Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wrath Of The Titans (IMAX 3D)


Come on guys, you knew I was going to do that. I'm just so excited that Wrath Of The Titans has finally been released. Walking out of the theater tonight, I had a big smile on my face and seriously felt like doing a happy dance in the middle of the lobby. But I kept it together. Somehow I don't think everyone else there would care to see that. Nor would they understand my enthusiasm for Sam the way you guys do. Anyway, Wrath Of The Titans was AMAZING! Did you think I would say anything different? lol

The movie takes place about 10 years after the events of Clash Of The Titans (you don't have to have seen Clash in order to see this. They do a cool little recap at the beginning. But you should still see Clash anyway). Perseus (Sam Worthington) is now living a quiet life in a little fishing village with his young son Helius. The gods are losing their strength. Zeus (Liam Neeson) is captured in the underworld by his brother Hades and other son Ares (Edgar Ramirez). They plan on releasing one of the Titans- Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Of course if this happens, it'll be the end of the world.

Perseus must travel to the underworld to rescue Zeus and prevent Kronos from destroying everything. He needs the help of Agenor, Poseidon's demigod son, and fallen god Hephastus (Bill Nighy). Also aiding Perseus is Queen Andromeda (the role was recast and played by Rosmand Pike this time. She did a decent enough job.)

And that's basically the plot. Other than that it's pretty much like Clash- Sam runs around in a skirt killing monsters for an hour and a half. Is it crazy? Yes. Is the dialog a little cheesy at times? Yes. But so what? I thought the movie was fun.

I think Wrath is even better than Clash in some ways. There's a lot more monster/fighting scenes. Take all the cool monsters from the first movie and times it by a thousand and this is the result. There's never a dull moment. Jonathan Liebesman the director did a fantastic job creating this world and improving upon its predecesor. Much credit should also go to the visual effects team for their stunning work creating all those awesome monsters that scared the crap out of me and everyone in the audience.

You all knew it was coming- I have to talk about Sam ;) What can I say that I haven't said a million times already? The man is an incredibly talented actor who just keeps getting better with each role. He's great at being able to carry a big blockbuster franchise. He's great in dramas or small indy movies. He's great period :D :D :D I can't wait to see what roles he takes on next. Whatever it is, you know I'll be there opening night.

Liam Neeson was badass as always. I mean, it's Liam Neeson! The man can do know wrong. Sadly, he doesn't really have an epic line like he does in Clash (Gotta love "Release the Kraken!"). Ralph Fiennes was good to. He's at his best when he plays a villian. I mean come on, the man is Voldermort for crying out loud!

As much as I loved the epic action scenes, probably my favorite scenes in the whole movie were the ones with Sam and the little boy who plays his son. Very sweet :) 

The only thing I wish they had done in Wrath is spent a little more time developing a few of the characters. Specifically Agenor and Hephaestus. I found them both really interesting. Bill Nighy, who I'm a big fan of, is terrific for the small amount of screen time that he has and his character provides some much needed comic relief.

Go and see this in 3D if you can (and in IMAX as well if there's an IMAX theater near you). The 3D was surprisingly good. I'm not sure if the movie was shot in 3D or wether it was converted in post production. Either way it looks great and you really feel like you're in this world and being chased after by all those monsters. While it's not Avatar quality 3D it's MUCH better than the 3D in the first movie. I love Clash don't get me wrong, but the 3D in that was AWFUL. The worst I've seen to date.

I'm sure there will be some people who don't like Wrath, but I don't care. As I've said before, if you go into this kind of movie expecting an Oscar worthy experience then you're a moron. But if you're looking for a fun, entertaining, action movie then go see this :) You won't regret it.

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games

Please note, I've only just begun reading the first book.

When I first saw the trailer for this awhile back, I wasn't that impressed. It was basically just a minute of Jennifer Lawrence running around in the woods. The second trailer was much better and the whole idea of the story was interesting. Pretty soon everyone was talking about it. So did it live up to the hype? I would say yes for the most part.

The Hunger Games takes place in a sort of post apocolyptic future. What was once North America is now known as Panem, a nation divided into 12 Districts (at one point there was 13) and run by a wealthy area known as the Capitol. Every year each District holds a reaping (raffle) to choose one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in The Hunger Games, where the 24 contestants (tributes) fight to the death on live tv until only one remains. It's the ultimate reality show.

In the poor, coal mining District 12 where everyone is starving, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers as tribute in the place of her younger sister Prim. The boy tribute is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a baker's son who was once very kind to Katniss. Liam Hemsworth plays Gale, Katniss' friend who hunts with her in order to provide food for their families.

The director of The Hunger Games is Gary Ross (Pleasentville, Seabiscuit). I think he does an amazing job showing the bleakness of the Districts. You really get a feel for what it's like for these people who are starving and just struggling to survive. I must admit, I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion.

The best part of the movie for me was Jennifer Lawrence's performance. She was the perfect choice to play Katniss. She really captures the character's strengthy and determination. I can't even begin to tell you how nice it is to see a strong female character who kicks ass and doesn't need a man to take care of her.

My other favorite character was Haymitch, played by the brilliant Woody Harrelson. Haymitch serves as the drunken (but well meaning) mentor of Katniss and Peeta. From what I understand, he's the only surviving winner of The Hunger Games from District 12. He's quite the scene stealer. As is Elizabeth Banks who plays Effie. With those crazy outfits and makeup, she's nearly unrecognizable. Infact some of the outfits for all the characters throughout the movie were... interesting. During some of the scenes it felt like I was watching a Marilyn Manson video. That's not a bad thing though.

The only performance I wasn't too crazy about was Josh Hutcherson's. Don't get me wrong, I really like the character and Josh is a decent enough actor, but aside from a few moments I felt like he had little chemistry with Jennifer.

Liam Hemsworth was okay. But I can't really say much about him yet since, except for the beginning, he has very little screen time. I know his character plays a bigger part in the next two books so we shall see.

The only really negative thing I have to say is the director's use of shaky cam in a few scenes. It's something in movies, while it can be done right at times, I hate. It gives me a headache.

The movie does run a bit long (it's almost two and a half hours) and that might bother some people. It did seem to drag at times, but I was fine with it overall. I like long movies.

I would defenietly reccommend The Hunger Games to everyone. From what I've heard, it's pretty faithful to the book. The author Suzanne Collins was one of the writers on the script. While I'm sure it helps, you don't really have to read the book in order to understand the movie.

The second movie, Catching Fire, I beleive starts filming in the fall and will be released November 2013. I can't wait to see it :)

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, March 9, 2012

John Carter (3D)

First of all, I've never read the books (which first began being published 100 years ago!) that this movie is based on. I apologize in advance if I mess up any of the details.

Being such a huge sci fi fan, I went into John Carter a little excited but didn't get my hopes up. It seems to me Disney is in desperate need of a new, blockbuster franchise. They want the next Avatar. Speaking of that, from what I understand, James Cameron was partly inspired by these books when he created Avatar. I can defenietly see that. When I first saw the trailer for John Carter a few months ago, the first thing thought that popped into my head was "This looks like it's going to be Star Wars meets Avatar." And it was. It also reminded me a bit of Prince of Persia and surprisingly Cowboys & Aliens.

So what's the verdict? I thought the movie was pretty good. Wasn't the best movie ever, but I enjoyed it.

I'm not even going to bother to talk about the plot too much. If you've seen Star Wars and/or Avatar then it's pretty much the same. But basically you've got the main character named John Carter (Taylor Kitsch). He's a former Cival War soldier who somehow gets transported to Mars, which is known to the natives as Barsoom. Along the way he discovers that because of Barsoom's gravity, he has superhuman strength and can jump long distances. This attracts the attention of some of the natives known as Tharks (12 feet tall green alien people). There are also other races on the planet including humanoids (which look like regular humans with red Henna tattoos on their bodies) from an area called Helium. John ends up meeting the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). For various reasons, Dejah is about to be forced into a political marriage. She's obviously not happy about it and runs away. She ends up meeting John Carter and.... well, you can pretty much guess what's going to happen.

The movie had a budget of $250 million. With that kind of money and if you want any chance of making profit, you better have the name James Cameron or Peter Jackson. But the director of John Carter is a guy named Andrew Stanton (this is his first "live action" movie I beleive. His previous works include Finding Nemo & Wall-e). Not that he's a bad director, I'm just not sure he was the right person for this. The special effects were really good for the most part (except for a few moments where it was obvious the two main actors were acting infront of a green screen). But the movie didn't have that spark that other good blockbusters have. It's hard to explain.

The acting was decent enough. Taylor Kitsch played the part well, although I'm not sure if he's the kind of actor who can carry a franchise. I enjoyed seeing Lynn Collins play Dejah. Her character was your typical damsil in distress who needs a man to save her, but there were times when she could be bad ass.

And as far as the 3D, it was okay. It looked amazing in a few scenes but overall isn't really worth the extra money. I'm sure it looks just as good in 2D.

I think if you loved Star Wars or Avatar, then you'll like this. Other than that, I'm not sure. It's good, but it had the potential to be great. I have a bad feeling this is going to flop. Hopefully I'm wrong because I would really like to see where they go with this series. I had fun watching this.

My Rating: 7.5/10