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"24" (2001)
196 out of 326 people found the following review useful:
Quite possibly the worst show I've ever seen, 16 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The fact that so many seem to love this show makes me seriously question my faith in the American public. This show is so bad it's actually, well, just bad. The acting, the writing, the plot development, the technical details and just about everything else is bad to the point of being comical. The show should be renamed "2.5", because that's about the total of viable screen time that was stretched out into this daylong abomination.

Perhaps if the writers had thrown in another overused, Hollywood cliché, 24 could've been worse. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot. They already used up all the clichés. I find it amusing that anyone was surprised by any outcome of this show when all of the supposed twists and turns wouldn't have been more obvious if they were scrolled, news-ticker style, across the bottom of the screen. Just a few snippets: 1. First, let me start off by saying that if real counterterrorism agents are half as inept as those on "24", then we're all really screwed. These guys couldn't catch a drunk first grader if he came up and bit them in the ass. Cliché is one thing. Stupid is quite another.

2. Hey, you know what would be great? If, when Jack goes to meet his CTU mentor in a darkened, deserted building, the guy got shot right before the was about to give him the key piece of "evidence". Of course, it would only be exciting if this happened right as they were about to make it to safety. Nah, that wouldn't be telegraphed, would it? 3. When Nina discovers that Mason has been keeping from Jack that his family has been attacked at the safe house, she immediately begins working the computers. Tony, seeing this due diligence, asks her if she's checking the hospitals. Tony says this is a good idea. Tony, of course, is a moron, since, raving terrorism expert that he is, should have done this hours ago. Don't blame Tony. The writers made him do it.

4. Or how 'bout when the Drazens attack the DOD prison? Gee, you think a top secret government prison would at least have enough surveillance to detect 8 foreign nationals setting up a communcations bunker 300 yards from a top secret prison? In broad daylight? 5. Of course, once inside the aforementioned prison, which is underground, presumably shielded against some form of electromagnetic radiation in order to protect communications and which is also, by the way, in the middle of freaking nowhere, it's remarkable how everyone's cell phone works.

6. I love how Jack goes six-guns-a-blazing in the last episode, nine-mil in each hand blasting away at the Drazens on the dock. Of course, as a former spec ops soldier, I'm sure he'd know that, aside from totally screwing his aim, all he was really doing was expending his ammo twice as fast. And not hitting anything while doing it. If this guy was specs ops, we're doubly screwed.

7. If it was so easy to cut the power to the prison, why the hell did they need to pay some jackass from the power company? 8. Terri Bauer deserved to get killed. Not for any plot reason, but because Leslie Hope couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. Gee, if it was my husband and kid, I might be distraught, instead of spending the entire time wandering around a secure government facility like a 12 year old on Vicodin, with a goofy smile on my face. I think the producers wrote her out so they wouldn't have to justify paying her again.

9. And speaking of Terri Bauer, wouldn't you think that the hub of the United States' West Coast counter terrorist operations would be at least secure enough to prevent a complete stranger from, you know, wandering around the joint or anything? 10. The NSA dude who got capped in the New Orleans bar: So let me get this straight, an NSA officer is hanging out in a French Quarter bar with an unsecured laptop full of classified information, as well as an encryption device to access, all the while chatting away about it on an unsecured cell phone inside a bar full of complete freaking strangers? Right...

11. Is it me, or did Dennis Hopper sound like he was Dracula from Transylvania? What's up with the accent, D? He sounds like a Marvel comic.

12. You know what would make for compelling TV? If the wife and daughter get kidnapped and all 3 spend about 3 hours of screen time reassuring each other they'll be OK. Couldn't we just accomplish this with a couple lines of dialogue and just move on? 13. What would've happened if Kim Bauer got caught sneaking out of the house? I guess the show would've only been one episode.

14. Why did Rick and Dan have to hang out with the girls in a furniture store? Wouldn't it have been more convenient just to hit them over the head and them bring them to Gaines? 15. At the safe house, why was the CTU agents assigned to guard duty sitting inside the tree trimmer of an electric company truck? What would he have done if he needed to get out quickly? Can't exactly jump down, can you? Of course, since he was trying to be discreet, I'm sure no one would've noticed a truck parked out there for hours on end, working on the same telephone pole? You know, like trained countersurveillance experts or something. On second thought, let's just make the professionals as stupid as possible, so that we can insure more episodes and, thus, greater ad revenue.

Please, do yourself a favor. If you own this DVD set, burn it immediately. You will be glad you did.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The worst of the 4, 1 December 2005

I must say that I was sorely disappointed with this film. As an interpretation of the book, I think it was a good idea to cut out any details that were superfluous to Harry's specific story. However, the script and, more to the point, the direction, is simply a random collection of unconnected events. As a result, this film is a choppy, disconnected and clumsy collection of snippets from the book. There is almost no continuity in this film. Important scenes have no buildup and seem to happen at random. The pace is constant, never allowing the movie to breathe, and, as a result, the underlying themes that are so important to the story never surface.

At its heart, this is a story about coming of age and, more importantly, the loss of innocence. But because the thematic and character development is almost nonexistent, we never feel these ideas. I recently remarked to a friend of mine that watching this movie was like being in a room with a group of imposters. The characters we've come to know and enjoy so well have been replaced by cardboard cutouts. Even Hogwarts, itself a vibrant, magical character, has been stripped down and replaced by a gray, colorless and magicless place. Its intimate splendor has been constricted; even the Great Hall seems so much smaller.

The mark of a great movie is one that can draw the viewer in and tell a story with few words and little screen time. Think of the great movies you've seen. In the first 10 minutes, you begin to know what the characters are all about and get a feel for the story. In this movie, you never know the characters and for that I fault the director, Mike Newell. Exposition of the story is done mostly through dialogue. The characters have to tell us what's happening; Newell never shows us. Much like he did in Donnie Brasco, Newell never has a feel for the material and the result is a film that just ambles, with no beginning and no end, just a bunch of stuff in the middle.

In many ways, this movie reminds me of the most recent Star Wars films, in which very good actors (Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neesson) have been neutered by poor direction. In Goblet of Fire, the characters constantly seem out of place, their emotions seemingly plucked at random. Emma Watson, in particular, is guilty of overacting as she never seems to find the right chord. This is a shame, because The Prisoner of Azkaban showed her to be an up and coming actor, as Alfonso Cuaron was able to extract a much stronger performance from her. And while much of the criticism of Michael Gambon's performance as Dumbledore is warranted, a stronger director could have guided him towards a more faithful portrayal.

Ultimately what dooms this film is a complete lack of nuance. There are no slow, soft moments to contrast with the action and nothing to place any of the characters in context. It is a movie done with crude, broad strokes. I remember thinking that it felt like the director used a hacksaw when he should have been painting with a small brush. The result is a soulless, off-base movie that feels nothing like the story we've come to love. Let's hope a better director is chosen for the fifth film before this wonderful franchise is ruined.