“Guardians of the Galaxy” presents new ideas to the blockbuster strategy, or at the very least, Marvel’s take on how to effectively make blockbuster movies. With “Guardians” we see that Marvel doesn’t just insist on playing it safe with their tried and tested franchises, namely anything to do with “The Avengers”. I knew before sitting down to watch the film that if it is received positively by the general audience then perhaps more than just Marvel studios will be given the green light to really try something new and to at the very least be able to take themselves less seriously once in a while. If the optimist inside hadn’t shrivelled up and wasted away whilst watching “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, I would tell you that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is sure to give way to a glorious era of a new breed of blockbuster, which is still recognisable as such with the action and the visuals but with just more of a difference. Whether it will or not I can’t say, but “Guardians of the Galaxy” is certainly different and refreshingly so, fingers crossed for the future.
What a dreadful film. George Takei put it best when he said “Oh my”, believe me it’s hard not to “Oh my” once in a while during “New Moon”. “Oh my” why does that boy have his shirt off in the rain? “Oh my” why doesn’t she just listen to that pale boy from the shiny show and not become a vampire, he clearly has more experience than she does at being a vampire. “Oh My” how can a film feature so much god-awful silent staring for over two hours. How can director Chris Weitz seriously expect us to sit through this, I’m serious. I haven’t seen a movie this bad in a long while and watching it feels like trying to get comfy on a bed of nails. If you replaced “New Moon” with the ultra violence Alex had to watch in “A Clockwork Orange”, you’d reach the same end. In this way, I find “New Moon” to be quite an effective motivator.
It’s incredible how easy it would be to just cash in on this review. I suppose it’ll be quite popular, in relation to my other reviews so far, because people expect to hear me rant and get annoyed at “Twilight” because of all of its heavy handedness and unbelievable amounts of angst. That alongside its ridiculous amounts of success that have made it into a phenomenon, it’s definitely fun to hate. I fully expect to really find myself despising the series soon, and you’ll hear me get angry then. For now though, the “Twilight Saga” has begun relatively strong footed as far as these things go. Saying that, only in the tween romance genre would I ever be able to say that this is a strong foot… but there you go.
I’ve actually been to Bruges. At one point Ray (Colin Farrell) remarks that he wants to “hide out in a proper country where it isn’t all just fucking chocolate”. There was chocolate in Bruges, but I didn’t get any because they had it all locked up behind exhibits in the museum, and what was there was bloody expensive. A chocolate museum that only gives you chocolate buttons as you enter? Maybe I’m not as culturally mature as I should be, or at least I wasn’t when I went to Bruges. “In Bruges” somehow made me want to go back even after I heard Ray repeatedly express his disdain for the place. “It’s a shithole” he says, and maybe he’s right, but they wanted me to pay for the luxury of going to the toilet, so I wouldn’t know.
Halfway through “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” I stopped and looked at my notes. I wasn’t being too kind to Harry and it looked as if it was going to end up with a fairly average score. At this halfway point however I did realise that my framework for quality was overly rigid, and essentially what I was looking for in Harry Potter were the same sort of things I would look for in “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca”. I realise now that “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, should be judged on it’s own merits and what it actually accomplishes. After all, it would be ridiculous to compare “The Goonies'” with “Gone With the Wind”. Though that shouldn’t under any circumstances detract from either films greatness, or lack thereof.
There are some arguments about what exactly a sequel should be. Some will tell you that it’s to be the same as the first movie but with improvements made all around (because we know how often that happens) and some will say that the point is to change the formula and create something new out of previous concepts. I tend to not care as long as I get another film that is worth watching and doesn’t just reuse the formula until it’s boring. Franchises have done this time and time again and I’m sick of it. “Aliens” takes what Ridley Scott did with “Alien” and does almost exactly what it says on the tin, makes the enemy plural.
Since the original “Planet of the Apes” back in 1968, the sequels have tried to replicate it’s significance and meaning. Well, all except “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, which had a bigger focus on plot and narrative than actual meaning. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is incredibly significant, far more so than the original ever was, and that is saying something. There are so many different messages within the film that I couldn’t sit here and tell you about all of them, and the likelihood is that I’ve forgotten some of them or just not even picked up on them. It’s not a film where the meaning is well hidden behind avant garde film making, that’s not to say that “Dawn” isn’t a smart and delightfully artistic film, because it is. It’s just the case that you would have to be a real troglodyte not to take anything at all away from the film. I have a lot to say, because “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is, and I believe always will be; a culturally, historically and aesthetically significant film. I do adamantly implore you to watch “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” before this as it is also very good and it would be a shame for me to spoil it in this review, which I will.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” might be marketed as a prequel, and it certainly feels like one, but it definitely isn’t something you should watch before the original series or the Tim Burton remake. It takes the established concepts of “The Planet of the Apes” franchise and rewrites the beginnings of the rise of the apes and the decline of humanity. “Rise” certainly begs for a sequel and I eagerly await to see it, but “Rise” doesn’t cheaply give you a cliffhanger ending just to entice you for it. It does what all blockbusters, or any film in fact, should do. It makes you want more by proving to you that what it has to give is grand ideas and even grander execution. “Rise” is amazing, dare I say it, it’s even better than the original and certainly better than any of it’s sequels.
There are few times I find myself happier than when I expect a film to be bad, and it turns out to be of actual quality. It’s a rare occurrence, usually I am not too far away from the general consensus of the audience and even if I am, the critics tend to represent my opinion more reliably. “Planet of the Apes”, which was directed by none other than Tim Burton (Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands), isn’t just not terrible, it is a genuinely good film that just suffers from a few evident flaws that cause it to lag just behind the heights of the original.
Here it is, the fifth and the last of the original “Planet of the Apes” franchise. “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” is an utterly useless exercise and finally drags the series down to the levels of the truly terrible, instead of the simply unremarkable. I can’t tell you how much I really wanted the series to go out with a bang. Literally, I thought this could potentially be a film that perhaps lacks in good characters and cinematic competence, but makes up for it in just pure large scale visceral carnage between the two warring factions of the apes and the humans. Regrettably, I report to you that “Battle” is neither. There is nothing worth talking about here, but I can be quite artistic with wasting my time.