Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snow White and The 2 Hours I can't get back !

  The title of this blog might be harsh, but the high hopes for this movie that I had were really let down. If you go by the track record, Snow White is something best left to Disney. Earlier this year audiences were disappointed by Mirror Mirror and Snow returns to grace the big screen again. The summer movie season always brings high expectations and Snow White has some potential, but just doesn't play.

 The story is twisted around and Snow is imprisoned by an evil queen and escapes to reclaim her fathers kingdom. A huntsman is hired after she ventures into the forest and though charged with bringing her in, becomes her protector. She meets Dwarfs, 8 of them, and a rebel army. They all join forces to over throw Queen Ravenna the most evil woman in the land. Sounds like an OK story, but the problem begins with the cast.

 The film does incorporate several favorites from the Snow that most of us grew up on. Her with the various animals, the apple, dwarfs, and of course the mirror and prince. Kind of. The altered story isn't bad, but it feels longer than it actually is. Rupert Sanders does an OK job of giving this film and epic scale with beautiful shots of the land, but I think they are wasted on a story without heart. I am sorry, but Kristen Stewart is a horrible actress. She is Bella Swan in a Snow White dress. I would've loved to have seen an actress with more depth take on Snow. My choice would've been Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries , but that didn't happen. Stewart is too awkward for Snow and her lack of depth really shows during her speech to rally the troops.

 While Stewart might fail, Theron shines. I liked her as The Evil Queen and it's a shame that a good villain is wasted on a sub par movie. She does a great job of giving the queen heart and making you dislike her at the same time. The big problem is only little girls will fear her and that makes it tough for an adult Snow White.
I would have liked to see her with a better supporting cast of minions. She is good when she shares the screen with Hemsworth, but she carries Stewart and it shows. The huntsman is an OK character. They try to get into the back story and develop him, but I feel like this character has been done before and done better. Helmsworth need not worry for he hath another Thor on the horizon and seems to have already owned the summer as an Avenger.

 Let's talk about the Dwarfs. All eight of them join the cause. Yes there are eight most likely due to a little Disney conflict. Some will say that they are the best part of the movie, but I will disagree. Bob Hoskins, Ray Winestone, and Ian McShane are easily recognizable and do well with what they are given. They cannot use the name "Doc," but Hoskins wheres the "bird like " mask of a medieval doctor. I spent more time trying to figure out who each dwarf was supposed to be based on their Disney counterpart than I did enjoying their screen time.

 This movie had a lot of the right ideas, but they were not executed correctly. You are stuck being torn between the Prince, who isn't a prince and the Huntsman. They changed a classic story and I am OK with that, but this movie drags on. Snow is fresh out of a 13 year prison sentence, but can grab a sword, put on some armor, and lead an army. It just doesn't play. I feel for any fantasy movie. Peter Jackson set the bar too high with Lord Of The Rings and like Conan, Narnia, and so many others, Snow White and The Huntsman fails to reach the bar. Bad casting and a story that fails to deliver. If you are dying for a movie fix this weekend, see The Avengers again. You won't be disappointed. Snow White fans will always have the original or ABC'S Once Upon A Time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Battleship: It could've been worse!

 Some of the early reviews are pretty harsh on this wanna be epic adventure, but I gotta tell you I've seen much worse. G.I. Joe, Aliens VS Predator, Skyline, and the list goes on and on. Peter Berg has made a few good movies. Most of us enjoyed Hancock and this is another trip into the Sci-Fi action genre. The bar is set higher given this is billed as a summer blockbuster so the question becomes, does it deliver ?

 Berg assembles his cast led by Liam Neeson and Taylor Kitsch. Skarsgarrd is a fan favorite and is believable as a by the book Navy Captain. The action is good and special effects are well done. It is an OK story given the premise was based on a game from the eighties or even earlier. In the present day we have discovered away to send messages to planets we believe to be similar to ours. It is this that causes an alien race to land on earth. Enter Hopper a screw up who, after a comical attempt to impress Brooklyn Decker, is forced by his brother (Skarsgarrd) to join the Navy. He becomes a uniformed screw up and is in a relationship with Dekker who is the daughter of a Naval Admiral (Neeson). War games go badly when the aliens attack and Kitsch and his crew become our only line of defense. The alien race has surrounded the Hawaiian Islands with an impenetrable shield. A lone Naval Destroyer is on the inside and Kitsch is its unlikely commander.

 The alien race I found to be cool. Some would say the aliens look like soldiers out of Halo, but I liked the concept. The look of them without armor fits well with the little back story we get on them. I wanted more about them. Where are they from. How did their tech work? Why all the destruction?
Their ships and weapons were cool. The battle scenes were very well done and I give Berg credit for the way they implement the board game into the film. Involving the Missouri is a very nice touch and the way the find the alien weakness is allright.

 I liked a lot of things about this film, but the parts that didn't work for me were big. The cast being the biggest. Dekker is great eye candy, but little else. Rihanna is useless. She is a far better singer than actress. She could've been replaced by any no name actress and it would be the same or better. She is more distraction than added value. Many will disagree, but I am still not convinced the Kitsch is leading man. He was not a strong lead in John Carter and he is average here. Liam Neeson is good, but he doesn't get enough screen time and the same can be said for some of the other cast.

 Battleship wants to be epic so very badly, but it just misses the mark. It isn't a Transformers rip off and it comes with a decent story, but in the end it's not a great summer movie. I didn't want to leave the theatre, but I wasn't cheering out loud like I did when the Avengers assembled.
The movie doesn't sink, but it certainly doesn't hit it out of the park either.

Friday, May 4, 2012


 The summer movie season is finally here! A new Batman, Spider-Man, and G.I. Joe are on tap and ready to got for summer 2012. The Avengers is the first and there is a lot of hype around Marvel's big blockbuster team up. The movie is breaking records over seas and I won't go into how disappointed that an American Comic Book movie opens across the pond first. The question everyone wants to know is, does it work?
 YES!! It has everything comic book fan boys will want to see and it is entertaining enough for the average movie goer. Action is there, comedy is there, and more importantly so is the story. There are moments where you may have to suspend belief, but that's what comic book movies are about.  The film does a great job of picking up where the characters left off from their previous solo outings. They tell you how Thor comes back to earth, you are informed as to what Captain America has been doing, and Tony Stark is still, Tony Stark.

 The movie works for two reasons. The first is the cast. Hemsworth and Evans are Thor and Captain America. The cast works brilliantly together. They are great alone, but in ensemble they come alive. Robert Downey Jr. was born to be Iron Man. He embodies that character. He steals the show, but it isn't all about him. The great thing about the film is the fact that everyone gets their share of time. Tom Hiddelston as Loki is a perfect villain for the teams first outing. I was a big fan of Edward Norton's Hulk. I thought he did a great job of nailing Banner, but Mark Ruffalo is certainly not a bad choice  at all. The Hulk definitely works well in all aspects of The Avengers. It would've been to see how Norton would've played it here.

 The other thing that works is Joss Whedon. He is a comic book guy and he gets it. Hollywood is notorious for trashing source material. I think they forget where the core audiences for these films come from. Whedon gives you everything. Larger than life characters, hints at other Marvel villains, and a good story that doesn't get lost in the hype a la Green Lantern.

 Marvel hits another home run with this one. They brought your child hood superheroes alive in epic fashion. I was left wanting more and excited for the teams next outing. The Avengers is the perfect summer blockbuster. Be sure you stay for the scenes after the credits and don't be shocked when you see grown men and women in costumes. Is it the greatest comic book movie ever, no. It is , however, pretty damn good!