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Theater Feature: The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s safe to say that many haven’t gotten over the fact we’re already getting a Spider-Man reboot half a decade after Spider-Man 3.  I for one am in the minority of people who didn’t mind the third film, even if it was the weakest in Raimi’s trilogy.  Not to mention we sort of got a reboot with The Incredible Hulk five years after the Ang Lee version, and I don’t recall many people complaining about that.  But I digress.

Needless to say, when The Amazing Spider-Man was announced, I simply rolled my eyes and spewed a “screw you, Hollywood” phrase so unoriginal it’d probably make them sigh in response.  Then footage started coming out and while I still wasn’t entirely sold, my enticement at least crept upward.  Generally speaking, the early reviews have been favorable, though I’m surprised people aren’t more immensely gratified.  Then again, the two sites I consistently visit have glowing reviews for that abominable Katy Perry movie, so I took the reception with more than a single grain of salt.  Thankfully, two YouTubers I’m fond of (Chris Stuckmann and Jeremy Jahns) both had great things to say about the movie, so I went in quite hopeful.

The end result: I freaking loved it.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the film covers very familiar territory, especially at the beginning.  Yet what ultimately matters is just how well everything is told, which The Amazing Spider-Man accomplishes very successfully.  Aunt May and Uncle Ben felt way more developed in this film, which makes the subsequent events hit that much harder.  The level of depth and interaction between them and/or Peter is so much more realized and complete than the Raimi version.  Another area the film really works well is the chemistry between Peter and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, which is so much more believable and strong than Peter and MJ in Raimi’s trilogy.  The fact Emma’s a way prettier face than Kirsten Dunst is a nice plus too.  What’s more is that Andrew Garfield is a way more interesting Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  Sure, Tobey Maguire might come off to some as the quintessential Peter Parker, but Garfield’s performance is just more interesting and varied.  As a result, we identify and grow to like him even more.

All of this is even more important when the story has to be told, because without investible characters there’s not much left to care about.  I came to love these characters, their interactions and the entire movie so much that I didn’t want it to end.  I can already tell that this is one movie I’ll be watching over and over on Blu-ray simply because it does so much so well.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I liked this movie more than The Avengers.  Yes, send the outburst-filled posts my way, my mind is clear.  The Avengers might be the bigger, more action-oriented film but when you break it down The Avengers is superhero action done right, whereas The Amazing Spider-Man is a superhero story done right altogether.  Of course the action scenes and final 30 minutes of The Avengers is better than any of the action here, but there’s simply more (and arguably better) development in the latest Spidey iteration.

There were honestly very few things I didn’t like about the film and I have no major qualms.  Anything holding the film back simply involves our villain, the Lizard.  He’s not a bad villain per se, but there’s a good chance I won’t remember him much down the line.  The CGI is really most apparent when he’s on-screen and his shifting motivations are very jumbled to say the least.  In many ways The Lizard is merely a plot device, which I suppose is a serious problem, but it does lead to an at least decent climax, so I’m not too bothered by it.

Even if you’re a huge fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, I think this version by Marc Webb is definitely worth your time.  The cast and characters are great, the story holds up, the action and choreography all suffice and it ends in a way that keeps us guessing.  I can safely say that I’m all for this version and can’t wait to see just where it’ll be taken next.

 
 

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Parallels in Time: Terminator 2 to The Terminator

Most people re-watch the films they like, often on several occasions.  For many people, including myself, the first two Terminator films are probably among the most frequently watched films of all time.  And like a book that only gets better with each subsequent reading, viewers are bound to notice things they didn’t pick up on before.  Sometimes these can even be parallels from film to film.  Combine several viewings with one’s OCD tendencies and even the most arbitrary things will match up.  And because these are films that we’ll probably never get sick of talking about, here are some parallels I’ve noticed between James Cameron’s sci-fi companions, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Parallels are not a part of my mission.

Both films open with a scene from the future.

Kyle and Sarah make their getaway in a “late model gray Ford” (the film was released in ’84); the car which the T-800, Sarah and John escape with in Terminator 2 is a similarly styled sedan.

Both Sarah (in The Terminator) and John (in Terminator 2) are attacked by the Terminator sent to kill them through the windshield of a car; the main difference being Sarah was attacked from the front of a car and John from the back.

The way the T-800 in Terminator 2 is thrown through the glass in the mall parallels the way the T-800 in The Terminator was shot through the glass by Kyle at Tech Noir.

Sarah (in The Terminator) and John both initially drive cheap, low-end motorbikes.  John’s was a dirt bike while Sarah’s was a moped.

Both films end with a shot on the road.

Much of the key stretches in both movies take place at night.

In both films, Arnold attacks three individuals at the beginning; the three punks in The Terminator and three at the bar in Terminator 2 (the man he takes clothes from, the man who attacks him with a pool stick and the man who stabs him).

How dare you pick apart our redundancies.

Both films have three chase sequences, at least one of which (in each film) involves a large truck.

In the middle of both final chase scenes, (one of) the vehicles our heroes use to flee from the Terminator/T-1000 are toppled over.

During these same chase scenes, the person attempting to ward of the Terminator (Kyle in The Terminator, Sarah in Terminator 2) is injured by a gunshot.

During the last act of both films, each Terminator sent to kill chases our heroes with a motorcycle (if briefly).

The primary gun of choice used by the protectors sent back through time (Kyle in The Terminator, the T-800 in Terminator 2) in the first half of each film is a shotgun.

In both movies, Arnold attacks several cops.  In The Terminator he kills 17 of them; in Terminator 2 he does it to scare them off without actually killing any.

Both films take place over the course of roughly 1-2 days.

Seriously, how many more can you pick out?

Both films have us watch a (pre-recorded) video of a person who tells of their “visions of the future,” if you will.  In The Terminator, it’s Kyle, who’s actually experienced the war of the future.  In Terminator 2, it’s Sarah during one of her evaluations in which she sees/imagines the nuclear fire of Judgment Day.

Both films have a brief “FPS shot.”  In The Terminator, it’s right before Arnold bursts into the motel room Sarah and Kyle shared.  In Terminator 2, it’s in the steel mill when Arnold faces the T-1000 (who attacks right after the said shot).

The first words each protector from the future says to Sarah are “come with me if you want to live.”

Arnold briefly uses a younger male’s voice to disguise himself in both films.  In The Terminator, it’s of a cop (1L19); in Terminator 2, it’s of John.

In both films, Arnold loses his sunglasses by actions of a female character (Sarah running him off his motorcycle in The Terminator and a female cop hitting him in the face in Terminator 2).  This would be repeated two more times in Terminator 3, both involving confrontations with the T-X.

When Arnold says “I’ll be back,” in both films he returns by crashing a vehicle into a building.

Sarah has at least one nightmare/vision of the future in both films (she has two in the extended cut of Terminator 2).

You think you’re clever…

Both Terminators sent to assassinate send at least one person through a wall.

Both Terminators sent to assassinate also find out where the person they’re hunting is from a phone/transmitted message.  In The Terminator, it’s Ginger’s answering machine; in Terminator 2, it’s a cop radio at Miles Dyson’s house.

Including the extended cut of Terminator 2, each film has a scene where we literally get under the skin of Arnold as a Terminator.  In the first film, Arnold cuts one of his eyes off himself.  In Terminator 2’s extended cut, Sarah and John peel off part of Arnold’s head and drill into his head to access the CPU.

And just for kicks, the black guy in both films isn’t the first one to die!

Know of any parallels between the films I missed?  Let me (and others) know below in the comment section!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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Quote Review: K-PAX (2001)

“You humans. Sometimes its hard to imagine how you’ve made it this far.”

K-PAX begins with some overbearing questions only to feel like an overly ambitious and cluttered blend of science fiction and drama. It ultimately amounts to bringing more to the table than it can handle, especially with the 2 hour runtime limiting so much. While some might argue for multiple potential interpretations to the ending, what culminates is fairly clear-cut.  In the end, it’s mostly another carpe diem/appreciate-life type of movie.

What did you think of K-PAX?  Share your thoughts and comment below!

 
 

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