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Greek Gods 101 April 7, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Articles, English, Movies, Reviews.
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It’s just three months into the year and we already have a couple of flicks based on Greek Gods. Are they the new successors to vampires and zombies? The box office performances of both have been encouraging but the films themselves haven’t found much appreciation to establish a genre.

The first one – Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief has (justifiably) been labeled as Harry Potter’s poor cousin. The HP films have set such high standards for fantasy flicks featuring teenagers that it is tough to watch any film in the genre without comparing it to the former. The Lightning Thief is definitely a well made film with the right mix of action, humor and VFX yet not great enough to warrant sequels (they are definitely being planned for sure). I’ve always found the Greek pantheon of deities extremely confusing. But they are a staple part of pop culture – especially in film and literature, so a film like this was to me a perfect initiation into that world.

Watching Clash of the Titans earlier this week, I felt quite at home with the characters but the film itself turned out be a bland CGI extravaganza. Even earlier, the promos didn’t excite me – I was just drawn in due to the hype surrounding it. The local posters were embellished with the funny sounding “From the Hero of Avatar” tag-line which nevertheless seemed to have been successful in drawing huge crowds. I watched the 2-D version but I don’t think I missed much….since the 3D post-conversion process has drawn huge flak from prominent folks recently.

Between the two films, I’d easily pick Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief over Clash of the Titans. In any case, if you’ve seen the trailer of COTT you’ve pretty much seen the entire movie.

Quantum of Solace November 10, 2008

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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The final frame of Casino Royale hinted that Bond would return to his more traditional ways after a much welcome “reboot”. I was a bit apprehensive about that happening for I never was a fan of James Bond….my kind of agent is more of a Bourne or Hunt. Quantum of Solace has Bond turn starker and darker and that’s reason number one why it appealed to me instantly. But the same reason seems to have further alienated old time fans who despite being forced to acknowledge the awesomeness of Daniel Craig have nevertheless expressed their displeasure towards this flick.

QOS is (almost) a sequel to Casino Royale for Bond is still unable to get over the betrayal and subsequent death of Vesper (Eva Green). His current mission is to nab Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) – who heads a big business called Greene Planet and is part of a shady organization named Quantum – currently involved in staging a military coup in Bolivia with the objective of taking over the country’s natural resources. Since everything to do with Vesper was linked to this organization, Bond’s motivations are different than what his boss M (Judi Dench) wants them to be. There is also Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who has her own axe to grind with the leader of the coup.

In the midst of all this Bond gets to do practically every kind of action sequence you’d expect to find in a film (and not to forget – he ain’t taking any prisoners). There are car chases, bike chases, boat chases, plane chases, foot chases and some cool hand-to-hand combat thrown in. The building-to-building foot chase was the pick of the lot – it seems to have been inspired a bit from The Bourne Ultimatum. But here the shaky camera moves took away some of the zing. I had a tough time trying to figure out what was happening during the action scenes. Still, it won’t make you fail to notice the brilliant and elaborate stunt work (a majority of them CGI free). There isn’t much happening plot-wise so it is mostly the action which drives this one.

Marc Forster – who has handled diverse genres before tries his hand at his first full-fledged all out actioner. Though as a sequel it isn’t as engaging compared to its predecessor, this one’s still a treat for action junkies. The climax action piece and the title sequence are the only things which I found below my expectations. Daniel Craig floored everyone with his previous outing as Bond and here he takes the character to a new level. Just go and watch him set the screen on fire. Olga Kurylenko is quite good too but the same can’t be said about the other lady (Gemma Aterton). Mathieu Amalric’s plays the typical French villain you might have seen umpteen times.

The franchise seems to be poised really well at this juncture leaving everyone speculating in which direction it’ll be headed next. But as long as I get to see Craig as Bond (and maybe Paul Haggis writing it) it doesn’t really matter.