I found the acting by Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill particularly on point (regardless of whether you agreed with the script) with Adam Driver not far behind. All acquitted themselves well. The special effects were far from amateur despite being used in the service of much silly, needless nonsense. The only actor that truly needed to be light-sabered was Domhnall Gleason. Who told him to overact so badly? Disney execs taking the dope left over by Carrie Fisher? And speaking of the near-dead and the truly dead, CF, R.I.P., was a big bore. Other waste of talent: Laura Dern.
So many needless pointless side-stories. Gosh...maybe I should rethink my very generous rating .
A:C is, at heart, a horror film only loosely connected to the Alien franchise. It's a great piece of entertainment with terrific visuals and excellent special effects with plenty of action, a nasty, nasty villain and sufficient slimy henchmen.
That said, if you're an Alien purest and demand logic and reason within the Alien Universe, this movie will be a HUGE disappointment. My goodness...what HUGE plot holes, physically impossible goings-on, key missing scenes (note Fox's mea culpa by releasing some prologue materials on Alien Day (4-26)) and far, far too much irrational behavior. The screen writers should be sent to LV-426.
To enjoy this movie (to the extent it can be enjoyed) you must check your Alien-centric brain at the ticket kiosk. This is a horror film with a requisite amount of gore and action. Go with that attitude and sit back. Over-analysis will just make you angry.
I couldn't take the movie seriously despite its fervent desire to make a case about over-the-top efforts / sacrifices and what some people think it takes to win. There was little / no back story to convince me any of the characters would either act like that, be allowed to act like that, or be the recipient of those same actions. It's caricature upon caricature.
The movie's conclusion provided some semblance of redemptive believable cohesion but by then it really was too late and I found the whole setup very contrived.
Without needing a Pygmalion (Shaw) transition in either direction, the leads Go and Doc find themselves drawn towards each other on their own terms. They integrate rather than further fragment and find common ground right in the middle. The truly fabulous tour-of- NYC make-out scenes are celluloid-melting in a deeply romantic and convincing manner in the most egalitarian kissing yet filmed. They are equals and need no excuses.
In the end Doc got exactly what he sought from the beginning: To know himself better through the non-judgmental eyes of a lost (but very sexy) soul.
After the first two movies, we already know a lot of back story and setup/conflict between Katniss and Pres Snow. Mockingjay PtI then introduces us to District 13 (her destination as mentioned at the end of Catching Fire) and the District 13 society (only lightly limned in MJPT1). We know there's a war coming and MJPT1 sticks to the story line as outlined in The HG book(s) to a great degree.
In terms of the movie and expectations, I never got the least bit bored nor did I feel I was just being dragged through Pt1 primarily to suck money out of me. There's a lot of there-there to be discussed, outlined, and philosophized about and, if you pay any attention, lots of action, too. Sure, this installment is a lot darker but that's how the story plays out.
If you compare the structure of THG to LOTR, you know what the protagonist has to do: The Capital is Mordor; Katniss is Frodo; she's the Mockingjay and he's the ring-barer. Neither has an enviable job -- just a sadly necessary, burdensome one. You know where Katniss eventually has to go and MJPT1 does an excellent job of setting this in motion.
I've watched the movie a couple more times before writing this review. I find nothing superfluous, bloviated, unnecessary. It's a compact story that's equally divided between setup and execution. What's truly sad: Imagine had Gary Ross been the director of Prometheus. Yes -- Gary Ross is a genius.
What about the acting? The only weakness is the lack of chemistry between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale). Liam seems a miscast hunk out of place in an ugly dour world. Too bad they didn't cast Miley Cyrus as Katniss's younger sister.
But there's a much larger problem: The source material. The audience has to keep swallowing incredible incongruities just so we can be continually hit over the head with multi-level anti-authoritarian messages. This is an amoral society on steroids that exists only as a foil to propel the thematics. We can't help but become angry at the atrocities foisted on Katness and her conscripted compatriots. Maybe I would have understood better if Katness had worn a six-pointed star.
So, I'm giving this movie 9 stars largely on the excellent execution / beautiful realization of Gary Ross's vision.
This movie's main annoying issue is how it mostly glosses over the WHY part: Why was discovering the Higgs so critical; what is our current understanding of how matter is put together and how would the discovery of the Higgs complete the picture. The movie also did an inadequate job of explaining how the LHC works and what the various detectors do. Without that contextual understanding, which can't be expected of the average moviegoer, the big "Ah Ha!" moment is largely wasted. Sure, the movie makes some attempts to illuminate bits and pieces of the puzzle, but someone not steeped in this kind of scientific esoterica will be flummoxed.
If you're going to give moviegoers a physics movie, you should assume they're OK with learning something. This was a teachable moment and the movie mostly blew it. Higgs at 126GeV. Big Deal. Next Movie.
So, Chaplin plays a tramp who has mostly funny travails in this bitter- sweet commentary on the Great Depression. Chaplin's comedic timing and sense of light fun is still enthralling, even in 2014. All actors play their roles perfectly. Sure, everything's stilted and nothing's real, but contextually the slapstick all hangs together.
I commend the SF Symphony for a note-perfect and perfectly timed score. As said above, don't miss the chance to hear/see this performance in your city.
Back to the movie: It's like an extended big-budget Twilight Zone episode with all its moralisms intact. One should mention that terrific music provided by Bernard Herrmann (scary Sci-Fi music that sounds like its from outer space).
One side comment. I was surprised at the lack of scientific knowledge employed in making this movie given what many astronomers knew at the time. Spaceships traveling at 4,000 MPH? That's way slow for an orbiting object. and the spaceship coming from 250 million miles away? That's way way too small a number...more like 250 trillion miles or perhaps light years.