Archive for category Movies

Live Free Or Return of Planet of Movie Reviews Sans Title: Reckoning

Posted by on Sunday, 2 September, 2012

This movie was fine. I pretty much got what I expected out of it. I want to get that out of the way up front, because I do not want to talk about the movie itself so much as its place in the world.

At first glance, one might compare this to Movie #1 and think, “CGI, fairy tale, princess… this is just more of the same.” I did at first. However, a significant theme in this movie is the relationship between mother and daughter. I found this odd, because mothers are usually conspicuously absent from these movies. What do you guys have against mothers over there?

This lead me to investigate the key difference between these two movies. This movie was produced by a company that so revolutionized this style of film making that their name is practically synonymous with it. It was distributed by their even-more-well-know parent company. Conversely, that other movie was (I guess) produced in-house by that same parent company. Which means that it has a place in said company’s “official canon”, and, perhaps more significantly, that movie’s protagonist is an official member of the character franchise.

Neither of those is true of this movie. Which is a shame, because I feel that this is a better example of the kind of movie that made that company famous than anything they have produced themselves in the last decade or so. (Present company excluded, of course.)

Movie Review Sans Title #3

Posted by on Sunday, 18 December, 2011

You guys are supposed to guess the movie, was that not clear? Or do you just not like guessing games? I like guessing games.

I was looking forward to this movie for a long time. Almost bucket-list level anticipation. Did it meet expectations? Perhaps not quite, but it was still good. Most of the main characters are some combination of marionettes and puppets. It seriously pushes suspension of disbelief into overdrive, because it is never explained what these creatures are supposed to be or where they come from within the movie universe, and then on top of that, they repeatedly break the fourth wall.

Unfortunately, a lot of the gags were given away in the trailer, but there are still some very fine and unexpected bits in the movie. See it. Relevant.

Movie Reviews Sans Title #2

Posted by on Friday, 25 November, 2011

A couple of months ago I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie that confused me. How is that movie not out yet? I have been seeing that movie AND its sequels in the Redbox, well, for about as long as Redbox has been a thing. They are based on a series of popular books, but I had no interest at all in either book or movie until I saw this trailer and began to investigate. It turns out the upcoming movie was the American version, while the DVDs that I had previously encountered, like the original novels, were in Swedish. Americans are not known for their fondness of subtitles, but someone thought that these movies were compelling enough to drop into local convenience stores and supermarkets? NOW I was interested.

As for the movie itself, it was excellent. Oh, it definitely is not for everyone. For one thing, it does involve a lot of reading. Moreover, the translation seems odd in parts. Not that I am any kind of expert; the only Swedish that I know is “Börk, börk, börk!” and I do not even know what that means. But the characters in the movie use the word “mördare” several times, and the subtitles always read “killer” despite the fact that the word sounds a whole lot like “murderer.” Come on guys. A word that sounds like “fantastic” came up twice, once early in the movie and oddly translated as “excellent”, and then toward the end of the movie, this time translated to “fantastic.” Hmm. A couple of times a character would say perhaps one syllable, and the translation would be a whole sentence, and I felt that I was missing out on some of the slanginess. I realize that these are pedantic complaints, but things like that interfere with my suspension of disbelief.

Perhaps more importantly for a general audience, this movie is a thriller that does get pretty graphic in parts. Nothing really over-the-top, but still a lot of people are not into that. Also, upon reflection, it did have a rather linear narrative. Several sub-plots were hinted at but not really explored. The book is probably much better about these, but when is it ever not? I had absolutely no idea what the story was about before I started, which I personally find tends to help my enjoyment of a movie considerably.

I do not have very high hopes for the American remake, as I expect them to throw a lot of money at it and focus less on things like “plot” and “dialog” in favor of “action” and “cinematography”. I feel that the distinct lack of subtlety in the song choice for the trailer does not bode well. But that is different movie.

Movie Reviews Sans Title #1

Posted by on Friday, 21 October, 2011

In spite of the fact that the trailers for this movie seemed specifically designed to make it look HORRIBLE, I watched it purely on faith in the reputation of the film makers. However, for the first twenty minutes or so, I was afraid that I had made a terrible mistake. The story was slow, the villain did not seem archetypically villainous enough and most importantly, the songs were weak-sauce. And what is all this crap about sunlight and flowers? Where are the radishes?

Once the story got moving though, it did get a lot better. I was a little confused because I could have sworn that Chuck was supposed to be in this movie, even though the male lead looked quite a bit like that dude who was on one of the seasons of “24” that I actually watched, now on “Haven”. (Not that I expect anyone else to have ever heard of that show.) In any case, I thought that the heroine’s face was astoundingly expressive, and the movie is practically worth seeing on that reason alone.

Spoiler alert: the prince does not go blind in the end. That may have something to do with the fact that there was actually no prince at all. Did the writers even read the reference story? Although, you can not really blame them. In this post-feminist world, could they really have a story about a girl marrying a prince? Who would get excited about that in 2011? Ahem.

So overall, pretty decent. Not the instant classic like so many of its predecessors, but certainly not immediately disposable like its contemporaries.