Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You know what I did this summer...

Well, it wasn't exactly a state secret now, was it? Me and my summer movie plans? I'm a bit disappointed though, I don't mind saying... Anyhoo, I'm done with my must list and here's what I thought of these movies, in order of worst to best:

**DISCLAIMER**: What follows is my personal opinion, purely for entertainment-value (now isn't that ironic) - and is not meant to hurt box-office returns of these movies in any way whatsoever. Take it all in with a pinch of salt, and maybe a mint-lime cooler. Or two.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Unless you are a 10 yr old or get a serious kick out of things that go BANG (yes, that's in caps), you won't enjoy this. In short, the movie was too big, too loud and too long. And no, this isn't because I am not-so-young or am a female. The "too"s in the above sentence really deserve a lot more o's in em... Seriously. Towards the end, I didn't even know or care who was shooting at whom. It was just bang, bang, boom, boom and blood. 'Nuff said.

Ice Age (3): Dawn of the Dinosaurs: It was good & I liked it , but sorry, it was still a bit of a let down. Given, very few sequels manage to keep the excitement alive past the second movie... The historical inaccuracy (dinosaurs and mammoths co-exist?) probably was a bit of a turn-off for me (yes, I know I am borderline a*** on stuff like that, probably) - the introduction of Buck, while amusing, wasn't as enaging as the characters introduced to us in the first movie, or even the second. That being said, its a nice movie to while away the hot summer - couple of scenes with Scrat and Scratte were gorgeous - the 'tango' scene - the lighting was awesome! and the very first scene in the movie with Scratte batting those eyelashes :D

I guess this movie also follows in the tradition of Shrek, down the domesticity track - there we had the ogre honeymoon/end of 'honeymoon period' and here too, we fast forward *SPOILER ALERT* to a pregnant Ellie and eventually, a to-die-for Peaches. Believe you me, I am going to look for a stuffed toy version of Peaches *END OF SPOILER*... I went 'awwwww' out aloud in the theatre, as did many other folks... such cuteness.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: I have to say, that this movie premiered in Tempe, a whole 3 days before the national premiere - Tempe folks won that contest about where the premiere should be held and yes, we were in fact graced by Messrs. Jackman & Reynolds in person, for the premiere. Also, this being the first summer movie to be released really, I guess I was expecting a lot.

Yes, the action sequences were good, some even great - that scene with all the mutants 'visiting' that diamond mine - where we met Reynolds' Wade Wilson (I lurved the swashbuckling blade action to deflect those bullets, or the one between Wolverine and Taylor Kitsch's Gambit) - but all said and done, the story just didn't cut it for me. Wolverine goes through all that crap and at the end *SPOILER ALERT* loses his entire memory *END OF SPOILER*- that just sucks and maybe thats what makes him who he is, but it still was a damp squib.

Angels & Demons: When this book came out, I finished it overnight - so you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the movie (despite the disaster that was Da Vinci Code - the movie, of course). It was a good take on the book, the pace much better, the screenplay much tighter - and yes, there were some changes which I didn't agree with, but hey, that's what screen adaptations are all about right?

The casting was just perfect and the Vatican & rest of Rome have been lovingly showcased - there were so many frames that were painting-like - I loved it. The on-screen character I felt had strayed most from the book was Vittoria's - in the movie, you don't really understand why she's so invested in recovering the *SPOILER ALERT* anti-matter cannister *END OF SPOILER*. Maxmillian Koehler's character is next on my gripe list - the book does a fantastic job of the bait and switch with regards to his character but the movie didn't, in my opinion. But yes, loved Tom Hanks' new do. Slick.

Star Trek (2009): This was the second summer movie I saw and J.J. Abrams, you da man. A fantastic new take on the whole franchise. Although I've seen the 60's TV series, I didn't have inappropriate crushes on Kirk & Spock. But I do now! Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto are revelations - the rest of the cast was rockin too - Karl Urban as Bones (I'll be the first to admit - it was weird hearing someone other than Brennan addressed as Bones, by someone other than Booth :D), Simon Pegg (who also incidentally voiced Buck in Ice Age 3) as Scotty and John Cho as Sulu. Anton Yelchin as Chekov was a breath of fresh air - you'd mistake him as the comic relief in the beginning but he's as capable as they come!And Zoe Saldana as Uhura - thank god they got rid of that silly cut-away do from the TV series & her chemistry with Spock. Wowza. Mr.Quinto does a first-rate job of portraying such conflicting emotions with such ease - his calm, even cold exterior belies the emotion turmoil beneath. Very Iceland-like - cool to the touch but underneath it all, a volcano.

Now to the biggies - Eric Bana kicked ass. Unquestionably. More than he has ever done in any of his other movies. As the snarling Nero, out for blood - you'd never know it was him - the makeup was beyond awesome. And, Winona Ryder as Spock's mum? Sorry honey. And the big daddy of 'em all - Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime. Wow. Calm, wise and succinct as always. I loved that they've established such a solid base for the friendship between Kirk and Spock. Live long and prosper. Indeed.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Ok so its a tie between HP6 and Star Trek in terms of entertainment value. But I am going to lean a lil towards HP6, simply because even after 5 movies, this one rocked. And how. This is no longer a kiddie franchise people, believe you me. This movie was quite stylized, and visually striking. Not that the previous movies weren't, but this one had a certain stillness to it, in certain moments, that felt quite appropriate & was such a lovely device to capture those moments of quiet reflection for more than one of the characters.

I've always held the Potter cast in high esteem - what with all those British heavyweights and I suppose I've always loved Brit humor more - its smart, quick and dry as a bone. As always, I heart Alan Rickman, even more now - after that costume in the scene where he makes the Unbreakeable vow as Snape - well, there's another inappropriate crush! I love that Snape's character is so well fleshed-out - down. to the way. he slices. his. sennnntencces. (Say it with me in a Snape-like snarl). And yes, I do hate him for doing away with a significant character - who am I kidding, everyone knows this now, Dumbledore, he is second in his villainy probably only next to Voldemort and certainly strides ahead than that rat Lucious Malfoy.

Although the screenplay was captivating- never a dull moment, I did feel, quite acutely, the meagre effort that went into establishing Voldemort's back story - his origins, and how he came to be such a feared dark wizard. Just 2 scenes - one as the little boy that Dumbledore recruited (played by Ralph Fiennes' nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) and then as the manipulative teenager who weasels the information out of Jim Broadbent's Prof. Slughorn. I mean come on, that's realy what the sixth installment is all about.

And how come it is that the kids have all suddenly become so adept at silent spells? That scene in the field just before the Burrow burns down, I mean really - we all know Ginny was good with spells & shields, but that good?

Oh and one last gripe - Tonks calling Lupin 'sweetheart' - are ya kiddin me? Why now? There's no basis, that's to come only later - jumping the shark. Hmph.

Moving on from the complain-train, I loved the effects - esp. those black swirling vortexes of smoke that become Death-Eaters. Flashy in the first few scenes, but chilling in the scene in the field where Fenir Greyback & the heinous Bellatrix LeStrange (played by the chilling Helena Bonham-Carter). When she runs away singing "I killed Sirius Black, I killed Sirius Black" in that sing-song voice, I so wanted to just strangle her - dunno if that is a sign of pitch-perfect casting. I hated her in OOTP and I still hate her after this movie. The character I mean.

On a more cheery note, I loved the Quidditch scenes (Felix Felicis anyone?) and every single scene where Potter, Granger & Weasley were together - it truly felt like they were just hanging out and wanted to be around each other - unlike previous movies where it felt like they were stuck together more out of circumstances than out of choice.

Did I mention the dead (and I mean really, dead, pin-drop, graveyard-like) silence in the theater when Dumbledore died? Followed by quite a few sniffles, including mine. I've never seen such a uniform reaction to a movie - you know the absence of usual jerks who laugh when everyone else cries. Now that's definitely something.

Its a looooooong wait till Part 1 of Deathly Hallows - I hear its out only in Nov 2010, but we'll gladly take what we can. After that abrupt post-ponement of this movie from Nov last year to this summer, the wait was totally worth it. And then some. I'd give it something between an Exceeds Expectations and an Outstanding.

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