Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Mini Movie Reviews - Justice League, Planet Hulk, Legion, Percy Jackson & Solomon Kane. SPOILERS.

I'd love to spend ages on these reviews but alas I just don't have the time of late. So here are my shortish reviews for a handful of movies I've watched recently. I warn you now that there aren't a lot of positive thoughts below! Oh and there are a few SPOILERS so don't read on unless you want to know crucial parts to some of the films.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Oh how I was looking forward to this, the newest of the DC animated features. I'd read the source material it was based on back when it came to trade paperback and I loved it (can't remember it but I know I loved it!). I'd seen the clips and trailers for the movie and I also loved them, and then I saw the movie and I... well, I didn't love it so much...

It wasn't terrible by any means, but it had a lot of negatives that I wasn't really expecting. My main gripes were:

William Baldwin as the voice of Batman. No, no, no. It did not, in any way or form, work. Nor did the actual look of Bats. His cowl was misshapen, his bat-ears were all wrong, and some of the mistakes he made fighting Owlman just weren't Batman. Not sure what happened there but for a fan boy like me they killed Batman in this movie. Superman, Lex Luthor, Superwoman and Owlman were all pretty spot on, why the miscasting and bad style on The Dark Knight?

Owlman's plan. WTF? This just didn't come together or make any sense at all to me. James Woods' voice was fine for the role, in fact it was a great bit of casting (unlike Batman), but attempting to destroy the multiverse by nuking Earth one, the original primary Earth? Nope, didn't buy it. It was a crazy plan with no solid purpose and Owlman wasn't that crazy. Plus I believe I saw a similar storyline with the recent Turtles Forever animated movie, and that was executed much better in its own way.

Batman letting Johnny Quick die/ kill himself? Would Bats ever do that? I mean I know he's not directly killing Johnny, but hell, it's as good as... Bad form old chap, bad form, even if it was to save everyone and everything.

Breakdance... well, break dancing? Zapping Supes and then body popping before he tries to finish the job? Plus I'm pretty sure the kid just has electrical powers, he's not invulnerable, so Supes smashing him into a concrete wall with such force that the wall breaks? Kid would've died, c'mon.

As you can see I wasn't overly impressed by this one, which is a damned shame. I enjoyed it to a degree (mostly due to the battle scenes), as I do with all DC and Marvel animated films, no matter how good or bad they are, but this one rates as one of the lower grade achievements from DC/ WB.


Planet Hulk

Again this was a film based on a specific comic book series that I'd already read, and again loved, and was one I was really looking forward to seeing.

Planet Hulk is a little more faithful to its source material than the DC Justice League COTE film, apart from the change of Silver Surfer for Beta Ray Bill (although I've never seen Beta Ray in a movie before so that was welcome). As with the comics the story is pretty much the same as the Russel Crowe movie 'Gladiator' but just adds in The Hulk and some aliens for good measure. It's a pretty adult animation and a depressing and solemn affair, but it gets the gist of the original story across in the allotted time and comes off with some pretty good moments and some stirring emotions from a character not usually akin to such things. The basic story of "Hulk gets banished from Earth to another planet, is said to be a prophetic chosen one when he lands, gets captured by an evil ruler, fights lots of beaties against his will, makes some life long friends, falls in love with the ruler's top female soldier, overthrows the ruler, becomes king" is handled well and can stand alone as a story to watch, even if you replaced The Hulk with any generic character.

Overall it's not awesome, but it's worth your time if you get to see it.



Oh the bloody tragedy that is 'Legion'... One of those movies where the trailer is 10 times better than the movie itself Legion promises such great things and then slaps you around the face and laughs as the credits roll. Again a real downer here where the acting is plain awful, the story is executed so poorly my 6 year old daughter could have done a better job with a Fisher Price video camera and some of her school friends, and you go back to the original trailer to enjoy what could have been by making up the movie in your head.

Does it have any redeeming features? For me, not really. Visually I liked the old lady demon and that scene she was in, and when Gabriel first lands and spreads his wings, and... well, that's really just about it. The rest that makes up the movie suffers from being boring, tension-less and (I'll repeat myself here) poorly acted. Shame on you Dennis Quaid, shame on you. I'm going back to watch Inner Space to remember the good times I once had watching you!

God may have lost faith in human kind, but he certainly lost faith in this movie...


Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Preceding the big budget remake of Clash of the Titans came Percy Jackson. I'd bought the novel a few weeks before seeing this film in the hopes of relating what I saw on screen to the book, but unfortunately I never got the chance to read it. Maybe that was a good thing because sometimes knowing what you're about to see isn't always helpful and especially when the main plot theme is a mystery thief who's stolen something and you're going to find out who...

I'll admit that this was a movie I wanted to see purely because it was about the Greek Gods which I've always been pretty obsessed with, even as a young boy, and it was also riding the wave of the Harry Potter franchise both in its theme (young adults, magic, monsters) and its director Chris Columbus, but I'm pleased to say it exceeded my initially weak expectations.

That's not to say it was perfect, of course it wasn't, but it was a good ride while it lasted and you can see a few sequels popping up in the future, maybe taking over the golden reigns Mr. Potter has had hold of for the past 9 years. I will say that the acting was good (for a teen movie like this, and Logan Lerman is a good suitor for Spidey should he be in line), the effects were good in parts, the story was passable, if a little crazy in bits, and I've found a new object for my affection. The 24 year old stunner that is Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth). Holy moley that girl is wicked hot...

Aaaaanyway to the bad parts:

Steve Coogan as Hades dressed like a rocker... No. Hell no. OK so I haven't read the book, maybe he's perfect for the part, but for me he ruined any form of suspense, fear or gravitas you were sitting there expecting. Was he right? You tell me.

Uma Therman as Medusa. Again - HELL NO! She sucked more than I've ever seen her suck before. Gone was the Pulp Fiction awesomeness and in was the cringe worthy panto acting that almost made me choke on my popcorn. I mean WTF? And no offense to the effects team but the snake hair was pretty bad. Even when she had the turban thingy on she had blonde hair sticking out... Yeesh.

Percy's reaction to his mother getting killed/ turned to dust by the Minotaur. C'mon, if your mum, who you're seen protecting with a vengeance from a git earlier in the film, gets picked up and pretty much squished into dust not only would you have launched at that beastie straight away without hesitating (before he squished her) but when she did go poof you'd go nuts, maybe even cry, or scream uncontrollably. But no, not a bloody whimper. What was that all about. He had no idea at that point that he'd be able to go into hell to retrieve her...

Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd acting a bit wooden. Not much to say there except WAKE UP, YOU'RE IN A BIG BUDGET MOVIE! Nuff said... And should I mention Pierce Brosnan too? Nah, leave him be, he was my favourite Bond after all.

I did like this film and its negative points didn't outweigh my enjoyment of it at the end of the day. Plus Miss Daddario... Well, she made the movie, even if she is 8 years younger than me!

7.5/ 10

Solomon Kane

Having only recently heard about this film, and posting up the trailer on here when I did, I didn't really have a clue what Solomon Kane was all about, or its history being linked with the creator of Conan the Barbarian (which I'm a fan of). The advert looked pretty cool, magic, monsters, cold & perfect killer for the lead role etc, but then I've learnt that trailers can take all the good parts of the film, get you excited enough to buy the ticket and then when you sit down in the cinema to watch it you fall asleep in your popcorn bucket... *Cough* Legion *Cough*.

Solomon Kane was an enjoyable film. It could have done with a fair bit of tweaking when it came to the effects (the end demon was awful but the first few were good) and the editing (which was jumpy in places), but all in all it was effective, pretty brutal, and quite kick-ass.

James Purefoy gave off a real Hugh Jackman vibe throughout, although his Norfolk style accent needed some work, but he came across well and kicked a sufficient amount of ass in a passable way that you believed he could do the things Kane was expected to do when the time came. A couple of brutal scenes shocked me slightly and not due to the fighting, it was a certain characters death I found a little gut wrenching, but most of what you saw on screen you could foretell within the opening 10 minutes.

I liked the parts of Max Von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite and Alice Krige (short though they were) but was a little put off by the almost cameo-like appearance of Jason Flemyng as Malachi near the end. What was the point? He didn't last long enough on screen and was dispatched with such relative ease by Kane that the build up before it all seemed moot. As a matter of fact so did the huge demon too, he didn't even get to battle it! Cop out and a poor ending to an otherwise good film. Watch it when it comes out on DVD and you won't be upset, watch it in the cinema and it might just be a little too over the top in some parts and a little too quiet in other parts for most peoples taste.


The final word from me is that in this post-Avatar world in which we now live in will we expect more from our movies? Should we? And will those new movies deliver big budget action and thrills? Will the 3-D revolution actually revolutionise films? No idea, but I think I'm pretty easy to please with Summer blockbusters like the aforementioned Avatar, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe and the like and the films above, although they had their good points, all seemed to lack anything I personally think is awesome. Feel differently? Comment below!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your reviews on the movies I have seen which is all except Solomon Kane and Percy Jackson. I think I enjoyed JLCOTE more than you lol, but it seriously irritated me the way Batman was getting his but handed to him 95% of the time. On top of that the voice was bad and it just didn't feel like Batman. I've seen Robin fight better than this version of Batman did and I mean Teen Titans cartoon Robin.