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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Am Legend (2007)

The other day I saw I Am Legend for the first time, and I was disappointed. I thought Will Smith’s character was truly going to become a legend. And I guess he did, somewhat.


I thought he was going to truly become an awesome hero, but when you watch the film, you can see that he lets himself, and all of us, down. There’s a scene in which he goes a little crazy, and puts himself into a precarious situation. Then he becomes injured, and his dog pal defends him. His dog becomes infected by the mutant virus, and has to be put down. Then Will Smith becomes suicidal, and needs to be saved by a woman who accidentally leads the mutants back to his house. Then he realizes he cured the mutation disease, but the mutants are about to destroy it. So he suicide bombs them to save the cure, the lady who saved him, and her young companion.

You trace all this chaos back to one moment, and it’s the moment when Will Smith went a little crazy. There was no reason he had to die. It was very stupid. I thought maybe if they justified it, and there was some sort of difficulty that he faced that caused him to become overwhelmed and make a heroic sacrifice, then maybe his death would’ve been acceptable. You could argue that the psychological difficulty was enough for that. But I expected truly legendary behavior, and what I got was a guy who was succumbing to the psychological effects of prolonged isolation. I guess it’s more down to earth.

What really stuck out as lame was the fact that he himself had engineered that isolation, and it turns out that there was a colony of survivors just a state or two away. He was so dead-set on the idea that he was the only one left alive, and he refused to leave Ground Zero. But I think if he really was as brilliant as his character was supposed to be, then he would have done the research and investigation that would have lead him to the colony, where he could’ve conducted his experiments and research with a greater and swifter degree of success. This would then have entailed his survival, as he would not be living alone in a town full of monsters. Also it’s lame that the woman who saved him lead the monsters to him.

What’s weird, though, is that in a preview for the film a long time ago, I remember him standing next to a monster, and looking pretty much whipped. I’m wondering if there is an alternate ending in which he didn’t succeed… Hope not!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Commercials = Movie Spoilers

If you wait long enough to see a movie, chances are a commercial or two will spoil some of the surprises that were previously advertised. Some of us have cable packages that enable us to watch films fairly soon after they come out, for a nominal fee. For those hard-core individuals who’re really into saving money, you can just wait until the film comes out on HBO, Cinemax, or even basic cable.

Especially in these harsh economic times, cutting costs wherever possible is a good idea. When the new Indiana Jones film came out, I didn’t go see it right away. In fact, I haven’t seen it at all yet. I was curious to see the reason they included a younger actor as a sort of sidekick. I’d heard a couple rumors and hints through various interviews that he could possibly continue the Indiana Jones saga all by himself, without Harrison Ford. I wondered why.


Yesterday I saw an ad that made it very clear that he was Indiana Jones’s son. I guess it makes sense that DVD sellers would want to hype up the film again, and in order to exceed previous hype levels they have to throw in another tidbit or two. It’s just too bad that waiting to see a movie can lessen its intended impact.

I’m sure I’ll still enjoy it. After all, Indiana Jones is tops.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Full Screen vs. Wide Screen

When I was a kid I hated wide screen movies. I couldn't wrap my head around them. Why were those black bars blocking the sky and ground? It was limiting. I chose full screen.

When I got older I finally realized that full screen is truly the limited format, as it chops off the left and right to fit a rectangular film into a square TV. The top and bottom are the same whether you choose wide screen or full screen, but with wide screen you can see further left and right.

So now I love wide screen. I also think it's neat how some flat screen TVs are being made in the wide screen shape.

Here's a Mad TV video detailing the benefits of wide screen:

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Live Action Dragon Ball Z Film

I don't have many details on this film. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to look them up. The main reason I decided to mention it is because I recently saw a couple of pictures that blew my mind.

They were mind-blowing because I had pretty much forgotten about the film, and seeing a picture with proof of production made me wonder -- will the film be good? It looks like the special effects will be.

So it seems like the son from "War of the Worlds" (Tom Cruise's character's son) is a young Goku. They did a great job with his hair. In one image I saw, he's holding an orb of energy. At first I thought he was creating a ball of pure power, but then I got the impression it was a Dragon Ball. Neat. It's real. The movie is real!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Predator (1987)

What a terrific film. The direction is amazing, and the music is incredible. Alan Silvestri did such a great job with building the emotional heights through music. Some parts remind me of "Back to The Future," which he also did the music for.

Wikipedia says Silvestri "was coming off the huge success of Back to the Future in 1985. Predator was his first major action movie and the score is full of his now familiar genre characteristics: heavy horn blasts, staccato string rhythms, and undulating timpani rolls that highlight the action and suspense." Awesome!!!

I really like the scene that comes after the huge buildup of suspense, where all the soldiers know something's really weird, but don't quite know how -- or who -- or what. And then one of them finally sees the Predator, camouflaged, who just killed his best friend. And the guy goes nuts, opens fire, exhausts his weapon, and picks up his buddy's minigun. Mowing down the forest, shouting his head off. And then Arnold and crew show up and join in. Just firing a wall of bullets into the forest. That's a pretty powerful scene. Then again, maybe some people would think it's corny, or macho. What's wrong with macho?!

I finally saw the scene where the Native American guy laughs, and I realized that must have been where the Predator captured the laugh audio, for when he laughs at the end, just before nuking the forest. It all makes sense now! I see the light!!

Suffice it to say, I really enjoy this film.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

James Bond In The Sixties

Lately the Spike channel has been playing James Bond films weekday mornings, so I've been watching a few. It's interesting to compare the culture of our hero from back then with that of today.

In a couple of films (at least) Sean Connery seemed to behave toward women as objects that he could use to aid him in his mission or relax with. Of course this seems pretty standard for any Bond, but I think modern Bond treats women as (near-?)equals to a greater degree than Sixties Bond.

This morning, Diamonds Are Forever was on, and the female lead talked down to Bond and treated him like a child. I thought maybe that was feminine power reasserting itself after a few films of being trod upon.

It was interesting to see another woman's behavior toward Bond versus toward another man. This woman's at a casino, and some guy invites her to stick around, or leave with him, or whatever, and she takes his face in her hands and consoles him that "He's a nice guy, really," but that he's just not right for her. She's about to leave, when she hears Bond placing a bet of something like ten thousand dollars.

Interest piqued, she walks over and insinuates herself into his gambling, taking his dice and throwing them on his behalf. She doesn't do too well. A few minutes later, after he's won $50,000, he gives her $5,000 for her trouble. Then her eyes light up and she remarks that although he's weird, he's a really great guy. He takes her back to his hotel room, and she says it's great. Then thugs throw her out a window (into a pool). Bond then spent some time with the authoritative female lead.

So Bond won the other woman not with looks, charm, charisma, or heroics, but with money. I guess everybody's got their own idea of who the perfect "somebody" is...

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Seven Days TV Pilot

On TV it was 2 hours. For every hour of scheduled programming, usually there are 20 minutes of commercials. So the two episode pilot was 80 minutes long. And boy was it awesome! Good enough to be considered among the ranks of movies.

At the end of the credits, the info said 1998. Something that struck me as interesting about the series is that there are various references made to terrorist threats, a few of which coincided with 9/11. The series ran for 3 seasons, and was canceled in May of 2001. Four months later was 9/11.

What are these references, you ask? Well, in a few different episodes, they mention Osama bin Laden as being dangerous. I'd never even heard of him until after 9/11. And in the pilot episode, a (Russian) terrorist flies a plane into the White House.

Ok, all that aside, the first two episodes were amazing. They featured a fantastic introduction to the series and the scifi. For those who aren't familiar with the premise of the show, it's all about time travel. Something goes wrong for America, and the main character pilots a metal sphere built with alien technology back in time 7 days. Then, with his knowledge of the future, he prevents the bad stuff from happening again. It's awesome.

What was really freaky was the very first scene of the very first episode. You see the craft, in space, with the door floating nearby, and the chrononaut floating outside, frozen, dead. So the question becomes, will our hero suffer the same fate?

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