I promise, I’ll keep spoilers for after the break and just do a Rotten Tomatoes blurb for those who haven’t seen it yet. Into Darkness tries very hard to be itself while being in the shadow of its predecessor, Wrath of Khan. It’s a hard plot device to follow for old Trekkies, but newcomers to the screen should have no issues. However, generally speaking it was an enjoyable movie that can set up for a very dark Star Trek future, something I personally want to see. Overall rating: 3.5/5.
Now if you go past this point, the first line onward is spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Movies and I have a generally good relationship; that is I’m a cheap date. When I go, I expect the movie to evoke some emotion or entertainment for the 2-3 hours I’m there and then we part ways. It’s like speed dating, except I don’t have to talk. Also I never have to see them again if I don’t want to and they don’t mind. I don’t think this is too much to expect, but sometimes even a movie can make for a bad date. Oz falls into this slot and that sucks, because it was on my 2013 bucket list.
This is some of the crap I carry around every. bloody. day. Not shown: The dice bag I *also* carry around. Also my tool bag and electronic stuff.
I will never really figure out why people release things like Die Hard on days such as St. Valentine’s Day, but I’m pretty certain there’s a metric ton of market research that said “this will work, trust me.” Numbers out the ass aside, what we’ve got is a typical flick: Bruce Willis plays Bruce Willis, and a new contender hits the scene as a new Die Hard, Jai Courtney, who plays John McClane’s son, Jack (and I’m sure everyone with one brain cell and half a beer has already figured out that Jack is short for John Jr.). Honestly, don’t expect an insane amount here. What we have is a popcorn flick full of guns, explosions, nukes (gotta love nukes) exploding helicopters and of course, “Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!”
There never is much to watch after the holiday season and the pickings this January are as always, pretty slim. But one stood out as a possible reasonable watch and it happened to be Broken City. This movie stood out as a thriller/mystery that could have some clout. With a rather solid cast it was really up to the Director Allen Hughes to pull the story together. Did he do it? Well for the tl;dr crowd, I would say the answer is no. For the rest of you, read on.
About a decade ago I quit Bank of America because of a scheme they invented that would rearrange your transactions largest to smallest so they could hit you with numerous overdraft fees with the same amount of overdrafted money. They did this to me once and I paid them, closed the account and never looked back. I was later named in a class action lawsuit. I didn’t bother to exclude myself. Today I got my “settlement”, about 1% of the amount I was required to pay in. Yeah, that’ll fucking teach ‘em!
Opening scene, you hear Jack Frost speaking for the first time. He has no idea who he is or why he is here. He rises through icy waters, breaking through ice and lands softly. Barefoot, he finds his now trademark staff, learns of his abilities and later flies to a village celebrating a Winter Solstice, only to find that he is incorporeal when one local passes straight through him. The only one who talks to him is the man on the moon, who tells him his name and nothing else. The audience never actually hears the moon speak.
This relatively downtrodden beginning gives weight to the entire movie, a tale of heroes brought about via the faith and imagination of the children worldwide. As this is a children’s movie (as compared to my previous reviews) I will be more lax on the spoilers than typical, so if you’re in it for the ride yourself, consider this your only warning.
And this is where they meet at Tooth’s Palace. See, you just *had* to keep reading, didn’t you?
Rise of the Guardians is essentially about faith and belief of the spirits of childhood. Each of the main characters - Frost, Bunny, Tooth, North and Sandy (played by Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin respectively; Sandy has no voice actor in this film) represent fundamental aspects of childhood, called “Centers.” Frost doesn’t know his when he is chosen, but the others do and share it willingly with him in hopes of helping him understand his role in this play. All of them defer to the Man on the Moon as a sort of “Guardian Zero.”
The guardians gather and bring Frost into the fold after a long time nemesis, Pitch Black aka the Boogeyman (Jude Law) is somehow brought forth into the world, presumably as the fears of children begin feeding his Center. Pitch then finds a way to corrupt Sandy’s Center and use that against the entire team. Combined with some rather crafty plays, he does a good job of driving a wedge into the team and sending one of them out of the picture for a good portion of the flick.
He also has an invisible bow! C’mon, even for evil you have to admit it’s cool.
Naturally this film does have a happy ending which I won’t spoil and yes Frost does find his Center (and if you’re paying attention, you’ll figure it out in the first 10 minutes) so this will be one for the DVD shelf. The moral is a bit heavy handed, but again this is a children’s movie so I think the film makers wanted to make sure the kids in the 8-10 y.o. range got the message. I can’t blame them.
The 3D in this film was reasonable. For you Despicable Me fans, you’ll get a treat in the previews and Oz the Great and Powerful was also shown (both previews have been here on IHC in the past, so likely nothing you haven’t seen). The film itself takes advantage of the perspective that 3D offers, putting focus on what they want you to see and blurring the background. The dinosaur scene was particularly entertaining to watch and a particular ice sculpture Frost formed was rather appealing in a dark way. The movie did gain a little with the 3D, but won’t be missed when it comes home.
As with most flicks nowadays, the audio blended well with the visuals. I didn’t get any particular thrills or groans from the score, so as always they’ve done their job well.
I can’t tell what fake and real accents are as I don’t have enough exposure to them, but Baldwin does a passable Russian Hollywood Russian. As Hugh is born in Australia, it’s entirely possible the “accent” you hear from Bunny, a typical English variant you’d expect from someone down under might be real, but I can’t be sure. Everyone felt like they were in character as well. I didn’t see a “phoning it in” section anywhere in the movie, though the dialog felt a little forced in a couple places.
Moral of the Story
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of God does all in this movie, especially with the Man on the Moon being the unseen leader of the Guardians. A closer examination reveals that it’s the children who give the Guardians their power (and in some cases, simple acknowledgement) and the Guardians who protect the ideals the children hold in their hearts. The Man on the Moon who is obviously the oldest Guardian acts as a silent overseer, recruiter and dispatcher. I found that interpretation very easy to swallow, so for those of you who share my ideals, walk in thinking about it that way and you’ll find the movie much more enjoyable.
I’m pretty sure I’d have faith too if ALL my childhood characters showed up in my room, at the same time. Or I’d blame it on a bad trip. Whatever.
DreamWorks really set the bar on How to Train Your Dragon and it still remains their Gold Standard for animation and stories. Compared to that, Rise of the Guardians is a good contender, but not the best. That said, this is well worth a watch and falls into a rare category of a Christmas story that isn’t relegated to the pile until that one time of year where it can be watched. It’s a solid storyline in a reasonable watch time and has a point. Though I didn’t love the film, I couldn’t find any particular fault with it. So give it a whirl and don’t worry about having to bring something extra. You won’t be bored in this film.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
This is me. Also, new cat in the house. Her name: Teacup. I was just kidding when I said it!
Well… four years and a lot of hype later we finally get our final Batman of the trilogy. And yeah, it was worth the wait and the hype, because the movie did it all justice, period. Everything went together. I was excited going in, and happy coming out. I cannot ask anymore of a movie and it fulfilled magnificently.
I’ll keep it as spoiler free as possible. Everyone knows (or bloody well should know from the trailers) the following: Bane (Tom Hardy) is the primary antagonist, Cat Woman (Anne Hathaway) plays the wildcard role left in Heath Ledgers wake, and the usual twists and turns that accompany Nolan’s films are ever present. So here it is, full review.