ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – T – Tombstone (1993)

Director: George P Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre

Writer: Kevin Jarre (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston

 

Plot: A successful lawman’s plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, Arizona, are disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating.


Tagline – Justice Is Coming

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Good as Wyatt Earp

 

Story: Tombstone starts when the successful lawman Wyatt Earp (Russell) has hung up his gun moved with his brothers Virgil (Elliott) and Morgan (Paxton) to Tombstone to follow in the silver boom. Wyatt does get his hands in plenty of pots, helping the town turn to their successful ways.

When the Marshall is killed by the cowboys the mayor turns to the Earp’s with Virgil and Morgan try to bring order to the town Wyatt reluctantly agrees to join them, which will see them come face to face with the deadly cowboy gang who want control of the town.

 

Thoughts on Tombstone

 

Characters – Wyatt Earp’s reputation precedes him as he cleaned up the town of Boulder, now he wants to put his gun away and head to Tombstone to start a business life with his brothers, he knows how the get a deal done, which will see him need to get rid of the cowboy gang running through the town causing chaos. Doc Holliday is the gambler that will and has stood by Wyatt’s side in combat, he will drink a lot even if he does face health problem that will slowly make his life harder. Virgil and Morgan are the brothers that take the roles in the law enforcement which will see them put their own lives at risk.

PerformancesKurt Russell does do a solid job in the leading role, the action scenes are where he shines the best. Val Kilmer does well making his character feel like he is standing out more in the film at times. We do get plenty of actors in this film, most do what is needed without being on the top of their games.

StoryThe story follows Wyatt Earp in his time in Tombstone only which does show how he was trying to live a non-conflict life only to be drawn back into the old ways which saw him become the legendary lawman. The story is difficult to watch after recently seeing the ‘Wyatt Earp’ film, which does cover a larger amount of his life, including the Tombstone time, we just don’t seem to get enough focus on the life outside of the battle in the town, which fails to give the wives required screen time in the story or show us what led to Wyatt becoming the famous lawman. This will give us the simple look at the battle with the cowboys which is good to see, but we would always want to learn more about the character involved.

Action/BiopicThe action in the film does see bullets fly around like we are used to, for a western, the biopic side of the film only shows us the Tombstone stage of Wyatt’s life which does focus more, only it doesn’t explain why he is such a famous figure.

SettingsThe film does create the authentic setting for the western genre, which is does make us feel like we are watching the story unfold with the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about Wyatt’s life before Tombstone.

Final ThoughtsThis is the weaker of the two Wyatt Earp biopics that hit the cinema in the same year, it might have more entertaining action, but it just misses too much of his life out.

 

Overall: Disappointing biopic.

Rating

 

 

The Omega Man (1971)

Director: Boris Sagal

Writer: John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington (Screenplay) Richard Matheson (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick

 

Plot: Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: The Omega Man starts as we follow Neville (Heston) living in an abandoned New York City as he searches for resources to help him discover a cure for the disease which wiped out most of the population. At night, blind humans who can’t be in sunlight appear, led by Matthias (Zerbe) as we learn both are battling each other.

When the two clash they do discover they are both just fighting to survive but it is the new human in town Lisa (Cash) that saves Neville from certain death from the creatures of the night as they search for the cure.

 

Thoughts on The Omega Man

 

Characters – Neville lives alone in New York City, well by day he treats it like whatever he wants, taking what he wants but preparing for safety from the Brotherhood, he is searching for a cure and when he learns of other humans he steps up his search. Matthias is the leader of the brotherhood who roam the streets at night looking to kill Neville for his involvement in the creation of the infection. Lisa is another human that has been hiding in safety from both the battling sides but when one of their own start to show infection she must risk everything to get Neville to find a cure. She is able to handle herself in battle against enemies that put her life in danger.

PerformanceCharlton Heston was always a good action lead back at the time of release and he was star power with his good performance, Anthony Zerbe is also good as you need to have the creepy villain while Rosalind Cash does make for a strong female character.

StoryA virus as destroyed most of humanity leaving just one man needing to find a cure before the last pocket are killed or infected, well this is easy to follow, I like how the villains are just humans that are infected rather than creatures which we see in the remake, but otherwise is generic in every way as it leads up to the finale moments.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is just random gun battles which is fine but nothing special with the sci-fi elements coming from the idea the world has now been destroyed for the most part.

SettingsAn empty New York is haunting throughout the film, along with all the empty locations we find our character going through, showing just how our big world would become empty with no one in it.

Scene of the Movie – Shopping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You don’t get enough as to why Matthias is leading a cult like group.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has dated badly and even not being the biggest fan of I am Legend I couldn’t help but find that a much more interesting film all around.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi doesn’t always stand the test of time.

Rating

 

 

Alaska (1996)

Director: Fraser C Heston

Writer: Andy Burg, Scott Myers (Screenplay)

Starring: Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser, Dirk Benedict, Charlton Heston, Duncan Fraser

 

Plot: While searching for their missing father in the mountains of Alaska, two siblings come across a baby polar bear on the run from a pair of poachers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Adventure Family Film

 

Story: Alaska starts as we meet the Barnes family, father Jake (Benedict) a small plane pilot and his kids Jessie (Birch) and Sean (Kartheiser), the family has started a new life in Alaska after their death of Jake’s wife and mother of Jessie and Sean. While Jessie has embraced this new life enjoying the beautiful sites, Sean is struggling with new life. We also get to meet to poachers Perry (Heston) and Koontz (Fraser) who have been hunting polar bears.

When their father goes missing, Jessie and Sean aim to go in search of him through the Alaskan wilderness discovering a captured baby polar bear cub that they release who joins them on their adventure, which only attracts the poachers attention as they find themselves chased through the wilderness by the poachers too in a race against time to find their father.

 

Thoughts on Alaska

 

Characters/PerformanceJessie is the sister of the siblings, she has embraced the change to Alaska learning to be part of the team with her father, while they both want to search for their father, she is the most prepared of the two. Sean hates his new life in Alaska and wants to move back to Chicago but you can clearly see he is grieving his mother with his behaviour, but with his father missing he will do everything he can to find him, learning to love the beautiful landscape they are part of now. Jake is the father of the family that has given up his 747-pilot job to start a new life in the small town in Alaska, he does spend most of the film trapped in his plane but his character gives Jessie and Sean the reason for going on their adventure. Perry and Koontz are two poachers hunting polar bears, they cross paths with the kids as they menacingly try to recapture the polar bear cub that they had released.

Performance wise, Thora Birch and Vincent Kartheiser are both great in the lead roles as the children in search of their father. Dirk doesn’t have much to do but does what he needs to well. Charlton Heston as the menacing poacher does seem to enjoy the role he plays in the movie.

StoryThe story of two young teenagers going into the wilderness to find their missing father is a nice tried and tested formula, this style of film seemed to be the rave for family films around the time too, so to stand out you had to do something different. We get the moments of peril which are good and well-paced but we also get the moments of discovery which are just as important. Obviously, there are negatives here which include the idea the adults are clueless when searching for people in crashes and poachers being just evil people. I would also like to point out, that it is very unlikely a polar bear mother is just going to accept another cub, well that is what David Attenborough has taught me.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure the kids get to go on is one I remember watching as a kid going, I wanna do that and I still would like to. The family side of this film is about the unity between a broken family doing everything to stay together and of course having a cute little polar bear helping them out.

SettingsAlaska as a setting, beautiful, stunning, peril filled and perfect for the story being told.

EffectsWe only have a few effects in use here, most feels practical with the stunt work and working with a potential deadly animal in a polar bear.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the better kids work with animal films of the 90s, one that gives you hope in humanity and a wonderful setting.

 

Overall: Family night sorted.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise – Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Director: Ted Post

Writer: Paul Dehn, Mort Abrahams (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Characters)

Starring: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards, Victor Buono, Charlton Heston

 

Plot: The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor of the previous expedition. He discovers a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Continues Nicely

 

Story: Beneath the Planet of the Apes starts as we continue to see where Taylor (Heston) and Nova (Harrison) travels went after the shocking conclusion of the first movie, but something has split them up and Nova stumbles across the latest visitor Brent (Franciscus) the sole survivor of the rescue mission.

Nova takes Brent to the ape city where Zira (Hunter) continues her mission to show the humans are important, but Dr Zaius (Evans) must join the leader Ursus (Gregory) in a mission into the forbidden zone for answers. Brent learning answers from Zira and Cornelius risks his and Nova’s lives to find the answers that could be peace or safety for the planet of the apes and humans, but what he finds beneath the planet is even more shocking than he could imagine with humans that communicate through telepathic powers.

 

Thoughts on Beneath the Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceBrent is one of the rescue team sent to rescue George but finds himself going through the same troubles but also dealing with what is hidden beneath the planet. He isn’t as strong as George though. Zira does have a smaller part but is still trying to create an equality on the planet. Dr Zaius does want the right thing now but doesn’t get enough time to build up this character change. Nova is there clearly for the eye candy with the new humans being a lot more interesting twist in the story.

Performance wise, James Franciscus does reach the levels we got from Heston in the leading role, Hunter and Evans suffer from less screen time but do well enough when they are on screen. The rest of the cast are all fine building the bigger picture within the film.

StoryThe story continues on where the last one finished, which is good, learning more about the planet brings the interest up within the story as we now know we could be heading into a bigger battle on a planet the apes don’t actually control completely. This is a good building part of the franchise.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all good without being anything ground breaking, the world we are thrown into does help the sci-fi angle because we continue learning about the planet in the future.

SettingsWe continue to get the desert settings showing us how the world has changed in the future with the destruction that has happened in the past.

Special EffectsFor the time the special effects all work well, sure they have dated but they are all what you would expect from a film of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise, sure it isn’t as good of a film as the original but it continues the story nicely to make us want to learn more about the planet.

 

Overall: Good franchise addition.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise – Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J Schaffner

Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison

 

Plot: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Planet of the Apes starts as we follow four astronauts who have been travelling for over 2000 years when the land on a new planet, George Taylor (Heston) take charge of the mission which does suffer a loss on the landing. Along with Landon (Gunner) and Dodge (Burton) the three explore the planet for a way to make sure they can survive.

When the men discover life on the planet, they believe it is only early evolution human, but things take a turn when apes treat the humans like cattle, hunting them down for slaves with Dr Zaius (Evans) learning about the humans with Dr Zira (Hunter) willing to give them a chance. Zira’s partner Cornelius (McDowall) questions he decision to help George but the apes live in a world where they are the almighty. Can George get off the planet before becoming another victim to this world.

 

Thoughts on Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceGeorge Taylor is an astronaut on a long space mission with his crew, he is the commander and must lead his crew through the unknown planet, deal with an unknown threat and convince his own case of equality in a world of apes. Cornelius is the ambitious ape that goes against the idea of a biblical existence searching for answer in evolution. Zira also believes in more than the bible of apes and wants to study George to understand where he fits in the evolution stages. Dr Zaius wants to protect the apes, he experiments on the humans and see George as the biggest threat to his kinds type.

Performance wise, Charlton Heston is fantastic in this leading role showing his balance between hero and victim. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans also all do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story sees what happens when a human space traveller finds themselves arriving in a new world with new rulers, that is the core of the story. What is brilliant to see here is the fact we get a social commentary going including equality, rights for species outside our own as well as the hunting scene including the photo shoot after and finally religion verses evolution. The mix is brilliant blended in a perfectly paced film.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure comes from a new world being explored by George with the sci-fi aspects shows us the new world we could be living in.

SettingsThe settings all work for a future where apes rule a planet, showing how not everything has evolved yet.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work for the time showing us just how the world truly is created.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic film that still maintains the look, the style and storytelling to outsmart most modern movie.

 

Overall: One of the best ever made.

Rating