Archive for May, 2009

27
May
09

Terminator Salvation

terminator-salvation-posterTerminator fans your time has come! Last week saw the release of Terminator Salvation, the forth installment of the Terminator saga. I know right, crazy exciting. If you are anything like me, Terminator was definitely a movie staple growing up. I am pretty sure the first pair of boobs I ever saw were Linda Hamilton’s from the first Terminator. I then became a fan of Guns and Roses because of “You could be mine” in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (I am not addressing the third Terminator movie on purpose, let’s pretend it didn’t happen). Going in with an extremely critical mind, I came out of the theater impressed and happy to finally have another good Terminator movie to add to my collection. Terminator Salvation takes place in the future where John Connor (Played by Christian Bale; Keep your robotic pants on ladies) is leading the resistance against Skynet. But the future is not exactly how his mother, Sarah Connor, predicted. Skynet has developed a new Terminator that believes it is actually human. John Connor must fight the clock to save his teenage father, Kyle Reese, and battle his inner knowledge of how the future is supposed to turn out.

Quick Back Story GO!

Kyle Reese was sent back in time by the resistance to protect Sarah Connor from a terminator who was sent back in time to kill her. Sarah Connor is the mother of John Connor who will grow up and lay the smack down on the machines. Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor get it on after making pipes bombs (I know, that turns me on too) and Kyle knocks her up. He was sent back in time by John Connor but is actually John’s father..MIND TRIP. Ok deep breath…..and moving on.

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If you are a fan of Terminator you will not be disappointed. Director McG had the arduous task of portraying life after judgment day. In the previous Terminators the audience got a sneak peek into how life would be battling for the existence of humanity. He did an excellent job of providing a back story that supports the previous movies very well. The plot line all and all was very predictable, but entertaining enough that it did not take away from the overall goal. Also the look of the movie was perfect for the emotion it was trying to convery. The entire movie had a gritty hue that almost seemed like there was a constant ash falling. The earth has been nearly destroyed by the machines, and there is no better way to portray this then by sucking the color and feeling out of everything.

With a sci-fi movie, there is always a risk of cheaply made CG effects. So many movies have suffered due to fake, cheesy looking FX. Thank you Terminator Salvation for not ruining this movie with big cartoonish robots. CG is used strategically, only when absolutely needed. There is a scene in the beginning of the movie that has a continuous shot of John Connor flying and crashing a helicopter. The camera follows him up, and then spinning down, against a background of a beautiful grey, torn landscape. This shot obviously used green screen, but it was done to perfection. It looks like you are there fighting along side Connor. The only thing I thought was unnecessary was a sudo cameo by Arnold. I do not want to say any more, no need to ruin the surprise. Also the Terminators seemed to be mostly animatronics which made them much more realistic. Again CG is only used on the robots when it is absolutely necessary.

For the fans of the previous Terminator films, T4 adds some nostalgia. We now know that John Connor loves to ride a motorcycle to the music of Gun and Roses, and that Kyle Reese will always say, “Come with me if you want to live”. These little things are found throughout the movie, reminding us of who the characters are, and where they have been. Terminator Salvation also sees the introduction of Marcus Wright played by Sam Worthington. Wright is an ex-con who donated his body to science and wakes up in 2018 as a Cyborg. Wright’s character adds an interesting dynamic to the movie. Wright, who is half man, half machine, thinks he is actually human. He is a lot like Frankenstein’s monster, in that he is continuously fighting against his inner identity. There is great symbolism in this character, showing that humanity will always prevail. John Connor is obviously a Jesus figure. I do not think both of their initials are “JC” by accident. He is the savior of all mankind, so it is easy to see why they would make him into a prophet figure. They could have expanded on Connor’s role a little bit more, but I think it is something they will save for the next two movies. Also it is funny to see that Christian Bale has fallen into the “Hard Whisper” category of actors. There were plenty of times in the movie that John Connor can be mistaken for the Dark Knight with his breathy pleas. We get it, the whisper makes you seem more bad ass. What happened to the good days of yelling to show distress?

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If you like the Terminator Saga go see this movie. Shoot, if you don’t, go see this movie. Terminator Salvation has everything fans of the old movies want, and new exciting action that will keep new comers entertained. I will now hang on to a chain as I am slowly lowered into hot metal….Cue my Guns and Roses!

12
May
09

X-men Origins: Wolverine

x_men_origins_wolverineJust when I thought that I would never see Huge “Jacked” Jackman with feathered hair and a mustache-less beard again, X-men Origins: Wolverine came to the rescue. This origin story brings Wolverine to the screen for the fourth time; revealing the past of our favorite three-clawed hero. Wolverine, aka Logan, witnesses the death of his father at a young age. In rage, he shoots bones claws from his knuckles and avenges his father. But wait I thought Wolverine had metal claws? Patience my friends, lets go to chapter two and see what happens next! Wolverine and his childhood friend Victor Creed, later to be known as Sabertooth, escape only to fight in pretty much every American war. They are mutants, of course they live forever. Wolverine and Sabertooth eventually join the “Weapon X” program which is dedicated to creating the perfect mutant killer. This group is not what you would consider morally sound, so Wolverine leaves to take on the life of a lumberjack. His old buddy Sabertooth is not very exciting about this, and decides to kill Wolverine’s girlfriend. Cue cheesy shot of Wolverine holding his dead girlfriend as he screams into the air. Blood thirsty for revenge, Wolverine allows the Weapon X program to pump his body full of space metal. Ahhh now I see, THAT’S how he gets the metal claws. The Wolverine we grew to love as kids is now born, and really pissed off at the world.

It’s tough to write a synopsis on an origin story! So many details with so little wordpress space. As you can imagine a character like Wolverine has a long complicated history. This fact alone makes this movie a difficult creation. On one end you want to make a good movie that everyone will want to go see. On the other you have to please all the comic book fans by recreating the story as accurately as possible. I could sit here all day and argue over the movies authenticity in relation to the actual origin story, but let’s leave that to the fan boys’ wordpress pages. Just analyzing the movie for what it was, X-men Origins: Wolverine fell short in many ways.

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My main complaint was that the movie cut corners and forced the story. The Wolverine origin story already has enough meat, there is no need to add potatoes. There were a lot of aspects that made the movie feel rushed. For instance I felt like characters were added to create a forced ending. I realize that the studio was probably just trying to please fans by adding characters like Gambit and Cyclops, but they were not needed. Gambit was in the movie for what seemed like two seconds, and had a very minor role. He was obviously only placed in the movie to make fan boys happy.

Another thing that seemed to make the movie feel rushed and cheaply made was the bad CG. There was a point in the movie where Wolverine is looking at his new metal claws in the mirror. For some reason the claws looked like a bad cartoon from Who Framed Rodger Rabbit. I understand that you can not really show claws shooting out of Huge Jackman’s hands, but the original X-Men movies the claws looked a lot more realistic. That is what makes Wolverine, Wolveriney! We couldn’t throw a little more money toward the design?

Aside from the bad CG and the unnecessary character placement X-men Origins was a decent movie. It had good acting, thank you Huge Jackman, was well filmed, and provided enough action to hide its weak plot behind. The title also suggests that there might be more origin stories to come, which I welcome with open arms. If you go see it in theaters make sure you wait until after the credits. X-men movies always like to give you a little treat for sticking around and reading who the “Best Boy Grip” was.

05
May
09

Quantum of Solace

james_bond_quantum_of_solace_posterQuantum of Solace sees the second installment of the “newly renovated” 007 series. Following Casino Royale, Daniel Craig is back as the legendary British special agent James Bond. After the death of Vesper, Bond’s main squeeze from Casino Royale, Bond is out for vengeance. In an attempt to uncover the identity of a secret organization, Bond stumbles across an “evil hippie”. Well actually he is just an environmental developer by the name of Dominic Greene. But Greene is not exactly enviro-friendly as he seeks to deplete natural resources from third world countries in exchange for money and power. Cue Bond music and slow motion bullet opening! Accompanied by, a sexy ex-bolivian secret agent hell bent on revenge, Bond most stop Greene before he takes majority control of the world’s resources.

I know what your thinking, “Can’t go wrong with a Bond movie”. You would be right for the most part. Quantum of Solace is an entertaining movie, but it falls short of greatness in many way. The plot line in general is very weak and confusing. The film jumps all over the world in what seems like a desperate attempt to tie loose strings from Casino Royale. Because of this, the character development suffers. We all know the story of Bond and “M” because they have been in countless movies, but what makes a veteran movie series survive are its fresh faces. Camille, played by the very attractive Olga Kurylenko, is highly overlooked in this movie. The presents of her character really had the chance to add an amazing dynamic to this film. The loss that Camille feels over the death of her family should have been used more effectively to connect her to Bond. Instead it was used for an action scene set-up later in the movie. Do not get my wrong I love a good action scene as much as the next guy, but so much more could have been done with her character. Of course Daniel Craig nails James Bond again. In my opinion I would have to put Craig over Pierce Brosnan. Craig adds a layer of bad ass-ness which I think was over shadowed in past Bond characters by an attempt to be overly suave. I prefer the gritty, kick-your-mom-in-the-teeth, Bond.

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Quantum of Solace was directed by Marc Forster, who has been behind some pretty remarkable films such as Monster’s Ball and The Kite Runner. His imagining of the film I thought was pretty good, but he honestly should never work with the same Director of Photography again! They might as well have put the camera on a fault line and waited for the rector scale to have a rave. The action sequences were choppy and hard to follow. It did not leave enough time for the eye to catch up to what was actually happening. I understand that action movies these days are shot like this, aka the Bourne series, but its cuts were so fast that you do not get a chance to enjoy the sequences. People enjoy seeing the action not following behind it hoping to catch a glimpse.

All and all I think Quantum of Solace will be very disappointing to fans of the Bond series. It does not have the same secret agent feel and tends to focus more on its hyper active action sequences. It is still a pretty entertaining movie, but drops the ball in a lot of areas that could have made it a great flick.