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A Christmas Carol November 26, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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I wonder if Charles Dickens’ beloved classic was really suited for a 3-D motion capture adaptation. Except the promising first few minutes, most of what comes after turns out be a rather bland and soul-less rendering of Dickens’ tale.

In recent times, Robert Zemeckis seems to have lost his touch even though we can overlook The Polar Express and Beowulf purely for their technological innovation of a new form of storytelling. Sadly, A Christmal Carol is a pretty late arrival to even get away with the “technology” excuse. Ebenezer Scrooge’s original tale was both bleak and touching (still one of the very few stories I really loved as a kid) and where the film falters mostly is in the latter aspect. Jim Carrey does his best in multiple roles and that’s definitely among the very few things which make this movie watchable.

You might want to watch this if this is your first IMAX-3D flick – or better still wait till December 18th to catch the real biggie.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince July 27, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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I loved the first three films and the last two weren’t bad either but the latest installment is the only film which actually piqued my interest in the series. The previous films pretty much had stand alone plots and a little familiarity with the main characters and a few major incidents was all that you needed to follow. The Half Blood Prince is the only film in the franchise which explicitly sets the scene for an interesting finale.

Each film in the series has been getting darker and this one is no exception. The good thing is that this one is also a lot funnier than the previous two films. There is ample screen time given to characters other than Harry – who definitely make the proceedings a lot more enjoyable. As has been the tradition for every flick, the new major cast member to join this time is Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn who plays a significant role in this enterprise as the one who taught Tom Riddle the recipe to make himself immortal – a secret which Harry has to uncover.

The first 10 minutes or so was in IMAX 3D which I thought was very impressive mainly because this was the first time I saw a live action feature in this format. It is far more effective here than for an animation or even a motion capture feature. David Yates (Order of the Phoenix) successfully delivers another deserving winner in the franchise – which undoubtedly will be considered among the best in the series. It’s great that he will also be helming the final two films based on the last book. Along with Star Trek, for me the Half Blood Prince was the most satisfying summer blockbuster till now. Do catch the IMAX version (3D or otherwise) if possible.

Beowulf December 14, 2007

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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IMAX 3D comes to the rescue of Robert Zemeckis again. Last time it was “The Polar Express”, which was yet again a bad “Santa Claus + Christmas Spirit” movie. This time with Beowulf the technology improves by leaps and bounds the the content still sucks; simply going by the plot this is the perfect example of a bad B-Monster movie.

Demon Mother’s (Angelina Jolie) purpose in life is to seduce and sleep with every Danish king who would impregnate her with a demon and trouble arises when the grown up demon son causes havoc in the kingdom. The current king (Anthony Hopkins) faced with the monster Grendel summons for the legendary warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) who successfully slays Grendel but as everyone else falls into the trap of Demon Mother. Years later, Beowulf’s demon son (a fire spitting dragon) has come back to trouble the kingdom and Beowulf has to confront his “paap ki aulad”.

This film more than anything else serves as a treatise on how to incorporate strategic nudity into one. You get to see Anthony Hopkins drop his robe, the extended fight scene where a naked Beowulf fights Grendal, or Angelina Jolie emerging out of a pool covered with an opaque liquid which mostly drips away but dutifully sticks at the right places.

The 3D work is stunning and in the first few sequences it really hooked me but thanks to the boring plot, you take it for granted and despite some magnificient sequences it didn’t awe me too much. I was seriously waiting for the film to end. Also, the motion capture technology works quite well and even though everyone knows it is an animated movie you end up believing that they are real actors – but not to worry….as John Malkovich and Robin Wright Penn keep appearing on screen periodically on screen and one look at them reminds you that this indeed is an animated movie.

Beowulf is the only mainstream movie to have best exploited the IMAX 3D format (and that experience itself is worth a watch) but if you don’t have access to one….safely skip this one for good.