Wednesday, 10 December 2008

WatchLookViewSee - Big Screen Version Vol 2

Here is stuff what has been gathered by my sensory receptor cells before being transmitted to the primary visual and auditory cortexes in order to assign meaning to the visual and auditory stimuli received. In other words, Nick like films. Films good.

The Incredible Hulk - In a nutshell: This time round, Hulk really does smash. There has been many a superhero adaptation over the last ten years and the superhero train seems to show no sign of slowing down. Following the successful re-imagining of the Batman franchise, Marvel have (very wisely) decided to do the same for this sequel/remake of 2003's Hulk. Of all the recent superhero flick's, the original 2003 Hulk film has to be the most disappointing. Arthouse director Ang Lee took a comic book about a big green angry guy in purple pants who smashes stuff a lot and set out to make a serious, arthouse, Greek tragedy of a film. Now I think certain comics definitely fit the mean and moody approach (Batman, I'm talking about you here) but Hulk? Really? Big green guy, smashing, purple pants? No. Of course, it didn't help that the odd ludicrously comic book moment was thrown in, too - the Hulk poodle; utterly, utterly ridiculous (I feel silly just typing the words). So along comes this re-imagining with a whole new cast. It's a far more enjoyable film, pitched much more along the right lines, with plenty of Hulk turning green and angry and smashing stuff up, as well as some nice nods to the TV series as well as the comics. However, the drawback to now having the Hulk appear so much is that it feels very cartoony - the CGI is never quite convincing enough. Also, Edward Norton, usually a reliable actor, seems somewhat lacklustre in the lead role which is odd considering he had so much involvement in the project, even going so far as to work on the script. So, an improvement then and good fun overall but, if I'm going to recommend a recent Marvel comic book film, it's still going to be Iron Man (notice I said Marvel - The Dark Knight's still the best comic book film in many a year in my humble opinion).

Tropic Thunder - In a nutshell: Some funny moments and performances but not as great as the sum of its parts. I like Ben Stiller's stuff on the whole but there's always a feeling that he could do better, that he could be funnier, and Tropic Thunder is no exception. It's an odd film, taking the mickey out of your traditional Hollywood blockbuster efforts while at the same time, managing to become a traditional Hollywood blockbuster effort by the end. Robert Downey Jr's performance as an Aussie method actor who takes his roles too far is the best thing about the film - that and the opening spoof adverts that set up the actors in the film. And Tom Cruise's role is initially funny before descending into Tom Cruise thinking he's far funnier than he actually is*

Speed Racer - In a nutshell: A garish, confusing mess of a film. So why did I really enjoy it? This is a strange one. It's a live-action version of a cartoon which we didn't really have in this country so we have no real frame of reference for it. It's very much feels like it's a kid's film but it's too adult in places for kids and yet far too childish for adults. It's a near non-stop barrage of CGI sets, props and editing, all in bright primary colours which make your eyes water. It really should be one of the worst films ever made. And yet, somehow, against the odds, I found myself curiously drawn in by it. Maybe it's the surprising number of English character actors who litter the film ("Oh, look, it's him. That bloke from that thing. You know, the one with the woman. Yeah, that.") Maybe it's the fact that it shifts back and forth and doesn't give you too much time to think about the fact that a lot of it doesn't seem to make any sense ("Wait, they don't have a car for the big race at the end? What happened to the one he was driving at the end of the last race? It looked fine to me. Did I blink and miss something?") Maybe it's just the fact that I fancy Christina Ricci with her black bob haircut.Whatever the reasons, I found myself enjoying this despite the fact that it's a bit like being repeatedly poked in the eye by brightly coloured sweets. Give it a go.. but you have been warned: it's not a film for everyone (quite Marmite-y, I think).

And that's the weather for today. Back to you in the studio, Fiona...

* Yeah, OK, so I just don't really like short-arsed mentallist Tom Cruise. Is that really a surprise?

No comments: