Category Archives: Reviews

Review: “The Dark Knight Rises”

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Matthew Modine, and Morgan Freeman

Review:

First, let me just say that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are two of my favorite movies and Batman is one of my favorite characters on screen and in print. The Dark Knight occasionally is my favorite movie (I can’t have just one absolute favorite movie). I have been waiting for this film with a monumental amount of anticipation ever since watching The Caped Crusader ride the Batpod into the distance at the end of The Dark Knight all the way back in 2008. I fervently waited for the announcement of the casting choices, I thoroughly examined every set photo, I participated in the viral marketing, I watched every trailer dozens of times, I purchased three posters and two T-Shirts, and read every interview with every cast/crew member that could be found online. And still, even though I was so extremely excited for this movie, more excited than I’ve been for any other movie (besides Peter Jackson’s  upcoming Hobbit films), I knew how keep my expectations grounded. I consider myself to be objectively minded enough to judge a movie on its merits and make up my mind after the film, not already have my mind made up like many viewers seem to. All I had was hope that Christopher Nolan would give me a film that lived up to the standard set by his previous films, not faith in him as many claim to have, just hope. In the end, this movie ended up being satisfying as well as a solid end to a great film trilogy, but still being disappointing on several levels.

Writing a review in essay format would take up too much space and time because this is such a passion filled review, so I decided to write this in list format that is broken up into two sections to make it easier for you to read and for me to write.

***Spoilers are abound in this review and anyone who hasn’t seen the film should stay away.***

What I loved/liked:

  • Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway were the two standouts among an amazing cast, one of the best ensembles put to screen in the last five years.
  • The first fight scene between Bats and Bane was simply outstanding. It had all the brutality I wanted out of a fight scene and more. The “I will break you” shot was straight from the classic Batman graphic novel “Knightfall”  and literally had my mouth agape and about to drool.  Bane’s mocking tone and Batman’s determination to fight till he could no longer stand was terrifying as well as heartbreaking.

  • The emotional scenes between Alfred and Bruce were fantastic, specifically when Alfred is telling Bruce about his fantasy.
  • The visuals were absolutely breathtaking. The shot of Batman on the bridge overlooking Gotham almost made me tear up and I sat there thinking “that is so Batman”(Yes, Batman can be an adjective). The footage shot in IMAX is a beauty to behold and every shot looks grand and massive. The last 45 minutes of the film is chock full of shots that should fill cinematographers with either admiration or envy.
  • The hand to hand action is much better this time with the fights being shot much more clearly. The aforementioned fight scene was choreographed and shot extraordinarily well and every punch looks powerful and destructive. The second fight scene with Bane at the climax is entertaining, but ends much too abruptly and predictably. The other fight scenes in the film are decent but nothing outstanding while still being better than the fight scenes in the previous two films.
  • Vehicular action seems to be Nolan’s forte when it comes to his Batman films and while nothing in this film is as awesome as the Truck-flip Batpod sequence in The Dark Knight or the Batmobile chase in Batman Begins, it is still is undeniably impressive, especially in glorious IMAX.

  • The film is always moving fast, with the intensity constantly rising (no pun intended). This is certainly a film that is never boring even if it is 2 hours and 45 minutes long.
  • The villains’ plot is certainly interesting to watch unfold even if certain aspects of the plan either don’t make much logical sense or rely on way too much coincidence.
  • During the last 10 minutes I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. Batman’s faked death, the statue in Gotham City Hall, John Blake discovering the Batcave, and Alfred’s fantasy finally coming true (Bruce ends up with Selina!) made me want to cheer.
  • Catwoman/Selina Kyle is a great character and Hathaways portrayal, along with the way she is written, is extremely loyal to the character from the comics. She has many of the best lines in the film and also some of the most moving scenes. Being sexy and badass doesn’t hurt the character too much either.

  • John Blake is a relatively interesting new character and his development into Bruce Wayne’s successor is very satisfying.
  • Bane is a force to be reckoned with and exudes pure malice with Tom Hardy looking like an absolute monster. He has some great lines and for the first half of the film he seemed like he was going to become a spectacular and iconic film villain but developments later in the movie prove otherwise. The character was still entertaining but nowhere near what he could have been.
  • The Batman voice/growl was toned down a little for this movie and sounds better than ever before.
  • Nolan’s reliance on practical effects over CGI certainly pays off and the special effects are amazing with The Bat being a particularly cool piece of work.
  • Christian Bale gives his best Batman performance yet (which is saying a hell of a lot) and carries the enormity of the film on his ever capable shoulders.
  • Batman’s “…Then you will have my permission to die” one-liner was so freaking awesome!

What disappointed me:

  • The Talia al Ghul twist was by far the most disappointing aspect of the movie for me. Bruce didn’t seem all that attached to Miranda at all so you don’t feel any pain after the betrayal. There was almost no build-up for it and it took a lot away from the awesomeness that is Bane. It turned him into some lovesick, brutish pawn–something that Bane should never be. You can’t take one of Batman’s greatest rogues and make him someone’s follower. Also, anyone who knows anything about Bane’s history in the comics knows that they took his origin story and just transferred it over to Talia just for the sake of a twist; a twist that brought nothing to the movie and seemed tacked on just for kicks. And when Bane is explaining how he grew up in the dark in his awesome, evil monologue, it makes the fact that Talia al Ghul grew up in the same way just seem stupidly redundant. Also, the whole “protector” title was just cheesy even though I did end up feeling a little bit sympathetic for Bane (but I’m not supposed to feel sympathy for him, he’s supposed to be a highly intelligent, master plan inventing, havoc wreaking tank that craps on Batman, not some huge dude with a cool mask who is doing a bunch of stuff just because he is in love with some girl who is way too young for him.) During this part of the movie I seriously sat there thinking “Why the hell did Nolan let M. Night. Shyamalan direct part of his movie”. Yeah, it was that bad.  The whole Miranda Tate /Talia/League of Shadows plot line/character should have been discarded completely (Marion Cotillard is extremely attractive so that almost makes up for this ridiculousness, but not really.)

  • The film moves almost too fast and is almost too epic for its own good. The film just has too much going on during its first half and it leaves the viewer sitting there reeling trying to realize what just happened. The many themes and new characters are just too much for one movie to cover, even with its long run-time.
  • Bane’s plan could have been just as big, and not have had the whole Stock Market thing which doesn’t make any sense anyways (everyone knows that the place was held hostage so the whole world would know that it was all fraud and Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be put into bankruptcy and so on) It just seemed like another tacked on and unnecessary part to Bane’s plan.
  • Another big problem I have is that for a Batman movie, Batman isn’t really in it all that much. He doesn’t show up for the first 30 minutes. Then he’s missing almost the whole middle section of the movie and doesn’t really show up till the last 30 minutes again. I’d venture to guess that The Dark Knight only gets around 40 minutes of actual screen time which is odd for a movie with his name in the title. It might sound childish, but I just wanted more Batman.
  • I also wanted more Alfred. Michael Caine is just so brilliant in this role and it was sad to see him so little, but it does make sense in the movie. I’m just being whiny.

  • Even though the film takes place over a span of months, it never really feels like its been all that long.  Gotham doesn’t look too bad for being held hostage by a group of merciless mercenaries for several months. All of the cops underground look like they’ve only been down there for days (Also who sends all 3,000 cops underground?Dumbasses, that’s who) and the streets just look deserted. There should have been some more rubble and lawlessness.
  • Nolan still seems to have a problem choreographing fights with multiple people involved and they always seem somewhat unnatural and staged. It’s not just Nolan though, many directors don’t seem to know how to direct a good hand to hand fight scene.
  • There is way too much expository dialogue is spoken Some of the characters just flat out say exactly what is going on for no other reason then to explain it to the audience. This shouldn’t bee necessary.
  • This movie just seemed to lazy for a Nolan movie. Usually his movies come together really well and while there can be the occasional plot hole or inconsistency they still are generally great in almost every aspect of film making.

Ok, so I dwell on the negatives a bit in this review but people need to know that this is not some absolute masterpiece that will go down as one of the greatest films of all-time (The Dark Knight will though); It is just massively entertaining epic that happens to also have some massive flaws. Now, was it a solid end to one of the greatest film trilogies ever? Yes, absolutely, but it still could have been so much better in my opinion. I still love this trilogy to death (It’s second in line behind Lord of the Rings as far as movie trilogies go in my book)  and I enjoyed the hell out of most of this movie, but there were some parts that just pissed me off.

Rating:

B +

In the end it’s a satisfying, yet in some ways disappointing, final film in a magnificent trilogy.

https://i1.wp.com/7films.me.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/The-Dark-Knight-Rises-Bane-Break-Poster.jpeg

My Review of “John Carter”

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, Dominic West, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, James Purefory, Ciaran Hinds and Bryan Cranston

Summary:

“From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter-a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.”

— (C) Walt Disney

Review:

There are a few spoilers in this review, but don’t worry, it won’t be anything major.

I wanted to love John Carter, I really did, but sadly I ended up only loving small parts of it. With Andrew Stanton (Oscar winning director and writer of classics like Finding Nemo and Wall*e) at the helm , and the film being an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ beloved class “A Princess of Mars,”  I thought this picture could do no wrong.  Andrew Stanton himself is a huge fan of Burroughs’ work and the fact that this was a passion project of his only gave me more optimism. As it turns out, this film ended up being very disappointing.

The biggest problem with the movie is that the basic storyline is far too boring. Only a few ounces of suspense are produced and the entire middle third of the film sags heavily with only a couple standout moments.  There are in fact, several scenes that are almost completely unnecessary and only make the film feel more cumbersome. Ironically, one of of those relatively unnecessary scenes ends up being my favorite, and in my opinion, the best part of the entire film.

John Carter and Dejah Thoris

This scene involves John Carter (and his little, alien-dog friend who I will get to later) fighting off an entire legion of enemies called the “Warhoon” in order to give Dejah Thoris and a “Thark” (9 foot tall, green, 4 armed, and barbaric inhabitants of Mars) named Sola the time to escape. During this battle scene, there several cutaways to brief clips that give us an insight into Carter’s depressing past. This scene is made incredibly well made and when it cuts from Carter killing these “Warhoon” by the dozen to him burying his wife and child, you’d have to be pretty cold-hearted not to feel at least a little emotion. This sequence also gives us a chance to see how badass John Carter really is.

John Carter faces off with the "Warhoon"-- my favorite part of the film.

The film also has too much cheesy dialogue. Some of the things the characters say are just a little too unnatural, while some of the lines are just plain cringe-worthy. Other films reminiscent of John Carter such as Star Wars  and Avatar (two better films which are actually heavily inspired by “A Princess of Mars” ) also have the same problem, but those films had many great aspects to them while this film only has a few.

In terms of villainy, it is hard to get more boring than the ones in  John Carter. The two main villains, a Thern (seemingly all-powerful, shape shifting, priest-like characters who feed off destruction) named Matai Shang (Strong) and a Zodangan (a warlike race which is sucking Mars’ resources dry) King called Sab Than (West,)  are very underdeveloped, but this actually  turns out to  be a good thing because they are so severely uninteresting. They use this weapon called the “9th Ray” which is pretty much a blue light that allows them to destroy everything they want. This weapon doesn’t make for anything threatening and it ends up relying on the only visual effect in the movie that doesn’t look fantastic.

Mark Strong playing Matai Shang, the evil Thern and main villain of the film.

Dominic West as the villain Sab Than, the Jeddak of Zodanga

I thought that for the most part, the acting ranged from decent to good. Taylor Kitsch is fine in the title role, but nothing more.  I felt as if they could have found someone who a looked a little more masculine for the part but that is my only real gripe. Lynn Collins is extremely beautiful and charming as Dejah Thoris but doesn’t have enough to do. Willem Dafoe (acting using CGI/Motion Capture) is always great and it is no different here as the Jeddak, Tars Tarkas (“Jeddak” means king), who is having trouble suppressing his compassion in a barbaric society that doesn’t allow emotion. While the villains are uninteresting, they are still played reasonably well by Mark Strong (who is now typecast in the arrogant “bad-guy” role) and Dominic West.

The Tharks, Tal Hajus (left) and Tars Tarkas (right), played by Thomas Haden Church and Willem Dafoe respectively.

By far the best thing about this film is the visuals. This film is absolutely epic in scope while featuring phenomenal CGI with some great cinematography that captures the beautiful landscape of “Barsoom.” The aforementioned battle sequence with the “Warhoon” is among the best action scenes I’ve seen in a long time, in fact, it’s one of my all-around favorite parts of any movie I’ve seen over the past few years. There is also the thrilling action scene that was heavily exploited in the promotion of the film, the “Great White Ape” sequence. This sequence ends with a surprisingly gory and just plain awesome moment that left me with a huge smile on my face (John Carter is actually an extremely bloody movie and the only reason the film get’s away with a PG-13 rating is because of the inhabitants of Mars actually have blue-colored blood).  Even though the film did have a couple great action scenes, the opening and ending battle scenes aren’t memorable in the slightest, with the last one being highly anticlimactic.

"Great White Ape" battle scene

In terms of motion capture, the film is brilliant. The Tharks ended up being some of my favorite characters in the movie and they were done entirely with the technology. I actually found that almost all the scenes with the Tharks were easily the most entertaining sections of the film, and the scenes with the  human-like characters were by far the most boring.

What’s funny is that the most compelling and entertaining character is one who has no dialogue; it’s Woola, the alien-dog I mentioned above. His extreme loyalty to John Carter, his playfulness, and his ability to run 250 miles per hour, make him hilarious and actually pretty awesome when he gets into battle.

Woola, John Carter's dog-like companion who is one of the best best aspects of the film.

Michael Giacchino is one of the best composers working today and it is no surprise that he created an absolutely wonderful musical score for this movie. It just feels so adventurous and sweeping. It was hard for me to stop humming the main theme after walking out of the theater.

I also loved the ending of this film. It is really unique and unravels in an unexpected way that is interesting and left me wanting a little more.

Even though I was disappointed by this film, I still enjoyed it and will definitely see it again.  It was a movie that had some great visuals, with decent characters and humor, but is weighed down heavily by cheesy dialogue, uninteresting villains and a boring plot.

Grade: I’m still trying to decide between a C+ and a B- , I’d give it a 6.5/ 10.

Review: “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Peg, Michael Nyqvist and Tom Wilkinson

Summary:

This is not just another mission. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ghost Protocol is initiated and Ethan Hunt and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name. No help, no contact, off the grid. You have never seen a mission grittier and more intense than this.

— (C) Paramount

Review:

I was never too big on the Mission: Impossible franchise. The only installment out of the first three that I really enjoyed was M:I 3 and it was a good action movie, but nothing more, nothing less. Just solid entertainment. I was pretty surprised that they decided they were going to make a fourth movie,  and even more surprised when I found out who would be directing it: Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant. This director of those two wonderful, yet family oriented films, ended up being the perfect choice. This is simply the best action movie of the year, about that action…

The action sequences in this movie are just as intense as they are over-the-top fun, and they never let up. Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) Spider-Man-esque stunt on the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building where Tom Cruise actually did the stunt himself) is one of the most thrilling action scenes I have experienced in a long time, and there are many other set pieces that are almost as thrilling as this one. Also the gadgets that are used by the IMF team are some of the most unique, and just plain cool, devices I have ever seen in a movie.

This film almost requires a viewing in IMAX (as long as you are willing to shell out a few extra bucks).  It is simply the best way to watch a movie with its ridiculously high resolution, splendidly huge screen and immensely immersive surround-sound.  Even during the rare moments where bullets aren’t flying, or punches aren’t being thrown, the tension is still high and the audience is still very much involved. Much to the thanks of Michael Giacchino’s great reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme and the amazing IMAX sound.

The cast is great with Tom Cruise again proving why he is one of the biggest stars in the world by giving us another very physical performance.  Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, and Simon Pegg all get their chance to be shine with Renner supplying a decent amount of emotion, Patton showing us the beauty, and Pegg dishing out the laughs.

Plotwise the movie is nothing oustanding, which is neither complement nor detriment. The stakes do feel very high at times all because of the adrenaline fueled direction by Bird. In terms of villainy, the antagonist really doesn’t get very much screen time and is pretty underdeveloped, but the fact is I didn’t even care while watching it because everything else was just so much fun.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol is big-budget, high-octane, escapist entertainment at it’s finest.

Grade: B+

Also, The Dark Knight Rises trailer played in front of the movie in full, IMAX glory. Suffice to say, it gave me chills and left me amazed. It’s so epic! I can’t wait too see that film!!

Review: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Directed by Rupert Wyatt,  Starring: Andy Serkis, James Franco, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, John Lithgow and Tom Felton

Review:

I actually wasn’t all that excited to see this movie. I thought the film would be all about the special effects and not about the story and characters like it was supposed to be. I was completely wrong and this actually ended up being one of my favorite films of the year.

The best part of the movie is Andy Serkis’ amazing, Motion Capture performance as the protagonist, a chimpanzee named Caesar.  Andy Serkis is no stranger to “Mo-Cap” technology. He played the Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong in the 2005 film, but since you see a CGI creature instead of his face, he wasn’t recognized nearly enough for his fantastic performances. Now with this great performance as Caesar, he can hopefully get the credit he deserves and has deserved for a decade. Serkis puts so much heart into every performance and this one as Caesar is his best one yet. You really sympathize with Caesar and feel as if he could be a real creature, which is quite the accomplishment considering he is a computer generated chimp. The others actors in a darn good cast do fine in their roles but none really stand out.

I was surprised at how emotional this film was. This fact is really important because lets face it, apes taking over as the dominant species is pretty ridiculous. Emotions and relationships really help ground the story in some sort of reality. This movie is a real embodiment of the saying, “actions speak louder than words”. You can tell what Caesar is thinking and feeling just from the expressions on his face and what he does. There are some pretty  emotional scenes in this movie that, for the most part, don’t rely on any dialogue. That’s one magnificent feat. Caesar is very well-developed character, as are some of the other apes and his relationships with them, but the humans characters are not nearly as dynamic. They are pretty bland and don’t really have much depth but this is not too big of a deal considering the movie is from the perspective of the apes. That is the only serious flaw I have with the movie but it didn’t make it any less entertaining.

Visually speaking, the movie is fantastic. The special effects are amazing and the cinematography stunning. Caesar is right up there with Gollum, King Kong, Davy jones and the Na’vi as one of the greatest CGI characters ever created in a movie. I would be surprised if the movie doesn’t win the Academy Award this year for special effects. The action is also fantastic and should entertain anyone craving some awesome ape vs. man battle scenes.  It’s very cool to watch Caesar charismatically lead his fellow apes into battle with no real weapons and fight humans with assault rifles. Also I really like the way the different apes fight: the gorillas are like tanks and just charge in to battle destroying anything in their path, the Orangutans are like scouts who swing across huge gaps and try to outflank the humans, and the chimpanzees are the infantry and are the main force of the army. I thought this was a cool and interesting spin on the battle and was something different.

What I liked most about this film also brings up some ethical and moral questions. The most important question being: Where does a super smart chimpanzee (Caesar) fit into society? With the humans who he is smarter than, or his fellow apes? In both situations he is an outcast and the movie does a great job of showing this. I also love how Caesar is trying to do better, morally speaking, than his human counterparts. He starts to see that humans kill and destroy everything they touch and are cruel to those that they think are lesser than them, and he hates them for it.  Caesar refuses to kill a human intentionally because he has a sense of morals and doesn’t believe that killing is the answer. He tries to teach his fellow apes this and some respond differently than others which I thought was very realistic.

Overall, it’s a summer blockbuster filled with emotion and visual splendor and is for anyone who can accept the somewhat ridiculous plot.

Rating:

One of my favorite films of the year

B+

Review: “Captain America: The First Avenger”

Directed by Joe Johnston, Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, and Sebastian Stan

Summary:

Born during the Great Depression, Steve Rogers grew up a frail youth in a poor family. Horrified by the newsreel footage of the Nazis in Europe, Rogers was inspired to enlist in the army. However, because of his frailty and sickness, he was rejected. Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea, General Chester Phillips offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a special experiment… Operation: Rebirth.

After weeks of tests, Rogers was at last administered the Super-Solider Serum and bombarded by ‘vita-rays.’ Steve Rogers emerged from the treatment with a body as perfect as a body can be and still be human. Rogers was then put through an intensive physical and tactical training program. Three months later, he was given his first assignment as Captain America. Armed with his indestructible shield and battle savvy, Captain America has continued his war against evil both as a sentinel of liberty and as leader of the Avengers.

via movieweb.com

Review:

“Captain America: The First Avenger” is my favorite and, in my opinion, the best super-hero movie this year.  It brings back the great, old-school style of film-making that I love. It also  has great performances, a simple (in a good way) plot, and a decent amount of heart.  I think this movie is actually just above “Iron Man” in terms of quality and entertainment.

I think Marvel is truly amazing at finding the best actors and actresses for their characters. Every single actor so far has definitely proved their worthiness to play these super-heroes and Chris Evans is no exception. He has looks heroic, has charisma spare, and brings some real feeling to his role. He is great at showing his emotions and making the audience feel what they should be feeling. Tommy Lee Jones is terrific as Colonel Phillips and is actually really funny as the gruff military leader. Also, Hayley Atwell is fantastic and is definitely the best love-intrest in a Marvel Studios film. She and Evans have great chemistry together and have a quite believable relationship.  Then you have Hugo Weaving who’s perfect, as always, as the Nazi Villan, Red Skull.

Another great part of the movie is the aforementioned style and the clarity of the action. There’s  no quick cuts and up close shots where we can’t tell what the heck is going on. For some reason, in the last ten years, Hollywood has grown to think that we enjoy action scenes that are incomprehensible and edited so fast that all you see is motion blur. In “Captain America” we see every punch, kick and shield throw clearly and it makes the action scenes much more entertaining. The action is all well choreographed and just looks plain awesome and there is also a lot of it. Captain America is just so cool to watch on-screen and these action scenes were some of the best I have seen in theaters in a while.  The film also has a good visual style and when it switches from the cool and retro, 1940’s vibe to the gritty sci-fi action it doesn’t come across as tacky or awkward.

My only big problem was that the villan, Red Skull, was terrifically acted but poorly developed. You never really felt that threatened by him. He did look awesome and intimidating but his actions didn’t really make him very menacing. I wish they could have spent a good amount more  on his character and made him the awesome villan he deserved to be. This fact isn’t to detrimental but it brings down what could have been close to the best superhero movie to date and instead made it just great and nothing more.

Rating:

A very, very entertaining movie with great action and good performances but suffers from an underdeveloped antagonist

B+

Also make sure you stay after the film and watch the one-minute long Avengers trailer that takes place after the credits. It’s awesome!

Late Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

Directed by David Yates, Starring: Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and Matthew Lewis

 

Summary:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. The much-anticipated motion picture event is the second of two full-length parts. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here. — (C) Warner Bros

The Review:

I actually saw this movie at the midnight opening and have seen it again since then but I have not been home to write my review so that’s why it’s so late.

I have been a die-hard Harry Potter fan for the past eleven years. That means I have read all the books (at least once) and seen all the movies dozens of times (yes, to be a true HP fan you must read the books otherwise to call yourself a true fan is a disgrace). I bought the Deathly Hallows  the day it came out and finished it in four days. I just couldn’t put it down. I have read it two other times since then and it’s easily one of my favorite books ever, but all the love for the books means that there is a high standard for the movie to live up to.  Most of the other movies have done this pretty well and stayed true to the source. This last and final entry does that for the most part but it makes some mistakes as well. That being said I still very much enjoyed this final film in the franchise.

This movie really shows how much the three main leads have grown as actors. They  really get their chance to shine in this movie and have great performances all around. All the other actors like Matthew Lewis (Neville) and Ralph Fiennes (Voldy) are great as well. The true standout in the movie though is Alan Rickman (Snape) who, while only in the movie for a few minutes, really shows how great of an actor he is (Anyone who has seen Die Hard already knows this). His scenes are the most emotional in the movie and it all is because of his great performance.

The film is also great on a technical level. The writing is fantastic, as usual, as are the special effects and cinematography. It really is a beautiful movie to watch from a visual standpoint, just like all the others in the franchise. 

Spoilers Ahead!!!

There are a couple of parts that, as a fan of the books, I didn’t  like the direction they went in. In the book, much more is explained about Snape’s love for Lily and the connection he feels to Harry. I wish they had gone into this more in the movie instead of just mentioning it because it really was a very powerful part of the novel, but my main concern with the difference between the book and the movie is how much they changed the final battle. In the book, the final showdown between Harry and Voldy takes place in the Great Hall in front of everyone. During the battle, Harry goes on telling Voldermort why he can never win, and how pathetic he is, because he lived a life without love. Harry pretty much tells Voldermort that while he can try to live forever, he will never really be living because he never had or felt any love.  It was such an amazing part of the book and it showed how much balls Harry had to put this powerful villan in his place. They completely ditched this in the movie and just had Harry and Voldermort just fighting all over Hogwarts. I really think it made the scene pretty anti-climatic and much less powerful than it was in the book. While these changes did anger me somewhat, I still really enjoyed the movie.

Spoilers Ended!!

I think the movie could have been a little longer and a little less fast-paced, and  it could have spent a little more time on the slow scenes.  The last scene could have gone on for ten more minutes and I would still be happy(as with the Prince’s Tale scene). The movie is still very emotional, and filled with nostalgia for the other films and books. You might even want to  bring tissues. It is just so sad for me and all the other Potter fans to say good-bye to this fantastic franchise, but we all know that Harry Potter will never be forgotten.

Rating:

It’s a wonderful movie that’s filled to brim with nostalgia, visual spectacle and emotion but does have a few tiny faults because of its pacing and differences between it and the source material .

A-

While that score is quite good, the movie will never be as good as the book. Reading the Harry Potter series should be one thing that all people should want to before they die.

Review: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Directed by Michael Bay 

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey and Frances McDormand

Summary:

The Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009’s Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia, and once again human Sam Witwicky has to come to the aid of his robot friends. There’s new characters too, including a new villain in the form of Shockwave, a longtime Transformers character who rules Cybertron while the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on Earth.

from slashfilm.com

The Verdict:

When someone goes into a Transformers film(or any Michael Bay film for that matter) they shouldn’t be expecting any witty dialogue, cohesive plot, or even realistic or relatable characters. The problem is that those things are usually needed to make a good movie.  I don’t think Bay understands that fact. He believes that action and action alone can make a movie.

 Bay promised fans that the his last movie in the Transformers series would have a lot less immature humor and would be much more focused and serious. He lied(although this movie is still better than Revenge of the Fallen). The movie still has all the same  unfunny and immature attempts at humor that bogged down the last two movies in the franchise. What really sucks is how so many people in the theater were laughing (I guess it just shows their level of intelligence). Ken Jeong has a small role that is only for comedic effect and he’s proven he can be hilarious, but his scenes were just plain awful. The movie just doesn’t know how to be funny. The only things that Bay took out to keep this movie from getting too immature was the twins, Mudflap and Skids, and even as racist and trite as those characters were, them being out is just a small plus.

Although the humor in the movie was godawful, the action scenes and special effects are astounding. Every action scene is pretty darn awesome to watch and the movie has a lot of them. The last hour is chock full of  great action and its hard not to cheer every time you see Optimus Prime on-screen. Bay really did ramp up the action a great extent from the previous two and that is saying something. One problem with the action is that you don’t really care about the people involved. There has been absolutely zero character development and you don’t really feel a threat when someone is a bout to die, or even sad at all when someone does die. With action there needs to be substance to fuel it. For example movies like  The Dark Knight, Die Hard, Terminator, Aliens, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Spider-Man, Gladiator, the Matrix(and many more) all have amazing action but the reason they are  so thrilling and intense is because we care about the characters involved. But I must say, the action alone, and not the fuel behind it, was the only reason I went to see this movie. In all honesty, It definitely delivered on that aspect,but an hour of action does not compensate for another hour and a half of excruciating humor, lack of intensity(considering the whole world is about to be destroyed), bad acting, and some really terrible dialog.

The acting wasn’t too terrible this time around but there is one person who really needs help, Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Her skills range from mediocre to awful and she really shows that she is just some model and is definitely not an actor.  The only reason she is really there is to look hot but I would have been much happier if she had half as many lines.

Plot-wise, the movie has a pretty killer set-up: The Decepticons have been planning a huge assault on earth for a very long time and were involved in many historical events such as the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Chernobyl incident. The problem is it doesn’t really go that far into that side of the story and instead focuses on Sam trying to get a job which no one really cares about at all. I will say that some people will actually be surprised at some of the events in the film as there are some betrayals and deaths that they might not expect.

Overall the action was the main draw of the movie and it really did deliver on that aspect with some of the best I have seen in a while. So if you want to see a movie that is dumb beyond belief but still features amazing action, then this is just for you. Just make sure you turn of your brain and bring some Aspirin because it might give you a headache like it did to me.

 The Rating :

Just basing this movie on how good the action was it would be an A- ,  but bringing all the other aspects in makes it a D.