Star Trek (2009)

A generally unbelievable movie experience Star Trek 2009 turned out to be. Kudos to the Scriptwriters for coming up with a terrrific script, and for J.J. Abrams for putting it all together.

‘The Good News’
The first fifteen minutes of the movie involving the birth of James T. Kirk is I think one of the elite highlights of the film, and one which most people will remember. It is sort of wonderful, action-packed, tragic and emotion-filled all at the same time. From those first few minutes alone, you end up thinking, “Yes, this movie have, and is going to continue exceeding all of my expectations”.

‘Kirk’
Chris Pine made for a great young James T. Kirk. He is charismatic, and has that distinct, commanding presence, that confidence despite looking so young, of being a believable Captain of the Enterprise. I think one of the main differences between his version of Kirk and that of Shatner, though, is that Chris tends to be more intense or serious on screen than Shatner ever was.

If you look closely, though, you will see some subtle, but very distinct mannerisms of Shatner’s Kirk being incorporated into the character. One prime example: Chris walking down the stairs of the academy in a quick stepping manner, with his hands bent at the elbows. I had a good laugh at that one. Very “Shatneresque”. I’ve seen Shatner do that in previous films, and seeing Chris do it sort of enhanced the connection between the old and the new Kirk.

Another was Chris’ easygoing manner on the deck during the “Kobayashi Maru” test. Again, a lot like the Shatner of old, when he just sorts of plays around with the command of his ship. These subtle clues sort of left me feeling very good, like seeing something familiar that I enjoyed seeing in the past.
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Wanted

Ah … another of those movies with cool, cool firearms, following in the footsteps of movies like “Blade”, or “Heat”. This time, though, “Wanted” likely will top all of them, as it is a gun-nut movie heaven.

Sure, it is mostly fantasy, but it is fantasy in a very “fun” way. If the phrase “stretching the facts” is to be used to describe a movie, this movie would take the cake.

‘Curving The Bullet’
Take the case of “bullet deflection”, for example. Bullet deflection in the movie meant the ability to curve the path of the bullet so it goes around an object before hitting something.

It sounds fantastic, but there seems to be some basis for that in Physics. It could be possible for a bullet’s path to follow a curved path if the gun is whipped as the bullet was leaving the barrel, allowing momentum to affect the bullet’s path.

The movie stretches that principle, by insisting that by whipping a gun as you fire it, you will also be able to curve the path of the bullet around a target.
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The Incredible Hulk 2008

It definitely is not a “restart” of the Hulk movie franchise, but it’s not a straight-cut sequel either, since the origin, as told thru the opening credits of the film, does deviate from Ang Lee’s “Hulk” a couple of years back.

This movie focuses more on Banner’s search for a cure, his running away from the military who keeps tracking him down, and the love story angle between Banner and Betsy Ross.

Edward Norton is perfect as Dr. Bruce Banner, because not only is he a terrific actor, one of the best of his generation, but is also quite lean and nerdy, the exact opposite of the Hulk, which is what Stan Lee had in mind when he started the character, sort of like a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde variation.

I like Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno’s cameos in the film, they got more screentime than in the last Hulk movie. Lou Ferrigno particularly had a couple of lines in the movie, even got Norton to tell him, “you’re the man!!!”

With an interesting villain, and possibly the birth of another for the sequel, the movie overal is fast-paced, relatively well-written that had me engrossed right from the start, to the very end.
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Rambo 4

Finally got to watch Rambo 4 recently.

‘The Bad News’
The bad news, is that the plot is basically hare-brained and stereotypical. Something about Missionaries, and another motivation for Rambo to go to war that they hadn’t used before, which is a love interest.

The movie also is a lot more graphically violent than the other Rambo films I remember, thanks to the wonders of digital special effects. Limbs flying, heads exploding, decomposing bodies, mutilated bodies, all shown in their gory glory.

‘The Good News’
The good news, is that the action is pretty good. You don’t watch movies like Rambo for the plot anyways. Just some barely decent excuse for gunfight action, and that should be that.

If I were to use a phrase to describe the action, it would be, “The power of the .50 cal”. From the Barrett fifty, to the good ol’ Browning fifty, lots of heavy machine gun and big caliber action, giving John Rambo more firepower to mow down soldier after soldier.
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Spiderman 3 (Movie Review)

Just saw “Spiderman 3”, & my notes about the movie:

* Good thing they finally gave Stan Lee (the creator of “Spiderman”) a speaking line in his cameo in this movie, & he even got to say his favorite line, “‘Nuff said!”. Watch out for it.

* Stan must’ve been very proud, & lucky to have lived to see his creation end up so successful in the movies. It’s a great tribute to have him go on cameo on these movies. Watch out also for Stan Lee’s next cameo: Fantastic Four 2, coming very soon. Continue reading

The Da Vinci Code (Movie Review)

Finally saw the movie at one of the Robinson’s Malls South of Manila. It was showing at 3 of the 6 moviehouses there, which impressed me, considering that the movies showing in other theaters were “M.I. 3”, “Poseidon” & “Over the Hedge”.

As expected, there were a few people in the first screening, but by 2nd screening, the moviehouse was already full. I expect it to have even better attendance in the afternoon & evenings.

‘The Good News’

The movie started out on the wrong foot. The first 3rd of the movie, while true to the book, lacked the essence of excitement of the book. The story looked disjointed, detached, uninspired. So much so, that I was starting to think at that point, what the heck, Ron Howard messed up this one.

However, everything started falling into the right place right about Langdon & Neveu reached Teabing’s castle. Just like that, everything seemed to changed, & got interesting. It’s not just Ian Mckellen’s appearance as Leigh Teabing that jumpstarted the movie. The script, the individual performances, everything just started going well at that point.

Take the case of Audrey Tatou as Sophie Neveu, for example. The book portrayed her as beautiful, intelligent & assertive, a gorgeous take charge woman. While Tatou got the gorgeous part right, the intelligence & assertiveness just wasn’t there in the first 3rd of the movie. It was only when she started absorbing what Teabing was saying that her performance started to shine. This is very evident onscreen.

I liked the flashback sequences, they were well made, & were grafted seamlessly into the flow of the movie.

About 80% of the movie was taken straight out of the book. The remaining 20%, Howard took artistic liberty in terms of changing some scenes, or events in the book. One of these liberties, was to make it what some people called as “safe”. In the movie’s first highpoint, when Teabing started discussing the issue about the Holy Grail, in the book, Langdon pretty much agreed w/ what Teabing had to say.

In the movie, Langdon served a lot of counterpoint to what Teabing was saying, turning some areas of it into a discussion, w/ Neveu acting as referee. Some people called that being “safe”, but I don’t agree. Langdon’s counterpoints served as an update to the book’s more speculative assertions. It served merely as a reminder as to what is FACT, & what is SPECULATION, which is a good thing, because you would not know which is which in the book unless you did some research.

I couldn’t say anything bad about the last 2/3 of the movie. Time flies so fast in those 2/3, you hardly realize 2 hrs. had already passed.

I love the ending of the movie, which was exactly the same as the ending of the book. Some people didn’t like it, but I thought it was a fitting end to the book or movie, & was touched by it, as others did. The ending was personal, & at a spiritual level. I won’t go farther than that.

‘The Bad News’

Much of what I didn’t like about the movie lies on the uninspired & disjointed first 3rd of the movie. There were just a lot of loopholes, like those who have not read the book would not understand the Swiss bank President’s role in the incident.

There were a lot of wasted, exciting scenes, too, in that part of the movie. Like, they weren’t able to capture Sauniere’s desperation when he found out he was the only living person who knew about the secret, & thus had to pass it on somehow. Or, when Langdon & Neveu were spirited away on the Swiss Bank’s armored vehicle by the Vernet (the Swiss Bank’s President).

Which was really quite a shame, because that part of the book was what kept me reading for hours on end because of the suspense, & puzzles.

‘The Final Verdict’

The movie, in it’s own right, is pretty good. Unfortunately, it does not live up the book, simply because the book is just so darn good. If the movie is “Above Average”, the book is at least 2 notches above that, at “Outstanding”.

If you haven’t read the book, the movie is a pretty good start. But I recommend that you read the book afterwards, because it is just so much better.

If you have read the book, you would likely be turned off by the first 3rd of the movie. The movie offers something more, though, on the remaining parts. It offers you visualizations about the characters, places, events, etc. which would’ve never been possible w/ the book only.

Overall, I’m giving this a “5”, a “Must-see”. I’m definitely buying it on DVD, so I can watch it again, & again.