Archive for May, 2009

Watchmen

May 8, 2009

Director – Zack Snyder

Writers – David Hayter and Alex Tse (Screenplay), Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore (Graphic Novel)

Starring – Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode

Synopsis

“Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity… but who is watching the Watchmen?”

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Review

I was as excited as the next guy to see Watchmen. One of the great novels of our time being adapted for the big screen! Oddly enough, fans didn’t seem to mind that Zack Snyder (that guy who made 300) was handling their baby and I didn’t care much either. The only reservation I had was whether I should read the novel or not. After much deliberation and an increasing time constraint, I decided to go without novel, and witness the film as is.

As an impartial viewer I can say, without hesitation, that Watchmen = balls. An utter disappointment which is wrong in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to begin. Let’s try: the script.

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Watchmen suffers from a lack of narrative. The layout of the film is not constructive; you basically have a set-up, then a 2 hour introduction to the characters with some other bits and then you get back to the task at hand. This lack of sequence not only makes the film somewhat difficult to follow, but also kills the pace. What we are left watching is a bunch of disjointed scenes that, although cool and gory and stuff; when put together, make a weak story and lifeless experience. To top it all off, when we are awarded our original narrative for managing to stay put; it turns out to be utterly deflating.

The editing can share the blame for the gormless narrative. With the running time bordering on 3 hours it is a wonder that the chopping team allowed for such a vast introduction to the character of Dr Manhattan, as well as various other scenes. Snyder wanted to stick religiously to the novel, which likely meant that he was breathing down the editor’s necks and yelling “Don’t touch that!” as they tentatively quiver their scissors over Night Owl’s basement.

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Seeing as this review is rather more extended than usual (notice how I tend to do that with films I don’t like) I will round it off with the following statements… The cinematography is great at times; the score is terrible at times and the acting is pathetic at all times, discluding Jackie Earle Haley who gets Rorschach just right.

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Overall

“You have to read the book to understand and enjoy it.” If this statement is true, then it is evident what a failure the film is.

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Anvil! The Story of Anvil

May 4, 2009

Director – Sacha Gervasi

Starring – Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow, Robb Reiner

Synopsis

At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the “demi-gods of Canadian metal,” influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams.

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Review

‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’ was always destined for greatness. Sacha Gervasi, a fan of the band, said something along the lines of “All I had to do was point the camera at them and they came up with gold” (apologies for not being able to find the original comment). After 5 minutes of Lips explaining the weekly schedule of the catering company, you know exactly what Sacha is talking about.

A!TSOA rightly focuses on Lips and Reiner, who, when together, form a Lorell-and-Hardy-esk comedy duo; minus the stunts. The dialogue is too absurd for quotes (even one of the camera men had to question Gervasi on the authenticity) but it is the timing that will have you curling over in pain. When watching the film, however, there isn’t a moment when you question what they are saying or doing; this probably due to the well constructed introductions, which quickly demonstrate what you are about to witness for the next 1.5 hours.

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Overall

A!TSOA is easily comparable to ‘Spinal Tap’ and if you found that film funny you will almost certainly feel the same way about this one. However, there is a depth to A!TSOA, as friendship, perserverence and growing up are all issues that are duly raised in this magnificent film.

Hope this one isn’t too short for everyone, I really recommend seeing it any way you can. If anyone has any questions about it feel free to ask and I will not only answer, but try to fit it in to a re-draft (as I’m so awesome). Oh, and thanks to IGN for your continued support… :/