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A nearly flawless rendition--but not for everyone
When I first heard that Zack Synder was on board to direct this film, I thought to myself 'hey, this couldn't be too bad'. After all, the 300 film was faithful to the comic, so I was interested to see how this would turn out. When I did see the film, I was completely blown away by how amazing close to the graphic novel it was! So, it's safe to assume this is a good film, right? Well... yes and no. Baring in mind, I'm coming from the point of view of someone who has read the comic Watchmen (one of the greatest stories of all time), so naturally I'm being a little biased to the film. As a comic fan myself, it really winds me up when film companies get comic book adaptations wrong. Most of the time, they just take the basic plots of the book and then end up doing their own thing, ruining the story and character. But in Watchmen, it's practically like the book--albeit a heavily edited version of it. While I'm sure fans of the comic will really enjoy this film, those who haven't read the comic may struggle with it. The long running time, slightly complicated story lines, graphic violence and some rather unpleasant central characters will probably put off a few film goers who aren't that big on epic comic book films. Though the film has a running theme of nuclear war, it's more a character driven film--and every character seems to have a story to tell, so this film may feel a little drawn out to some people. My advice is that if you want to see this film, I'd suggest reading the comic first--that will make the film a little easier to follow as it has some character development and back story left out in the film. But if you are a fan of the comic, you will most likely think this film does the story justice. Overall, it's one of the better comic book adaptations in recent years. Not quite as groundbreaking as The Dark Knight, but nearly as dark and with an ending that is both bleak, but hopeful at the same time.
Now THIS is how a good horror movie should be done!
Filmed in a similar way to Cloverfield and Blair Witch--but far superior than both of them, this Spanish film is a real treat for horror fans. Following the tried and tested method of having a hand held, shaky camera and following the characters around, we see the horror that unfolds before our very eyes. Their fear is our fear and we end up getting emotionally drawn into the stories as (one by one) the characters slowly get killed of in gory ways. Luckily, this film doesn't rely too much on gore, but rather in suspense, starting off with a very mundane story about a camera crew following around firemen--before delving into a hellish nightmare where there is no escape. This is the way good horrors should be done, creepy atmosphere, full on scares and a lingering feeling of dread that lasts ages after the films finished. Definitely check this one out--but avoid the remake if possible.
Three and Out (2008)
Not so much funny as it is heart wrenching
Firstly, I have to say that the controversy surrounding this film is totally unfounded. I can see why many train drivers and other people would object to a film about suicide (and trying to convince people to commit suicide), but if they actually SAW this film, I think they'd agree that the subject matter is handled very well. It doesn't make a joke about it and it's very heart wrenching as you delve deeper into Tommy's life as he tries to make up for the mistakes he made. In many ways, he see's suicide as a form of redemption to help his family. And just when you think it's going to have a happy ending--you'd be surprised! Overall, while I don't think it's the best British film to come out in recent years, it's certainly not a bad film in general. The acting is brilliant and the story (while a little far fetched) does follow nicely and makes the film easy to watch. If you watch this expecting a laugh out loud comedy, look elsewhere. But if you fancy a emotional, yet slightly depressing, storyline that will tug at your heartstrings... go ahead and give it a go. Don't believe the controversy surrounding this film until you've seen it, it's worth a look.
Monster Ark (2008)
Really cheaply done
Aside from the really bad acting, mediocre special effects (did they even HAVE a budget for this film) and scenes ripped from Raiders of the Lost Ark, my biggest problem with this was the lack of suspense when introducing the monster.
With any good monster movie (for example the first Alien film), they often don't show the monster in full at first. They often show brief glimpses of the creature, thus building up suspense and keeping you guessing what the monster looks like. But here, it's more like "oh, there's a monster trapped in a crate... WOW! There's the monster! Well, we've seen what it looks like now, no need to worry about building it up". That is poor in my opinion and you quickly lose interest in it.
That's this movies biggest problem in general. There is no build up to anything. They talk about something, then it happens almost instantly. Talk about cheap! Overall, it's a very poor attempt at doing a sci-fi monster story. If you get a chance to avoid it, I'd say do so!
Shows modern day superhero cartoons a thing or two
After seeing this series on Jetix again, it made me remember how much I LOVED this cartoon. It's one of my favourites of all time and (in my opinion) it's teaches modern day cartoons a thing or two. That I will come to later.
First, I'll try and discuss about the NEGATIVES of this series. As we all know, due to the Fox censors, the violence had to be toned down, hence the fact why nobody fired a real or even had a real sword or said things like "kill" or words to that effect. It also meant the fight scenes were fairly basic and most of the fights involved ducking and diving attacks. This also meant that certain characters had to be toned down (such as Morbuis, The Punisher, Blade and Carnage). Also, they did tend to reuse the SAME scenes over and over again and some of the dialogue cuts were a bit disjointed.
Also, certain characters were changed significantly. Example. In this series, Felicia Hardy (Black Cat) and Micheal Morbuis were lovers, Black Cat got her powers from the same serum that created Captain America, Carnage was created by Baron Mordo and Electro was Red Skulls son to name a few. I don't disagree with these changes though, as I thought it added a little twist to the story.
Now, the Positives. Due to the fact that the violence was toned down, it meant they could add more STORY into it. This way it draws you into the characters (not just Spiderman, but the others as well). This is why I think a lot of modern day cartoons (such as the Batman) don't do so well, because they concentrate more on the martial arts action than the actual characters.
The story lines were very deep and really drew into the life of Spiderman. I'll be honest, when he married Mary Jane and she turned out to be a clone and died in front of his eyes, I did shed a tear. But by then, the story was getting a little bit silly as it tried to simuluate the clone wars thing from the comics.
All the characters were there (except for some reason the Sandman!) and the voice work was amazing. My favourites were Carnage, Baron Mordo (Tony Jay is a voice god!), Venom and Spiderman. They were JUST as I'd imagine and Spiderman's sense of humour was fantastic! The quick lines he came out with were just brilliant! The final episode where Spiderman enters our world to meet Stan Lee? Genius! To conclude, this was one of the greatest cartoons I've ever seen. What it lacked in violence, it made up for in storyline and characters. It's just a shame it was ruined by the later cartoons of Spiderman.
SpongeBob SquarePants (1999)
The best cartoon ever?
I've only just started getting into cartoons again after not watching them for so long. I heard about Spongebob Squarepants and decided to check it out. Now I watch every episode religiously! It's amazing! I don't think I ever seen anything as surreal or as funny in a kids show as this! The show takes place in Bikini Bottom, an underwater town. Spongebob Squarepants (voiced by the amazingly talented Ton Kenny) is a sponge that works as a fry cook at the Crusty Krab, run by one Mr Krabs (voiced by Tom Clancy who many people will remember from Shawshank Redemption). Spongebob is a kid at heart and a little stupid, but gets up to the most amazing adventures. Alongside Spongebob are his best friend Patrick Starfish (Bill Fagerbakke) who is even more stupid than Spongebob, Sandy Cheeks (Carolyn Lawrence) a squirrel that lives underwater for some reason, Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass) Spongebobs moody next door neighbour, Mrs Puff (Mary Jo Catlett) Spongebob's driving instructor and Plankton (Mr Lawrence) a very tiny sea animal with a Napoleon Complex.
What makes the show so funny is the situations that Spongebob and his friend Patrick get themselves into. They are both very stupid and child like, meaning that they get into trouble on a regular basis, which makes for exciting episodes. There are some huge laugh out loud moments and some of them stuff that they get up to will make your stomach churn with laughter. All the characters are amazingly put together and they all work. Each have their own personality which allows them to carry on the story and let Spongebob interact with them all.
One of the funniest stories is the send up of Batman and Robin where Spongebob and Patrick try to bring out of retirement their two favourite heroes. Mermaid Man (Ernist Borgnine) and Barnacle Boy (Tim Conway). Anyone who's ever watched the classic Adam West Batman will appreciate the humour of this episode! All in all, a very funny cartoon. It's insane enough for kids to enjoy, but also so funny that many adults will enjoy it (as long as they get the humour). Take it for what it is. Don't' try and analyse it. Just watch and enjoy.
Oh and one more thing. In one episode, the background music is provide by metals most greatest heroes, PANTERA!!!!!!!!
At last! A half decent horror movie
So many times I've gone to see a new horror movie that has just come out and been very disappointed in it. Simply because they just aren't scary or just don't really do anything for me at all. So, how glad I was when I went to see Saw. In my opinion it's the best psychological horror since Seven, yet I'm not about to compare the two.
The action twists and turns and has some amazing acting from the cast. The so called "games" that the killer puts his victims through are horrible and made me cringe in most places. It has a strong story and (just when you think it's going to follow the predicable ending path), it comes back at you with a twist worthy of the usual suspects! I love this movie, plus it also has a soundtrack composed by Danny Lohter of NIN fame and Page Hamilton of Helmet fame. Also, Fear Factory did the music video for this film as well, which can be seen on the DVD. I'm interested to see how the sequel goes.