Do you remember that guy? The guy who went from just another anonymous Stormtrooper to electro nightstick battlemaster in the span of one sentence? Well apparently I’m not the only one, because a couple of quick searches online show that he has a SERIOUS internet following. He was even dubbed unit TR-8R (you know, cuz he loves to yell traitor at people), although it has since come to light that his actual unit number is FN-2199 and he has a pretty interesting backstory as posted by the guys on Starwars.com. Find the link here to learn more about this space ninja!
Let me start by saying, I liked it. There got that out of the way. I think a lot of the rave reviews I have not only read online, but have been given by friends and family have been slightly overblown. Not to say it doesn’t deserve praise but I think a lot of people realized it was an artsy movie with some philosophical themes and decided that it must be a great movie because it made you think deep thoughts about life and death and stuff. It was a very good movie, but I doubt it will go down as a classic, though I admit only time will tell. It was beautifully filmed and the idea to only use natural lighting was great. The way the sun, shadows and fire light illuminated a scene really added a since of realism and authenticity to the environment. The action sequences I though were choreographed very well and lent a sense of frenzy to many of the more intense moments of the film such as the bear attack and the ambush at the beginning of the movie. I found Tom Hardy’s character, Fitzgerald, very compelling, and in many ways more so than DiCaprio’s character. The idea that he is a man with a troubled past, it is shown he was scalped at some point, who just wants to make some money and is not truly, in my opinion, a pure evil man. I wish they would have played up the moment when he stabbed the dude’s son a little bit, maybe make it seem like an accident or have Hardy show a little remorse or something. Bottom line that particular scene seemed to be over too fast which is a shame because it was a great opportunity to show a little more depth in both the main characters. Personal gripe, I had a hard time deciphering what Tom Hardy was saying sometimes, probably just me as I have not seen anyone else complaining about it and my hearing isn’t great so yeah like I said might just be me. Our protagonist Hugh Glass, played by DiCaprio, however seemed very one dimensional he wants revenge and misses his family and likes the Native Americans, that is about it to his character. Leo did a great job with the character that being said. It must be very hard to portray someone in intense pain which Glass was for the majority of the film and Leo did a great job of that. Alright time for some general gripes that bothered me through out the whole film. The biggest one that bothered me the most was how quickly the main character seemed to heal. That bear attack scene makes it extremely likely Glass would have had multiple broken bones most notable his arm and one of his legs. The leg is later shown being set showing that at minimum he has a broken leg apart from the claw and tooth wounds. Yet in what seems like just a few days Glass can be seen running, falling of cliffs, riding horses and several other things anyone who has ever broken a bone knows is impossible. The real Hugh Glass (yes this movie is loosely based on a true story) took six weeks to make it back and he had to crawl most of the way. Either this was a severe oversight on the writer and directors part or the audience is meant to believe more time transpired than was shown, but as most of the scenes are displayed sequentially it is really not apparent that any more than a few days have passed, a week at most. This is really a major flaw as it broke my suspension of disbelief and pulled me out of the story making me wonder if I had some how wandered into a super hero movie by mistake. The film takes place in winter yet characters are constantly wading and floating down rivers with reckless abandon. This may not seem out of place to most people, but anyone who has spent significant amount of time outdoors knows that cold and wet is a great recipe for hypothermia or frostbite. No one in the movie ever seems to suffer from or even be concerned about these things. In fact in my experience I would say Glass was in more danger from hypothermia after his float down the river than he ever was since surviving the bear attack. Moving on I was mildly annoyed by his constant dream sequences they were too frequent and weird. I fail to see the significance of why his wife had to be floating over him, and it actually made me giggle inside a little remembering a similar scene in Ghostbusters. If they had been done a bit more like the scenes from Gladiator, I would have appreciated it more. Less frequent and more normal would have been better. My final grip is that the whole daughter of the chief plot was unnecessary it added nothing to the film. Any Native American attacks could have been easily attributed to the fact that a lot of tribes didn’t like whitey stealing their land, and it could have been left at that without the need for random back story with no depth. All in all I thought it was a good movie and thoroughly enjoyed it though I doubt I would watch it again.
I recently read a review about The Hateful Eight when I was deciding if it was worth seeing in theaters. This is not really about the movie, but when I saw the run time was 187 minutes it got me thinking. How long is too long? At what point do you say “Ain’t nobody got time for that” and just redbox or netflix it? At what point do you say “screw this movie” and not watch it at all, like ever? Not all long movies are bad, Return of the King was 201 minutes, Braveheart was 178 minutes, and Schindler’s List was 195 minutes. In fact with the exception of 12 Angry Men all of the top ten movies on IMDb’s Top rated movies list are over two hours long. Those nine movies are all longer than the average of their time, some significantly longer. When you look at the list of top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation Gone with the wind comes in at the number one spot and it is 238 minutes long! That is just barely under four hours, that is long enough that I would never go see it in theaters (assuming time travel or a special showing), but judging by the fact that I have seen it a few times at home, it is obviously not so long that I would never watch it. At three to four hours I will not go see it in theaters unless I have a special attachment to the subject matter (i.e Lord of the Rings). Over four I am just not going to see it in theaters, sorry directors but if it is that long I will watch it at home so I can drink beer and pause the the movie when I inevitably have to break the seal. That being said at four hours I might not even watch it at home unless I know it is something special. Still the numbers do not lie it seems that what we consider the best of movies tend to be longer than average. Just for fun check out this list of movies with the longest run times. If any of you have seen any of these please let me know in the comments.
This is a new segment I will be doing from time to time. It will differ from our normal posts by presenting more of an opinion and less of a informative article. The intent of this segment is not to be a review, though I may occasional talk about books, movies and games and convey my likes and dislikes about them. Instead this is more of a one sided discussion (though if you agree or disagree feel free to comment) where I will talk about whatever I feel like regarding anything I want. I will not talk about religion or politics, but if there are readers out there (and I hope there are) who wish to know my opinion about something leave a note in the comments. I aspire to be a writer (despite my poor grammar and spelling) and though I have not published anything, my minimal experience crafting stories has led me to become critical of plots and characters so these will probably be favorite topics of conversation for me. As it is today, no doubt you have deduced from the title that I will be writing about Kylo Ren. Another thing that needs to be said is if I am talking about any media you can assume that there will be spoilers so don’t read if you are that one person who has not seen Star Wars yet.
Alright so lets talk about Kylo Ren as far as character tropes go he can be considered the dragon of the series just as Darth Vader was before him. This means that while he is not the main villain also known as the big bad he is the number one bad ass the plucky hero must fight through to get to the main boss. It is not made clear what made Kylo turn to the dark side but it is clear by the end when he kills his father that he has wholly embraced evil. So lets talk about things that work for this dude. His original appearance in the film, when he orders a village to be massacred and stops a laser (or whatever they are called) in mid air, totally adds to his bad ass credibility. The whole laser thing in particular is noteworthy because it is a trick that we haven’t seen before in the movies implying he might have some serious skills. Also I like the design of his costume the heavy cloak and hood combined with that sweet helmet looked rather intimidating and the deep gravely voice was great. Personality wise, Ren comes off as deeply disturbed flying off the handle and destroying innocent electronics who just happen to be near him. Comparing this to Vader calmly force choking people when they displeased him is interesting, both are undeniably violent responses but in a film that had a lot of similarities to previous movies (some might say too many) it was nice to see the differences in their reactions to bad news. There are many archetypal villain types out there for a writer to pick from and I think the ax craziness of Ren was refreshing in a universe where most force users good and evil have been fairly composed (exception being Anakin in Ep. 2,3). I thought his parentage was a giveaway from shortly after the beginning (only so many times you can pull the surprise parents trick), but I found that it worked well with the story and set up some much needed internal character conflict for Han, Leia, and Ren himself. Also the ending where he kills Han and apparently seals his fate as a evil dude, work well for the character, though I feel mixed about this scene as a whole (too close to the death of Kenobi for me). Finally the much discussed final fight scene, this has been discussed by a lot of people claiming either that Ren is a wuss for not being able to beat two non Jedi in a fight or that he is a bad ass for fighting while wounded and doing as well as he did. Here is my take, Ren fought in a frenzied, berserker type of attack that fit his flash pan temper well and I found compelling compared to the intricately choreographed light saber dances of Ep. 1,2,3. Also, they certainly talked up the bow caster enough that it makes being shot with it and surviving let alone fighting truly a feat of bad assery, but more on that later.
Alright lets talk about some things that did not work as well and what I might have done differently. His appearance without the mask was not intimidating or scary in the slightest. Now I am not dissing Adam Driver in the least way, I thought he did an amazing acting job, what I am talking about is more costuming than anything. He could have used a hair cut for one perhaps something reminiscent of a military style buzz cut and a scar or something to toughen up his face. This was in no doubt a conscious decision on the part of the creators, to accentuate the fact that this was supposed to be a troubled young man and not the callous veteran that Vader was by A New Hope. However I think the effect along with a few dialogue options was to make him sound a little like a whinny teenager. Which is something we all want to avoid after the insufferably bitchy Anakin from the prequels. When Kylo talks to the Vader mask about his weakness and his fears about not being able to do what is “necessary” I feel the whole scene would have been better if Kylo had not be so forthcoming about his perceived weakness. This would have served two purposes. One I think this is the main scene that leads people to see Kylo as whinny and if they had toned the self loathing down a bit it would have alleviated that. Second when Rey does her mind trick on him it would have made that scene more memorable because it would have revealed these feelings of inadequacy to the audience for the first time. I also would have liked to see more of that homicidal rage I like so much perhaps instead of destroy the defenseless electronics he could have killed the defenseless messenger dude. I thought the mood swings and rages really made this character interesting and would have like to see some more. And back to the final fight scene, they should have played up the wound more perhaps shown him put his hand to his side and pull it back with blood on it or something. I know it is a PG-13 film so you are limited on gore but the audience really needed something to remind us just how seriously he was hurt, it would have added a whole new dimension to the final fight. But hey that’s just like my opinion.
Remember those little guys? Those are the Ewoks, the cuddly little storm trooper killing mascots that have divided Star Wars fans since the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983. Some people love them. Some people loathe them. I find myself just kind of creeped out by them. Even when I was little they freaked me out.
Probably has something to do with these dead, rapey eyes…
Well, to those of you who love them, you may want to leave the room now, because I’ve got some bad news. For those of who aren’t Ewok fans I bring tidings of great joy! Those little furry bastards are dead. Real dead. All of them. At least that is what the team of 12 physicists told Tech Insider when they were asked the question of what would have happened to the Ewoks once the Death Star Mark II was destroyed. Long story short, it would have played out like the scene from Armageddon where thousands of asteroids pummel New York City, except in this case it would have been millions causing giant forest fires that would have consumed up to half of the planet. On top of that, there is a chance that the radiation from the exploding reactor would kill them first, as one of the physicists suggested. Either way, things don’t look good for anyone who is still partying it up on the moon once the pieces of the Death Star make their way into the planets atmosphere. This isn’t exactly a new theory, it has actually been something Star Wars fans have discussed for years, however this is the first time that scientists have taken the time to break down the facts and prove the theory. Must have been an exciting day in the physics labs for them, wacthing Star Wars and describing the nuclear firestorm that followed. And people say science is boring…
what are your feelings on the Ewoks? Sound off in the comments!
Another SDCC come and gone and a new batch of leaked-and-then-suddenly-released trailers cropped up online. There has definitely been some interest piqued in the up and coming superhero department (I’m lookin at you Deadpool), but by far and away the most striking trailer was for Suicide Squad. This has pretty much been the worst kept secret in Hollywood for the last 6 months or so with a new set picture being posted online seemingly every day, but this is the first time people have been able to see the characters in all their angsty glory. After a few viewings I can say that DC has certainly nailed down the tone of their slate of superhero films. Dark, gritty, and greyscale ftw baby! They are going to be the superhero movie equivalent of the rugged older brother who listens to heavy metal, as opposed to the colorful pop princess mainstream kid that Marvel is trying to be. The slow and haunting soundtrack, the creepy prison gymnastics, the monologues about how crazy all these bad guys are, DC is doing everything it can to make sure you know these are not your Red, White, and Blue toting Captain Americas that are going to be saving the world. It’s certainly a breath of fresh (if somewhat toxic) air after a decade of Marvel monopoly.
I am slightly worried that the characters are not going to be developed in a way that is going to cause a real connection with the audience, and will end up with the characters just out crazy-ing one another throughout the film. Harley Quinn and the Joker are going to be at the greatest risk for this by far. Also, while I am on the subject of the Joker, I have to say, Jared Leto has never let me down. Ever since Requiem For a Dream the guy has just killed every roll he has been in, so I was pumped when he was announced as the new Joker. Anyone is going to have a hard time following up the god-tier performance of Heath Ledger, but at least with Leto I think the character different and unique enough to kind of hold it’s own. Hopefully. Not really sure how I feel about the Joker having freaking grillz though. I take that back, I know exactly how I feel about it. That shit is lame. Seriously, someone slap the producer who came up with that decision. Dude looks like he is going out for MTV’s Cribs “Arkham Asylum” edition. He even has the purple Lamborghini to go with it. Hmmm… If this movie flops, which we all know is definitely not going to happen, but IF for some reason it did someone should consider that Cribs idea. THAT would be a helluva show. That part of the show where random stars point at their bed and say “this is where the magic happens” would be taken to a whole new level with the kinky sex dungeon he and Harley would have working up in there. I want producer credits on that episode. Anyways, kinky sex dungeons aside, we all know the Joker is going to be the scene stealer ever time he shows up on screen, so I’m just saying I think Leto will do it justice. He better, because if he wrecks the role the hatred is going to be so strong I don’t even think his rockstar status is going to be able to save him from the angry fanboy backlash he is likely to receive.
Also, I keep forgetting that Will Smith is in this movie? Definitely the first time in my life that I have said that phrase. Even though the Joker is going to be the leader of the hype machine, I have a distinct feeling that over the course of the story Will’s Deadshot is going to be the actual central character of the story. I just don’t see him signing on to do the movie without a major role. So that being said I am thinking he is going to be spun as the least bad of the bad guys, and I can completely buy that. Mr. Fresh Prince just isn’t going to convince me that he is a full on kill-your-grandma bad guy. Maybe if grandma was secretly a terrorist or something, but even then it would be a stretch. He is in the trailer quite a bit though, and I think that is going to be pretty indicative of his role throughout the movie. We shall see. Overall though, I have to say I’m fairly optimistic that this is going to give the Avengers a serious run for it’s money, at least until the Justice League movie gets here. People love a good bad guy, and this will theoretically be nothing but good bad guys fighting a really bad bad guy. There will be a little something for everyone!
Until next time,