I went on a minor movie-watching binge this weekend and caught up on a few films that I’ve been intending to see, and one that I wasn’t really intending to but watched anyway.
This was a pretty stupid film, honestly. I wasn’t intending to watch it, but I’ll usually take a chance on fantasy and comedy. That said, I didn’t really like the characters much, and the story was godawful even though I realize it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Parts I liked? The mechanical bird, Natalie Portman’s character, and Courtney as comic relief. I think the standout scenes were McBride’s useless prince chasing a herd of sheep with some trolls, and…vell, it’s been a few hours since I’ve seen it, and the only other things I remember were a bunch of juvenile gags. Not really worth the time to watch, unless you like one of the actors or you want to see some perverted sendup of Yoda convincing the princes to give it sexual favors in exchange for magical help. Could have been better if Thadeous’s change of character had occurred earlier in the movie; as it was, it was one (or a dozen) “I’m too whiny, fat, and lazy” too many.
This was a standard teenage-girl-kicking-ass spy thriller, with some introspection thrown in. I actually really liked this film. Saiorse Ronan’s Hanna Heller is the best lethal female teenager since Summer Glau’s River Tam in Serenity, but set in a normal urban setting instead of scifi and not so over-the-top. I liked the exploration of music throughout, and the portrayal of a sheltered innocent experiencing the world in all of its bewildering complexity for the first time. Well worth watching.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect on this one. I occasionally watch these random Japanese scifi-influenced films for the hell of it, and they can be hit-and-miss. This one was somewhere in the middle; I enjoyed the intensity of the story, but there were over-long dramatic scenes which increased the running time without necessarily adding much to the story (a lot of it stemming from the “tsundere” relationship between Yuki Mori and Susumu Kodai, and Kodai’s general self-doubt). There was definitely some sort of introspective “what does it mean to be Japanese” thing going on here – direct parallels back to the second world war, but recasting the Japanese people as nothing less than the selfless, self-sacrificing saviors of humanity in general. I don’t think I’d watch it again, but I don’t regret having seen it once, just because it made me think about the general concept of national self-perception.
This was a fun movie to watch, of course. Who doesn’t like the Pirates movies? Johnny Depp is great as always, and I think the relationship between Syrena and Phillip Swift somewhat stole the show. Penelope Cruz was a decent foil for Jack overall, and the vampire-toothed mermaids were great. I hear there are more movies coming out, and I’ll eventually see this one in 3D when I have the time and equipment.:)