go_leafs At the Movies (CLUE- p. 16)

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go_leafs At the Movies (CLUE- p. 16)

Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:08 pm

So here's an idea I had: Why don't I, possibly every day (if/when I can), review two movies? (The formula I'm thinking of adopting may make one of them positively rated, one negatively, but this might not necessarily be). I'll start as soon as I can.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by CluedoKid » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:38 pm

Go easy on Clue: The Movie. :D
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Post by Poirotfrmda818 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:43 pm

I always liked your opinions on movies.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:49 pm

I'll do Clue sometime soon, but I decided to start with two not-so-obvious choices:
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Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood starred in, co-produced, directed, and wrote the music for Million Dollar Baby. And the result is typical for actors who direct their movies as well. This is, to put it nicely, a terrible movie. Until the ending, the movie’s message seems to be “you can accomplish anything if you try hard�. And then comes the ending, which destroys any possibilities of a moral from this movie. Eastwood does nothing new, playing his standard, anti-hero, “tough guy� role. Morgan Freeman appears in this embarrassing movie, but miraculously, manages not to embarrass himself. This is a film overridden with clichés, absolutely boring and lifeless. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. Must’ve been a bad year.
No rating to this “million-dollar� waste of time.

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Oliver Twist (2005)
Starring: Barney Clark, Sir Ben Kingsley
Directed by Roman Polanski

I like Roman Polanski’s work. He is an ingenious director, and I was really happy that one of my favourite directors directed a D i c k e n s adaptation. The result was quite surprisingly good. Yes, the movie does change the novel quite a bit. But let’s live in the real world for a moment here: movies are a different media outlet than books, and they will have to change a few things to translate better onscreen. That being said, the changes are not too numerous or too distracting.
Sir Ben Kingsley appears as F a g i n , and does a surprisingly good job! He’s an amazingly talented actor, and he certainly does well in this movie. Barney Clark is quite possibly the best Oliver ever. It’s rare to see a young actor with so much talent. As for Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman), he is a dark, vicious, villainous, almost gangster character, and is handled perfectly. (I also really like Sykes' look in this film: he almost looks pig-headed.)
This is also the only movie adaptation to include the book’s infamous prison scene. The acting is so believable, and extremely touching. It doesn’t try too hard to make you sad, because it doesn’t have to.
The score was also brilliantly composed, and certainly fit the movie at all times.
Thumbs up to this magnificent piece of work.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:40 pm

(Comments are welcome, by the way.)
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Post by Jane Poirot » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:59 pm

So far, go leafs, you are doing a very good job. A good critic of anything--book, movie, play, TV show, video game, or fanficiton :wink: --should be fair and honest, not cave in to the hype (not to say ALL critics do but there are a few), which is what you manage to do. :D
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:25 pm

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf
Directed by Steven Spielberg

(Yup, this is why I didn’t answer what I thought about Indiana Jones 4 in the “New Movies� topic.)
Anyway, there has been a lot of negative hype surrounding this film. It’s understandable, but hey! It’s Indiana Jones! What is there not to like? Harrison still hasn’t lost his touch as the hero, I loved him!
Since 19 years have passed, the N a z i s are long gone, and Harrison is older. So instead of trying to pass off Harrison as 19 years younger and resurrecting the N a z i s, Spielberg and Lucas introduced the Russians instead, and set it in the 50s. Either you love this, or you hate it, and I love it! Irina Spalko is really reminiscent of Rosa Klebb (from the Bond movie/book From Russia With Love). Cate Blanchett did a really good job!
As for Mac… well, he’s not the greatest character in the series. Great concept for his character, but that accent really threw me off! (The actor seemed to be nearly mumbling his lines at times, it was hard to understand him at certain points.)
Now, on to Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf (d@mn, his name is hard to spell!). Again, either you love his character or you hate him. I personally liked him a lot as Indy’s sidekick, but if Lucas plans to make him the lead in the possible Indy 5, I might skip out. The only scene involving Mutt I didn’t like was when he was swinging from the vines along with the monkeys. I mean, come on! The stunts may have been farfetched or cheesy in the first 3 Indy films, but not that much!
Finally, Marion Ravenwood reappears, played by Karen Allen again. Now I see why Spielberg and Lucas had a different “Indy girl� in each of the first three movies. Why, oh why? What have they done to Marion? Where is that feisty girl who could outdrink any man in a heartbeat? She’s been reduced to a “soccer mom� (especially when Mutt and Spalko fence on the trucks, and she keeps correcting his stance). It was tragic to see her reduced to such a role.
John Williams, as usual, composed a brilliant score to piece this movie together.
Indy 4 has some of the good, the bad, and the ugly, but overall, it gets a thumbs up from me. It might not be the best film in the series, but it definitely is a fun one to watch.

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Quantum of Solace (2008)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench
Directed by Marc Forster

Daniel Craig is one of, if not the, best Bonds ever. He was positively brilliant in Casino Royale, and he does an equally good job here, too. Quantum of Solace takes its name from the short story in For Your Eyes Only, but it really has no plot similarities whatsoever. The movie is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, the only one so far in the Bond franchise. Now, the idea was great, but it was ruined by two things.
First of all, the direction. Where the h*ll did they pull Marc Forster from? The guy’s direction was awful. During many of the chase scenes, I couldn’t tell the difference between Bond and the villain. The style was really awful and confusing at times. I much preferred Martin Campbell’s direction.
The Bond girl… oh, dear! Since the Bond girl has usually been depicted as the “damsel in distress� (which she SHOULD be!!!), they decided to go all “politically correct� in this film. Camille is one of those “tough girls�, who is on a mission to kill the man who… well let’s leave that bit out. Let me point out something to the people behind QOS: you don’t need to make the Bond girl a “toughie� for her to be good! Look at Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale! Next thing we know, Bond will go steady with the Bond girl, just for it to be politically correct! :shock: *gags*
Those are really the only two faults of the movie. The Bond villain lacks the usual deformity, which I liked! I mean, the villains are the kind of people who do well in society and all, and this really helps convey the sinister “every-dayness� of the villain.
So overall, Quantum of Solace has its faults, but it’s enjoyable, especially once you put its two major faults aside. It gets a thumbs up from me.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Niteshade007 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:04 pm

I agree with your points on Million Dollar Baby, but I have to disagree with Indiana Jones. As a big fan of the Indiana Jones, I have to say I was severely disappointed with the latest installment.

Harrison is great. And LaBeouf isn't terrible. But the movie is a wreck.

The opening sequence in the warehouse is where the film peaks. After that, it spirals into something awful.

Blanchett's character has an underused psychic ability. Why introduce it in the beginning if you are never going to use it again? It's just poor writing. Her acting isn't terrible, but her accent slips a few times, particularly when she says "Dr. Jones." It just sounds funny. And if she really was this stern leader, she would have killed Mutt the moment Indy said he didn't care, just to prove a point. Instead, she allows him to live, and reintroduces Marion.

I loved Marion in Raiders. She's the best Indy girl. Easily. I was so excited when I heard she was being brought back to the series. I had such high hopes. Her first scene isn't awful. The dialogue is decent, and the banter between them was reminiscent of Raiders. After that, she's reduced to a soccer mom, as you described. The film's lack of danger is further emphasized by Karen Allen's perpetual smile. Her acting has suffered in recent years.

Mac could have been great. But he wasn't. I was hoping he'd just be killed off early. He wasn't. And his death was completely unexciting or moving.

I'd give this stinker a thumbs down.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:55 pm

I see your points. I guess, though, that I'm just glad there's more Indy to go around. I enjoyed it.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:48 pm

I hope everyone's enjoying this, by the way. :)
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Post by Jane Poirot » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:41 pm

Yes, we are. And I agree the Kingdom of Crystal Skull is one of those movies that you either love or hate.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:59 pm

Two comments I forgot to add for Crystal Skull:
- The film just LOOKS different. Film techniques have changed, there are way more special effects in this one- it has a different look, end of story.
- What happened to the whip? Indy used it about twice in the whole movie...
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Post by Adam106 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:17 pm

Don't forget to review The Dark Knight. :wink:

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:51 pm

Like I said, I'll go with less obvious movies first.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen
Directed by Steven Spielberg

After yesterday’s review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I only thought it was fair to review the movie that started it all. Well, to put it flatly, Raiders of the Lost Ark is perfect. Everything: the cast, the costumes, the setting, the fight sequences, the special effects, the score (Chariots of Fire beat the score for the Oscar) was just plain perfect.
You know, it’s a lot easier pointing out a movie’s faults than praising it. Where can I begin? Let’s start with the plot. It is homage to those Saturday morning serials from the 30s: you know, the low-budget ones with endless action that kept you on the edge of your seat, anticipating next week’s eppy. What I love is that the plot has actual substance, and it is not a merciless parody of other materials (like the dreadful Austin Powers).
Raiders is just chock full of action: it never stops. It’s what I love in an action film, so long as it doesn’t become mindless action for the sake of it. Miraculously, the movie has plenty of action, but never becomes mindless! It’s just plenty of fun to watch all the way through.
As for the character of Marion: she’s easily the best Indy girl! (So long as you don’t take her role in Indy 4 into account.) She has everything: spunk, fire, wits, a sense of humour, and yes, even good looks to boot!
I really should stop praising the film. After all, what good things can I say about it that hasn’t been said? It’s perfect-- a great movie.

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Eagle Eye (2008)
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan
Directed by D.J. Caruso

Eagle Eye mercilessly borrows from other, way better movies, to make an action blockbuster, filled with eye-popping special effects, along with a very talented young actor in the lead, Shia LaBeouf. What they forgot to do while making the movie was come up with a good plot.
I’m not kidding; this is a mess of a movie. It starts out quite promising, but soon degenerates into a bunch of stupid sequences for the filmmakers to go: “Hey! Look at these great special effects!� (Psst! Apparently, if you don’t breathe, you can survive in the un-pressurized cabin of a plane. Go on! Try it!)
It borrows so heavily from stuff we’ve already seen so often. Everything from Get Smart to 2001: A Space Odyssey found its way in here somehow. It’s like a version of Epic Movie that takes itself SERIOUSLY! :shock: Yikes!
The plot is just full of loopholes. There is no way that the stuff that happened in the movie was possible. I’d go into more details, but I want to avoid spoilers.
*** SPOILER WARNING ***
(SPOILERS IN WHITE TEXT FROM THIS POINT ON)

I was really disappointed, but when Shia LaBeouf’s character was shot, and it looked like he was killed, I really liked it! I mean, that would’ve been a great note to end the movie on! But alas, this is Hollywood, so of course in a cheesy cliché, he survives after all. Go figure.
*** END OF SPOILER WARNING ***
All in all, it was quite a disappointing movie. I give it a very emphatic thumbs down.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:19 pm

Here are today's reviews:
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Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Starring: Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez
Directed by Jared Hess

Jon Heder plays the title character in Napoleon Dynamite, in a movie that has been hailed as a cult classic. Why? I really have no clue. Napoleon is one of the most un-likeable protagonists I’ve ever seen in a movie. Heder tries to act too much like a loser, and has a terrible, flat, boring voice. In short, he overacts, just like everyone else in this movie. Pedro tries too hard to be an immigrant, Uncle Rico tries too hard to be the self-absorbed uncle, etc. The jokes are stale and dry, because this is a movie that tries way too hard to be funny. Though, granted, there are one or two jokes I enjoyed, for the most part, this was a really disappointing movie that dares to call itself a comedy. The dance scene at the end is perhaps one of the most pointless scenes I’ve ever had to endure watching.
I remember that everyone had a huge obsession with this movie back in Grade 9, to the point where teachers even played it on the last days of school. When I heard we’d see it (I’d already seen it before), I skipped. Thumbs down to this waste-of-time “comedy�.

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Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams
Directed by Ang Lee

Brokeback Mountain won 3 Oscars, and was nominated for 7 more. The late Heath Ledger’s performance was praised, as was Jake Gyllenhaal’s, and critics hailed it as a masterpiece.
Looking at the poster for Brokeback, I noticed that it was very similar to another movie poster:
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According to Wikipedia, it was designed after the Titanic poster on purpose. And that sums up the movie perfectly: it tries too hard to be touching, to be heart-warming, and to be romantic.
Why does everyone praise Heath’s performance? He wasn’t that great, all he really did was talk through his lips with a deep voice. All of a sudden he deserves an Oscar? (I respect the late Heath Ledger, but I won’t change my review just because the man died, like some of my friends have done.)
This movie was really poorly made and directed. It starts with an awkward and far-too-long silence, and that’s just about the whole movie: Ang Lee spends way too much time (for instance) following Ennis and Jack to the bar, showing a lot of (rather lovely at first, but then gets really boring) scenery. Please remind me why Lee got an Oscar for his direction instead of Steven Spielberg for Munich?
About 10 minutes into the movie, I’m waiting for something to happen. 20 minutes: ooh! A bear shows up! But nothing ends up coming from it: it’s shown, you have an exciting minute waiting for some sort of plot to develop from it, but it turns out that we’re coming back to Ennis and Jack after all.
I’ll cheerfully admit that I’m biased, and that romantic movies really aren’t my thing. But Brokeback Mountain has such a poor plot, casting, direction, and an appalling score (that once more tries too hard to sound romantic)... Watch Titanic for a proper example of a well-made romance movie. (Hey! I might just do that and even enjoy it this time!)
An emphatic no rating to this dreadfully made movie.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CluedoKid » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:21 pm

Scared me for a moment. At first, I thought you were scathingly reviewing Titanic, but then realized what you wrote didn't match the poster.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:14 pm

Hehe, I thought I might, but the Titanic poster was vital to set up the review nicely. Anyhow, today has been declared "Harrison Ford Day". (No, not really. The movies I selected randomnly, though, both turned out to have him in them):
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Witness (1985)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis
Directed by Peter Weir

In many ways, Witness is a cliché film. I’ll avoid spoilers, but let’s just say the thriller part of this film is nothing that has not been seen or done somehow before. But this movie is a lot more than your typical cop thriller. It’s a really intricate little film that explores the culture clash between “our� every-day culture and the Amish culture.
Harrison Ford delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as John Book, a tough Philadelphia cop. John Williams composed an Oscar-winning score. And, of course, the highlight of the film is little Samuel, the young child who becomes a witness to a murder, and must be protected at all costs.
This film is way more than your average thriller. Thumbs up!
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Star Wars (1977)
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones
Directed by George Lucas

Star Wars begins as a really dull, flat, and boring film. 25 minutes into the film, and I still couldn’t care less about the main characters. To be perfectly honest, I considered turning off the movie at that point, ranking it a 1 on IMDb, and writing a harsh review. But about 5 minutes later, the film really picks up, coinciding with the first appearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). That’s when the film becomes “watchable�. It becomes entertaining as soon as Han Solo (Harrison Ford) appears.
What’s wrong with the first 25 minutes? It’s just plain boring. Perhaps the biggest error is having the majority of the first 15 minutes spoken in an incomprehensible alien language. It is just so flat, that the appearance of Luke Skywalker does almost nothing to balance it out. But as soon as the plot picks up, it doesn’t slow down.
James Earl Jones delivers an amazing performance as Darth Vader (O.K., I know he does only his voice, but still, that guy’s voice is AMAZING!). Vader is the perfect choice for a movie villain: that mask is creepier than any deformed or disfigured face could be: always expressionless, constantly breathing heavily… He’s just plain, old-fashioned scary!
This movie certainly has some fantastic acting, particularly from Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones (of course), and Mark Hamill (who would later voice the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series).
Of course, the movie has its faults, especially when it comes to characters. Chewbacca and R2-D2 are quite possibly more annoying than watching Ace Ventura: The Animated Series.
So overall, Star Wars begins very boring, but is very entertaining by the end. It unquestionably deserves a thumbs up.
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Post by Niteshade007 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:41 pm

I find your review of Star Wars very interesting.

I'm not entirely a fan of the series. I enjoy it, but I hadn't ever felt the need to watch them. A friend made me. While A New Hope was my least favorite (I haven't seen the prequel trilogy yet), I thought it was a decent film, but felt too much like it was missing something. The writing is clunky and awkward, the acting is okay, but not as good as the rest of the series. The film that follows is the best of the trilogy, followed by Return of the Jedi.

And as far as annoying characters go, you can't possibly tell me that you thought Chewbacca was more annoying than C3PO. I was ready to kill him by the time we got to Return of the Jedi. R2D2 is cute, and Chewbacca is just badass.

I admit that I can make a pretty awesome Chewbacca noise.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:47 pm

The only redeeming C3PO scene was when:
They were cornered in the computer room, and to avoid being captured, he yells "They're madmen! They went that way!" :lol:

But yeah, he COULD get pretty annoying oftentimes...
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:39 pm

In a similar spirit to yesterday's Harrison Ford Day, today is Harrison Ford Sequel Day!
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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw
Directed by Steven Spielberg

I was watching the “making of� the Indiana Jones series a few days ago. When it came to The Temple of Doom, George Lucas said he intended to make the film a lot darker than the original, in a similar way to how The Empire Strikes Back was the dark second instalment in the Star Wars series. Well, he certainly succeeded in making it dark!
The Temple of Doom was the first Indy film I saw, and even with no knowledge of the series, its dark tone really struck me as too much for its own good. It’s just too bone-chilling and macabre. Even some of the jokes weren’t as funny because of the film’s overall tone (like the disgusting dinner, for instance).
This doesn’t mean The Temple of Doom is completely serious. It has its moments of humour, too, mostly provided by the “Indy girl�, Willie Scott. Although Marion Ravenwood is certainly the ultimate Indy girl, Willie is a lot of fun. She’s an outrageous parody of the traditional “damsel in distress�, and just provides a lot of fun comic relief.
As for Indy’s sidekick, Short Round, I loved the kid! Seriously, at ten, he was more help to Indy than Mutt Williams was in Indy 4! Favourite line? I'm very little! You cheat very big! :lol:
The Temple of Doom is really scary/creepy at times. Those of you who’ve seen the movie know what I mean.
The film certainly has a lot of outlandish chases, stunts, and action. (The mine cart chase is just plain amazing!)
Overall, the movie is a lot of fun, but its darkness slightly drags it down. It still gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me though!

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Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones
Directed by: Irvin Kershner

For some reason, the beginning of the movie is “messed up� again. In the original Star Wars, the first 25 minutes is boring. The same argument does not (indeed, can not) apply to The Empire Strikes Back. It starts on an exciting note, and the excitement never slows down. What’s wrong then? The beginning is just too confusing! A while passed between the two films, and Luke’s voice sounds somewhat different. So for about the first 10 minutes of the movie, (where no faces are shown, and only Han Solo’s name was mentioned) I was wondering: “Is it really him? Or was it someone else?�
Omitting that confusing first 10 minutes, this movie was, to be perfectly honest, amazing. The acting really improved, I think, from the original. I positively loved Billy Dee Williams (who should’ve played Two-Face in Batman III) in this movie. James Earl Jones, who delivered a fantastic performance in the original, was even better here. (Darth Vader’s sardonic line “Apology accepted� was just amazingly delivered!) He was even scarier, I’d say. Harrison Ford’s character was a little more developed, as was Carrie Fisher’s. Mark Hamill did a great job, too.
Of course, now we get to the list of annoying characters. C3PO really began to bug me in this movie, which he didn’t do as much in the original Star Wars. I still found Chewbacca to be really irritating most of the time. R2D2’s inability to communicate in anything other than beeps and whirs (that had to be interpreted by C3PO) got on my nerves really often. And, of course, before Yoda revealed who he was (although everyone knows by now how he looks like), he was the most annoying of the lot.
What I loved about this movie was John Williams’ music. He certainly went against my expectations. Instead of composing a sci-fi sounding score, with futuristic sounding instruments, he composed one “traditionally�. And it was far more effective than any sci-fi music could’ve been!
The plot is a lot more exciting, dangerous, and, I’d say, refined, than the original. It never slows down— it’s a wild ride. It certainly is a huge improvement over the original Star Wars. It is unquestionably a great movie.
Last edited by go_leafs_nation on Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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