jump to navigation

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull May 25, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford team up once again to bring us another adventure in the life of Henry Jones Jr. This time he is old. The year is 1957. The KGB is involved. A crystal skull with mysterious powers is in the middle of things. The genre-defining formula is firmly in place. The action is thrilling. The humor matches expectations. This escapist adventure is an enjoyable ride that isn’t far off from its predecessors.

Harrison Ford gets a chance to have some fun again at his age and he takes it with both hands. Karen Allen has been the best female performer of the series by far and she still has the same spark. On the other hand, Cate Blanchett is terribly miscast and sticks out like a sore thumb. The surprise for me is Shia LaBeouf. I didn’t mind him in Disturbia and Transformers but here, he is quite impressive as Mutt Williams. John Williams’ score also plays its part in elevating the thrills.

After watching this film, there was one thought that kept coming back to me. There is one primary difference between the Indy films and others in the genre. That difference is Steven Spielberg. There are three things that define this series for me – the thrills, the humor and the pace. Spielberg and his team do a masterful job of executing the thrills while maintaining the rapid pace and keeping the audience entertained. Whether you like the movie or not, you have to praise these guys because it is quite difficult to achieve this (and not many films can match this quality).

In my mind, the plot has never been a strong point in the series and it still isn’t. The supernatural/paranormal/spiritual/occult aspects of the plot have defined the series, so don’t expect it to get realistic now. When I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was extremely unhappy with the climax. And then there was human sacrifice, pulling the heart out of a human being and eating monkey brains in Temple of Doom. Some aspects of these films can bring down your final evaluation of them but they are still very entertaining and this one is also like that. Without spoiling it for you, I will say that one of the early rumors about the plot is true.

If you’ve enjoyed the first three films, you should like this as well (unless you’ve had enough of the formula and don’t care to see it repeated). Expect to have fun and you should be thoroughly satisfied. Burden this film with high expectations or comparisons and the experience will not be as good.

P.S. I wouldn’t mind another film in the series as long as Spielberg helms it.

Beowulf December 14, 2007

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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.