I’ve watched quite a few films recently. Some good, some bad and some amazing. So here’s some mini-reviews of the films:
Chronicle (2012) is about three teenage boys who while at a party go into a wood and discover an underground cavern. In the cavern they discover a crystal-like object that gives them telekinetic powers. They work out that their powers are like a muscle the more you use it the stronger the powers get. The teen boys go from building lego to moving bigger objects and eventually flying. The main character Andrew has the strongest power, but he’s a troubled teen with a mother dieing of cancer and a father that physically and emotionally abuses him.
Andrew starts to feel powerful and angry (never a good combination). He takes out his anger on an impatient motorist flashing his lights at their car by forcing the car into a river, beats up his abusive father and then kills one of his teen friends all with his telekinetic power. But the three of them are linked on some metaphysical level, when he kills one of his friends the other friend (his cousin Matt) instantly knows what’s happened. By the time Matt gets to Andrew he’s in a state that can only be described as pure rage, he’s crushing and hurling cars, destroying building and essentially threatening lives. Matt tries to help him but all Andrew wants to do is fight. In the end Matt realises that he can’t help Andrew and that if he doesn’t kill Andrew, Andrew will kill him. So that’s what Matt does.
I enjoyed the film, I particularly liked the effects in the film when the teenage boys used their powers. It felt more realistic that their powers gradually developed rather than instantly appeared. It also gave you the time to get to know Andrew and understand why he was so angry. I do think that the writer could have developed the other two characters further so they felt more real, rather than completely focusing on Andrew and his eventual misuse of power.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Dark Shadows (2012) has been directed by Tim Burton and is what you’d expect from a Tim Burton film. It’s about a Witch who wants Barnabas Collins (played by the remarkably pale Johnny Depp) all to herself. When his parents gets in the way she kills them, when he falls in love with another she kills his love and makes him a vampire so that he can live eternally. Her hope is that he will love her one day, and to give him a few decades to think it over she has him buried alive in a silver coffin complete with silver chains.
A few decades later a young woman travels to the Collins estate to become the Governess to Barnabas’ distant relatives. Around the same time construction workers dig up Barnabas and he returns to restore his family fortunes. But the Witch is still around and has took over the fishing port which was how the Collins family made and maintained their money. As Barnabas rebuilds his families fortunes, he has to adapt to the 1970’s world, woo the Governess and deal with the up coming conflict with the Witch. Eventually things come to a head and Barnabas and the family take on the Witch. They manage to stop ancient history repeating it’s self with Barnabas stopping the Governess (his love) from being compelled by the Witch to jump off a cliff. The Witch ends up cracking to pieces on the floor like a dropped vase.
I really wanted to enjoy this film, but the editing made it difficult. It felt like someone had presented me with a jigsaw were the wrong pieces had been forced together and where there were pieces missing. A good example is the relationship between Barnabas and the Governess, the film shows hardly any development of the relationship so it feels wrong for them to suddenly be in love with one another at the end.
The use of the set, costume, make up and shooting does lend it’s self to the vampire genre of film. But the comedy that starts early on in the film indicates that it’s only styled in the vampire genre, which is disappointing as the comedy isn’t all that funny. Overall it makes you feel very confused about what Tim Burton had set out to achieve and by the end of the film you can’t even feel that at least you got a good story out of it.
Despicable Me (2011)
Despicable Me (2011) is a animated comedy about an evil genius Gru who suddenly has competition when someone steals the Egyptian Pyramids. Gru decides he’s going to steal the moon by shrinking it using a shrink ray. But his competition, Victor, a younger ‘groovy’ evil genius steals the shrink ray from him and takes it to his super-security-protected mansion.
Gru watches Victor’s house and sees three orphans selling cookies door to door to make money for the orphanage. They get in to Victor’s house (as he has a weakness for cookies) and then Gru thinks of a plan. He adopts the three sisters to get into Victor’s house. The story is hilarious – particularly Gru’s minions (so cute, I want one!). But it’s also a touching as Gru adjusts to no longer just being an evil genius, but a father as well. It’s an excellent film for the whole family.
Oh and if you’ve seen it and loved it, here’s the trailer for Despicable Me 2, staring the minions:
How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
How To Train Your Dragon (2010) is an animated adventure staring Hiccup, the son of a mighty Viking Warrior who regularly battles the fire-breathing dragons that steal livestock and burn their homes. However unlike the other stocky Viking kids, Hiccup is slim and scrawny. Hiccup invents a cannon that he hits a Night Fury with (the Night Fury being the most deadly type dragon). The Night Fury flies off into the forest, looking injured.
Hiccup finds the Night Fury in the forest and begins to develops a relationship with it, naming it Toothless. About the same sort of time Hiccup and the other Viking kids start their dragon fighting training in an arena. Hiccup starts to learn all about Toothless and applies this learning to the dragons in the arena to tame them and get them to do what he wants. The other Viking kids are amazed at Hiccup’s ability and he soon becomes a hero among them.
Hiccup realises that Toothless can’t fly away from the forest because Hiccup damaged his tail wing with the cannon. Hiccup creates a new tail wing and learns to fly Toothless. Soon Hiccup reaches his final challenge in the arena to kill a dragon. Hiccup can’t do it and tries to tell the villagers about the true nature of the dragons. The villagers capture Toothless and use him to find Dragon Island. When the Vikings get there they discover a giant dragon and realise that the other dragons have been stealing livestock to feed to the giant dragon because they are scared of this beast. Hiccup riding Toothless and the Viking kids riding their own dragons take on the giant dragon and kill the beast. As a result the villagers change their relationships with the dragons and Hiccup and Toothless become heroes.
There was nothing to dislike with this film. The characters were good albeit superficial, the storyline moved on at a reasonable pace – allowing time for Hiccup and Toothless to develop their relationship, but my one gripe was the late introduction to the giant evil dragon. It’s a good family film but certainly not one of the classics that I’d watch over and over again.
Coming soon Part 2 & 3 of the Mini-reviews of films I’ve watched Recently.