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Jack The Giant Slayer Review

Okay so now it’s time to review a film I’ve been waiting to watch for a while, Jack the Giant Slayer. It is another one of those crazy twists on a classic fairy tale, but the reason people should be paying attention to it is because Bryan Singer is in the director’s chair. He has a pretty decent catalogue of films under his belt, plus the trailers for this film looked pretty interesting and unique and featured a decent cast too. How could it go wrong? Well somehow it did and the end result is something quite unremarkable.

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So when it comes to the story we all know how Jack and the Beanstalk goes right? Some kid gets some magic beans, a beanstalk appears, Jack climbs into the clouds, confronts a giant and numerous riches. You know all that good stuff. However this film takes a different approach by blending to tales, Jack and the Beanstalk tale and Jack the Giant Killer.

Here’s a synopsis:

“Sent to the market by his uncle to sell their horse and buy thatch for their roof, Jack meets the beautiful Princess Isabelle whom he rescues her from ruffians. He returns home only with a handful of beads given to him by a monk who claimed they were sacred but that does little to impress his uncle who tosses them away. In the night the Princess arrives having run off to keep from marrying Roderick who is clearly only interested in becoming king. Soon the beans take root with a giant stalk carrying away the princess and Jack’s house. He soon sets off on an adventure with the king’s guards to rescue the princess only to find that a mythical land filled with giants really exists.”

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Honestly the story for this film had an interesting idea; it just wasn’t quite executed very well. I can’t really explain where this film goes wrong, it had decent set up with Jack and Isabelle and then with the beanstalk shooting her into the sky and then having Jack along with Lord Roderick and Elmont going up into the sky to save her. I liked that, but after they started to investigate the land of the giants I swear things started to drag and I kid you not, I nodded off in the film. I swear this must be due to my lack of sleep, but I’ve watched film in worse conditions (like having a hangover) and I’ve been fine. I think this film just got uninteresting half way through and then sort of picked up again near the end. The story had potential to be so much more but it was just there, and speaking of just there…

The characters in this film weren’t all that interesting either. Now don’t get me wrong their performances weren’t bad, I just didn’t care for any of them, bar a few people. Nicholas Hoult as Jack was fine, but even as the protagonist I didn’t really care about him. I wasn’t rooting for him, I didn’t care about his love interest with Isabelle, I’m not sure if I even liked the guy at all. His character was just there and could have been played by anyone. Eleanor Tomlinson as Isabelle was a princess and she played her part well but again I wasn’t fussed about her character. Now we come to the first person I actually give a damn about and that’s Stanley Tucci as Lord Roderick. He played an adviser to the king with designs on usurping power and taking control of the giants, Tucci played his role well and I enjoyed his screen presence. Surprising Ian McShane as King Brahmwell was just there as the king, he played the role well enough but I again didn’t care for the character. And lastly let’s talk about Bill Nighy and John Kassir who play Fallon, the two-headed leader of the giants. this was one of the saddest excuses for a leader of giants. I was expecting someone badass; instead I got half of a villain a bumbling idiot head that spoke like the Tazmainan Devil from Looney Tunes. I couldn’t take Fallon seriously with such a stupid handicap on his should, it like looking at a dumb version Gollum on crack!

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Ewan McGregor played Elmont, the leader of the king’s elite guard, who helps fight giants. I thought his character was cool, funny and probably my favourite person in the film for one main reason… HE’S EWAN FRIGGING MCGREGOR! He’s one of my favourite actors and I’ll watch him in anything, luckily he was one of the better characters in this film. Now this is going to sound bad but Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci were the only people I cared about.

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The presentation of the film is a bit of a mixed bag. Visually the GCI varies from looking decent to just not trying to look realistic and actually blend into the world with the characters. I know this is meant to be a fantasy film and I hate to be so picky about special effects but it wasn’t handled that well. The giants looked alright, the castle scenery looked nice and the initial beanstalk-growing sequence at night was good, but there was nothing that wowed me. Now compare this with another recent fantasy/fairy tale film Oz The Great and Powerful which put its special effects to good use and while it was a bit excessive it at least looked polished and stylish.

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So to conclude Jack the Giant Killer was good, but nothing to write home about. I can’t say I was impressed that much and that’s what hurts me so much. The trailers had my interest but the film just turned out alright, I expected much more. I’m sorry if there a people who liked this film but I just thought was incredibly underwhelming, especially since it came from the same director that gave us The Usual Suspects, X-Men and X-Men 2.

Rating: 5.5/10 (Most people will enjoy the film, but for me I expected far too much and got too little)

So what did you think of Jack the Giant Slayer? Did you love it or hate it? Whatever your thoughts are drop them in the comments section below and I’ll see you on the next review yo! 😀

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Impossible Review

Man I was meant to have this review online almost a week ago but then I got lazy and put it off for a while, anyways I’m here to get this review online now so let’s get to it. When I saw the trailer for this film I knew this was something I would have to watch, I just didn’t know that I’d have to wait until 2013 in order to watch it. Anyways I finally saw the film and I can say right now that The Impossible is great film filled to the brim with drama and great performances.

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So the story of this film is based on the true story of a Spanish family’s experience of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami where they are separated during this disaster and have to go through many hardships and survive in order to reconnect with each other. I thought the story was incredibly well-done, dramatic, and emotional and felt like it had the right amount of realism applied. Some have complained about the film being overdramatic, but from what I could see it all looked pretty convincing.

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The characters of The Impossible really steal the show and make you care about what’s going on, for this review I’ll only be talking about three of the cast members involved and that is Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland.

Firstly Naomi Watts as Maria Bennett was really good, you could see that Maria had gone through a lot and had so many so many hurdles to cross physically and mentally, and Watts portrayed that so well. Some have said that she didn’t deserve the awards that she’s been given in the film and while I can see where they’re coming from at the same time I don’t think it was easy to portray some of the stuff that Watts pulled off in the film. As for Ewan McGregor as Henry Bennett, he was brilliant. McGregor is one of my favourite actors and he really nailed the role as Henry, a determined and loving father who would go to many lengths to try and find his family. Loads of people seem to be overlooking McGregor’s great performance in this film, I thought he was great especially in this one scene involving a phone call where he literally just breaks down and gives us one of the convincing emotional breakdowns ever. And lastly Tom Holland as Lucas Bennett was good. Holland handled his role with emotion and convincing realism. However I’m going to be honest, his character really annoyed me at points. He kept asking so many questions and moaning about everything, now obviously he’s young and most kids do that kind of thing especially in moments of fear and uncertainty but I just couldn’t stand it. Sorry but I have to be honest yo.

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One of the other areas where this film really shines is in its presentation. From a visual standpoint it is incredible, the use of CGI and practice effects was so effectively used that it all looked so seamless and realistic. The camera shots done during the initial tsunami attack were incredible and very dynamic and the way the film was framed was also lovely. Then of course there is the use of make-up for some of the injuries that some of these characters sustain that and it looks incredibly realistic and painful to look at. Also the music by Fernando Velázquez was very moving and really emphasised the drama going happening on-screen.

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In conclusion The Impossible was a beautifully touching film that hit all those right emotional notes, I loved Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts and the visual presentation of this film was just insane and the way it was pulled off was simply great. This film is an experience and not for everyone because of the gruesome reality of some of the events that went down, but if you’re willing to give it a try then there is a great dramatic story to be told here.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of The Impossible, be sure to comment below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D Review

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Howdy to all who are reading this blog post and welcome to another film review and today’s review will be on the re-release of the first prequel in the Star Wars series; Star War Episode 1: The Phantom Menace… In 3D!! (not that the 3D part really matters haha)

Oh and before I go into this review I’m going to go into some degree of detail so beware of potential spoilers in the review.

Now when I found out that The Phantom Menace was going to be re-released in the cinema again in 3D I was like “What the hell!?! Why? Does George Lucas really need all that additional money? And doesn’t the majority of fans hate that film? Just why?” And so I investigated online and found out that this was going to be first part of the six films to be released again in the cinema in 3D. So then I was like “Oh good gravy, I should have seen this coming.” I mean with Star Wars being released on home video and DVD like 5 times in different editions with special updates to each one it should come as no surprise that it would find its way back into the cinema considering the potential money-making it could do and not only that, but with the addition of 3D and with the amount that those kind of films take in each year then it would be great for Star Wars to get a quick post-converted image job and then be released to the public. So here we are in 2012 with the first installment in the Star Wars film saga, The Phantom Menace that originally came out back in 1999, so after around 15 years does the film still hold up? Well yes and no in a lot of ways.

I’m not going to bother explaining the plot because most people who have seen Star Wars know what the deal is already, but if I had to summarize The Phantom Menace is basically meant to be the starting point of the entire Star Wars saga, giving us a story of a world set before the original trilogy, explaining the origin of one of the most pivotal characters in all of the films, Anakin Skywalker. This film gives us his origin story as well as an insight into the world of the Jedi before they became next to extinct in the original trilogy and it introduces us to whole new worlds and characters who play a part in setting the events that lead up into A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

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The story overall is pretty decent for what it is, but as the starting point for a film series as highly regarded as Star Wars its kind of messy in a lot of ways. It deals in a whole lot nonsense that doesn’t really have a place in world of Star Wars like politics and corruption in the world of government-based things, long and dull conversations about things not overly relevant to what’s happening at the current point in time and its these aspects that really bring the film down. This is especially bad for kids watching Star Wars for the first time, they won’t care about all this talking bullshit, they’re just watching for the spectacle. The long-winded conversations and scenes of debate and government will turn them right off. But the rest of the film’s plot is pretty nice, we see how the Jedi get involved in Anakin’s life, we also get to see what the younger life of Obi-Wan Kenobi and see Yoda too in a more active state. We also learn more about the Sith and see how Queen Padmé Amidala’s appearance in the film series establishes a connection with Anakin Skywalker too. We get to visit some familiar locations and characters that fans of the original trilogy would be interested to see like the first appearances of R2-D2 and C-3PO, its like noticing subtle easter eggs lurking around that you spot throughout the film. Anyway as I said before the plot of this is decent, but as the start of a film series like Star Wars it leaves so many questions unanswered like say why the Jedi exist in the first place or why the overall new form of enemies are droids or why there is a Galactic Republic or why the Sith have returned randomly out of nowhere. While some of those points are kind of irrelevant or just nitpicking it does make one wonder about some of those things.

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When it comes to the presentation of The Phantom Menace surprisingly it holds up pretty well and in many ways is the best part about the first prequel film. Say what you will about the story but when it comes to action and audio I believe that The Phantom Menace delivers on many levels of awesomeness. The CGI is still fabulous and works throughout most of the film, from the futuristic setting of Coruscant to the fight against the Federation droid control ship in space to the brutality of the podracing to the Gungan fight against the massive droid army, everything holds up pretty well. even small things like the look of Jedi’s lightsabers looks crisp, sharp and lovely and its pretty surprising considering that this was done back in 1999. But with the picture enhancements that the films have gotten in the last few years and the fact that Industrial Light & Magic worked on this film means that one shouldn’t be too surprised. And in terms of audio, the sound production on this film is pretty cool too showcasing some great sound effects for lasers and explosions and things of that nature, but all of that pales in comparison to the epic soundtrack constructed by John Williams. Good god the soundtrack for this film is so epic, so powerful, so absolutely incredible that it really is beyond words in a lot of ways. The song “Duel of the Fates” is simply incredible and totally orgasmic, yes I will even admit that. When it’s used in the film in the lightsaber fight between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, holy man it just sets my soul on fire and my just mind just explodes!

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Also I don’t think I can mention the presentation of this film without talking about the 3D aspect of the film. Was it good and did it add anything to the film? No, absolutely not. While I didn’t expect that adding another dimension to the film would make any proper difference, the thing is I’m sure I read in an interview that this film’s 3D would make an actual difference to the film’s quality unlike most post-converted 3D films of present. And yet I never really noticed the 3D aspects of the film after the first 10 minutes of the film, in some areas of the film its noticeable but otherwise the 3D in The Phantom Menace is invisible. The best films I saw in 3D have been Avatar and Kung-Fu Panda 2 because the 3D in those films felt like it had a presence, it was actually noticeable and it added depth of field to the picture. However this is not the case with The Phantom Menace, it’s just another film that didn’t need the 3D conversion at all.

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There’s also one other thing to mention and that is new footage and picture quality. Before going to watch the film me and a friend wondered if they were going to show the original version of The Phantom Menace or whether it would have the additions that came with the recent Blu-ray release of all six Star Wars films and funnily enough we got to see The Phantom Menace with all of the enhancements from the Blu-ray release with several additional scenes, better picture quality and the massive addition of the CGI Yoda to replace the puppet original. These changes range from great to completely unnecessary. The new CGI Yoda looks great and now he looks like he fits in the whole of the prequel trilogy, though I can’t help but feel like he looks a little too detailed when compared to his later appearances in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, plus even though the new Yoda looks good I can’t help but look past it and remember every scene with the original puppet version. And when it come to the new scenes some of them are completely irrelevant like some additional bits in between scenes on Coruscant. Most of the new scenes are noticeable around the point of Anakin’s podrace from the introduction of the riders to additional scenes in the actual podracing itself which are interesting to see but not entirely necessary.

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To be honest I’ve always kind of like The Phantom Menace. While it was one of the first films I remember from my younger days in the cinema, it does have a special place in my memories and has that nostalgic quality that has never left me since I was 9 years old. After the seeing the film recently I realised that my love for this film extends far beyond the nostalgic aspects. The spectacle is still pretty lovely, the Jedi kicked ass (especially Obi-Wan) with their brilliantly choreographed lightsaber duels against Darth Maul who I swear is still one of the coolest Siths ever. As I said before the soundtrack is still incredible with John Williams delivering in every way and the funnily the film was pretty hilarious too, though not for the obvious reasons, like when me and my friends were laughing at aliens from the Trade Federation as their accents are just frigging hilarious or just when we were completely ripping into Jar Jar Binks because he’s such an idiot. Plus my experience of this film was heightened on an epic level because I went to view it with two friends who are Star Wars fanatics like me and we were in our element quoting several moments from the film and we were so in sync about several parts of the film, it was perfect.

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However now after watching the film again in 3D with the knowledge that I have as a media student who studied film beforehand I’ve noticed this film doesn’t hold up as well as it used to. For the most part it was nice for nostalgia’s sake, but there were several moments where I was just bored waiting for something more interesting to happen or where Jar Jar’s comedy antics were just getting on my nerves. But for all its problems I still like in The Phantom Menace, there’s a lot to like, but it’s really down to personal preference; if you like all of the Star Wars films then this’ll be a fun trip down memory lane, but if you’re one of those fans that only like the original trilogy than this film won’t change your mind at all and if you are new to the Star Wars film series than I would say give it a go.

Rating: 8/10

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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