Franchise Weekend – Spiderman (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Spiderman Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man starts as we meet high school student Peter Parker (Maguire), he only had one friend at school and that is over privileged Harry Osborn (Franco) and his high school crush Mary Jane (Dunst) attending a field trip at science laboratory where Peter gets bitten by one of the spiders.

The next day Peter finds himself stronger and more aware than ever, he has gained the spider skills, Peter uses his time to learn his abilities, but when his Uncle Ben (Robertson) becomes a victim of crime, Peter becomes Spiderman protecting New York City from the criminals.

With high school finished Peter and Harry move to New York, where they find jobs, but Peter has been fighting crime become front page news. Harry’s father Norman a CEO at Oscorp determined to make the most money unleashes the Green Goblin on the city, giving Spiderman his first opponent that will tests his abilities.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man

 

Characters – Peter Parker is the socially awkward high school outcast, he does have the brains to become anything but when he gets bitten he becomes Spiderman where he starts to fight to protect his city after losing his Uncle. Norman Osborn is the career driven genius that will go to any lengths to be the leading developer in government technology, but when he loses his way, he goes out to stop anyone with his Green Goblin persona. Harry is Peter’s best friend and son of Norman, he watches how everything unfolds but also starts dating Mary Jane. Mary Jane is the high school crush of Peter, she does stick up for him as they share the same dreams.

PerformanceTobey Maguire is great in this leading role showing the innocence side of Peter but away from the high school age. Kirsten Dunst is a beautiful Mary Jane and while mostly the damsel in distress does give us a good performance. James Franco showed us all the potential he has started to show us in this role. Willem Dafoe enjoys the villainous role through the film and is easy one of the better conflicted villains in the universe.

StoryThis is an origin story for Spiderman that came out just when the superhero boom was starting up, it bought us a new hero to root for and one that was filled with the odd joke. We have the motivation for Peter to become Spiderman, a friendship which will become important through this franchise and a villain that is conflicted with why he is doing the things he is doing. It may well be a by the book origin story it does have enough darker moments to make us see the light in his actions.

Action/AdventureThe action fits the comic book genre perfectly with the adventure side of the film coming from just what Peter is learning of his new skills.

SettingsNew York City makes for the setting here, much like in the comics, it works because of the landscape that Spiderman will be taking on with his web slinging.

Special EffectsThe effects for this film show us that practical effects could still make an excellent film, the CGI feels very little.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You do feel like we needed more of the high school side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an origin film that does hit the marks, a villain that can do enough damage but is never a true threat, learning the correct path and building a bigger picture for the whole franchise.

 

Overall: Easily one of the best origin stories.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – O – Only Yesterday (1991)

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: David Freedman, Isao Takahata (Screenplay) Hotaru Okamoto, Yuuke Tone (Manga)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Miki Imai, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yoko Honna, Mayumi Izuka, Mei Oshitani

 

Plot: A twenty-seven-year-old office worker travels to the countryside while reminiscing about her childhood in Tokyo.


Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not Ghibli’s Strongest

 

Story: Only Yesterday starts as Taeko an office worker looks to return to the countryside for her vacation, this brings back her memories of when she was younger growing up with school and her love for the countryside.

As Taeko’s memories continue to flood back she remembers her first embarrassing moments at school, when she gets her first period and learns from fellow student it is natural, while the boys are making fun of her. We jump back to the adult Taeko who is back for the farming and she meets Toshio a young farmer that see the world the same as her, which offers her a romantic interest in her life.

 

Thoughts on Only Yesterday

 

Characters – Taeko is our leading character we look at two moments of her life, we have her childhood struggles and her returning adult self to the peace of the countryside. This character shows us the difficulties that growing up offers and adult life can be when you look back on where you could have gone. Toshio is a local farmer that shows Taeko around, keeping her company while offering a potential love and path back to the life she once loved.

StoryThe story tackles growing up and returning home after time away, following the life you love compared to the one you need to live. The ideas in the story focus on real events and don’t bring any fantasy elements into the story telling which can either interest you or put you off because when you watch a Ghibli movie you are expecting moments of fantasy at times. The real feel both takes away from the story and adds to the personal touch needed to be told.

RomanceThe romance starts off soft because it mostly focuses on the idea that home could bring a love you want over the city the love you can have.

SettingsThe settings show the two different lives that Taeko has lived, the one in the small farming village, the other from the big city, this shows which one he wants to be part of more.

AnimationThe animation works for the time because Ghibli has a different style to Disney to make it stand out.


Scene of the Movie –
Dreams.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story, while good lacks that moment to make it stand out.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good watch, but isn’t going to making it to the top of many of the re-watching of Ghibli movies for me.

 

Overall: Solid addition to the Ghibli world.

Rating