Posts Tagged ‘Thor’

Pacific Rim

*Insert standard apology for falling off the face of the Earth, blah blah blah* So let’s jump right in, shall we? What Guillermo del Toro did with Pacific Rim is the epitome of what Michael Bay failed to do with Transformers. It is a robot movie that actually is about something other than explosions, and while it is drenched in cliches, it’s still a joy to watch. This movie is a visual feast, and it’s laden with enough comedic relief to deal with the otherwise mundane story line. The supporting cast in this gets a huge upvote from me, but I could be biased because I absolutely love Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) AND Ron Perlman (Hellboy) so while they weren’t there solely for comedic effect, they certainly brought a bit of liveliness to the film. Now, while I said that it is drenched in cliches, it doesn’t take away from how fun this movie really was to watch. Big robots, fun dialog, aliens; I mean, what else could you want from a big summer blockbuster?

Before I begin fawning over Day and Perlman again, let’s hit some of the main cast. Admittedly, I don’t really recognize Charlie Hunnam from anything, so from a fresh read of him, he fits the role well. The character (Raleigh Becket) is the typical rebel soldier that gets suspended or his actions are hindered in some way and then he is called upon at the last minute to save the day. Hunnam’s sarcastic tone and his ability to keep a semi-serious demeanor made him a suitable candidate for the part, and it was a believable choice. Rinko Kikuchi is another one that I hadn’t seen in anything prior, but the choice of her as Becket’s eventual partner, Mako Mori, worked well. She has that hybrid innocent girl/dormant badass warrior look, in this movie at least, that allows the story to transform the character accordingly throughout the story. Of course, Idris Elba was a lock for his part given the substantial leadership/power roles he’s dawned, including Prometheus and Thor, and I can easily say he did not disappoint in his role as Stacker Pentecost, the war vet turned commander who has a soft spot deep down in his heart. Of course, as I mentioned before, the characters, much like the rest of the film, are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film. Now, back to Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. My favorite parts of this film were when either of these two actors was on screen, and especially when they shared the spotlight. Charlie Day is always going to be a perfect fit when tasked with playing an eccentric scientist on the fringe of where normal science (for the film’s purposes) and crazy meet. His hyperactive attitude and general energy make Dr. Newton Geiszler easily my favorite character. Ron Perlman, on the other hand, wasn’t quite the ball of energy that Charlie was, but that’s not how he operates. Perlman plays a black market alien organ dealer, Hannibal Chau, and while his screen time is probably not even a fourth of what all the other characters are, he manages to incorporate enough sarcasm into his role to make him memorable in many regards.

As I pointed out earlier, this movie is just filled to the brim with eye candy. Seriously, there’s enough metal on alien action to kill a sizable horse, and that’s perfectly okay. This isn’t a movie you watch to relish the story line; it’s not a movie that has your mind thinking in brand new ways. Ultimately, Pacific Rim is just another summer blockbuster, and luckily for everyone in attendance, with that designation comes a huge budget for graphics and explosions and boats and oceans and tearing down giant cities. The visuals are about as realistic as giant robots and aliens can be.. The thing that, while not the most obvious, impressed me was the detail given to the interior of the Jaeger (those giant robots) heads, as well as the  environment that was established regarding the base in which all the Jaegers were stored and repaired. Another merit badge that can be pinned to this movie’s Girl Scout sash is the creativity given to the design of the Kaiju (the aliens). The inspiration from other actual living creatures is noticeable, but that’s because they’ve evolved from them. Or something. Yeah, I’m not entirely clear on that, but they mention it in the movie, and it makes sense, so no worries there. The point is, they’ve effectively turned adorable frogs and menacing sharks into giant super aliens, and it works splendidly.

The plot is where this movie gets into a little bit of trouble. It’s not that the plot necessarily is lacking anything that a good blockbuster has, or is laden with holes, it’s just that the film itself is so cliche in parts, and the dialogue and story fall into that trap with it. This movie is basically any other robot movie you’ve seen coupled with any other alien movie you’ve seen, but the whole ploy to get you to buy a ticket is that this one is devastatingly different because the aliens come from the bottom of the ocean instead of space, and so OOOOHHHHH WATER! Basically, this movie is no different from anything you’ve seen before, but if you can learn to laugh at the cliches, then this will be really entertaining for you. And when I say learn to laugh at the cliches, I mean some of the cliches are so glaring that it’s laughable. There is seriously a part of this movie, meant to be a nice action sequence, that the entire theater laughed through. I actually don’t feel bad about spoiling this little part, because I doubt anyone will be at the edge of their seats hoping the rebel fighter and the lovable Asian with the mysterious past make it out alive. They’re being crushed by one of these Kaiju and their systems are failing. The plasma cannon, or whatever it is, has broken and Becket feels like the only way to win is some scheme that would kill one of them, but Mako Mori calmly says that there is another way. She hits a button that releases a sword from the Jaegers’s arm and as she slices through the Kaiju, she yells (and I’m not even joking) “FOR MY FAMILY!!” So, while I’m not saying this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it certainly has a way of mixing just the right amount of robots, aliens, racist stereotypes, and general military cliches to make you wish you’d either never seen it, or that it was a comedy in the same vein as Scary Movie (Insert Number) or Epic Superhero Movie or any of those. Luckily, if you can move past all that and just enjoy the movie for all its cliches and action scenes, then you’ve got another fun summer hit.

At a two hour and 11 minute run time, it really didn’t feel that long. Of course, that was after the midway point where I realized I could just laugh my way through the rest of it. Really, this film wasn’t all bad. It’s got lots of robots, aliens, explosions, and for the most part, that’s the sure fire formula for a successful summer blockbuster. Ultimately, this is one of those movies that you catch to get out of the sweltering summer heat rather than purchase to appreciate its artistry later on in your living room. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, then grab a ticket. Also, if you’re looking for a movie to make fun of with your friends that simultaneously makes you feel better about your masculinity by having gratuitous explosions, then this is the movie to watch.

FOR MY FAMILYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

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Snow White and the Huntsman isn’t really a twist on the old tale as much as it is a recreation of it. The Disney tale is, surprisingly, relatively close to the Brothers Grimm tale in essence: seven dwarfs, poison apple, and a prince kissing her to revive her. This film is a bit different. For instance, this film, as opposed to the seven dwarfs, has eight, and they aren’t the typical Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Doc, etc. They do share some of those traits though, even if they have names like Beith, Nion, and Gus. There are a few more differences, but I won’t address those here. The main thing is, you need to view this not as a remake or recreation of any previous Snow White story, but as a completely original story due to the number of differences within the story.

Now, the main concern for many was the casting. I know quite a few people were worried about whether Kristen Stewart could handle a role that didn’t require her to look apathetic about a decision regarding werewolves and vampires. Can she convey the emotions necessary to propel the film? Well, the short answer is no. She has a bit of a problem with expressing emotion, which is increasingly difficult to watch as the movie progresses. Luckily, a good portion of the movie is devoted to her looking distressed in an almost apathetic way, so you don’t realize it until it’s incredibly obvious.  For instance, the point in the movie where she is walking through the fairies’ sanctuary, you’d imagine she’d express some form of awe? Nope. Distressed apathy. Depression at the death of a befriended dwarf? Nope. Distressed apathy after a single tear. So the question now is whether or not her wretched acting skill is enough to negate the rest of this movie. The answer to that one is also no. Chris Hemsworth, while firmly imprinted on most people’s minds as Thor, manages to do an impressive job as the Hunstman, Charlize Theron does magnificently as Queen Ravenna, and  several of the dwarfs were actually some A-list actors, which helped a lot. Toby Jones, Nick Frost, and Ian McShane as the leader of the group really helped move this film along after they were introduced. So I wouldn’t let Stewart’s mediocre expressionism prevent you from seeing this otherwise relatively star studded movie. Plus, there is a surprisingly small amount of screen time for Snow White in this movie. She doesn’t have many lines, and when she does, she’s supposed to look distressed. So the writers kind of knew how to work around her shortcomings.

I won’t compare the plot and story line of this film to the Disney version or the Brothers Grimm version seeing as I haven’t seen/read either of them in long enough to. That may work out to this film’s advantage though, seeing as a connection to either of those would automatically make me dislike any differences between this film and the aforementioned versions. Luckily, I get to review this as its own plot and not a comparison. The giant conflict throughout the whole movie was Queen Ravenna trying to get Snow White’s heart to keep herself from looking like a meth addict. See, she feeds off young people’s beauty and… I dunno, the cuteness of kittens or something? Anyway, that’s the reason that Snow White is on the run the entire movie, so the pacing, while slow at times, always makes sense. At 2 hours and 7 minutes, it definitely feels every minute of it. That’s not really a good thing. At some point, if a movie isn’t fantastic the length becomes extremely noticeable, and this is a perfect example of that. While at places it seems to be moving along pretty quickly, it eventually begins to drag and finally you just start wondering why it has lasted as long as it has. This is partially due to the relatively little amount of dialogue compared to the immense time spent on fight/chase scenes. So while the film feels long, it’s not really filled with content.

Luckily what it lacks in content, it makes up for in visuals. The Dark Forest is gloomy with an overbearing sense of dread, and when it comes alive, it looks incredible. They managed to do it in a way that didn’t look too animated as well, so while it is obviously not realistic, it looks as though it’s natural. The Fairy Sanctuary looked slightly more cartoony, but not because it’s any less natural than the Dark Forest, just because it’s a Fairy Sanctuary. Fairy dust flies through the air, everything comes to life, and it’s an almost awe inspiring scene (which can be seen through Snow White’s distressed apathy…). Overall, throughout the film, the visuals are either stunning or incredibly fitting, so there’s a silver lining to an otherwise iffy movie.

I will still recommend this movie due to both the visuals and the acting prowess of everyone besides Stewart. Of course, I wouldn’t be so quick to recommend it at full price. If you can manage to watch it as a matinee, do it! If not, you should either really love Snow White, or one of the actors, to see it. At 2 hours and 7 minutes it does seem really long, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to see it or not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable, but therein lies the problem. It’s only enjoyable. I wouldn’t classify it as great or a must watch. Go watch it if someone else pays for it, or you can manage a matinee price!

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