King Kong

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Jan 222006
 

King Kong (2005)

In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.

Directed by
Peter Jackson

Genres
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Cast
Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell, Lobo Chan, John Sumner, Craig Hall, Kyle Chandler, Willians Johnson, Mark Hadlow, Geraldine Brophy

With the technology available for special effects, this could have been a great movie. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Sadly, this movie just proves the point that good effects do not a good movie make. It was certainly a disaster (of a) movie.

What happened here is that a film with enough plot to last for the time of the original was stretched out to try fill 3 hours of screen time, and the result is disastrous. In addition, it’s pretty clear that CGI nerds and video game designers had way too much input into this atrocity.

I could provide details of no less than 10 scenes that were totally irrelevant to the movie (but that would provide some spoilers for those that want to see the movie). In addition scenes that didn’t need to be in the movie, nearly every scene ran about twice as long as necessary.

If you removed all this irrelevant nonsense, what would remain might not have been that bad. It would probably be quite good, in fact. Sadly, it was left in. It’s hard to imagine how insufferable a DVD “Director’s Cut” could be.

On the positive side, Naomi Watts was excellent, as was Jack Black. The acting in general was a positive, no real complaints there. And the animation of Kong himself was excellent. Very well done.

Sadly though, very little of the movie involved acting. It was all about making it a big video game and putting in all the effects. The effects are not themselves the movie, they are there to support the movie!

To summarize, there were a lot of good pieces, but there were also a lot of bad ones. Ultimately too many were used, and a lot of them did not belong.

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Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Jul 222004
 

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels attempt to destroy the Second Death Star, while Luke Skywalker tries to bring his father back to the Light Side of the Force.

Directed by
Richard Marquand

Genres
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Cast
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, Kenny Baker, Michael Pennington, Kenneth Colley

VHS

With a somber ending in The Empire Strikes Back suggesting that Darth Vader has won the day, nobody wants a story to end right there. In everyone’s mind, the good guys have to eventually win the war. With that comes Return of the Jedi, the sixth episode marking the final chapter of the saga. It’s hard to say which of the films of the original trilogy is the best, but this film has the most spectacular space battle of the three. Not only that. There are two other simultaneous battles: one in a forest and the other in a second Death Star.

The beginning of the film functions mainly to reunite the main characters. 3PO, R2, Luke, Leia, and Lando all try to free Han Solo from his encasement in carbonite in the palace of Jabba the Hutt. After a deadly fight in the desert over a monster pit, the allies escape and plan their next action against the Empire. This part of the movie also serves to tie some loose ends with Luke. When he returns to Dagobah, he witnesses the death of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s spirit. Not only does he learn the truth about Darth Vader, but also another family secret.

Darth Vader once again makes his appearance, but this time alongside someone even more menacing and ruthless: Emperor Palpatine. We also get a glimpse of the Emperor’s inner sanctum, complete with an Imperial Royal Guard whose faces are completely concealed. With Palpatine’s presence, Darth Vader and the rest of the Imperial officers become simply pawns in our eyes. That is significant, because as Luke Skywalker believes, even Darth Vader has a little bit of good in him and not fully seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.

The film after the desert scenes takes place on the forest planet of Endor, populated by short furry creatures called Ewoks. There haven’t been any cute creatures seen in the Star Wars films so far (except Yoda, maybe), and with them, there even seems to be some extra humor added to one of the final three battle scenes. For some, it may make the film have less of a dark tone, but then again, aren’t 3PO and R2 more of the humorous characters in the film? After all, they don’t do too much direct fighting and are just caught in the middle of everything.

Nevertheless, Return of the Jedi is a marvelous film that still delivers what A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back had given to the fans. It has characters we care about, a plot that engrosses our imagination, and impressive visual effects leave us in absolute awe. The musical score by John Williams continues to be great, using familiar themes established in Episodes IV and V. The film ends the Star Wars series nicely simply because its ending is a heartwarming wrapup. In the battle of good versus evil, evil has been rooted out, and the good folks of the galaxy rejoice, which the last scene of the film does a great job portraying.

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