Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Hollywood has turned it's all seeing eye on the world of Anime and it scares me. The Wachowski Bro's site their inspiration for The Matrix was in large part because of Ghost in the Shell,; the first Matrix is a great movie but the same cannot be said for the second and third. More recently I've read that Tobey Macguire is interested in producing a Robotech live action movie, ugh don't even get me started on the fact that Robotech is a reguritated scrambled mess of three completely unrelated anime series and that the first Robotech saga is a poor retelling of Super Dimentional Fortress Macross! Then the Wachowski's did a live action Speed Racer....
Then hollywood gave us Astroboy an animated movie based on the anime series; what was the point in making that movie!!!???? It's like writing a novel based on a short story...they're both from the same genre!
And lately I heard the Akira live action movie has been put on the back burner....I hope it stays there. Hollywood is pathetically trying to turn anything and everything in a movie, things that shouldn't be concidered like video games (look how well they turn out) and now Anime.
I can't say live action versions of anime can't be good because I watched the live action Death Note
films and the first one was actually very good, the second wasn't bad but the first was definately a good film and stayed true to the source material....and it wasn't made in hollywood!
Today I learned of the live action version of Space Battleship Yamato, I was very young but this is one of the early series, like Battle of the Planets and Galaxy Railways that grabbed the attention many kids my age.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Back in the early eighties I used to watch the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes presented by Mystery on 13....yes PBS, laugh it up. But they were fun to watch, it wasn't till I was in high school that I began reading Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and discovered the character was even more fascinating...PBS never showed Holmes shooting up! Once I discovered the depth and intricacies of Sherlock Holmes I was hooked, how many detective characters are as unorthodox as Sherlock Holmes? I always enjoyed reading about his oddball methodology to solving crimes.
Guy Ritchie directed this "re-boot" of Arthur Conan Doyles master detective and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Sherlock Holmes, initially I wasn't sold on the casting but Downey's been on a roll since Tropic Thunder in my opinion, and he didn't let me down in this. There were certain scenes where I felt RDJ took liberties with the character (silencer scene) but I went to the interwebs and did a little detective work of my own and I was wrong, Robert Downey Jr nailed the left-of-center, bohemian, hermit characteristics Arthur Conan Doyle built the character with perfectly. The scene where Watson drags Holms to meet Mary was another brilliant display of RDJ's knowledge of the character. It showcased Holmes lack of social skills but also how he narcistically touted his conclusions from the most miniscule hints. Regretibly I think the advertising totally missed the mark as most trailers focused on the action and that's not what a Sherlock Holmes story is about. A good example is the bare knuckle fight in the trailer, the point wasn't to show Holmes was a proficient fighter; which he was, but to give a glimpse into his methodology and how his problem solving skills were similar to how an engineer would solve a problem. Another impressive performance from Robert Downey Jr.!
Jude Law as Dr. Watson complemented Downey Jr's Holmes very well and the two really worked well together on screen. I didn't realize Jude Law had been in an episode of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes so he was already familiar with material and seemed very comfortable in the role of Dr. Watson.
Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler fit in well as "the woman" in Sherlock Holmes life, she was convincing as a woman who could handle herself in the shadowy underworld of turn of the century England.
All in all an enjoyable movie that gives the ol' boy a shot in the arm of 21st century action which was definately not in the old Mystery! series. The sets were fantastic and really drew you into the story and assisted in defining the characters personalities. The mystery in Sherlock Holmes isn't who did it, but how is he (Lord Blackwell) doing it? It reminded me alot of The Prestige but not as good. The final confrontation between Blackwell and Holmes was a little Scooby doo in my opinion, I almost expected Blackwell to say "And I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for for you meddling kids and that dog off yours grumble grumble grumble".
Enjoyable but not memorable...
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Avatar is without a doubt beautiful to behold, Pandora's flora and fauna are spectacular works of CGI, I can understand how the masses are mezmerized by what they're seeing on the silver screen. The hyper realism of the Naavi in the film is impressive, I wouldn't be so bold as to say they were indistinguishable from human actors, but they were impressive none the less.
Visuals aside Avatar is as original as a xerox machine, I know I'll be branded a hater for my opinions, so be it. Folks, there's a really good reason why there's so many comparisons to Pocahontas on youtube, it's true.
Did I enjoy Avatar? Of course, it was an enjoyable story with gorgeous visuals, but for me nothing I haven't seen before.
Lets begin with the main story arc, there's a company that is mining unobtainium (ughh) on Pandora. An eden-like planet with fantastical flora and fauna. I can understand how many joe-movie goers were probably floored by Pandora's fantastic visuals...oooh floating islands with waterfalls that somehow don't run out of water. But it's nothing new for those of us who've played role playing games like Final Fantasy XI or World of Warcraft or those of us who watch anime. Again if you've never done either of those I'm sure Pandora was mind blowing, and the concept of a "nueral network" among all the living things on Pandora might've seemed radical but again not a new concept at all! Final Fantasy titles have used the idea of Mana and/ or Gaia, the idea that all living things, including he planet are connected for decades....play FinalFantasy VII or watch Final Fantasy the spirits within.
Giovanni Ribisi plays Parker Selfridge a project manager that only cares about himself and the money. His character might as well have been named Carter Burke. The RDA company contracts a PMC "Sec Ops" not "Spec Ops" to protect their interests on Pandora...cause like a shake and bake colony the equipment is mad expensive...enter macho space marine Colonel Miles Quaritch played by Stephen Lang...he's not on Pandora to rescue some juicy colonists daughters from their virginity, he's all about blowing shit up! With a name like Miles Quaritch I automatically thought "this dude is from the south, he luvs his guns, George Bush is from the South...hmmm" Maybe that's just me. Personally I preferred Lieutenant Gorman, Apone, Hudson, Vasquez, Drake, Frost and the Colonial Marines from Aliens.
Next we meet ex marine Jake Sully, he's just a grunt...no offense. Jake's paralyzed....he needs magic legs. I almost fell out of my seat laughing at this! Ok, it's the year 2154, we can travel to distant worlds and grow beings of another race and magically transfer our conscience to this shell yet poor Jake can't get a new pair of legs WTF!?
Sigourney Weaver plays Grace Augustine head of the Avatar program that I mentioned above, basically they grow biological replica's of the indiginous species on Pandora, the Na'vi and somehow tranfer a humans conscience into this shell. So Grace headed up race relations between the Humans and the Na'vi while the RDA mined all the unobtainium. Problem is the Na'vi live around the world trade center of Pandora which also happens to have the largest supply of unobtainium. So the human's try to relocate the blue Mithra http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/intro/about/class01.html?pageID=about
oops sorry the Na'vi but they ain't havin it, so that's where Jake comes in, Colonel Miles Quaritch makes a deal with Sully; bring him double secret intel on the Na'vi and he'll show Sully the power to keep Padme from dying...no wrong movie sorry. He'll get Jake new legs!
Who knew Jake would fall in love with a scantilly clad Mithra and sympathize with the Native Ameri....Na'vi.
The movie culminates into a rediculous final battle where Quaritch and his PMC plan to drop a motherload of bombs on a Na'vi religous site, the Tree of Souls, but Jake Liono rallies the Mithra tribes and we get 2010's version of the Battle of Endor.
Avater was thrilling to watch but once the movie was over and I was walking out of the theater I didn't have the same energetic feeling I had when seeing T2 or Aliens in the theater. So all the supposed money put into this movie and I still prefered Cameron's older movies.
And to all those that point at the money the movie made, allow me to remind you that IMAX 3-D tickets are $25.00+! And wasn't Cameron saying this movie was made with 3-D in mind...?