Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pirates 3

So I had yesterday off, and decided to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. I also had a free pass (see "Grindhouse" below), got pop and popcorn using my Scene card, and used my metropass to get to the theatre. So total $ spent to see the movie: 0. Which in the end, makes me feel okay about spending three hours (including trailers) in the dark.

The short answer: it was okay.

The long answer: Depp, Rush and Richards were worth seeing. And Kiera Knightly, but for different reasons. Depp, Rush and Richards clearly enjoyed what they were doing, and that came across on the screen. Depp and Rush are (IMHO) excellent actors, and when you have excellent actors, they can make the whole thing worth while, and that's almost the case here. But Pirates falls into the trap that is Hollywood (at least lately), which is: If it makes money, keep making it! It's no secret Hollywood is having a hard time finding good stories, so when they stumble across something that does well, they milk it for all it's worth. To me, unless it was meant to be a trilogy, don't force it. The Lord of the Rings movies were intended to be three films and it worked. The Matrix was not intended to be three films, and it shows. Same for Pirates, and I think that is also part of the disappointment of the second and third films. The first one was so good - it came out of nowhere, no one had any high expectations, and it was wonderful! Thoroughly enjoyable! And it made a lot of money. So of course, the studio says make more! And they should have just left it alone.

Okay, enough of that, for now at least. Back to the movie. So two of the four main actors did a great job. Knightly and Bloom were eye candy, and while I like Bill Nighy, he was under so much make up (or CGI makeup) that to me he doesn't (or didn't) count. And Chow Yun-Fat is always wonderful to see. But the story meandered this way and that, and I got confused as to who was doing what and how and who they screwed over to do it, that I eventually stopped trying to follow it and just hoped that in the end they tidied it all up. And they kinda did. And they left it open for another film, if they want to (which could actually be a lot of fun). But for me (a hopeless romantic at heart) the ending didn't satisfy. Now I didn't know to stay until the end of the credits (I saw the movie by myself and was anxious to get home), and as it turns out there was a little something that was tacked on the end of the film, so if I had stayed, maybe that would have made me feel better. But I also found out that that wasn't the intended end of the film - the writers had additional stuff that was cut, and if that stuff had been in the film, I might have been more satisfied. Maybe I'll see if that's on the DVD.

Visually, the movie was stunning. The effects are top notch, and top notch nowadays means seamless, and that's what it was. The fights were mostly over the top, but still enjoyable. I'm glad they gave Keira Knightly a little bit more to work with in this film than they did in the second one, but then they don't stay true to the character at the end. And I'm finding Orlando Bloom just disappointing. He was wonderful in the Lord of the Rings films, but since then, he hasn't held up. Is it him, the roles, the director? I don't know, but he's just not able to pull of the role (he's supposed to be THE HERO in the Pirates films, right? And we all know who we really love ...). So for that, it all falls apart.

In the end though, it was fun. I still think they should have left the first film stand on it's own, but Captain Jack is such a great character, I was happy to spend more time with him.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spidey 3 - My Thoughts

Okay, so Diana and I took Friday off and went to see Spider-man III at 11 AM - in IMAX. We got there around 10 AM and there was already at least 30 - 50 people in line, as the theatre had not yet opened (like many of the articles I read said - it's not a matter of if Spidey 3 is going to be number 1 at the box office - it's just a question of how much is it going to make? - A lot I think!).

Anyway, got into the theatre, found good seats (essential when watching an IMAX movie), and waited a half an hour for it to start. No trailers, which sucks, and the anticipation ....

When the lights finally came up (and thank god because I had to desperately go to the washroom), I was .... a little disappointed. It was still good, don't get me wrong. Better than X-men 3, which I think lacked the soul that Singer gave the first two films film, but certainly not as good as the first Spider-man film, and I think I enjoyed the second film more as well. All the main characters were very good. In fact, all of the actors were enjoyable to watch in the roles, but the writing just seemed, well there was maybe a little bit too much of it. Too much explanation (we're not stupid - you don't have to go all George Lucus on us and spell everything out - mitichlorines - I hated that!), maybe too much dialogue, and maybe, just possibly, they didn't need all the villains.

Diana and I were concerned about that - to many villains. Think about the first four Batman films: they kept on upping the number of villains until the movies were about the villains, and not the Batman. So it's kinda possible that Spidey 3 suffers a little bit from that. Don't get me wrong - what they did they did very well. The visuals of the Sandman and Venom were spot on, and the actors portraying those characters did an excellent job, but maybe they could have left one of them out, or used them in the (inevitable) next film.

I must say that J.K. Simmons (J.Jonah Jameson) and Bruce Campbell (the Maître d’) were hilarious and almost stole the show (and perhaps they even did).

Regardless (not irregardless, which is not a word), we still enjoyed it, and it's a better film than most, but in comparison to I and II, this is probably the weakest of the films.

I would still recommend seeing it though. There's no doubt that we enjoyed it.