The Film Review Corner

Extraneous communication, genuflection, adulation, dissection and admiration should make its way in here.

Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:43 pm

Showtime did it, they showed the Cube trilogy in its entirety! Sometimes they go on showing good horror films for once. I have watched the first two films many times during the years and I love them.

Cube (1997):
Seven strangers found themselves inside a room, no one remembers who they are and what they are doing there. At first it seems like a random joke or a terrible nightmare until they realise they're trapped. As the story progresses they come to realise it's not a coincidence as their memories slowly come back.
The film was made in 1997, so it was three years before The Matrix, the sci-fi story has a common thing, but then Blame! was also made in the same year, so it's fair to say similar ideas have been floating around since the 60s, in stories such as I have No Mouth, and I Must Scream and by Harlan Ellison.
What I love about it is that the film is very minimalistic, it happens inside a shifting room and nothing more, it's entirely character driven. The acting can get hammy in parts, lots of heaving breaths and rolling eyes, though it's still fairly decent for a horror film. The story is dark and cruel, towards the end it seems the survivors are getting home but alas.

Cube 2: Hypercube (2002):
Eight people are trapped inside a strange room, they have no knowledge of how they ended up there. When they tell their stories they were previously doing before ending inside the cube, the viewer gets glimpses of what actually went on. From the first movie we know that the Cube is an experiment of sort, and again the people inside are somehow related to this mysterious project, and are in there as a form of punishment.
This is my favourite in the trilogy, the acting is levelled up considerably, the story gets darker. The first film was an ensemble piece, this time the main character is Kate Filmore, the psychotherapist played by Kari Mitchett, she is really good and adds a bit of humanity, which makes the ending rather cruel but not for the reasons one expects. It's a dark ending in more ways than one.

Cube Zero (2004):
Now this is were things get silly and out of hand. I didn't even know there was a third film.
The beginning goes straight to graphic torture inside what looks like a run-down Cube. In the first films it was obvious the Cube was an experiment, in this it's a reality; it's used as kind of monitored prison system. As seen previously, the people inside have no recollection of why they are inside.
The time of the films is ambiguous, in the second film it was perhaps set in our time, here it could be the future, it's left in the open.
The acting and production reeks of tv-film quality and the dialogue isn't as engaging as in the previous films. Since this was made after The Matrix series and when torture horror was totally in, it contains a lot of torture and elaborate ways to kill the characters. Cube 1 and 2 had what I would call ice cold logic vs human violence, Cube 3 has the kind of cruel, gratuitous violence for the sake of violence, the stuff often seen in cheap horror. The plot is a mixture of The Matrix, Saw and 1984, and well, any dystopia sci-fi story, but in the most clumsy way possible. I could hardly keep up with the plot as I was so bored by it.
Last edited by Vivia on Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:41 pm

Usually I'm not much into gossip and I run into this info when I came across yet another article about Exodus suckitude. I haven't followed the Sony hacks news and I'm always super late to anything, I only recently read about Mel Gibson's meltdown, but this, this little nugget of info really is fascinating. Only in October I was talking about actors deep in the closet and George Clooney has always been on top of that list for like ever and ever since the ancient 90s (he's been there so long he must have honorary place by now). Here is his email:

Sony Hacks: George Clooney's insecurity

That he met his future wife shortly after the email made my spider sense tingle. I have never liked Clooney, I haven't even cared about the closet rumours thing because I cared so little and I want to know as little as possible about his person, he has been a frequent guest in DListed in a way that seems very calculating (not to mention when he was very outspoken against the paparazzi and suddenly during his engagement there were like one million photos). Uh, just uh.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:07 am

Chun the Unavoidable wrote:The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies: wrong in so many ways. Spectacular. Thrilling. Often touching. Often beautiful. Wrong in so many ways.

Having seen it today, yeah, I agree.

I didn't feel like it was elf overload, although my tolerance for elves might be higher than Xisor's. To be honest, the way Legolas has been in the Hobbit films, and with Orlando Bloom being one of the worst A-list actors going (I think he's actually got worse with time) almost any Legolas is too much Legolas these days, and the "extreme elf" section fighting Bolg was kind of annoying. Until that point, though, I thought the elves were pretty much ok. I'm still not really sure what the point in Tauriel's character was other than "token woman" and providing some characterisation for Kili, but she was ok, and I liked Thranduil.

Overall I thought it was the best of the three films, mainly because it did keep the priincipal focus on the main plot without too much faffing around with Necromancer stuff. Something about the White Council attack on Dol Guldur rang slightly false to me; it felt a bit like a "scripted awesome" scene devoid of real narrative context (possibly because it's been about three and a half hours of film time and two years of real life since there has been any context). Also because, while it was superficially kind of cool, my brain couldn't stop saying "it's ridiculous to put so many important people at risk like this without a bit more backup, no matter how powerful they are". Or to put it another way, where the smeg is Glorfindel?

Anyway, once that was out of the way and we were back at the Lonely Mountain, the odd digression to Gundabad or whatever aside, things improved. It would have been nice to have seen a little more of the dwarves, relatively, perhaps, yet I also felt the characterisation on them was done here much better given the time they had on screen than it previously had been, and I certainly wouldn't want the film to be any longer than it is.

The final battle, well, I don't know. It was all exciting and well-shot and although knowing the outcome (and also being familiar with the standard tropes of dramatic Hollywood battles) drained the tension a little, it was fine, but again I wasn't sure about the narrative decision to take Thorin and co. so far away from the main battlefield. Not only, as with Dol Guldur, did it seem absurd for Thorin to risk his entire family (Dain aside) on that sort of gamble, but it seemed like the sort of thing you get in cheap fantasy or video games where everything is decided by a handful of important characters hitting each other and the rest of it is just backdrop.

Some of the stuff also just felt ridiculous: Dwalin and Thorin seriously proposing to take on a hundred goblins on their own, Bilbo taking out giant orcs by lobbing small stones at them, Legolas basically flying. As with the earlier films, the tonal inconsistency came back to bite it a bit, I think. If it had been more light-hearted and silly throughout, that sort of thing could be written off as swash and buckle and exciting adventure (or, hey, Bilbo's unreliable narration) but having played it mostly dark and gritty throughout (with only a couple of cartoon interludes), it didn't quite hang together now. Helm's Deep, Pelennor Fields, even the scrap with the Uruk-Hai from the end of Fellowship, this was not.

Still, I can't help but feel that if all thoughts of profit were set aside, and someone (probably not Jackson, given his inability to trim film length) sat down with all this material and gave it a really judicious re-edit, I think there could be a good three-hour-ish film lurking in this trilogy somewhere. The trilogy's main failing, I think, is in its being a trilogy in the first place, and in trying to present it as an epic comparable to Lord of the Rings, which it just isn't and was never going to be. Abandon that whole idea and it can probably still be salvaged. There'd probably need to be a couple more linking scenes or maybe a voiceover (as I suggest above, I think giving it a Bilbo narration could actually work quite well, and explain away any of the nonsense that made it in) and the overall film still wouldn't be as good as any of the LotRs, but it would be... better than what we got. And shorter.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:50 pm

It's a Wonderful Life, watched in the perfect location for the sprightly old classic: a fairly run-down old cinema in Woolton, Liverpool.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:30 pm

Athelassan wrote:
I didn't feel like it was elf overload, although my tolerance for elves might be higher than Xisor's. To be honest, the way Legolas has been in the Hobbit films, and with Orlando Bloom being one of the worst A-list actors going (I think he's actually got worse with time) almost any Legolas is too much Legolas these days, and the "extreme elf" section fighting Bolg was kind of annoying.
Ath[/color]

I have very little to add on the Hobbit films.

But...
Orlando Bloom was never an A-lister; he had a leading role in one major film in Kingdom of Heaven. One leading role, maybe two, I can't remember right now*, the rest are supporting roles in major films and not so major films. An A-lister is a major star because they have been a leading actor in several successful films, they're "bankable" and that's all that really counts in Hollywood. For example Jennifer Lawrence is one of the very few actual A-listers of recent years, she has had leading roles in several highly profitable films and has won awards for her roles, another one is Adam Sandler, regrettable or not, even though he isn't in the tabloids but that's not what counts here. The term is used rather loosely these days and many believe that Hollywood A-listers are big celebrities, notorious tabloid residents or those beloved by fans, those does not make an A-lister (a celebrity A-lister is another thing). Sorry.

You can read more about Orlando Bloom in his What the Hell Happened, which kind says it all as the series usually takes on the has-beens.
And Lebeu is right about his rant on the Hobbit films, it's sad that both the franchise of Transformers and the Hobbit won't be cinema classics. (I predict Peter Jackson will find it difficult to get funding for his project in the future, I don't care about him, but I feel Guillermo Del Toro will indirectly suffer from this, these things tend to go in waves in the film industry. Ack.)

*Two leading roles according to Lebeu's Le Blog.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:42 pm

Vivia wrote:I have very little to add on the Hobbit films.

But...
Orlando Bloom was never an A-lister; he had a leading role in one major film in Kingdom of Heaven. One leading role, maybe two, I can't remember right now*, the rest are supporting roles in major films and not so major films. An A-lister is a major star because they have been a leading actor in several successful films, they're "bankable" and that's all that really counts in Hollywood. For example Jennifer Lawrence is one of the very few actual A-listers of recent years, she has had leading roles in several highly profitable films and has won awards for her roles, another one is Adam Sandler, regrettable or not, even though he isn't in the tabloids but that's not what counts here. The term is used rather loosely these days and many believe that Hollywood A-listers are big celebrities, notorious tabloid residents or those beloved by fans, those does not make an A-lister (a celebrity A-lister is another thing). Sorry.

Well, he was the designated leading man in Pirates of the Caribbean, the most expensive film series of all time, and while Johnny Depp gradually took over the films, certainly early in the series the nominal focus was on Bloom. He also had a major part in Troy.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:15 pm

But he wasn't THE leading man in the Pirate films, he was part of an ensemble, just like in LotR, I truly doubt they made the films with him as the cashing cow. Johnny Depp is the bigger star with a big cinematic presence. But on the other hand I believe the first film was a surprise hit, it was just made as a fad film with the current Hollywood wannabes.

Good grief, I have watched Troy and the first Caribbean film and I completely forgot Bloom was in them! The power of charisma, not. He is so utterly forgettable. I even missed his WTHH article! :lol:
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:00 am

My wife and I MST3K'd the hell out of Battle of Five Armies last night. Very early on I said "bull****". A few times, I said that a few times. Then around the time the REDACTED erupted out of the ground I threw up my hands and said "I give up". More details below, spoilered since it's stuff in the film you might not be expecting:

Spoiler: OMFG BARD THAT IS NOT PROPER ARCHERY TECHNIQUE SOMEBODY HELP THAT KID

BEFORE YOU DIE YOU SEE CATE BLANCHETT I GUESS SHE REALLY IS FEANOR'S KIN

I HOPE WE FOLLOW UP ON SARUMAN OH WAIT NO

ARAGORN HOW CAN YOU EVER SURVIVE THESE NINE GHOSTLY UNDEAD NINJAS

WAR DEER WAR BOAR WAR GOATS OH MY

IS BILLY CONNOLLY ENTIRELY GENERATED BY CGI

NO HONEY THOSE AREN'T TREMORS THOSE ARE FREAKING NYDUS WORMS HOW MANY TIMES DID PETER JACKSON PLAY STARCRAFT II

HOW MANY TIMES DID PETER JACKSON WATCH ATTACK ON TITAN SIND WIR DIE ESSEN NEIN WIR SIND DIE JAEGERRR

ANDREW YOU'RE UGLY GET YOUR TEETH OFF MY SCREEN STEPHEN FRY DIED FOR YOU

YES DROP THE WEREBEAR LIKE A CLUSTER BOMB THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRED RESULT

THRANDUIL YOU **** REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME ELVES GOT INTO KINSLAYING

SHOW US YOUR BURRRN FACE

WHAT THE HELL IS A GUNDABAR I GUESS SAURON FORGOT ABOUT THAT

AWW AZOG'S FLOATING OFF TO VALHALLA OH WAIT NO OW

I GUESS PHYSICS DON'T APPLY TO AMPHIBIOUS ORCS

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:39 am

It's very easy to pick holes in the Hobbit films. I still think that (a) the trilogy is far too long, and preferably shouldn't be more than one long film or two shortish ones; (b) there's a terrible thematic and narrative dissonance running right through the spine of them that's very hard to overlook.

But fundamentally, the question I have to ask is: Did I enjoy them? And the answer is yes. There are things they did very well. I was even moved at times. I think I will purchase the DVDs when they become available as a bundle, in fact, and will almost certainly rewatch them at some point now I know what to expect.

I rewatched The Fellowship of the Ring (and the first half of The Two Towers; housemates prevented further rewatching temporarily) on New Year's Eve, and, with The Hobbit under consideration, there are a few things that came to mind. Firstly, the Lord of the Rings films are really good. Really good. I've seen a lot of great films in the last eighteen months and the LotRs are right up there. It actually made me nostalgic - "why don't they make films this good any more? Why aren't the Hobbit films as good as this?" But it's also really easy to pick holes in them. Not just the stupid "durr y not fly on der eagles" internet criticism that misses the whole point of the story, but just in general. There is more substance to them than The Hobbit, but you could still pull them to pieces and miss the wood for the trees if so inclined. So I'm not going to treat the ease of picking holes in a film as a fundamental flaw, at least in this instance.

Ultimately, while The Hobbit was a major disappointment in many respects (overall at least: my expectations for Five Armies were minimal, and it did not disappoint me), it was doomed from the outset. It's arguably the most hyped film event since Phantom Menace and it's a hell of a lot better than that was. The Lord of the Rings is just too high a bar for it to meet, let alone top, and certainly not under the circumstances of production. For all its myriad flaws, I think it's still better than the vast majority of contemporary fantasy films.

So, all things considered, it still gets my stamp, not necessarily of recommendation, but of acceptability. It's worthy of a place in my film library, even if not in my pantheon of favourites.

***


On to happier things, and a brief review of the year:

Best Soundtrack of the Year: Many good soundtracks to consider here, but there was never any serious contention for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. It's a marvellous work of art in its own right.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Interstellar. I didn't hate it, but it was just all over the place.

Biggest Surprise of the Year: Singin' in the Rain. I expected I'd hate this, and I loved it.

Longest Film of the Year: Some serious contenders here. American Hustle was an early frontrunner for feeling about twice as long as it was. Blue Skies made 100 minutes seem like 300. Bad Boys II was unforgivably long. Lawrence of Arabia is a genuine epic. But ultimately, all challenges are futile in the face of Gone with the Wind, a film of mind-boggling length and... length. It's just really long.

Worst Film of the Year: This coveted prize goes to Bad Boys II. I didn't know it was possible to make an action film with this much apparent mayhem so boring. God it was crap.

Film of the Year: Despite the high number of great films I've watched in the last twelve months, I think I fell in love with one at a fairly early stage and it was always going to take something monumental to displace it; nothing quite did. This award is made for a film that not just blew me away with how good it was but turned me onto a whole genre of film in which I'd previously had relatively little interest. And so, Once Upon a Time in the West takes this richly-deserved title.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:57 am

Ath: Rant aside, I did enjoy the film for the most part. My wife and I might have been mocking it but we were pleased for most of the time, until we crossed the two hour mark and the discomfort of sitting in the theater started to outweigh what was on screen.

Richard Armitage's Thorin has been impressive from the start, and he's the best thing in the movie. He combines Thorin's madness with glimmers of the truly good dwarf being overcome, and it's downright heartbreaking at parts. His relationship with Bilbo in this movie fully develops into something I honestly think I enjoyed more than Frodo and Sam's in the earlier trilogy.

Spoiler: He trusts Bilbo more than his own people and it's believable. Truly a feat.



Lee Pace as Thranduil is also notable as the best representation of an old-school Silmarillion-style elf in the series. He's not evil, but he doesn't care anything for anyone that isn't his own people and even there he isn't particularly kind. If there's anything that's an improvement over the Hobbit book it's him.

Bilbo and Gandalf remain strong. Bard's a delight, as is Dain, even if he's almost entirely CGI. The villains are all truly intimidating and threatening, even when I already know how everything turns out.

All that said, the film falls apart badly on a number of points that make it IMO the worst in the series (which is not the same as being a horrible movie). Suspension of disbelief is the big problem: my ability to accept what's happening on screen has been degrading since Goblin Town, and within the first five minutes of this movie it's gone again thanks to Bard's trick shot. After that I just couldn't accept that anything I was watching was real, even when the people of Laketown were fishing dead bodies out of the water.

Beyond that, the stuff the screenwriters had to invent to fill out the movie just didn't fit with Tolkien's established work or the earlier movies, and it took me out of the film repeatedly. And I'm not talking about Tauriel and Kili - that's necessary to give us some point of view characters in Laketown for the second movie, and it ends up being heartfelt and tragic by the end of this one.

But Gundabad breaks the universe, on more levels than I want to get into. So do the Nydus Worms, whose existence makes everything in the Siege of Gondor and Helm's Deep completely pointless. And Galadriel's actions in this movie retroactively break her character, and betray a nasty failure to understand some of the fundamental points Tolkien was trying to make.

Do I regret seeing the movie? Heck no. But it's the problems with it are jarring and I can't get around that.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:32 pm

A Night At the Roxbury:

This one is a completely dorky comedy starring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan. Despite that, I can't hate it, it's just so charmingly dorky,I have a soft spot for films about dorky people who are unaware and innocent. Everything is so spot on about the fashion, the hairstyles and music of a rather hateful decade. What makes me like these types of comedies is that they aren't serious, they make fun of everyone and everything, and most of all themselves, I mean Richard Grieco is only there to make fun of himself as a has-been. Ferrell is watchable in nearly everything he does.
It's like a mirror version of Fast and the Furious films if that series wasn't so utterly stupid and full of it: It's better to laugh at yourself and get people to laugh with you than getting laugh at and looking like a moron.

Fun fact: It was produced by Lorne Michael from 30 Rock and Amy Heckerling of Clueless fame. Love it.

Dude, Where's My Car?

Yet another movie that is so silly and dorky I can't really hate it. I have watched it several times and I still like it. The story is completely out there and it's over the top and silly. The actors seem to have a lot of fun being in it, they're fully aware what they're acting in, that counts for a lot. The acting isn't all that bad considering, Ashton Kutcher is actually quite funny outside of That 70s Show, there is a lot of physical comedy that works better for him here. Seann William Scott is funnier here than in the American Pie, but they can't really compare. Their characters aren't as loveable dorky as the the people in A Night at the Roxbury, though.

The Changeling (1980)

A very different film from the two above, it's a horror flick starring George C.Scott. It's in same vein as The Haunting in setting, and much more of a character driven horror story too. The story is actually very similar to Ringu, but with a father and son relationship. Scott is excellent in his very subtle portrayal of man deeply in mourning that is still very grounded as a person, no "I see dead people/knitters!" or rolling eyes to go into Hollywood insanity/scary mode here, George C.Scott is too good for those cheap tricks. It scared me quite a lot mostly because of the emotional background of the haunting.

It's available on You Tube here.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:34 pm

David Earle wrote:Richard Armitage's Thorin has been impressive from the start, and he's the best thing in the movie. He combines Thorin's madness with glimmers of the truly good dwarf being overcome, and it's downright heartbreaking at parts. His relationship with Bilbo in this movie fully develops into something I honestly think I enjoyed more than Frodo and Sam's in the earlier trilogy.

Yeah, I basically agree, although I'm not sure about it vs Sam and Frodo. That's possibly a problem with narrative focus rather than the plot itself, though.

Thranduil was good. The CGI on Dain was a little distracting, and the headbutting got old about the second time it happened. The uselessness of the orc armour throughout the final battle was irritating in general, though.


But Gundabad breaks the universe, on more levels than I want to get into. So do the Nydus Worms, whose existence makes everything in the Siege of Gondor and Helm's Deep completely pointless. And Galadriel's actions in this movie retroactively break her character, and betray a nasty failure to understand some of the fundamental points Tolkien was trying to make.

While I get you on the Worms, I'm not fully boned up on the book side of Tolkien's work other than a glance at the LotR wiki following the film to remind myself of some of the details, so I'm not sure why the Gundabad or Galadriel stuff is a problem.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:54 pm

Vivia wrote:A Night At the Roxbury:

This one is a completely dorky comedy starring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan.

I watched this the other week. It was, as you say, completely dorky. There is one called Superstar with Will Ferrell which another of the Saturday Night Live sketches turned into a film (or so I'm lead to believe).


Last night I spotted Arnie's latest film, Sabotage, on Netflix. It was pretty bad. And I generally like his films, even recent ones. But not this one, I would be in no rush to watch it again.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:48 pm

Athelassan wrote:While I get you on the Worms, I'm not fully boned up on the book side of Tolkien's work other than a glance at the LotR wiki following the film to remind myself of some of the details, so I'm not sure why the Gundabad or Galadriel stuff is a problem.

Ath


When Galadriel goes dark in LotR, it's a vision Frodo has of what she'd be like if she accepted the Ring. She's not actually evil like that.

Spoiler: So when she turns into freaking Sadako to fight Sauron it misses the point of that earlier scene. And Galadriel without the Ring wouldn't win against Sauron in a dark vs dark fight.



Gundabad... Gandalf kind of explains it in the movie, that letting the Orcs run rampant in the North would put Rivendell and the Shire and a lot of other things at risk. But Gundabad and its army are never dealt with properly. So either the Eagles and Beorn are enough to rout an entire Orc army by themselves, or Gundabad's still festering up there. I don't know, it just seems like the battle logistics weren't fully thought out and it was enough to bother me.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:30 pm

David Earle wrote:When Galadriel goes dark in LotR, it's a vision Frodo has of what she'd be like if she accepted the Ring. She's not actually evil like that.

Spoiler: So when she turns into freaking Sadako to fight Sauron it misses the point of that earlier scene. And Galadriel without the Ring wouldn't win against Sauron in a dark vs dark fight.



Gundabad... Gandalf kind of explains it in the movie, that letting the Orcs run rampant in the North would put Rivendell and the Shire and a lot of other things at risk. But Gundabad and its army are never dealt with properly. So either the Eagles and Beorn are enough to rout an entire Orc army by themselves, or Gundabad's still festering up there. I don't know, it just seems like the battle logistics weren't fully thought out and it was enough to bother me.

Hm. Well, in the first case, I actually appreciated that moment as it put that moment in the Fellowship of the Ring, which always seemed a bit random, into a bit of context. Rather like with Thranduil, I thought The Hobbit, rather moreso than The Lord of the Rings films in some ways, did a good job of portraying the elves as, while fundamentally aligned with the forces of good, ultimately also pretty terrifying and alien and unknowable.

In any case it's always seemed to me that in the Tolkien "alignment system" (as arguably in real life) power is almost inextricably linked with darkness and, ultimately evil. There's a close link between "most powerful" and "most flawed" throughout the mythology, from Feanor to Ar-Pharazon, to Saruman, and we even saw it in the film to an extent, where Thorin visibly rejects the trappings and raiments of kingship (notwithstanding it was in practical terms a silly thing to do since it included a suit of armour that it turned out he needed) in order to reclaim his identity. So that when one of the characters, even a good one, unleashes the full force of their power for a moment or two it doesn't seem unreasonable that you'd get a moment of darkness.

As to relative power levels, this isn't Sauron at full strength, or even Sauron at LotR-era strength, and whether it matches the books or not I think it worked fine on film. (Given that I'm informed Galadriel singlehandedly destroyed Dol Guldur in the books, her seeing off Sauron here doesn't seem unreasonable, in any case).

As for Gundabad - isn't its existence and use as the origin of the goblin army at Erebor essentially taken straight from the books? (And, for that matter, the decisive intervention of the eagles and Beorn which routs the orc/goblin army?) There may be questions as to what happens in the meantime, but if those questions are answered by Tolkien, well, there's the answer, and if not, then it's not the film-makers' fault. In any case it's not too hard to assume the elves or dwarves or someone reduces it after the battle. Especially if the bulk of its army was destroyed in the battle anyway. There's still a substantial chronological gap between these events and those of The Lord of the Rings, after all.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:51 am

Athelassan wrote:As for Gundabad - isn't its existence and use as the origin of the goblin army at Erebor essentially taken straight from the books? (And, for that matter, the decisive intervention of the eagles and Beorn which routs the orc/goblin army?)


In the book - well for starters Azog's long dead and Bolg's the goblin running the show. There's one main army that attacks en masse, basically the first army in the movie, and nearly overwhelms the dwarves, elves and men. The tide turns against the goblins three times: 1. when Thorin and the other dwarves in the mountain start basically bombing the goblins, 2. when the eagles turn up, and 3. and finally when Beorn arrives, pulls Thorin's body out of the fray and goes utterly berserk.

In the movie version there's two armies, or a big army split in two, mostly to get the main characters where they need to be as far as I can tell, but it ends up leaving a big chunk of goblins to get decimated entirely by Beorn and the eagles. It's a minor thing overall, but it threw away credibility for me. (The stupid eagle meme up to 11: "Why can't the Eagles just win the war single-handed?")

As to Galadriel - the White Council drove Sauron out of Dol Guldur, so that's not changed (although reading the main books I always assumed that was the five wizards without Galadriel and Elrond - I'm guessing the supplementals say different). And Galadriel's only slightly distant kin to Feanor, so she's got every right to be terrifying. But without the Ring, against Sauron - to my mind she should be a blazing light in the darkness, something that might scorch the earth to a cinder, to drive back Sauron's shadow. The way the film's shot it's more like she's being overcome by Sauron's evil and then turning it against him somehow, which is just... weird? Off? Tolkien had some strong thoughts about using evil against evil, and the scene feels wrong to me. Undeniably cool-looking, but wrong.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby J D Dunsany » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:00 am

Ath's earlier point about all power (even the 'good' variety) being dangerous because of its tendency to corrupt those who wield it undoubtedly comes into play here.

I thought it was a well-judged (and quite sobering) moment, personally.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Athelassan » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:16 pm

David Earle wrote:In the movie version there's two armies, or a big army split in two, mostly to get the main characters where they need to be as far as I can tell, but it ends up leaving a big chunk of goblins to get decimated entirely by Beorn and the eagles. It's a minor thing overall, but it threw away credibility for me. (The stupid eagle meme up to 11: "Why can't the Eagles just win the war single-handed?")

That's assuming that the dwarves and men didn't also engage the Gundabad army and we just didn't see it, of course. Shocking as it may be given the full running time of the films, there was likely still some material cut. I do agree that the (macro-)choreography of the battle was a bit "off", but it looks like the decision was made to focus on character, particularly as Thorin-Bilbo and Kili-Tauriel goes, which is more difficult in a big swirling melee.

But really, any flying monster is, in military terms, a gamebreaker unless you have access to flying beasties of your own. We've seen that again and again through the whole film series in fact: if there's an open sky above, the enemy have flyers (usually the Nazgul) and you don't, you're screwed. This is why the eagles make such a big difference on the occasions they do appear. We've seen it in the War of the Beard and The Sundering, too: even a very small number of dragons is enough to rout entire armies of otherwise capable soldiers. It's a problem not enough fantasy settings address, really (including Warhammer in many respects), since it could be argued it should change the whole face of war and possibly even evolution.

Yeah, there's the question about how they can't win the war single-handed, but Tolkien didn't have an answer to that either other than that the eagles can't be bothered/don't take enough of an interest/only appear when it would be most dramatic.

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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby Vivia » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:16 am

I haven't been excited for new films in a very long time, but in this new year I have TWO films I'm looking forward to:

The Nest starring Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, holy crap, yes! This is so awesome I feel a bit loss for words. I have been on a steady diet of 30 Rock lately and I need more Tina Fey. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are as close as to being my idols, I have a crush on both of them, they're so wonderfully adorable together and in their roles. *angel chorus*

The remake of Annie starring Cameron Diaz! I love it! Annie was my top favourite film as a child, the cable network showed it to death, I knew every line and scene. It's one of the very few films I want a remake of because the original has a very, very strong 70s flavour even though it's set in the 1920s, and it feels somewhat grimy, not the most elegant of film productions in all. I have always had a soft spot for Cameron Diaz and the more the years go by the more I respect her, she does what she likes in a city filled with robot people. She isn't afraid of being goofy and dorky when it's needed for comedy, unlike Jennifer Aniston type of comedy that I'm find so charmless (I tried to watch Horrible Bosses :/), Aniston always seems to be a walking hair do, Diaz has great hair as well but we don't have to have our faces rubbed into it, she is effortless. Diaz is filled with what we call LIFE.

EDit: It's The Nest that will be out in March, Annie was out December 19, apparently not the best of remakes either. I'll see for myself because the original was actually pretty lame.
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Re: The Film Review Corner

Postby David Earle » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:01 pm

LEGO MOVIE WUZ ROBBED That is all.
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