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Fun show, but missing something.
Although a lot of people seem to get into this movie--the person who showed it to me dubbed it a "classic"--it is not the wonder that many profess it to be.
Certainly, it's entertaining; I liken it to a youth-based cross between Tron and The Matrix. Still, the lavish (almost excessive) visual effects and the stereotypically outlandish appearance of the characters does not rescue flat, also stereotyped characters and a much-recycled plot. The "romance" manages to be both predictable and unbelievable; the action follows the exact same pattern as every other youth-friendly adventure movie that came out of the 1980s.
Amazingly enough, the catchphrase "Crash and Burn" did not turn out to be a prophetic statement about the future of the film, which is a lot better than it could have been. Despite all the qualities of a Grade-A turkey, the show still manages to be fun and interesting enough to hold the viewer's attention. Go ahead and watch this (now hopelessly outdated) movie; just don't expect too much of it.
Sean Connery's worst endeavour.
I have seen a lot of bad movies. One of my favorite pasttimes is watching bombs and making fun of them. This film, however, surpasses almost every one in terms of confusion and all-around ambiguity.
Having read the classic epic poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," I know that there is a plot to the story. However, watching this atrocity--I hardly dare to call it a "film"--you wouldn't be able to tell. The desperate stab at entertainment makes infinitely less sense than the plot of 1998's "The Avengers" (another waste of Connery's talent), and is so painful to experience that even I, a veteran of the worst of the worst, almost succumbed to the urge to throw a lamp through my TV screen. I kept watching in the vain hope that there would be a point to the random events I was witnessing.
The lead (I think he was intended to be romantic, but failed) is wearing one of the worst wigs I have ever seen, and does absolutely nothing that makes sense. There is a love interest, who follows the tradition of "Blade Runner" by turning into a bird and flying away. The production values are terrible; the writing, nonexistent. It strays so far from the original literature that I still have difficulty connecting the two in my mind.
The only redeeming factor is Connery's presence; unfortunately, he is on-screen for only a few minutes at the beginning and end of the film (kind of like Charlton Heston in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes"), and is given no passable material with which to work.
As much as I adore Sean Connery as an actor, I can't help but wonder why he hasn't shot the agent who is responsible for putting him in some of these roles. Of all the bad apples of his distinguished career, this is by far the most rotten. If you value your brain cells, avoid it.
Beware! The Blob (1972)
Gotta love Randy in this one...
Okay, it's a lousy wannabe horror film that couldn't decide if it wanted to be a comedy or a thriller. But this sequel to The Blob has something that no other film can boast: Randy Stonehill and Larry Norman make their screen debut! It's a must-see for Stonehill and Norman fans, or those who (like me) love to bash the worst of the worst. SEE Randy Stonehill sing inside a drainpipe! HEAR Cindy Williams flub her lines repeatedly! WATCH as the Blob returns to terrorize young kittens romping merrily through the field! This is great fun for those who love pain in the form of *bad* movies. If you are just looking for a good movie to watch, however, run the other direction. Quickly.
"We're gonna go discover acoustics..."
The Omega Code (1999)
Well, it gets a C+ for effort
I will admit I went into the movie with mixed feelings. I was a little bit uncomfortable with the subject matter -- the "Bible code" -- and I was a little bit suspicious of a cinematic treatment of the Book of Revelation. But I was also excited, because as much as I tend to shy away from things like the "Bible code," I could see great potential for a movie plot. And I was thrilled to see what was billed as a Christian movie playing in mainstream theatres to mainstream audiences, and with mainstream appeal.
Unfortunately, I my suspicious side was more right than my excited side.
The problems began with the story. Written by two people with no previous cinematic experience, the tale jumps and skitters through a transitionless rendering of a possible interpretation of the Apocalypse of St. John. Character develop (the few characters who are developed) with no motivation, no context, no grounding for the changes which they undergo. Events take place with no internal support; audience members must draw from their outside knowledge and experience to understand what's going on and who's who.
But those in the audience who do have such an understanding are going to have other problems: at times the movie draws more from the Book of Daniel than from Revelation, and many of the elements from Daniel which make it into the film are thought by most scholars not to reference the end-times but to reference other things, such as the destruction of the temple and the conquest of Jerusalem. Those Christians in the audience who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture will be disappointed that the rapture does not feature at all in the film. Those Christians who believe in a post-tribulation rapture will still be disappointed, because there is no tribulation -- apart from struggling fishermen in Japan and a broken-down manufacturing plant somewhere in the world, life goes on as normal.
And the goal which is proclaimed on many of the posters of the movie -- to "open audiences up to the Gospel" -- can only be achieved if the Gospel is actually referenced, apart from allusions to Christ.
This is not to say that the story is the only problem with the movie. The movie (which may be film, but is certainly shot, staged, and lighted as if it were a video) is directed by an inexperienced director who told most of the performers to use exaggerated stage mannerisms, as if subtlety were impossible on the big screen. The sound and score are laughable -- over-miked, synthesized, predictable. Most of the acting is largely mediocre. The casting was questionable. The editing is sloppy. The special effects (by the folks who brought Godzilla to "life") look as if they were airbrushed and applied with Q-tips.
The idea of the movie had potential, and I look forward to future attempts by Christians to put legitimate work in theatres, but the folks who put this movie together needed to either consult with people who had more previous experience than they did, or else to first watch a couple of movie and see how they should turn out.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999)
This is SACRILEGE!!!!!
This is by far the most repulsive and atrocious version of The Scarlet Pimpernel ever to be devised. As a Pimpernel fan, I was sincerely offended by what they did to the characters--but this atrocity is not worth watching, even if you aren't familiar with the story.
Percy Blakeney, for example, would never stab people in the back just to get down a hallway. Chauvelin would never have a string of women in his bed. Marguerite never had an affair with Chauvelin, nor Armand with Minette, whoever the heck she is. Chauvelin would not randomly shoot Tony in the head. Chauvelin's name is not, nor has it ever been, Paul. They have completely eradicated any reference to the Pimpernel's disguises, replacing them instead with James Bond-esque gadgets and gizmos.
As to the film itself... The makeup is horrifying. The women look like clowns. Elizabeth McGovern's beauty mark wanders around her face at random. The poor, pitiable actors have no script to work with, so it's not really their fault that their characters are as thin as wet tissue paper. The dialogue... oh, the dialogue. The dialogue is unbearable. And whoever is responsible for all those little captions at the bottom of the screen should be forced to watch this movie as penance. (I counted 13 location captions in the first half-hour before I gave up. As if we can't figure out that the body of water between England and France is the English Channel.)
The film--if I can bring myself to call it that, since it's really just videotape with a filter--is absolutely without redeeming value. Do not waste your time and brain cells on this rancid drivel--instead, go watch the 1982 Anthony Andrews/Jane Seymour version, or the 1934 Leslie Howard film, or indeed ANYTHING but this one.
The Phantom (1996)
A great trip...
Okay, it's not the best film ever made, but it's a fun ride. It takes the famous comic strip to the level of the silver screen without losing the very comic-bookish flavor; yet, it doesn't overplay that aspect as did the 1990 Warren Beatty "Dick Tracy" film. Due to excellent casting, Zane achieves believability in the role of Kit Walker/The Phantom, and Treat Williams is brilliant as the riotous playboy-turned-villain. You can also catch Catherine Zeta-Jones here (before she was famous). Jeffrey Boam's writing rivals his other projects ("Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade", etc.) for charm and dialogic alacrity. What's more, it's a relatively "clean" film--where there is opportunity for violence, gore and strong profanity, the film substitutes humor or moves the action offscreen. The stunts and acrobatic feats are incredible. (And that horse is gorgeous...)
This movie falls into the same category as "The Rocketeer" and other such fun flicks. However, don't go into this film expecting it to be a hard-hitting action adventure or "Temple of Doom" revisited. It is exactly what it pretends to be: a fun, enjoyable Saturday-matinee-style movie. Have fun with it--don't pick out each part to criticize, but just sit back and enjoy the ride.
The Matrix (1999)
Allow me to correct a myth...
One of the principle complaints against this film is that none of its actors can... act. While I will not argue Keanu's case, I must say that Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano and Laurence Fishburne, as well as the rest of the supporting cast, give finer performances than I've seen on the silver screen in months or years.
This movie, unlike most of what we've been offered by the studios for the past decade, actually has a plot. What's more, this plot is ORIGINAL. That is reason in and of itself to see the film. Add to that stunning special effects (so seamless you hardly notice that what you're seeing isn't real), the aforementioned performances of the actors, creative scriptwriting and work-of-art cinematography, and you've got an easy candidate for Best Film of 1999.
There was a reason that this movie took in over $33 million in the first weekend. It is incredible. Unfortunately, no one can accurately describe the film in words--you have to see it for yourself.
Quest for Camelot (1998)
Uh... great cast, no plot.
I will not waste many words describing this film. With a cast including such silver-screen greats as Jane Seymour, John Gielgud, Cary Elwes, Pierce Brosnan, et al., one would expect this film to have been worth watching.
It's not as bad as, say, The Swan Princess or Thumbelina, but there are better ways you could use your time.