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Fantasy

Fantasy

Two Towers, The

dir: Peter Jackson
[img_assist|nid=1055|title=The Two Towers. It's about two towers, apparently|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=315|height=450]
There's no disputing that this is a technically competent film. What is debatable is whether it stands as a decent film on its own, which is the litmus test for any and every film.

Why? Well, I just didn't enjoy the film that much. Admittedly I was wretchedly hungover at the time, but I've enjoyed plenty of other films in a similar if not worse state.

Maybe my expectations were too high. My expectations were high for the first one as well, but they were satisfied tenfold that time. This time, well, I wondered a bit why I should care, a feeling I certainly did not get from the book this is based on.

By any objective measure I can think of the film does not stand on its own. Viewers who haven't seen the first one and have never read the books wouldn't have a fucking clue what's going on. That's not necessarily a fatal flaw, in that we want filmmakers who ask their audiences to put a bit more work into their viewing experience and not have to spoonfeed the dullards. But in general I like to believe that even individual parts of a trilogy should be complete stories in and of themselves. This film goes on for three hours and then kind of just ends, leaving me in the audience thinking "And? So?"

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Reign of Fire

dir: Rob Bowman
[img_assist|nid=1030|title=Matthew McConaghey trying to fuck a dragon in mid-air|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=344|height=260]
Dragons. Post apocalyptic scenarios. People dressed like Mad Max. People being burned or eaten by big lizards. Gay pirates. What's not to like?

Yes, the film has been out for a donkey's age, but I only got to see the film a few days ago. And I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, in that I wasn't violently disgusted by the film that transpired.

I do have to wonder who thought this would be a good idea for a film. Audiences stayed away in droves. Critics collectively scratched their heads and groins. Still, someone must have thought that wasting nearly a hundred mill on a film that grossed $30 was a worthwhile exercise. Damn, I wish I worked in the industry. At my place of work if 30 bucks goes missing they bring in the auditors and the Federal police and the guys we refer to as the ‘nutcrackers’.

Hollywood is a place of magic, which extends to their accounting practices as well. Still, what zeitgeist or movement were 'they' trying to capitalise on? Did someone think that audiences driven ecstatic and orgasmic by Fellowship of the Ring would be so desperate to see anything with a fantasy theme that they'd be selling their firstborns in order to be able to get in line? Have dragons ever really been that much of a box office draw card?

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Donnie Darko

dir: Richard Kelly
[img_assist|nid=1033|title=Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=350|height=500]
Hmm. An interesting film. I was simultaneously surprised and non-plussed by this crazy film, having had an inordinately high level of expectation due to a bunch of positive reviews and some decent word of mouth. Despite going in knowing plenty about the film, it was still a mystery from beginning to end, and still remains something of a mystery for me right now. Right now, writing this, there are still many elements that I can't work out, and will be pondering for some time to come.

Which is definitely a good thing. It is a film that despite its somewhat modest scale (which people who've seen it would dispute, I'm guessing), defies any real category and comparison, though by its end it achieves a conventionality which I never predicted. See, whilst watching it I initially couldn't foresee that there was an overarching logic, a method to the madness that was eventually going to make sense. I stupidly believed that it was going to be disconnected, schizophrenic vignettes connected by quirky bridging scenes with no sensible conclusion. I was profoundly wrong.

Rating:

Fellowship of the Ring

dir: Peter Jackson
[img_assist|nid=1071|title=...and in the darkness bind them|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=256|height=251]

I don't think that there's been a film quite like it, to be honest, realised on such a scale, and so lovingly. Such attention to detail, such awe-inspiring design and creativity, I almost cannot believe that such a film was
allowed to be made in the current culture of big budget film making, where the shoddy special effect is king, and inspiration and inventiveness are as alien as the concept of personal hygiene is amongst users of public transport.

Having not read any of the works of JRR Tolkien, I could potentially be at a disadvantage in discussing the source material and its transition to the big screen. What I am qualified to mention is that it is patently obvious that Tolkien has been ripped off by nearly every fantasy writer and filmmaker for the last sixty years. And perhaps they can be accused of interfering with his desiccated remains in a truly unwholesome manner in the pursuit of financial gain or sex with strange women. The same accusation cannot, I feel, be leveled at Peter Jackson, who has approached the characters and the story with such an obvious love for the source material, and an exhausting amount of dedication and creativity that more than justifies the entire venture, despite the staggering amount of merchandising.

Rating:

Mummy Returns, The

dir: Stephen Sommers
[img_assist|nid=1100|title=What do you mean we're both shithouse? Surely one of us is worse than the other?|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=450|height=304]
Yes. You must think I am kidding. I am not. I sat through this piece of shite, and now it's your turn to suffer.

Some films are unintentionally stupid, because they're made by stupid people (Tomcats, Battlefield Earth, Armaggedon, Music from Another Room), other films are stupid because they're made by intelligent people who continue to try to underestimate the intelligence of the lowest common denominator, and never succeed (Godzilla, Independance Day, Look Who's Talking 15). Some films look dumb, but are actually very smart (Scream, Men in Black). Then there's those "tongue in cheek" films which are a bit dumb, which you're just supposed to laugh at and forgive them for because of the twinkle in their eye and their mischievous grin.

Why I watched this is still a mystery to me, since I thought the first film was a piece of shit as well. Perhaps there was some subliminal imagery in the advertising that planted the idea in my subconscious that I'd willingly suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the ride. However it may have happened, it did, and here are the fruits of my painful labours.

Rating:

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