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Movie Review: 27 Dresses

Posted by silentarchimedes on December 23, 2008

Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden
Director: Anne Fletcher

27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl

27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl

One of the worst mainstream romantic comedies I have ever seen. And I’m not ripping on it because I’m a guy or anything. I actually enjoy rocoms a lot. When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Pretty Woman, Devil Wears Prada and While You Were Sleeping are all very enjoyable movies. However, most of the main romantic leads from the late 1980s and 1990s have retired their hearts and given way to a new generation of actresses vying for the coveted “Awwwww” award. Actresses such as Katherine Heigl, Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, and Drew Barrymore to name a few.

Well, 27 Dresses (2007) was the latest attempt that I saw. It is directed by Anne Fletcher, whose only other movie directed is Step Up. That’s already a bad sign. Now before I begin, the movie has a 3.7 rating in Netflix, but only a 2.7 for raters like me (IMDB: 6.2, RT:41%). I must say, Netflix is good. I hated this movie. The chemistry was horrible. The dialogue was pathetic. Heigl, with the exception of a few “awww” moments, doesn’t feel like a good romantic lead. The main male lead was weak and almost bordered on creepy, versus the rocoms in which male leads play a more prominent and endearing role (especially the first three I mentioned above). The ending was lame and unrealistic. Let’s move on, shall we…?

Warning: Lots of spoilers in review!

CHEMISTRY

The romantic chemistry between Jane (Katherine Heigl) and Kevin (James Marsden) was non-existent. for almost the entire movie. Jane was in complete disgust with Kevin. And I don’t mean just dislike or lack of any passion, but a complete hatred of everything that he stood for, especially against weddings and his stalkish actions. She must have angrily told him to get away from her at least five times in the movie. He even betrayed her trust when she was finally warming to him when his article about her appeared in the papers. The article lambasted her as a career bridesmaid with no hopes of marriage and rips on the weddings she has attended. I don’t care how she eventually realized he was right or that she had followed his column for years, but you don’t just forgive someone after being so blah and even angry at him for so long. And you don’t just fall in love with someone because of that and because you fight all the time (which is the reason she gave him when she pronounces she loves him). It’s stupid.

JANE (Katherine Heigl)

So it’s obvious from the title that the 27 dresses was the gimmick in this movie. That’s fine, except that there was nothing else in addition to it. They at least tried giving the Jane character some depth by developing the crush she had on her boss or her relationship with her sister but that was about it. Heigl seemed like an awkward big woman who had a hard time deciding whether she wanted the audience to take pity on her or to fall for her rare moments of cuteness or appreciate her emotional outbursts and sarcasm.  Her multiple anger sessions at Kevin seemed too over the top, “Can you please find somebody else to be creepy with?”, “You write the most beautiful things. Do you actually believe in love and marriage and just pretend to be a cynic or are you actually a cynic who knows how to spin romantic crap for girls like me?“, and yet she has drunken sessions with him. Heigl doesn’t have the romantic comedy aura that a Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts has. She’s too sarcastic, not cute, not sexy and not playful. Which leads to a bad romantic lead.

KEVIN (James Marsden)

He is such a loser. When a girl is so obviously disgusted at you, at some point, you have some pride and move on. The only reason he didn’t is because he wanted to write an article about her, and he took pity on the fact that she was a bridesmaid for 27 weddings and couldn’t land a freaking man. And what kind of guy writes a column on weddings? There was not one moment in the movie where you felt any sense of manliness and strength in him. The dialogue was pathetic. Lines like “You’d rather focus on other people’s Kodak moments than make memories of your own!“, “Love is patient, love is kind, love is slowly going out of your mind” or “I cried like a baby at the Keller wedding.” are so numbingly stupid. Add everything together, and the fact that Marsden looks so much smaller than Heigl, and the Kevin character becomes one of the weakest male romantic leads ever.

GEORGE (Edward Burns)

Speak up! What’s with the soft voice and sensitivity? And what was up with that kiss to Jane at the end? You’re telling me you couldn’t tell for all those years that your assistant liked you? And that kiss you planted was plain horrible. That’s why she didn’t feel anything. Jeesh. And who kisses his fiance’s sister the day after the sister spoiled  your engagement party. Absurd.

TESS (Malin Ackerman)

Shut up. You are a liar. You are a fraud. No matter what you lied. No chemistry between her and Jane either. Ackerman will be in Fletcher’s next rocom, The Proposal, which is due in 2009 and stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

TRENT (Maulik Pancholy)

Huh, a token Indian sidekick at a magazine workplace? Sorry, it didn’t work. Reaked of attempts to remind the audience of Harold and Kumar.

Overall, I give 27 Dresses 3 out of 10 stars

3 stars

Rating: 3 stars

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Movie Review: Stop-Loss

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 2, 2008

Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Abbie Cornish
Director: Kimberly Peirce

Stop-Loss

Stop-Loss

A quick review on the Iraq War movie, Stop-Loss. Although the movie only grossed $11 million on a $25 million dollar budget, it’s pretty apparent that the low numbers were impacted by the country’s disdain for the war and the setting in of war fatigue. America is still not ready to confront the many negative effects of the war because the reason for the war is unpopular. In a way, it’s unfortunate because the deaths and injuries of the many young soldiers still have not received the honor and attention they deserve. Instead the country has focused on the politics of the war, the economic effects of the war, and the negative treatment of enemy combatants. Stop-Loss is an attempt to address the controversial rule that allows the government to extend a soldier’s tour of duty without his consent. What the movie calls a back-door draft. The reason is to maintain combat strength and readiness in the war zone due to inadequacies in soldier numbers or experience. According to the movie, over 80,000 soldiers have been stop-lossed during the first five years of the Iraq War.

SYNOPSIS

The movie follows Staff Sargeant Brandon King’s return from the Iraq War and then shockingly stop-lossed right when he is ready to begin civilian life again. In leading up to the stop-loss, King realizes that the war has dramatically changed his soldiers and himself. Many of them are having difficulty adjusting to civilian life and patching up previous relationships. These observations contribute to his increasingly disdain for the war and the stop-loss was the ultimate last straw. He escapes from the barracks and becomes a fugitive. The rest of the movie follows his journey in seeking justice and also how he copes with his soldiers, the ethics surrounding the stop-loss, and his love for the country.

COMMENTS

Phillippe and Tatum

Ryan Phillippe and Channing Tatum

This movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, considering all the negative reviews about it. However, it is a very simplistic movie where the story line hinges on King’s belief the stop-loss is unjust. In trying to bring attention to the stop-loss process through the actions of King, the movie fails to develop any supporting characters. King’s best friend, Sargeant Steve Shriver’s actions are stereotypical and somewhat inconsistent at times. Michelle, Steve’s fiance, who joins King on his journey has no personality at all. It’s difficult to understand where her loyalties stand. The movie also fails in expressing the urgency of King’s fugitive status. King and Michelle drive her blue car throughout the entire process without any thought of trying to ditch the car. Any sign of the chase by police is glossed over several times by simply showing a random police car slowly driving around.

The movie is listed as 1 hour, 51 minutes, but it could have been roughly 20 to 30 minutes shorter. Phillippe actually does a decent job portraying King, and what he was given, a character with little actual development and stereotypical Texan life of cowboy hats, rifles, beer, country dancing, etc. Tatum also does a decent job with what he was given with, but Tatum has not fully proven himself as a lead dramatic role.

5 stars

Rating: 6 stars

Overall, I give Stop-Loss a 6 out of 10 stars.

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Denzel Washington plays the same character over and over again

Posted by silentarchimedes on September 29, 2008

I haven’t seen a Denzel Washington movie in a long time. The last one was probably Training Day. I am realizing why. It seems that in all his movies he plays the same character and I’m getting mixed up in which movie was what. Is it just me or does Denzel Washington play the same character over and over again? I mean just look at his mainstream movies since Devil in a Blue Dress!

For an actor who is known to have such range and be in so many critically and publicly acclaimed movies, you would think he would play a wider variety of roles. Of his 22 lead movies since 1995’s Devil in a Blue Dress, Washington has played a character that has some sort of police, federal or armed forces authority influence 15 times! That is close to 70% of the time! When you factor in his other authority roles as a drug lord in American Gangster, football coach in Remember the Titans, and police drama in John Q, Washington plays some sort of authority role 82% of the time (18 of 22 films)! Not to mention that Inside Man 2 has been announced.

The final question becomes, is Denzel Washington typecasted or does he prefer to play such roles? Why change? All his movies are highly rated and he’s still considered a great actor, for the most part. Crimson Tide continues to be one of my favorite movies.

22. 2009. The Taking of Pelham 123 Lieutenant

21. 2007. American Gangster – drug lord

20. 2007. Great Debaters – poet

19. 2006. Inside Manpolice detective

18. 2006. Deja VuATF agent

17. 2004. Man on Fireformer federal agent

16. 2004. Manchurian CandidateArmed Forces Captain

15. 2003. Out of Timepolice chief

14. 2002. Antwone FisherNavy psychiatrist

13. 2001. Training Daypolice detective

12. 2001. John Q – blue collar worker

11. 2000. Remember the Titans – football coach

10. 1999. The Bone Collectorpolice detective

9. 1999. The Hurricane – boxer

8. 1998. Fallen police detective

7. 1998. He Got Game – convict/father

6. 1998. The SiegeFBI Agent

5. 1996. Courage Under FireArmed Forces Lt. Colonel

4. 1996. The Preacher’s Wife – angel

3. 1995. Virtuosityex-cop

2. 1995. Crimson Tidenavy officer

1. 1995. Devil in a Blue Dresswar veteran

It seems like the really great actors are the ones that excel at a wide variety of roles. Ed Norton is a great example of this.

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Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

Posted by silentarchimedes on June 29, 2008

Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
Director: Louis Leterrier

I finally got a chance to see The Incredible Hulk last night. I usually wait a week or two before seeing a blockbuster, only because I don’t like crowded theaters. They influence my movie experience, for better or worse. I never saw the Ang Lee version of this movie a few years ago, so I don’t have that to compare this one too. I’m also so-so on superhero and comic book movies because most of them sabotage the comic storylines for sake of special effects or blockbuster status. I think the Spider-man series, Fantastic Four series, and X-Men series have been overrated; especially the first two. However, there have been notable exceptions, such as the original Blade with Wesley Snipes, Superman Returns, Batman Begins, and Iron Man, especially the last two. All incorporate the comicky action and cinematography with beautiful storylines that capture the always-required inner conflict of super heroes. As for the 2008 Incredible Hulk, my interest piqued when I read that one of my favorite dramatic actors, Edward Norton, would not only be playing the Hulk but be heavily invested in the storyline with Marvel comics.

THE CAST REVIEW

Edward Norton is one of those actors that plays the part of conflicted characters very well. His roles as Derek Vinyard in American History X, Worm in Rounders and the narrator in Fight Club are quite memorable. It is unfortunate that he does not make more movies. The role of the Hulk appeared to be right up his alley, a character conflicted by his alter-ego; one so monstrous that he only wishes to destroy rather than control it. However, his performance was unbalanced. I prefer to blame that on the inconsistent character development rather than Norton. Cliched images of Banner half-naked in angst did not give Norton enough to work with.

Liv Tyler’s role in the Hulk, as my friend mentions, is exactly the same as her role in Armageddon. She plays a small role as the supportive and emotional love interest of the hero. She cries. She whispers sweet nothings. She gets in the way. Even her role as Arwen in the Lord of the Rings is similar. I’m unsure why she continues to take these simple one-dimensional roles.

I was surprised that Tim Roth played the arch-enemy in this movie. Although he usually plays bad guys, he didn’t seem believable as someone that wanted power at all costs. His scrawny build and sarcastic face made it hard to believe that he had so much military stature. To overcome that would’ve required more character development, which there was none. His trademark line in the movie, “Is that all you’ve got?!” is pathetic.

THE BAD

The assumption that everyone knows the story of the Hulk is incorrect. The only mention of how Bruce Banner became the Hulk is during the opening credits. This leads to many weaknesses in the movie. Without understanding how Banner got to where he is, it is hard to commiserate with his angst and the close romance with Elizabeth Ross. Batman Begins does this very well in introducing the agony of the character.

The lack of character development is also apparent. Bruce is already on the run when the movie begins and has a new life working in a factory in South America. He communicates with an unknown person via satellite but we have no idea how they met. Elizabeth and him have very strong emotions for each other throughout the movie, but we are just supposed to take this closeness for granted. The relationship between Elizabeth and the Army General was also inconsistently developed. Finally, the Emil (Roth) character’s thirst for power and hunger to fight Hulk appears psychotic, at best.

THE GOOD

The first scenes in this movie are unique. Having him in a poor, crowded village in South America shows the extent of his desire to remove himself from the source of angst. The cinematography and choice of locations, such as forests and waterfalls stick to the comic-book feel. The mass usage of US Army arsenal and its inability to stop him, even with their latest technologies, also stuck to the comic book genre.

The action in this movie is worth the price of admission. The action sequence is like a sine wave. Most action scenes occur when Bruce Banner is Hulk. The time between the Hulk episodes are filled with damage control and story development. The computer graphics is very believable (although still not at par with 1993’s Jurassic Park).

Norton does a good enough job to make this movie more than just an action movie. He just didn’t have enough to work with to really develop Bruce Banner enough.

THE VERDICT

The Incredible Hulk is definitely better than the 2003 Hulk. Although I never saw the 2003 version, it is apparent simply by looking at the CG and the actors involved. The action sequences in this movie are what make it stand out. The CG and the power of the monsters are believable. This movie attempts to be dramatic too and that’s where it comes up a bit short. The attempt is to be commended but inconsistent storylines and lack of character development leave the audience detached from the characters. It would’ve been interesting to see the two directors switch places, as Lee is more of a dramatic director than Transporter’s Leterrier. Lee working with Norton would have been interesting.

Overall, this is a good movie and a good start to a very popular comic book hero. Norton’s close involvement in this movie is a good sign as he is a perfectionist and will do what he thinks is necessary to improve its weaknesses, even it means complaining in public. Sequels are due for this movie as hints are strewn throughout. It will either be another Hulk only sequel or might comprise of Hulk as part of the Avengers superhero series. The comic book feel of this movie keeps it true to its roots.


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Rating: 7 out of 10 Hulk figurines

What did you think of The Incredible Hulk?
a) 1- the worst
b) 2-4
c) 5
d) 6
e) 7
f) 8
g) 9
h) 10 – the best
View Results

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Top 5 most overrated and underrated movies

Posted by silentarchimedes on June 22, 2008

Top 5 most overrated and underrated movies

Here is my list of the top 5 most overrated movies I’ve seen, in no particular order:

1. Shrek series (2001-2007) – These movies are not funny at all. The story lines are completely predictable. I’ll let the original Shrek pass, but an 8.0 on IMDB? Come on! If you are under 10 years old, ok, the movies are cute, and jokes are funny. Like the Little Pig saying, “He hooffed und he poooffed und he… signed an eviction notice.” Who comes up with those lines??

2. Princess Bride (1987) – I think I’m missing something in this movie, because it seems like everyone LOVES this movie. I found it boring and corny.

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3. Sideways (2004) – Two men in mid-life crisis take a trip to wine country? The title for the movie is appropriate. It went sideways, nothing happened.

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4. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Steve Carrell was funny, but he had such a small part. I wanted to punch the girl in the face!

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5. English Patient (1996) – This is the only movie I’ve ever wanted to walk out of the theater. It was way longer than it needed to be. And the agony of watching desert scenes in slow motion. Arghhh…

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Here is my list of the top 5 most underrated movies I’ve seen, in no particular order:

1. Legend of Drunken Master (1994) – None of my friends have seen this movie, but it is Jackie Chan at his best; funny, dangerous and funny stunts, amazing martial arts and a cute storyline. The supporting cast is also one of the best.

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2. Seven Samurai (1954) – I don’t like Kurosawa’s other movies like Ran and Rashomon, but this movie is storytelling at its best. Even watching the 4-hour director’s cut flew by.

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3. Wall Street (1987) – Although a bit stereotypical and simplistic at times, this movie exemplifies the capitalistic goals of greed and power at any cost.

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4. A Bronx Tale (1993) – One of my favorite De Niro movies ever. A very powerful movie that uses simple and soft storytelling to portray the reality of the narrator’s perspective. A blue-collar coming of age story in 1960s New York City when racial divides and mafia/cultural traditions collide.

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5. Duel (1970) – One of Steven Spielberg’s earliest directorial performances. A masterpiece of suspense, anxiety and fear.

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I plan to update these at some point to 10 movies each and order them.

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Top 10 Favorite Futuristic Society Films

Posted by silentarchimedes on June 13, 2008

My favorite movies about futuristic society. This includes big brother movies, apocalyptic movies, alien invasions, and science fiction movies with relevance to future society on earth.

Thanks to Netflix for the little movie frames, and the movie summaries!

Honorable Mention 4. Day After Tomorrow (2004) – After years of unabated global warming, the greenhouse effect is wreaking havoc all over the globe in the form of catastrophic hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, floods and, most ominously, the beginning of the next Ice Age. Paleoclimatologist Adrian Hall (Dennis Quaid) tries to save the world while also shepherding to safety his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who was in New York when the city was overwhelmed by the beginnings of the new big freeze.

Honorable Mention 3. Sixth Day (2000) -“Ah-nuld” is back and brawnier than ever! This time, Schwarzenegger is a helicopter pilot who finds himself on the “To Do” list of a murderous tycoon (Tony Goldwyn). The good news is that the hit gets botched. The bad news is that Goldwyn has cloned Arnold, who must fight to get his life back. An action-packed spin on the ethical quandary of cloning, The 6th Day is future-perfect.

Honorable Mention 2. The Island (2005) – Michael Bay’s stylish sci-fi thriller stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as members of a strictly regulated indoor futuristic colony who hope to win the lottery, a contest in which the grand prize is a trip to a utopian island, reportedly the last uncontaminated place on Earth. But a startling discovery about the true nature of “the Island” — and their very existence — leads the two to stage a desperate escape to the outside world.

Honorable Mention 1. Mad Max (1979) – In the postapocalyptic future, motorcycle cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) has had enough. The Australian outback’s empty stretches of highway have become bloodstained battlegrounds, and Max has seen too many killings at the hands of marauding bikers who feed on violence. He tries to retire, but his world is shattered when a malicious gang murders his family as an act of retaliation. Devastated, Max hits the open road seeking vengeance.

10. Fahrenheit 451 (1966) – Ray Bradbury’s cautionary near-future parable of a society where books are banned and firemen start fires was the only English-language film from French auteur François Truffaut. Oscar Werner is the conflicted fireman Montag, and Julie Christie has a dual role. The score is by Truffaut favorite Bernard Hermann, of Psycho fame. For an extra level of subtle satire, look closely at the carefully chosen book titles.

9. Armageddon (1998) – As an asteroid tumbles toward Earth, NASA director Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) hatches a plan to split the fireball in two before it can annihilate the entire planet. To do so, he calls on the world’s finest oil driller, Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), who assembles a team he feels can handle the task. With only two days to save humanity, the guys head to space to destroy the rock, while the folks back home pray for their success.

8. Total Recall (1990) – Life is mind-bending and chaotic in director Paul Verhoeven’s violent, Oscar-winning sci-fi adventure based on a Philip K. Dick story. When construction worker Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) discovers a memory chip in his brain during a virtual-reality trip, he also discovers that his past has been invented to conceal a plot of planetary domination. Soon, he’s off to Mars to find out who he is and who planted the chip…

7. Gattaca (1997) – With one eye on his dream of working in outer space, a genetically flawed “In-Valid” (Ethan Hawke) hires a DNA broker (Tony Shalhoub) to help him obtain more desirable genetic material from a paralyzed man (Jude Law). In the process, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful “Valid” (Uma Thurman) with a heart defect. Screenwriter Andrew Niccol also directs this futuristic thriller, which marks his debut in the feature-length realm.

6. War of the Worlds (2005) – You know the story: Invading Martians equipped with ships that shoot unstoppable disintegration rays attempt to overwhelm the Earth. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells (and adapted into a famous 1953 movie starring Gene Barry), this version stars Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning as a father and daughter trying to keep one step ahead of the destroying Martians while humanity tries to muster a defense … any defense! Steven Spielberg directs.

5. I, Robot (2004) – Inspired by Isaac Asimov’s work, this techno-thriller stars Will Smith as Del Spooner, a mid-21st century Chicago cop investigating the murder of a scientist. Wary of technology, Spooner’s not the perfect man for the job, but he takes it on anyway, aided by expert Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan). When Spooner discovers that an android (Alan Tudyk) may be the culprit, he realizes the entire human race could be at the mercy of machines.

4. Minority Report (2002) – Thrills, spills and kills — well, not the last, if Tom Cruise can help it. Cruise plays John Anderton, a top Pre-Crime cop in the late-21st century, when technology can predict crimes before they’re committed. But Anderton becomes the quarry when another investigator (Colin Farrell) targets him for a murder charge. Can Anderton find a glitch in the system and prove his innocence before it’s too late?

3. Planet of the Apes (1968] – Charlton Heston stars in one of the ’60s’ most beloved camp classics. Bewildered astronaut George Taylor (Heston) crash-lands on a strange planet ruled by intelligent apes who use primitive humans for experimentation and sport. Taylor quickly finds himself among the hunted as he struggles to escape the apes’ power — and uncover their darkest secret.

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – In this sequel to his first Terminator hit, director James Cameron delivers scene after scene of action-packed thrills. A bigger, better Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is gunning for a shape-shifting T-1000 who’s out to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong, in his film debut), the son of Sarah (Linda Hamilton), the original Terminator’s nemesis.

1. The Matrix (1999) – In this complex story that aspires to mythology, a computer hacker (Keanu Reeves) searches for the truth behind the mysterious force known as the Matrix. He finds his answer with a group of strangers led by the charismatic Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). What they encounter in confronting that truth makes for a lightning-paced, eye-popping thrill ride of a movie that cleverly combines sociopolitical commentary with cutting-edge special effects.

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Movie Review – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted by silentarchimedes on June 2, 2008

Cast: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen
Director: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg teams up with Harrison Ford to continue the Indian Jones series after an 18 year layoff. This movie seems to be another in the line of successful movie franchises from many years past going through a modern resurrection. Die Hard 4 from 2007, twelve years after the last one. New modern adaptations of Superman and Batman. I have to say all three are either better or at least as good as the originals. However, I cannot say same thing about Indiana Jones. This franchise appears to be on its last legs and if it was the last one, it did not go out with a bang the way Die Hard did.

WHY I SAW THIS MOVIE

If you grew up in the 1980s, as I did, the Indiana Jones franchise was the perfect combination of action, adventure, comedy and star power. How can one forget Short Round from Temple of Doom or Sean Connery in Last Crusade? Harrison Ford is one of those few actors that has that serious and suave yet amusing demeanor that we all love. Sean Connery is another one of those.

THE CAST

Harrison Ford, one of the preeminent actors in the 1990s hasn’t transitioned to older roles in the way we all thought he would, partly due to his lack of roles. Crystal Skull is only his fourth film since 2000. None of the previous three cracked $50million in cumulative US box office receipts. Teaming up with Steven Spielberg to create an automatic $100million seemed the logical career move.

Cate Blanchett, well known for her roles as Elizabeth of England and Oscar-winning role in The Aviator, is cast as the KGB psychologist. Her role in Babel is also worthy of notice. Although not as prolific as other actresses, due to her strict role selections, she has become a top-tier actress.

Shia LaBeouf is an up and coming actor best known for playing Sam Witwicky in Transformers and Louis Stevens in the Disney series Even Stevens.

PREMISE

Set in the 1960s, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones is taken out of his teaching job after the KGB kidnap him to locate an unknown box in a big warehouse somewhere along the lines of Area 51. Indy is not sure what is in the box even though he assisted the government in digging up its contents in the first place. After the KGB find what they want, they continue to pester Indy for “knowledge”. Unable to stay at peace, Indy takes a leave of absence and heads for England. However, he is met by a motorcycle-riding youngster named Mutt who asks for his assistance in locating a crystal skull because his mother and friend Oxley has been kidnapped. Thus, Indy travels throughout the world in search of this crystal skull and its significance.

REVIEW

The Kingdom of Crystal Skulls is not up to par with the first three Indiana Jones. I had a hard time deciding if the movie wanted to be taken seriously or comically. The casting of Blanchett seemed to support the latter one, because it’s so out of her ordinarily serious roles. She reminded me of the loud and stereotyped Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers. Harrison Ford is noticeably older in this movie and doesn’t pull it off well. (Remember Connery playing his dad but was only 12 years his elder in real life?) A lot of the major action scenes are actually left up to LaBeouf and Blanchett. Jones’ ability to take those punches and bear hugs from enemies seem to be so painful now knowing he is in his sixties.

Blanchett appears to have fun playing the role of KGB hardwoman Irina. Irina has the stereotypical Soviet hard and loud accent with angular movements forced by the long boots and rigidity of the uniform. There are many fight scenes for Irina and Blanchett seems to enjoy doing something different than her typical roles. However, it was still hard to take seriously given the stereotypes and her background.

LaBeouf also not a good cast for the part of Mutt Williams. He seemed to over-act the part in trying to be a cool 1950s motorcycle-riding switch-blading bad-ass. His accent was over the top and his attempts at young humor against the ancient Ford just wasn’t funny. It would be hard to picture him as carrying the lead role of Indiana Jones in future renditions.

Finally, the role of Karen Allen as Marion was unbearable to watch. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, she was 27 years younger and was able to pull off the flirty, annoying, bossy love interest of Indy. However, in reprising that role here, it was just purely annoying. All her jokes were predictable, and all her actions were unbearable. In trying to close out Harrison Ford’s character, they tried to bring it full circle while adding a young character in Mutt. It just didn’t work

As for the movie story, the ending is a hit or miss with the audience. The powers of the crystal skull seemed to allow them to get out of jams too easily. The appearance of natives and enemies are more random than in the previous three. It was obvious that LaBeouf was casted in an attempt to hand off the franchise to a younger actor, leaving an opening for future movies. Overall, this movie does not meet Indiana Jones fans’ expectations and lacks the storylines and pure action that the other resurrected franchises achieved.

VERDICT

Rating: 6 out of 10 Indiana Jones fedoras

What did you think of Kingdom of Crystal Skulls?

1) worst of the four
2) one of the worst
3) one of the better ones
4) the best one
5) haven’t seen it, but plan to
6) haven’t seen it, don’t plan to

View Results

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