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Back to Middle Earth
The film is an excellent tribute to the original novel, it is a more mature version of it. While The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does not reach the standards created by The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it fits quite well in the LOTR filmography and universe.
The realization is fantastic, the attention to detail is breathtaking. Yes, there are a few forced elements in the film, like the barfing and salivation of dwarfs, trolls. But unlike others, my main little complaints are related to the small story changes, not from the The Hobbit but the LOTR appendix. The death of Thrór, grandfather of Thorin could have been left as it was in the novel to explain the War of the Dwarfs and Orcs. As well as the role of Dáin II Ironfoot in the Battle of Nanduhirion. If Bolg have been left in the story as it was in the book, it could have helped to emphasize the Orc-Dwarf antipathy by the Orc's desire to avenge his father.
Apart from the above the film is almost flawless. The acting is great, the story development is very good. The score is familiar but perfectly realized. And if you are carried along by the storytelling, you won't be distracted by the CGI. All that discussion related to the effects is over-hyped.
I think some dissatisfaction also comes from the fact that this film lacks monumental battle scene. There is the Battle of Nanduhirion (or Azanulbizar), but since it is a flashback, it is short. Maybe spending a little more time and money on this instead of CGI saliva could have satisfied some, who remained without the taste of grandiose in their mouth.
Of course, another aspect is that this film lacks the novelty factor. When The Fellowship of the Ring came out, it was fresh, nothing ever seen before in cinema. And it was completed masterfully by the two monumental sequels. The little flaws were overlooked. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does not possess this only the expectation factor. The critics were eager to emphasize the film's flaws.
So, don't mind the critics. The film is very good, Jackson's tendency for quality shines from it. Hope that the sequels will be perfect and the critics will be satisfied.
Cosmic Voyage (1996)
Education plus visual effects
This is one of the best IMAX films. It is truly a Cosmic Voyage, it gives an idea about the truth size of our macro and micro universe.
It manages to maintain the interest by avoiding any difficult data, the ones told are clear and suitable even for younger audience. And I believe it contains information even for the educated people.
It is needless to talk about the visuals. The IMAX films always had great footage and effects, this is true also for this one. But unlike to some IMAX films where only the visuals stand out, here the narration and contents are also very good. Morgan Freeman's calm narrative voice makes you to really wonder about the contents.
Wild Weather (2002)
Comprehensive and spectacular show on weather
This series falls into the spectacular, adventurous type of documentaries. It presents the main weather manipulating factors using breathtaking shootings with an active and constant involvement of the narrator.
We can follow the journey of Donal MacIntyre in understanding the Earth's weather. Various places are visited from the cold arctic zones to sandy warm beaches, from hot deserts to tropical rain forests. The series does not enter extremely deep in the explanation of all the phenomena, however it presents a general overview of the four main factors and their main aspects. Wind, wet, cold and heat: each of them gets a separate episode. Both sides of these weather factors are presented. They are the main manipulators of weather, thus they are the key manipulators of life. But as they bring life they could bring also disaster. In his journey MacIntyre undergoes various tests, either in nature or in controlled environment, experiencing the harsh effects of weather on his skin. In the same time the archive shootings of natural disasters remind us how weak we are when the nature unleashes and how irresponsible is the human, as we are the main cause of changing the weather, which becomes more unstable and wilder as the global warming increases.
I highly recommend this show. It presents the duality of our weather, the beauty and the beast, in an exciting, spectacular and also thrilling way.
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Not a bad idea, could have been better
The Brothers Grimm are popular for their fairy and folk tales although these were byproduct of the Brothers' linguistic research. So don't even think about that this film has much in common with their actual life.
However the idea of the film is not bad, although it could have been made better. The acting is mediocre, the visual effects are looking at some places if they were from theater sceneries, also the storyline could have been developed better. But the film has many clever references to the fairy tales, it is fun and the action itself isn't bad either.
The created atmosphere is not bad, but maybe this genre would be more suitable for Tim Burton, his style probably would have been more appropriate in recreating the fairy environment.
Anyway, I recommend the film if you are seeking a light, one-night, popcorn movie. Hopefully at least it will raise your interest in the well known, still forgotten tales. Or the real biography of the Brothers Grimm.
As good as the first
Very few sequels receive the same appreciation as their successful predecessors. Think to Matrix, Back to the Future or Indiana Jones. All of these films first parts are in the top 250, but their sequels failed to obtain this performance (however Indiana Jones managed to recover with the third part). I think the main reason why most of the viewers, who liked the first part and did not the second, is because the sequel didn't carry the magic of novelty.
When the first Pirates of the Caribbean came out, it was new, it was fresh, nothing really have looked similar to it before. It mixed adventure, fantasy, humor, great visuals and very good sound.
The director didn't took any chances, he followed the successful recipe. The sequel is good looking, funny, well acted and most of all, and in this characteristic it exceeds the first one in my opinion, it is very dynamic. However after the first one, this genre is not new, so for many it just won't be as good as the first one.
If you liked the first one, don't hesitate seeing this one. It holds the same qualities as it's predecessor. At first I thought the 150 minutes will be too much, but the film is action packed and if you like this kind of entertainment, you will not get bored for a single minute. And maybe the final part will have the similar fate as the third part of Indiana Jones. I hope so. 9/10
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Impossible scenes with style
In contrary with its sequels this film is not based only the visuals and action sequences. The director tries to put emphasis also on the storyline and evolution of the characters and resulting in a very good "spyish" atmosphere. OK, also John Woo tries to give style to Tom Cruise, but this results in a ridiculous smooth-macho superman character spiced with white pigeons...
This movie also has some ridiculous scenes (like the "I am gonna' kill you with the helicopter rotor, by smashing and cutting you, while you are holding desperately to the back of the train and speeding with 200-250 km/h in the tunnel" scene). But it also has scenes which remained famous and were taken or parodized by other movies (think to the rope scene in the computer room). The movie also delivers a great remake of the famous MI sound theme. The acting is good, Jon Voight, Jean Reno and Tom Cruise are giving stylish performances.
Overall, the movie is enjoyable and deserves an above average ranking because the good sound score and it's impact on the action film industry.
Huo yuanjia (2006)
One of Jet Li's best.
Jet Li acts the role of a real Chinese Martial Arts master and this role requires superior acting skills as in the most of his preceding roles. While in "Hero" the visuals eclipsed the morality and even the fight scenes, this film's strongest parts are these, alloying them and concluding in the fact that morality is the essence of martial arts.
The fight scenes are good and spectacular, however sometimes they are a little bit exaggerated. It would be great to see once that the wires and other visual enhancers are sacrificed and replaced by traditional fight scenes. Especially if we are dealing with a biographical film as this one.
Nevertheless, this is a great martial arts film with morality and it also gives a political background of China in the early 20th century.
Ngo si seoi (1998)
You can't get bored with such action scenes
OK, the film does not shine from the plot point of view, but the fight and stunt scenes are incredible. As we could get used to it from Jackie Chan. I don't mind if there are goofs in the acting or the plot. The action scenes are compensating them. I don't know if there is another actor capable of such stunts, maybe Jet Li.
But he is rather good in kung-fu, while Jackie also does some amazing jumps, climbings, rolls down on a rope, runs down on the side of a skyscraper. The car stunts are not bad, although in some points they seem goofy. And there is the final fight scene. The last fights are always special in his movies, and this will not disappoint You. If You like Jackie Chan's movies, this is a must see.
Rat Race (2001)
One of the best non-sense movies
From a point of view it is not convenient to give a very high mark to a movie like this, but I believe that movies have to be rated in different categories. So it could happen that such a movie receives a greater mark than a movie from a different category, which by the way has a greater artistic value.
Anyway, if you like non-sense movies with absurd scenes, this is for you. The movie succeeds without clever jokes, with its hilarious scenes to make fun of the greedy or the "don't know how to spend their money" people. One absurd scene follows the other, and if you like such humor you will soon find yourself convulsed with laughter. Sometimes it may appear forced, but this is a characteristic for the genre. If you just want a fun and action packed movie, this is a very good choice.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Love triumphs over any suffering
Although I haven't read the book, it became obvious that the film's screenplay has origins from literature. Many novels, poems written on diverse languages have at their basis the topic of fighting and suffering for love. This is the essence of the film. The rest is detail. But these detail differentiate it from other films. The age, the natural surroundings, the supporting actors are also chosen carefully, distinguishing the film from the majority.
It is the age of the Civil War. A wounded soldier begins his journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his love. Their love is pure, idyllic. The whole journey is also fabulous, he gets in amazing situations encountering evil and good. Meanwhile his love meets her own problems at home in the lean and dire days of the war.
The acting is very good. I won't comment it in detail, I am sure others did, anyway the names and nominations speak for themselves. The scenes filmed in Romania near Brasov are beautiful, although I'm sure there are differences between the Carpatians and the Appalacian Mountains. The costumes and make-ups are good, the filmmakers even manage to make the audience forget about the fact that Kidman and Zellweger are film stars.
This is not the usual romance story. Violent sometimes naturalistic scenes are mixed with romantic scenes. There are people, loving romantic movies, who consider it too violent at some places, others consider it too romantic. I consider it a film worth to watch, a film above the majority.