Friday, November 30, 2012

Robocop 2 (Irvin Kershner, 1990) Review

Hollywood loves to milk a good film doesn't it. If it exists, there's bound to be a sequel or remake shortly after. This was the case with Robocop, obviously since I'm revewing a film called Robocop 2. Sort of speaks for itself, doesn't it. Well, can Robocop provide another great film or does it fall in line with other 'films that aren't as good as the original' (I've review alot of those, trust me). Well then, let's find out (I swear that's my catchphrase now...).

With Robocop (Peter Weller) being a success, OCP begins its plans to continue with the project and make new Robocops. The results...are not good. In the meantime, a new drugs is introduced into the streets known as 'NUKE'. The person behind this is a criminal named Cain (Tom Noonan) who Robocop finds out is took much for him. In terms of OCP's problems, Dr. Faxx (Belinda Bauer) plans to use Cain for the Robocop 2 project (so technically the film is named after this...) while Robocop tries to take him down.

Yeah, this isn't as good as the first. I'm being blunt but that's the truth. Cain isn't as good a villain as Boddicker, the action isn't as good and there are some characters that I despise (and they have the gall to make their deaths emotional. NO! If you make a hateable character, their death should be satisfying! God damn it!). I was thinking "wow, I could watch the original again int his time". What's worse is that the best character from the first film, ED-209, only has a brief cameo! I wanted more!

It's not all bad though. The action is still good just not AS good as the first. There is one scene though that blew my mind. The end fight is probably the best use of stop-frame animation, ever. Sure ED-209 was cool but this had a whole stop-frame fight! There is also one scene that is actually really funny. At one point, Robocop is made politically correct...you can guess that it didn't quite work. Peter Weller is still good as Robocop but other previous characters are less than memorable.

Robocop 2 isn't as good as the original, by any means, but is still an okay film to watch. it's not like it's a bad film it's just, okay. There are some great scenes in this film but the characters fall short of the ones in the original (especially the villain). Sure, it's funnier but is that really worth sacrificing the good things in the original for a few laughs. I would only recommend it to those who liked the original and wants more Robocop action!

Verdict:
6.5/10
A dissapointly sequel. There are some good things in here but is under the shadow of the original.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) Review

I've done way too many trilogies recently. It's not my fault, it's Hollywood's! They pump out sequels like they have no other business. Well, anyway, the most recent in my line of trilogies is Robocop. Really, I've only seen this film recently and I guess you're wondering (if I even have any regulars...do I? Leave a comment once in a while!) if it was worth finally watching this film. Well, let's find out.

In a crime-ridden Detriot (so a normal Destroit), Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is the new cop in town (well, city but who cares?). His first investigation pits him against Clarence Boddicker(Kurtwood Smith) and his gang. Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) split off in Boddicker's base and Murphy comes face to face with him he has Murphy killed (rather horribly). Menawhile, an organisation called OCP is trying to find a way for robots to take over the police department. When a test for ED-209 goes horribly (and I mean horribly) wrong, 'The Old Man' (Dan O'Herlihy) who runs OCP has Bob Mortom (Miguel Ferrer) design the robot cop instead of Dick Jones' (Ronny Cox) ED-209. Murphy is reborn as 'Robocop' but first wants revenge on Boddicker and whoever is paying him.

I was actually pleasently suprised with this film. I have known of Robocop for years (I even had an action figure of him when I was young) yet I had no idea that it was rated 18 (again, because I had an action figure). It deserves the rating though since this is a very bloody and violent film. Murphy's death was just the beginning of the violent scenes (there is one especially horrible one involving toxic waste) but, you know what, it works. It's weird seeing an icon that kids can buy toys of actually originating from an 18 film. Weird. It works with the style of film though and has some solid action. Speaking of action, the ED-209's movement is entirely stop-frame animation and, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of stop-frame animation in any movie. It's amazing!

Robocop is a surprisingly engaging chracter. I thought he'd just be some badass Judge Dredd-esque character and, while he is exactly that, he has more development outside of just being badass. He's actually funny at times. He's a great protagonist (because 'hero' isn't the word I would use) and Peter Weller does a great job in the performance. Anne Lewis is an alright partner. She acts more like a plot device than anything else. If I had to pick a scene stealer though, it would be Boddicker. He is a great villain (which is something that msot films need: an engaging villain). He enjoys what he does, doesn't mind tossing men out of his own truck and doesn't seem to care when some of his henchmen are killed. He and Robocop are both funny characters and work well against each other.

Robocop was a nice surprise. While some people may see it as dated (that's debatable), it's still a fun watch for those who don't mind bloody, violent films. It's on a similar level as Licence To Kill (well, a little bit higher considering that was a 15) so if you liked that, you'll like this. The stop frame animation is still incredible today, the characters are great and well written (most of them, anyway) and is surpsingly funny. Well worth a watch if you like films like Licence To Kill.

Verdict:
8/10
A nice surprise. Great action, amazing stop-frame animation, good characters and a fun romp.

Monday, November 26, 2012

TMNT (Kevin Munroe, 2007) Review

You thought I was done with Ninja Turtles? HA! No, I was not. It seems that there was another adaptation in 2007 and it seems they took my advice and made in purly CGI. It also seems that they spent all their money of the CGI and couldn't afford rights to the full title (seriously, it says TMNT in the opening titles). If that's not a bad sign, I don't know what is. Well, does CGI help work in it's favour? Let's find out.

It would seem that after all the turtles have been through, they have split up...sort of. Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor) is now in Central America, Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) and Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) have gone into the world of business (gasp!) while Raphael (Nolan North) has become a vigilante known as the Nightwatcher. When an army of ancient creatures led by a man named Walker (Patrick Stewart), Master Splinter (Mako) brings the turtles together and, with the help of April O'Niel (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Casey Jones (Chris Evans), must stop this new evil.

Already I can stell that this looks much cooler. The costumes look stupid in comparison to the really cool CGI turtles. So, okay, we're off to a good start. The cast is also fantastic. Nolan North (who you might know as Desmond from Assassin's Creed, The Penguin in Arkham City or Deadpool) is a pretty damn good Raphael and I like the idea that he's become a masked vigilante considering he just wants to beat up bad guys. Leonardo, however, has been turned into the sort of 'Shadow the Hedgehog character'. Let me explain. Leonardo has become the serious, dark character that the fangirls will make depressing fanfiction about...I think I've gone too far this time.

So the cast is good and the characters are (majoritively...if that's even a word) better. There are many problems though. The plot is...a bit crap. I don't need to tell you that there are plot holes (that's the biggest argument against this film). The biggest crime though is the lack of any other classic character. No Shredder, Kraang, Baxter Stockman or anyone that you remember (or I've already ranted about in previous reviews). I guess the 'TMNT' is because they only bought a bit of the licence...sheesh.

So all in all, TMNT isn't a bad film. I would recommend it over other Ninja Turtle films (except maybe the first one) and I did enjoy watching it. There are many, many flaws but it's not like they break the film. Most people haven't seen it but if you like the Ninja Turtles, I would recommend it. Well, we finally got through the Ninja Turtles films (about time). Join me next time where we dive into another film franchise. Want a clue? Okay: "I'd buy THAT for a dollar!"

Verdict:
6/10
An all-round, enjoyable film. It has it's flaws but is watchable. A good film nonetheless.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (Stuart Gillard, 1993) Review

I knew I shouldn't have reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was a big mistake! Why? Because now I have to review THIS film! Augh...this is going to be a short introduction, let's just get it out of the way. *Places head on desk* eeehhhh....

After the events of the second film, the Ninja Turtles (Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Raphael (Tim Kelleher), Donatello (Corey Feldman) an Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist)) find a magic sceptar which ends up sending the turtles back in time to ancient Japan. While there, they learn the art of Samurai fighting. Just as well considering that there's an evil Samurai in the area. They decide to assist a village in it's attempt to rise up against the Samurai.

This film's crap. It really is. After revisting this film to review it, I was surprised to see Splinter (James Murray), Casey (Elias Koteas) and April (Paige Turco) appear considering that it doesn't feel like a Ninja Turtles film. Shedder doesn't return (he didn't survive wood falling on him yet he can survive being in a garbage crusher) and there is no other villain from the show like Kraang or Baxter Stockman. This film doesn't need to exist and it shouldn't. It has no business being a Ninja Turtles film.

The turtles actually look even worse than ever AND the action got worse. Everything just deteriated from the second film. I will say that it does have some very nice locations and the characters to wear cool costumes, so it's not a total failure. There are some funny moments, which is par for the course with Ninja Turtles films. Other than that? Yeah, it's crap.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is a terrible way to end this series. Then again, it never was an amazing franchise to begin with. Who do I recommend this to? People who have already seen it...and liked it. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who liked this film...don't watch this if you haven't. It's bad. Well, it's been ages since I did a bad film review...I think I'll do another one soon enough (in a couple of weeks).

Verdict:
3/10
A terrible film that doesn't really embrace the whole 'Ninja Turtles' licence. What was the point? There wasn't one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (Michael Pressman, 1991) Review

Oh yeah, I forgot there was a sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The 90s was famous was the pinnacle of making sequels around kids films (now it's just standard...) which...usually isn't anything special. This film is your typical 90s sequel and, considering that this was the Ninja Turtles, it did well considering kids would want to see this. Is this just in it forth money or is it actually quite good...I'm pretty sure you can guess.

In this film, the ninja turtles (Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Raphael (Laurie Faso), Donatello (Adam Carl) and Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist)) discover the ooze that created them and their master Splinter (Kevin Clash). The turtles find out where the ooze is being made and try to find out 'the secret of the ooze' (you know, that is the title after all). The problem? Shredder (Fran├žois Chau) has survived being crushed in a garbage crusher (and with no explanation....this is not a good sign) and he too wishes to find the ooze's origin to create mutants to fight for him. Now the turtles must stop Shredder from obtaining the ooze.

Can I just address one of my biggest pet peeves with this film? The characters Tokka (Kurt Bryant) and Rahzar (Mark Ginther). These two are mutants that become enemies of the turtles. Why do I hate them? Because they should just be Bebop and Rocksteady. They are established characters n the show so just use them! They're basically the same characters! The biggest problem though is that they tried to make the turtles more kid friendly. Yes, it is based on a cartoon but the first film set up a much darker world for them to be in. Now they've changed their mind and...it doesn't work. It just comes off as stupid.

I'm gonna ruin the ending here because it bugs me so much! In the ending, Shredder uses the ooze on himself and becomes Super Shredder (Kevin Nash). Now that is cool and even becomes a bit scary since we never see him as the battle takes place under a board walk and therefore can't see him fully. The board-walk collapses on him and...that's it. He's dead. What a terrible waste of potential. Yes, I am holding it against the film. It wastes SO MUCH potential in general and therefore ruins it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II is a much worse film to the first. The first film did the franchise justice and made it it's own by making it much darker. The sequel, however, ruins this world and wastes all the great ideas they had. I'm not saying this is the worst film ever but it's not the best either (absolutely nowhere near) but it's just underwhelming.

Verdict:
5/10
Ruining the world that the first made and wasting all the potential that it could have had.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Steve Barron, 1990) Review

Did you know that there was a reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon that started this year...and it's AWESOME! I'm a huge fan of the new series and I feel that it surpasses the original but how's the live action movie hold up? Well, I guess it's time to go back the sewers to revisit the pizza-eating ninja legends (for someone who has never heard of the Ninja Turtles, this must sound insane...and that's because it is).

Underneath the city of New York, a strange substance simply known to as Ooze gets into the sewers and genetically mutates four baby turtles being looked after by an old man who is also mutated. The turtles become human sized anthropomorphised turtles while the old man is turned into a human sized anthropomorphised rat. The rat, know going by the name Splinter (Kevin Clash), takes in the turtles and names them after the renaissance artists, Raphael (Josh Pais), Leonardo (Brian Tochi), Donatello (Corey Feldman) and Michaelangelo (Robbie Rist), and trains them in the art of ninjutsu. A villain, named Shredder (James Saito) begins to try and take over the world and the Ninja Turtles have to stop Shredder in his tracks.

Let's face it, the Ninja Turtles were HUUUGE in the 80s and 90s so it only made sense that a film be made of it...not quite sure why it was live action but I guess it just makes it more epic (it's based on the comic more than the series). First things first, the costumes (yes, costumes) used actually work quite well and look okay...they haven't aged that well to be honest but I guess it's understandable. Sure they are cool (they're the freaking turtles!) and still look cool. At least there is a bit of variety other than just colour swaps. From now on, make all your Ninja Turtle movies CGI.

Shredder looks surprisingly awesome in this film. His transition into live action actually worked. He's actually evil in this film and not...whiny like he was in the series (but the new series trumps all of them in terms of evil). April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) did not transfer as well. It looks like she's wearing a rain coat instead of a jumpsuit...kind of a big deal. It's not all bad, the action is pretty damn...'radical' (that word died in the 90s...deal with it). It's a ninja film so it's obvious that ninjutsu will be used alot. It screams "THIS IS THE 90s!" but I guess that's the novelty of it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does it's job of making a adaptation of the show/comic. It was a dark film (they say "damn" a lot and it was surprisingly violent) but the biggest problem is that it REALLY hasn't aged well. This film is for the nostalgic fans only. I would probably watch this if I'm in the mood for some cheesy 90s...stuff (I don't even...)

Verdict:
7/10
A good attempt at adapting the classic series but it just hasn't aged well. There are some good things though, it's not all bad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Tad Stones, 1996) Review

And since Aladdin was SOOO popular, it warrented another sequel. I guess they wanted to tie everything up with a proper trilogy. Well, Return of Jafar wasn't exactly the worst Disney film ever so I guess this one can't be too bad right...right? Well then, let's get this out of the way. Is Aladdin and the King of Thieves good? Let's find out!

So after two films, Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and Jasmine (Linda Larkin) are FINALLY getting married (took them long enough). Just before the ceremony can finish, the forty thieves invade and wreck the place. Aladdin fights off the king of thieves (John Rhys-Davies) and finds a magic sceptar that grants an answer to any question. Aladdin decides to ask where his father is. The answer? His father is the king of thieves! Aladdin, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) and Abu (Frank Welker) travel to the thieves base where Aladdin is pitted against Saluk (Jerry Orbach), the ruthless second in command. Saluk is thought to be killed by Aladdin but survives but wants revenge on Aladdin and his dad, named Cassim. Cassim wants to find a fabled object known as the Hand of Midas which turns everything it touches to gold (love it!). However, Saluk wants to find it first. It's a race against time as Aladdin and Cassim face off against Saluk.

First things first, this is a far superior film to Return of Jafar. The animation, while still not as good as the original, is actually really good. The characters are still good (especially the new ones like Cassim and Saluk) and are much better than Abis Mal (less said about him, the better) and the cast only helps this. The veteran actors are the same but John Rhys-Davies is excellent as Cassim (although I feeling the character was written for Sean Connery...just me?) and Jerry Orbach brings a great villainous character. The star of the show is still Genie though. The best part? He's voiced by Robin Williams again! He is truly on the ball in this film and is better than ever before. He's freaking hilarious! I do miss Jafar though...he was one of Disney's best villains.

That's not the say this film is perfect. It just doesn't look as good as the first film and, while characters like Genie and Iago are fantastic, the characters don't hold up as well. I mean, they're good...just not THAT good. The songs? They're alright. As always, Genie holds the best songs but there are more than just one good song. Sure, they're not as memorable as the first films songs but they are still pretty damn good. 'Welcome to the Forty Thieves' is still pretty stupid though...

Aladdin and the King of Thieves was a good way to finish the franchise but I feel that the last one should usually either the best one or the worst one, thus killing the franchise. This one is an exception as it's not the worst or the best in the trilogy. Many people haven't seen it but if you liked the first film, then you will like this one too.

Verdict:
7.5/10
A good way to finish off the trilogy. Robin Williams returns (HELL YEAH!), there are new characters that are great and the animation is almost as good as the original.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Return of Jafar (Toby Shelton, Tad Stones and Alan Zaslove, 1994) Review

And when there's a successful Disney film, there is almost always a direct-to-video sequel (in the 90s at least). Most of the time they were...crap, to say the least. This was normally because they couldn't be bothered to get the same actors back or usually looks much, much worse in comparison. So Disney decided to release a sequel Aladdin called The Return of Jafar. Is it as bad as other Disney sequels? Let's find out!

After being imprisoned in Jafar's (Jonathan Freeman) lamp, his parrot Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) manages to escape but leaves Jafar behind because of the abuse he gets from him. Iago heads to Agrabah to find Aladdin (Scott Weinger) is now living in the palace with Jasmine (Linda Larkin) and the Sultan (Val Bettin). Iago tries to win over Aladdin and ends up saving his life. Aladdin hides Iago in the palace so he can prepare to reveil them to Jasmine and the Sultan...thye are less than pleased. In the meantime, Genie (Dan Castellaneta)  is back from his world trip since he realised what he's been missing: Aladdin and Jasmine! Meanwhile, the incompetent thief Abis Mal (Jason Alexander) finds Jafar's lamp and awakens him. They both share a hatred of Aladdin and team up in order to ruin his life (since genie's can't kill...but you'll be surprised what you can live through).

You may have noticed something. There's no Robin Williams. Apparently he got a little angry at Disney and left. To his credit, Dan Castellaneta does do a good job of covering for him. Sure it's not perfect but it's good enough. The other actors are the same except the Sultan who is now voiced by Val Bettin who you may remember from Basil, The Great Mouse Detective where he voiced Dr. Dawson. It's basically the same voice and character so...not much difference really. The animation definitely doesn't live up to the previous one. Things don't look as nice and the colours seem...a bit off.

I'm glad that they brought Jafar back since he's one of the best Disney villains and it's about time that he got a villain song...although it could have been better. The songs in this aren't as memorable as the previous film. The only one I like is "Like a Friend" just because Genie sings it. His songs are always great! This film isn't perfect and it doesn't even hold a candle to the original (that saying goes way over my head...). I'm pretty sure the only reason it exists is because it sets up the animated series...so, yeah!

The Return of Jafar is much better than other Disney sequels such as Cinderella II or Kronk's New Groove but it is certainly nowhere near to how good the original film is. I'm not saying it's a bad film since I will gladly watch it but it's just...above average. Well then, join me next time where we finish off another trilogy...oh, yeah. There's a third Aladdin film...

Verdict:
6/10
A decent sequel to Aladdin. The cast, while missing the original, is okay and the story is surprisingly well written.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992) Review

Yeah so, I'm in a Disney mood. I guess that's what happens when I review Basil, The Great Mouse Detective. I went on record (if anyone was keeping track or...caring) that Basil was one of my favourite Disney films. Now that we're deep into the Disney Renaissance (I may have missed...all of the other ones), let's see if Aladdin truly deserves to be among the other great Disney films.

Set in the Arabian city of Agrabah, we see a lowly "street-rat" (I pretty sure this film coined that phrase) called Aladdin (Scott Weinger) who is on the run from the city's guards. Typical day for him, I'm sure. We then get a look inside the palace in Agrabah where the Sultan (Douglas Seale) is trying to find a husband for his daughter, Jasmine (Linda Larkin). The Sultan's advisor, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) is trying to obtain a special lamp in 'The Cave of Wonders' (Frank Welker...yes it speaks) and uses Aladdin to try and get it. He ultimatly fails which gives Aladdin access to the Genie of the lamp (Robin Williams) and tries to win over Jasmine. So it's a battle of Aladdin against Jafar as they try to win over Jasmine.

This is easily one of the best looking Disney films. The colours are great, the characters are well designed and the animation is fluent. They really went above and beyond with this one. Of course, the voice acting helps too. Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin add some much needed depth to their characters while Jonathan Freeman plays a terrifyingly evil Jafar. There are two show stealers though. Robin Williams as Genie and Gilbert Gottfried as Jafar's talking parott, Iago (get it?! It's a Shakespeare reference!). Robin Williams proves his comedic worth by showing off his ability to chance voices in a split second while Gilbert Gottfried gives his usual wise cracking remarks with his trademark voice (hearing him read Fifty Shades of Grey was fantastic).

As with Disney films (but ironically, none of the ones I've reviewed), there always has to be musical numbers and Aladdin doesn't skimp out here. Of course there are the classics like A Whole New World and Arabian Nights but that's just for starters. Other great ones are Never Had a Friend Like Me and Prince Ali. Some of my favourite Disney songs stem from this film alone. They are all plot relevent (thank God) which only makes the plot better. It's definetly more action orientated than previous Disney films but it works here (and led to some games based on it...which were AWESOME!).

Aladdin is easily another one of the greatest Disney films. It's my favourite next to Basil, The Great Mouse Detective. It looks incredible, the characters are well voiced and written, the songs are memorable and all comes together as one of the greatest animated films of all time. I would say that I recommend it but really, I don't have to. You should have watched this WAY before I reviewed it and if you haven't, then you got some real issues to sort of out, mister.

Verdict:
9.5/10
A fantastic looking film that relies on some well acted and written characters to drive a great narrative.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Basil, The Great Mouse Detective (Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener and John Musker, 1986) Review

I have been doing these reviews for quite a while now and it's just come to my attention that I haven't reviewed a Disney film (Well, Emperor's New Groove and A Goofy Movie...aw well)! Shocking, I know but at least I've done a few Pixar films...but it's not the same. So what am I doing? Something popular like The Lion King or Hunchback of Notre Dame? No. No I'm not. I'm doing a film that I feel is criminally underrated and the true beginning to the Disney Renaissance: Basil, The Great Mouse Detective.

In Victorian England (and, for the record, everyone is a rodent...so get used to that), a famous toymaker (Alan Young) is kidnapped by a bat named Fidget (Candy Candido), leaving the toymaker's daughter Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) behind. She tries to find the home of a famous detective and, with the help of Dr. Dawson (Val Bettin), manages to convince the detective, Basil of Baker Street (Barrie Ingham), to help. Basil discovers that Fidget is working for the worlds greatest criminal mind, Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price). Basil must now stop Ratigan from taking over England and rescue Olivia's father.

If you haven't guessed, this is based on Sherlock Holmes...actually it's based on a series of books called Basil of Baker Street...but that, in turn, is based on Sherlock Holmes. While it may seem like a cheap parody just for the sake of entertaining kids but it's actually very accurate. If you can see the reference to the Holmes story 'The Final Problem', then you...erm...I dunno but it's still so awesome that they clearly did their research. I love Sherlock Holmes and I love this film.

Basil is one of the greatest Disney protagonists ever. He's such a arrogant jerk that he is actually a very likeable character. Barrie Ingham does a fantastic job as Basil and I just wish that he did more things. He puts so much into the role and it really shows! Dawson acts as a good foil for Basil and Val Bettin brings his usual 'nice guy' routine. HE'S JUST SO LOVABLE. The character that really stood out though is the villain, Ratigan. Vincent Price is probably the main reason that he's so memorable but the idea of a character with so much rage inside yet still makes himself look composed. It's brilliant!

Basil, The Great Mouse Detective is the TRUE first film of the Disney Renaissance. It's also the first proper use of CGI in a Disney film (in an amazing scene). This isn't really a kids film (it's one of the darker Disney films) but it still kicks ass. The characters are great, the action is great, the music is great and the finale is, oh, it's so beautiful! My favourite finale in a Disney film...maybe even ANY film! Lots of people haven't seen this film and that's a real shame. Watch this now!

Verdict:
9/10
One of the best Disney animated films. The characters are fantastic, the story is good and everything is just so awesome! Nothing short of brilliant!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (Pete Michels, Peter Shin, 2005) Review

What's that. This isn't a proper film? It's just three episodes back to back? Well screw you, it's my review so...erm...deal with it? *shrug*. Anyway, Family Guy is one of the most popular TV shows (don't argue) and it only seemed naturally that a feature length Family Guy story would be released. While episodes like 'Road to the North Pole' are feature length, they weren't really advertised as a movie. This one was so I'm reviewing. It counts!

After having a near death experience at a pool, Stewie Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) has a vision of Hell and decides to change his ways...which doesn't last long. Having given up, Stewie sees a man of TV that is a striking resembelnce to him and believes him to be his real father instead of Peter (Seth MacFarlane). Stewie and the family dog, Brian (guess who...Seth MacFarlane) set off with their neighbour Quagmire (...do I even need to say the voice actor?) in order to find out who exactly this man is. Meanwhile, Peter and Lois (Alex Borstein) try to teach their other kids, Chris (Seth Green) and Meg (Mila Kunis), how to date.

Yes, I am a fan of the series and, yes, I do think that this film is very funny. It does it's job of being hilarious with some very memorable and quotable moments (WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM-FLAILING TUBE MEN!) . It's great to see an interesting and clever story surrounding one of the greatest cartoon characters in recent history (again, don't argue). There are many ways that a feature length Family Guy adventure could take (especially what the 'Road To' episodes have shown) and, while I feel they could have done more, I wasn't disappointed. The sub-plot is a bit wasted yet is still funny and it does serve purpose to the main plot outside of a quick gag.

Problems? Erm...I guess if you don't like the show, then you won't like this "film". It's just an extra long episode of the show really (or, to be more accurate, three episodes joined together to form one extra long one) so it fits in well with the other stories seen on the show...although the status quo says otherwise (contiunity? what contiunity?).

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is a clever film that, while crudly funny, does it's job of supplying entertainment for a feature length film. If you love the show, you will love this film just as much but if you despise Family Guy, you may want to skip this film. It's a matter of preference but since I love Family Guy, this is a fun film to watch despite it's flaws.

Verdict:
8/10
A bit of a cop out seeing as it's just three episodes joined together, it does it's job of suppliying over an hour of great entertainment.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Soldiers (Joe Dante, 1998) Review

Hey everyone, let's ride on Toy Story's fame! How about we make a film about toys that come to life! The main difference being that there is a REASON to why the toys are alive. Kudos to that, I guess. This film is easily the action version of Toy Story as opposed to the family friendly film of Toy Story but which films is better? It's pretty damn obvious but let's take a look at Small Soldiers anyway...just because I can!

Two new waves of action figures are released to the world: The Commando Elites and The Gorgonites. The catch? These toys have been installed with a chip that brings them to life...and are at war. The leader of the Gorgonites, Archer (Frank Langella), befriends a 15 year old kid, Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith), but the leader of the Commando Elites, Chip Hazard (Tommy Lee Jones), is in pursuit of the Gorgonites and anyone affiliated with them. This sparks an all out war between the two toys's (grammar spasm) army with Adam and his friends and family caught in the middle.

Interesting concept (a little bit stolen from Toy Story though) but...not the best execution. It's half CGI and half actual toys which leads to the CGI becoming very distracting. Sure it looks good but it becomes a bit shocking when it switches...eh. Also there is a waste of talent. Tommy Lee Jones, while good in this film, seems a bit wasted. David Cross and Jay Mohr as the toy makers are some of my favourite characters though. ALSO the Gorgonites are ungodly annoying. There's a fine line between cooky and annoying...this goes over it.

It's not all bad though. Like I said, the CGI is good and there are some generally enjoyable characters and moments. Plus it has a very satisfying ending that, while a bit predictable, is also great to watch. It's action fuelled and the way that the Commando Elites make their own weapons, MacGyver style! The action is thrilling and fun to watch. This film also is quite funny...I guess.

Small Soldiers is an okay film. While the idea of a toy war is pretty epic and it does offer some great moments, it just feels a bit.....eh. It's above average, that's for sure, but that's about the best I can say. Would I recommend it?........probably. It is fun to watch but it's not that amazing. I enjoy it but that's all. Well, I haven't done a bad film in a while (we had a 10, 9 and 9.5 in a row!)...I'll think of one.

Verdict:
6/10
An above average action (alliteration!) film that is fun to watch but isn't anything special...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012) Review

So I saw this film quite a while back yet I never got round to reviewing it mainly because I was stuck in the middle of reviewing all 23 Bond films. I know I've said this a lot but other than The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall, this was one of my most anticipated films of the year. Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt had previously worked together on a film called Brick (I reviewed it quite a while back) and since I enjoyed that film, I figured their second film together would be better. Was I right? Let's find out!

Time travel has not been invented yet but in 30 years time, it will have been. Organisations who need someone dead send them back in time to be killed by people known as Loopers. Joe (Joeseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper who finds that his next target is quite a weird one. It's him in 30 years time! Old Joe (Bruce Willis) escapes and goes out searching for a child who will one day be known as The Rainmaker who ruins Joe's life in the future. Young Joe finds out who the targets are and vows to protect Sara (Emily Blunt) and her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Meanwhile, the head of the Loopers, Abe (Jeff Daniels), sends agents out to find both Joes and kill them.

If it weren't for the fact that Rian Johnson was directing, I would have probably not have heard of this film...which would have been bad. I was glad I did watch this film! Time travel is quite a tricky idea to get right (Back To The Future is probably the best example of getting it right) but Looper managed to get it right! It was a great concept that reminds me of Back To The Future Part II but time paradoxes are always fun! Rian Johnson, well done. Two for two! It's really escalated from Brick (drugs, basically) and it's fantastic.

The casting is great! Personally, when Bruce Willis was announced as Old Joe, I was sceptical. Willis and Joesph Gordon-Levitt look nothing alike...until this film. Gordon-Levitt had some make-up done that allowed him to look like a young Bruce Willis and it's totally believable! You did good, make-up department (Oscar?). Also, if I asked you who the scairest kid in films was, who wuld you say? Heather O'Rourke from Poltergeist? Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense? How about Pierce Gagnon from Looper. This kid freaks me out and he does a great job in this film! Emily Blunt is good too.

Looper is, so far, the hidden gem of the year. I loved this film. The concept is great, the script is well written, the casting is good and the action is fun to watch. It was also surprisingly funny. The ending was shocking as hell but let's not ruin it here. Do yourself a favour and watch this film. It's one of my favourite films of the year and is, hopefully, a new classic for the ages.

Verdict:
9.5/10
An original film (finally) which has a great concept, casting, action, story, script and is overall a great film. Don't miss it!