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Shazam! Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, I know this one is a little late but back on here to share my thoughts on Shazam! in the form of a review via my podcast, Film Focus.

On episode 75 of Film Focus, I share my thoughts on Shazam!, the latest superhero film from DC and Warner Bros. Now, I recall seeing the trailer for this film online during Comic-Con 2018 and being quite intrigued. The concept of a kid being able to transform into an adult superhero with Superman-like abilities is such a crazy and unique idea with lots of possibilities cool superhero adventures. And after the early positive word of mouth came out about the film two weeks ago, I got really hyped to see it. So after seeing it a recently, how was the film? Well, check out this spoiler-free review to find out!

Check out the review:

So have you seen Shazam! and if so what did you think of it? I really want to hear your thoughts on this film so drop your thoughts in the comments below and if you have some spare time subscribe to my podcast, Film Focus on Soundcloud and iTunes. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2019 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2: Green Lantern

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #4 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today I’m going to be talking about a film I thought I would never have to see again, but because of this blog series I am once again going to talk about Green Lantern.

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SIDE NOTE: At the time of writing this particular review it is February 5th, so by the time it is actually published it would have been just over a month since I experienced this film. I had to get this one out of the way early for timing purposes.

Oh Green Lantern, what can I say about this film that hasn’t been said by many people already? I even did a video review for the film many moons ago and it wasn’t exactly glowing. I never thought the film would be great, but I had hoped for much more. The first trailer was terrible, the subsequent trailers gave me hope for the film. Then I saw this film in the cinema with a friend and was just so disappointed with the end result, and since then I have not watched the film… Until this year. So how does the film fare almost 4 years later? Well read on and find out.

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Story-wise the film can be summed up as the following:

“A test pilot, Hal Jordan, is granted an alien ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers that inducts him into an intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps.”

The plot is functional, but hardly original or entertaining. Besides the GL mythos and villains of the film, this story feels like it belongs in 2001 rather than 2011 with all its cliché and generic plot points, overly comedic tone, cheesy character moments, the standard love interest and standard evil villain. Add on top of that an origin story of not only the hero, but two villains and the backstory behind the whole Green Lantern Corp, all it feels rushed and meshed together without enough time to process things. While keeping a swift pace in films these days is a good thing, here it comes at the cost of any character development. And it is annoying because there is potential here and had the writers given us better dialogue and an overall coherent plot then this film could have ushered in so many new fans to a DC property other than Batman and Superman, but instead they done fucked it up.

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As for the cast they were fine, but only a few people actually matter in the grand scheme of things. Ryan Reynolds is really the only person who does a good job as Hal Jordan. Now before this film came out I was a growing fan of Reynolds, he was one of the only likeable aspects of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his performance in Buried is still underrated and unappreciated. In this film he does his best with the material he is given and the film does play off of Reynolds’ comedy talents, that being said, sometimes it can be a bit much and you can’t take him seriously. Also it doesn’t help that Hal Jordan is a jerk, is not responsible and even after his journey I don’t feel like he’s become any more likeable. Also as a superhero I know he’s just starting out, but the things he imagines with his ring are so lame and lacking in flair and creativity. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris is comparable to Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four; gorgeous woman but is only there to be the love interest. Lively is so pretty but I can’t take her character seriously at all, plus Carol’s so dull and generic that you don’t buy into or care her relationship with Hal. And then there’s Peter Sarsgaard as Dr. Hector Hammond, oh god, let’s just say that his performance is one of the worst aspects of the film. Prior to his transformation Hammond is a smart yet closed-off individual, however once he gets his powers the dude becomes a little more twisted and creepy… And annoying. I didn’t know it was Sarsgaard under that make up, I’ve seen him in other films and he’s been good, however here his performance is so over-the-top and loud. This guy screams A LOT and I can’t take anyone like him seriously when he scream like such a little bitch.

Mark Strong does a decent job as Thaal Sinestro, Strong brings a good amount of charisma and his own personality into the role. Angela Bassett as Dr. Amanda Waller is fine, but she is completely wasted. I didn’t know until now that 1) Bassett was even in this film and 2) That a character as important as Waller was even in a film. The film done two injustices in one go. Tim Robbins is another hidden face I didn’t know was in the film until I saw it again today. He played Robert Hammond and was fine, but like Bassett before him he was wasted. Temuera Morrison was alright as Abin Sur. Taika Waititi as Thomas Kalmaku was kind of funny and annoying at the same time, plus he distracted me because he looked like some imitation of Moss from The IT Crowd. Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan did nicely as the voices of Tomar-Re and Kilowog but their characters weren’t on-screen long enough for you to get attached to them.

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When it comes to the presentation its a bit messy. Some of the CGI looks nice, well, when it is static shots of Earth, space and certain planet surfaces. However everything else looks rough, blurry and unpolished, like it was made for television and while I understand that some films can’t afford to have the best special effects, this film looked like it just needed more time to be polished as it didn’t look very realistic or blend well with the live-action shots. Also what the hell did they do to the GL costume? I know elements things need to be updated for film, the new design was so ugly, illuminated and wrong. The soundtrack by James Newton Howard is weak, rarely does it sound epic or important or even leave an impact, the best track in the film is when the first set of credits roll. Howard is good composer, but here the music feels a little off.

And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well since the only DC characters I know a substantial amount about are limited to Batman and Superman to some degree, I can’t say much about Green Lantern in comparison to the comics. I’ve seen the character appear in the Justice League animated series and The Batman, but that’s all I really know him from. From what I’ve read from certain fans of the source material, certain aspects were kept intact like the mythos behind the Green Lantern Corp, but everything else got changed and/or butchered.

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In conclusion my feelings on Green Lantern haven’t changed much. This film has some decent moments and Ryan Reynolds was the best aspect of the film, but the cons definitely outweigh the pros with so much potential wasted with the source material and talent involved. I hope DC have learnt from this film and will give us a better GL experience in 2020.

Rating: 5.5/10 (A disappointment for sure)

So there’s my review people, only 26 more to go. So have you seen Green Lantern and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Kingsman: The Secret Service Review

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another film review and today I’ll be talking about the latest Mathew Vaughn film, Kingsman: The Secret Service. This film I’ve been interested in watching for a while, but the trailers didn’t blow me away, so I came into the film with mild expectations… So is it good or not? Well the short answer is a massive HELL YES!

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The story can be described as the following:

Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

The story in this film was great, this film definitely has a superhero element about it, however it is more so a spy adventure with a few unique traits that make it feel fresh from other films of the same genre. I like all of the references to other spy films whether it be James Bond of the Bourne series and the fact that the film is self-aware and knows what it is makes it so much better. This story swift, didn’t drag, had so much violence, but had a lot of good character moments and humour mixed in so that there was something for everyone. One thing to not before going into this film that is VERY violent and if that kind of thing turns of off, then this is not for you. I have to give props to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman for the direction and writing, it seems like these two have really found their groove and work so well together to produce really great scenes with awesome dialogue and a nice sense of style.

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As for the cast they are awesome. Colin Firth as Harry Hart is great. This is certainly my favourite film from Firth as he brings the same level of acting talent as he has with other films, however here he just has a screen presence that makes him come across as such a cool badass. Taron Egerton as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is just wonderful. From the trailers I thought I wouldn’t like his character because of his accent and behaviour, however those are the aspects that make him so likeable. Eggsy is a boy who has skills, but only needs a little direction and when he has a task he knows how execute it and think outside of the box. Egerton was very charming and charismatic and hope to see more from him in the future. And Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine, just wow. I had seen Jackson in so may films, however this has to be one of his most odd and memorable roles in recent times. Valentine is a very smart and ambitious individual with a plan to take over the world and he’s such a cool guy. However he’s also unconventional and funny because of his lisp and disliking of violence and his character works so well just because it is Jackson in the role who just steals every scene he’s in.

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Sofia Boutella as Gazelle was cool, this woman was Valentine’s right hand woman and dispatched people in such a violent and stylish way with those sword legs of hers. I was afraid she would just be a silent bodyguard for Valentine that had no substance, but luckily she had a fair amount to do and say and I really liked Boutella’s performance. Mark Strong was awesome as Merlin. I usually like Strong, but I think this is my favourite role he’s been in for a while. Merlin is firm, tactical and at times quite humourous and I loved his interactions with Eggsy especially. Michael Caine as Arthur was good as usual, Jack Davenport was very good as Lancelot and I really liked Sophie Cookson as Roxy (she is also incredibly pretty). Samantha Womack was good as Michelle and as a long-term casual watcher of Eastenders I was happy to see her do well in such a big film. Oh and seeing Mark Hamill as Professor James Arnold was so delightful, he wasn’t in the film that much, but for the screen time he got he was lovely.

When it comes to the presentation it is great. Visually the film is crafted so well, the cinematography and filming techniques used throughout is spectacular, and the action scenes are done SO well with the best camera shots used for shooting action for a while. There are some incredible tracking shots, wide shots and zooming in and out in these fast and furious action sequences. The action overall is just insane with some very great choreography and acrobatics and it is some of the best stuff I have seen since The Raid 2. Oh and there is one sequence in this film (you’ll know when you see it) that is one of the coolest, craziest and filthiest thing I have ever seen, SO good.

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In conclusion Kingsman: The Secret Service is a pretty kick ass film. As a fan of action and spy films this film ticked all the right boxes for me. The story was very nicely done, the cast were awesome and the action was on the most insane level. I would definitely recommend this to any fan of action films or people who know of Matthew Vaughn’s previous work, it is a really good time in the cinema.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Kingsman: The Secret Service and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Imitation Game Quick Review

Howdy ladies and gents time for a late film review in the form of The Imitation Game. Now I was meant to see this film sooner, but life got in the way and since it was still playing in my local cinema I had to see it. Generally I’m not into films related to war just because it isn’t my cup of tea, that being said this film’s story looked interesting, plus Benedict Cumberbatch was in the film. As an avid fan I have to see whatever film he is in, regardless of the subject matter. So is it any good? Well read on and find out.

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So the story can be described as the following:

“Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.”

I thought the story was surprisingly engaging, dramatic and full of tension and mystery. All I can say after watching this film is I wouldn’t want to work in MI6, so much secrets and lies! That’s a lot of what this film is about; secrets and lies, so much deception and secrecy involved in what Turing and his co-workers were involved in, it led to so much trust issues, pain and suffering. Sure it was for the better good but in the end victory did not come without sacrifice. I don’t know how accurate this is to the actual events that took place, but it was interesting to learn about the interception of German messages and the crafting of early computers.

When it comes to the performances, they were all pretty good from everyone involved but it is definitely Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing who stands above the rest. This must be Cumberbatch’s best performance to date, the man is incredibly versatile and totally inhabits the role of this odd, yet brilliant man who doesn’t have the best of social skills, but has the talent necessary to be an asset to MI6. Keira Knightley was also good in this film as Joan Clarke, a smart individual who is the only person who understands Turing. Knightley is quite good and she’s actually tolerable which makes her decent in my book. Other great performances come from the lovely Charles Dance as Cdr. Alastair Denniston, Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, Allen Leech as John Cairncross, Mark Strong as Maj. Gen. Stewart Menzies and Rory Kinnear as Detective Nock.

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In conclusion The Imitation Game is a very compelling and interesting film with a good story, a wonderful soundtrack and an incredible central performance form Benedict Cumberbatch. For fans of Cumberbatch it is a must-see film.

Rating: 8/10

So The Imitation Game, have you seen it and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Welcome To The Punch Review

When I heard about this film last month I was only interesting in it because of James McAvoy. I have become a fan of his in recent years so I am curious about whatever upcoming films he has, and while I was more interested in the trailer for Trance, Welcome to the Punch looked compelling enough to give it a watch in the cinema yesterday. And the end result is something cool, slick, but not all entirely satisfying.

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The synopsis for this film is as follows:

“Former criminal Jacob Sternwood is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. This gives detective Max Lewinsky one last chance to catch the man he has always been after. As they face off, they start to uncover a deeper conspiracy they both need to solve in order to survive.”

The story in this was decent for the most part. There was a great set up and for the first act I was really invested in the story and characters. The thriller-based elements of the film were nice and the level of conspiracy and mystery was clever and enticing. However the pacing was a little questionable for the film, it really started to slow down in the middle and towards the third quarter, luckily it eventually picked up again in the final act of the film. I think that the conspiracy in the film got a little heavy and convoluted for my liking, there just felt like at one point too much stuff was going on and I guess it didn’t help that started to nod off at certain points too. Besides the slow pacing at points, the other thing that bugged me was the ending, I’m not going to spoil it for anyone but I’m just going to say I wasn’t happy with it at all.

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When it comes to characters it’s hard for me to mention because outside of James McAvoy, Mark Strong and Andrea Riseborough’s characters I don’t really recall anyone else by name, but I shall try my hardest. James McAvoy as Max Lewinsky was pretty awesome as this cop who’s scarred from his failure to get the bad guy the first time, so he carries this guilt and doesn’t have the thirst for work that he used to. However when Jacob Sternwood comes back into play Max uses this opportunity to sort things out takes things into his own hands, sometimes getting into trouble that could have easily been avoided he wasn’t obsessed with the past. Mark Strong as Jacob Sternwood was good, he moved like shadow, doing his work and staying several steps ahead of the cops.

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Also Andrea Riseborough as Sarah Hawks was nice; she was Max’s partner and seemed to be the more level-headed of the two of them. You could see that the two of them had history though not much about that is dived into really. I guess all I can say is that there were some great performances from Elyes Gabel, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey, Johnny Harris, Dannielle Brent and Jason Flemyng were pretty good, especially Daniel Mays as Nathan Bartnick (even if his character was a bit of douche).

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If there is one thing this film got right it was the presentation. The visual side of things is incredible; like in Skyfall the cinematography transforms London and makes it look so much fancier that it normally does. I loved the scenes at night and the blue filter used all over the place adds a nice style to the film. I also liked the way the action was shot especially in one specific shoot out scene where slow motion was implemented, that scene was pretty incredible. Most of the action scenes and sequences are well filmed and just look stylish and cool.

In conclusion Welcome to the Punch was a decent film with a good cast, awesome action scenes and had some fabulous cinematography too. However the story wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped and wasn’t keen on the ending either.

Rating: 7/10 (A visually great thriller with decent performances)

So what did you think of Welcome to the Punch? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comments section below and I’ll see you lot on the next review. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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John Carter Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I come to you with a new film review and it will be on the recent sci-fi action film John Carter.

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Never before have I ever seen a film of such a high magnitude fall victim to such a questionable situation with its critical reception and box office numbers. I mean from what I know John Carter as a film is adapted from very rich source material called Barsoom which was a 11-volume series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. And it is was that source material from the novels that influenced directors like Jame Cameron and George Lucas when making Avatar and the Star Wars films. So with all of this influential material and the novels looking like the basis of every great science fiction adventure film, it is hard to believe that the material could be adapted into something bad. Upon the film’s release there were critics that said it was great, while many others said that it was just okay while many others said it was terrible. But I believe the main thing that hurt John Carter was the box office numbers. So far it’s failed to rake in enough cinema-goers to make its money back, it cost $250 million to make which is an absurd amount of money and currently it’s just short of that at around $234 million which is pretty tragic really. So is the film really that bad? Well read on into my review to find out.

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The plot of the film is set in the 1800s and it focuses on the main protagonist, John Carter. A man from Virginia, he’s a natural-born fight whose fought in the Confederate Army and at that current point in time he was tired of war, didn’t take shit from anyone and was obsessed with finding his treasure of gold. However through a series of events he happens to find a medallion, say some magic words and gets transported to Mars (also known as Barsoom to inhabitants of that planet). So when he’s on Mars he discovers that he jump higher and has increased strength due to his higher bone density and Mars’ lower gravity. He then comes across a race of green aliens with four arms who witness his newfound powers and take him in, meanwhile on the other side of the planet there’s a princess called Dejah Thoris who is being forced into marrying the antagonist in the film because with that deed done he can end the war with his power, but the princess isn’t down with that so she attempts to escape, then meets up with John Carter and then they get to know each other and form an alliance. And now moving onto the antagonist Sab Than, a man who’s been given a great power called the Ninth Ray and under the influence of ancient powerful entities called the Thern he is destined to take the princesses hand in marriage to end the war. So somehow Carter is drafted into this war, while he is also trying to find a way of getting back home…

Confused much? Well if you said yes then you are not alone. I know that wasn’t a very good plot description but the fact of the matter is that there is many layers to John Carter, it would be hard to talk about the film without going into specific details about characters and story. The film’s main problem is that it has too much story. There’s too many layers and its mashed together in a very choppy and unorganized manner. John Carter’s story starts on Earth and there’s a lot of story there involving a lot of characters past and present, then you have the several events that take place on Mars and all the characters he interacts with, some of which have their own backstories and then you have the history of Barsoom (Mars). That’s a lot of material to cover in around 2 hours. There was too much source material to work with and while the story gets clearer as events play out on Mars, it still gets lost in translation at many points. I reckon that this film could have been split into 2 halves, though finding a clear-cut off point would be difficult, but I feel that approach would have benefitted the film much better especially with all of the back story that comes with Barsoom and Carter’s history on Earth.

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The cluttered story also makes for some awkward pacing over the course of the movie. It really felt like the film didn’t allow you to process the information it was trying to give you, much like Clash of the Titans and Green Lantern. I mean you are given the whole history of Barsoom at the beginning of the film, but it feels like it was breezed over and not given enough breathing space.It would have worked better at a later part of the film through a descriptive back story by one of the inhabitants that Carter encounters. You also have John Carter being on Mars, adjusting to the fact that he’s on another planet with light gravity, he then comes into contact with the green aliens just a little while afterwards, then there’s another new storyline with Dejah thrown in, and then there’s the whole thing with the Thern and Sab too. And the way you cut from scene to scene without enough time to take in is very frustrating because there are moments of emotion and good action, but they are all too brief and over in a flash. And it is because of this awkward pacing that we don’t get time to properly get invested in the characters or believe the budding relationship between Carter and Dejah, such a shame.

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Also when the film was going through like the first act on Earth I was like “What the hell is all this shit? Where’s all the action and adventure from Mars? When does he get to Mars? Skip this shit, I wanna see Mars!” When you are thinking about all of those things before a film has even gotten into its element then you know its got problems. Basically the first part of the film dragged, it had awkward editing, pretty dull characters and that part of the plot I didn’t really care about. And even after we get to Mars and things become more interesting, there’s still awkward, choppy and incomplete moments that arise.

Other failings of the film come in the form of its dialogue, characters and the film’s overall tone. Some of the stuff that happens in this film is actually weird or completely ridiculous regardless of whether its meant fictional. The dialogue is okay, but a lot of it is cliché and pretty lame at points. Secondly the characters in the film are the kind we’ve seen a good few times before except a lot better in those other films, Taylor Kitsch as John Carter is alright and did what he could with the role, but I feel like he was just a bit boring at times and Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris was pretty and not half bad acting-wise but overall just a tad annoying and lacking in likability. Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas was probably the most memorable of all the characters because he had personality and was actually pretty cool and when it comes to Dominic West as Sab Than he was just the generic villain, no layers to him whatsoever and Mark Strong as Matai Shang was just Mark Strong being himself, an interesting character but a little dull. But the third and final thing that bugged me was this whole lighthearted Disney feeling that was sprinkled all over the film, from the comedic scenes to some of the dialogue or the choice of music. It felt very Disney-like, like watching old Disney animated films. That atmosphere created made John Carter feel like it was intended for children and dumbed down for adults, it was quite annoying like some of the scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean films.I made a good few comparisons to Disney’s Aladdin due to the characters, plot and setting. But then the tone of the film keeps switching between kiddie and then adult when there are scenes of war and violence, especially when you see people being killed and decapitated. So you have to wonder what kind of tone was this film going for.

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Remember all this chaos and action-packed scenes from the trailers and posters? Well you have to wait for all that stuff and sit through half of a film that feels like its part of another film.

So after all of this hateful comments I’ve given to this film you probably think I hated it right? Well I didn’t. Before this film came out I thought it was just another Conan the Barbarian except it’s in space, but luckily it wasn’t nearly that bad. When I left the cinema screen I was bemused, I found myself liking the film, but it was hard to pinpoint the balance between how much I liked with how much I disliked. As I said before the film frustrates me because there are aspects of the film that do work, John Carter’s past and present story was a deep one and the adventure he goes on is pretty incredible, BUT that is offset but the execution of this film which defeats the elements that the film is trying to sell to you as an audience member. For a film that is meant to be basis of most other science fiction films it sure does pay homage to other films like the recent Stars Wars Episode 1 to Star Wars Episode 6 with the podracing and speeder chases sequences and there’s some obvious parallels to Avatar too.

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In the end John Carter meets somewhere in the middle; it isn’t completely rubbish or a masterpiece either. While it has some moments of genuine entertainment, it is also plagued with questionable dialogue, a very heavy and convoluted storyline, strange character personalities and awkward pacing. The film is just frustrating because it had a lot of potential and in a way you could see that it could be so much more, but unfortunately it’s just half a good film, half a mess of a film. Watch the film if you so choose, however I can’t recommend it because of how much it a disappointment it was to me.

Rating: 6/10

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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