Franchise Weekend – Thor: The Dark World (2013) Revisited

Director: Alan Taylor

Writer: Christopher L Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, Robert Rodat (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson (Comics)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi

 

Plot: When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.


Tagline – There was darkness.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sequel

 

Story: Thor: The Dark World starts as Thor (Hemsworth) must restore the power in Asgard after Loki’s (Hiddleston) actions, this has made him in the position he should be, waiting to take over his father Odin’s (Hopkins) role. Meanwhile on Earth Jane (Portman) is trying to move with her life, but in London she discovers an unusual series of events which ends up taking her to Elf world.

When Jane becomes cursed, Thor takes her to Asgard to find a cure, which gives Malekith (Eccleston) a chance to lead his army back into combat so he can return the universe back to darkness. Thor must turn to Loki t help him defeat Malekith and save the universe.

 

Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

 

Characters – Thor is once again preparing to take his throne in Asgard, he has restored faith in the nine realms, but he still misses Jane. When she becomes cursed, he returns to Earth to save her, which only brings back an ancient enemy to the Asgardians in the Dark Elves, he must disobey his father once again to end the threat and save the woman he loves. Jane is trying to get on with her life now, her research has taken her to London where she is trying to get over Thor, her investigation sees her cursed and taken to Asgard to learn about Thor’s home world. Loki is locked up for his actions, after his mother is murdered, Thor turns to him for help to get vengeance. Malekith is the leader of the Dark Elves, he has waited for his chance to bring the universe into darkness once again, killing Frigga the mother of Thor.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth continues to make Thor one of the most entertaining character in the universe. Natalie Portman was known to not be interested in being in the film, it does show in her performance which does disappoint. Tom Hiddleston brings another dimension to his character here which is only going to make him a more loved character. Christopher Eccleston does give us a basic villain, one that is only after power and is mostly under make up, making his performance harder to judge.

StoryThe story here follows Thor on his latest adventure, one where he must face an ancient enemy who wants to put the universe into darkness, while finally returning to Jane who has become cursed by the Dark Elves magic. This is another sequel that does address the previous films in the franchise by showing the hints the Thor and Loki could still rebuild their bond even after what Loki has done, we address forbidden relationships between Thor and Jane, have a villain that is obsessed with power, though isn’t the most three-dimensional and see Thor needing to learn more about his responsibilities as a potential king. This is everything you would expect a sequel to be in this universe.

Action/FantasyThe action involved in this film is mostly big CGI chases sequences between spacecrafts, we do get Thor doing the hammer routine which works well enough for the film. the fantasy side of the film continues to build on the idea that the worlds above have been fighting longer than people could imagine with fresh enemies waiting in the shadows.

SettingsThe film uses Asgard, the home world of the Dark Elves and London as the main settings, each has its own action sequences which also shows what Thor is fighting for.

Special EffectsThe effects are not as strong as previous films, but we do get some very impressive scenes none the less, the certain moments of weakness do hold the marks up though,


Scene of the Movie –
London battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t as interesting as previous ones.

Final ThoughtsThis is still an entertaining sequel, it might not be as strong as some of the previous films, but it entertains throughout.

 

Overall: Fantasy Filled Sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Thor (2011) Revisited

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings

 

Plot: The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.


Tagline – Two worlds. One hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining

 

Story: Thor starts when astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) discovering a cosmic event in the New Mexico desert with her team Erik Selvig (Skarsgard) and Darcy (Dennings). We head up to Asgard next as Odin (Hopkins) tells the history of his people, the battle with the frost giants, his two sons Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) that will one day replace him as King.

When the Frost Giants try to enter Asgard, Thor decides to lead a team to retaliate, which sees Odin banish him to Earth. Thor must learn his place in the universe, with Jane helping him, while Loki takes his place as King of Asgard even if his past sees him wanting the events of the film to happen.

 

Thoughts on Thor

 

Characters – Thor is the son of Odin, he is soon to become King, but his over confrontational nature sees him disobeying his father’s orders, he is a fearless warrior who is banished to Earth, without his powers. This is a lesson for him to learn about fighting the right wars, not starting them, until he learns this, his powers won’t return to him. Janes Foster is an astrophysicist that has been searching for answers in the cosmos, her research has seen her finding unexplained answers in the universe, she could finally get answers with Thor’s appearance, she is willing risk her career for answers. Loki is the brother of Thor, he has been planning on taking over Asgard instead of his brother, he knows his past and has been waiting for his moment to become King. Odin is the king of Asgard, he has kept the peace for centuries and is running short on patience for his son’s action, he wants to teach Thor a lesson, while needing to tell Loki about his own past.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth is fantastic in the leading role, he has the look and shows the comic timing which has become the staple of his character. Natalie Portman is strong enough even if the character is disappointing, Tim Hiddleston shows us his calm persona behind his character, with Anthony Hopkins doing everything you would imagine he would bring to a father figure.

StoryThe story here follows Thor as he must learn his truth strength when it comes to one day become King of Asgard, this will see him losing his powers and learning to control his desires while his brother is positioning himself for power. Thor is yet another character we knew very little about going in (unless you read the comics), we get to see his past, how the world he is from is created, the dynamics behind the characters involved, even before we get to Earth. On Earth we learn more about the SHIELD and how they are still investigating the bigger picture of unexplained weapons. This does show us just how important waiting for power is more important than being given power, we get to see how another hero is introduced to us for the bigger picture.

Action/Fantasy The action is at the large scale here with the battles being hordes of enemies for Thor at times, we do get the giant battle against the enemy physically bigger and stronger that Thor must learn to defeat as well as the traditional final fight which shows us the sacrifice a king must make. The fantasy world created shows us the world of Gods being real, being one away from our own, while still being connected in folk lore.

SettingsThe vision of Asgard is beautiful, with towering buildings, a place where you would imagine Gods living. The second settings takes us to New Mexico which plans into the fish out of water scenario.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best in the franchise to date, the pure scale of the enemies involved, the worlds created and fight sequences makes this look beautiful to watch even with the CGI heavy usage.


Scene of the Movie –
Bifrost fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts of Loki’s plan seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the enjoyable comic book movies you will see, we get the big action sequences, we get some laughs and we see the star of Chris Hemsworth take full advantage of his opportunity.

 

Overall: Great Fun.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – K – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2015)

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: William Brookfield (Screenplay) Peter R de Vries (Book)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Hopkins, Mark van Eeuwen

 

Plot: The inside story of the planning, execution, rousing aftermath and ultimate downfall of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Action Crime

 

Story: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken starts as we follow our five criminals Cor Van Hout (Sturgess), Willem (Worthington), Cat (Kwanten), Spikes (Eeuwen) and Brakes (Cocquerel) who have always been looking for a way to make money quickly instead of getting real jobs in Holland. Their latest plan is to kidnap beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (Hopkins) and collecting the ransom.

With the plan in place the kidnapping goes well the wait for the ransom is what takes the time and tests the strength of the kidnappers over the victims as we follow what could be the undoing of the men.

 

Thoughts on Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

 

Characters – Cor Van Hout is the leader of the gang, he brings his men together to complete the jobs with some failing and others not, he comes up with the latest job while his personal life is about to hit the highs a father could experience. Willem is the hot head of the group who will go past the marks to make the job get done and he could become the biggest problem involved. Freddy Heineken is the beer tycoon that has become the target of this men and he stays extremely calm through his ordeal trying to friend his kidnappers too.

PerformanceJim Sturgess is strong in the leading role of this film throughout feeling like the rest would listen to his every word. Sam Worthington is good in the loose cannon role too. Anthony Hopkins is as always the star of the show here as you want to see all of his scenes.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of what happened when a group of criminals kidnap the tycoon and how they were not completely sure things would work and how things could go wrong. This is good because it doesn’t go down a slick as the best heist movies but is also calm enough to feel like it is based on real people human errors through the heist.

Action/CrimeThere are a couple of good car chases through the film which do make up the action side of things while the whole story is about the crime being committed.

SettingsThe streets involved in Amsterdam show us how tight the car chases can be and escape routes by more than just road, we do feel like this is authentic with how everything unfolds during the crime.

Scene of the Movie – Freddy’s orders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clear choice for a problem is having some Dutch cast members but the leads are not.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that didn’t get much talk when it came out but I don’t understand why, it is an enjoyable and one film that is worth watching for all the heist fans out there.

 

Overall: Good heist film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – E – The Elephant Man (1980)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch (Screenplay) Frederick Treves (Book)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.


Tagline – I am not an animal! I am a human being! I…am…a man!

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Essential Viewing

 

Story: The Elephant Man starts when Victorian surgeon Frederick Treves (Hopkins) discovers a heavily deformed man John Merrick (Hurt) being used as a side-show freak by Bytes (Jones). Frederick sees the potential in searching for a cure and a break through in science by showing the fellow doctors that he can help John.

However, over time, Frederick learns that underneath all the deformities, John is an intelligent man that is no different than any other man in the world, but not everybody else in the city of London, wants John to have his freedom.

 

Thoughts on The Elephant Man

 

Characters – Frederick Treves is a surgeon that has the respect of London because of the incredible work he has achieved through the years. He learns of John and wants to help him, he soon learns that he is just like him, smart, educated and must learn to teach the world to accept John. John Merrick is the Elephant Man, a side-show freak to the man who hold shim captive, once rescued he learns that not everybody in the world is wanting to laugh or scream at him, some want to help him live a normal life, inside he is a kind sensitive man that only wants to live like any other man. Mrs Kendal is a celebrity in London who is the first to help John in the public light, showing the people just how gentle and intelligent John is.

PerformancesAnthony Hopkins in the leading role is fantastic, show the world that he could pick up the intelligent role perfectly while showing the kind nature behind his character. John Hurt is the true star of the film, he brings the kind nature to the man that others look at with fear, he shows the bravery to be different in the society that only looks down on people that were different. The rest of the cast are strong throughout the film, they show us the emotional impact the film would have on the people involved.

StoryThe story here follows the relationship between doctor Frederick Treves and John Merrick, we see how Frederick saves John from the life of misery, lets him be respected and shows him another side of life away from the freak shows in which he had been trapped in. the story shows us just how cruel the people of the Victoria era were towards people that looked different. Through the story we get to see a fine balance between the men that wanted to use John for financial profit and Frederick that was willing to have him at the forefront of his determination to be remembered for what he bought to science, this one does turn into friendship, but the first impression are clearly there.

BiopicWe follow the time between John Merrick and Frederick Treves as we see the men with similar education and desires in life are both in very different worlds, together they help show the world, just because John looked different, it didn’t make him a bad person, unlike the people that uses him for their own gain.

SettingsThe film is set in the Victorian era London, it shows the difference in class between the people and how the people would have been entertained by seeing someone different.


Scene of the Movie –
I am a human being.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way John was treated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful biopic, it shows how cruel the world was towards John Merrick and how the people that wanted a change showed the world he was just like them.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating