Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Jumpers and Spiderwick Chronicles

Watched two movies on the way to SFO:

Jumpers is an action movie about a guy who discovers that he has the power of teleportation, as well as his subsequent run-in with a secret government-sponsored organization that is set up to kill his kind. There are really not many surprises in this movie, the action is passable, and I did kind of like the premise. This is one of those movies that’s very watchable when you are stuck iun a jetliner for 12 hours, but otherwise it would be a waste of money to rent it.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is an action/fantasy movie about a house plagued by goblins. The owner, Arthur Spiderwick, wrote a book about faeries, and now the evil ogre Mograth is trying to get that book (an obviously has been for 80 years, the poor bastard needs a life). When the great-grand-nephews of Arthur move into the house and discover the book, all hell breaks loose.

As you’d expect, the premise works out to another crummy Hollywood fantasy movie. The beginning is alright but it deteriorates quickly. The design of the monsters in the book shown in the first minutes – is pretty neat and reminds me of Brian Froud’s work, but the ones in the movie itself are normal CGI fare. If I had to sum it up in a few words, I would describe Spiderwick Chronicles as a cross between The Gate and Labyrinth, and it fails at it. Again, it’s watchable… barely.

Three Movies

Watched three movies on my way to Detroit.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Not the worst movie I ever watched, but hardly a piece of art – or even very original. If you’re a guy, the blond female lead will keep you watching because quite honestly she’s very cute. Watchable.

Rush Hour 3: Crime comedy action movie with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Boring story, action scenes were okay. I think the only reason I did not hate this movie was Jackie Chan who’s pretty fun to watch even in his old age. Chris Tucker should be banned from making movies, on the other hand. Most annoying actor ever. They threw in a lot of France-bashing, which was just stupid, and the plot was the most predictable I’ve seen in a long time. (Hint: When you think “oh this guy has got to be the evil villain” you are correct.)

Transformers: Oh, where to even begin. This movie SUCKED. Bad. Not so much the premise, giant robots slugging it out is always a good thing to me. The plot was contrived and stupid, but it wouldn’t have been a huge problem. No, what got me was all the small, tiny errors. For example Air Force One almost certainly doesn’t look like a huge bunker from the inside. I have been in an empty 747 cargo plane and it’s not that huge. The defense secretary states that the US is on “Defcon Delta”. Defcon levels are numbered 1-5. I guess they feared that the average dumb audience member would have said “Gee golly, Defcon One sounds kinda low”. Idiots. And don’t even get me started on the portrayal of hacking in the movie. Only watch Transformers if you’re a fan or if you are stuck on an airplane for nine hours and have nothing else to do.

Star Wars II – Attack of the Clones

I finally watched the second episode (or is that the fifth episode? whatever) of Star Wars, as a co-worker had the DVD with him and I borrowed it for an evening. I won’t post this as a DVD review because I didn’t bother with any of the extras on the second DVD in the package.

The second prequel movie deals with the beginning of the Clone Wars. We witness Anakin Skywalker’s budding relationship with former queen Padme, and the beginning of his slip into a less than pleasant human being.

The biggest problem of the Star Wars prequels has always been that we pretty much know what will happen. We know that Anakin will fall to become Darth Vader, and we know that the Empire will rise out of the ashes of the Republic. It’s all a matter of the details; the story has been spoiled long before the movies were made.

The second big problem of the prequels is… the story. The scripts are simply poor. Episode one had this problem, but at least it was kind of focused on the action. Part 2 switched back and forth between two plots: Obi-wan’s search for the mysterious bounty hunter, and Anakin’s “protection” of the ex-queen (HA. Protecting… so that’s what them youngsters call it these days.)

The Bounty Hunter story is interesting, sort of. It has good action and beautifully rendered scenes (I really liked the Asteroids chase, for example), and it furthers the story directly, whereas Anakin’s slow descent into madness is just… annoying. Maybe I don’t like the actors involved, but I don’t think that’s it. It’s too much of a cheesy romance story, plastered with annoying little details… like the idiotic tiny boat they get out of in one scene.

Yeah, the details. A really big weakness of this movie. In the arena scene – which in itself wasn’t half bad – a monster attacks Padme. And what does it do? It rips her shirt in such a way that she runs around with her belly showing for the rest of the movie. Now there is nothing wrong with a good looking girl’s stomach showing, but when Star Wars has to descent to the pitiful idea of “sex sells”, then something is seriously out of whack.

The final battle was well done, not a space battle but a desert ground battle for a change. Nicely rendered. On the other hand, the final light sabre battle was totally dumb. Yeah, so we get to see Yoda in action (Karate Yoda, to boot, too), and that was nicely done. But the evil Lord of the Sith basically beat both Anakin and Obi-Wan. So… he’s better than they are, and that somehow doesn’t really fit the feeling of the story. Yoda is a supporting character; Anakin and Obi-Wan are the main characters of the story. The ending was decidedly anticlimactic.

So… did I like the movie? Yeah, except the chick movie Anakin and Padme parts. It was good action and it had really nicely done graphics (Yoda looked absolutely real).

But I am very glad I didn’t spend money on this movie in the cinema. I don’t think George Lucas is going to manage to make many real fans with the prequels.