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  • Justin 11:24 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Benedict Cumberbatch., JRR Tolkien, , LOTR, , , Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies,   

    Battle of the Five Armies Review | More of the Same 

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    Picking up from where the cliffhanger of the last movie left off, this action-oriented installment opens with protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf pals fretting over having unwittingly awakened Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). If you can’t remember, last year’s The Desolation of Smaug ended with the dragon leaving his mountain lair and heading to Lake-town to do some old school fire damage on the town.

    The Battle of the Five Armies, the conclusion to The Desolation of Smaug also starts so abruptly, you’ll be checking to make sure you haven’t arrived after the movie had started. It’s been a year since the second installment ended, but Jackson treats it like yesterday, cranking up the film just frames after the last movie stopped dead in its dragon tracks. Even the good-natured Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) doesn’t have enough screen time to bring his tender, journeyman touch to the tale. Freeman, who is a great actor, can’t make a role work when he’s reduced to a footnote in the story.

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    There was a time when fields covered with thousands of warriors would have been impressive enough. But audiences are too savvy to filmmaking to be blinded by quantity over quality. The battles aren’t as crisp as they should be in the 3-D version. The process always darkens the image and this movie’s inherently lack of lighting suffers more because of the gimmicky film process.

    Jackson’s skill as a storyteller — that was so well displayed in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy — has been once again replaced by a mishmash of action with recycled characters. The most annoying example is Ryan Cage’s role of Lake-town flunky Alfrid, which has been expanded from a meaningless player to a painfully unfunny comic relief. Appearances by Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Christopher Lee as Saruman feel forced, as if Jackson was more interested in giving loyal fans a treat than keeping to the story structure. Just because this is the “end” doesn’t mean everyone needs to take a curtain bow. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is also back and has become a video game character; at one point he literally jumps up falling blocks (Weta Digital just needed to include that sound that Mario makes when he jumps in the air).

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    The two main problems with The Battle of the Five Armies is the abrupt leap into the story coupled with an over indulgence in computer-generated military chaos. In a film series that has pressed the importance of even the simplest person, the last film replaces the oneness of a touching story with the blinding fury of the action sequences.

    It’s not a bad ending to the Hobbit’s unexpected journey, but it does not reach the standard set by the other films. Aside from Bilbo, the final chapter of The Hobbit trilogy is a sad shell of the franchise filled with dull set pieces and action sequences we care little about. Jackson earned his emotions and “perseverance and true bravery” themes in The Lord of the Rings. By comparison, The Battle of the Five Armies says “greed is bad”, which is pretty lame given this trilogy is based on one book, and cost ~$750 million to make, while also bringing in ~$2 billion to date.

    Grade: C

     
  • Justin 3:47 pm on May 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Benedict Cumberbatch., , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Star Trek Into Darkness | Parodying Star Trek in a Canon Star Trek Movie 

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    Star Trek Into Darkness, one of the biggest movies of the year hit theatres this week, and while overall reviews for this movie are very good, this is my official letdown (for now) of the summer as Star Trek Into Darkness is essentially a canon trek movie that is parodying a previous Star Trek movie; and the best one for that matter.  Star Trek Into Darkness  stumbles around looking for character arcs, themes, and a compelling, well-constructed plot. 

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    The movie starts off fairly strong with a Indiana Jones esque intro-event with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) taking action during a away mission that saves Spock (Zach Quinto) and gets Kirk into some trouble with Starfleet as he is, as per usual, breaking regulations, but that’s what Kirk does best. Shortly after, Earth ( a futuristic London specifically) is bombed by a mysterious person names John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) that Kirk and the crew of enterprise are soon commanded to pursue. The crew is all back with John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Also we have newcomer Alice Eve as Carol Wallace (or is it Marcus…?).  And of course Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison. Though unfortunately Karl Urban/McCoy and Yelchin/Chekov are completely wasted. Cumberbatch’s performance is the best among all of them during the movie without a doubt.

    Again, the movie has a very promising beginning. And throughout the movie, as expected, the visuals and the audio are great.  And there are several action sequences that are very well done (though most have been seen before…and so are also alittle forgettable), but while JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek was fun, witty, and smart with a opening that was quite epic (http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2013/05/16/top-10-star-trek-movie-moments-3/) Star Trek Into Darkness is not smart at all, and is unbelievably generic in its storytelling.  Now I cannot go into too much detail as to why I say Into Darkness parodies Star Trek because I’ll  be in spoiler territory, (but don’t worry scroll down to see it).  Yes your eyes will be on the screen for the entire 2 hours, there are certainly some laughs, and great sequences, but I honestly expected much more than a story that has been done  before. I think it’s average B reviews are appropriate; its a fine summer movie.

     

    Star Trek Into Darkness Grade: B/B-

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [Okay here comes the spoiler warning!]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [SPOILERS BELOW!]

    Now, for the 800lb gorilla in the room. Yes John Harrison is Kahn. And I’m actually totally okay with this. The problem is the absolutely unoriginal story telling here. Writers Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof, and  Director Abrams had four years to create a Star Trek that was their own, and they ended up stealing someone else’s movie.  Not only did they rip off a better film, but their script is still filled with lazy cheats, and building the story around the set pieces rather than vice-versa. The whole purpose of the alternate universe was to create new adventures.

    It’s truly Kahn in name only. A new story would require originality and effort, and no one wants to put in the hard work.  Instead, they continue to rip off Wrath of Khan.  They plagiarize Spock’s famous death scene but instead decide to “kill” Kirk.  There’s no real weight to this death (given there’s no decades-long relationship/we’ve only seen them together in two movies and we all knew Kahn’s blood would save someone in the end), so we know Kirk will be fine.  Abrams and his writers pat themselves on the back for reversing the roles, even though that role reversal doesn’t tie into any earlier conflict.  The death scene has NOTHING on the original scene; all I saw was two new actors re-acting the original scene; I almost thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it. Seriously  I almost started laughing. And Spock looking down at Kirk’s body and yelling Kahn was just embarrassing and that did it for me (Seriously he doesn’t even yell Kahn well….) Oh yeah and then Uhura just beams down and shoots Kahn in the back?!? (And don’t get me started on using the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to TELL Spock (Quinto) that Kahn is dangerous …)

    In Star Trek II, Kahn may be the villian, but the movie embodies everything about Kirk. The Wrath of Khan brings him a deadly nemesis from his past, who then forces Kirk to learn a harsh lesson, and lose his closest friend.  The movie embodies the best of the original series (the tense, naval-style battles; outsmarting rather than outgunning the enemy; an admiration for the creative and destructive power of science), but you can enjoy it without having seen a single episode. But if you’ve seen The Original Series, Spock’s death has serious weight.  It’s the end of a decades-long friendship, and the line “I have been, and always shall be, your friend,” gets the tears flowing.

    I clearly love the original Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn, so most people won’t feel the way I do. Again it’s a fine summer movie; but if you want the real deal, go watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. There is a reason it’s considered a classic.

     
  • Justin 5:50 pm on December 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch., , , , , , , , ,   

    New Trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness 

    A new trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness has gone online. Unlike the previous teaser, this one is far more melancholy and epic as we hear Pike (Bruce Greenwood) tell Kirk, “There’s greatness in you, but not an ounce of humility. But there’s going to come a moment when you’re wrong about that. And you’re going to get yourself, and everyone under your command, killed.” From there, we see the epic action director J.J. Abrams is going to unleash. Details on the story are still scarce, but a teaser trailer never gives those away. They’re meant to entice, and this new trailer is even better than the first one.

    The film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, Peter Weller, and Noel Clarke.  Star Trek Into Darkness opens in 3D on May 17, 2013.

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  • Justin 4:28 pm on December 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Benedict Cumberbatch., Bruce Greenwood, , , , , Zach Quinto,   

    Star Trek Into Darkness | Official Teaser 

    Star Trek Into Darkness Official Teaser is now online and it looks pretty badass. JJ Abrams returns to direct the sequel to the 2009 summer blockbuster that has revived the great Star Trek franchise.

    The movie is supposedly the Wrath of Kahn / Dark Knight for the series and again, looks great.

    Star Trek Into Darkness will see the entire cast returning including Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood as well as some new faces including Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Star Trek heads Into Darkness May 17, 2013.

     

     
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