Following the success of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, there was a resurgence of his book to movie adaptations in the 90’s. Many of these were panned by critics, and I’ll be reviewing a few of them here, since I still like them. One of the hated, released in 1995, was Congo.
I didn’t see this in the theater, I saw it on TV after the fact. Still, I thought it was a pretty fun movie. For those who haven’t seen it, this movie goes like this. Media conglomerate guy sends his son in search of a diamond to power a laser, which is to be used for communications. He gets attacked, and they send his girlfriend/coworker after him. In order to get into that area of the Congo, they tag along with a primate scientist guy (I’m super smart and eloquent), who is going to return a captive gorilla to the wild. Said gorilla can speak using sign language, and has sensors on her to turn her signing into speech.
Hokey? Yup. Still thought it was good? Yup.
What they find, is a temple protected by these grey killer gorillas, who were bred by their makers to be killers to protect the diamonds. Hilarity ensues. That’s pretty much the gist of the movie. Still, I thought it was entertaining. The killer gorilla part was done well, the special effects and animatronics were awesome and very believable, and the acting was solid.
Hell, it had Bruce fucking Campbell and Tim goddamn Curry in it. Granted, Bruce was in it for all of 5 minutes or less, but still. Besides, Curry was a complete lunatic in it, which he does REALLY well. It also has Ernie Hudson as the tour guide, who was fucking awesome as well!
So, even though parts of this may have come off as silly (which I think was intentional), I think that overall this was a cool and fun movie. The idea of the grey apes being bred and trained to be intelligent psycho guardians was awesome, and the effects and suspense was done really well. I’m not sure why it got the hate it did, I certainly don’t think it deserved it.
I figured I’d start this series with one of the most despised and put down movies of my generation, and a movie that I’ve seen multiple times and very much enjoy. That movie is none other than The Postman, starring Kevin Costner.
This movie is largely panned as being “waterworld on land”, something that is pretty far from being true. Firstly, while I don’t think it’s a great movie, I also enjoyed Waterworld, and can watch it without a problem. I wouldn’t own it….well, I would’ve owned it if Jeanne Tripplehorn had a raucous sex scene where she was nude the entire time, but alas, my wishes fell on deaf ears. Besides, I personally think Waterworld gets the hate because of how expensive it was to make vs how unexceptional it is. Regardless of that, though, we’re here to talk about The Postman, so let’s get to it.
First of all, if you haven’t seen it, this movie is LONG. Like 3.5 hours or some shit. It’s like Lord of the Rings without the walking montages and fight scenes. The movie takes place in a post apocalyptic US, where a militant faction is gaining power, and people are clustered in small walled off towns that don’t communicate with outsiders. Costner plays a wanderer who gets caught by a military leader played by Will Patton, who rocks BTW, and gets conscripted into his faction. He eventually escapes, after pissing Patton off, and goes on the run.
He stumbles across a mail truck in the woods beside a road. The truck had crashed, killing the driver, and he took the skeleton’s clothes to keep warm. He also took the mail as an angle to gain access to towns and get fed. He comes to a town where he spins a tale about the US government being intact, and starting up mail routes for communication. He knocks up a hottie here as well, since some people can’t conceive after the fallout. The army shows up, sees an American flag, and hilarity ensues. Costner flees with Abby (the hottie), since she’s preggo with his kid, and tries to get her to a safe haven so the kid can be born in safety. He ends up starting a mail service, with the help of a kid he inspired, returning communication to the towns. It all leads him to an eventual battle with Patton.
The movie, I think, has a good story. It’s not a new or innovative story, but it’s solid. Costner’s character grows as a person, as do other characters. The acting is decent, and the ride is fun. Hell, it has freaking Tom Petty as a wacky leader of a town! The visuals are cool for the time, and the immersion is done well. It portrays a post apocalyptic US as it may likely be, with people huddled together in towns, trying to maintain a semblance of civility and community, while attempting to minimize the influence of the rouge military faction attempting to gain power. It also emphasizes how something as simple as snail mail communication can bring people in that type of situation hope, and inspire them to try pushes the boundaries and opening up to try rebuilding the world. It may not be a 5* movie, but it definitely doesn’t deserve the hate it got, IMHO. Sure, it could’ve been an hour shorter, but that was my gripe when I saw Goodfellas. That movie dragged like hell, and it killed my interest in it. Write me off as a nutjob if you want, but I’d rather watch this movie than Goodfellas or The Godfather, two movies I loathe.
So there you have it. This flick, while not groundbreaking, is not a complete horror show. It’s actually a decent movie with plenty of good aspects, and far more than other shit show movies that’ve won awards (I’m looking at you, No Country…yes, I hated that as well). While it may not be everyone’s speed, and could possibly just be a niche movie, I don’t think it’s deserving of the hate.
I know I’ve been reviewing a fair amount of movies here lately, which was never really my intention for this blog. Mostly, I started this to just bitch about stuff, but recently I spoke to another movie reviewer and an interesting topic arose. The hated. The movies that most people really dislike, and are widely known as “bad movies”. Problem is, I really like a lot of them. In honor of my apparently poor taste in film, I decided to start doing reviews of the hated, and why I think they’re awesome and/or fun. Keep an eye out, this shit is coming soon….
So last weekend, I ventured back out to the movies again to see the latest Star Trek film. I should let it be known first that I was not crazy about the 2009 Star Trek movie, due to how they made the changes to everything that was previously canon, and I’m not even a trekker (don’t call them trekkies, it only inspires violent responses). I just think the whole time travel thing was a cheap way of rebooting the franchise, but I get that it’s pretty much all hollywood/abrams have in their bag of tricks. Apart from that, it was…meh. But we’re not roasting that one, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
So unlike my previous reviews, I’m actually going to have massive spoilers in this, so if you don’t want it ruined, then stop reading.
To start with, I’m gonna address the “controversial” issue of JJ’s use of lens flares. Simon Pegg actually came out on JJ’s side on this one, saying that the first person to gripe about this was probably some film student who wanted to use a buzzword to sound relevant. The truth is, even I noticed the lens flare thing because I used to mess with photoshop back in the day, and it was a cool effect to use in some situations. I don’t condemn it’s use in movies, it has its place. Pegg mentions how it enhances certain types of scenes, and I could see that. The problem I have is that he uses them in almost every fucking scene. Its overuse makes its artistic impact and scene enhancement completely washed out and pointless.
That out of the way, I wanna start with the statement that I did actually enjoy this movie, much more than the first new one. It was an enjoyable ride, full of eye candy, but not to be taken too seriously. The acting was mostly solid, especially by Cumberbatch. He was seriously the best part of the movie, and if you haven’t watched Sherlock on BBC, you’re missing out. He’s amazing in that as well. The action sequences and visuals were great, at least the parts you can see behind the lens flares are. The fight scenes are great, and the fight with the Klingons was fucking epic. It was great to see Khan’s wicked fighting prowess really shine. The other characters, both new and old, were also written pretty well. Also, seeing the blonde chick in her underwear was fantastic.
I’ll try and go as chronologically as possible with my issues with the movie now. To start out, they are on some planet trying to save the indigenous people from a volcano, but can’t be seen. As such, they land the Enterprise in the ocean of the planet…yeah, I thought that was stupid too. They can’t be seen, so they land an enormous starship a mile or two away under the water. Right. So then, Spock needs to be beamed up, but they need line of sight. You know what has great line of sight? ORBIT! There was literally no logic or point to the Enterprise breaking atmo. None. Next, there’s all this drama about the Enterprise being taken away from Kirk for his actions…which lasted all of 15 minutes. Now he’s back in command as if nothing happened, all because his mentor got killed. Just seemed like a long way to go for that one.
Catching Khan was cool, and Khan himself was excellent. That’s why I have gripes with how they shafted him. Let’s face it, the movie is rife with predictability, and Khan is supposed to have a far superior intellect. Now, all of a sudden, he’s able to be thwarted by a stupid slight of hand trick. When McCoy is trying to open the first torpedo, the Enterprise detects that the torpedo goes active, yet Khan is somehow unable to do so when he beams them aboard the dreadnought. Come on, guys. Why not demand the cryo tubes instead of the explosive devices? It just seemed like they hyped him up to be so awesome, and he was played in such an awesome way, and then they just hose him through the stupidest way possible.
Then we get to the whole Spock screaming “KHAAAAAAAAN” thing, which was so obvious, out of place, and forced. I dunno if it was the acting, or just the absurdity of the whole thing, since we all knew that Kirk was gonna be revived anyways. Why else would Bones inject a dead animal with Khan’s blood? Also, he injected that thing like a day before it came back to life. I”m pretty sure Kirk would’ve been brain dead at that point. But hey, smoke and mirrors, right?
So like I said, it wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a great movie. The story was very predictable, the plot was full of holes, old Spock interfered with history again, the acting was mostly top notch, and the action was kick ass. This is just one step above a pure eye candy flick. I don’t do the stars or number rating thing. I’ll just say that I’d still recommend this for people to see in the theaters, and I’ll likely pick it up on Blu Ray. It’s definitely worth the big screen enjoyment, it’s just not the epic awesomeness that some folks are making it out to be.