Colour me amazed! what in the name of Greek buggery has happened… MoreColour me amazed! what in the name of Greek buggery has happened here?! The first film was a complete and utter abomination which brought shame upon Hollywood, it wasn't good enough to buff the boots of the original. I still don't think anyone knows what Harryhausen thought of it.
So I didn't have high hopes for this sequel, which I think is understandable. But to my amazement this franchise has done a complete U-turn and actually come up with a semi decent film, well at least in looks anyway.
Bottom line this is a monster mash of epic proportions, its takes the concept of the original Harryhausen masterpiece and expands it ten fold with dazzling imagery. This is really what they should have done with the first remake instead of making crap up, but what I really can't get my head around is why this sequel looks SO MUCH BETTER than the first! The last film had the Kraken which did look damn fine, but even that doesn't come close to anything in this sequel.
All the monsters here look terrific, yes there is a time lapse between films of course but the divide between quality here is huge!! What can I say about Kronos...a colossus of an effect, eye popping! I haven't been so impressed by a CGI effect since Gods knows when, I can't remember. He just looked stunning, stunningly real, as if they actually did awaken a real god from the fiery depths of the underworld, colour me stunned! The only creature I didn't like was the Minotaur which looked like a naff character from 'Mortal Kombat' (Motaro without his horse back end).
To be brutally honest the film is kept alive by the effects, the rest of the film is filled with pitiful acting and some of the most bizarre collection of accents for ancient Greece ever. The hero has an Aussie accent, Bill Nighy for some reason uses a Yorkshire accent (Northern England), how on earth they came to that decision I don't know. Finally you have Agenor who is said to be a thief so of course they give him a London cockney accent! why?? what are they implying?
Yes the film is basic pantomime but so was the original classic. The cast list isn't quite as impressive as the classic but it suffices and everybody does their bit to try for that grandiose epic taste. The whole film does look really really good with lovely locations, great costumes, beautiful landscapes and a solid score.
In short I think they have finally captured the classic fun adventurous look of ancient Greek mythology just as they did all those years ago with classic films like 'Jason and the Argonauts'. Yes this sequel does follow pretty much the same pattern as the first, ending with a big monster to battle in the exact same way with virtually the same outcome, but because it all looks so crisp you really don't mind or notice too much.
This new film gives you exactly what we wanted all along and what the classic did perfectly...well created mythological monsters. For once the CGI does do the trick as it should and could if used properly. Ignore the first film this is what you've been waiting for, hopefully the third will continue the goodness.
I went into this film thinking it would be good...boy was I wrong!… MoreI went into this film thinking it would be good...boy was I wrong! this is an epic failure of errr...epic proportions, in short I hated it, it is bad, very bad. For starters if possible its actually more hammy and cheesy than the original, the God scenes on Mount Olympus are awful and look like something outta Flash Gordon, I realise its suppose to be heavenly but the shiny silver armor?? come on! surely they could of been a little less gay.
That's just for starters, the acting from everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!!) is terrible, really bad and I see what people have been saying about Worthington now, a really poor performance here, almost TV movie standards. The less said about Neeson and Fiennes panto performances the better (the CGI on show that accompanied Fiennes was laughable, simply awful).
As for the film its just a jumbled mess and takes a totally different path to the original making it completely wrong frankly, as usual Hollywood MUST add or make up new stuff and ruin the entire story...why? Christ knows. For some reason we have a whole new species of blue eyed rock creatures or something, they look ridiculous, like something outta 'Zena Warrior Princess'. Plus we hardly see Calibos or Pegasus and there are just huge chunks missing in the story involving Calibos and Pegasus, I could go on.
The other stand out failure was certain scenes and the look of the film, the river Styx scene for example, in the original its filmed on location, its eerie, misty, you don't see much of the boatman which lends a nice air of spookiness, its a really nice setup. In the new version its clearly on a set, you see the boatman fully taking all atmosphere out of the scene and the boat is fudging huge! Second example, Medusa's lair, in the original its dark, tense, quite eerie and spooky, stone people everywhere.
Medusa is actually quite a scary creature and like in all good fantasy films she is hidden until the last moment. In the new version we see Medusa almost straight away, she has a human face which isn't scary, its not eerie or in the least bit tense, zero atmosphere. Clearly another tacky set with over the top CGI and its all over too quickly with silly big effect stunts and leaping around. I think the term less is more sums up the film comparisons perfectly here, this new version getting it lost in translation.
Only plus points...the Kraken is pretty wicked looking, Pegasus is smart looking despite being the wrong colour. His wings are the best CGI in the film and there's a lovely little cameo from Bubo thank God.
I can't recommend this, its an insult to the original classic, its terrible, no heart and soul and is just another overblown CGI mess. Such a shame and wasted chance, I really hope they don't remake any other classic Harryhausen films, stick to the far superior original.
OK well for starters we have seen this kind of thing now many many… MoreOK well for starters we have seen this kind of thing now many many many times over, there is nothing new here and nothing that really impresses to be brutally honest. Despite that this is still a reasonably enjoyable monster and myth movie with a creative side that is clearly down to its solid comicbook origins.
I don't know anything about the comicbook but its quite old (1986), so I can't say for sure but I do believe this comic may have given rise to other such characters and franchises like 'Hellboy', 'Underworld' and probably others. The problem is they have left this adaptation too long and missed the boat. This a real mix of many cool ideas and the first to spring to mind was 'Van Helsing'. DD is very much a monster mash with everything from vamps, werewolves, zombies, ghouls and demons. Add to this a neat little touch of black humour with zombie sub plots involving zombie support groups complete with flyers and a zombie bodyshop where the undead go to fix themselves up. Clever touches like that make this film fun to watch.
Now the first 30 minutes of this film is dull I can't lie, I was getting bored as nothing was happening. The concept is clearly going for an old detective film with narration from Dylan as he investigates clues, its nice and gives the film a touch of class but ultimately its kinda dull too.
Things start to spice up as creatures of the night come into play and the plot thickens, we discover a huge uber zombie is killing folk and there's a battle going on between certain humans and the undead ergo...a bit like 'Underworld'.
The problem is the film does get more enjoyable but you just can't help but relate everything to many other films, some I've already mentioned. You feel as if you've seen this all before (which you kinda have) and you know what's gonna happen. The other problem is the effects aren't all that great on the werewolves, the vamps don't look anything new with their facial design (think 'Lost Boys' or 'From Dusk Till Dawn') and of course zombies will always look the same.
There is a quite lovely piece of makeup/prosthetic work at the finale where baddie vamp leader Vargas transforms into a mega demon of some kind, looks absolutely fantastic but again it also looks identical to Darkness from 'Legend' or Marcus from 'Underworld 2' plus his appearance is a total anti-climax. In short the CGI work isn't the best and neither are the stunts truthfully, blood and gore is minimal which is fine but makeup is probably the winner over CGI here. The CGI is about on par with the first 'Underworld' flick which is obviously dated.
There is a hell of a lot of imagination going on here which is terrific and as this character came about in 86 I'm sure he came before much of what we already know in terms of night creature mythology. Had this been made before a lot of well known films then I'm sure it would have received a much better reception and may well have be known as a semi cult classic like such films as 'Blade' and 'Underworld'. Its a shame as despite the large amount of monsters all fighting for screen time the film doesn't feel clustered and it is nicely done with good humour and a nice dark film noir detective angle. The zombie sub plots are easily the best for plus points in terms of originality (almost).
If you try not to compare this film to others its good fun, with better CGI work I wouldn't mind a sequel as Routh as Dylan is a likeable character who isn't over the top and arrogant. I did enjoy the monster mash, shame they had to include the always cliched and now over used martial arts fighting weapon clad female lead. Have her as a hardass sure but lets not go down the boring Milla Jovovich route again please, no need for that in the sequel...if there is one.
When you think of New Zealand there are certain things that spring to… MoreWhen you think of New Zealand there are certain things that spring to mind, unfortunately most of those things now tend revolve around Hobbits. Despite New Zealand being used as the backdrop for Tolkien's fantasy world its still not really the first place you'd associate with vampires, especially vampires living in the suburbs of Wellington. So it was admittedly kinda surprising to see a vampire movie emerge from the island of Kiwis, but not just a vampire movie...a vampire comedy mockumentary.
Put basically this film takes the popular reality TV concept and blends it with the popular slightly romantic vision of vampires (Anne Rice type vampires) whilst also adding other ghouls and mythical creatures in a bare bones hyperbole of blood. A camera crew stays in a decrepit house with four vampires and follows their daily routines trying to exist in the present day. The film crew have been given special permission to film these ancient creatures of the night as they prepare for a special event, a special ball...the crew were also given assurance they wouldn't be eaten.
The four vampires are a mixed bunch from the distant pages of time. Viago (379 years old) is the main vampire who talks to us most of the time, he was an 18th century dandy, a wealthy man who is prim proper and pedantic and likes the house clean and tidy (the Lestat de Lioncourt of the bunch). Deacon is the bad boy of the group...or so he likes to think (183 years old). He's the young rebellious rock n roll leather pant wearing vampire who thinks he's hot stuff, the irony being he clearly isn't.
'If you were a Nazi after the war...uh-uh'
'If you were a vampire'...*shakes head*
'If you were a Nazi vampire! no way!! I was outta there!'
Vladislav is the second eldest vampire (862 years old) who grew up during the medieval ages and was a tyrant. He's the most dated and out of touch vampire, HE is the sexual deviant of the bunch, the ladies man. His appearance is more in line with the traditional romantic vampiric appearance (the Gary Oldman/Coppola vampire of the bunch). Then lastly there is Petyr who is the eldest vampire at 8000 years of age. This guy is obviously a homage to the Count Orlok character in the F.W. Murnau film 'Nosferatu'. He doesn't say anything but merely nods or hisses and is virtually more animalistic or creature-like than the others.
So apart from the usual vampire-esque things you'd expect to see what is different about this movie? Well for one its all filmed with hand held cameras because its a reality show, not exactly a new idea but it makes the whole film look very realistic in terms of a reality show that is. They have clearly gone out and about in Wellington and filmed on the fly with real unknowing people which makes things more intriguing and fun. In fact its hard to tell at times if the people we see are in the movie or simply real folk unaware they are being filmed.
Some of the main things that really stand out are the extremely humorous little chats the vamps have with the cam crew (ala Big Brother) as they bicker about each other and whine about life in general. It is absolutely hilarious to watch these guys moan and take the piss out of traditional vampire lore turning it into annoying everyday situations. A really clever aspect is the fact vampires don't cast a reflection...so how do they know what they look like? This is clever simply because you've probably never even thought about that. Vampires tend to look very glamorous in certain movies yet how do they know they look glamorous, they might look like shit. So we are presented with a brilliantly funny sequence where these vamps must draw each other in certain attire and make dummies to put the clothes on, so they have an idea of how they will look when they cruise the town at night.
'I think we drink virgin blood because...it sounds cool'
'I think of it like this...if you're going to eat a sandwich...you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it'
Then there is the issue of how to kill and drain a victim without making a mess on the carpet and furniture. How do they get all their clothes cleaned, washing up all the blood stained cutlery and dishes, how to find victims/virgins, keeping their vampire skills honed, general entertainment, coping with modern technology, flying through windows, trying to hypnotise victims when they're glued to the TV or a laptop and getting to grips with a new vampire and his human friend. The answer to many of these things being a female human slave who acts like a personal secretary with a shopping list of victims which is a fantastic twist.
You wouldn't think a film like this would have many special effects and if they did they'd be crappy, but you'd be wrong. OK there aren't lots of effects everywhere, they are sparse, but what we do see is cleverly done and highly effective in a tacky kind of way. We see the vamps flying around and hovering, Viago rises from his bed in that classic vertical manner, the guys change into bats, there are of course classic practical blood effects and most impressively we see the guys able to walk (and fight) up the walls and across the ceiling. One scene in particular shows two of the guys fighting up the walls and across the ceiling in one shot and it really does look fab (a rotating set I'm guessing). I must also add that the sets are really atmospheric too, again clearly basic but they work so well.
The only thing I didn't quite like about this movie was the adding of other creatures of the night such as werewolves and zombies especially. I guess the werewolves I can accept but the way they are presented and acted out by the cast just doesn't quite work as well I think. The vampires have a clear distinction between themselves, you can send up different variations of vampires and there is so much you can do. With the werewolves its not really the same, one werewolf doesn't really differ from another, the jokes tend to be childish toilet/animal gags and they don't have any kind of distinctive look, they just look like regular boring humans. Of course once they turn things get a bit more exciting but then you lose the comedy aspect and it obviously becomes more of a genuine horror which you don't really want here. As for other monsters such as zombies that was a step too far for me, that felt like they were pushing it too much.
I loved the cast in this film I really did, each of the three main vampires are really well portrayed and highly amusing throughout. In fact I can't even say which vampire was my favourite because they were all tops. Each actor had some very funny dialog and they are all gifted with amusing rubbery faces which helps. I won't lie and say its a perfect film that is full of laugh out loud moments from start to finish...but its damn close. Considering this came out of nowhere, the cast is unknown (to me), its a New Zealand made film (no disrespect) and the budget appears to be small...its a fine comedy that deserves much kudos. Its like...'Spinal Tap' but with vampires.
'When you get four vampires in a flat obviously there's going to be a lot of tension, there's tension in any flatting situation'
Well after much development and lots and lots of internet rumours… MoreWell after much development and lots and lots of internet rumours flying around about this and that, we finally got the rebooted vision of our beloved Turtles. A movie that most dreaded for understandable reasons...reasons that mainly surrounded the turtles themselves and the plot. Most of these fears are unfortunately realised within reality pretty quickly I'm afraid to say. Within the first ten minutes we see a fight hidden in the shadows and where a turtle manages to hurl one of those gigantic metal shipping containers at the bad guys. Within the same first ten minutes we also see Shredders face unmasked and within the first twenty minutes or so April O'Neil get fired from her job as a reporter. The films just started and already we have two key Turtle elements out the window and apparently the turtles are mutants with super-duper strength.
So naturally the plot has been somewhat tinkered with when compared to previous incarnations of the Turtles and the original comicbook material. So naturally this means things don't make a lick of sense here in this movie. Here we discover that Splinter was not the pet of a Japanese man (nor was he a Japanese man mutated into a rat), instead he was rescued with the four turtles by a very young O'Neil from a medical research lab and released into the sewer. So this does tend to beg the question...why is Splinter Japanese? where did he get his Japanese attire from? why does he have his fur in a Japanese style and why does he speak like a wise old Japanese man? Are you telling me he got all this from the conveniently lost book of ninjutsu he found in the sewer? I could ask where on earth they get all their other stuff from such as their weapons but I guess you could throw that at the previous movies too.
'We're ninjas', 'we're mutants', 'technically we're turtles'...'and we're teenagers!'...Oh geez! got that covered then. Why would Mikey even say we're teenagers?
There are various plot issues throughout but frankly I can't be bothered to go through them all and also you can forgive to a degree because the Turtles have gone through many changes over various incarnations. But there are some things I must pick at like an annoying spot on your face. The turtles...geez where to begin! Well firstly their look...they look awful, like giant toxic avengers or Goomba's. They actually look quite unnerving, scary and creepy truth be told, and lets not forget this is suppose to be for the kids. The next major thing you notice is how fucking massive they are, have they been living on pizza topped with steroids?! did you notice how huge Raph is here!! its utterly ridiculous, they're so big I dunno how they all fit into their turtle van at the end.
Their size makes things very uneven in the film, they are so big that fighting Foot clan soldiers is like a walk in the park. They are throwing these bad guys around like rag dolls, tossing them all over the place which is probably resulting in their deaths (kids film?). At one point a Foot soldier gets thrown through a moving subway trains window as it passes through the station! errr...kids film anyone? What's more these Foot soldiers all carry automatic weapons! so technically they should be able to mow the turtles down easily...oh no wait, the turtles are bulletproof in this incarnation, silly me. Yep these turtles are pretty much invincible in this movie, bullets bounce off their shells, they can knock bullets and projectiles out of the air with their hand weapons, they are giants with superhero muscles, they are able to withstand heavy impacts into large vehicles like Hummers whilst actually destroying that vehicle in the process, in fact any major fall or impact does nothing to them and basically they look like space monsters and talk like eerie stalker type weirdos. 'Do NOT say a word about this to anyone. If you do, we will find you, April O'Neil'...errr K!
As for old Splinter well I've already asked a few questions about him, but my next problem was how he looked...he looked ugly!! When I say ugly I mean horrible! scary, creepy, like something not made for kids. What the hell with his eyes man! I realise they're trying for a realistic approach but my God he looked evil with those eyes. The other thing was his whip-like tail, where did that come from?? since when could a rats tail do that?? OK I realise how that sounds but come on...Splinter doesn't do that, he doesn't take baddies down with a tentacle-like tail.
This leads me to the final main character in Shredder, they just don't learn to they. The general appearance of Shredder is fine, he wears the samurai armour, his helmet is pretty near the mark, his voice is deep and gravelly and from a distance he actually looks cool. Its only on closer inspection (and in the light) we see how far they have taken it and how badly they have fucked it up. Firstly he looks like The Silver Samurai and is errmm...too silver and shiny, secondly his armour is way way too thick, bulky and elaborate and lastly (and most obviously) there are way way too many blades going on here. This is a case of the Predator wrist blades from 'AvP' but then add on about...I dunno...six or more all sticking out all over the place. His arms look like a flippin' penknife, all that's missing is the corkscrew. But to add salt into the wound Shredder now fires lots of smaller blades from his wrists too, a seemingly endless supply of them, oh and they all appear to be homing knives too because he can summon them back to his wrists, handy.
'I want you to drain every ounce of their blood, even if it kills them'...Errr wut? of course that will kill them.
In all honesty when the movie is set at night and in and around the sewers its not too bad, squint hard enough and you could almost make out a Turtles movie in here. Alas it doesn't last long before it goes absolutely berserk again. I mean of course the idiotic mountain sequence complete with a huge arctic, hummers, turtles tobogganing down the snowy mountain, bouncing between the crashing vehicles fighting Foot soldiers whilst being completely impervious too injury and all rendered in glorious CGI with greenscreens for your viewing pleasure. Seriously no injuries whatsoever after that turn of events, seriously. What's really dumb is how big is that flippin' mountain?! The sequence is about I dunno...six minutes, and its all sliding down this infinite mountain slope, plus there's a whopping big cliff at the end of it! Where was this mountain??!!
I won't have a go at everything here, believe it or not some of it was OK...errmm...well the CGI was nice of course, the turtles did look realistic can't dent that. The fights were well created and looked fast and furious which was cool, nice to see Splinter actually kick some ass for once. The turtles sewer home was also nicely crafted and looked recognisable to previous versions but with some decent touch ups in pop culture and technology. Typically though the bad outweighs the good tenfold, I'm not even completely sure who this movie is aimed at because I don't think Liebesman and co could make their minds up. Can someone please explain to me how the four turtles and O'Neil survive that last fall from the top of that skyscraper.
So I guess many of you have heard of the Tarantino/Rodriguez action… MoreSo I guess many of you have heard of the Tarantino/Rodriguez action horror flick 'From Dusk Till Dawn'? Sure you have, well let me introduce you to the movie that I'm pretty sure inspired that whole franchise...inspired copied...however you wanna look at it. So sit back and allow me to introduce how this trashy 80's vampire thriller is easily one of the best horror comedies made, up alongside greats such as 'An American Werewolf in London'.
This story idea now seems pretty dated with the whole idea of having two plot lines. Starting out in one direction and then having a fork in the road (so to speak) that leads down another direction. Admittedly this movie isn't entirely like that as we know its gonna be about vampires, but the general genre here is an old frat house type affair which spirals into a gruesome undead horror flick. Its also interesting to note that the classic Arnie vehicle 'Predator' came out a year after this movie and as we all know that film has a famous familiar two plot line affair. So its entirely possible that this horror kick started the double plot line concept.
The story is, as I said already, exactly the same as the Tarantino/Rodriguez flick there abouts. A duo of college students are wanting to get into their kickass campus fraternity, for this they want a kickass stripper so its off to the seedy side of town to hire one. Of course the lads are out of their depth and soon begin to notice odd things about the stripper club. One thing leads to another as the more reserved of the duo (Makepeace) ends up having to team up with an old flame who works at the club (somehow unaware of its secret) to battle the neck biting horde and try to survive until dawn.
So lets look at the cast, its a little known group by today's standards but back in the day both leads, Rusler and Makepeace, were almost household names. Now I say household names but I mean with teenagers of the time, Rusler was already an 80's cult trash star with 'Weird Science' and 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 2'. Here he plays the cool stylish cocky Fonzie-esque ladies man who basically gets the group in the situation they find themselves through his arrogance. The visage of this guy is the epitome of young brash 80's males in the movies with the curly coiffed mullet hairdo and the obsession with his odd choice of mixed attire (a young Robert Downey Jr. if you will). At the same time Makepeace is also the typical poster boy of the 80's with his college jacket, chequred shirt, curly hair, blue jeans and white sneakers (a young Mel Gibson if you will). The duo are easily the pure personification of the 80's which obviously isn't much of a surprise but looking back its so damn cool.
Alongside the main duo is the rich perverted single and spoilt Duncan played by Gedde Watanabe, the comic relief. Although this character is truly cliched to the hilt with his prepubescent lusting he is undeniably amusing at times. In fact his character is so lovable with his bug eyes at anything in a thong and typical college dialog that you're sad to see him go. Can't not mention the uber cult star Billy Drago now can I, here he plays a gang leader with snow white hair hence his name is...wait for it...Snow. Drago doesn't have a huge part, in fact its a bit of a nondescript part really as it wouldn't make any difference if his character was taken out. But Drago emits such an air of utter coolness that I can fully understand why Wenk would cast him even for a bit part.
'I'm in the mood for love...simply because they're naked'
The shock casting (even for the time) was Grace Jones as the head (ancient Egyptian) vampiress. Although she had starred in a couple big movies prior to this film she was still seen as more of a model/dancer/singer rather than an out and out actress. I do think Wenk cast her as more of an attraction for the audience, a quirky hook or lure to get more bums on seats. Despite that she does do a really good job even though she hardly says a thing, her role is virtually mute accept for grunts, scowls, stares and howling laughter...right up Jones alley then. But in the looks department Jones appears every bit the sultry sexy lethal vampire with that strange red wig of hair and bizarre body jewelry that gives off a very sensual vibe which is kinda hard to explain why its sensual...it just is.
I simply can't not talk about the musical score in this movie. Wow! does this score really add another level to the film, it really lifts everything. For starters Grace Jones uses a track of her own for the stripper sequence where she is covered in white body paint. This sequence is an iconic moment in the movie not only for Jones extraordinary performance which is both highly erotic and mesmerizing, but the musical score which plays at the same time is truly unique and also hypnotically beautiful.
Back in the day I remember this movie being a bit of video nasty or simply a naughty adult movie merely down to the fact there is plenty of stripper ass on show. The girls walk around in bondage gear and thongs bearing all which is...I guess realistic, obviously sexy and yet it also adds to the general unease in the atmosphere (kinda). Of course the other iconic moment (yes there is actually two) is when Grace Jones seduces and attacks Rusler in her dingy room which had all us kids wetting our pants with excitement, fear and simple intrigue (those that were lucky enough to see the movie behind our parents back). I think this scene is easily one of the most erotic sequences in modern cinema, even when Jones vampiress finally drains Rusler out its still very erotic.
The scene also displayed some of the well created hands-on makeup effects and prosthetics. By today's standards of course its nothing special as we've all seen this type of thing a billion times before now. But back in the day it was quite terrifying to see Grace Jones change from this sexy metal spiral bra clad stripper to a hideous bald monster with these huge fangs and teeth (not to mention her long ugly finger and toe nails). The other female vamps are all made up in similar fashion and they are all quite horrific looking with their glaring contact lenses and mutated faces. So yes despite the fact all the vampires are clad in tight thongs with firm bodies you don't really want one transforming and sucking on your throat...or maybe you do, I had to think hard.
Wenk and his crew really do a great job in making the stripper club look incredibly grimy, dark, dirty and utterly unwholesome overall (seedy is the best word but I can't keep using it). What is really impressive is a lot of this is purely down to the excellent use of lighting. You can see the set wasn't huge and neither was the budget but they manage to make the club look bigger and better than it clearly was, strategic shadows everywhere. At the same time the world outside the club is also brilliantly realised again through the use of obscure lighting (mainly using greens and pinks), and the cliched stereotypical visuals you'd expect like dark alleys, trashcans everywhere, rundown stores, rubbish blowing around, graffiti, bums hanging around etc...I know the lighting colour palette sounds really peculiar but it does work wonders giving this dead end part of town a really sinister ambience. Add to this some wonderful camera work with low angles, Dutch angles, off kilter angles etc...every trick in the book to give this little world a freakish unearthly appearance.
Admittedly the finale does get a bit overblown if you can even say that. The movie does slightly turn from a comedy horror into more of a comedy action horror as Makepeace and Pfeiffer (Michelle's unknown sister) run around shooting vamps with arrows. But again I can't deny the final moment for Jones vampiress is a classic moment of good old fashioned traditional practical effects. The movie offers everything an 80's horror fan could ever want, its jam packed with all the conventional tricks of the trade and visual moments that we have all come to expect from the vampire genre. The blend of utter cheesiness, adult humour, gallows humour, blood, gore and lots of tits n ass all combine to give you a rip-roaring adventure through the underbelly of this vampire world. People say that 'Fright Night' 'An American Werewolf' and 'The Lost Boys' are the best 80's horror flicks...and they are very good yes, but for me Richard Wenk's sordid sleazy tawdry vampire thriller is by far the best 80's trashfest to come along.
Ah...at last we have the mighty Guardians of the Galaxy superhero… MoreAh...at last we have the mighty Guardians of the Galaxy superhero space adventure flick with a talking tree stump and a gun wielding raccoon. As we all know (so I dunno why I'm saying it) this movie came right outta left field, no one really expected it, no one really wanted it even (truth be told), no one really knew who these guys were and almost everyone was unsure as to whether it was a good move or not. Yet with a dizzying level of confidence, tenacity and the sheer size of Marvels balls (massaged tenderly by Disney) the company went ahead with this virtually unknown property which was a chuffing big gamble lets face it. Proof that almost everyone at the moment will watch anything with the Marvel logo slapped across it.
I'm not gonna pretend to know the plot intricacies with this movie as I have no knowledge of these characters or their origin backgrounds, thusly I went in blind and merely going on previous tit bits from other character movies. Basically a group of space pirates come together as a team for various reasons. Quill the human is initially tracking down this magical orb for currency but gets tied up in this dastardly plot by an alien supervillain to destroy planets with it. Gamora is working for Thanos and Ronan as an assassin yet changes her ways and betrays them both after she realises what the orb can do. Drax wants to kill Ronan for killing his family so he's on board at first to merely get to Ronan...but later joins the fight for the orb too. Rocket the raccoon is another bounty hunter who was after Quill initially and simply ended up getting tossed into space jail with the group and eventually ends up helping them escape, he then continues with their fight. Lastly Groot is a tree...errm...and he's the sidekick of Rocket...he just follows Rocket around and protects the little guy. Think of him as a wooden magical Chewbacca that just says 'I AM GROOT' which apparently is an entire vocabulary.
That is the basics for the main characters, there are many many more throughout which all slip in and out of the plot. I won't lie it was a little confusing for me to get to grips with, there are lots of odd space names for characters, ships and places flying around and lots of nods to other things within the Marvel comicbook universe (with weird names). You don't have to be a comicbook nerd to get along with the plot...but it helps, that's all I'm gonna say. Like...why did the mercs steal Quill away from Earth as a baby in the first place? I'm sure stuff like that is in the comics. Never the less anyone can still just about enjoy this movie I'm sure, I think...maybe...mkay.
The overall look of the movie was a mixed bag for me honesty. First thing I noticed was an abundance of body paint and makeup being used with little to no rubber mask/prosthetic type effects. There's nothing wrong with that of course but it did feel a tad basic, unadventurous and dare I say Star Trek-ish with all these aliens simply being actors with different coloured face paint on. I'm sure its probably because many of the background comicbook characters from the original source material were drawn like that...I presume. Otherwise I can't quite work out why so many characters merely had face paint on with alien contact lenses in, the makeup on Ronan and Korath was almost childish looking! This also had me wondering about other background characters, like in the prison for example. Many of them seemed to be regular looking blokes...so would they be humans? I kinda though everybody would aliens, also why were the prison guards all so utterly useless?? Its a prison for violent creatures and folk from all over the universe yet the guards appear to be human and are as useful as a chocolate teapot.
This was but a small quibble admittedly as the visual effects and CGI throughout the movie was pretty pleasing to the eye. Putting it simply...I haven't seen such decent space battle/dog fight sequences since the original Star Wars trilogy...I think. I believe it was the cockpit shots of various pilots and heroes that swayed me as they looked very realistic with tiny details and didn't stand out with obvious CGI. Honesty though its not like most of the other stuff you see hasn't been done before or hasn't looked as good in other Marvel movies recently. All the magical space sorcery jiggery-pokery, deep space vistas, cityscapes, masses of spaceships, planetary landscapes etc...all looked sharp and slick as you would expect. But none of this is anything special now though is it, we've seen this type of thing so many times, its merely the staple diet of these superhero flicks. Yes it all looked very good, but I expect that, I expect nothing less, anything less than very good and I would be taken aback.
So yes everything looked shiny and polished but as I said that didn't wow me because its standard stuff these days. Basically the movie revolved around the surprisingly entertaining crew of space pirates. When I say that I naturally mean Star-Lord played by Pratt and the two CGI bounty hunters Groot and Rocket. I didn't really know anything of Pratt before this movie so to that affect I (like everybody else I'm sure) was pretty stunned at his likeable roguish persona that blurred the lines between Han Solo, Indiana Jones and maybe a hint of Marty McFly...in a bumbling manner.
I think the only aspect I didn't like was the fact he was all buffed up, is it just me or does anyone else think he would have been more amusing with a regular Joe's physique? A bit more of a space bum perhaps, the rippling muscles visage kinda played against his charming doofus of a hero if you ask me. All of sudden he isn't a regular guy trying to get along in the wild universe...he's a superstud superhero with big abs...meh...bit cliche. Plus he seemed to switch from a ham-fisted accidental hero to a raging ass-kicking machine too easily, its like Gunn couldn't quite decide what angle he wanted from this guy.
Then of course there's his love of 80's music which all ties in with the plot about his mother dying. This aspect actually got me thinking, its strange how this movie is almost like a retro fantasy for adults. I don't know but I'm pretty sure most youngsters won't have a clue about the soundtrack, hell I'm willing to bet they won't even like it. Then there's the use of a walkman and cassette tapes which again many youngsters will be totally oblivious too just as much as VHS tapes. It all adds up to a movie of three halves really, you have the fantastic other-worldly visual space elements for the kids, the comicbook element for the fanboys and a main character who is basically for the 30 year old plus age range who grew up in the 80's.
As for the CGI duo well what can I say...bizarre and highly amusing to say the least. Rocket was the perfect anti-hero who despite his obvious limitations is an expert in weapons and battle tactics with a sharp mouth, the perfect combination. The only thing I would have loved even more would be hearing Rocket swear as he would have clearly worked better as an adult character, the Joe Pesci of the group. As for Groot well I'm amazed at how popular living trees seem to be in movies recently and yet there is only so much you can do with them looks wise really. This guy worked best with Rocket in the prison break sequence for sure, seeing the gun totting raccoon blazing away on top of his wooden pal was mightily badass I can't deny. Other than that Groot offers some nice chuckle moments and an emotional ending but I did find myself thinking this character was too powerful. He lacks brains but he's uber strong and seemingly unable to die, plus he also has magical powers...so as long as Rocket is around he's kinda unstoppable, or even without Rocket.
The other characters were good but just kinda there. Drax is the obligatory token lump of muscle that beats down many enemies, doesn't understand human customs/sayings/speech (slightly laboured humour there) and is also covered in detailed body paint that doesn't quite show up too well. Where as Gamora is the obligatory token female character to add a bit of sexy spice to the proceedings in her tight outfits (Black Widow much?)...how about that black mini skirt ensemble at the very end folks! I liked that. Again was it just me or did Glenn Close's character kinda look exactly like the Mom character from Futurama?
So...looking back what do I think overall? Its definitely a visual feast heavily relying on CGI of course which on one hand is fine on the other is way too generic these days, it would have been nice to see some practical hands-on work. The humour and action is again spot on and enjoyable but at the same time it also felt kinda old, a bit cliche, too eager to please and of course too similar to other recent superhero movies. The risk of superhero saturation is never far away and even though this movie is a fresh angle (of sorts) its still very familiar. Although not a practical move I get the impression this movie could of been even better with an adult spin. Gunn obviously has notions of that with little snippets here and there such as the black light joke and as I said Rocket would have been tremendous with profanity.
I won't say its the best Marvel flick so far as that accolade still goes to the first Iron Man movie in my opinion. I enjoyed the movie, it is a good fun space escapade with solid characters that both amuse and kickass. It could virtually be an adaptation of many 80's Saturday morning cartoon favourites which in itself is fecking top banana. This flick makes me think a movie adaptation of 'Captain N: The Game Master' could work.
Steve Wang's second outing with The Guyver accept this time there was… MoreSteve Wang's second outing with The Guyver accept this time there was a change in casting for the lead role, no big star names, a low budget...but an all new adult rating! Now don't get too over excited as this isn't like the Japanese manga series with blood and gore galore, yes there is blood but only the odd splattering. On the whole I was looking forward to this sequel as I read it had been enjoyed more by the target audience and received generally better reviews.
Much to my utter amazement I am again disappointed with the outcome! So OK...yes there is blood but its sporadic, there is still no sign of any decent brutal kickass action or gory mutant mutations as seen in the manga series (I have since checked this out). Basically this movie is still very much like a children's movie and still runs along the same lines as the [i]Mighty Morphin Power Rangers[/i], albeit with a slightly adult twist.
Admittedly Wang stays closer to the source material this time and includes the fact that the Guyver suit is virtually corrupting Barker by wanting (and making) him kill. The suit lives inside him and haunts him on a daily basis giving him 'Hellraiser-esque' dreams and visions, its nothing really disturbing and scary but these little snippets do add a depth to the character missed previously. Naturally Barker ends up fighting crime as you might expect but he does end up killing the criminals instead of making taking them in. Unfortunately there are no scenes where he kills an innocent which would really screw him up...its not that dark.
Alas once again the fights are chock full of martial arts that don't have any kind of bite or punch to them, the choreographed sequences are well executed but its all so damn fake looking. You can clearly see the strikes are still not really connecting with their intended targets and when they do the monster suits show up how rubbery and foamy they are (once again). The slow motion jiggery-pokery might look cool but in fact it makes things look worse when Guyver and Zoanoid suits clash in real time. And once again the deadly elbow blades are hardly ever used despite the fact they would take out a bad guy very easily and very quickly.
This leads me to the Zoanoid monster suits and as I have just mentioned we still have the same issues...they look great with lots of detail but they also look like rubber monster suits. There aren't as many of the Zoanoids this time but what we see are similar in design to the previous ones. There is a decent rhino type monster, another couple big bug types and another Gill-man type creature. What I don't quite get is it seems the Zoanoid from the last movie played by Berryman is back, I'm unsure if it was the same monster or a similar one or maybe the same monster respawned, no clue. The other odd thing is the main Chronos bad guy (the corporation president) seems to back too...or that's what it looked like to me. The Zoanoids contact the Chronos corporation and speak to an elderly man who looks and dresses very similar to David Gale's character in the first movie.
As for the plot well this is where I again get confused. I know the manga series differs to the first movie, but this sequel differs to the first movie also. Apparently in this movie Barker learns from the unearthed alien ship (the same aliens that created the Guyver suits, mankind and Zoanoids...I think??) that the Zoanoids are a failed experiment by the aliens. The aliens then equipped humans with Guyver suits to battle the Zoanoids (this is in the past). This contradicts the first movies story which says humans are Zoanoids and created by the mysterious aliens.
The Zoanoids then try to take over the Earth and mankind (mankind not spliced with the Zoanoid gene) by creating the Chronos corporation (for some reason a company was required?). At no point did it mention the aliens equipping humans with the Guyver suits to battle the Zoanoids. The Guyver suit was said to be a relic left behind by the aliens...whether on purpose or not I don't know, I thought by mistake, it was never mentioned to have been done deliberately. Of course I could be grasping the wrong end of the stick but I'm not sure, the movie isn't exact to the source.
The Guyver suit looks much better in this sequel even though it looked great in the first movie. This time the colour is more bluer, detail is greater, lights are brighter and the suits shape is much more akin to the manga series looking more evil. The main Zoanoid bad guy actually gets a Guyver suit this time which gives us a chance to see a more badass version (in black naturally). Despite being bigger, badder errr...blacker, it doesn't look anywhere near as good as the main Guyver suit.
All in all this movie is yet another let down and really frustrating. I don't quite get how it is seen to be better than the first movie when there is little difference between the two. Yeah sure this sequel has some blood in the fights (but less fights) and its a tad darker in places but its still very silly and could be way way better. Heck the locations are worse in this sequel I think, at least the first movie was generally in dark settings, kinda grimy and seedy which added to the atmosphere. I don't think this movie is worse overall, its probably on equal terms methinks, I liked both at times but both could of been so much more awesomer...its such a shame. Again kudos for visuals in general but its lacks some serious guts n spunk.
Ah that common phrase...loosely based on, yep this is loosely based on… MoreAh that common phrase...loosely based on, yep this is loosely based on the Japanese manga series. I'm not overly sure how this compares to the original source material but from what I've read on wiki about the two there are differences in plot which isn't overly surprising. Not sure why Mark Hamill has top billing on the movies poster fused with the Guyver mask though. He isn't the Guyver and has a smallish role, using his name to sell the film methinks.
In this movie it is said that aliens came to Earth at the beginning of time and created man as their ultimate organic weapon. They implanted a special gene into man that allowed them to change into super monsters called Zoanoids, although not every human it seems. The leader, the Zoalord, awakens from some sort deep sleep at some point in time (eh?) and creates the Chronos corporation with plans to take over the Earth for some reason. It also seems the aliens that created mankind and the Zoanoids left behind a piece of technology called 'the unit', a suit of armour that attaches itself to a host by literately implanting itself inside the hosts body. Once inside a human the suit gives the host a shit tonne of power, strength, speed etc...all the good stuff.
So basically the bad guys in the movie are the Zoanoids from the dastardly Chronos corporation who want the unit (the Guyver suit). Of course the suit attaches itself to an innocent good looking young all American martial arts apprentice who then uses it to stop the Zoanoids from trying to gain complete control. If a Zoanoid uses the suit they become even more powerful than a regular human. Still unsure why these aliens didn't implant the special Zoanoid gene into every human including women, seeing as humans were their weapons experiment. The manga series does seem to be different of course with three Guyver suits on the loose, a different take on the origins and there is way more detail and info over the US movie.
It does seem (to me) that the character of Spawn has possibly been influenced by this Japanese Guyver suit. The Guyver is a really cool creation, a symbiotic bio-mechanism that fuses with the host and lives inside its body like a parasite. The suit is nigh on invulnerable accept for the circular 'control metal' on the forehead of the suit/host. This seems to be the suits brain that gives it its power, it also stores information about its host (DNA data possibly) and it is the only weak spot. In the manga series the suit does a lot more and apparently alters the host both inside and out to improve it! Also apart from giving the host special super powers it also has built in weapons such as its chest cannon, elbow blades and the control metal can fire lasers too. These are seen in the movie but there is more in the manga series, the movie also shows what happens when the control metal is damaged badly. Basically the suit disintegrates and kills the host along with it, in the comic it is said the suit eats the host! But the control metal will respawn or regenerate the host from the stored data it holds (somehow), seemingly making the host invincible and unable to die. So my point is Spawn is almost a hellbound version of the Guyver to a degree, the concept of the living suit is very similar.
This movie really gives you the impression its gonna be badass, it looks dark and broody, the suit looks excellent and there are plenty of big monster suits...what could be better?! Now when I first saw the monster (Zoanoid) suits I loved them, they look like your typical 80's rubber horror monster suits with a bloke inside. If you think of Gill-man in 'The Monster Squad' then you have an idea of what I mean. All the monsters have a certain look to them, one is kinda like a werewolf, one looks like a big Gremlin from the Joe Dante movie (shame about the cliched stereotypical personality it has), one has elephantine features, one looks like a bug etc...so the visual side of things is positive. The Guyver suit also looks great with a lot of detail, some brilliant LED-esque (were LED's available back then?) lit up eyes, nice suit colouring, steam coming out of the vent things on his mask, moving parts and most importantly it actually looks like the Japanese source material.
The problems occur when the action kicks in, yes the Guyver looks awesome standing still in the shadows but oh dear...the disappointment. First up the action is generally very weak with no blood, no profanity and no violence really, all the martial arts you see is clearly fake stunt work. Secondly the action is martial arts!! why?! doesn't this suit have all manner of cool stuff it can do other than enable the host to perform decent martial arts! that's so 80's. We know the suit has these big deadly blades on the elbow section...yet he never uses them! only for final moves does he seem to use them. This just seems utterly pointless when its obvious he could end the fight whenever he wanted with these deadly blades, instead we get lots of aimless martial arts that goes nowhere. And yes the martial arts is totally aimless, lots of jumping around in big cumbersome suits that makes for very crappy fight sequences (when he should be slicing and dicing). All these guys seem to do is throw each other against walls and rubble yet nothing ever affects them ever. The final nail in the coffin is the fact every suit in battle looks incredibly like what it actually is...pure rubber. These suits flop bounce and squish all over the place, the Guyver blades bend, you can see the suits are padded when a strike makes contact etc...its terrible.
The bottom line is this movie is a dark version of 'The Power Rangers', yep that's right. The action is identical in every way down to the hammy music, the way the creatures just keep getting up and carrying on fighting, the body movement of the Guyver in hero and taunt stances, the way the Guyver speaks though his suit and of course everything looks fake. Although it does feel and look kinda manga-ish/Japanese-ish, kinda. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of nice visual work going on here, some good sets, great prosthetic work, creature effects, mutation effects, basic cinematography etc...But it all falls apart whenever the action rolls in, that's when everything is revealed to be rubber. The finale battle between the Guyver and the Zoalord is hilariously bad, the creature design is intriguing and well made but the sequence is awful. The creature is way too big, too slow, jerky and clearly doesn't do what the designers intended, what they were going for. Its a shame because the fantasy element is great and I love how its all hands-on craftsmanship but it just doesn't work.
I think the cast do well in the movie with certain people boosting the silliness. Michael Berryman is always good for a bad guy isn't he, can't go wrong there, as said Hamill has a small part and pumps a bit of cult class into the proceedings but its David Gale as the Chronos president who steals the show with his Peter Cushing-esque looks. I thought this character played out a lot like Dick Jones in 'Robocop', I dunno I just got that feeling when he first comes onto the scene, he looks like a combination of Dick Jones and the OCP president with the added bonus of classic Hammer Horror looks.
In the end I really wanted to like this and I kinda do...but ultimately it just feels too childish and too silly. I don't know if the Japanese manga series was dark or not but this tongue-in-cheek approach really feels misplaced here if you ask me. It pains me because there is so much here, so much brilliant material both from the source and in this US adaptation. This really is a rich universe that is desperate for a kickass action flick, its ripe and ready. This was a bold attempt and there are some things here that are great, some lovely visuals and live action work which I give full kudos too, but you can't look past how badly it fails at the same time. If ever a movie/original idea needed a fresh reboot with up to date special effects and full frontal kickassery...this is most definitely it.
So you made a film back in the day and it was a success both at the… MoreSo you made a film back in the day and it was a success both at the cinema and videoshop. The two stars of the movie are still big and can still pull in an audience, you yourself now have some swing within Hollywood and lets be honest...you need a new project to keep your career on a high-ish. What better way to do that than completely rehashing your successful movie by...errr completely remaking it all over again but in a different location and with a new star (for the time) to the roster.
Yep so the plot is virtually the same as the first movie, no shame here folks. The dynamic duo are back again and instructed to go on another stakeout in a nice woody lakeside well to do area. They are watching out for a witness against the mafia (after a botched assassination) who may or may not be coming to this lovely house. But the funny thing is...wait for it...this time they have a female DA officer along with them to play husband and wife with Dreyfuss. That's not all, she's brought her huge rottweiler along too...ey up we're in for some mighty big laughs now! Did I mention the new DA officer is Rosie O'Donnell? well there you go. I ask you...can you think of anything better than this? really...how can this not be funny?
Oh wait...its not funny in the slightest. Everything here has been dumbed down and made more family friendly basically, not that the original movie was an adult movie but this is just childish. Most of the plot now revolves around how silly this family unit can be with Estevez as the son, Dreyfuss as the dad and O'Donnell as the mum. Every scene is pretty much an embarrassing bumbling slapstick comedy routine with infantile dialog and cliched predictable visual gags...some of which naturally revolve around the big dog. Literately nothing happens for the majority of the movie until the final long dinner sequence where there is lots more awful dialog. Heck even the action (if you can even call it that...which you can't) is weak as fuck, its virtually a children's movie at times.
Dreyfuss character seems to have been somewhat neutered this time around and doesn't have the same zest as before. Yes he is obviously an older character but the plot doesn't allow him to do anything. The same goes for Estevez, in the first movie he was pretty much a sidekick, here he has a little more to do admittedly but again its very lame and uninteresting really. Its nice to see Ferrer playing a bad guy again, haven't seen that for awhile, blast from the past. The only problem being like everything else its a very tame watered down role which has absolutely no bite about it. The bad guys in this movie are so uneventful I can hardly bring myself to call them bad guys, they're just a bit naughty and they wear black. As for O'Donnell well this was another time wasn't it, a different ear where O'Donnell was actually kinda big (in both senses...zing!). I guess she adds to the humour at times but her character just comes across like this sequel...not required, horseshoed in, crowbarred in, forced and pointless.
I really don't know what Badham was trying to do here, you could have a sequel to this but going down this route was a huge error. Basically remaking it with one extra cop for comedy relief...oh and a big dog...pfft! I mean really, who wants to see Dreyfuss' character have relationship issues (again) with Stowe (from the first movie, must have needed rent money) whilst staking out Dennis Farina who does nothing. Then in the background Estevez is constantly moaning about having to shave his moustache off which appears to be the movies main gag. This literately is like watching an actual stakeout where nothing actually happens, I'm boring myself writing this!