I think it was inevitable that this sequel would have a hard time… MoreI think it was inevitable that this sequel would have a hard time satisfying the fans and critics. The first movie was not only a major first time event in showcasing all these superhero characters together on the big screen for the first time, but it was also a shock that it worked so well. Naturally there was the wow factor, the surprise, we were all wanting a hit but really, who knew. Everything in that movie was fresh and new (to a degree), mainly because this Avengers team were together for the first time doing it. So could this sequel carry the ever growing pressures of the hype machine?
Plot wise its pretty much as before, the A-team are up against an enemy who has a massive army of robot drones, as before when it was a massive army of aliens. The difference being the enemy has been inadvertently created by Stark, or least turned out to be evil which was not foreseen. This creation also kick starts the bickering within the team which will eventually lead to other movies, and there's one problem of the movie (and all Marvel movies now). These don't really feel like movies (to me), they feel more like a requirement, an obligation or constant filler merely to lead you into the next movie, and so on. Most of this movie is simply exposition and setups for other things that will happen in other movies, interspersed with high octane action. It never [b]really[/b] feels like a stand alone movie, admittedly these comicbook movies aren't really like that of course, its all part of a wider universe (like the comics), but at times it kinda feels like you're being cheated.
Naturally things have to be bigger and better than before, thusly we have more characters to content with, more Avengers. All the regular members do pretty much what they did before accept, Hawkeye gets more backstory which fleshes him out, much needed considering he's just that guy with a bow and arrow and easily the weakest of the team. We get more Hulk action including an excellent face-off against Stark in his Hulkbuster suit, and a taster of some backstory for Black Widow. Most of this is conjured up by newcomer Scarlet Witch and her brain fiddling powers. Despite looking and coming across more like an X-Men character she is actually pretty good, well portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen and with some cool red, glowing, electric, laser bolt-esque firepower.
New to the throwdown along with Scarlet Witch is Speedy Gonzales Quicksilver who pretty much does the same thing as Quicksilver did in that other popular comicbook flick. Which was better you ask? well visually I think this Quicksilver looked better, the other silver haired bloke with silver sneakers looking plain stupid. But effects wise the X-Men movie wins the day there, they do the same kind of thing here but with not as much depth or attention, plus X-Men got there first quite simply. Next up is Vision (or J.A.R.V.I.S.) who honesty looks like a child has designed his outfit but does blend in so well with the team. He's a quiet, soft spoken, strong character kinda like Dr. Manhattan, and pretty powerful which kinda made me wonder why he would need Avenger training at the end.
Lastly is of course the bad guy Ultron who is brilliantly voiced by James Spader...but that's as far as I go on the positive note. First off why exactly does Ultron turn out to be bad? I realise he thinks he's doing the Earth a favour by erasing mankind but surely something with that level of intelligence would see the downside to that plan (he thinks humans are monsters, but is he wrong?). As Vision says at one point, he was only born yesterday, yet he can see the issue with wiping out mankind, so why can't Ultron? I also have to say, I didn't really like his design, I realise its close to the comics but it just didn't look right to me, he looked like a deformed Terminator. This also leads me to the effects side of things, why the hell did they give Ultron a moving mouth?! It looks awful, the same mistake was made with Optimus Prime, it just looked really bad, his mouth section shouldn't have moved.
Overall I wasn't actually impressed by the special effects, maybe its because I'm becoming more and more numb to the same kind of CGI stuff. But in general I just didn't feel anything for the effects, we all know there's gonna be a shit load of CGI, yeah some of it looks good like the helicarrier, but then again some of it is obvious, obvious greeenscreen, obvious rag doll effects, Ultron looked average and his drones just became weightless toys that were completely ineffective (much like the completely ineffective alien hordes in the first movie).
One thing that did look good were the destruction effects, apparently destruction and carnage effects have come on leaps and bounds because these days because they do look awesome. Funnily enough this led me to think about 'Man of Steel' and how people moaned about the destruction in that movie. Well what about this folks?? there is masses of destruction in this film and I'm pretty sure many innocent people got killed amongst all that. Look at the Hulk vs Stark fight, holy shit! how many people got wiped out there?! What about that runaway train sequence??!! good golly Miss Molly! absolutely ludicrous amounts of havoc! great ruination effects though.
The one thing that did disappoint me (as I already said) was the fact that the movie ends in virtually the same way as the first, the whole last act. There are masses and masses of robot drones swarming all over the place (not alien drones, robot drones remember)...and Hawkeye is running around with his flippin' bow and arrow. I know they even address that but it still seems daft. I also have to question Black Widow's use here, she can't karate kick robots to death and her revolver is of limited use...so what the fuck? The rest of the team are legitimately useful. I did also have to wonder how exactly Ultron managed to build such a vast army of robots and that machine thingy in such a small space of time but...ugh! whatever.
Kudos to the light-heartedness of it all, it hits just the right spot for a comicbook adaptation. Some moments did make me smile such as Thor claiming he can't be brainwashed by Scarlet because he is a God...oh but he can. Then the little touch where Vision looks at Thor and his cloak, then quickly and sneakily creates his own because clearly he just fell in love with the whole look. Nice little witty moments which do make the movie more enjoyable, alas they tend to be overcome by more obvious silly quips and gags for the kids. One running joke to me being Falcon, what the hell use is this guy?? He wears metallic wings...but surely anybody/any top pilot presumably could wear them, how is he special? Plus the way he just swoops down right at the end outta nowhere, like...where the hell you been random bloke who wears metal wings.
All in all I did enjoy bits of the movie but found myself losing interest quickly, the in your face tidal wave of CGI really becomes too much, especially when the action really digs in. I was never really engaged in anything, I never really had much interest in the characters because I knew they were all gonna live (accept for one), and basically I found myself enjoying the little tit bits that either hint at other things or things to come. The end mid credits scene was far more exciting than anything else! (they usually are). Seeing those little snippets, that leave you dribbling for more, work so well, more so than the full length feature at times. Overall I am finding myself getting bored of seeing the same kind of thing, robots, lasers, mech suits, martial arts, big futuristic jets and carriers etc...the original wow factor of these comicbook flicks is ebbing away fast.
This was probably the first movie I saw that properly introduced me to… MoreThis was probably the first movie I saw that properly introduced me to Billy Crystal. Sure I had seen his other early movies and heard about that scene in 'When Harry Met Sally' (never actually saw the movie though), but none of those really stood out to me (a much younger me). Back in the day it was this comedy, rented from the trusty videoshop, that grabbed me and made me think this guy was funny. The other lure at the time was Daniel Stern who was fresh off huge success with 'Home Alone'.
The plot follows a trio of middle aged men who are all suffering some sort of midlife crisis, or just a crisis. Eventually when they can no longer stand their lives anymore, they all decide to head off for a cattle driving ranch in New Mexico for a real cowboy getaway/vacation. At the ranch they meet up with various other regular folk who are also on the cattle drive experience for their own personal reasons, mainly to overcome negative ones. And so we have our male bonding tale of how three men discover themselves whilst in the wilderness and under the pressure of a very real situation. Could this be one of the ultimate feel good movies?
The entire premise of this movie apart from the cowboy bits, is basically the male midlife crisis. Much of, if not all, of the dialog surrounds the three main characters chatting to each other, reminiscing and opening up to each other about various moments and aspects of their lives. Each character has a shit-tonne of baggage which gets slowly released over the runtime with various results, but mostly humourous and heart-warming. Its all about being a good person deep down, kinda vomit inducing I know but it actually works nicely, as an adult you can relate to these characters much more even though it still works well for kids.
The cattle drive aspect of the story is the rather predictably obvious way in which these guys, and their new friends, come together to overcome danger and personal conflict by working together. This is the main crux of the movie and deals out everything you would kinda expect from this type of flick. We naturally get the training section of the movie before hand where we see the characters getting into shape and learning the ropes, all of which naturally foreshadows later events. Those later events of course involve typical cowboy things such as keeping the herd together, roping a cow, basic riding, helping a pregnant cow and dealing with two butch cowboys that represent adult bullies. To a degree the whole adventure is kinda taking these guys back to their youths with the things they have to deal with. The dangers they face, the problems, decisions and the cowboy bullies, I think its suppose to mirror growing up, especially when you look at the other characters alongside them.
The movie is essentially an ensemble cast despite focusing on the main three leads. A typical bunch of city folk nerds and geeks that all have reasons for doing the drive which fall into place with the main three protagonists. You have a black father and son who obviously feel a bit out of place, two overweight Jewish ice cream makers, and Helen Slater as the sweetheart of the group. In all honesty none of these characters add too much to the proceedings, they are merely there to add to the awkwardness of the situation. Establishing how useless city folk are out in the sticks, until they learn and become real cowboys n girls (classic story arc kinda stuff).
On the flip side of the coin you have the brilliant performance of Jack Palance as the leatherfaced, overly butch, Clint Eastwood-esque cowboy Curly. This guy is everything every man aspires to be (in the movie), he's tough, doesn't take any shit from anyone including the other cowboys, a ladies man and he looks cool. While the other characters are stereotypical city folk, this guy is the stereotypical cowboy, both elements playing off each other perfectly for some good laughs. The films relies on many stereotypes truth be told, but they are very user-friendly.
Overall its a film of two halves really. On one hand you do have some really moving moments that will actually put a lump in your throat. Some of dialog between the characters at times can be emotional and deep, the relationship between Billy Crystal's character Mitch and the baby calf is another strong aspect with inevitable sequences of danger for the little thing. Daniel Stern's character Phil cracking is funny and heartbreaking at the same time, there is death to dealt with and of course the triumphant finale which can't fail to put a weepy smile on your face. On the other hand you have a lot of (now) cliched silly humour that is both childish and mature but most importantly, works. Most of this comes from banter between Mitch and Curly as they try to get along (Curly shits bigger than Mitch), Phil as the emotional loose cannon, Bruno Kirby's toughish womaniser of sorts and predictable visual gags.
Its one of those movies that looking at it, reading about it, you'd brush it aside as just another cheap, lame, cookie-cutter comedy with no real love or attention to detail. But its completely the opposite, all the characters are well developed with solid story arcs, some comedy is brilliantly witty and dry thanks mainly to Crystal and Palance but there is also plenty of more regular laughs, the locations are stunning, great performances all round, and even the musical score is superb! My only negative point is a personal one, that being, I didn't like some of the casting choices. I think the film could have been even greater with slightly better casting, but that's just me. End of the day, the simple joke of seeing some city slicker suits trying to survive in the wild west turns out to be a classic comedy, it truly is one of the best feel good movies out there.
Well here it is, the most expensive and outlandish fan made movie… MoreWell here it is, the most expensive and outlandish fan made movie ever. Clearly some over excited rich fanboys got together and decided to make the ultimate Terminator movie, by throwing every aspect (and every character), of all the previous movies together in some kind of retro/futuristic smackdown, and call it a sequel. Pretty much the equivalent of a horror flick mish-mash between various icons, or a videogame beat 'em up sequel like [i]Mortal Kombat[/i]. I'm guessing this way the oh so clever people behind this movie would think everyone is covered if they retread all the original movies, what could go wrong?
I'm not gonna even try and explain the plot, I think you all know why, so lets do this thing! Right from the outset things immediately take a bad turn. We're in a sewer where a young Kyle Reese has been tracked by a lone Terminator, its looks bleak (not really). Then low and behold (first deus ex-machina of a gazillion more to come), John Connor comes crashing down through the concrete ceiling on a grappling hook whilst blasting the machine to kingdom come. Right there! right there are the first signs of what's to come, how the hell did Connor know Reese was down there, at that exact spot, and the timing of the save...ugh! oh geez!
As things move along we see John and Kyle getting friendly, or a little too friendly if you ask me. The scene where they talk to each other before the final assault on Skynet has so much weird homosexual tension in it I felt quite uncomfortable. Yeah I know they are father and son but at that point Reese doesn't know, slow down there cowboy! This scene also showcases how bad the acting is in this movie and how bad the casting choices were.
So then we hit the final assault on Skynet, a brief moment of what could of been...a good movie. Forgive me if my review reads like many other peoples but yes, this sequence is the best bit of the entire movie. Just the mere glimpse of Terminator exoskeletons walking around, armed with big-ass guns, is enough to make any fanboy wet their pants in glee, justifiably. This brief battle is everything any Terminator fan could want, it looked terrific and was fully engaging, every last second of it. It also handled the original story gaps admirably showing us how the original Terminator went back in time, how Kyle went back, why he hits the ground so hard in the original movie etc...(wouldn't it be really awkward and weird having to be completely naked in front of all your soldier friends and companions? I mean yeah sure, its for the future of mankind but damn, embarrassingly awkward none the less). The small glimpses of the original T-800 Arnie model also looked great, less is more and it worked.
After that things start to slowly deteriorate just like Arnie's face. The recreation of the 80's was...errmm, interesting. Visually it looked really close to the original movie yes, they got all the correct vehicles, camera angles and the odd street section did look grotty and grimy in that typical early 80's fashion. The problem was the laughable recreation of characters from the original movie and the actors delivery of the old lines (I was kinda thinking, why not just use old footage from the original?) I kid you not, I could of done a better job delivering those lines! those actors got the tone all wrong for every line! and what the hell was going on with the street punks?! The guy playing Bill Paxton's old character looked like he had a plastic face, massive amount of obvious makeup, whilst the other two delivered lines like kids in a school play, Jesus! Oh and they didn't look the same as in the original movie, and didn't say the same things, what happened to the 'fuck you asshole'? You're gonna spend all that money and skimp on simple little details which us fanboys (the core audience) will pick up in an instant? Oh right, you want a PG-13 for maximum profits, forgot for a moment.
Its then things started to become really daft. Sarah Conner and her Terminator (Pops) have been waiting for the original T-800 to show up in 1984, since she was 9 years old. So how the hell was she not in the right place at the right time to kill that T-800 straight away?? The thing almost kills Pops before she gets her ass into gear, I thought she was trained up! Also, why didn't Pops just use that big Terminator gun to kill the T-800 straight away, why the useless shotgun? But wait there's more, much more, as we delve much deeper into this movie that rips this franchise apart before our very eyes.
When Pops kills the T-1000 in acid how come his own arm didn't melt away too? Was it really that easy to kill a T-1000? just using acid?? if only Sarah Connor and co had known that in the second movie huh. Why did they need to recreate the whole night sequence inside that mall where Kyle finds his sneakers, what was the purpose of that? Is it just so he looks like the 1984 version? just to appeal to the original fans? It was pointless, served no purpose other than to have Kyle look the same as in the 84 version for a brief period. When Sarah and Kyle prepare to time-jump into 2017, Sarah says they can't leave any trace of any future tech behind...but, but...what about the flippin' time machine they built? How did that school bus flip through the air like that? baddie John Connor seemed to only grab the exhaust? Did Kyle actually get hit by a speeding car without resulting in any sort of injury?? Did Pops actually kill an innocent gas tanker driver during that helicopter chase sequence? Did I actually see helicopters make aerial maneuvers as if they were stunt cars?? Where did John Connor get his helicopter? he just appears in one chasing the others. I can't believe I'm writing about helicopter chases in a Terminator movie.
Then when we get to Cyberdyne headquarters where they are building some huge time machine thing which, apparently, no one questions. And why does it have a little moat of T-1000 liquid metal around it? what exactly is that for? Its here we discover the T-1000 liquid metal is harmless without a main brain chip in it, just like any Terminator. So...does that mean all T-1000's have always had small chips floating in them? if so how do they melt into things without the chip being left behind? We also see Miles Dyson again, accept he now looks nothing like the original Miles Dyson, so why do most other old characters look similar accept this one. Can someone also tell me the point of J.K. Simmons role, it literately goes nowhere, did they just want an Oscar winner in the mix?
Ugh! my God there is too much to fit in here, there is so much crapola its quite unreal. Just watching the big finale towards the end, Terminator John Connor could of easily killed Pops at any time surely, he had the strength to rip him apart or just pound him to bits. Has anyone noticed that in these movies there is a lot of throwing going on instead of killing, how many times have we seen an enemy throw someone around like a rag doll when they could and should just kill them. At the same time, Skynet moves the countdown from around 13 hours to 15 minutes, why not 1 minute? or 30 seconds? why give the goodies enough time to win? Because we wouldn't have a movie, yep tis true, instead we have a completely unrealistic one.
Oh and why in the year 2017 is the modern world so in awe of a simple app that will connect everything such as your tablet, phone, TV etc...We can do that right now in the present people (a mere two years to go). That is what you call a very weak satire about the over reliance and saturation of technology (Apple).
I'm afraid all the negative reviews and hearsay you've all read and heard about is true, the movie is an utter mess. They have literately thrown everything but the kitchen sink on screen in an attempt to please everyone (I think?), maximise their merchandise profits and try to plan an entire franchise/universe/trilogy before getting one foot in the door so to speak. As I already said, it really does feel like something a 15 year old teenager would come up with, throwing all the characters into one pot for some kind of epic battle royale. Completely bogged down in a muddled convoluted plot, the acting is dreadful from all involved, the casting is all wrong, much of the CGI looks obvious, obvious greenscreen, unfunny attempts at humour and worst of all...its boring and completely unmemorable.
'I'm old, not obsolete'. Yeah we get it Arnold, you've used that gimmicky gag in virtually every damn movie since coming out of politics. The thing is, you are obsolete now, sorry to have to tell you.
But the final insult, the real salt in the wound, is the fact they went back and methodically dismantled the two classic original movies, basically rendering them obsolete. Yeah I know they still exist and no ones childhood has been raped blah blah blah, but its the intention. The horrific act of actually going back and fiddling with them, trying to recreate and reinvent them and then trying to pass it off as something good, something we might like. Its basically tantamount to sacrilege and one could almost say, they [b]have indeed[/b] gone back and raped our childhood. Don't even get me started on that stupid bloody title.
Its been 14 years since 'Jurassic Park III' (which I can't remember a… MoreIts been 14 years since 'Jurassic Park III' (which I can't remember a sodding thing about). 2015 seems to be the year in which Hollywood digs up its old franchises, and yet surprisingly it hasn't ended in complete disaster. Again that's pretty unbelievable considering they started production for another 'Jurassic Park' flick back in 2004 and was in development hell pretty much up to the present day.
So what are we up against here then mateys, the first classic movie pitted a small team of people against an island full of dinosaurs that were on the loose!..oh this film is exactly the same? errmm...oh. Well OK its not exactly the same, this time the park is open and fully operational with lots of dino attractions for all ages. The difference being, instead of a T-Rex getting loose and becoming the main antagonist, its a fictional genetically modified dinosaur with extra spikes and teeth that can transform int...oops, getting carried away there. But seriously it is that stupid, they create a dinosaur that has virtually every flippin' assault skill you can think of, the bloody thing can virtually cloak itself, pfft!
Yeah so we follow two sets of people around, firstly the inevitable kiddie characters with curiously retro looking haircuts (well one of them at least). Have you ever noticed these modern movies try to copy the hairdos from similar themed movies of the late 70's and 80's? The other pairing are the two adults consisting of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, let the cliched stereotypical onslaught commence!
Right so lets talk about this park, there are all sorts of dino attractions such as a SeaWorld type show featuring a shit-your-pants sized aquatic killing machine sea monster, canoe rides down a pleasant jungle river with harmless herbivores, and a little paddy area for the very young to play with baby dinosaurs. Right so its clearly a spin on various famous theme parks/wildlife preserves such as Disney and say...Gatorland (and obviously SeaWorld), in movie terms its 'Jaws 3', moving on.
All the characters in this movie are horrible predictable stereotypical cliches, and exactly the same as the first movie. Pratt's character is basically Indiana Jones, Howard's character is the typical soulless corporate bitch who you think might get eaten for being a soulless corporate bitch, but does in fact turn into a watered down Ellen Ripley. The kids are just the same as any other kid characters, the military types are just the same as any other military types wanting to use something for errr....military purposes, the science guys are all whitecoats and kinda dubious and the park controllers in the control room are the comedic relief.
Now apart from the plot being exactly the same as before, not only that, but they completely rip-off other movies too. There are not one, but two main sequences that, in my view, copy such movies as 'Aliens' and 'Predator 2'. Firstly the containment team getting wiped out by the I-Rex (I.Rex, iphone...lame play modern technology), and then the whole thing with the raptors wearing headcam gear, cute but again comes off like said movies. I also find it hard to believe that the original site (buildings) from the original movie would still be fully loaded with equipment and vehicles, plus left unlocked! And how exactly did that gyrosphere thing work? its suppose to be a ride right, yet the people inside have full control and can go anywhere they want?! I thought it was on a track or something at first, surely allowing unlimited control screams disaster.
Now don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie to a degree, there are some nice moments of excitement and its not entirely blood free either (which was nice). The location work is lush and stunning, makes me wanna go to Hawaii, the acting is solid and engaging and I liked the gigantic sea monster thing. The problem is there is nothing new here, at all! Its just a rerun of the first movie with the same characters. I mean come on, who didn't guess that the giant sea monster was obvious foreshadowing for the finale, or that the T-Rex would inevitably come into it because everybody has a hard-on for T-Rex's apparently. If the I.Rex is such an intelligent creature why would it go around killing everything for fun? I mean yeah...for fun, sure, its a sadist, I get it. But surely most creatures, especially intelligent, wouldn't act like that unless it was pushed or forced to. To top that the CGI on show is pretty average really, the I.Rex just looks like a pale T-Rex with horns and somehow CGI on the whole isn't as good as the original movie, although dino eyes look good that's for sure.
I get the analogy here, how modern society just wants bigger, better, badder, faster etc...We are all greedy, never content, never happy, taking things for granted and of course, the corporate excess machine. The fact that regular dinosaurs have become boring to people, they want bigger, more dangerous ones, more blood and gore...are we not entertained??!! You know, how could anyone not be in awe over a simple dinosaur? The whole thing speaks volumes about us as a society and the movie industry (naturally), yet here we all are lapping this shit up, this movie did amazingly well, how? why? The movie pokes fun at itself for these reasons and simultaneously falls in the same trap yet again.
First impressions for this movie are somewhat mixed to be honest, I… MoreFirst impressions for this movie are somewhat mixed to be honest, I mean seriously, what the hell is going on with that opening credits song? Great balls of ectoplasm...its like a flippin' jingle! you start to wonder if you're about to watch some kind of Disney flick about a friendly blob of jelly. The studio group that sung the tune was also called 'The Five Blobs', I'm not lying!
The plot is simple enough, the basic premise kinda being used over and over during this era. A single lonely meteor crash lands in a sleepy rural all-American town. A local man goes in for a closer inspection and ends up with his hand encased by some sentient pink goo. Eventually he is picked up by the young Steve (played by...errr Steve McQueen) and taken to the local doc. It is there that the pink goo starts to absorb people one by one, growing in mass and power. Of course no one believes Steve and his wild tales of a monster on the loose, but soon enough, after some persuasion, the townsfolk are greeted by the horrific truth.
Fun fact, the blob actually starts off grey in colour and only turns red when it starts to absorb humans, yummy! Although the blob is not in the least bit scary, it is a well crafted creature considering it is just a blob of red goo. The blob was actually a small ball of silicone that had been injected with a dye to give it its red colour. Apparently effects wizard Bart Sloane used incredibly simply techniques such as miniature sets to give the creature a sense of size, and a special gimble device to help give the creature the appearance of movement within the tiny set models. So basically at times they were just making a small, slow moving puddle, or ball, of silicone run/dribble/ooze to one side to achieve a sense of movement, almost like a thick droplet of syrup. Hanging the silicone upside down would give the effect of it rising up ready to consume its prey (remember the silicone was a very thick, slow moving, molten glass-like substance).
You can easily tell that for most of the blobs more dynamic movements, the silicone has been squeezed, pushed or blown through tight openings such as gaps under doors or vents. Then when the blob is required to retreat or change direction, the footage has been reversed giving the appearance that the goo is slipping backwards under a door or whatever. Simple yet very effective. Other more elaborate shots such as the blob attacking a diner were actually part cel animation along with rotoscoping, and the use of a black and white photo! It is impressive but an obvious effect, think of the Id monster in 'Forbidden Planet'. Amazingly there was no rear projection in the film (apparently), any shots of an actor with the blob were usually utilising clever props or just real blobs of silicone.
What is highly amusing (for me at least) is the fact that Steve McQueen is suppose to be a teenager in this movie. At the time McQueen was 27, yet he looked about 37 if you ask me. It really is quite funny to see McQueen acting like some naughty 18 year old kid sneaking out of his parents house, talking to other adults as if he were a child, and getting scolded by adults as if he were a child. The whole thing just doesn't work at all, it doesn't help that his sweetheart and other teen friends all look like they're in their mid 30's also. Plus at the start we spend ages getting involved in some pointless wishy-washy street racing sequence, seriously it goes on for like...ten minutes, and is completely pathetic. I suppose its to show McQueen's character as a bit of a bad boy that no one trusts, but its so lame. Love how all the teens are so smartly dressed too, its like watching your parents trying to be hip, meh...different era.
This naturally leads into the crux of the movie which is the teens trying their best to convince everyone (the adults) that a monster is killing people. Of course no one believes the pesky teens because they're all so untrustworthy and pesky, racing their highly colourful respectable cars at slightly dangerous speeds and being all polite n everything, damn pesky polite teens. Alas most of the runtime is taken up with us watching these teens trying to convince people, you don't really get much absorbing action from the blob, and when you do there isn't much to see.
Of course it turns out those pesky teens weren't lying (to the annoyance of one bitter cop), and its up to everyone in the town to try and stop the thing before it gets any bigger. Honesty, the finale is reasonable tense as a small group of heroes get trapped within the diner with the blob slowly devouring it. Its a fun ending with some neat but cheesy effects, but you're never overly concerned of course because the trapped characters are McQueen, his bird and some kid, no way anyone's gonna get absorbed here. Would a bunch of fire extinguishers be able to freeze an alien entity? would fire extinguishers be able to freeze anything? errr...just go with it.
Like most other horror flicks of this era, they don't scare anymore, they are laughably corny. The hammy acting, the middle aged teen characters, the fact the badass teens are so charming and polite, the fact you always get a mushy score playing over serious dialog revolving around anything serious (or anything) etc...The film looks lovely that's for sure, the effects are cool and the alien monster is great fun, I just wish we got a bit more of it. A primal killing machine, it can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or...wait a minute.
This year is really a good year for spooky Addams Family style… MoreThis year is really a good year for spooky Addams Family style halloween goth freaks like myself. So far we've had 'ParaNorman' 'Frankenweenie' and now this Adam Sandler animated vehicle. Yes that's right...Adam 'I'm not funny anymore' Sandler.
About 10 minutes into this film you can tell its clearly been made for kids. Nothing wrong with that of course but this isn't Toy Story-smart with little winks for the older folk, its way more tuned for the younglings. This is very evident with silly jokes, huge prat falls and a very loud in your face approach much like many kiddie cartoons, dare I say childish to the max.
Yes childish but did I expect more? well maybe yes, an Adam Sandler fronted film? I did think it might be a little more risky in places, or even a tad scary judging by the concept. The best thing about the film in many sequences is the dialog from the brilliant voice cast line up. This is what the adults will enjoy, especially with the dry wit of Spade and Buscemi who give Werewolf and The Invisible Man some cracking moments of verbal humour. Naturally Kevin James is in here too, can't have an Adam Sandler film without his tubby sidekick it seems. There was a time when it was Rob Schneider, not anymore.
The animation was split right down the middle for me to be honest, at times some sequences looked fantastic, where as others looked rather uninspired. The flashback sequences for Dracula were especially lovely with stunning colours, and the best animated motion capture was again easily Dracula. Some gorgeous looking work as we see Drac glide across the hallways, flap and twirl is cape, slink amongst the shadows and sail through the air...its all in the cape work.
Other characters are well designed too, I like the blue collar look of Werewolf, the obvious simplicity of The Invisible Man, the gigantic foot of I presume a Yeti and Mummy, who looked a lot like Oogie Boogie from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.
There are an impressive range of monsters shown throughout the film from standard skeletons to a Pumpkin King-esque character. The main characters are the best looking naturally, where as the rest don't seem quite as well crafted.
I must just add, is it wrong that I found the young female character of Mavis (Drac's daughter) kinda hot? I mean look at it from my point of view, I'm into the whole goth look and vibe. So for me the sight of an attractive slim pale female with black lips, dark eye shadow, black fingernails and raven black hair, wearing a surprisingly sexy tight black number complete with arm stockings was really quite sexy. It was like watching a young animated Winona Ryder...rawr!!
But I digress, the film is a simple love tale between Mavis and a random human lad who turns up at the hotel, nothing more. Its very sweet, very charming and will thrill the kids. I did enjoy it mainly for the monster mash aspect and of course the kooky vampire/haunted mansion side of it (if you haven't already guessed).
The animation in general was a slight let down for me (some characters aside) as I did expect something a bit more original, quirky or diverse from director Geddy Tartakovsky. It all looks good but too generic for me, nothing trailblazing like his Star Wars work. Also I was hoping for something a little more adult orientated in places with the monsters but alas. Jokes are a bit forced, hated the pop songs included and the horrendous ending almost ruins the entire film Jesus! but it still just about made me smile.
Not as unique, amusing or moving as 'ParaNorman', so far that is the front runner for fun halloween flicks. Watch out for Geddy's unique and much better hand drawn animation in the end credits, maybe they should have done the whole film this way?
Yes you read it correctly, we are really plumbing the B-movie depths… MoreYes you read it correctly, we are really plumbing the B-movie depths here with this little beauty. Attack of the crab monsters huh, just when you thought they had used every known bug and fishy-type thing possible, they throw this at you, what's next...lobsters, ahem! Yes its yet another 1957 flick, the year of the giant creature feature, and yet again the movies poster is completely bullshit, at no point does a female get grabbed by a giant crab like that. You notice every one of these giant creature B-movies has an almost identical poster layout.
Believe it or not this movie is actually a Roger Corman offering. Maybe not so surprising seeing as this Hollywood legend has seemingly been around forever, making movies in all genres and having worked with everyone. In all honesty I was a bit surprised as I didn't realise Corman went back this far into the 50's giant bug phenomenon.
Plot wise its a bit different than the usual fair, not as straight forward as you might expect. OK...first off the basic premise is what you would expect, a team of scientists are sent to a remote Pacific island to look for the last team that went missing. At the same time they are also following on with the research into the effect of radiation in the area after nuclear bomb testing (of course). Naturally some giant mutated crabs ate the last team (shocking), and are a result of the bomb testing (you don't say). The interesting and bizarre twist comes in the fact that these crabs absorb the minds of their victims and are able to telepathically communicate with other living humans. When this happens the telepathic messages from the crabs are in the voices of the dead victims that have been eaten. So not only is this a giant creature feature, its also a weird kind of spiritual ghost story of sorts, well that's the way it comes across at times.
Now its clear to see this movie was made on a small budget, the fact its a Corman movie means you can bet your bottom Dollar it was probably made for a pittance. What gives this notion away? well for a start there is nothing to look at, no fancy sets, no lovely locations, no swish props or costumes etc...nothing. It was clearly shot on the coast in America somewhere and inside a small hut for the most part, probably a basic set was used.
The giant crabs in question also look pretty terrible it must be said. Yes they do have some decent scale to them, they are large mechanical puppets that do look like crabs and the actors are able to interact with them. The problem being they obviously don't move too well, they tend to just sit in one place and move the odd limb around in jerky motions. The other problem being they have two large humanoid eyes, why would you do this?? it looks ridiculous. This has happened in other giant bug movies before, giving the creature humanoid eyes which in turn gives the creature a face, emotions, something you don't wanna see on a large killing machine. What's more these eyes look dreadful! big pupils, big eyelids and they almost look like they have eyelashes, they make the creature look like a giant child's toy. Seriously what were they thinking?!
Speaking of eyes, the lead female character (played by Pamela Duncan) sports some incredibly obvious and large fake eyebrows. Seriously these things look like they've been painted on with a thick brush and look totally out of proportion, its quite absurd really. As for the cast and their acting skills, well, there's not much to say really. We've seen this type of acting in all these big bug B-movies, its a very formulaic type of performance which doesn't really tend to change much. The characters are all the same too, the handsome lead, the older scientist, the attractive female and a few other blokes that are essentially monster fodder. The only difference here is the inclusion of a French character, it doesn't add anything really, other than a different accent to listen to.
In general, I didn't like this movie, the plot is just weird with all the telepathic nonsense going on. Other plot explanations just don't make any sense either, like how on earth these crabs manage to create earthquakes on the island, and why, but mainly how. Apparently the crabs want to reach the mainland so they can eat more humans and absorb their minds, no clue why they would wanna do this, or how this benefits them, but there you go. It feels more like an alien invasion sci-fi flick with all this talk of absorbing human minds, mind you (no pun intended), the film is atmospheric at times I'll give it that. There were moments when it did feel a bit creepy, especially with the haunting telepathic messages and the clicking noise the crabs make. There was also the odd bit of gore too, a decapitation and the loss of a hand, don't get too over excited though.
Right now, does anyone (anyone British) remember those old British TV… MoreRight now, does anyone (anyone British) remember those old British TV ads for Chewits? The old 80's ones with the cheesy stop-motion Godzilla-esque dinosaur that goes around London (and the world) eating famous landmarks. If I recall the ads were even set in the WWII era, I think, anyway, I do firmly believe those ads were inspired by, and homaged, this classic transatlantic monster movie. This film itself was an obvious rip-off of the classic Ray Harryhausen monster flick 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms', which I think is clear to see, riding those coattails.
The plot was originally suppose to be about a strange radioactive blob that attacked the UK (yet another rip-off of another famous monster movie), but they changed it to jump on the giant lizard bandwagon. So as you now know this movie is about a giant Godzilla-esque dinosaur/lizard coming ashore and running amok through London. Once again its the old nuclear testing outcome that has caused this huge freak show but I'm not overly sure how or where this behemoth is suppose to have come from. Is it a mutation due to the radiation? if so what kind of marine creature was it originally? A lost species affected by the radiation that comes ashore to die? was it trapped somewhere and was released by the testing? We never really find out fully, but I think it leans more towards a mutated marine mammal, God knows what marine mammal. Anyway this massive monster surfaces in London and begins to terrify the locals by stomping on various buildings and vehicles.
In another idea rip-off slightly reminiscent of the Japanese kaiju movie, this behemoth is also able to emit electrical pulses from its body...which is saturated in radiation. These pulses cause heavy burns to humans which lead to death, yet at the same time this heavy radiation is also killing the dinosaur very slowly. Not entirely a Godzilla clone but certainly along similar lines methinks, overall this movie definitely has taken a few liberties with various ideas from other flicks. On the other hand did this movie influence the 1998 'Godzilla' movie? In that movie an old Japanese man blurts out 'Godzilla!' when seeing the beast near the start. Well in this 1959 movie the exact same thing happens with the first victim, his last words being 'Behemoth!' before dying, interesting.
Effects wise this movie clearly had a small budget, its not terrible, but its pretty shaky. The behemoth waddles around London awkwardly interacting with the small models as it squashes cars and knocks over tall structures. The models unfortunately look like models and the cars look like they are made out of soft clay or whatever, although the black and white film does help protect most of the obvious flaws. The actual behemoth creature doesn't look too bad but considering this film was made in 59, its quite poor compared to earlier giant bug/creature movies. The fixed facial expression with unblinking eyes is never a good thing. The worst thing has to be the rear projection monster footage against the live action actors in the foreground, this looks really bad and decidedly dodgy in all honesty. Other effects such as the electrical pulses are simply a white glaring light and burn makeup on the actors is pretty hokey.
Other live action sequences of masses of cockney folk all running for their lives through the grimy streets of London, are also terribly hokey and crappy looking. Obviously these are all extras, probably not getting paid much, probably not being directed too well and obviously have little to no experience in acting. This leads to some hilariously bad sequences of regular people pretending to be scared of nothing and running away from nothing (the monster would be added later as a rear projection effect). Although, again, it is interesting to see the old footage of London back in the late 50's.
Oddly enough, the effects and film on the whole does get a lot better, and more engaging, when the goodies try to stop the behemoth in their sub. They want to overload the monsters radiation levels by shooting it with a radium filled torpedo. Surprisingly the simple notion of just blowing the creature up is actually discussed and rejected in the movie because of the fact it would release radiation all over the capital. I like this because you'd half expect a movie like this to do just that without thinking of the consequences, but cleverly they do think about consequences and don't go all gung-ho. This leads to a relatively solid submarine sequence which looks good and is reasonably tense, quite the opposite to everything else in the movie.
Everything ends as you would expect of course, the behemoth destroyed, London in ruins with various people being eaten, crushed or burnt alive, and the main goodie characters being just fine and dandy. The military were used but end up being pretty useless as they always seem to be, and incredibly this movie didn't actually have any attractive main male or female characters! Nope instead its all ugly, balding middle aged men and old, grey haired blokes, at least a small degree of originality then. Final kudos must go to the quirky final scene which offers a cute little twist and further possible monster tracking adventures.
Yep back in the 50's (or more specifically 1957 it seems) they made… MoreYep back in the 50's (or more specifically 1957 it seems) they made horror chillers using every kind of bug they could think of, not even the simple mollusk was able to avoid this fate. Yes a sea snail or sea slug I suppose, only these were of course giant prehistoric versions released by yet another pesky earthquake. To note, the films title is again ridiculous as the monster in question isn't actually a monster, its a mollusk as pointed out in the film, and it didn't challenge the world. The films alternative titles were also kinda dumb, 'The Kraken' which is surely an entirely different mythological beast and 'The Jagged Edge'? eh?
So anyway, do I detect a slight pattern in plots here? no no no no no...well yes, apparently so. As I already mentioned the sea beasties are released from their watery tombs by another earthquake, the beginning of all monster movies back then. Various military types are killed which triggers a big investigation...by the military...again. Yep the good old US of A just loved their military back then, every monster that emerged from a crack caused by an earthquake, was dealt with by the military...after it attacks the military. Suffice to say this leads to the usual crack team of smartly dressed, slick haired chaps, a scientist type (this time a youngish one) and the obligatory attractive woman (this time with a young female child). Guess what follows?
I gotta be honest with this one, I found it pretty dull. For the most part this movie is purely dialog with little else happening. The cast go from room to room discussing stuff, from location to location looking at stuff, explaining scenarios to each other, lots of driving around and of course the other obligatory scene where everyone watches an old educational news film reel about their enemy and how it lives. In this case, the life of a snail and how it feeds.
On the other hand this is also one of the most atmospheric of the giant bug movies I've seen, along with 'The Black Scorpion'. This movie genuinely had some really solid creepy sequences, when they actually turned up, mainly underwater and the finale. The underwater sequences actually reminded me of Spielberg's 'Jaws' with very similar shots and ideas in general. The way we follow the divers around almost as if it was from the creatures perspective, the fact we actually see dead bodies with minor jump scares, and the way a female gets dragged under the waves. I can well see this movie really terrifying people back in the day for sure, especially when they uncover shrivelled up, skinless bodies exposing muscle and bulging eyes. Another really well directed scene is the finale where we the towering mollusk in a laboratory attacking the female lead. This sequence kinda reminded me of Cronenberg's 'The Fly' at the end, the creatures posture, the eyes, the claws the camera angles etc...
All this leads me to the creature itself, a simple yet large mechanical puppet. Now although this thing just looked like a giant slug, it did look very intimidating with its height and huge pincers. The two big round glaring eyes are also very unnerving and eerie, they gave off no emotion, just a cold blank stare, a pure carnivorous predator with one function. The slimy skin texture really boosted the creatures realistic appearance, you can't really see clearly but the black and white film does admittedly help cover any obvious rubber and seams. Overall its a terrific creature and very lifelike, accept for the exaggerated face I suppose, it didn't move much of course but the large puppet interacted very well with the actors.
Its just a shame that we don't really see too much of the giant mollusk, though what we do get is pretty epic and classic I reckon, definitely one of the top Hollywood creatures. You could say that they were hiding the beast as much as possible, building up the tension for the finale, but that theory doesn't really add up. On top of that the rest of the movie is pretty uninteresting frankly, things only become fun and engaging when the creature pops up. All the discussions between characters is a really limp affair and you couldn't really care a less.
I happened to come across this lovely gem of a movie whilst looking up… MoreI happened to come across this lovely gem of a movie whilst looking up information for a review about another 50's B-movie. Honesty, I had never heard of this movie before and up to this point, I thought I had covered all the unknown island/continent/world fantasy movies. Interestingly enough this film was inspired by a real time event in 1947 when warm water was discovered in Antarctica, but no dinosaurs.
The plot involves an expedition to simply map the vast area of Antarctica and check out this unusual body of warm water found in 1947. As per usual we have the predictable set of short, back n sides, military types running the show, and just for eye candy purposes we have the attractive lady too. Whilst on a scouting mission in their helicopter a small team of explorers (three blokes and the lady) hit a bad storm and are forced to land. As you may have guessed they land in an unknown deep warm volcanic crater many miles below sea-level. This crater just so happens to be the home for an entire prehistoric jungle complete with dinosaurs, man-eating plants and various extinct flora and fauna. All that's missing here is Doug McClure.
Again to be honest I was expecting a bit of a crap fest here, the films poster looked hokey as hell, as said I'd never heard of the film and pictures I had seen online looked pretty terrible. Much to my surprise, when the team vacate their chopper and start to explore their new ancient surroundings, I was really pleasantly amazed at how decent the sets and props were and how large it all appeared to be. Yes everything looked like a set, that was to be expected, but there was a lot of solid depth and detail here. Add to that the lovely large matte paintings for the background landscapes and you have a really atmospheric little picture going on. The use of a smoke machine to create swirling mist and fog really helped to add a good level of depth and perspective whilst also hiding obvious plastic plant life and rocks.
The real fun came along with the dinosaurs of course, were they realistic? well no, lets not get carried away here. The first special effect was the old concept of using real monitor lizards on a small model landscape complete with matte painting backgrounds. That footage would then be added to live action footage of the actors as a rear projection effect. This idea was further used in a few similar themed movies, although I'm unsure if this movie started that trend. Overall it does work to a degree, the lizards look good, but the hopelessly obvious rear projection effect against the actors footage never really works. The lizards don't really pull off the size trick either, you can see they aren't huge because we know they aren't.
The other main effect is that of the T-Rex, in this case a man in a rubber suit just like 'Godzilla'. Now although this sounds ridiculously hokey (and it was), it did look really good. Suspension of disbelief is the key here folks, yes we all know its a man in a rubber suit, yes the suit looks rubbery, yes the dinosaur clearly walks like a man...but hey, it still looks cool and its a fun fantasy people. Another dinosaur effect was the large Nessie-like Elasmosaurus in the lake. Now this was a mechanical puppet that clearly only had so many moves at its dispersal, head up, head left, head right, head down and submerge. What makes things worse is the fact its mouth and eyes never move, its one of those creature puppets that, due to technical limitations, always had a static expression which reduces the thrill factor really.
So yes it must be said that despite what you might think, the effects in this rather unknown film (no pun intended) are in fact pretty sweet and highly atmospheric. Everything looked suitably murky, moody, mysterious and eerie, the sound effects added to that and at times the film could be a tad scary even, slightly more gritty than other similar movies of the era. Hell at one point we see a cute little Tarsier get scooped up and devoured by a flesh-eating plant...not literately of course. The only thing I didn't really get was why the lone survivor Hunter (a convenient crash survivor from a previous expedition), didn't want to leave the crater with the others. OK he's been stranded there a long time and gone a bit loopy, but surely you'd want to leave, right?
Don't expect anything new here, lets face it, if you've seen one lost world with dinosaurs flick, you've kinda seen them all and this is no exception. All the actors do their thing well, nothing particularly outstanding really, its all clockwork and passable stuff, again, we've seen this all before. That being said, this is still a highly enjoyable, atmospheric and visually exciting movie with some great monster moments like the T-Rex, any 'Godzilla' fan will love that. You know what to expect basically, you know to appreciate these films for what they are and nothing more, just sit back and enjoy the charming ride.