Archive for Rhys Ifans

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this trippy sequel to the 2010 blockbuster “Alice in Wonderland,” young Alice returns from several years at sea and again passes through to the magical landscape, where she ends up journeying into the past to try to save the Mad Hatter.

What people are saying:

“A solid kids’ movie in the old style. One with something to say about something real – family and time- and a willingness to admit consequences, even as it serves up goofy humor, mild thrills, and slippy-slidey accents from slumming stars.” 2 stars

“It deviated from the actual book, but that doesn’t mean it was not entertaining. It had good messages about positive attitudes for women not to be victims of circumstance. A much needed improvement from much of the stuff many kids are watching now. ” 5 stars

“The charm found in the first Alice in Wonderland is definitely missing in the sequel. The story is a mix match of going in the past future time etc. The plot that is way too confusing for most children even some adults. The acting isn’t anything great most of the actors you can tell look like they’re in front of a green screen. Some of the special effects were nice and there’s some creativity to be found in this movie but in the end it just didn’t come together very well.” 2 stars

“I never read the Alice in Wonderland books, but I doubt this is one of them. Yes, it has that zany twisted quality you expect in Wonderland, but there is a theme running through the movie that gives it a scifi depth, “Why can’t I go back in time and change the past?” Most of the characters from the first movie are back and Cohen’s Time fits in Wonderfully. ” 5 stars

“the most offensive kind of film…one that spends an enormous amount of money yet seems to have nothing on its mind but money. You give it, they take it. And you get nothing in return but assurances that you’re seeing magic and wonder. The movie keeps repeating it in your ear, and flashing it onscreen in big block letters: MAGIC AND WONDER. MAGIC AND WONDER. But there is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive characters and landscapes and ‘action scenes’, with blockbuster ‘journey movie’ tropes affixed to every set-piece as blatantly as Post-It Notes” 1 star

The Replacements

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film opens with Shane Falco, a former star quarterback at Ohio State University who choked in his final college game and failed to succeed in the pros, doing his job cleaning the bottoms of peoples’ boats. While underwater, he finds a metal trophy football labeled “Shane Falco: All American” and pretends he is playing football again. Meanwhile, the fictional Washington Sentinels are shown playing a game in which commentators John Madden and Pat Summerall mention a players’ strike taking place over salary disputes. As the game winds down, Sentinels quarterback Eddie Martel chooses to slide to the ground instead of scoring the game winning touchdown to avoid getting injured.

Later that day, the owner of the Sentinels decides to hire Jimmy McGinty, the Sentinels’ former coach who was fired after getting into a fight with the team’s star quarterback, to recruit replacement players during the strike and coach the team for the rest of the season. He tells McGinty that all they need is three wins out of their final four games to advance to the playoffs. McGinty tells the owner he’ll only do it if he promises not to interfere with his coaching style. McGinty recruits many different ragtag players, and eventually convinces Falco to come off his boat and play quarterback again. Falco soon becomes attracted to the team’s head cheerleader, Annabelle Farrell, who likes him as well, but doesn’t want to date him because of her stereotype that all pro athletes are prima donnas.

In the Sentinels’ first game using replacement players, they trail by four with only a few seconds left to play. McGinty calls a passing play, but Falco gets scared and changes the call to a running play. Cochran, the team’s running back, gets tackled just before he reaches the end zone and the Sentinels lose. That night, the actual Sentinels players taunt the replacement players at a bar, leading to fight between the two teams. The replacement players get arrested, but are beginning to build team chemistry, which is something they lacked in the first game. The newfound team chemistry leads to a last second field goal victory in the next game, and then another last second victory the next week, leaving the team needing only one more victory to make the playoffs.

The team’s owner tells McGinty that Eddie Martel has crossed the picket line and will be re-activated by the Sentinels for the final game of the season. McGinty protests at first, saying that he will use Falco as his quarterback, but the owner convinces him that the team can’t afford to have Falco choke with the game on the line, especially since they are playing the best team in the league who has had their entire team cross. A heartbroken McGinty tells Falco that he has been cut in favor of Martel, but Falco accepts the news, saying that it’s best for the team since Martel is better than him, to which McGinty says that Falco has heart and Martel doesn’t. Falco stands Annabelle up on a date because of his depression.

In the final game of the season, Martel has trouble connecting with the rest of the team and scolds the rest of them when he makes a mistake. At halftime, the Sentinels trail 17–0, and reporter asks McGinty what they’ll need to win the game, to which he replies “miles and miles of heart” meant as a message to Falco. Falco hears him say this and comes to the game during halftime, and the rest of the team kicks Martel out of the locker room. Falco runs onto the field at the start of the half and draws loud and thunderous applause from the fans. He apologizes to Annabelle and kisses her on national TV. Cochran is able to run for a touchdown at the beginning of the half before injuring his leg. The Sentinels then score again to cut the lead to 17–14. With only a few seconds left in the game, McGinty calls for a field goal to tie the score and then go into overtime. But when Nigel ‘The Leg’ Gruff, the kicker, gets set, he tells Falco that he can’t kick the field goal, because several men in the audience will “take his pub”. Falco then snaps the ball then runs it all the way for a touchdown, only to have it brought back for a holding call. Falco then goes to the sidelines and tells McGinty that he wants the ball, implying that he has gotten over his fear of choking with the game on the line. Falco throws a pass to tight end Brian Murphy for a touchdown, and the Sentinels win 20–17, advancing to the playoffs, and the Sentinels begin dancing in synchronized formation. The film ends with a voiceover from McGinty saying that when the players left the game that night, there were no endorsement deals or victory parades waiting for them, just a locker waiting to be cleaned out, but it didn’t matter, because they each got a second chance at glory, which lasts forever.

REVIEW:

Football season is over, but apparently Netflix thought it was time to watch another football flick, The Replacements. I’m not complaining, but I would have much rather prefered to have seen this a couple of week ago before the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what I saw.

What is this about?

Maverick old-guard coach Gene Hackman is hired in the wake of a players’ strike to help the Washington Sentinels advance to the playoffs. But that impossible dream hinges on whether his replacements can hunker down and do the job. So, Hackman dusts off his secret dossier of ex-players who never got a chance (or screwed up the one they were given) and knits together a bad-dream team of guys who just may give the Sentinels their title shot.

What did I like?

Strike. When I was in elementary school, there was an NFL strike. At the same time, I had just moved to a new town and my new friends introduced me to the sport of football. My love of football will always be tied to the strike, so that could be why I was so drawn to this picture, not to mention the fact that it tackles the subject of how little respect (and money) the replacement players received, while the real players just got more money…as always.

Neo. This is still a few years before The Matrix, if I’m not mistaken, but it is obvious that this is one of those films where Reeves is trying to shed that surfer boy image that we know him best for in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. True, he doesn’t exactly shake it off, but hey he gets props for attempting successfully to do so, not to mention he does play a convincing former quarterback.

Chemistry. If you’re a football fan, then you know that team chemistry is important. This is not something the filmmakers left out. It takes awhile for the team to gel, partly because it has been some time since each has played ball, partly because they haven’t gelled as a team, and partly because they just don’t know what the hell they;re doing out there. Eventually the ship is righted, but it isn’t until the final game that we really see how important chemistry is as the team cannot function with the starting quarterback who crossed the picket line, but fire on all cylinders once he returns.

What didn’t I like?

Love story. Maybe it was just me, but the relationship between Reeves and the head cheerleader seemed to be a but cliché and out-of-place. What I mean by that is we have the quarterback and the head cheerleader. To me, that  felt a bit too high school-ish. I didn’t fall for it, but I probably would have if they would have just left her as a football fanatic who owns a bar, or if maybe she was a cheerleader from his past, but as it is, this was just too convenient, for my taste.

Gambling. *SIGH* There is one thing that gets on my nerves about films, especially newer ones, it is when they introduce a plot device for the sole purpose of doing nothing but creating tension for the climax. This is what the whole gambling bit involving Rhys Ifans’ character was. In a different film, I believe it would have worked, perhaps if they would have even given it, and him, more time, it coud have worked here, but that isn’t the case and they shove it in at the last-minute with no build up or anything. I was half expecting them to show up in the locker room and threaten to break his leg, as well as other evil acts.

Similarities. I can’t help but notice how similar this is to another of my favorite football films, Necessary Roughness, especially when it comes to the characters, such as the receiver who can’t catch, washed up former quarterback,  the sumo wrestler offensive linemen, big, black defenders, tough as nails cop, etc. If this was a parody, sequel, or nod to that film, then I’d have no issue, but it comes off as more of a blatant ripoff.

The Replacements is a film that always seems to be on TV, which is never a good sign, as those are typically the type that aren’t very good. Despite that, I actually do like this film. It is one of the better sports comedies around, especially dealing with football. If you’re looking for some hardcore football action, you probably need to look elsewhere, but as far as a feel-good, comedy involving football, this should be your cup of tea. Check it out sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

Vanity Fair

Posted in Chick Flicks, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The story opens in London, in the year of 1802. The mysterious Lord Steyne (Gabriel Byrne) makes his way to a painter’s studio where he has agreed to buy a painting of a young woman. The young Becky Sharp (Angelica Mandy), then a girl of ten, insists on having ten guineas, instead of four guineas, as the price of the painting. The painter explains that the model in the painting is Becky’s mother, the painter’s late wife. Steyne agrees to pay the higher amount and leaves with the painting. The young Becky is seen moving to Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies after her father’s death.

The now-adult Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) is preparing to leave the academy for a position as a governess. She travels by carriage to her new position, stopping on the way to see her best friend Amelia Sedley (Romola Garai) at Amelia’s home. Amelia lives in a large estate as the daughter of a gentleman, but her father is not as wealthy as he appears.

At Amelia’s home, Becky meets Amelia’s brother Jos Sedley (Tony Maudsley), who’s stationed in India. Jos finds that Becky is interested in India. During an outing at Vauxhall, Becky meets Amelia’s inattentive boyfriend, the dashing and self-obsessed Captain George Osborne (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and his best friend, Captain William Dobbin (Rhys Ifans), who is secretly in love with Amelia. Jos is smitten with Becky, but in a private discussion, George convinces Jos to break off his attentions to the penniless girl. George is concerned that his father, a rich businessman who’s a commoner, won’t let him marry Amelia if Becky has also married into the Sedley family.

Becky bids farewell to Sedley’s family and enters the service of baronet Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins), who has engaged her as a governess to his daughters. Sir Pitt has two sons, the pompous and pedantic elder son(Douglas Hodge), who also bears the name Pitt Crawley, and the dashing younger son, Captain Rawdon Crawley (James Purefoy). Sir Pitt, a rather crude individual, is impressed with Becky’s service, especially as Becky cleans up Sir Pitt’s home to welcome his elder half-sister, Miss Matilda Crawley (Eileen Atkins). Miss Crawley is impressed with Becky, when she finds that Becky speaks French. Becky explains that her mother was French while her father was an artist. Miss Crawley takes Becky to live with her in London. In London, Becky begins to see Captain Rawdon Crawley. Sir Pitt shows up in London. His wife has died, and he asks Becky to marry him. Becky refuses, revealing that she’s already secretly married to Captain Rawdon Crawley. The misalliance so enrages Miss Crawley that she throws Becky out and refuses to see the couple. Becky and Rawdon live in an apartment in London, and Becky reveals that she’s pregnant, and suggests that the baby may help to reconcile them with Miss Crawley.

Meanwhile, Amelia’s prospective father-in-law, Mr. Osborne (Jim Broadbent), is trying to arrange a new marriage for his son George. He introduces George to a young woman whose father made a fortune in Jamaica. George objects to the marriage as the woman is of mixed race. He insists that he’s betrothed to Amelia, but Mr. Osborne insists that George marry the woman from Jamaica.

Amelia’s father, John, has become bankrupt, and all of the Sedley household goods are sold at auction. Lord Steyne shows up to buy a portrait painted by Becky’s father. Dobbin buys Amelia’s piano and gives it back to her, but Amelia thinks it is a gift from George. George then elopes with Amelia, and Mr. Osborne disinherits him.

While these events take place, Napoleon has escaped from Elba and is once again in control of France. Rawdon, George, and Dobbin are suddenly deployed to Brussels as part of the Duke of Wellington’s army. Becky and Amelia decide to accompany their husbands.

The newly wedded Osborne is growing tired of Amelia, and he becomes increasingly attracted to Becky. At a ball in Brussels (based on the Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo), George gives Becky a note which she hides in her bodice. Amelia also attends the ball, but she becomes sick as the result of pregnancy. Rather than attend to his wife, George spends the evening dancing with Becky; Dobbin attends to Amelia instead. The ball is interrupted by an announcement that Napoleon has attacked, and the officers are given three hours to report to their units.

Amelia has been deeply hurt by her husband’s attentions toward Becky, but Becky reassures her that George would do nothing to hurt her. That night, Rawdon discusses his finances with Becky, giving her all the money he’s won at cards. The next day, Becky tries to flee the city. One of the other Englishmen wants to buy her horse, and she agrees provided he gives her a seat in his carriage. However, when Becky sees Amelia in the fleeing mob, she leaves the carriage to take Amelia back to Brussels where they wait out the battle.

In the ensuing Battle of Waterloo, George is killed. Amelia bears him a posthumous son, who is also named George. Mr. Osborne refuses to acknowledge his grandson. So Amelia returns to live in genteel poverty with her parents. Meanwhile, since the death of George, now-Major William Dobbin, who is young George’s godfather, begins to express his love for the widowed Amelia by small kindnesses toward her and her son. Amelia is too much in love with George’s memory to return Dobbin’s affections. Saddened, he transfers to an army post in India, to which Jos has already returned.

Meanwhile, Becky also has a son, also named after his father. However, the army has been demobilized, and Rawdon, although now a colonel, has no income.

Several years pass, Miss Matilda Crawley and Sir Pitt Crawley have died, leaving the family fortune in the hands Sir Pitt, Jr. Rawdon and Becky reconcile with the family, but it does little to help their finances.

Rawdon is now in debt due to his gambling, and the creditors try to seize the furniture. However, Lord Steyne comes to the rescue and pays off the creditors. Steyne offers to re-introduce Becky into London society, and she agrees. At her first outing, however, all the women ignore her until Lady Steyne takes pity on her and asks her to sing a song. Becky’s singing attracts the admiration of both sexes, and she’s now accepted within society.

Steyne arranges to send Becky’s son, now around nine, to boarding school so he can have more time with her. Meanwhile, Amelia agrees to turn her son over to her father-in-law who can give him a luxurious upbringing. Steyne arranges a bizarre entertainment for the king at which the wives of the lords perform a belly dance, with Becky as the featured dancer. The king, entranced with Becky, asks her to sit with him at dinner.

Steyne’s attentions to Becky become an issue when Rawdon is thrown into debtors prison. Steyne tells Becky that he will arrange for Rawdon’s bail, but not until the following day. He makes it clear to Becky that his price for Rawdon’s freedom is for her to sleep with him. Becky refuses, but Steyne tries to force himself on her. Rawdon returns at that moment, his debts having been paid by his family. He beats Lord Steyne and throws him down the stairs. However, Rawdon refuses to believe Becky when she insists that Steyne forced his attentions on her, and he leaves her. The army offers him a post as the garrison commander on Coventry Island, which he accepts.

Twelve years later, Becky is working as a card dealer at a casino in Baden Baden in Germany. She meets the young George Osborne at a card table, who is traveling with his mother and Major William Dobbin. Dobbin tells Amelia he believes Becky killed Rawdon, but Amelia points out that Rawdon died of tropical fever.

Although Amelia is traveling with Dobbin, she still refuses to return his affections. Becky tells Amelia that she shouldn’t be clinging to the memory of her late husband because George wasn’t the saint she thought he was. To prove her point, Becky shows Amelia the letter that George had given her on the eve of Waterloo, inviting Becky to run away with him. Amelia realizes what a fool she’s been, and leaves to re-unite with Dobbin, this time as his wife.

Jos, who has been traveling with Major William Dobbin, is still enchanted by Becky. Becky marries Jos, and he takes her to India, where she had wanted to go until George Osborne convinced Jos to stop courting Becky.

REVIEW:

I’m a little pressed for time on this one, as I should have been in bed a while ago. Tomorrow is a long day, so please pardon the brevity of this review. Truth be told, I’m not really even sure what Vanity Fair is about, other than some Victorian chick is trying to move up in society, even though she was born a commoner.

Being that this is a chick flick drama, you can imagine all the unnecessary overreacting and whatnot. Aside from the total boringness of this film, though, I have to say that the acting was quite good. The  costumes seem to be very well made and authentic, which is a much for a period piece such as this.

As I said, I just wasn’t in to this film. From the get go it just never caught my attention. Factor in the excessive length and the late hour and this flick was doomed in my eyes from the beginning.

Vanity Fair is one of those films that has a specific audience, mostly females who enjoy period dramas. I do not fall into that demographic, so this wasn’t my cup of tea. With that said, I won’t dissuade anyone from this film, especially ladies. This is not a bad flick, just one of those boring dramas that will have us guys wishing for the likes of Shoot ‘Em Up, Crank, and The Expendables films. Check it out, if you’re interested.

3 out of 5 stars

Neverland

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1906 London, orphan Peter Pan (Charlie Rowe) is one of a gang of juvenile street thieves assembled by arch crook and ace fencer James “Jimmy” Hook (Rhys Ifans). When Jimmy scores a major job, the ever-willing-to-please Peter talks the other boys into pulling off the heist themselves in order to impress Jimmy. They manage to steal a strange glowing orb from a gallery for a mysterious man. While Peter is off to the side, the boys and Jimmy gather around the orb. When Jimmy gives it a tap, Peter watches a glowing sphere encompass them and they disappear. Believing his friends dead, Peter runs to find the man for whom they stole the orb in order to exact revenge. The man tells Peter that they are still alive, so Peter hits the orb himself to see where they went.

Jimmy and the boys find themselves in a strange land and are quickly captured by a band of pirates led by Captain Elizabeth Bonny (Anna Friel), but Fox manages to escape. The crew tells the gang that they are from the early 18th century and have never aged the entire time they were here. The captain decides that Jimmy is useless and tries to have him thrown to the giant crocodiles, but Jimmy manages to fight off the crew. Having earned their respect, Jimmy is allowed to stay. In the captain’s quarters, Bonny shows Jimmy (whom she calls Hook) a magical mineral dust that comes from the tree spirits that live on the island. The dust gives the power of flight, but she only has a small vial and does not have the knowledge of how to properly use it. She further explains that the tree spirit colony lies in a forest beyond the mountain range and the only passages are protected by a lost Kaw tribe. Jimmy agrees to help the pirates get to the tree spirits.

Peter finds himself in the middle of a strange forest and has a quick reunion with Fox before they see a large swarm of tree spirits flying towards them. Running away, they stumble upon a group of Kaw hunters and are taken blindfolded through the secret passage to the Native village. The boys make friends with the Natives and meet the chief’s daughter, Aaya/Tiger Lily (Q’orianka Kilcher). Peter makes an attempt to rescue the boys and Jimmy; while the boys are safe, Fox is killed when Peter returns for Jimmy, who stays on the ship.

That night Peter has a strange dream in which he sees a hooded figure holding the orb on top of a mountain as meteorites rain down and a tree spirit races towards him. The next day, Peter notices that a scout had painted the scene he witnessed in his dream. Discussing the dream together they are able to work out where the mountain was that the scene took place, and so Peter and Aaya set out in search of the orb which will take them home. Meanwhile, back on the pirate ship, Hook and Bonny have a similar discussion and they too set off in search of the hooded man, hoping he will lead them to the tree spirit colony.

On the way to the mountains, Peter and Aaya stumble upon a city grown entirely out of living trees. While exploring, they find the hooded man who reveals himself to be the mysterious benefactor who hired Jimmy’s crew to steal the orb. He introduces himself as Dr. Fludd (Charles Dance), the royal alchemist for Queen Elizabeth I. He explains that he had discovered a planet which exists, paradoxically, at the edges and center of the universe and due to the strange nature of its position, time stands still. He created the orb as a way of transporting people to the planet, which he calls Neverland. The process of creating the sister to the orb, which can take the user from Neverland back to Earth, was what Peter had witnessed in his dream. The tree spirit from the dream thought that Fludd was in danger and tried to save him, instead imbuing her with “astral energy”. Fludd named the spirit Tinker Bell, who can communicate through telepathy. He built the city as a Utopia where all the greatest scientific minds on Earth can live. While they plot out a way to rescue the rest of the crew from the pirates, they are interrupted by Jimmy, Bonny, and several pirates who enter the city. The two groups fight, Fludd is killed, Aaya is captured, and the pirates take the orb. Peter is stabbed by Bonny and thrown off of a balcony, assumed dead.

The pirates make their way back to the ship, with Jimmy vowing to find a way to get the power of flight before he returns to England. Meanwhile Peter is brought to the tree spirit colony by Tinker Bell and after being healed is immersed in a pool filled with the mineral dust, emerging with the ability to fly. The spirit elders tell him that he was recognized for his innocence and must use his new powers to stop Jimmy from finding the colony.

Jimmy persuades the captain to risk traversing a ravine protected by the Natives, with Aaya as hostage. Halfway across, Peter cuts Aaya loose and flies away with her. Using the gang of boys as bait, Jimmy alone persuades Peter to show him the spirit colony and then they can return together. Once Jimmy reaches the forest, via the Natives’ secret passage, he betrays Peter and reveals that the pirates have been following them. Forcing Peter to show them how it’s done, Bonny immerses herself in the mineral dust pool, but burns up and dies upon emerging since she didn’t have innocence in her heart. Secretly pleased that he is the new captain of the pirates, Jimmy forces Peter to show him the cave where he hid the orb. Peter manages to escape along with the boys. The tree spirits, angry that Peter lead Jimmy to them, try to erase Peter’s memory so that the only thing left will be his childlike innocence, but they are interrupted by Tinker Bell who releases her astral energy on them. Ostracized from her people for that act, Tinker Bell joins up with Peter to try and stop Jimmy, now known as Captain Hook.

The two groups meet in the cave where the orb is hidden. Peter and Hook fight over the orb, during which Hook tells Peter that the picture of the woman in a fob watch he carries is actually Peter’s mother, to whom Hook swore an oath to protect her son, despite his hatred of Peter’s father. While fighting Peter cuts off Hook’s hand. Both the hand and the watch are swallowed by a giant crocodile. Hook manages to knock Peter unconscious and the cave begins to crumble. All the parties quickly escape except for Peter and Tinker Bell. Peter, instead of fleeing, revives Tinker Bell, and the cave collapses.

Some time later, the boys are living with the Natives when they are surprised to see Peter reappear, dressed in a suit and accompanied by Tinker Bell. He tells them that he managed to activate the orb before the cave collapsed and did well for himself stealing some goods in London, which he gives to the boys. When asked why he came back to Neverland, knowing that now there is no way back to Earth, he tells them that there is adventure everywhere in this land.

One of the boys suddenly points out to Peter that his shadow is missing…

REVIEW:

We all know the story of Peter Pan, probably because of the classic Disney film or perhaps the play. What we don’t know, though, is how Peter got to Neverland, how Captain Hook lost his hand, etc. Where Hook told us what happened to Peter after the book, Neverland takes us back to Peter’s origins.

What is this about?

The film follows the time when Peter, Jimmy (Hook), and a group of ragtag thieving orphans are struggling to live. In one of their capers, they find and orb and get transported to Neverland. The trip finds them captured by Captain Elizabeth Bonny, a pirate from the 19th century. She tells Hook of magical fairy dust that can be found on the island  and its properties. The dust becomes a point of conflict as it seems that everyone on the island is after it, pirates, indians, and the fairies themselves. In a hidden tree village created by the alchemist, Peter is stabbed and killed by Cpt. Bonny, but he is saved by the fairies. The quest for the dust becomes all-consuming for Cpt. Bonny and it costs her something very dear. Will Peter be able to keep the dust away from the pirates? Will he ever get back to England? What of his relationship with Hook?

What did I like?

Story. I wasn’t clamoring for an origin tale of Peter Pan, but if we have to have one, then this is a pretty good one. Not only do they create their own tale, but they also tie up all the loose ends that lead up to the tale we all know. They even bring in Peter losing his shadow!

SyFy rebound. The last film that SyFy did, Alice, was a waste of time. It came off as one of those films that changed stuff just to change it. Nothing was really changed in this one, except maybe that Neverland is apparently in another dimension. Then again, it has never really been determined where Neverland ever was, other first star on the right and straight on to morning, Either way,  I’m glad Syfy rebounded with this one. It may even be better than Tin Man, which begs to question…why can’t all of their films be of this caliber?

Tone. These days, it seems as if everything is taking a dark tone, but this flick, which has its moments of darkness, doesn’t fall into that trap. Sure, it isn’t as light-hearted as you would expect a Peter Pan film to be, but that fun and fancy free feeling is there.

Smee. Kudos to Bob Hoskins reprising his role as Smee.

What didn’t I like?

Crocodile. Ok, so this film is obviously more grounded in reality than we want to give it credit for, but I have to question why the crocodile is giant and has 8 legs. The giant part I’m fine with, but why the multi- legism? What ever was going through their mind with that?

Fairies. I’ve never been a fan of the metallic paint look, so you can imagine what I think of these fairies’ look. I don’t understand why they had to be silver Just slap some wings on them and be done with it!

Hook. I can’t say that I care for this origin of Captain Hook. Why did they feel the need to make him a friend/surrogate father of Peter’s, not to mention that whole mother angle they shoehorn in at the end. It just didn’t work for me. Here’s an idea…just let him be a pirate, the way we all know him!

Neverland is probably one of the best films no one will ever see. I say that because SyFy isn’t know for having the best films. Hell, if not for Being Human and Lost Girl, and a random Greatest American Hero marathon, I would not even know this existed. I don’t exactly tune in to that station very often, and I’m sure many people do the same. Do I recommend this film? Yes, but keep in mind, it isn’t as good as Peter Pan, but it is worth checking out, if you get the chance.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Amazing Spider-Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A young Peter Parker is playing hide-and-seek with his scientist father when he discovers his father’s study has been broken into. His father, Richard, gathers up hidden documents, and Peter’s parents take him to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben then mysteriously depart. Years later, a teenage Peter attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson and has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds Richard’s papers, and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Faking his way into Oscorp as one of a group of high-school interns, Peter sneaks into a lab where extremely strong “biocable” is being created from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. On the subway ride home, he is shocked to find strange spider-like abilities manifesting.

After studying Richard’s papers, he visits the one-armed Connors at home, reveals he is Richard Parker’s son, and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressured by his superior, Dr. Ratha, who needs Connors to devise a cure for the dying, unseen head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn.

In school, attempting revenge on Flash, Peter gets in trouble, forcing Uncle Ben to switch a work shift in order to meet with the principal; he tells Peter to pick up May tonight for him. Peter later meets Connors at Oscorp, and, ignoring a call from Ben, sees the limb-regeneration formula work on a laboratory mouse. When Peter returns home, Ben scolds him for having neglected to pick up May. Peter storms off, and Ben goes out to search for him. Peter visits a convenience store, and while arguing with the clerk, a man steals from the till and dashes out. Despite the clerk’s plea, Peter refuses to give chase. The thief runs into Ben, who confronts him: They wrestle over a gun, and Ben is shot. The killer escapes as Peter finds his uncle, who dies in his arms.

Afterward, using a police sketch, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He also adds a spandex suit, and builds mechanical devices to attach on his wrists to fire a biocable “web”. The mask, suit, and webshooters becomes a matching red-and-blue spider-themed costume. He later accepts a dinner invitation from Gwen and meets her family, including her father, police captain George Stacy. After dinner, Peter and Gwen go to her apartment building’s roof, where he shows her his abilities, and they kiss.

Ratha says Connors must begin human trials immediately if Osborn is to survive. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent subjects at risk. Ratha fires Connors and says he will test Connors’ serum at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of flu shots. Connors tries the formula on himself, and, after passing out and awakening, finds his missing arm has regenerated. Learning Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is growing scaly and green, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the traffic-jammed Williamsburg Bridge, Connors has become a hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side of the bridge. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, saves each fallen car with his web-lines.

Spider-Man suspects Connors is the Lizard, and unsuccessfully confronts the Lizard in the sewers. The Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity and attacks Peter at school. The police hunt both Spider-Man and the Lizard, with Captain Stacy learning Spider-Man’s real identity. The Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower. Spider-Man eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before the Lizard fatally claws Stacy. The dying Stacy makes Peter promise to keep Gwen safe by staying away from her. Peter initially does so, but later decides to see her after all.

In a scene during the end credits, Connors, in a prison cell, appears to speak with a man who asks if Connors told Peter the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No” and demands Peter be left alone before the man mysteriously vanishes

REVIEW:

One of the most heavily anticipated films of this summer has to be The Amazing Spider-Man. The problem with this is that it isn’t a continuation of the Sam Raimi series of films. As a matter of fact, the day before they were set to start filming Spider-Man 4, th studio decided they wanted to rewrite things, which led to this highly unnecessary reboot. Why in the bloody blue hell would you reboot something so soon? Spider-Man 3, despite the rather dismal reviews from fans and critics, is still pretty fresh in most of our minds, as it was just released in 2007.

Before I get into this review, please don’t think that I went into this flick with some kind of prejudice. As far removed from the source material as the Raimi Spider-Man films are, they are enjoyable. However, I am a fan of Spider-Man, and the truth is, my dead goldfish that I had when I was 6 yrs old could come out with a movie starring old webhead and the chances are that I would watch it, after I figure out how he’s managed to make it, let alone come back to life.

So, what did I like?

Parents. With all the superhero films that have been released, the origin story is the Achilles’ heel of them all. There are a few that don’t suffer from these affliction, but this isn’t one of them. We get the same Spider-Man origin we got in Spider-Man, but with a different twist. I did like that they introduced something new in here by telling us a bit about his parents, though I think this more to create questions that anything else.

Lizard. I’m a little torn on the Lizard, but I’m glad that we finally get the chance to see him on the big screen. Nothing against Rhys Ifans, he did a great job as Curt Connors, as a matter of fact, but I think Dylan Baker got the “Billy Dee treatment”. What I’m referring to is how Billy Dee Williams portrayed Harvey Dent in Batman , only to be replaced a couple of films later with Tommy Lee Jones (his contract was bought out, but before that happened there was a stipulation that he was to play Two-Face). That point aside, seeing a somewhat lesser known villain start this franchise leads me to believe that they are taking a page out of the Christopher Nolan book and building up to bigger and better villains, such as Green Goblin (Norman Osborn is hinted at all throughout the film, and Oscorp is the company where Connors works) or Dr. Octopus, though I’m not sure anyone can top Alfred Molina’s performance.

Web shooters. In Spider-Man, we saw Peter Parker shoot webs from his wrists, but it was some kind of biological thing. It actually made more sense that a poor high school kind able to create web shooters on some kind of measly allowance. Not to mention, the wrist web thing doesn’t run out, so it makes sense. However, it is still great to see the web shooters. These are a staple in Spider-Man lore, after all.

What didn’t I like?

Reboot. There was no need to reboot this!

3D. I actually paid the extra rented sunglass price to see this, and was highly disappointed. The trailers looked like they were going to make brilliant use of the 3D, but the fact is, they didn’t do anything with it. The only thing that used it was the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph!

Lizard. I’ve already discussed what I liked about the guy. On the flipside, though, I was not a fan of the design. I may be spoiled by seeing him portrayed in the comics and cartoons, but it seems to be that he needed to have a snout. I could accept the human face before the full on mutation, but there comes a point where he needs to be a giant lizard! The director has been quoted as saying he wanted him to look human. Yes, you read right…the Lizard was supposed to look human. I just don’t know how to even respond to that.

Youth. They made a valiant effort to influx youth into the film. I could care less about that, except for the fact that, if you’re going to do that, then get some actors that are the right age and not nearly 30 playing teenagers! That’s not the worst part, though. Sally Field, who I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for, just looked too young to be Aunt May. She’s always looked young (a little less so in recent years), but Aunt May is quite aged, for lack of a better term. They could have done better.

Investment. I’ve been reading and hearing reviews that have said that they really felt the connection between Garfield and Stone. I just didn’t see it. For me, it was just like any other actor and actress up there on the screen. I saw nothing special.

Romance. So, apparently, the filmmakers felt the need to really put the focus on the romance between Peter and Gwen, rather than give us lots of Spidey. Yeah, that was a stroke of genius, lemme tell ya.

Peter Parker. There has been some debate as to what people think of Peter. Personally, I didn’t care for him. First off, Andrew Garfield should not be playing Peter Parker. He doesn’t have the chops to do it, but because The Social Network was so critically acclaimed, he got the job. Second, Peter Parker is supposed to be likable at least, if not lovable. Instead, he’s kind of a douche. Parker is a social outcast nerd. That is not seen anywhere in this film. When he gets his powers, he doesn’t go flaunting them getting himself expelled, either. Finally, as Spider-Man, he’s supposed to crack jokes and be funny. This guy is not that. I complained that Tobey didn’t make enough jokes, and he didn’t, but this guy should stop trying because the jokes aren’t funny and he’s just coming off as a douchebag! Whatever happened to our “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?”

Keep the mask on. One of the biggest frustrations for me is when actors, who are cast as superheroes, randomly take their mask off just so we can see their face. Look, we know who you are and there are plenty of scenes that show your face. Get over it and keep the damn thing on. They really need to go read a Spider-Man comic and see how many times he takes his mask off. It is rarely, if any. This begs to question why they felt the need to do it here.

Change. I give this film credit for being a little more faithful to the source material, but the things that were changed seemed as if they were changed just because they can do it. For example, Peter is supposed to be bitten by a radioactive spider. This is a big thing that changes his life, and yet, they don’t really say anything about it, but rather go back to shoving Gwen Stacy down our throats. Second, when he first gets his powers, he wrestles under the name Spider-Man. They don’t do that here, but while he is tracking down Uncle Ben’s killer, he falls through the roof into some abandoned wrestling ring. WTF?!?

Potter. With this whole missing parents angle they were using, they kept alluding, at least early on, to the way he resembles his father. I was half expecting someone to say he had his mother’s eyes! Peter Parker is not Harry Potter! Get a new idea, people!!!

Suit. I was watching the credits at the end and saw that this suit was designed by Cirque du Soleil. Ok, no problem with that. Personally, I think there is a bit too much blue on it and it looks more like latex. The thing to remember is that Spider-Man’s costume is made by a high school kid who sewed it together, not a quilt that his adopted Earth mom turned into a uniform! Still, I’m glad it doesn’t have that weird cage webbing that Tobey Maguire’s Spidey suit had. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the sunglasses that we sewn in there. It makes him look more alien than anything else.

Pacing. This film has 3 stages of pacing. The first is the ungodly slow beginning that just seems to drag on. I actually was more interested in seeing how many people were in the theater texting than the first half of this film. Then we get the meat of the flick, where it picks up and you realize that this is a summer action flick. Finally, we get the last act, which seems to be nothing more than some random scenes sloppily thrown together to make and ending, and not a good one. At least the post-credits scene adds some intrigue and mystery, as well as sets up a sequel (trilogy).

The Amazing Spider-Man is anything but that. I had a hard time getting excited to see this from the minute it was announced, but the past couple of years, films I’ve been not excited about have gone on to be the best of the year. I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case this year, though. I won’t say you shouldn’t see this film, because it is a good picture, but it pales in comparison to the pinnacle of Spider-Man films, Spider-Man 2, and doesn’t live up to all the hype they’ve thrown at us. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you go in this with low expectations, that you’ll enjoy it, but the minute you start thinking this is going to be the greatest film of all time, disappointment will set in big time. For those of you superhero flick fans, fear not, we all know that The Avengers was awesome and The Dark Knight Rises is just around the corner, ready to wash any bad taste out of your mouth.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Nanny McPhee Returns

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On a farm in Britain during World War II, Isabel Green is driven to her wits’ end by her hectic life. Between trying to keep the family farm up and running and her job in the village shop, aided by the elderly and partly blind Mrs. Docherty, she also has three dutiful, yet boisterous children to look after, Norman, Megsie and Vincent. All of this she has to do while her husband is away at war. So when her children’s two haughty and spoiled cousins, Cyril and Celia Gray are sent to live on their farm, another war is being fought between the two sets of children, she is in need of a little magic. She hears a mysterious voice telling her that she needs Nanny McPhee and, to her astonishment, Nanny McPhee appears on her doorstep one stormy night.

Nanny McPhee arrives to take matters into her own hands. At first, the children do not listen and carry on fighting, but she calmly bangs her stick, causing them to start hurting themselves, and Vincent to break things with his cricket bat. Eventually, they apologize, and the two groups learn to tolerate each other. Nanny McPhee then teaches them another lesson and punishes them, to share, by forcing the older boys to share their bed with a goat, the girls with the family cow, and Vincent with a baby elephant, making them realize sharing with one another wasn’t so bad and start acting kinder to one another. For instance, Megsie gives Celia some of her best clothing when the ones she brought are ruined, which had made her resort to wearing their mother’s wedding dress. Meanwhile, Isabel’s Uncle Phil has gambled away the farm and is being chased down by two hit women. He desperately attempts to make Isabel sell her half of the farm, using an array of schemes. These include digging a hole so that the family piglets can escape, but by working together, the children manage to round them up in time.

To celebrate catching the piglets, Mrs. Green takes all the children on a picnic, during which Mr. Docherty, warns them all about bombs and how he imagines a pilot might accidentally release his bomb in the remote area in which the family lives. At the end of the picnic Uncle Phil delivers a telegram saying that Rory Green has been “killed in action” in the war. Isabel believes the telegram, along with everybody else. But Norman does not, and says that he has a feeling “in his bones” that his father is not dead. He tells this to Cyril, who at first says it is just because he is upset, but then agrees to help Norman determine the truth. They realise that Cyril’s father, Lord Gray, a high-ranking figure in the War Office can find out for himself what has happened to Rory. So they manage to get Nanny McPhee to take them to London on her motorcycle. (For Pink Floyd fans: Note the Pig shaped barrage baloon above Battersea Power Station in the panoramic view as they arrive in London)

Upon arrival in London, Nanny McPhee uses her status in the army to get the boys access to the War Office, where they meet Lord Grey. At first he scoffs at Norman when he tells him about his disbelief of his father’s death, but after Cyril angrily informs his father that he knows that his parents are getting a divorce, he gives in and goes to check on Rory’s status. While he is gone, Cyril tells Norman that he and Celia have been sent away because their parents will be splitting up, and not because of the bombs, and he is unsure where he and Celia will have to live. Norman tells Cyril that he and Celia are welcome to live on the farm with the Greens, to his delight. Lord Grey returns and informs them that Rory is not listed as killed in action, as the telegram had stated, but rather missing in action, and that there is no record of a telegram ever having been sent to Isabel.

The boys then leave and Norman works out that the telegram brought to his mother by Uncle Phil was in fact a fraud to get Isabel to sell the farm. While the boys are at the War Office, Megsie, Celia and Vincent are trying to stop Isabel from signing the papers and selling the farm. When their own efforts fail, Megsie calls to Nanny McPhee for help, who hears her plea and summons a baby Elephant to stall for time. Just as Isabel is about to sign the papers, an enemy plane flies overhead. The pilot sneezes twice, and on the third sneeze, a huge bomb is dropped, but does not explode and is sticking out of the barley field. When Nanny McPhee returns with Norman and Cyril, thanks to the Nanny’s magic, the children go out to watch Mr. Docherty dismantle the bomb, but he falls from the ladder and faints, and Megsie takes over. She succeeds with the help of the other children and Nanny McPhee’s putty eating bird, Mr. Edelweiss. Nanny McPhee then helps to harvest the barley and saves Phil from the hit women, with a little magic, and she and Mrs. Docherty watch the family celebrate.

During their conversation, Mrs. Docherty says to Mr. Docherty that Nanny McPhee hates goodbyes and that she remembers from when she was young. She then takes out a rattle, revealing that she is baby Aggie from the first film. As Nanny McPhee walks away from the now happy family, true to her statement “When you need me, but do not want me, I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go”, the children and Isabel chase after her, determined to prove they still need her. However, they discover that they in fact do not, as they round a bend to see that their father is descending from the hill, passing Nanny McPhee along the way. Rory Green (Ewan McGregor), in army uniform and with an injured arm, runs to the arms of his children and wife and rejoices in the discovery that after leaving three children to go to war, he has returned to find five. As Nanny McPhee watches the reunion, now a beautiful woman, she forgives Mr. Edelweiss and allows him to perch on her shoulder as they leave into the distance

REVIEW:

Last month, I had a double nanny month, in that I reviewed both Mary Poppins and the original Nanny McPhee. Now, I figure it is time to do the fairly recent release, Nanny McPhee Returns. For those of you in love with nannies, you might also want to check out The Nanny Diaries, as well.

This film picks up quite some time after the original. As a matter of fact, other than the revelation of one of the characters at film’s end, the original is not even mentioned.

This time around Nanny McPhee comes to the aid of a family during WWII as their father is away at war, and their rich, spoiled cousins have come to live with them. Now, here is what has me scratching my head as to her need.

In the first film, the children were quite unruly, yet in this one, except for typical adolescent hijinks and the spoiled nature of the cousins, these kids are quite pleasant. This sort of makes Nanny McPhee useless, save for the overworked mother, played by a rapidly aging Maggie Gyllenhaal. Seriously, as much as I love her, doesn’t she seem to look older and older everytime we see her?

Anyway, as with the last film, this hideous old woman shows up after some cryptic messages saying “The person you want is Nanny McPhee”. The same rules from the first film apply as well, though the methods she uses to teach those lessons are different.

This is where I started to really be sold on this film. In so many other sequels, it seems as if they are nothing but a carbon copy of their predecessors, but this one did something not many do and that is they made a totally new story complete with a set of new challenges and adventures. That being said, there are some similarities, such as farm animals, evil relative, money problems, one of the kids crying out for help from Nanny McPhee, but these don’t feel recycled, and actually fit into this new version.

Color played a big part of the previous film, as every scene seemed like it was straight out of some 60s TV show, what with all the different colors. This one is a little better. The colors are still there, but they seem to be toned down. I’m still not sure what I think about that, but I figured it should be mentioned.

Of course with a film like this, there has to be a villanous plot. This one involves the “evil” uncle who own half the farm (the other half is owned by his brother who is away at war). Somehow, though, he has managed to lose the farm to an unseen crime boss and now he must pay up. This is why he spends the film concocting various nefarious plots. The worst of which was delivering a forged telegram saying that the father had been killed in the war.

Rhys Ifans really does a good job with the slime ball aspect of this character, and for some reason he seemed to be a bit more sweaty than one should be. Perhaps that may be due to the fact that he’s not used to being as heavy as he appears to be here.

Emma Thompson hasn’t lost a step as Nanny McPhee, but she does seem to be a bit more personable in this film. For some reason, though, she doesn’t seem to be hiding her magic, or at least she doesn’t deny it. In the last film, it wasn’t really an issue,but this time around, it was like everyone knew about it. Just an observation, not a criticism.

There was also some weird scenes with the crow, Mr. Edelweiss (who plays a major role near the end of the film). She seems almost pleasant when she’s talking to him, though. I’m not going to say I didn’t like it, but it was just out of character for her.

Only one word can really describe this film…magical. Nanny McPhee returns and is quite possible even better than the original. Everything one would expect from a film like this is here and with no random off-color jokes. This is just a great family film that all can watch and enjoy, so give it a shot, why don’t you?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Severus Snape arriving at the estate of Lucius Malfoy to deliver his intelligence about when Harry Potter will be moved from Privet Drive. The Death Eaters are gathered at a table, with Voldemort at the head. They argue about tactics, and Voldemort feeds a Hogwarts professor to Nagini.

After the title card, the camera reveals Hermione Granger in her room. After packing her things, she casts an “obliviate” spell on her parents to make them forget her. At Privet Drive, Harry’s foster family packs up their things and leave the house because it has become unsafe. The Order of the Phoenix arrive, and Mad-Eye Moody unveils the plan to move Harry. The team splits into groups of twos, with one member of each pair drinking Polyjuice Potion in order to look like Harry. As the decoys fly off, Harry leaves in Hagrid’s sidecar, just as he arrived at Privet Drive 17 years ago. The Death Eaters immediately attack, resulting in a mid-air battle in which Harry’s owl is killed. Voldemort attacks Harry with Lucius’ wand, but Harry shatters it. The Order rendezvous at The Burrow, the home of the Weasleys. They realize that Mundungus Fletcher is the traitor in their group, and that Mad-Eye did not survive.

During the night, Harry tries to slink off during the night, unwilling to risk anyone else’s life on his behalf. Ron stops him and explains that the Order’s work is about more than just him. The next day, Rufus Scrimgeour executes Dumbledore’s will, bequeathing a deluminator to Ron, a copy of The Tales of Beelde the Bard to Hermione, and the Snitch that Harry caught in his first Quidditch match. He also bequeaths to Harry the sword of Gryffindor, but Scrimgeour says it is not Dumbledore’s to give and also the sword is missing. Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour are married in a tent at The Burrow. Harry learns of Dumbledore’s dark past at Godric’s Hollow during the reception and meets Luna Lovegood’s father, Xenophilius, who is wearing a pendant with a mysterious symbol. The reception is attacked by Death Eaters. Harry, Ron and Hermione apparate to London, and they are attacked again in a coffee shop. They take refuge at 12, Grimmauld Place where they find Kreacher, who reluctantly helps them deduce that the locket of Salazar Slytherin, which is a horcrux, is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge.

The trio infiltrate the Ministry of Magic using Polyjuice Potion. Harry stupefies Dolores and Hermione snatches the locket from around her neck. During their escape, Ron is grievously wounded. Since Ron is too ill to apparate, the trio have to move on foot during the day. Unfortunately, Dumbledore never told Harry how to destroy a Horcrux, and all their attempts to destroy the locket fail. They take turns wearing the locket, as it makes its wearer brood on negative thoughts. As they walk through the countryside, Ron listens to the radio for the names of missing wizards, hoping not to hear the names of his family. He grows suspicious of Harry and Hermione, especially as they conference with each other. Eventually, Hermione realizes that the sword of Gryffindor will destroy the horcrux since it has been dipped in basilisk blood. Feeling useless and unwanted, Ron decides to leave. Frightened even more by his departure, Harry and Hermione listen to Ron’s radio and do a silly dance to “O Children” by Nick Cave in an effort to relieve the unbearable tension.

Harry convinces Hermione to travel to Godric’s Hollow, where they find the grave of his parents. They are followed by Bathilda Bagshot who takes them to her home. As Harry peppers her with questions, Hermione explores the house. When Bathilda finally speaks, she does so in parseltongue, just as Hermione discovers the body of the real Bathilda. The pair fight with Nagini, whose Polyjuice Potion has worn off, and barely escape. During the fight, Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand.

As he keeps watch one night, Harry follows a patronus in the shape of a deer onto a frozen pond. The patronus disappears under the ice, revealing the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of the pond. While trying to retrieve it, Harry is almost drowned by Slytherin’s locket, which takes on a life of its own, nearly strangling him. He is saved by Ron, who has returned. Harry insists that Ron destroy the locket with the sword. After Harry opens the locket, Voldemort’s voice taunts Ron about his insecurity. He creates an illusion of Harry and Hermione having sex, and a terrified Ron manages to smash the locket with the sword.

Together again, the trio decide to investigate the pendant that Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing, because the symbol keeps appearing in books Hermione is reading. At his home, Xenophilius tells them the story of the Deathly Hallows, and reveals that the elder wand will make its bearer the most powerful wizard in the world. As they try to leave, Xenophilius blocks their exit, explaining that the Death Eaters have kidnapped Luna and Harry is his only ransom. The Death Eaters descend on the house, and during the attack, the trio apparates to a forrest.

They are immediately set upon by a group of snatchers, who eventually catch them. During the chase, Hermione disfigures Harry to protect his identity. They all lie about who they really are, and the snatchers take them to Lucius’ estate, suspecting that they might actually have captured Harry Potter. At Malfoy Manor, Bellatrix imprisons Harry and Ron in the cellar, where she has also imprisoned Luna, the wandmaker Ollivander, and the goblin Griphook; meanwhile, Bellatrix tortures Hermione to try to find out how they acquired the Sword of Gryffindor, which she had believed to be safe in her bank vault.

Dobby apparates into the dungeon, and Harry formulates an escape plan. As they rescue Hermione from Bellatrix, Dobby is killed. The trio bury him on the top of a sand dune. The film closes with Voldemort opening Dumbledore’s tomb and removing the elder wand from the dead wizard’s grasp.

REVIEW:

 Continuing, or rather, concluding the Harry Potter franchise is a challenge, which is probably why the filmmakers decided to split the final book into two parts (combined with making more money). However, after watching this film this afternoon, I’m not so sure that was a good idea.

Before you all start jumping down my throat for that statement, let me explain. This is not a bad film. It is beautifully shot and very faithful, from what I recall, to the book. However, there was no real climax at the end. It just ended.

Now, there are films that are split that end on a down notes, The Empire Strikes Back, comes to mind, but the plot just doesn’t allow itself to be split into two parts this way. The whole time I was watching this film, I was hoping that something would happen to really catch my attention. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The special effects here are on par with the rest of the franchise, which isn’t bad, but seeing as how this is part of the finale, I was kind of wishing they would up the ante. Maybe in part II, they will.

As I said, the plot is about a close as you can get to the source material. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you are more than aware of how much I detest those that stray too far from said material, so this was a breath of fresh air.

This is a dark film. Some of you out there are going to love this kind of thing. Personally, I prefer lighter faire, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Having said that, the darkness that each film has garnered is reflective of the books, so I won’t jump on them for making this flick so dark, however, I can still say that I miss the, for lak of a better term, magic and whimsy from the first couple of films.

Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are the focal point of this film. Occasionally we see Voldemort and a couple of other characters, but the trio is the entire film (as they pretty much have been the entire franchise). It is obvious the actors have grown, not only in terms of aging, but as actors and the chemistry between them is amazing.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is just itching for a final showdown with Harry. It’s coming…just hang in there.

Helena Bonham Carter returns as the psychotic Bellatrix Lestrange, as proven with her torture of Hermoine near the film’s end.

This entry into the franchise contains more action than all the other’s combined. While I love my action, I just sort of felt like some of this was just stuck in there for the hell of it. Of course, when I was reading the book, I said that it felt like it was written with the intent of being a movie, so I guess this is the result.

I have to mention this random animated scene that explains what the deathly hallows are. While Hermoine is telling the tale, we get an animated sequence to her words. Not to take anything away from it, but the animation was show pointed that the characters reminded me of the Primes from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It didn’t work for me. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but this was just so random and they didn’t bother to put oddly animated sequences in the previous films, so why start now?

Final verdict on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I? Well, it is a pretty good film. I’m sure many will go so far as to call it great and put it on their best of and favorite lists of the year. Chances are it may make one of those lists of my own, but to be honest with you, I didn’t love it. It just felt like something was missing. It plods along and you sort of feel like they’re pushing towards something. If that something is the epic confrontation that will happen in the second film, that’s fine, but there should have been something more in this one. If you can get past leaving the theater unfulfilled, then I highly recommend this, otherwise, I suggest wait until the summer, rent it before part II comes out and watch it then.

4 out of 5 stars