Posts Tagged ‘CGI’

Total RecallWarning: This first paragraph contains spoilers regarding the 1990 version of Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, they aren’t about this one. Reader discretion is advised. It’s unfortunate really, that a movie like Total Recall can’t be impressively remade with a standout cast and improved technology. Given, this film did greatly improve upon the visuals it’s original, but that’s unsurprising. I will give it though, the movie did it’s best to detach itself from the original in such a way that the audience would see it as a new take on an old concept rather than a remake, and they did okay at that, but with all the similarities that they kept, it was very hard to see this movie without comparing it to the Governator’s rendition. As always, I’ll do my best to keep them separate in this review and state my opinions on this movie as it’s own film rather than a remake, but the disappointment that I felt when I saw certain parts still in, and others glossed over is a bit hard to overcome. To do so however, I’m going to have to go ahead and talk about the stuff that they changed before the actual review begins. First of all, the woman with three boobs makes an appearance in this film, and much to my surprise, it was sans cover. I guess in order to show nipple in PG-13 movies, it has to be in odd numbers. That was very odd to see for the rating that the film had, but it wasn’t that big a deal. The real issue I had here was that the film didn’t bother to explain why she had 3, because the issue of mutants that was raised in the original was nowhere to be found in this film, leaving a little mini plot hole. Secondly, they basically just took the first film, lengthened the chase/fight scenes, and reduced the story development, which was very disappointing for me because the uncertainty that is left at the end of the original is absent in the new one, and that was half the fun! There were a few more discrepancies that frustrated me, like the fact that the feeling of betrayal towards the end was gone due to the lack of a cab driver, but I’ll have to put my comparisons aside in order to effectively review this film.

Casting was excellent, but really, how could you go wrong with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston all in one film? Colin Farrell did an excellent job as Dennis Quaid/Hauser. He showed the necessary change in character as he came to new revelations regarding himself throughout the film. Beckinsale as Quaid’s wife was a good fit, giving both the loving wife image and the intimidating secret agent image in turn. Biel did well also, playing Hauser’s accomplice in the rebellion. Bryan Cranston has really become a go to guy for roles that require a certain level of grit, such as his role in Breaking Bad, and Malcolm in the… Middle… well, ok, sometimes he plays roles with grit, and sometimes he’s a manchild, but he’s pretty versatile, and that puts him in a perfect position to portray Cohaagen. There are a few more relatively big name actors in roles with little screen time that do well, like Bill Nighy and John Cho, but with as little screen time as they get, going in depth isn’t really necessary. Overall a very well done casting job.

This movie was miles ahead of the original visually, and once again, it was nicely done. I do have a few complaints on certain scenes though. Specifically, the rooftop chase scene. This movie was filled with impressive chase scenes, and fight scenes, and the atmosphere was almost always spot on, but this rooftop chase scene was just dismal. For some reason they felt it necessary to go into Mario mode and just make it a side scroller with poorly done flipping people. Not only did it look fake, it looked unnatural, and that was the big thing about this particular scene. On top of a film where the rest of the visuals are terrible, it wouldn’t be noticeable, but in a film that actually holds water in the visual realm it’s so obvious that it’s almost painful. Past the horrid Donkey Kong segment, this film is pretty good visually. The atmosphere surrounding most of the events in the film fits perfectly, and that’s a big credit to the visual team for creating the proper scenes.

The story of this film is where it falls apart. While in general the story makes at least some sense, there are some small plot holes left open that kind of make the movie random in parts. Simply put, due to the holes in plot and logic, the film loses its cohesiveness and that definitely affects the development in a negative way. Of course, in this particular section, I’m afraid it’s hard for me to compartmentalize and speak only of the merits of this new film when I liked the older one so well. When you compare this story line to the older one, it hardly holds a candle to it simply because the older one went more in depth in the story, which ultimately made the film more interesting and allowed the uncertainty to remain at the end of the movie. This rendition ends in a rather conclusive way, and that is disappointing for someone who goes in expecting a repackaging of an old film. But objectively, this film’s story development isn’t bad! It’s just pushed out of the spotlight by the unnecessarily long action sequences.

Ultimately, this film wasn’t BAD. It was just not what I expected going in. As with all movies, you have to know what to expect going in. If you’re thinking it’s going to be the same film that was released in 90 with new actors, you’re wrong. You have to realize that it’s a completely different film and put all preconceived notions aside and just pretend it’s a new concept. Otherwise, you’ll end up disappointed with it, like me. Objectively though, this film really was worth the money, just not what I expected. The visuals and cast were great, and if you’re looking for the typical action movie, this is perfect. Beware the trip-nip-slip toward the beginning if you’re taking your kids, but past that, it’s mainly just the violence that lands the PG-13 rating. See the movie! But don’t expect it to be the same as Arnold’s.

I’ll be back.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

I’d like to welcome Battleship into the list of childhood memories that have been fundamentally and irreparably modified due to the adaptation of a movie. I’d also like to welcome it to the extremely short list of movies adapted from board games (Clue being the only other real one, followed by the fictional games Jumanji and Zathura). Somehow Hasbro has managed to not only milk their toys for movie money, they are beginning on a pursuit to take advantage of all their board games as well! I remember when Battleship was an innocent little board game about carnage on the high seas. Now the movie has tarnished it, and made it a movie about alien… carnage on the high seas… Ok, so it’s really not all that different, but there was a bit of a stretch (read: artistic license) to fit the fairly straight forward board game into a 2 hour film. And they really didn’t do too terrible of a job either!

To begin, casting was actually pretty decent. It could be considered a sort of redemption movie for quite a bit of the cast. Liam Neeson did spectacularly as his typical “man in charge” role after the mess that was The Grey. He managed to give Admiral Shane a mean streak that showcased his power, while at the same time, you can always feel that underlying layer of emotion. Excellent balance. Taylor Kitsch is the other actor who needed a boost in reputation after the critics hated John Carter so much (I thought it was pretty decent, but to each his own.) His performance in this film as Alex Hopper was superb, I thought, because even just his appearance at the beginning compared to the end show a large character shift. He was the perfect man to cast for this sea-faring coming of age tale (which is essentially what it is.) Alexander Skarsgard (sic) did a nice job as Stone Hopper, Alex’s older brother. Although we don’t see a lot of him in the film, he did nicely when it was necessary for him to do so. Brooklyn Decker did a fine job as Sam. My only problem with her is that she seemed fairly necessary to the plot, yet we got relatively low screen time from her. Also, oddly enough, Rihanna makes her big screen debut in this movie. Why she’d pick this one, or why she even wants to go into this industry is a mystery to me, but she seemed to know what she was doing, so that’s a good start for her! While the tone of this movie isn’t really funny, we do, luckily, get quite a bit of comic relief from Cal Zapata (played by the fitting Hamish Linklater.) So overall, casting was pretty well done.

The plot was probably the main concern of many going into this film. Afterall, the board game this was based on consists of calling out coordinates and shouting hit or miss. The difference in this movie is that your playing with aliens that have giant ships that are nearly inpenetrable. It was an odd way to make this board game movie material, but I’m not sure there was another way to make it marketable given the focus on aliens and vampires this year. Luckily, though, it all made sense. Pacing dragged a little at times, but I was never checking my watch to see if it was almost over. I think the only times where it was prone to drag was when nothing was happening. Not big story moments where the action isn’t happening, but just the little things thrown in to make it longer. This could have been a bit shorter, with a little less fighting, and still been a fine movie. Surprisingly enough, the story, while not necessarily touching, was more emotionally centered than you would think given the concept. As I said above, it’s essentially a coming of age story for Alex Hopper, who starts as an immature egotistical manchild, and becomes, by the end of the movie, an inspiring leader. The character development, in this aspect, was very effective.

This movie is about aliens and fighting on the surface, so of course the visuals were pretty good. The alien ships didn’t look entirely realistic, which is exactly what’s supposed to happen because they are aliens. They looked like actual ships from a fantasy world. The aliens themselves don’t get much screen time given they are in suits, but the few instances where we are shown the actual aliens (not in the suits), they are very well done. The suits themselves seem a little ripped from the Halo franchise to be perfectly honest, which was a bit disappointing to see so much work put into something that everyone has already seen. The rest of the scenery (for the most part) is just Hawaii and oceans. So, while some of the visuals were impressive, it’s certainly not what I’d watch if I wanted to see a visual masterpiece. Especially with Prometheus and the new Spiderman movie right around the corner in IMAX.

Ultimately, the movie may be a tad overwrought with unnecessary action, and the scenery may be slightly mundane, but the acting from the entire cast, as well as the story and character development throughout are plenty reason to see this film. If you can sit through the excessive battles, I would definitely recommend this film. It’s not the greatest film of all time, it certainly has its fair share of problems, but the main thread of the story is absolutely worth catching. As I said, don’t go in hoping for the most amazing visuals you’ve ever seen, or the most heart-warming tale, but go in prepared for another Summer popcorn flick and be surprised by the relative depth it has. This movie isn’t for everyone, and by the time this gets posted, it will most likely be out of theaters, but catch in on Netflix or rent it or something. There’s no doubt it’s worth at least that.

As always, donations are appreciated so I can keep this up, and please share this with all your friends via the toolbar down under the donate button! SO MANY SOCIAL NETWORKING OPTIONS IN ONE SPACE!!! Click as many as you like.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

I’m honestly surprised by the amount of negative reviews on this film. I understand why they have such hostile feelings regarding the film, but overall I felt that the movie was well worth the money. The barrage of criticism it received is understandable given that they all write as if this is supposed to answer all the questions it presents, but given that this is a sci-fi movie about human existence itself, I would think it is obvious that not all the questions will be answered. The other point I can see is that it’s not defined as a prequel, or just loosely related, to Aliens. It really doesn’t matter what it is though, because trying to find all the connections forces you to miss the actual movie. So, to accurately review this movie, I believe it’s necessary to do just that. Review THIS movie, and not try to write about all the connections that may or may not exist.

Casting was very well done. Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman) does a great job in her role as the slightly mysterious and ethically questionable mission director. Michael Fassbender as David, an extremely realistic humanoid, is incredible. He prizes this role fantastically, managing to take enough humanness out of himself to produce a robot that’s just close enough to the edge of human to make the audience question whether he can truly feel or not. While Noomi Rapace, who plays Elizabeth Shaw, is supposed to be the main focus, I feel as though Fassbender really steals the spotlight with his performance in this film. That’s not to discredit Rapace though, she did astoundingly as Shaw, the faith driven scientist who believes this voyage will uncover the origins of the human species, and her chemistry with Logan Marshall-Green, who takes on the role of Charlie Holloway, really makes for a believable match up of both a scientific team and a couple. Idris Elba, who plays Janek, the ship’s captain, really presents a nice bit of comedic relief throughout the film, aided by Fifield and Millburn early in the film (played by Sean Harris and Rafe Spall respectively.) When necessary, however, Elba pulls out all the stops and can really hit the serious parts. The only weak point in the casting, in my opinion, was Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland. In all honesty, that wasn’t really as much a weak point in casting as it was a weak development in character, so I will hit that later.

Lots of the flack that this movie caught was over the questions that the plot presented and the lack of answers that it revealed. I say that’s all part of the fun, but to each his own. I thought pacing in this film was nice. It didn’t feel like a super long movie, even though it was 2 hours and 4 minutes. Of course, the big plot points in the film may be a bit controversial to those who can’t understand that this is a Sci-Fi movie and not real, but if you can put aside any thoughts you have on the origin of life, or whatever this plot is considered, and just enjoy the movie, it’s very easy to buy into the whole thing and become immersed in the film. While it does open up many questions and the end is obviously wide open for a sequel, it isn’t like it doesn’t answer any questions. It does address all the questions that are easily answered, but any of the profound questions that it presented, it left open. That, as I see it, is more of a philosophical decision rather than a hole in the story. Were the creatures that created us created by someone else, or was it God? Was it evolution? It all comes back to the basic question of “Who created us/them?” That question will be a continuous inquiry until the day we die, so the lack of an answer in this regard was a smart move to keep that hint of realism in an otherwise fantastical movie. Other problems critics had were with realism, such as the inability to walk after a major operation (which occurs later in the movie), yet the character walks. I feel as though all of these are addressed by the fact that A. things may change drastically between now and 2086 or 2092 or whatever year it is when the story occurs, and B. it is a sci-fi, fantasy movie. Of course it’s not going to be realistic. It has to contain that hint of realism to stay just on the edge of human, but it must be removed enough to make it feel edgy. I think that this film really walks that line well. As I stated earlier, the only problem with character development that I found was Guy Pearce’s character, Peter Weyland, and that was probably just the fact that he wasn’t prominent. He was a sort of mysterious character that you could always feel the presence of due to situations, but you never see or hear from him, so he seems fictitious even in the fictional movie world.

And to the piece de resistance, the visuals. If you don’t want to see this movie at all, even the thought of it is repulsive, go see it just for the visuals. They are awesome, in the literal sense. Awe-inspiring. This entire film could have been silent and there could have been no people in the whole thing and I still would have happily gone to this movie in IMAX 3D. There’s not much to say really, other than go see it. The atmosphere presented in this film, both the tone and the literal atmosphere of the planet they land on, is great. The planet’s surface, the aliens, the graphic surgery scene, the landscapes, it’s all well worth the IMAX upcharge. The use of the 3D wasn’t overkill and I felt it was very well done. This section is going to be relatively short because even the best of descriptions of the visuals in this film would be an insult to the actual beauty that it presents. In short, the visuals are magnificent, and if you miss this film, you’ve really missed out on a visual feast.

To conclude, it’s absolutely necessary to go see this film in IMAX 3D, even if you don’t think it’s something you’d enjoy seeing. I mean, all the negative aspects that most critics load on it are just a bias against it for whatever reason, and it truly is a fantastic movie. There’s no reason to miss this film. Maybe if you aren’t a big sci-fi movie lover it would be okay to miss, and it’s understandable if you just don’t want to spend the extra money, but it is absolutely worth it, even if it’s just for the visual aspect of it. So the best suggestion I have for you is to take the risk, shell out the cash, and catch this while it’s still in IMAX and you can bless your eyes to this majestic eye candy. The story line is very well done, and I truly encourage you to see this one while you can, because a TV just won’t cut it.

If you haven’t realized it by now, I’ve begun updating this site every Saturday at (or very close to) midnight, so if you could keep checking back and introduce this site to friends, family, movie goers, random bystanders on the street, it would be greatly appreciated. The more hits I get, the more motivation I have to keep going, and I really do enjoy these, so I’m not going away soon. Recognition is the real pay off for this…

Of course, actual pay off isn’t bad either. *Wink nod wink*

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

CRAP!!!! I had this WHOLE review written and then when I hit save draft it DISAPPEARED!!! RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!!!! /rage So, New Year’s resolution is more movie reviews, so look forward to that! And now it’s movie time!

TRON: Legacy is a pretty good movie, wonderful casting, good plot, but NOT worth forking up the extra cash for IMAX 3D, or any 3D for that matter. The first thing it says when it begins is something along the lines of “Several of the scenes in this movie were shot in 2D and are intended to be viewed as such.” Of course the first thing I thought was what a mistake 3D was.

Now, I’m not against 3D. I mean, I loved Avatar, and that was an example of great IMAX 3D usage, but I hate gimmicky 3D, and that’s pretty much what this movie consisted of. There was no 3D besides when people got assimilated during the light disk battles, and hardly any in the Light Cycle battles, which was disappointing. I expected more from Disney, considering they’ve been great with 3D lately. So my advice is if you’re going to see this, don’t waste the money on 3D when you can get an equally good experience in 2D.

Anyway, this movie is a sequel to the 1982 movie Tron, but if you haven’t seen that, don’t fret! There is a 5 – 10 minute cut at the beginning of the film that recaps parts of the original movie. Sort of a “Previously on…” type thing. Even if you miss that, you aren’t going to lose too much of the story. Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn, is abandoned by his dad at a young age and then his mom dies and then he runs away from his grandparents and then he grows up. There ya go, first 10 minutes of the movie all there for you in one easy-to-read run on sentence! Anyway, when a chairman from the company his dad started, Encom, receives a page from Kevin Flynn, he tells Sam about it, and it turns out his dad has been trapped in the Grid since he left. Adventures ensue, and Sam gets back home with an extra person. I’ll leave it up to you to speculate who it could be.

They had a nice little line-up going for them, with people like Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, CGI Jeff Bridges, and Garrett Hedlund on board. The acting could have used a little boost here and there, but overall, the acting didn’t really disappoint. I am impressed with Mr. Bridges though, seeing as he stars in 2 of this holiday season’s movies (True Grit and this). Olivia Wilde did a great job in her role, even though I’m still mad at her for leaving House, and Garrett Hedlund did swell as Sam Flynn, although I have never heard of him before.

Graphics were great, bright neon lights, flashy animation, good CGI, the works. EXCEPT CGI Jeff Bridges! He looked horribly unrealistic. You know those plastic dolls? He looked like one of those. Like freakin’ Nancy Pelosi after her botox injection. He didn’t even begin to look real. I guess it’s understandable given he wasn’t real, he played C.L.U., but you’d figure you’d want him to look real. And if Bridges wasn’t in True Grit he probably could’ve shaved the beard and played C.L.U. instead of forcing the CGI himself to play him. Fortunately, the light cycle and light disc battles made up for the poor work on CGI Bridges (now known as “Jeffy”).

Overall, good idea, but just ok execution on the part of Disney. If the 3D had been as expected this could’ve been a recommendation for 3D from me, but since only about a quarter of the movie was actual in 3D, it’s just not worth it. Go see it, by all means, it’s a good movie. Just don’t spend the extra for a 3D viewing. Save that for The Green Hornet, which comes out Jan. 13! That’s gonna be great in 3D. And you will get a review on that movie when it comes out, so look forward to that.

As always, if you wanna donate, click the button. New this week, the tweet button will also be here, so please click it so you can share the review with all your little stalkers. I’d love some more support.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine