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Average User Score: 6.6May 5, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Most people would admit that there hasn't really been a truly good movie involving the idea surrounding the early ''Alien'' films since ''Aliens''. Since then, we've suffered the sub-standard final two films of the ''quadrilogy'' and the action packed but fairly pointless (I thought) Alien vs Predator films.
Therefore I wasn't expecting big things from Prometheus. I didn't really get them either, just an enjoyable and well thought out prelude to the original Ridley Scott film of 1979.
This is Ridley Scott's first ''Alien'' related film since the brilliant, clammy and atmospheric horror of the original, and his touch is evident in many of the scenes. It's certainly the most tense and eerie film since the the original. In terms of storyline, things are extremely well planned out. The general idea behind the Alien race and its origins is equally superb and ambiguous and horrifying.
The film falls down a little in it's execution. Things get a little confusing at times (it wasn't until I read other reviews that I fully understood the complete idea behind the plot) and it takes nearly an hour to really get going. What is pleasing is that an enormous amount of visual attention to detail has been paid to the film - so much so that to fans of the original film (like myself), this does feel like a proper prequel.
In terms of the actors and their characters, it's all pretty much par for the course in terms of Alien films. Strong female lead, slightly dodgy droid, corrupt bloke, nice man who female lead falls for but dies. You get the picture. There's nothing one truly memorable about the characters, which is a pity considering that the acting is generally of a high standard.
Overall, a welcome, well thought out and generally good addition to the series that will certainly please fans. Welcome back Ridley Scott....… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Apr 28, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Having stuck with Peter Jackson's Middle Earth film adaptations over the years, I've finally made it to the bitter end and viewed them all. While the Lord of the Rings films were a distinct success, the first two films of the Hobbit trilogy had largely been seen as poor relations by critics (and myself!).
Thus, I was presently surprised by the final outing in the Hobbit trilogy; The Battle of the Five Armies. Though still not up to ''Rings'' standards, it's a gritty, aesthetically pleasing and grandiose piece of work.
In terms of the plot, there are of course plus and minus points. By now (and indeed for the whole trilogy) it's been painfully obvious that this is as much based on Jackson's script as much as Tolkien's book. Once you get used to the fact that the plot isn't really going to try to remain that faithful to the book (as I did after the first two films) then the action becomes more enjoyable and palatable.
Of course, the best part of the film is undoubtedly the first ten minutes, when we witness Smaug's attack on Lake Town. It's a memorable piece of cinema, with great action and visuals, though sadly (because of poor planning) ten minutes of Smaug in this film is just not enough. We don't get to see a whole lot more of Sauron and the Ringwraiths either, and after a couple of brief but visually pleasing scenes, they get vanquished back to Mordor.
This leaves much of the attention in the remaining bulk of the film focused on two baddies; Azog the Defiler and Bolg. Two good baddies, yes. But both a bit anti-climactic compared to Smaug at least.
Far too much attention is also given over to the character of Legolas, who does his best to ruin many of the action scenes later on in the film. What a joke his character has become; poorly acted (Orlando Bloom is distinctly wooden whenever he has to speak) and somewhat symbollic of the wrongs of Peter jackson's battle sequences; too trivial, daft and super-hero like for his own good. With Legolas's abilities portrayed as they are in this film, you have to wonder why he wasn't sent to Dol Goldur to deal with Sauron himself. The Dark Lord would've been toast...
Despite these failings, this film redeems itself with it's generally gritty battle sequences (among the best seen since the ''Two Towers''), a fantastic performance from Richard Armitage (Thorin) amongst others and memorable bad guys (Smaug, Sauron, Azog... ). Effects wise, WETA have got it spot on this time as well; impressive but not as dizzying or over the top as in one or two films in Jackson's adaptations.
If only some of the unnecessary scenes had been cut out of the trilogy (the Storm Giants, Radagast the Brown, the Barrel riding battle, and all of Legolas's scenes) then we could have had an even better ''trilogy'' packed into two three hour films.
Oh well, you can't have it all. Decent effort, nonethless.… Expand
Average User Score: 9.0Jan 20, 2015The second part of Peter Jackson's Rings trilogy is for me, possibly the best film of the series.
Like the others, it is truly epic in itsThe second part of Peter Jackson's Rings trilogy is for me, possibly the best film of the series.
Like the others, it is truly epic in its design and in bringing Tolkien's fantastic legend to life, but this film contains a kind of atmospheric tension (best seen In Sam and Frodo's story) and gritty brutality (in the battle at Helm's Deep) that the other films did not quite possess in such measure.
As in the other films, the settings and scenery of the film are outstanding: from the eerie bleakness of the dead marshes to the wild and windswept hills of the plains of Rohan, this is beautifully filmed stuff.
Much of the acting is also of a very high standard. Ian Mckellen and Christopher Lee fit their roles as wise and mighty wizard (Gandalf) vs evil and corrupted wizard (Saruman) perfectly and Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Sean Astin (Sam) really take their performances to even higher standards in this installment.
I apologise if the following actors escape me here (!) - there are also several fine additions to the cast in this movie and the characters of Theoden, Eowyn and Grima Wormtongue also shine. But perhaps the finest performance comes from Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum. Gollum is of course 100% computer animated, but such is the strength of Serkis' performance and the realism of the animation, that this is definitely the performance of the film.
The battle of Helms Deep is also truly memorable, and the finest battle in the trilogy of films. We see lots of bloody fighting, hear swords clanging, arrows twanging from bows, see ladders assailing the fortress wall and even a huge explosion shake the foundations of the wall apart. Brilliantly done. The only that perhaps betters it are the prodeeding scenes - Saruman addressing his huge army at Isengard, the bleakness of the mood inside Helms Deep, the arrival of the elves and finally the tense wait just before the start of the battle, when we see and hear the huge army of the enemy slowly making it's way towards the gates under darkened skies.
It may be a superb film, but it is not totally without fault. Some characters will tend to irritate Tolkien enthuiasts, particularly Gimli and Legolas, who seem to have been given more trivial roles in this film, especially in the battle scenes. A large chunk of the plot has also changed, or at least been moved in this film as well, and some viewers may find themselves that Sam and Frodo do not get to face Shelob until the final film of the series, rather than in the Two Towers (as they did in the book). But the gripes do not amount to nearly enough to discredit what is an immense achievement and one of the finest fantasy films made in recent years.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Jan 16, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. After the brilliant Lord of the Rings films, I was expecting big things from this film. Unfortunately, I was found myself a little let down by it. It seems that Peter Jackson may have lost his touch a little.
The rings films were huge, epic and rivetting pieces of film making. This is still in evidence in ''an unexpected journey''; superbly filmed backdrops and scenery throughout and a real sense of adventure are both still there. However, it has to be remember that Tolkien's original book was a reasonably simplistic and straightforward children's story, with a few darker undertones thrown in for us older readers. Peter Jackson has chosen to expand upon these darker undertones, and indeed the film feels much more like a prequel to the Fellowship of the Ring than an actual adaptation of the Hobbit.
That said, it generally succeeds in what in trying to achieve this status, though in doing so sacrifices much of the original matter of Tolkien's book.
New and often seemingly unnecessary scenes have been added, including Gandalf's co-wizard Radagast escaping from a pack of Wargs on a sled pulled by giant bunnies (I'm not making that up...), and a cringeworthy scene involving the Hobbit and Dwarves attempting to evade the battling ''storm giants'' of the mountains. The script is also not perfect and often questionable, and characters who had little or no place in the book appear prominently in certain scenes. However, unlike many reviewers (!) I often found their additions quite interesting. However, in choosing to focus on characters such as Azog the Defiler and Sauron, Peter Jackson has perhaps unwittingly placed lesser importance on the real baddie of the book; Smaug. This is a shame.
In terms of effects, I found this film difficult to stomach at times. Though the animation is fantastic in places, in other scenes the camera angle jerks around constantly and is extremely irritating.
Character acting is also variable. I wasn't actually particularly keen on Martin Freeman as Bilbo (though I know he was poplular with others), and some of the Dwarves could have had bigger parts in the film.
Generally, a good film; entertaining and dark. But not quite what I was expecting; an unexpected journey, no less.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Jan 16, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Peter Jackson adaptations of Tolkien's Middle Earth books have always made epic viewing, even if often receiving mixed reviews from Tolkien enthusiasts and film critics alike. The Desolation of Smaug is no different, and in this aspect, I guess no one expected it to be.
It has all the plus points of it's Peter jackson siblings; Stunning and atmospheric scenery and backdrops, generally strong character acting, interesting story and depth. But it also has all the minus points of the previous films; Added and often irrelevant storylines and characters, poor scripting in some scenes and over the top CGI, not to mention a few hammy attempts at humour thrown in for bad measure.
Unfortunately, Jackson seems to have expanded on the negatives rather than the positives in this film.
The plot now deviates hugely from the original works of Tolkien in places; so much so that it is difficult to regard this as an adaptation, more a Jackson interpretation. We also have characters such as Legolas taking up a lot of screen time and stealing scenes, when they were barely mentioned in the book.
Tauriel is an example of a character who has been entirely created for the purposes of the film. Needless to say, as a character she doesn't work and the scenes involving her are needless additions to the plot.
One of the film's major triumphs is it's recreation of Smaug; Brilliantly animated, menacing and superbly voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, But even his scenes are someone spoiled when the storyline deviates from the book strongly once again. I could also go into the scenes involving Gandalf and Sauron at Dol Goldur, but I won't. Just to say that although interesting, they also didn't appear in the book....
So that's it then - if you like over the top CGI, daft battle scenes and didn't read the book then you'll love this. Otherwise, it's an entertaining but slightly disappointing stab at the work of a literary genius. I hoped for more from Peter Jackson as a film maker, but didn't necessarily expect it.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Jan 16, 2015This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When I went to see ''Life of Pi'' at the cinema, I was expecting a fairly straightforward but intruiging story; Man on ship transporting tiger gets caught in storm, ship sinks and man and tiger have to share a lifeboat together in order to survive. I left the cinema, definitely intruiged by what I had seen, but also kind of wishing that it had just been the fairly simple story that I had expected it to be..
There's no denying that this is a beautiful and beautifully filmed piece of cinema. Right from the simple but effective opening of the animals at the zoo, I found myself drawn into things. The narrative is well scripted, easy to follow and interesting.
Shame that the same could not be said of the overblown plot. Though it is always an interesting watch, scenes in the Life of Pi may well leave you asking; What was all that about? What was the need for that? It's not until Pi has finished telling his story at the end of the film that one can even begin to try and make sense of it. And even then, I was still a tad confused. Morally, this is a film with religious undertones, that puts the very biggest questions of belief under the spotlight. It took me a while to work that one out...!
Another thing I found irritating about the film was the over the top and not always realistic CGI; the storm, the whale scene, the island of meerkats..... all a bit OTT. But no criticisms of the animation on the main star of the film, the tiger, which has been brilliantly recreated.
So to sum up; An intruiging film and beautiful film, which unnecesarily over-complicates itself graphically and in it's storyline.… Expand
Average User Score: 9.1Aug 9, 2014My favourite film of all time, and the true ''Godfather'' of the gangster film genre. This film has it all; memorable characters and scenes,My favourite film of all time, and the true ''Godfather'' of the gangster film genre. This film has it all; memorable characters and scenes, terrific acting all round (James Caan as Sonny Corleone and Al Pacino as Michael are amongst the best acting performances I've seen) and a wonderful and gripping storyline. And it's all beautifully filmed; the dark and smoky interiors of the Corleone's retreat (complete with Godfather sitting in the corner in his armchair, face shadowed), the family wedding, Michael's exile in Sicilly and of course the tense scenes at the hospital, and the famous restaurant scene, where Michael turns killer for the first time.
Totally memorable, and no other film I've seen is quite as perfect, polished or stylish as the Godfather.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.9Aug 9, 2014I absolutely loathe this film. While the visual effects may be impressive, the acting and the script is pure Hollywood hogwash. The mainI absolutely loathe this film. While the visual effects may be impressive, the acting and the script is pure Hollywood hogwash. The main characters are so irritating, with their arrogant and cocky nature and hammy script that I was hoping that a giant insect would appear and gobble them all up instantly.
This film has no merit in terms of imagination, acting or story telling, and so I would recommend it only to spotty 15 year old boys who have no intelligence or imagination and think that playing on Call of Duty for 23 hours a day is cool. One of the worst films I've seen.… Expand