Facing The Phantom Menace: In 3D!

February 11th, 2012 by Kyle

Kyle here;

So I saw Phantom Menace 3D today.

Reaction: Yeah, it’s still the Phantom Menace. The only major difference, other than the 3D, is a slightly extended pod race scene. We’ve all had 13 years to dissect what’s wrong with this movie, so there’s no point in going over that again.

The 3D was actually surprisingly good, or at least a lot better than I expected. The only really odd thing about it (other than the fact that 3D in general doesn’t really look three dimensional, but more layered, like a pop-up book) is that the CGI objects in the film fairly consistently pop out of the screen more than the physical objects and actors. This isn’t surprising to me: 3D actually normally looks much better when applied to CGI (the Toy Story movies, for example) than when applied to live-action. In fact, this may really be why TPM looks good in 3D: because so much if it is CGI that redoing the CGI stuff so it looks good in 3D can work pretty well.

But this is, of course, the heart of what’s wrong with the movie in the first place: that George Lucas was so enamored with what computers could allow him to put on the screen that he concentrated on that and made characters, storytelling, pacing, tone, and plot secondary concerns. If Phantom Menace 3D is a tactical success, in that it does actually look good in 3D, it is a strategic failure, in that this just serves to reemphasize Lucas’s misplaced priorities in making the film. Phantom Menace 3D is a better-looking movie, but it is not a better movie.

And this is why it fails.

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Reviews

Kyle’s Green Lantern Review

June 18th, 2011 by Kyle

So the NPC Comics crew just came back from seeing Green Lantern. Here are my thoughts:

First off, this isn’t a terrible movie. But what it is is a movie that reinforces something I’ve always said about how, for me, the most frustrating and angering movies are not the ones that are totally bad, but the ones that had real promise that they just didn’t manage to live up to – that ones that could have been a really good movie, if only…

So, the big problem with this one is that it tried to do way, WAY too much at once. Did someone tell Martin Campbell that no matter what happened, he wouldn’t be able to do a sequel, so he’d better shove in everything he possibly could in this one movie? It’s like he tried cramming a whole trilogy into one movie. Green Lantern 1: Hal Jordan gets the ring, trains on Oa, has relationship and job issues related to becoming GL, and then fights Hector Hammond, ending up saving (and getting) the girl in the end with Sinestro’s help. Green Lantern 2: Sinestro, who trained Hal and helped him with the Hammond fight, turns evil, and Hal has to fight him. Green Lantern 3: Hal and the Corps fight Parallax. There’s your trilogy. Why did it all have to be in one movie? There was so much going on, and so many villains to keep track of, that in some ways it came off like one of the Schumacher Batman movies (though much better in other respects, I grant you).

The performances were generally good, except for the seemingly inappropriately-named Blake Lively, who seemed to sleepwalk through the film. Mark Strong, Tem Morrison, Tim Robbins, and Peter Sarsgaard all did well, except for the jarring fact that Robbins and Skarsgard are playing father and son despite the fact that they look about ten years apart in age, tops. Ryan Reynolds did well enough, but I don’t think he was quite right for the part. That’s not to say that he was bad at all – it’s just that character and actor aren’t always a good match. Reynolds seemed right as Deadpool, but just not quite right as Jordan.

The CGI wasn’t as bad as I feared from the reviews, but was nowhere near as good as it should have been for a movie of its budget.

I’m still not sure why Moss from The IT Crowd was in this movie, but it was nice to see him anyway.

All in all it was an okay-enough-I-guess movie that could have been – should have been – much better. It showed a lack of focus and ended up going all over the place. In a way it reflects everything that’s wrong with Geoff Johns-era DC and its obsession with throwing everything from the Silver Age into a bowl, mixing it up, and hoping it comes out good. But in the end, it’s the director’s job to keep his movie focused, and Campbell just couldn’t do that.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Reviews

Thoughts On Madoka Magica

April 28th, 2011 by Kyle

We just finished watching the last episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The verdict?

This is the best anime series in a over decade, now stands at #4 in my own list of greatest anime series of all time (behind only Legend of Galactic Heroes, Macross, and Cowboy Bebop), and is guaranteed to be a classic.

This series does for the Japanese concept of the superhero (which is what magical girls are) what Watchmen did for the western concept of the superhero – and does it every bit as devastatingly effectively. And, as with Watchmen, nothing in the genre will or can ever be the same after this.

It also is something with some very important messages for adolescent girls – be careful what you commit to; consider consequences; don’t throw away tomorrow for temporary happiness today; don’t trust appearances; don’t believe words just because they come out of a pretty face; find out exactly what’s in a contract before you sign it; if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is; don’t assume that everyone else has the same sense of morality that you do; there’s such a thing as being too nice to others; some wishes don’t come true, and often it’s better that they didn’t.

That it’s beautifully animated in an amazing, distinctive art style is just icing on the cake.

A true masterpiece.

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Reviews, Reviews