Thursday, August 13, 2009

Raiders of the Last Ark

Indiana: It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.

As someone born near 1990, I don't think I can fully appreciate how great this movie is and what a big cultural phenomenon it was at the time. I suppose our best equivalent are the Pirates of the Carribbean movies- also highly entertaining as well. (or maybe not?) A few scenes in Raiders were actually quite reminiscent of a few scenes from the first Pirates. Eg. Marion in the tombs w/ the skeletons scene and vaguely, the scene in which Belloq asks her to put on the dress and she steals a knife).

It's very entertaining and very fun- an ideal summer blockbluster/popcorn flick. I like the low-techness of the action scenes. Although it took a bit of getting used to (the giant boulder is just not as big as I imagined it would be), the lack of CG, especially bad fake looking CG from the past, is a lot of fun and perhaps a reason why the Indiana Jones Stunt Show at MGM is still such a great show.

And on route to hopefully becoming a scientist one day, I wish that there was some form of entertainment whether it be a TV show or a movie that really glorifies and makes doing research endlessly exciting and sexy- like Indiana Jones did for archaelogy (never mind the inaccuracies of the depiction).

The Untouchables

Capone: Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork... Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don't field... what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I'm goin' out there for myself. But... I get nowhere unless the team wins.
I have to admit that I was actually kind of disappointed with The Untouchable b/c while it's all right, has some good moments, it could have really been great w/ its story content had the tone of the film been more set and more focused. Had it gone the serious route, it would have been fantastic b/c there were a few scenes that were genuinely quite shocking- to the level of the Joker does a magic trick in The Dark Knight. Eg. the beginning where the little girl notices that one of the men whose left has left behind a suitcase, Capone after his baseball monologue, the end of the train station confrontation, interrogating the first book keeper.

I also had a lot of problems w/ the score of the movie. While Ernnio Morricone has written some very gorgeous scores, I don't think his score fit very well with the movie. It's too epic at times when something more subtle and less romantic was needed. Also Sean Connery's character, Malone- how he's introduced and how he comes to become Ness's right hand man is somewhat too contrived and too convenient. While I know it's necessary to forward the story and perhaps it's what happened in reality, I wish that the movie had maybe approached it in a different manner since we don't know very much about him or his backgrounds or motivations. The Canadian liquor standoff, while entertaining, especially the accountant, it almost turned into a Western and had the movie really found footing w/ a tone (it's too serious to be a mildly comic/fun crime movie and not nearly serious enough for a gritty crime movie), it could have been so much more b/c the Touchable scene really was quite poignant.

The French Connection

I'm okay with movies switching POV for character development, but am not a big fan of movies that use POV switches just for plot forwarding. The French Connection is slightly guilty of that when they protray what's going on w/ the mob and drug sellers, b/c the drug sellers never really become anything more, for the most part, than one dimensional antagonists. The grittiness of the movie, however, really more than makes up for that. It has some really fabulous chase scenes, that are rightly famous, and very well done. I'm not sure that I'm too satisfied with the ending though, but it's a decent movie that's worth watching.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the book)

An analogy: The Lion King: Disney Movies:: Goblet of Fire: Harry Potter books

The Goblet of Fire- I've gotten how *good* it was. It's got all the elements that make you love Harry Potter: plenty of magic (the dragon!), candy for the fans (the Quidditch cup), humor (Divination homework), adventure, and most of all, friendship. And while it has hints of more terrible things to come, darker things to come- Harry's isolation, people becoming skeptical of him- it's the last "happy" Harry Potter book. The last few chapters, after the Quidditch cup, are some of the most fabulous, the most touching in the whole series. It really got to me this time at the end when Molly hugs Harry and tells him it's not his fault and him giving the twins all the gold.

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