Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Lion King II (Disney)

Ah! The sequel to the Disney hit, "The Lion King", completed 4 years after the first. Here, the circle of life continues.

Simba (Matthew Broderick) and Nala have a daughter, Kiara, who runs off into the Outlands (the dry and hard kingdom where Scar's pride has been exiled to). There she meets and befriends Kovu, another mischievous young cub. But he is the son of Zira, leader of the Outsiders and mate of Scar (though Kovu is not Scar's son), and chosen one to walk in Scar's paw prints to become King. The arrival of both Simba and Zira tears their new-found friendship apart as the parents take their foals away. But Zira comes up with a plan. She raises Kovu and trains him to become the ultimate key to Simba's undoing - use his friendship with Kiara to get to Simba. Kovu grows up with this blackness in his soul, led to believe that Simba did them wrong for the death of Scar.
After the first step of the plan succeeds, Simba reluctantly takes Kovu into the pride - a debt to be repaid as Kovu had saved Kiara's life. But needless to say, Kovu and Kiara fall in love and he experiences things which he had never felt before while in the 'care' of the Outsiders. Finally, Kovu decides that he does not want to be part of the plot any longer. However, after Simba is ambushed and merely escapes, he blames Kovu and passes him to exile. But Kiara slips away to reunite with her loved one. While they are gone, the Outsiders, led by Zira, cross into the Pridelands and they meet the Pridelanders, led by Simba, in a war for the kingdom. But Kiara and Kovu come in time to stop this war and unite the two prides as one, and help Simba see that Kovu is one of them after all.

Hmm... well, this movie is obviously not as good as the first. Then again, Disney's sequels are rarely (or never) are. But I would classify this as one of the best sequels yet. Have you seen sequels like "Hunchback of Notre Dame 2" or "Mulan 2"? If you haven't, don't. They are terrible and simply off-topic. They ruin the beauty of their well-done originals. But then again, "The Lion King" is an original story by Disney, thus I think they have the right to make a sequel however they think fit. And it turned out to be really not bad at all. Not as good as the first, but truly quite good.
As usual, the songs are absolutely wonderful! Hans Zimmer, I love you! He composed the opening song 'He Lives In You'. But my favorite song in the whole movie is 'One Of Us', when all the gathered animals sing about Kovu's exile.
Most of the original voice actors have returned, but sadly, Rowan Atkinson did not do the voice for Zazu. But no matter, this sequel is good. Perhaps try and catch "The Lion King 3"! Laugh out loud hilarious, though does somewhat disgrace and destroy the majesty of the original.
My rating: 3.5/5*

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Lion King (Disney)

The (in my opinion) only original story by Disney which made its way to becoming one of Disney's bigger successes. But it does not only appeal to the kids, but it wonders teenagers and adults just as much. In case you have not watched it, this is the story:

The setting is the vast plains of wild Africa. Here, the mighty lion king, Mufasa (James Earl-Jones), rules the Pridelands - his kingdom or "everything the light touches". He lives with his pride and his queen, Sarabi, in a great and majestic rock called Pride Rock. He has a new son, Simba, who will be the future king. This is much to his evil brother, Scar's (Jeremy Irons), disdain, as he wants to be king. He consorts with the hyenas, old enemies of the lions, to set up a plot to make himself king. The plan works perfectly and Scar succeeds in the murder of Mufasa. He manages to make young Simba believe that it was he who caused his father's death, and tells him to "run away and never return". Scar orders three hyenas to kill him, but Simba escapes, and the hyenas never spoke of their failure to remove this cub to anyone. Thus, Scar's cruel reign over the Pridelands begins.
On his own, Simba meets an unlikely pair - Timon and Pumbaa - a meerkat and a warthog. Living with them, Simba picks up their 'Hakuna Matata' way of life, taking one day at a time without a care in the world. And with them, he grows up into a fine adult lion (Matthew Broderick). On one occasion, Pumbaa falls prey to a hungry lioness and Simba comes to his rescue, only to discover that this lioness is his cub-hood best friend, Nala. They fall in love, much to Timon and Pumbaa's dismay. But soon they seperate after a small argument - Simba secretly still holds himself responsible for Mufasa's death and does not wish to return, while Nala insists that he does. But after the vision of Mufasa's spirit, telling Simba to "remember who you are", Simba returns to reclaim his rightful place as King. Nala, Timon and Pumbaa even catch up.
After returning, Simba finally realizes that Mufasa's death is not his fault and that Scar is the true murderer. With the help of his friends and pride, Simba defeats Scar and his army of hyenas, finally reclaiming his father's kingdom and rises as the new and rightful king, making it official with a majestic stand at the top of Pride Rock and realeasing two powerful roars.
The movie ends with Rafiki, the good mandrill-shaman, raising up Simba's new cub for the kingdom to see. And thus, a new generation begins...

An astounding movie, I never knew Disney was capable of making such an original story. They make wonderful and unrivalled adaptations, but this movie is a great original tale. Well, the affairs in this movie are all human-type, kings and murder and rivalry etc. But, well, no one would be very interested in seeing humans engaged in these affairs in some medieval castle in England or Scotland or something. So they made these characters animals, and what animal better to play a mighty king than a lion?
I find some parts a little bit hurried though. Like, in the case of the reunion of Simba and Nala, first they are talking joyfully and friendly, next they are walking off into the sunset and the love song plays, then they are in love, 2 minutes later they are at each other's throats. But it is not something to really notice, Disney planned the story out very well.
Also stars Rowan Atkinson, Jim Cummings and Whoopi Goldberg.

The music is wonderful! But, it is no surprise, it being composed by Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Prince of Egypt) and all. And one of the most loved songs comes from this movie: 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight', more famously performed by Sir Elton John, music also by him. 5 memorable songs have been composed for this movie, and one new one for the extended version.
The animation and the backgrounds of wild Africa are simply breathtaking. And I simply love the way they design and animate the animals! I love how the lions are done, Mufasa especially. Now that is one handsome beast, seriously. I find that he somewhat outshines Simba, who is very well done by the way. They gave him an absolutely lovely mane!
In the special edition, although the extension is really not as good as in "Beauty and the Beast", it is acceptable and fits in rather well with the movie (though it is not very significant). If you love animation, you cannot miss this!
My rating: 4/5*

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Ladder 49 (Touchstone)

Ladder 49 is a really very good movie, I am so glad I listened to my father and watched it when I at first wanted to leave the house for lunch right away. Although the story, acting and effects are awesome, I really must commend the music. I never knew a modern-day movie, especially one about fire-fighting, could posses such haunting music - beautiful, moving, inspiring.

The story sequence jumps from present to past and back to the present, then to the past again. But don't worry, it's not confusing one bit. You see, the movie begins with a huge building on fire. The flames are huge and the situation is very dangerous. The fire-fighters of Ladder 49 are sent into the burning building to the 12th floor to rescue some people. The lead character is Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix), who separates from his group to save a civilian. He manages to save the man, but the floor beneath him collapses, causing him to fall and busts him up.
Right then the movie jumps to when he first starts out as a rookie fire-fighter, new to Ladder 49, how he meets the captain, Mike Kennedy (John Travolta) and the rest of the friendly crew. Then to his first fire-fight which he comes out of successfully.
Then we are sent to the present again, where Jack struggles to communicate with Mike over the walkie-talkie, and his friends fight to find him and get him out.
Then it's back to the past. Now Jack has made a best friend at the station, Dennis Gauquin, and thanks to him, meets Linda (Jacinda Barrett). Needless to say, they fall in love and he introduces her to his pals at the station. Immediately, she makes a good impression.
Then it's back to the present where the situation gets much more dangerous and Jack's friends struggle to find him.
Then back to the past when Jack marries Linda, saves more people, puts out more fires, has a baby on the way! Everyone is overjoyed to hear the news. But things are dampened when Dennis is killed in a fire and Linda gets scared that Jack might die one day, especially now that they are having a family. But he still continues his job and takes over Dennis' place - the front line.
Present - the race continues.
Back again, now Jack celebrates his second kid's 5th birthday. He's got a son and a daughter now. And just when Linda is starting to calm down over Jack's job, he comes home with both hands bandaged from burns, and with news of his friend, Tommy Drake, who had his entire face burnt off by hot steam.
The whole movies travels back and forth, back and forth, but the main situation is Jack being trapped inside the burning building with his friends trying to reach him.
*Warning: Major spoiler* Jack manages to reach the place which Mike has directed him to. There, his friends would find him and get him out. However, there is a huge wall of flames between him and the door. Putting his friends before himself as always, he tells Mike to call them back. Sadly, the rescue was a failure and Jack dies in the flames. But he is given a hero's funeral, reminding everyone that fire-fighters do give their lives for strangers, that courage is how they do it. *End of spoiler*

I love this movie, one of the best modern-day action flicks out there. As you can see, it surrounds the life of fire-fighter Jack Morrison and his life in the job and his brotherly bond with the men of Ladder 49. You will love the humor as well! My favorite quote in the movie is when Jack is latched onto a frantic and panic-stricken man while hanging from a rope, and he yells, "Calm down! Sir, you need to calm down! I swear to God I'll drop you!" And their 'traditional welcome' to all rookies. Hilarity! They show the bond which stations, or families, of fire-fighters have and their bravery and courage in the line of duty.
My rating: 4/5*

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Mummy

If I had to describe this movie in one simple word, it would have to be: 'Fun'! It is not epic, it is not just alright, it can only be described as fun! IMDB categorizes it under horror, but I find that it can also be categorized under comedy! There are quite a few freaky/creepy moments and sudden surprises which can make one jump in shock. But there are many parts which will just make you laugh out loud! For example, 4 guys had only one two-seater airplane and they had to all go together. So while the pilot and the hero take the seats, the other two are strapped to the wings. And then there's the significance of screaming. The screaming in this movie does not only represent fear or shock, but also competition. Like at the beginning, when the mummy roars at Rick, he screams right back at him. And towards the end, Rick screams long and loud fiercely at the 4 mummies before him. And together they roar even louder and fiercer back at him, and he goes, "Uh-uh (as in, 'no, I don't think I wanna take these guys.')" and then takes off. Anyway, here is a story:

In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh’s high priest, Imhotep, falls in love with his mistress, Princess Anck Su Namun. They murder the pharaoh in his chambers and Anck Su Namun then kills herself. Imhotep then steals her body and attempts to resurrect her, but the ritual is interrupted by the pharaoh’s bodyguards who condemn Imhotep to the HomDai, the worst of all ancient curses, that if he should rise again, he would bring with him the 10 plagues of Egypt. He is sealed with a key inside his sarcophagus and buried in Hamutaptra, city of the dead where the descendants of the bodyguards stand guard to make sure he does not rise.
3000 years later, British siblings Evelyn & Jonathan Carnahan, find that very key. They then seek out the American adventurer, Rick O'Connell to lead them to Hamutaptra, since he has been there before. With a competition group of wild Americans, they race to Hamunaptra. There, they meet Ardeth Bey, leader of the bodyguards. His attempts to make them leave fail and after reading from an ancient book, Imhotep walks again. Although it has been 3000 years, his love for Anck Su Namun has not died and he aims to resurrect her still. His chosen sacrifice - Evelyn (whom he mistakes for Anck Su Namun at first). Then it is a race against time for Rick, Jonathan and Ardeth to save Evelyn and return Imhotep to his grave and save the world. They battle huge sandstorms, slaves of Imhotep, plagues and more mummies and then race to get out of the city before it crumbles.

My analysis on the story:
In life, Imhotep betrayed the pharaoh who trusted him so. He seduced his mistress and murdered him. He then tried to resurrect her. Then he is cursed and goes on a killing spree as the curse states, thus is labeled the evil villain in this story. But from what I see, I would not call Imhotep 'evil'. He was a naughty man in life, doing the things he did. He should not have murdered the pharaoh, but trying to resurrect her and all, he did in the name of love. After all, they say love can make one do things they never thought they would do. And him coming back from the dead, killing people and endangering the world, I do not really blame him. It's the curse. In order for him to resurrect Anck Su Namun, he had to regenerate by sucking the living dry. So I doubt he had a choice, driven by love, thus not thinking one bit. You really have got to admire this guy, this kind of lover is hard to find. After 3000 years, his love is still so strong, he goes to great lengths and stops at nothing to bring his girl back and even risks his life for it. How many guys would do that, I ask you?
But I really really really feel so sorry for him after watching the sequel. He sacrifices so much for her, loves her so much and gives his soul for her. And how does she repay him? Runs for her life when he calls for her to help him while Evelyn risks her own life to save Rick, who is in the same situation as Imhotep at that moment. Only then does he realize the kind of 'love' they share. His eyes become soaked and... I'll let you watch for yourself.
I would say, although if I were Rick or Evelyn or civilian, I would definitely want Imhotep killed and sent back to the underworld. But as a viewer, as the audience, I really find that Imhotep is the victim here.

A very thrilling and entertaining movie. You should definitely not miss it. Prepare to get shocked, prepare to get creeped out, prepare to laugh! A good movie, very mysterious, very nice. Tall, handsome, heroic, professional yet humorous, Brendan Fraser is perfect for the role of Rick. Sweet, beautiful, stubborn, smart, brave, Rachel Weisz portrayed an excellent Evelyn with a touch of her own humor to the character. This movie is, I say again, just so fun!
My rating: 4/5*

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

It has been three days since I watched the Disney On Ice: Princess Classics. I have repeatedly watched the clips I recorded of the performance, especially the “Beauty and the Beast” sequence, where the Beast transforms into the handsome Prince. The pitch blackness to the tensed music along with small sparkling lights in the background, then the burst of fire and the enchanted boom and all the lights come on at once, and the cloak of the Beast is lifted to reveal a man! Very grand moment! I even watched it in slow-mo, how the guy got out of that cloak.
And thanks to Gina from 4/4, I now know how he changes so quickly. When Gaston stabs the Beast, a lot of smoke is produced and the lights around the doorway are switched off, then the actor as Gaston pushes the guy in the Beast costume into the door who quickly, switches with the actor in the Prince costume who comes out under an identical purple cloak that is on the Beast costume. He is hidden in the smoke and the darkness gives him better cover. Plus, attention is pulled away by Gaston as he climbs to the top of the ‘castle’ and falls to his death. Then everything goes dark, the tragic drama, then the description I stated from the pitch blackness, the music, the lights, the fire, the boom, and there we have the prince! Thank you for your keen observation, Gina! I did not catch that since I was video taping and there was a lot of smoke. But I was thinking it.

Well, that exquisite performance had refreshed my love for “Beauty and the Beast”. And after three days, the urge was too overwhelming to ignore, thus tonight, I watched “Beauty and the Beast” after about three months! Ooh, what a great movie. Well, I just realized that some parts do not make sense. But it is a really really really damn good movie! In case you do not know what the movie is about, here is the story:

A spoiled and selfish young prince(Robby Benson) is turned into a monstrous Beast as punishment and is given a magic mirror which shows anything and an enchanted rose. He has to learn to love and be loved in return before the last petal falls on his 21st birthday, then the spell would be broken, or he would have to remain a beast forever. Belle(Paige O'Hara) is a beautiful girl who lives in a small village which she calls a provincial town. She loves reading and longs for adventure and wants more than what her simple village has to offer. She is constantly pursued by Gaston(Richard White), a handsome, strong, conceited man who is the most wanted man in the town. And he will stop at nothing to have the most beautiful girl in town as his bride. Belle’s father, Maurice, is an old inventor who intends to reap the success of his latest invention at the fair. On his way, he gets lost deep in the woods and comes upon the Beast’s castle. He enters and is welcomed by the servants – humans who had been turned into knick-knacks (e.g. clocks, furniture, candlesticks). But he is imprisoned by the Beast, who takes him for a trespasser. Belle sets out to find her father and trades herself for her father – Maurice is released and Belle has to stay with the Beast forever. At first, she hates him and shuns him, be being brutish, rude and unkind. But eventually, she becomes very fond of him as he learns to be kind and gentle, winning her affections. But when it is discovered that Maurice is severely ill and possibly dying, the Beast sacrifices his chance to become human and sets Belle free, giving her his magic mirror to remember him always. “I let her go. I had to. Because, I love her.” Belle returns to her father, but Gaston has a plan – he claims Maurice is crazy (since he went about town asking for help, that Belle has been captured by a beast and all) and has him thrown into an asylum and will have him released only if Belle chooses to marry him. Belle refuses and reveals to the gathered mob the Beast in the magic mirror. Gaston realizes that Belle might have feelings for the Beast and thus plays on the people’s fear for this creature and declares that the Beast must be killed. They storm the castle and Gaston attacks the broken and dejected Beast on the roofs. But Belle races back to the castle and when the Beast sees her, he fights back, seeing that there is still a ray of hope. Finally, Gaston inflicts a fatal wound on the Beast just before he loses his grip and falls to his death. Belle manages to pull the Beast back onto the balcony where they exchange comforting words before he dies. She weeps and whispers, “I love you” just before the last petal falls (one big and lucky coincidence). Dead or alive, the Beast had learned to love and won the love of another before the last petal fell. Thus the spell breathed life back into him and turned him back into a man – a handsome Prince at that! The spell was lifted off all the servants who turned back into humans as well. Belle married the Prince and lived happily ever after. Her own fantasies have come true and the happy endings in the books she reads come true in her life.

You know what? I noticed that “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Phantom of the Opera” have a lot in common! The following are proofs:
- Story: The point that an ugly guy falls in love with a pretty girl
- Homes: Both the Beast’s and the Phantom’s realms are dark and gloomy
- Love: They both fall in love with beautiful girls (Emmy Rossum was pretty, but hardly beautiful. I’m referring to Sarah Brightman! Belle, however, is undeniably beautiful.)
- Significant objects: Shattered mirrors, roses, chandeliers! (Plus, in a “Lilo & Stitch” trailer, when Belle and the Beast were dancing, the chandelier did crash! Just like the Phantom’s.)
- Age: Both Belle and Christine are 16 (Belle being 16 is an assumption, since the other princesses like Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid are 16 too.)
- Culture: Both are French
- History: Both go more than a century back

Am I not observant? And I am sure I might be able to find some more. Well, I doubt I have anything more to say. Only that you should go watch “Beauty and the Beast”. I hope they do make a live-action version of this movie. Change the cast if they see fit, (sadly, Paige O’Hara (Belle) cannot play Belle in the live-action one since she is not really a beauty. I suggest Diane Kruger, but dye her hair brown for the role, please.) but keep Robby Benson to provide the voice for the Beast (assuming that the Beast will be animated). Have a young guy to play the prince, but have Robby Benson be the Beast! No one can provide such a deep and coarse and fearsome voice which can be gentle and kind and sympathetic at the same time!

My rating: 4.5/5*

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hamlet

This morning, I watched "Hamlet", starring Mel Gibson. Now you might know that I detest Mel Gibson, mainly because I hate "Passion of the Christ" and I find him totally unattractive. But I do not know why, I am puzzled, but I totally got me in "Hamlet". He's bearded and he has a nice haircut and he looks awesome in that movie! And does he look quite sexy in his medieval-Denmark costume. And the best thing about him - his voice. Oh I love that voice!!! "Hamlet" is a classic play written by Shakespeare and is one of his many plays to be made into a movie.

The movie is about the prince of Denmark, Hamlet(Mel Gibson), whose discovers that his father's death is caused by his uncle (who now takes the crown and has married his mother), and his mother herself, Queen Gertrude(Glenn Close). At first, Hamlet buys the story, about his father dying of a serpent bite while he slept in the garden. But when his father's ghost appears to him, he tells him of his "murder most foul". Thus Hamlet vows to have his revenge. He acts mad before people. (Which is quite tickling actually. Like how he threw a paper ball at the priest's head and tipped the ladder when the priest was on it etc.) Well, he lays in wait for the perfect time. A few events occur and the final scene is a duel between Hamlet and Laertes(Nathaniel Parker). Laertes blames Hamlet for the death of his sister, Ophelia, whom Hamlet loves and had gone mad in his absence and drowned in the brook. So he dips the tip of his sword in a deadly venom, and when Hamlet is not looking, slashes his arm, thus injecting the poison. Laertes is then stabbed by Hamlet with his own venomed sword. Laertes then tells Hamlet about the poison, the king's schemes and asks for forgiveness for killing Hamlet, before dying. Hamlet forgives him. In that same scene, Hamlet's mother dies of poisoning. Hamlet is pissed off and finally runs his sword through the king, before addressing his best friend, Horatio, and himself dying.
It is a drama, all talk and no real fighting. The duel between Hamlet and Laertes is not exactly a fight, it's more like fencing kind of fight, where there's a 'referee' and rules. This movie will be loved by drama-lovers and the acting is awesome! I have never seen Mel Gibson in a better performance!
My rating: 3.5/10*

Les Misérables (Play)

Now, I do not know much (or you could say anything) about Les Misérables, but I would just like to give a very basic look on the story. For any fans of the play, if you spot a mistake, please do not hesitate to post a comment. :)

Les Misérables was originally a novel written by Victor Hugo, more famously known for writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was then made into a play (not by Andrew Lloyd Webber though) and into a movie. The movie was not very successful as it was adapted to some extent, but I am sure it was fine and I look forward to watching it. I only know the very basics of the story, so bear with me.
Les Misérables stars prisoner 24601, a man named Jean Valjean. He is thrown into prison after breaking into a house to steal a loaf of bread for his starving sister, niece and self. After 19 years of slavery, he is put on parole. 5 years for what he did, the rest because he tried to run. But now he's out and looks for a place to stay and work, but no one will welcome him because he is a criminal. But a kind bishop welcomes him into his house, gives him the largest share of food and lets him spend the night. But upon leaving, Jean steals the bishop's silverware. The bishop discovers this but does not report him, instead he gives him his silver candlesticks. Moved by this, Jean wishes to turn over a new leaf. He escapes the law, but his old prison guard, Javert, will not rest until he finds Jean and locks him up again. 10 years later, Javert arrives in a small town. In the factory, an accident happens - an old man has been trapped underneath a heavy runaway cart and is caught in a deadly situation and no one dares go near to help in fear for their own life. However, le mayor, the owner of this business goes to help, despite the warnings for him to stay away, and saves the old man. Javert sees all this and is shocked at le mayor's selflessness, and that he can only recall one man who would do something like that - prisoner 24601. "How can you be sure that I am not your man?" le mayor asks. Javert tells him that Valjean has been found. Unmistakably, Javert has had Valjean arrested and is to be put on trial that very day and sent to a lifetime of slavery. Later that day, le mayor surprisingly appears at the trial, and to everyone's shock, declares, "Who am I? Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean! And so, Javert, you see, it's true. This man (the accused) bears no more guilt than you! Who am I? 2-4-6-0-1!"
The events after that are rather vague to me. These are what I know:
An employee of Valjean's, Fantine, had given birth in wedlock. Now she is in the hospital for lung cancer. After his confession at the trial, Valjean comes to the hospital where he accompanies Fantine until she dies. Before that, she gives her young daughter, Cosset, to his safekeeping. After she dies, Javert comes and demands Valjean follow him back to the prison. But in a struggle, Valjean escapes - he had promised to take care of Cosset and so he will. Then, all I know is that there is a group of revolutionaries, one in particular named Marius who falls in love with Cosset and Valjean is pulled into the revolutionaries etc. Finally, Javert lets Valjan go and takes his own life by jumping into the river, then Valjean dies of old age and meet Fantine again. At Marius and Cosset's wedding, the ghosts of Valjean, Fantine and Eponine(another co-lead character) and the revolutionaries who died all come to visit the married couple and the play ends with an inspirational song, the theme song of Les Misérables - 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' Oh, I hope I get to see the play!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Odyssey

Today, the new show I watched was "The Odyssey", a made-for-TV movie. It was nice, 3 hours, very interesting. It is based on another famous poem written by Homer, the writer of 'The Iliad' which tells of Troy.

The movie follows the hero, Odysseus(Armand Assante), the wise king of Ithaca in Greece. His wife, Queen Penelope(Greta Scacchi) has just given birth to a son, Telemachus. But Odysseus cannot enjoy the birth of his son because Kings Agamemnon and Menelaos of Mycenae and Sparta have come to Ithaca to summon him to fight at Troy. Odysseus goes and spends 10 years not seeing his home and family fighting the war. After he comes up with the Trojan Horse which leads to the fall of Troy, he unknowingly angers the God of the Seas, Poseidon, who keeps him from returning home, sending him towards untold dangers. While Odysseus and his men struggle to return home, Penelope is forced to hole off unscrupulous suitors trying to claim her and his property thinking that Odysseus is dead. They even plan on removing the fast-growing Telemachus.
Meanwhile, Odysseus is bent on seeing home again. He runs into many misadventures, battles deadly creatures(Cyclops, Scylla, Charybdis), meets a few gods(Aeolus, Circe, Calypso), even runs into a few Olympians(Athena, Poseidon, Hermes)! He travels to unknown places, one of which being the Underworld itself, seeking help wherever he can. It takes him another 10 years to return home. And if you have read 'The Odyssey', you would know that Odysseus is the last hero to make it home, where he slays all the suitors and reclaims his dear wife and throne.

Indeed, an interesting movie, rather fun. But one thing I absolutely despise about it - during the small sequence of the Trojan War, how they disregarded the greatness of the Trojans, and how they completely dismissed the honor of Prince Hector! They made Hector seem like such a stuck-up, cocky, simple-minded asshole who thought too greatly of himself and got so overconfident that he got killed swiftly! He never was like that, much, and he was not that bloody easy to kill! (Love the shiny golden armor he wore though.) And Achilles, that dickless son of a bitch, was turned into a topless deranged kleptomaniac. And when Achilles drags Hector behind his chariot by the coast, he shouts gloriously, "I killed Hector!!!!!" and the music is the cheerful, triumphant and lively type, not sad, mourning and sympathetic like in "TROY". This show made Hector look like the villain and Achilles the fucking hero! Screw Achilles, he'll never have more honor that Hector did. But at least they got a good looking actor to play Hector. Well, throughout the battle, he was wearing his helmet so his face was hidden. I only got two slight glimpses of his face when his helmet fell of when he was killed. :'( But he was handsome, yes, with shoulder-length blonde hair. The rest of the movie was entertaining, however, I would not strongly recommend "The Odyssey", but I do say that you should just watch it and there is an 80% chance that you will like it. I still stand by my belief - Hector is the true mightiest on both sides. Achilles only beat him because he was a demi-god and Hector is just a mortal man. Hector forever! Troy forever! (Okay, I know I might sound as if I don't know anything to you Achilles-lovers, but I assure you I know the details. Simply going "Hector forever! Troy forever!" is the only fastest way I can get my point through.)
My rating: 3.5/5*

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

George and the Dragon

George(James Purefoy) is an English knight who has had enough of battles and wishes to settle down. But he has a final quest to complete - rescue the good king's daughter, Princess Luuna(Piper Perabo), who has disappeared. He is to take her home to marry the unscrupulous Lord Garth(Patrick Swayze) who will thus rule the kingdom. With help from old Elmendorf and young Wryn, they set out on their quest. They find Luuna alone in a cave deep in the woods, and it appears she does not want to be found. It also appears that she is protecting a dragon's egg, ready to hatch any day now. The mother dragon, which watched over Luuna during her time in the dragon's keep, had crawled into the lake 3 days earlier and had not returned. She had died from her wounds and now Luuna wishes to save the very last dragon. She stops George's numerous attempts to destroy the egg (particularly with a club to his head) and finally gets him to agree to help her protect it until it hatches. Finally, Garth captures Luuna to force her to be his bride. George battles him and another fearsome group of villains while the baby dragon emerges out of the shell. And it appears that the mother did not die, but returned for her baby. Well, as we all know, the villain dies, the hero gets the girl and as for the dragon, she disappeared with her baby into the lake, never to emerge again. The dragons keep their secret only to become legends.

A short movie, 85 minutes only, but pretty good and serves well as entertainment. Although the special effects are not at all the best, they are acceptable and the acting is awesome! And the humor! *laughs* This is no epic or a large-scale movie, but a small and simple and good one. Did I mention that James Purefoy looks absolutely delicious in that knight's armor?
My rating: 3/5* (I'd consider 3.5 though)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Shakespeare In Love (Miramax)

A dramatic comedy about the young and poor writer, William Shakespeare(Joseph Fiennes), who falls in love with Viola de Lesseps(Gwyeneth Paltrow), a rich noblewoman. The movie begins with one of my favorite actors, Geoffery Rush (who's always acting the villain but for the first time I see him as the good guy).

Rush is Philip Henslowe, the owner of the theatre - the Rose, and Will is his writer. Unfortunately, Henslowe is running low on cash and the gangster-ish money lender is moving in. The cash in not coming in because lately, the plays have not been good. And the plays have not been good because Will is suffering from a serious case of writers block. His latest play: Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter'. (It's supposed to sound lame. He's got writer's block, remember?) Now, this is a time when women are not allowed on stage, but Viola wishes to become an actor so she disguises herself as Thomas Kent. She comes to an audition and captivates Will who casts her, or, as the case might be, him, as Romeo. Soon enough though, Will discovers this Thomas to be the woman he loves, but she is to marry cold-hearted Lord Wessex(Colin Firth). So this and that happen, some funny, some dramatic, their love-life faces many obstacles, and as this happens, Will writes his play as an adaptation of his own love-life with Viola. Then one day, Ned Alleyn(Ben Affleck), an attention-seeking and proud friend of Will who is cast as Mercutio, suggests a new title for the play: Romeo and Juliet. After Viola's identity is revealed, she returns again to play Juliet after the actor loses his voice. Will plays Romeo and the play ends with a thundering applause. But sadly, Viola sails off to America with her husband, Lord Wessex, leaving Will in London to write more plays. Basically, the movie revolves around the completion of "Romeo and Juliet". But it ends with the beginning of "Twelfth Night", thus he named the heroine after his beloved. And you can guess what happened to her after sailing to America if you have read Twelfth Night...

The movie is awesome! Simply beautifully made. Geoffery Rush is hilarious! Gwyneth Paltrow is stunning as Viola, apart from those uncensored nude scenes she was in with Joseph Fiennes, who was spectacular in the role of Will. The story is very original, never seen anything like it before. Watch it if you can. But know that it is M18.

My rating: 4/5*