Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Avengers (2012) Review:

In the recent decade, Marvel studio's has triumphed over several competing movies with a wide variety heroes or anti-heroes all with different skill sets and abilities. But never has it been decided to make a film that unites the greatest Marvel characters of all time,...until now. It's an interesting concept because ideas this massive can either fail without recompense or it moves beyond the status quo. It's a high risk but with the right balance, things will pull through. As for this movie, the whole execution plays out well but there are still some things that could have been done differently.

Starting off with one of the bad things is that this movie is a super-sequel. It's not like Marvel studios just decided to go with this idea from the blue. This whole movie was built up through the story telling of all the Marvel characters that are at the center of this story. The problem with this is that if a moviegoer is one who doesn't like skipping films and watching sequels out of order, this could be somewhat frustrating. Because then, the viewer will want to know how all the other characters came to be and not focus on what is currently happening in the movie.

The Avengers (Just Awesome)
Back to the good, all the actors in this movie are phenomenal. Robert Downey Jr. still keeps his charm as the smart mouthed but yet intelligent billionaire Tony Stark. Chris Evans is still cool as Captain America. In some ways, he reminds of The Rocketeer (1991) because of his hairstyle and clothing that he wears. It screams out Cliff Secord every time Captain America was on screen. Mark Ruffalo was great as Bruce Banner. Even The Hulk was given some comedic parts in the film, which was great, because it shows he's not all brawn. Chris Hemsworth is also fun to watch, especially when he’s whacking his hammer into everything.

I will not say what every other actor does in this film because in the end, it can be seen that everyone of them, superhero or non-super hero, gave it their all in this film and it shows. One thing I wished was added in this movie, character wise, were some other anti-hero Marvel characters such as Ghost Rider and The Punisher. I know they don't belong to The Avengers but it would still be fun to see them beating up the baddies too.

As for the action, I'd say that there definitely was plenty of it and it wasn't overdone either which is good too. It truly is a sight to see how The Avengers coordinate their moves on how they take out the villains. And it's not like every scene was the same either. Every character had their own special moment to how they took out soldiers of Loki's army. The one that is the most fun to watch in my opinion is The Hulk just because it is a situation like this where Banner can run amok and tear apart anything he wants at any time. The musical soundtrack was composed by Alan Silvestri, which does not surprise me at all. Silvestri is good at this kind of material and there's nothing else that's needed to be said.

Seriously, like this scene is new?
The only other flaw I have to confront with this movie is that the whole concept of allowing an alien race to come and take over the Earth through a time portal, is almost an exact replica to Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). Even the flying behemoth gunships that come out of the time portal resemble the Decepticon gunships too closely. Seriously, who hasn't seen this whole plot device before? But what makes this worth seeing is that the heroes in this film are not running from their enemies (cough cough* Sam Witwicky), and screaming like a woos. Again though, these flaws are so minor, no one will really care or probably even make the connection. There really isn't much to not like about this film.

Even though it bares a small resemblance to other major blockbuster films, The Avengers will hold its own as one heck of a comic book ensemble. Altogether, the action, comical dialog, music, and special effects help this movie excel to big heights that no other Marvel franchise has achieved.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) Review:

What is it about cartoons failing financially at the movies? What is missing in the transition from the TV to the big screen? Is it the lack of substance? Or could it be that a cartoon's charm is only limited to a twenty-minute time slot? I'm not quite sure myself but it is disappointing that most adaptations to the big screen end being a flop. Thankfully there are some that try really hard to stick to the old and not involve the characters in a non-cartoony plot.

A movie that can mirror this kind of description would be The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Sure this movie has not gained a whole lot of appreciation but for the fans who truly respect the original series, you can see why this movie is one of those live action cartoon movies that stands out from the others. How come? Because the film uses its goofiness from its original episodes and uses it throughout the film. This movie is similar to The Muppets (2011) movie plot. Over a certain length of time, Rocky and Bullwinkle have been forgotten in the past until they are needed again 35 years later.

Karen Sympathy (Perabo)
So has anything really changed character-wise in this movie, absolutely not. Rocky, Bullwinkle, Fearless Leader, Boris, Natasha and even the narrator are all in this movie. Even the screenplay between all live action characters are like the original. After a misunderstood conversation between Rocky and Bullwinkle, the narrator states, "Yes even their word play had become hackneyed and cheap" and then Bullwinkle replies to the narrator, "No, it was always like this". Oh how right you are Bullwinkle!

Rocky, Fearless Leader (DeNiro),
Boris (Alexander), Natasha (Russo),
& Bullwinkle Moose
Aside from the main cartoon characters, Piper Perabo who plays Agent Karen Sympathy is given the assignment to get the daring duo out of the cartoon world and into the real world. The mission: to stop the nefarious Fearless Leader played by Robert De Niro. De Niro is actually a wise choice for the role of Fearless Leader. I truly can't imagine another actor playing that part. Fearless Leader is a difficult cartoon character to mimic verbally and physically so I give De Niro credit for that. Jason Alexander and Rene Russo team up as the Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. They too both mimic their cartoon characters fairly well.

So what is there about this movie that makes it a good cartoon adaptation? Well besides the main cast, there are many famous actors that make cameo appearances. A couple that come to mind are John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Don Novello. Some play multiple characters while others play only one. Either way, this movie has a lot of star power.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle may look like another worthless cartoon adaptation but it sticks to its roots and gives all that it has. Thanks to a good cast of actors, not only are the cartoon characters supported but it also makes its cheery screenplay work well too.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Friday, September 28, 2012

The A-Team (2010) Review:

What's loud, energetic, and full of wisecracking military professionals? The A-Team of course! What's better than recreating the origins of the famous four that were falsely accused? That's what director Joe Carnahan does with this story and does it well may I might add. There are two major forces that make this movie great.

First is the cast. All the cast members know what their character's personalities are like and mimic them perfectly. Almost every time when the camera is focused on the fabulous four, there is always something comedy- like going on. The screenplay is so well thought out, one could almost think that it was taken from an actual A-Team episode back in the 80's.

Templeton "Face" Peck (Cooper) &
 Hannibal Smith (Neeson)
Liam Neeson who plays the cigar gnashing Hannibal Smith is a good choice. I still don't understand how someone can have a hankering for smoking one of those doorstops but it makes it all more believable. Next in line is upcoming star Bradley Cooper who portrays Face, Templeton Peck; yup he's the ladies man. There is no other option here. Cooper knows how to lay the charm on the women. He's fluent in French, that's a win right there!

Cpt. James "Howling Mad" Murdock (Copley)
& B.A. Baracus (Jackson)
After that is Sharlto Copley who plays Howling Mad Murdock. Boy is this guy the laughs of the outfit. He may not have as much history as an actor compared to the others but his impression of Murdock's character is superb. I knew this even before seeing the movie because of the trailer. "He tried starting an ambulance with a defibrillator....", just watching that segment made me realize Copley was the man for the part. Last but not least is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson who plays B.A. (Bad Attitude) Baracus. He may not be Mr. T but as a portrayal of Mr. T's character, it's as good as it comes! He even has "PITY" on one hand and "FOOL" on the other; that looks like a tribute to me.

The other thing that makes this movie great is the way the action sequences were executed. The action sequences may not be realistic or probable but they are ultimately creative in every sense. I don't recall watching a movie where a group uses a tank to soften their landing into a fishing bay. It's an interesting & exciting concept.

To put it into perspective, Joe Carnahan's version of The A-Team is well put together and full of energy. The cast captures the spirit and personalities of the 80's TV Show characters. To finish it off the plot gives a modernized twist on its original story, which makes it all the more fun to watch.

Points Earned --> 10:10