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Cursed (2020)
20 July 2020
Bad, bad show.

The recipe? Takes the characters from the Arthurian Legend. put their names in a hat. Now take their stories, and put them in another hat. Shake both hats, pull out oa name, then pull out a story line. That's what that character does.

Ygraine is NOT Gorlois' wife, later taken by Uther Pendragon and gives birth to Arthur, No. In this she's a nun, and I think, maybe his sister. (?!?) I don't know, I couldn't watch that long.

Merlin has lost his magic, but has become an alcoholic. I think that's so he can have a Millennial redemption, that seems so abundant in these modern shows. All I can say is that Millennials are a sad, sad lot...

Uther is a bumbling goober, not the decisive warrior that fell just short of uniting all of Britain.

And don't get me started on Nimue. First, no one seems able to pronounce her name properly; second, she has to be another of the Millennial tortured souls just so she can become more heroic; thirdly, (and lastly here, because I could go on for hours, but simply can't be bothered) she was taught her magic by Merlin. (Which is how she finally trapped him.) How is it - having not met him yet - that she can use that magic? A little cart before the horse?

I tried for two and a half episodes, and then simply had to give up. I'll opt for something more interesting, and correct to history; something like the Bugs Bunny cartoon with Robin Hood in it.

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Mars (2016–2018)
I'm proud of myself- I actually made it through the first episode!
21 February 2019
I can sum this up quickly- this is what space travel would be like if hipsters actually had engineering degrees. Then, add in a lot of fapping to Elon Musk. Then add in a lot of pseudo-intellectuals, and garnish with actors who believe real astronauts would act like college dormies.

That's "Mars."
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Watch "Mission of the Shark" instead.
6 March 2017
Seriously. It was a 1991 TV movie that covered the same subject, and did it much better and more intensely, even though it didn't have the CGI, the budget, and the benefit of 25 years of innovations in movie-making.

This? Dull, bloated, and poorly executed.

I really can't think of anything good to say, so I'll end it there.

Wait- I did think of one thing. It was only 128 minutes long; I can be thankful it wasn't longer.

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Not on the same level as its predecessors...
16 June 2013
This is the third incarnation of the show Riverdance, and it's the most flat. The director and producer (a husband-and-wife team) keep screwing with the formula, and each time they do, they diminish the show. What got Riverdance its reputation was a simple show that featured the innocence and beauty of Irish Dance. They have decided to glitz it and sex it up and it's markedly less for the efforts. It peaked with the Colin Dunne/Jean Butler era, and has been sliding backward ever since.

For example: the script reads "Tall and straight: this is how my mother taught me; Tall and straight: this is how my father taught me" yet they have the girls slinking about, hips swaying every way but forward when they walk. What happened to the "tall and straight"? Next, this is a show about dance, yet they put long skirts on the girls, completely hiding their steps in the second act, and that's not when they're obscuring their legs with far too much smoke.

And speaking of costumes, it appears that they decided that the acrobatic dancing of the Russians girls is perfect for creating costumes that will expose their (leotarded) derrières as much as possible! (Luscious though they may be!) The original costumes were perfect: Why screw with them?

Additionally, the dancing: This is a show about dancing. The quality of the dancers has dropped dramatically. We're drawn to the feet when they are step dancing, and here it's easy to see missed steps, sloppy footwork, and poor timing. They appear to be hiring dancers more for their looks and bodies, rather than their dancing ability. I'm very thankful that Michael Flatley is not here (the stage would not have been big enough for his ego) but the two principal dancers are very poor substitutes for Colin Dunne and Jean Butler. They electrified the stage every time they were on: Joanne Doyle can't and Brendán de Gallaí was trying far too hard to be a Michael Flatley clone to bother. Neither had the dramatic chops to sell the dances from a dramatic standpoint, either.

Finally, the music is not up to snuff either. The fiddler is not up to the level of Eileen Ivers, and simply didn't engage and electrify the crowd the way Ivers did, and the music no longer has the same energy it did. Noel Eccles still cooks on percussion, though, but I wish they hadn't separated the musicians with so much vertical distance. Also, what's with the in-ear monitors? They weren't necessary for the original musicians, are the new ones so talentless they can't follow time? Get "Riverdance: The New Show" from Radio City Music Hall and be amazed at the dancing. Here you will only be mildly entertained, and a little disappointed. That's a long fall for a show I've enjoyed so much from the original Eurovision incarnation.

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Flying Wild Alaska (2011–2012)
Grerat, but drop the sensationalism!
14 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A very enjoyable show, but the narrator needs to seriously stop making normal flying situations seems like life-or-death moments. Just to name a few:

"Jim Tweto is getting 'dangerously' low on gas" in the 2nd episode. Umm... I'm a pilot. Please let me explain something: This company flies under part 135 of the F.A.R. (Federal Aviation Regulations) That means that they are *required* to land with no less than a 30-minute reserve of fuel. (Only amateurs call it "gas.") No COO of a regional airline is going to fly - especially on camera - below that 30-minute reserve, and take a huge fine and possibly lose his license, so what was the narrator harping about? It was exciting enough that the pilot had 40 knot headwinds...

Or take the episode where the pilots were flying explosives to St. Lawrence Island... The narrator kept commenting on how they were within 5 miles of Russian airspace, and could possibly "stray" into Russian airspace, sparking off an international incident... The pilot of this plane had those two little color displays in the center of his console. In closeup, I was able to see that they were Garmin 420 GPS units. These GPS' are accurate to within 9 *feet* of where you are and update themselves 30 times a second. All they had to do was follow the little magenta line and they would get anywhere near Russia. In fact, if they were the least bit smart, they would have activated the autopilot, which is linked to these GPS units, and then they wouldn't have strayed 3 feet off course, and could have the required flight plan entered into them. But the narrator again had to emphasize all the imagined danger they were in... It was far more chilling to any pilot when the P.I.C. (Pilot in Command) mentioned the possibility of static electricity blowing up the the explosive... at least that had a chance of actually happening.

There are many more examples of this, but why bother? The silly narration is the show's only shortcoming. The daughter Ariel is the highlight. That little girl is a bundle of energy, and if she every buckles down and realizes that flying requires total concentration, and doesn't just happen, she'll get her license. Additionally, the flying (and the photography thereof)is outstanding; the crosswind landings make my feet tingle (and I've done my share of them as well) and the level of talent in the pilots is amazing.

If they stop sensationalizing the show and show it as it really is, they could have a classic on their hands...

But it's Hollywood: they probably won't.
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Really quite interesting!
4 May 2011
It might sound silly to review something like this, but I really enjoyed watching this film. It shows good old Yankee ingenuity in delivering a plane to the front in crates, and how to get them in the air. The wooden crates themselves are intrinsic to the assembly, from worktables from the sides and tops, to ramps and levers from the stringers. Even the bolts that are used to secure the cases pull double duty as tow point for the crate tops.

It's amazing - even to a pilot like me - how little structural reinforcement these tough old birds had: the wings are held on by only 4 bolts per side, and it took some real engineering to figure out how to make "kits" out of these 12,000 pound birds that could be assembled in the field, yet still be as safe as possible to the pilots that were risking their lives in them.

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Avatar (2009)
Nothing new but the CGI Smurf-elves...
20 May 2010
Well, I just hit the halfway point of Avatar. (It came out today for rental from Netflix.) While I shan't deny the effects are outstanding, I have to say it's most derivative and manipulative move I've ever seen. Derivative because I see direct steals from Michael Mann's "The Last of the Mohicans," the obvious Disney "Pocahontas" rip-off, "Pathfinder," "Titanic," and at least a dozen others. There really isn't anything original so far. Cameron even steals from himself, with Michelle Rodriguez reprising Jenette Goldstein's "Vasquez" part from "Aliens" (and why is it that the the kick-ass military chick in Cameron films is always Hispanic and has a tough but submissive male partner?); the military exoskeletons taking on the powerloader part from "Aliens", and of course, Sigourney Weaver playing Ripley with a PhD.

It's manipulative in that everything about Pandora is beautiful and organic; while everything about the the humans is ugly and technological. One can't help but sympathize with the Smurf-elves: they're beautiful, they are one with the fauna (literally, with those built-in USB jacks in their hair), they give back to the spirit of the land, etc. The humans, however, are for the most part ugly, scarred, self-absorbed, ignorant, and pitiless, and you just know that Cameron is gonna have the big bad Earthers try to trash the pretty Smurf-elves before this movie is over. One can only surmise that the purity of the Smurf-elves will overcome, albeit abetted by the creatures of the land they are so close to spiritually.

I hope something interesting happens soon, else I fear I will lose interest. In fact, I guess I already have, as I've stopped to write this...

Update: I've finished the movie, and I am not too terribly surprised that I nailed it. Cameron hasn't really made an original movie since Aliens- everything has pretty much been rehashing his same tired themes over and over again. More unfortunately, the blissninnies (thank you for that great word, Col. Jeff Cooper!) all want to accept the civilization=bad, nature=good, as evinced by the misguided Global Warming alarmists.

As teenage movie fodder, this sits right up there with Pearl Harbor, Titanic, Indiana Jones 4, and Transformers 2 as a movie that will make more money than anyone can believe, and still be little more than smoke and mirrors. What is sad about that is the people who love it will never realize how sad and shallow they really are.

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Cloverfield (2008)
Bad Horror Movie, Good Social Commentary.
28 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
For once, I got it right. By mid-movie, I was hoping the monster would win, and it did.

Maybe I'm getting old, but these kids were the most irritating, stupid, and moronic I've seen in a long time. If that's the state of youth today, them I'm glad I have (hopefully) only another 25-30 years on this planet. The head of the Statue of Liberty lands in the middle of the street, and all everyone can do is scream, whimper, and takes picture of it with their cell phones; People can see the Brooklyn Bridge fall into the river, and all they can do is scream and yell hysterically- not one can help anyone else...

Young people can see their world collapse in front of them in a post-9/11 environment, and their main comment is "Dude? What happened?" The main male character finally grows a pair and kills one of the spider thingies, and then drops the axe??? Okay, don't actually *keep* a weapon against them, throw it away and leave yourself totally defenseless.

And so on, until I cheered every time one of the main actors was killed off...

My only recommendations is that men under the age of 25 see their doctor for shots of testosterone.

As to the movie: - What are the odds that 4 people are going to run into the same monster - which is engaged in a running battle with the military - on an island 23 square miles in size?

  • Why were the spider thingies in the subway tunnel? It simply couldn't have been a case of they were in *every* tunnel, there's far too many miles of them. So, what? Were they simply chasing the 4 characters? In the same vein, how did one of them get in the girl's building, and how was it that it wasn't seen on the way up?

  • Do people really think that the military is so stupid as to *track* the direction of a threat when carrying refugees in helicopters?

The director should have allowed everyone to put a little salt on themselves: setting themselves up as dinner for the creature, the least they could have done was make themselves taste a little better: at least then the movie would have had *some* taste...

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Not quite even a near miss...
4 April 2008
I just finished watching Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. This is my all-time favorite Broadway show, and I had high expectations. I had seen the show on Broadway twice: once from the orchestra pit where my friend was playing in the 2nds, and once from 3rd row center.

Sadly, Tim Burton has really missed the target with his version. He made a fundamental mistake: with Stephen Sondheim's music, a director needs singers first and actors second. Sondheim is a powerful composer: he has a better sense of rhythm, of rhyme, and of words than any other composer out there; indeed, any musician needs to bring his "A" game to a Sondheim piece. I've played piano in 2 Sondheim musicals: "Company," and "A Little Night Music." Both were some of the toughest music I've ever played. In "Company," there is a song called "Being Alive" where the pianist is playing either 10 or 11 note chords at the song's climax, and the music is a fast moderato, and the chords are played as eighth notes. (I've always harbored the suspicion that Sondheim hates pianists.) Because of this fundamental lack, Johnny Depp - for all his acting talent - cannot bring the character to life. And therein is the single biggest shortcoming of the film: the audience is supposed to sympathize with Todd; we want him to succeed, even though that means murder. We realize that there is a no-win situation for Todd, but we care for his pain, and even though the outcome is inevitable, we agree to travel along with him to that outcome. We sympathize with the wronged man, and want to see the revenge take place. I never felt that with Depp.

And that's because it requires people that are completely comfortable with, and people that are completely confident of, their voices. Combine that with a tough score to begin with, and you will start to see where the limitations of Burton's new film will start to show themselves: Depp and Carter could not bring the emotion of Sondheim's score to the screen, and consequently, the movie falls flat, leaving you with little more than a horror film set to music. Nowhere will you see Todd's descent into madness as he realizes that his dream of revenge is taken away; nowhere do you see Mrs. Lovett's conniving and convincing. All you see are a brooding man and woman who seems to want him. When Todd snaps ("Epiphany") you do not feel his pain, and during what is the show's funniest number, (A Little Priest") Burton completely drops the ball, cutting many lines from the piece, and staging it in a very unfunny way: many of the laughs are lost amongst the singer's vocal limitations. Sad, that, because when I saw it on Broadway, the actor's had to project to the last row, yet still get the nuances in and had the audience rolling. If they could do that in a live theatre, they could certainly get that on the big screen. Burton actually misses the boat twice: once in "A Little Priest," and once in "More Hot Pies," which opens the second act, and is barely in this piece at all. One thing he did that I consider unforgivable is that he removed the vocal trill from the character of Johanna's piece "Green Finch and Linnet Bird." Hearing a soprano that's simply capable of singing one is wondrous; hearing one do it in performance is heavenly. Here it doesn't happen at all. Imagine my letdown when that part of the song passed, and no trill...

And that brings up another point with this particular musical- the singers are required to be strong singers. It's no wonder that the only two actors that were ever really able to bring the character of Todd to life were Len Cariou and George Hearn: both have a cavernous set of pipes, and the ability to sing the half-steps and chromaticisms this piece requires. A sad thought is that the only singer that had the vocal strength the part requires in the entire movie was the actor that played Toby- a 12 or 13 year old boy who is obviously a trained singer, and can bring that strength needed to make his big number ("Not While I'm Around") the most worthwhile of the movie. Hell, using Sasha Baron Cohen as Pirelli the Barber is a sin: the part calls for an Irish tenor...

Lastly was the look of the film itself: simply desaturating the color 40 per cent or so does not a dark movie make; indeed, on Broadway, there was no desaturation at all, and they achieved a darker feel than the movie had. Additionally, there was the Broadway equivalent of a Greek Chorus in the play- They sang the Prologue and Epilogue. Sadly, they are not in the movie at all.

Unfortunately, I have been awaiting this movie for many years. I had hoped that a quirky director like Burton might be able to bring the pathos, the empathy, and the underlying despair of the show to the screen. Alas, this did not happen. Perhaps that is the limitations of a director trying to direct his first musical. Fortunately, I still have the VHS tape of George Hearn and Angela Lansbury doing this show live in Los Angeles. That means I will still get to see it the way it should be done. If you can find a copy of that performance, see that first: you will at least then know how the show is supposed to play.
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Troy (2004)
Shlock and Hollywood hype...
7 February 2005
Okay, let's get the mistakes out of the way...

1- Breseis did not kill Agamemnon. In fact, she went back with him to Greece as his wife.

2- Melenaus did not die. He and Helen returned to Greece.

3- Helen did not go willingly to Troy, she was kidnapped by Paris.

4- Paris did not survive the Trojan War.

5- Agamemnon did not kill Priam. Neoptolemeus (Achilles' son) did.

6- Achilles brought 50 ships of 50 men - 2,500 total - with him, not 1 ship and 50 men.

7- Patroclus was Achilles' friend, not cousin. In the battle where he was killed by Hector, he was there under the direction of Achilles, and was actually given the armor by Achilles himself.

8- Ajax was not killed by Hector: they battled to a draw, and in fact, wounded Hector.

Need I go on? Troy is another attempt by Hollywood to manipulate the audience. Similar attempts recently - like King Arthur and Pearl Harbor - all end up being lesser movies because of it.

Why does Hollywood continue to rearrange history, film errors as fact, and present them to the public? Do these ignorants think that the stories they present are more exciting than history itself? It seems to me that Hollywood does themselves and the audience a disservice when they change things. I guess people agree, as these movies all tend to lose money, as people stay away in droves, with the exception of Titanic, but there we have a chick flick, so there is the romantic story overshadowing the disaster.

Let it never be said that Hollywood won't change whatever they like, in order to grab more of the viewing public's money, and pass it off as history. Hopefully, as the bottom dollar continues to erode, they'll get back to doing it correctly, and realize that the writer is a lesser hack than the notables of history.
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King Arthur (2004)
Poor interpretation of the historical Arthur
1 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Whilst I have to admit that seeing Kiera Knightly in small amounts of clothing is nothing to sneeze at, the simple fact is that this movie is little more than a typical Bruckheimer eye-candy actioner. There is little here that is fact.

It is true that it is closer than the mythical Morte d'Arthur-style of movies we have seen in the past, but it is so full of innaccuracies, while touting itself as the "real" story, that I was very disappointed.

Fact: There are various references to the real Arthur, and they actually did get his name right- Arturius Castus.

Fact: 462 A.D. is the accepted time of his life.

Fact: He was a Roman and did command in Britian around this time.

That's about it. The movie really offered little else. I think the problem was with the director. Mr. Fuqua has directed some wonderful movies. Unfortunately, his preachy-style of storytelling ill-fits this genre. Frankly, one could have merged Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" with Mr. Fuqua's "Tears of the Sun" and seen this movie. Arthur was not a commander with a troubled conscience. He was basically a barbarian, and the men who followed him did so because he was more bloodthirsty then they, and he won the battles. The concept that a Pict Guinevere could appeal to his sense of being, and then seduce him is frankly, ludicrous. He would have taken her at his will and at his whim. They were both little more than savages in a savage land living in a savage time, and the thought that the moral sense of righteousness would make Arthur choose the correct path is plain silly.

Yet, this is the type of movie that Fuqua excels at. "Tears of the Sun" was the epitome of that style for him. But to take modern-day morals and apply them to people who live 16 centuries ago is at best, banal. Arthur would not place the needs or wants of his knights ahead of the objective. Nor would any commander of the time heed the Roman dictum to go on one last mission. Once the agreement was broken, he would have killed the Bishop and assumed command of all around him. He would not be swayed by the preachings of a young girl: He would have slit her throat and left her in a ditch.

And in essence, this is what the real Arturius did. He was never a king, simply a warlord. Actually, Stellan Skarsgård's portrayal of Cerdic was more to the actual Arthur than Clive Owen's.

The knights were the best thing. They depicted the basic, raw warrior of the time. Ms. Knightley, while lovely, was all wrong for the part. Too small, too beautiful, did they actually think we would believe that she could be a veteran of so many battles without a single blemish when the knights were all a-scarred? Lastly, the "look" of the movie. Hadrian's Wall was not the tall, stately, crennelated monolith as depicted. It still exists today, and was a 4 to 6 foot stone wall. There were no Roman-style buildings: in fact, Arthur's fortifications at best would have had wooden buildings. He was a nomadic warrior: little time for impressive edifices in his life.

So, all-in-all a decent popcorn movie, but one that was poorly researched, poorly directed, and another depiction of what Bruckheimer Hollywood believes the real world is like.

2 1/2 stars
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This is... (Please excuse me.)
13 December 2003
Manos The Han... (be right back.)

This movie is probably... (wait a minute...)

Sorry. There is no way I can even think about this movie without retching my guts out until I'm spewing blood. It IS that bad. Consider the worst possible torture you can imagine (red-hot rods inserted in various orofices of your body; being slowly eaten alive by small, poisonous insects; having to spend a night with Hillary Clinton, well, you get the idea) put them all together, multiply them thousandfold, and that is STILL less than 1% of the anguish you will suffer at the "hands" of this effluvia. When Joel and the 'bots cannot wring humor from something, then you know it's a lost cause.

There are simply no words to defame this movie any more than the simple watching. By comparison, Gigli is on par with "The Godfather" as high drama.
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Mixed feelings about the second installment...
18 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Right off the bat, let me say I enjoyed the movie immensely. Visually stunning, the right mix of comedic moments in tense situations, great cinematography, acting, and direction. It will leave you breathless and with an (enjoyable) case of sensory overload.

Here's the "but..."

While I accept, and in most cases agree with the cuts from the first installment, I think Peter Jackson went way too overboard, with omissions and changes. I list some of these below. (Note: Some of you might consider these spoilers, so...)

************************SPOILER ALERT!************************

Why was Theoden such a pansy? After released from Wormtongue's spell, he SHOULD have become the leader as he was depicted in the book.

What was all that Arwen/Elrond/Galadriel, and Arwen/Aragorn crap? There was so much more from the book that could have been added, and it seemed like this was padding. I could have accepted it, were it exposition, but it wasn't even that...

Elves in Helm's Deep? Puh-LEESE!

The Ents initially refusing to fight? Come on! They have a hatred for the Orcs because of the Orc's destruction of the forest.

AND WHERE THE HELL WERE THE HUORNS AT THE BATTLE OF HELM'S DEEP? Having just read that section in the book, I was really looking forward to the suspense and mystery they would have added. How strange it would have been to see the retreating Orcs running through the new and mysteriously appeared "forest," only never to re-appear out the other side, and no trace of them ever to be found.

This isn't just a wish list. This stuff could have all been in the movie had they dropped the non-existent Elf stuff, and done away with the wolf battle, neither of which were in the book. I think it would have been a more exciting story, had they not strayed so far.

**********************END SPOILER ALERT!**********************

Now that that's out of the way...

The film is magnificent. Jackson has a talent for capturing all the peoples of Middle Earth, and to the exact idea of everyone's mind's eye. The Ents are perfection, (BTW: Does anyone else think that John Rhys-Davies did the voice of Treebeard?) Smeagol breaks new ground in CGI, and the battle scenes are (in the true sense of the word) awesome.

If you saw the first, you won't be disappointed with the second, but I do hope that all the extra scenes that Jackson called his actors back for weren't all those glaring mistakes...

9 out of 10 (I just can't give it a 10 because of all the changes.)
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There aren't enough superlatives...
6 December 2001
I've watched this series 6 or 7 times in its entirety, and I can only say that it gets better and better upon repeated viewings. It's not just the incredibly done combat footage, it's the incredible attention to detail and story on both the part of the cast and crew, and the honor paid to the men of the second World War.

To see what my father and mother (a combat nurse in WWII) went through is amazing. To see what these men, (and women) under the most adverse of conditions, went through, and still did what they had to do is simply (in the true sense of the word) awesome.

Does it have its flaws? Decidedly so. There are several of the same buildings that are supposed to be in different towns in different episodes, that are recognizeable; There are plot holes - e.g. "Wild Bill" Guarnere showing back up in episode 5 after being wounded, with no explanation; Sobel threatening Malarkey over the motorcycle, and nothing comes of it, etc - and several others, but taken as a whole, there is simply NOTHING than can compare with this movie. For drama, ethos, pathos, a testament to the human spirit, this will astound.

On a different note, taking into account the fabulous combat scenes shot, this movie has paled all other action movies for me. The randomness of death, the intensity of the battles, the "look" of the scenes have made everything else seem cartoonish. To whit: The scene in episode 3 where the American soldier shoots the German coming out of the just-bakooka'd buidling with his 1911 .45: If you pause the movie at that moment it could be a picture out of Life Magazine in the '40's. Even SPR does not do it for me anymore because that was fiction. This is truth. These things happened to these men, and on a grander scale, happened to millions of others: Anyone that has been in war will be affected by this movie.

Some of my favorite parts are when the story shows the soldiers as human. The looting, the disgust with the higher ups, the hatred for the Germans, these are what made it real.

Many are now claiming that we have too much WWII stuff happening. I say: "Pshaw!" Let's have more of it. Let us never forget how Americans (and other residents of this planet) fought, died, survived, and went on. Let us be constantly reminded so as to not get complacent in our lives so that anything like this might ever happen again.

Highest kudos to Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and HBO. The first 10 I've ever given any movie on this site.
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Get over yourselves, negativists!
17 August 2001
Whilst SPR might not be the be-all and end-all war movie, I take great humor in reading most of the negative reviews on this movie. Many have nothing at all to do with the movie per se, but more with people's gripes about how other nations were portrayed in this movie.


The movie portrays the efforts of the American Rangers on Omaha Beach. That's O-MA-HA. Not Gold, not Sword, not Juno. That's why there's no portrayal of French, Canadian, or British troops.

It seems to me, that any time there is a movie that shows what the US did in WWII, and doesn't give equal time to the other allied troops, everyone needs to kvetch. What most seem to forget is that the US lost more troops than all the other allied forces combined, that they spent more than all the other counties, (which still have not paid the US back) and were it not for the US's involvement in WWII, all of Europe would today be wearing lederhosen and playing the accordian. This from a country that was not directly affected by the events taking place in Europe

Similarly, I read many reviews taking umbrage with the negative comments directed towards Montgomery.


Monty was a megalomaniac with a serious case of p*n*s envy because he couldn't run the whole show. Patton proved that he could out-battle, out-tactic, and out-run Monty in any theatre of war. Granted, Monty had some success in Africa, but he spent the rest of the war whining to Eisenhower for equal authority, and supplies, which (I believe) Eisenhower gave him to shut him up, at the expense of Patton's troops, who were taking names and kicking butt. What did Monty do? Why Operation Market Garden, of course. An operation that pretty much decimated all the allied forces that took part in it.

Next, I read about so many people finding the middle of the movie boring. Do these commentators forget the adage about war being "long periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror?" What did you expect, that they fight a gazillion troops all the way to Ryan, and fight their way back out again unscathed? War IS like that. It is NOT like the current action movies out there today, where the hero might get grazed by a bullet and continue to fight, only to get the girl in the end.

I also read about the Germans being demonized in this movie. How quickly they forget Auschwitz; how quickly they forget Dachau. How quickly they forget that as an occupying force, the Germans raped whomever they pleased, shot whomever they pleased. Millions of Germans bought into Hitler's promises. They willingly went to war for him. They tried to conquer the world, and cared not for the innocents they were slaughtering along the way.

So don't whine about it. In this politically-correct, liberal, UN "Peace-Keeping" day, we forget that soldiers were encouraged back then to HATE their enemy; to believe him the devil. They called the enemy "Krauts," and "Nips," and "Eye-Ties," so that when the time came to kill them, soldiers were able to do it. Back then we fought until they were defeated. Today, we do it until they say "I'm sorry," and then pay them billions of dollars to rebuild. Finally, remember the scene after the US took the beach: The scene of Americans carelessly shooting surrendering enemy forces. Don't try to say that it was one-sided.

Lastly, I saved the D-Day beachhead for last. Too many people have commented that this was too gory, too long, too dully filmed, and not an accurate depiction of how war really is. To that, I can only offer this: Why then, did so many veterans of that invasion feel the need to walk out of the movie, stating that they couldn't watch it because it was too real? Why did many veterans cry during this scene? As to it being too dully filmed, please check your history: The invasion had been postponed several times because the weather was too rainy, and as late as the day before, it was pouring rain up and down the French coast, and in England as well.

Saving Private Ryan might not be the best war film ever made, but it is the best war film made TO DATE.
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Dreck. Just pure DRECK!
8 August 2001
Seldom do I write as negative a review as this will be. I cannot find one redeeming quality in this movie, save that Courtney Cox gets more beautiful with each passing year.

The story centers around thieves falling out, and the revenge they take. At least that's what it's supposed to be. There are SO many plot holes, SO many inconsistencies, that it's truly an unwatchable film.

Why, all of a sudden at the end of the film, are these criminals, who don't care for anything or anyone, suddenly concerned about the life of the boy? Why does Howie Long's character take the bullets meant for Kevin Costner? Why do we believe that Kurt Russell will soften his attitude towards Cox's character just because she starts crying? And where the HELL did they find a scorpion in the Pacific Northwest???

The movie fails on so many levels. It makes the US Marshall's Service appear as idiots, It makes the criminals appear comedic - unintentionally so - especially when Ice T is travelling along a wire upside down, spinning, and firing dual submachine guns.

It's a harsh thing to say, but I'm glad this movie lost money, to the tune of 47 million dollars. Perhaps Hollywood will realize that a movie needs a plot, a story, and dialogue that will attract the viewer. Just putting a bunch of shootouts in a movie will not attract moviegoers (though I doubt it.)

It appears that Kevin Costner needs to sit back, analyze his career, and decide what kind of scripts he fits as an actor. Every time he tries to stretch, he fails. Russell, well, for a long time now, he's just shown up, hit his mark, and taken his check home to Goldie. There was some great talent in this movie: Christian Slater, Kevin Pollack, et al, but it was all wasted. That about sums this movie up: A waste.

Were you to go to any video store, close your eyes, reach out and grab any video, you would invariably find a better movie than this, even if the movie you grab is "Ishtar."
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I dreamed of being somewhere else instead of watching this movie.
9 April 2001
I could write a lengthy comment on why *NOT* to see this movie, but for the sake of brevity:

Should you want to see gorgeous African landscapes connected to a decent, well-acted, fun movie, watch "Hatari" with John Wayne instead. Else, be prepared to be VERY bored.

That pretty much sums up this flick.
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Real life as exciting as fiction
29 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I have been a big fan of these brave men since I was a kid, and this movie shows why. This documentary has all the excitement of a Hollywood movie. The men and women of the AVG (American Volunteer Group- their official name) travelled to China under a variety of false idententies. Their Visas listed them as mechanics, clerks, musicians, even circus performers. The Japanese found out they were en route and threatened to blow these ships out of the water. There's an element of the spy movie here. Spoiler Alert When they finally got to Asia, they had to live through 115-degree days, insects, no electricity, bad food, and still learn to fly and fight. They had to do this with obsolete planes, no spare parts, and no hope of outside help. When they finally did engage the Japanese, the did so with deadly ferocity, and in 6 months racked up 297 kills, with a loss of only 18. That record stands today as the best ever. There's the action movie part.

There's even a section how an American nurse falls in love with one of the flyers- The quiet sensitive one. Now, in the typical war movie, you know this guy wouldn't have long to live. Unfortunately, in this case, life imitates art, and the flyer is killed on a mission, leaving the nurse widowed and pregnant. There's the love story.

The final part deals with these people trying to get home after the AVG is disbanded, and all the rigmarole they had to go through just to return. There's a lot of comedic elements here.

All-in-all, a wonderful movie to watch. Even better, it's all true, and told by the people who really lived it. Would that Hollywood could write scripts this good
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