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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.

The Incredible Hulk June 26, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Another superhero film to whet our appetite before we can get to see what we really want to watch this summer, The Dark Knight. The Incredible Hulk isn’t anywhere as entertaining as the biggest blockbuster of the summer so far (Iron Man). But it is a watchable superhero film.

Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) directs this film written by Zak Penn. The screenplay gets a nice balance between angst and action and Leterrier handles the film well enough but it lacks the special something to make it worthy of a sequel. The film starts off nicely with Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) in a foreign land, searching for a cure and hiding from his enemies. As you’d expect, he can’t hide for long as the audience is waiting to see the Hulk. So, he is found, the Hulk appears and the film is on. On his heels are General Thaddeus (William Hurt) and Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).

The film is different from other origin stories because it only hints at the origins in flashbacks without explaining too much (much like the Bourne films). The main premise is that Hulk is looking for something to cure him of his condition and there are others who are on his tail to capture him for their own diabolical needs. Of course, there is also the customary love interest (Liv Tyler) and this role isn’t particularly interesting. One wishes there was more humor because the tempo starts to drop a bit in the midsection. The climactic battle has a couple of nice moments but doesn’t exhilarate enough.

After Robert Downey Jr., we’ve got another respected actor turning superhero. The role is right up Edward Norton’s alley but I enjoyed Tim Roth’s turn as Abomination better. Norton also contributed to the screenplay but was refused credit by the WGA.

Leterrier has said that there is 70 minutes of additional footage waiting for the DVD release meaning that the studio got its way. It could result in a somewhat better film on DVD in the future. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m not terribly interested to check it out.

If you enjoy superhero movies, this is not a bad watch and apparently it is much better than Ang Lee’s 2003 flop that prompted this early reboot. If you are not the kind who wants to watch every superhero film out there, wait for The Dark Knight or even Will Smith’s Hancock.

P.S. Don’t get too excited by Tony Stark’s appearance on the trailers. It is just a plug for the Avengers movie and he doesn’t appear on screen for more than a few seconds.