Posts Tagged ‘monsters’

A Wrinkle in Time….sigh.

Thu ,14/06/2018

Earlier this week, kerewin and I checked out A Wrinkle in Time. I had wanted to see this, then when it came out and the reviews weren’t good, I was a bit sad, but still wanted to see it anyway.

Because to me, the original book is very much of my time (came out in the early 60’s, I was born in the late 60’s), it’s not a very conventional book by any means (besides being sci-fi to begin with) and I’ve always considered it one of my key early books that got me really interested in the genre generally.

I think for me the key appeal of the story is that it takes fairly heavy subject matter (the never-ending struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, tough social situations and family struggles) and doesn’t talk down to the reader, despite being a kid’s book in the end. Even re-reading it a couple years ago on a whim, it’s still a good (if now much quicker) read, has respect for its characters and tells a good story – the key criteria above all.

So it’s clear why Hollywood would have a problem making a movie based on this story, and my initial take on the movie is that they made a decent try at it. I liked the new approach of an African-American girl in L.A. – her younger brother is possibly even *more* precocious than the Charles Wallace of the book (who was pretty far along on his own), and the star power of Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Zach Galifinakis really doesn’t get in the way in the end, BUT….

1) they give short shrift to the main plot – they focus too long on Meg’s school problems and not long enough on the other aspects once they tesser to Uriel, Camazotz, finding Chris Pine (the dad) and then back – happens way too quickly and without enough dialog, at minimum.

2) they completely skip the whole Ixchel sequence (when they tesser out originally with their father and Meg is damaged by IT in doing so, and then she has to go back in, all alone, to rescue Charles Wallace). This is a critical part of the book that shows Meg at her most vulnerable, then launches her back into chaos (Camazotz again) and she learns an important lesson about herself and her inner strength. Because the movie skips this entire sequence, we go from an abortive ‘father rescue’ right to rescuing Charles Wallace – more plot thinning, as it were.

3) there are too many ‘musical segue’ sequences that play like a music video interlude between dramatic scenes. There are at least three and they really just waste screen time that could have been devoted to plot or character dialog…

4) Camazotz far more resembles ‘CGI Dagobah’ than the scary planet depicted in the book. While they start with the kids bouncing the ball in the neighborhood, they quickly blow that off and all of a sudden we have already rescued Chris Pine? Again, far too quickly and thins out the plot yet again.

5) And there is no ‘IT’ in this movie?! Arguably the scariest part of the book in many ways, at best, IT is depicted through a dark, hardly speaking voice while Meg and Charles Wallace scramble around in what looks like a modern version of Yoda’s summer home – Just not scary? And the ‘evil’ is largely depicted as Charles Wallace yelling at or scolding Meg. While it’s possible that the ‘disembodied oversized brain’ of IT in the book may not work cinematically these days – it’s still better than a not-scary root forest with some weird voice in the background? Plus, they keep calling IT ‘The IT’ – as if IT is a piece of evil furniture? Doesn’t work.

6) I saw part of an earlier 2003 adaptation of the book, most namely the first IT sequence – and while there they left out the ‘brain’ too – it is much creepier and weird, arguably truer to the book. I may now need to check out this earlier film just to see the differences.

Anyway, mixed bag, ultimately disappointing but I give them props for trying….

candybowl

Funny….

Sun ,18/03/2018

candybowl

funny….

Sat ,24/02/2018

candybowl

I would hope so…

Tue ,14/11/2017

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Gz goes all Trump on us…

Thu ,19/10/2017

as discussed on Weekend Update

candybowl

Shin Godzilla!

Sat ,12/08/2017

So, in response to the big success of Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla film (discussed earlier here) – the original Godzilla film company – Toho – decided to do yet another Gz film of their own. The result: Shin Godzilla, which just came out on DVD and Blu-Ray this month.

Funimation, god love ’em, actually did a limited release of this movie in theaters last year(?) – and I went, but like an old loser, fell asleep midway through the movie so missed most of it – doh! So I’ve been waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can actually watch the whole thing through.

My take: mixed feelings. So on the one hand, the special effects are definitely in the top tier of any of the Toho Godzilla films – especially when the earlier mutant version of Gz is waddling through down (there is no other way to describe it) and crushing boats, rivers, trains and buildings – very, very realistic looking, even if Gz doesn’t look very dangerous at that point – yet.

But then on his second run of destruction through town, the battle is a bit too drawn out (timewise) even if a bit too abbreviated (battle-wise). You see, the filmmakers are obviously putting in a lot of human commentary on Japan’s current political situation – the first half hour of the movie if not a bit more is spent spoofing meeting, after meeting, after meeting, at the govt level and how they are ‘paralyzed by process’, even when faced with a giant mutant nuclear-fired monster is about to stomp their country into oblivion.

While this setup is funny at parts, it drags on a bit too much – bring on the monster!

My other minor/major gripes are two – Godzilla himself looks like he’s wearing a weird chest-jutting haltertop underneath his skin when he finally assumes the role he was born to do – his upper body is just weird looking. His skin looks much closer to General Tsao’s Chicken than the usual scaly, rubbery mutant we know and love, and most egregious – his roar is severely muted, if you hear it at all.

This last was largely my big gripe for the Gareth Edwards film, likely because he probably couldn’t license the sound, but Toho OWNS that roar – hel-lo?

Also, as you see in many Gz movies, they play up the ‘sympathy’ angle more than a bit – especially when the military is (literally) dropping buildings on him left and right. In the older movies when this happens, he really gets pissed off – and to some degree that happens here, but we never really see the big ‘rage moment’ that happens at least once or twice in the older movies. Disappointing – I wanted to see more destruction!

The actors are good otherwise, although the ‘americans’ mostly appear off camera with pretty stilted dialogue. And the notion of a Japanese-American woman becoming President by her 40th bday is fine by me, bring it!

So I think in the end the movie is definitely worth watching but a bit too long and not enough Godzilla. I think on balance still my fave movie is Godzilla 2000 – easily the scariest looking Gz in any of the movies, definitely among the most badass, especially at the end.

Other voices:
Rotten Tomatoes
Metacritic

candybowl

Taco Birds are scary….!

Sat ,01/07/2017

candybowl

Oh….Jack…!

Sun ,23/04/2017

well worth the wait! But was only able to see the first 3 episodes….hopefully goes on all summer!

candybowl

Funny….!

Sat ,04/03/2017

good haul of comics this am – enjoy!

candybowl

So….AWESOME!!

Sun ,12/02/2017

made my day. Thank you Genndy!!!

candybowl