think that's really going to work.
And my last comment, why is it called "The Hunger Games"? I can tell that the government tries to lighten up the mood of the competition by calling it a "game," but other than the fact that competitors might sometimes get a little hungry during the games, I don't know where the "Hunger" part of the name comes from. If I were writing it, "The Panem Games" probably would have been a better title.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Easily the Least Classic Star Wars Movie
My first reaction to the beginning was, "Okay, the beginning has the tagline, 'A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....' which is good ... the theme music brings in the 'Clone Wars' logo, whereas all the other SW movies begin with the 'Star Wars' logo, but that's okay (not good, but okay) ... the theme music is the same theme, but a different arrangement, which isn't good ... Hey! Wheres the iconic opening crawl, that slants up the screen, introducing us to the story!? That's bad. It's not Star Wars without that." We do see R2-D2, the most lovable and classic robot character in movie history, but C-3PO has such a long absence that I'm thinking, "Are they actually going to have a Star Wars movie without C-3PO?" Eventually he shows up, and I breathe a sigh of relief thinking, "There he is." There was also a long absence of Padmé. There were three SW movies without her, but for this time period in the story, we needed her there. After watching the movie, I realized I couldn't remember a time when someone said, "I have a bad feeling about this" or "May the Force be with you," which was featured in every SW episode. Many of the characters, but not all, were voiced by new actors, but that's not a real big problem. But maybe we can throw all these opinions away, because Clone Wars probably wasn't intended to be a member of The Star Wars Saga, even though it's a Star Wars movie. All it is is a kickoff for the Saturday morning cartoon series, which was made probably only because they thought they could get money.
As for the movie itself, without much comparison to the other episodes, it's almost pretty good. The animation isn't great, but it's not bad. It's just different (like Hoodwinked!). The new character Ahsoka was the first thing I liked. It showed that it wasn't going to be an absolutely lame robot-like war movie. I thought the idea of a baby Hutt was comparatively hilarious "Oh, so that's a baby Hutt!" The overall story is about Anakin and his new apprentice attempting to rescue Jabba's young son and deliver him back, because the side that gains Jabba's favor will influence the outcome of the clone wars. I can see how that can be a logical chronological sub-chapter in the saga, but I can have mixed feelings about that kind of story. Not the most inspired idea, but Hutt junior was funny. One other thing was that because Jabba's son and Ahsoka don't appear in the other SW movies, I predicted that Ahsoka and maybe the baby would die in the movie. I don't know what to think about thinking that.
There wasn't much story about Darth Vader or Anakin's path to the Dark Side, which is what the entire saga is about. But I guess we already established the point that The Clone Wars isn't an epic part of the Saga; it's just a non-epic, non-Saga, Star Wars movie.
The video camera is my favorite inanimate object in movie history that could almost be a character.
It all started when I watched Transformers (2007), which I just happened to watch on opening day, July 3. Before the feature started, we were privileged with a unique trailer of a movie that contained a video-taped party that turned into a video-taped monster disaster. This trailer only ended with a caption that said "From producer J.J. Abrams" and a caption that said "1-18-08." The monster wasn't revealed, and the title wasn't revealed. My first reaction was "Okay," like I didn't know what that was all about, or like I didn't know whether or not it was a real movie at all. Later, after watching Transformers, I thought again about the strange trailer, and thought positive thoughts about what the movie could be. I first saw the trailer to Transformers about a full year before seeing it, and a big blockbuster movie like that would basically only be showing trailers to movies that also would be big blockbusters. So this unusual "1-18-08" movie must be pretty big despite the release date in January, which is usually a month for "stupid" movies. Because of a partial premise that we didn't know exactly what the monster was, or whether or not we've seen this monster before, the movie did get a bunch of anticipation from trailer fans, which I think I'll say I belonged to.
The release came, I decided to remain positive about it, and I saw it opening day at midnight. And the cinematic experience I experienced was very unique and original. Like the promotions suggested, it is a documentation of a monster disaster following a going-away party for a friend, all taken from the perspective of a single hand-held video camera. The plot is intense, and I liked the idea quite a bit. And because the entire movie is taken from the camera's view, we get things that we don't get in movies very often. Behind The Ring from LotR (which does have a will of its own), the video camera is my favorite character in movie history that can be argued whether or not it's a character as it is an inanimate object.
The story is: First, the story of friends who decide to videotape a going-away party for a friend Rob Hawkins. The monster attacks, and these friends attempt to survive. Second, the story of the government as they find the camera at the end, mark the beginning of the tape with "Multiple sightings of case designate 'Cloverfield' Camera retrieved at incident site U.S. 447 Area formerly known as Central Park," and the government uses it for government and/or history purposes. Third, and most of all what I want to emphasize, is the story of the camera, from the beginning of the tape to the end. More than the story of the victims, whose characters we come to appreciate and hope for their survival, more even than the story of the monster, whose neither origins nor fate is entirely explained, it's the story of the camera. We only see the middle of the story of the monster, we see the beginning and middle of the story of the victims, and just with that, the movie isn't quite enough to appreciate. But the story of the camera has a beginning, middle, and end. And the story of that is more than enough of what we need to enjoy the movie.
Because this is nothing more or less than the story of the camera, from the camera's documentation, no music is scored. The credits after the camera's story, which document how this became a fictional story with the intent to entertain movie fans in theaters, is the only place in the entire movie that has music attached. And the music there is quite fun. When the credits for the songs came, I was surprised that there were many songs credited, which I guess were entirely used during the beginning party scene. I almost impatiently waited for the end credit music score to be credited. There was a big space in the credits between the other songs and the end credit music. It was called "Roar! (Cloverfield Overture)" by Michael Giacchino, who I have previously appreciated for the music for The Incredibles. When that credit came up, I clapped madly. I loved the music, and I probably loved the credits just as much as I loved the rest of the movie.
This movie is fun, it proves that there is originality left in the world, and we come to love everyone in the movie, the friends, the monster, and the camera.
My Least Favorite HP Book Was Loads Better than the Movie.
This Harry Potter movie was way too different from the other HP movies. I'm not sure who is the person that is the most to blame for this. It could be the director David Yates, who has never directed anything else that is recognizable. It could be the screenplaywright Michael Goldenberg, who is filling in for Steve Kloves, who is leaving this HP episode as the only one he's not screen writing. Or maybe J.K. Rowling herself, for writing books that are so varied in length, and for forcing the makers of the movies based on longer books to compress stuff and cut important stuff out.
One of my biggest complaints is that the shortest Harry Potter book turned out a movie that was still quite long. The second book was a bit longer, and the movie was a bit longer too. The third book was significantly longer, but the movie was significantly shorter. The fourth book was a lot longer, and the movie was only a bit longer. The fifth book is the longest of all, and the movie is the shortest of all. The first two movies, I predict, will always be my favorite two.
The third movie was the first time I was disappointed in a Potter movie, although I liked it a bit more the more I watched it. It had only one Quidditch match, the one in which Gryffindor loses, while both the other two in the book, in which Gryffindor wins, one of which is the Quidditch Final, were deleted. And it didn't mention the true identities of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, which irked me.
I heard long before the fourth movie was released that it would be two movies, which would have been good and also logical. But then I heard it would be a regular-length, single movie. The first nine chapters were covered in about ten minutes. There was no Quidditch in this one, but that was okay, because in the book, the Quidditch tournament was canceled for the Triwizard Tournament.
And now we have the fifth movie. The beginning was good. NO QUIDDITCH! although it's there in the book. Irked. Here's Dolores Umbridge, who is a downright, love-to-hate, bad witch. I hated her a lot more in the book, probably mainly because she bans Harry from a lifetime of Quidditch after a match. The fact that Ron and Hermione were prefects was not mentioned at all. Confused. A lot of the events were out of order, which was one thing that bothered me in the third movie, which I eventually mostly got over. I imagined being completely lost if I hadn't read the book. The plot, especially the climax, is significantly darker, but the movie is maybe a bit too dark, in maybe more disturbing a way than the book. The story, from beginning to end, was okay and a little bit redeeming, although it wasn't as enjoyable as the plots in the other books. The acting was good and okay, better than that in the fourth movie. Gary Oldman, who is a good actor, who plays Sirius Black, who didn't show up until the end of the third movie, who was only seen as ashes in a telefire and a voice narrating a letter in the fourth, was likable and an impressive actor in the fifth. Evanna Lynch, who is introduced as Luna Lovegood, was better than I imagined her in the book, although she didn't get to do everything she did in the book. Helena Bonham Carter was good as Bellatrix Lestrange, and whenever she appeared, it looked like a Tim Burton movie, which I'll say is a good thing.
The end credits didn't seem to fit. They looked like circus ad text.
Bring back John Williams! Nicholas Hooper was okay, and kind of kept the Harry Potter feel, but there was a moment in the end credits that screamed electric guitar, which wasn't pleasing to the ear.
It for a moment made me want to beg for a remake. But who knows how that would be possible? I only hope that I'll like this any more the more I watch it, like I did for the third.
Happy Feet (2006)
Did Not Make My Feet Happy.
I rarely see a movie that is expected to be very good, but ends up not NEARLY as good as I hoped. The movie is about a young penguin who can't sing, when every penguin in Antarctica is expected to have a talent for singing. On the better hand, he can tap dance pretty well. Hearing about this movie at first, it looked good because of the animation, and some talented actors voicing. But I can't completely believe why the story idea was attractive at first. It's not a very good idea for a story. When the penguin is tap dancing, it disastrously looked that the audio and visual weren't synchronized. Maybe it's because of the complex combination and timing of the foot hitting the ground that doesn't adequately match with the number of film frames that can fit in a second. The animation was good, but they didn't do much to clearly distinguish the characters' faces. For example, much of the time, I couldn't tell whether a certain character was Mumble's girlfriend or Mumble's mother. Robin Williams, who is one of my very favorite actors, is a voice actor in this movie. He does the voice for two or three different characters. He was good, I guess, but his performances in the last two or so years have been a lot less classic as some other things he's done. He was a good voice actor for that one Hispanic penguin, but then again, why are the penguins Hispanic? I don't think there are any native Spanish or Mexican penguins out there.
I was watching the movie, and after a while I was wondering, 'what kind of resolution can you get for a movie plot problem about penguin singing vs. penguin dancing?', when in just a few moments, the whole storyline changed into a more dramatic, haunting, global-awareness type of story, with the original plot problem never satisfactorily resolved. I did not think that political issue was what the movie needed. It should have just stayed with the original story idea first mentioned, and somehow come up with a resolution for that.
This movie won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. No. NO. This award was clearly going to be awarded to Cars. If it were my choice, Cars would have won Best Animated Feature, let alone Best Picture. Cars is Pixar, no more explanation needed. If Cars was, for some reason, not here this year, then the award nominations would have gone to Monster House, Flushed Away, Curious George, Everyone's Hero, Over the Hedge, and/or Ice Age: The Meltdown. I would even award this Oscar to Doogal before Happy Feet. Happy Feet must have won the award only because of the global-awareness/political issue. But let me say it again: I do not think that this issue is what the movie needed. This is, in my opinion, the worst animated movie of the year, that I saw (I didn't see some animated movies this year; some of them looked worse than Happy Feet). Movie awards often seem to be awarded to the more dramatic than entertaining types of movies. I think Oscars and other movie awards should be awarded to more entertaining movies than dramatic movies. If that had been the case, this movie would have been a lot different, and, in my opinion, better.
King Kong (2005)
A Review on the King Kong Trailer, the Original King Kong, King Kong, and the Extended King Kong.
I heard Peter Jackson was remaking King Kong a year or two before December 2005. I was only a little interested, because I'm not a Lord of the Rings fan, at least not as much as most people are. When I went to see War of the Worlds, I knew the King Kong trailer was coming, but I didn't know exactly when. When a trailer came on with a plane's view of the Empire State Building, with Jack Black in the next clip, I thought, "This is the King Kong trailer." But I wasn't completely sure. There were other things in the first half of the trailer that didn't seem like a King Kong movie. But the more the trailer continued, the more the intensity built up. I liked how I thought, not knowing for sure, that it was the King Kong trailer. And when it built up to the part where it said "From Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson," and the part where the giant ape appears, "Yes! This is the King Kong trailer!" At that time, I hadn't seen the first King Kong, and I didn't know it was about movie makers, neither did I know the movie had dinosaurs. All I knew was that there was a scene with Kong on the Empire State Building. I watched the trailer, watched the girl falling, Kong catching her, pulling her out from the T-Rex's bite reach. I watched T-Rex walking over, the girl turning around, Kong landing and roaring, the words "KING KONG" appearing on the screen. I said, "Wow! I want to see this movie!" I've never seen a more awesome trailer.
The 1933 King Kong, special edition DVD was released about a month before the remake came to theaters. I rented it opening day, excited for the remake, and because I wanted to see the original before the remake. The original was black and white, with somewhat bad special effects, but of course King Kong was made in the early days of movie making, and the special effects for its day were actually very good. The thrill it had for its day was very good. I gave it 8/10. On this special edition DVD, there's a feature about the making of the 1933 King Kong, and Peter Jackson is one of those interviewed. I think he was actually a producer of the making-of documentary, and there were other features on the 1933 King Kong DVD looking a little at the making of the remake, which was interesting, because it was before the remake came out. I'd say that any fan of any King Kong movie should own the original King Kong special edition DVD.
I watched the remake opening day at midnight. It was great. I expected to give it 8/10, because I gave the original 8/10. It was 8/10 because it was good, the story was great, but there were a few elements I didn't understand much. I rewatched it a few weeks later, on the same day that I watched Godzilla (1998). Godzilla was a movie I'd seen before, which I'd given 9/10. But even with King Kong's rating of 8/10, I felt that King Kong had to be rated higher than Godzilla. Because everything I didn't understand the first time I understood this time, and because of the modern visual effects, I liked it better than before, so I rerated it 9/10, listed higher than Godzilla. King Kong vs. Godzilla, King Kong wins.
One minor negative note though, there are some awesome clips in the trailer that weren't in the final movie: Jack Black says: "We have three hours to find a new leading lady or we're finished." Adrien Brody looks from the boat at Naomi Watts. Jack Black directs Naomi Watts on the island shore, which is actually very similar to a scene in the original. Kong's close-up eyes open. Something slithers in the water. Somebody drowning. A couple months passed, and I never saw the King Kong trailer again. When the DVD came out, I bought it. The DVD had no trailer, nor any deleted scenes. I was disappointed, hoping that an extended edition would eventually be released, like Peter Jackson's LotR movies. But as far as I knew, it was never coming. Months later, I heard about a deluxe extended edition. I bought it. I was glad to see the trailer in the features. But of all the scenes in the trailer that weren't in the regular edition, only the scene with the slithery creature and someone drowning were in the extended movie. But the extended edition King Kong is still great.
When I told my family that I had bought the extended edition, one family member was interested, because he's a big monkey fan, but others said they didn't like King Kong, that it wasn't as good as LotR, or that it was lame. It is not lame. Maybe the boat ride to the island is slow, but it still has some good parts. The T-Rex fight is awesome. The theme and emotion is incredibly moving. The original King Kong was only 100 minutes long, and the remake is 187 minutes, not including the extended scenes, and some might say it was way too long, but the more you see the ape, the more you love the ape. And if you like LotR, you shouldn't have much problem with King Kong. And the important thing to know is that it was the original King Kong that made Peter Jackson want to be a movie maker, not Lord of the Rings. He is more of a King Kong fan than he is an LotR fan. He wanted to remake King Kong before he made LotR. It's a pity that LotR is more popular than King Kong. It's a pity that Peter Jackson won his awards for LotR, but not King Kong. I like King Kong much more than Lord of the Rings, and I wish more people did.
The Neverending Story III (1994)
NES III is a movie I really want to like...
I first saw the first movie a few years ago. I loved it and still love it. I saw the second movie a while later. It was okay then. After two or three viewings I saw Michael Ende's name in the opening credits, and decided to find the book and read it. I can't remember whether I saw NES III before or after I read the book.
The book was AMAZING. Probably the best stand-alone novel I have ever read. But the problem is: After you read the book, the movies always look worse because it's not like the book. The first movie is basically based on the first half of the book. A few things were changed and/or left out, but it's still a great movie overall.
The second movie is basically based on the second half of the book. A lot of things were changed and a lot of things were left out. This decreased NES II's score a lot, but it's still barely an okay movie.
Now NES III is based only on the characters of the book. There's Bastian, of course, but in the book and the previous two movies, he doesn't have the attitude anyhow close to getting wild hair. No Atreyu, of course, which was probably one of the worst decisions made in the making of the movie. According to the first movie, Mr. Koreander doesn't like kids. But now he's school librarian, which doesn't make sense. Engywook and Urgl returning was probably a good decision, but their characterization was ruined when they were reduced to complaining about having to go to the bathroom the whole second half of the movie. The Bark Troll (there were bark trolls in the book) is not supposed to know enough about the human world to mention Vegas and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bastian should not have been allowed to keep Junior at his house. Either Bastian would have said, "No way! I'm not taking him to my house!" or Junior would have wrecked his house down. Even the Childlike Empress was reduced to an idiot towards the end of the movie. NES III just doesn't have the feel that The Neverending Story was originally designed to have.
Positive notes on NES III: Well, the story was actually okay in my opinion. Jack Black is a likable actor. Mr. Koreander's line: "The story's not over yet, young man" is the only time in any of the three movies where it talks about the NeverEnding Story's "unendingness." I like seeing the Old Man of Wandering Mountain, but it's not the same part as the book. And the biggest positive note: I liked it a lot better a few years ago, when I wasn't as much of a movie critic as I am now.
Realization of Walt Disney's dream.
Like the original, Fantasia 2000 is a must-have. It has the same Sorcerer's Apprentice segment that you can get in the original, which I imagine was debated whether it should be included in the sequel or not. I myself would say that it was a good move to put the Sorcerer's Apprentice in the sequel, but that doesn't mean the original isn't a must-have anymore. The original wasn't The Sorcerer's Apprentice by itself. For more on what makes it a must-have, look for my comment on the original Fantasia.
The beginning Beethoven's Fifth segment is, like the original, without specific characters, unless butterfly-like triangles are characters to you. It's a good beginning segment. The Pines of Rome segment with the whales was one segment that makes Fantasia 2000 a spectacular musical that makes the idea of making a new Fantasia a good idea. The Rhapsody in Blue segment is a fun-to-watch, good story, not to mention the good music. The Steadfast Tin Soldier segment was good to include, though not my personal favorite. I can see how others could find it their favorite though. The "flamingo-yo" segment, although short, is worth it. The Noah's Ark segment was good to include and is a good way to get people to think of something else besides a graduation ceremony when they hear Pomp and Circumstance. And it's always good to have a fun classic Disney character in it, especially Donald Duck. The ending segment about Life, Death, and Renewal is a good, strong icing on the cake.
The only things that the original had that was better than Fantasia 2000 were that the original was simply the first and more classic; and that it was 120 minutes long, and the new is only 75. Other than that, Fantasia 2000 has everything that the original didn't.
As Roy Disney said in the introduction, Fantasia 2000 is the realization of Walt Disney's dream. Even if the original also realized his dream the way he wanted it to, Fantasia 2000 did it even better, especially because it has traditional animation and computer animation. If anyone says that Walt Disney is rolling in his grave because of this movie, I disagree. The movie has his style all over the place, and it was well done.
Classic must-have, but the second half is unnecessary.
Fantasia is a must-have. Every family should own a copy of this movie; however, the second half is not nearly as good as the first half. I don't exactly know if the reason why I think the first half is better is because I grew up watching the first half and stopping there to do something else for whatever reason.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment is arguably the most classic scene in Disney history. Every family must know where the image of Mickey with a sorcerer's hat came from. The beginning Toccata and Fugue segment, although only with orchestra musicians, shapes, and colors, is a good beginning segment. The Nutcracker segment is also somewhat classic.
The second half is not nearly as important as the first. The short segment where the narrator is talking to the Soundtrack (vertical line that makes shapes for every musical sound) is very fun to watch. The ballet segment with ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators is very good for kids. Other than those latter two, Fantasia could have done without the second half. The Rite of Spring segment with volcanoes and dinosaurs, is enjoyable to me personally, because I like dinosaur movies, but it may be a little too tense for some young kids. The same with the big black devil in the last segment. There is some partial nudity in Beethoven's mythological segment and the last segment, though some may say it's not too offensive. And in my opinion, the second half of the last segment, with nuns walking with candles slowly in the soft music, is just plain boring. There's no music in the closing credits, which makes my personal hobby of watching credits less fun.
As for comparing it to Fantasia 2000, I actually like 2000 better, because every segment is good to watch. For more on comparing the two, look for my Fantasia 2000 comment.
My recommendation: Own this movie. Whenever you watch it, you can watch the whole thing if you want, but more often, you can watch the first half, and stop after The Sorcerer's Apprentice. If the kids like dinosaurs and don't mind the scary parts, then they can watch the Rite of Spring segment. And if you go that long, then stay for the short Soundtrack segment.