Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 2 (2004)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Spider-Man 2 starts with the beautiful opening credits that recap what happened in the first film, before we follow Peter Parker (Maguire) in his new roles as a pizza delivery boy. Peter is still struggling to be on time for the important moments of his life including college, times for being there for Mary Jane (Dunst) and Harry (Franco) who is still holding the grudge against Spiderman.

Harry now running Oscorp where he has Dr Otto Octavius (Molina) working on fusion energy technology but when an accident happens Otto becomes Doc Ock, who has 4 extra arms that control him as they take over the city.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 2

 

Characters – Peter Parker still finds himself running late to his important matters but he still finds time to fight crime even though Spiderman has become hated by his best friend. He must deal with his life crashing down around him now, his best friend hates his loyalty to Spiderman, Mary Jane has moved on and his powers are draining. He must overcome the difficult moments in life to defeat his latest enemy. Mary Jane has moved on from Peter and Harry but deep down she does still love Peter. Dr Otto Octavius does believe he can help change the world for the better but when he loses his love and becomes controlled by Doc Ock he wreaks havoc on the city.

PerformanceTobey Maguire once again brings us a performance worthy of leading any movie showing us in the early 2000’s he was one of the best in the industry. Kirsten Dunst is good enough but once again falls into the damsel in distress role taking away the talent we know she has. Alfred Molina is great as the villain here, he is filled with the emotionless actions but also feeling like he is smarter than everyone else in the film. James Franco is good but we are continuing to build his character up.

StoryThe story has two main parts, the first is looking at Peter Parker trying to balance his normal life or education, love and friendship with being Spiderman, giving himself the decision on whether to give up the Spiderman side of his life to be a better man or not. We also have a villain on the loose that wants to continue his experiments which could destroy the whole city. The conflict is strong through the story as having a superhero question his part in the battle which gives s edge of your seat viewing.

Action/AdventureThee action is toned down in places when you look at the number of sequences but the reality is they are much bigger sequences throughout the film that have increased peril for Spiderman to fight.

SettingsWe stay in New York which was always key to making this film the enjoyable experience we know it was going to be.

Special EffectsSeemingly remaining with practical effects with editing around them, this film does seem to feel like we are in a real-world city with real superheroes battling.

Scene of the Movie – Train sequence

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we need to start making Mary Jane stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great continuation of the Spiderman evolution that was needed to keep things feeling fresh in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoyable continuing Spiderman films

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – I – The Incredibles (2004)

Director: Brad Bird

Writer: Brad Bird (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Dominique Louis

 

Plot: A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.


Tagline – Save The Day

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pixar Perfect

 

Story: The Incredibles starts in a world overrun by superheroes, only for the public to turn on them forcing Mr Incredible and Elastigirl needing to settle down away from the life of fighting crime. 15-years-later the two have three children, Violet who can become invisible, Dash who has incredible speed and Jack Jack who is only a baby.

When Mr Incredible loses his job, he takes a secret job on a remote island where he gets to use his powers again, only to discover Syndrome a kid that idolised Mr Incredible has turned evil and now his whole family is now in danger, but together they use their powers to help the public once again.

 

Thoughts on The Incredibles

 

Characters – Mr Incredible was one of the biggest superheroes in America, he is forced into retirement after being sued and now he lives a simple life, growing frustrated with the lack of adventure he is living on, he sneaks around behind his family’s back to fight a new supervillain. Elastigirl is the wife of Mr Incredible, since the retirement she has gone into full mum mode, putting the children first over any idea of fighting crime anymore. She only uses her abilities to keep the kids in order. Syndrome is the villain, he idolised Mr Incredible and after being shunted by him turns to a life of crime, where he uses he gadgets to defeat former superheroes in his quest to become the biggest hero in the world. Dash is the hyperactive kid that has super speed which is causing him to get in trouble at school. Violet is the teenage daughter that has the invisible ability which shows what she would be like when not fitting in the school. Frozone is the best friend to Mr Incredible that is also tired of the life of hiding.

StoryThe story follows a family of superheroes that must come out of retirement once a new threat starts targeting fellow superheroes. Even after 14-years this movie feels even more relevant because of the number of superhero movies we are witnessing as it does show how the heroes can become abused by people looking for a quick pay day in legal terms and how thy will suffer the lack of satisfaction in normal life after starting a family. The story shows us how a family will be stronger than an individual superhero too.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action comes at us thick and fast, playing into all the abilities of the heroes involved to give us a fresh moment throughout the film, the adventure sends our family on an adventure that will let them use their powers for the first time as a unit.

SettingsThe settings for the movie fill the right boxes for any superhero movie, first the island for the villain to prepare and then the big city for the battles to save people, nothing is out of place here.

AnimationThe animation is from Pixar and never looks off, this is why they make the best American animated movies, visually.


Scene of the Movie –
Costume Fitting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The van landing drive sequences is too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully enjoyable Pixar film, it has great pacing, brilliant characters and a villain which suits the world perfectly.

 

Overall: Pixar at their very best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – L – Ladder 49 (2004)

Director: Jay Russell

Writer: Lewis Colick (Screenplay)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, Billy Burke

 

Plot: A firefighter, injured and trapped in a burning building, has flashbacks of his life as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile, fellow firefighters led by the Chief attempt to rescue him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thought Provoking Action Thriller

 

Story: Ladder 49 starts as Jack Morrison (Phoenix) is performing a daring tower block fire rescue only for disaster to strike and Jack finds himself trapped inside the burning inferno. This causes Jack to have flack backs to his early firefighting days as a rookie in the 39th under Mike Kennedy (Travolta).

As Jack continues to fade between consciousness we learn about his personal life and how he met and married Linda (Barrett) as well as seeing just how his team became the unit through the good and bad events of being a firefighter, this will give him a chance to believe who could save him.

 

Thoughts on Ladder 49

 

Characters/PerformanceJack Morrison is the firefighter that gets trapped in the fire, we get to see his rise from rookie firefighter to one of the most respected in his team, get married and have children but through the events of the film we are left to wonder like himself whether he was right to stay in the force. Captain Mike Kennedy keeps his team united through the good times and the bad, he knows how to motivate them and how to let them celebrate, but he won’t leave a man behind. Linda is the wife of Jack that he meets on one of his first few days on the job, she is concerned after the first death in the squad. The rest of the unit are what you expect, the best friend, the wise one, the confrontational one you know the picture.

Performance wise, Joaquin Phoenix is great in the leading role showing he was ready to make the jump from supporting actor to leading man. Travolta shows that he can turn out good performances around the weaker ones people can slam him for. Jacinda Barrett is good but doesn’t get the full levels you would like to see from the supporting character. The cast all give us good performances throughout the film too.

StoryThe story is told as one man is looking back on his life wondering if he made the right decisions in his life when he becomes trapped during the latest fire he is fighting. This does show the stress firefighters would go through from either a good rescue or seeing a friend hurt or killed, dealing with personal life and the peril of going into a blaze with no true idea of what is waiting for them. I like how this is told because it shows how Jack got to where he is in his ranking within the unit.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are all different types of fires the crew must battle and they are all shot wonderfully to suck us into the story as we don’t know what will happen in each fire. This does help keep us on the edge of our seats at times but we know we don’t need to worry about Jack during the flack backs.

SettingsThe settings show us just how dangerous battling fires can be, how the men risk their lives and how they can be different on each occasion.

Special EffectsAll the effects are used to make the fires look as dangerous as they should be which is good to see throughout the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will make you respect the firefighters of the world even more because you get to see how much they are willing to risk to save people’s lives. It is shot very well with the only negative being knowing there is only one fire Jack is in any peril through.

 

Overall: One for all the action thriller fans out there.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – H – House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Feng Li, Bin Wang, Yimou Zhang (Screenplay)

Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Ziyi Zhang, Dandan Song, Hongfei Zhao

 

Plot: A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: House of Flying Daggers starts as we meet two police captains, Jin (Kaneshiro) and Leo (Lau) both have been assigned to locate the new leader of the group known as the Flying Daggers, the first lead is with blind showgirl Xiao Mei (Zhang) who is set to be tortured for the information.

Jin rescues Xiao because of his respect of the Flying Daggers and wanting away from the corrupt government system. With Captain Leo hot on their tails it isn’t long before we are on a race to safety but not everything is what it seems.

 

Thoughts on House of Flying Daggers

 

Characters – Jin is one of the captain’s in the police in China, he is a playboy with the women which helps as he goes against order to rescue a prime suspect in the search for the rebel group, known as the Flying Daggers. Jin uses his charm to get close to the truth but his status becomes difficult once the truth about his plan is revealed. Leo is the fellow Captain that is by the books to make sure everything goes to the plan with the torture of Mei. Xiao Mei is the blind showgirl that is a prime suspect in the search for the Flying Daggers. Once rescued from jail, he must decide whether to truth Jin or not in a world which is dark to her, her fighting skills are fantastic as she sounds around her to know where her enemies are.

PerformancesTakeshi Kaneshiro is great in this leading role, but this does go for the three lead roles Andy Lau and Ziyi Zhang, the three shine in the film with the combat skills required to handle everything they go through with the emotional moments too.

StoryThe story here starts out as any routine, save a prisoner to go against your government idea but soon goes in directions you wouldn’t have imagined as certain things are not what they seem and love consumes the characters and what they believe they stand for. This is a very good story to watch unfold, we get moments of breaking when we turn to the action but that offers us something as the action scenes offer a moment needed for the characters to develop in the bigger picture.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action through the film is breath-taking moments using nature and weapons is a blend of beauty. The romance side of the film comes on thick in the second half as we see just how far the people will go for love.

SettingsThe film takes place mostly in a countryside of China, this gives us the beauty needing for the fight sequences.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to help with the fight sequences look even more breath-taking.


Scene of the Movie –
Treetop battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We lose track of the bigger battle in the final act.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best-looking action movies you will see, it leads you one direction before throwing us into a new one too.

 

Overall: Visual experience for all.

Rating

 

 


Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Director: Michael Moore

Writer: Michael Moore (Screenplay)

 

Plot: Michael Moore’s view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

 

Story: Fahrenheit 9/11 starts as Michael Moore considers how the early days of George W Bush presidential days, how his approval rating crashed and he went on holiday to avoid the storm, that change on September the 11th 2001 when the terrorist attack happened. Now Moore looks at first how Bush reacted to the news and secondly how he was able to fund his campaign believing the money came from Saudi Arabia.

We continue to learn how Moore believes the aftermath of 9/11 was kept working in favour of Bush as he used the war in Afghanistan to gain profit in the oil industry, this film is a documentary looking at what certain people do believe, which is worrying because we are left to wonder just what could be true.

 

Thoughts on Fahrenheit 9/11

 

Final ThoughtsAs time has passed since this movie was released, new parts of the story have been revealed. This does give us a one-sided discussion to what happened which is designed to open the doors to the controversial leader in Bush but it mostly just looking at how the war was fabricated over looking at the events of 9/11.

 

Overall: Watch for a one-sided history lesson

Rating 8/10