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What was going on?
Much like its eponymous hero, Jack Sparrow (or 'Sparragh' as it becomes by the end of the film), who finds himself lost at the beginning of the film, this clumsy, over-produced, over-CGI'd film had little or no idea of where it was going. The entire thing was a gargantuan attempt to waste 3 hours of screen-time with confusing and, at times, strangely rendered CGI and a twisting plot that, whilst I could follow it completely, seemed to have little or no self-awareness.
**BELOW BE SPOILERS** Gone is the charm and the swashbuckling adventure of the first film, replaced by a desire to be 'dark' and 'deep', which merely serves to rob the film of any good nature it may have had. Gone too is the menace of Bill Nighy's Davey Jones, such a terrifying character from the second instalment, now reduced to a mere comedy character in this (save for one moment of skull-crushing), playing second fiddle to the laughable Lord from the EITC who seems as threatening as anyone can in a silly wig and posh accent up against Rush, Depp et al. The quite frankly dull plot from Pirates 2 is here whipped to death and then, for good measure, whipped again with an unlikely and, to be quite frank, confusing conclusion. The resurrection of Rush's Barbosa (one of the few and far between highpoints of the films) is dismissed in a sentence, whilst the other characters, we are led to understand, do not even question why they can trust a man who was, 7 months previous, attempting to kill them all.
In terms of performances; Depp and Rush excel, much as they did in Pirates 1, with Rush nearly stealing the entire movie from under Depp's nose (a reverse on what happened previously) and they make for the sole entertainment. Knightly and Bloom crying out nautical terms is, quite frankly, laughable as is the notion that nay one of a crew of supposedly battle-hardened pirates would listen to them. They are severely out of their depth and have none of the wide-eyed awe that actually made them endearing in "Curse...". Jack Davenport's Norrington, who showed so much potential to be a truly dark and unbalanced character in the last outing, is treated as a fopp again for the less-talented Knightly, though his 'Heroes Death' was good to see. Nighy, as said, is a shadow of his former menacing self.
By the time you reach half way through you should be ready to give up, there's only so much CGI will do for a film before you realise "hang on..this is terrible" (step forward Star Wars III and The Matrix Revolutions, both terrible 3's in their own rights) but a few things will keep you in that chair; Depp, Rush, a star turn for all of 3 minutes by Keith Richards (providing a genuine laugh-out-loud moment) and the desire to find out exactly how they intend the damn thing to end. That much I won't give away, but I'm telling you this, three-quels are proving to leave on such diabolical endings (again, SW:III, Matrix3, Spidey3) that you shouldn't expect much better here.
Only the promise of the dialogue between Depp and Rush would bring me back for 4, and keep those damn kids out of it!
This film was laughable. I mean this literally...I spent a LOT of it film laughing in places I really shouldn't have been.
The Plot: Generally the plot of the film is well put together. The loose ends are all tied up, the ideas are solid and reasonably well executed. I did get the feeling I was missing out having not seen the Clone Wars cartoons (turns out I wasn't really having just sat through them at a friend's) but nothing too major.
The Script: Just...oh dear. I mean really if this was the best Lucas could do then I'm disappointed. Weak script that was, in places, actually laughable. HOWEVER, some of it he did get right. The conversations between Anakin/Vader and Palpatine/Sidious are done well, as is Obi-Wan's climactic battle with Anakin. However, generally, this film has some of the weakest lines I've heard in a motion picture in recent years.
The Acting: Just...oh dear. It's poor, weak, and not helped by the script. The only ones who seem to be trying are MacDiarmid (sp?) as Palpatine and MacGregor as Obi-Wan, and even MacGregor has problems when he's acting with no-one there.
CGI: Over-used. Well done, but over-used. The computer effects are magical...but they take up so much of the film you end up feeling like Lucas would have been better off cutting out the plot all together, filming a giant space-battle, and then putting in Episode III.5 (or V...whichever you prefer). Gone are the awe-inspiring yet simplistic X-Wing and light-sabre battles and instead we see a gargantuan space-battle that, in all fairness, we have no hope of comprehending without pausing the film. Most of the Jedi Temple and the environments are CGIed to hell.
Basically the film does what it sets out to do: it brings the 6 films together in a story that makes a lot of sense and is, in many respects, well told. But as a MOVIE it lacks seriously in the departments of acting and script. I went to see this movie as a fan, but came out a critic. That shouldn't happen. However, I know many who have enjoyed it...so people out there disagree with me.
Felt like I'd been slapped in the face
OK..this movie could have been soooo good! All generations have been exposed to Thunderbirds and have come to love it and this film had some of the features one would look for in a good thunderbirds movie. The craft themselves and Tracey Island were realistically transferred to the big screen, whilst still keeping to the designs we fell in love with. Sophia Miles was, simply, fantastic, as Lady P and Bill Paxton, whilst not exactly who I envisaged Jeff Tracey being, was solid enough...but then the adults were taken out of the equation and we were asked to believe 8 year olds could fly 200 tonne machines.
It's not so much the fact that the movie was centred around the children that made me feel like Jonathon Frakes was slapping me with a wet fish and laughing at my hard earned money spent on the film, it was the fact that Alan Tracey was so obnoxious in the film and that he seemed to be as able to fly the machines as well as his brothers...who were at least 19/20. Seriously, these are some pretty damn simple machines to use if this is the case.
The film didn't seem to know whether it wanted to be serious or farcical. It tried to pay homage whilst satirising and it just generally fell flat on its face. 3/10 (2 for the machines, 1 for Lady P)
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
I went to see this film with 3 friends, none of us expecting too much, and we were all very surprised. I found the film to be thought-provoking and it is one of the few films in recent memory I've seen where I actually gave a damn about the characters. I found myself actually flinching at parts of the film and wishing certain bits wouldn't happen, even though you knew they would. The best acting jobs in the entire film are done by the children. Those playing Kutcher and Smart and especially William Lee Scott in thier troubled years do outstanding jobs. My advice to anyone wanting to see this film is to go into it with an open mind and don't try and pick holes in the time-travel theory. Suspend your disbelief and just allow yourself to say "well maybe this is how it would happen", only then will you get the true experience. It may suffer from "Back To The Future" syndrome regarding time-travel, but that's only an annoyance if you let it be. Don't. In my mind this film will deserve more recognition than it gets. 9/10
Space Cadets (1997)
Why was this cancelled?
This show was a riot, plain and simple. The combined comic skills of Bill Bailey, Craig Charles and Greg Poops were enough to keep my eyes watering for the whole 1/2 hour slot the show filled, and that was without the added attraction of the guests they had on. It may have been slightly esoteric, but that just meant you appreciated the gags more. It still bemuses me to this day why such a perfectly good comedy quiz was ditched when it had so much potential, brought to the fore in the episode with "Admiral" William Shatner..oh how we laughed.
Overall the series was a huge amount of fun, a good way to spend a half hour of your evening and I can only hope that it is not lost with the other discarded attempts that litter the road to TV greatness.
Mystery Men (1999)
Is there a rating lower than one?
I don't like to critisise movies totally. I always try and find something good in a movie yet this defied me in watching Mystery Men. I sat there for what seemed like ages whilst failing to be entertained by any aspect of this film, not helped by my family watching it because I had said it was supposed to be really funny and their reaction was less than pleased.
There was not one single part of this film that entertained me in any way and I was genuinely disappointed in the fact that such a cast could produce such a terrible film. William H Macy, who i consider one of the most underrated actors of our time, and the rest of the cast looked like they were really trying to make something good out of this film, yet they failed for an inexplicable reason.
Maybe it was the script, or the jokes or the general idea of the film but it just did not work in any way, it tried to rip off many aspects of the superhero genre in an intelligent way, but failed.
Overall I have to say that watching this film was one of the most painful experiences of my movie loving life and if you ever come across a copy of this film i urge you to take the tape and burn it to prevent others from watching it. Believe me, it's for their on good.
In all fairness I went to see this film with the highest expectations and the utmost confidence that I was about to witness a classic. Which is probably why I came out and felt rather indifferent. The film itself was just not particullarly good. I'll admit I haven't even touched the books (I stalled on The Hobbit and never went back to it), but this puts me in all the more objective mood. The storyline as a whole was tangible, but lacked real depth. As one critic said: "Oh look there's the ring, we've been sitting on it for God know's how long".
The action and CGI in the film were impressive, the mines at the ower and the fight sequence with the cave troll were superb, yet these only served to add to my eventual frustration. The acting on the part of Frodo and, for that matter, most of the cast was hammy and just OTT.
No doubt I will be derided for these comments about the film, which many consider the greatest of all time, yet I just feel that it was too over-hyped. If I had gone in without this impression of a film on a par with others which I consider classics, maybe I wouldn't have been so dissapointed, but I cannot change the past and so rate it as I do. However maybe the release of 2 and 3 will make the film better. Ah well, at least it was better than Harry Potter.
American Pie 2 (2001)
Funnier, Weirder, Sexier
The first American Pie was a good film, it was funny in places, weird at the right moments and a generally diverting film. But it was far too sentimental. American Pie 2 is just BETTER! The whole cast is reunited for this film and it is pulled off with a humour that Road Trip and DWMC? both failed to hit. From the return of The Sherminator to Stifler(Sean W Scott) wanting to 'take one for the team' (you'll see what I mean when you see it!) this film is the shining example of what a teen comedy should be.
The start of this film is superb, I was laughing almost immediately at Jim's Dad's attempts to play it cool when he finds his son in a 'compromising situation'. I thought that this film had something which the first one lacked in some respects and that was spontanaity and timing. Don't get me wrong, American Pie had these two qualities, but they weren't use to the perfection that Pie 2 does. A superb example is Stifler's final words of the entire film, used just when the audience thinks its all over. But far be it from me to ruin the fun...watch it yourself and see.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Starts off well and then gets better
This film, if nothing else, deserves high marks if only for its complete tounge-in-cheek attitude to the whole Vampire scenario. The start of the film is fairly cool, with a good introduction to the two characters who will play a big part in our adventure, but then it kind of dies down until they reach the...ahem...nightclub.
Then the action really gets going and the humour gets more and more dark. "Sex-Machine"'s machine gun is an absolute show stealer and the attitude of the Preacher's young daughter, expertly played by Julliet Lewis, steals the show from Clooney. Clooney's whole attitude is just superb and I had heard reports of bad acting in the film, but I find that hard to believe. Tarantino gives a wonderful, if slightly disturbing, performance as Clooney's perverted brother and Harvey Keitel is good as the preacher.
I just couldn't finish here without a word for first the special effects, which seem totally different to all other Vampire movies, and Salma Hayek, who's role is far to brief, unlike her costume!
The Green Mile (1999)
An absolute classic
Rarely have i been as emotionally touched by a film as I was during this one. The cast were superb and it was a crime that this didn't receive more Oscars. I approached the film as something to watch on a dull Saturday morning and ended up questioning my own prejudices by the end of it. Its not a film that you can watch again and again, but it is one that just watching once is enough to make you think and to make tears well up. A truly great film.
Personally I thought it was overrated.
Having heard so much hype about this film I sat down to watch it and honestly could not see what everyone found so compelling about it. Sure the action sequences were good and the acting wasn't bad, but aside from the classic end sequence I couldn't really see what everyone was so excited about. In my opinion this is a film which can be watched once for the experience, but personally I'd rather stick on Terminator or Blade.