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*


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Van. I was bouncing around blogs and landed on yours. I read your reviews and wanted to pass on a couple things.

1) If you liked Hamlet with Gibson, I highly recommend Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh. It follows Shakespeare's text in exact order, cuts out not a single line, and Branagh as Hamlet is some of the most wonderful Shakespearean acting I've seen.

2) Check out Iron Giant. It's a kid's flick with wonderful morals. Don't be put off that it's a cartoon (as I'm sure you won't be, as you mention Beauty and the Beast).

9:15 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks for your feedback! Yes, I do plan on catching that other version of Hamlet. Am simply waiting for the DVD to uh... come in. Well, I am sure I will catch that Hamlet some day.
Oh yea, I have watched Iron Giant. Laugh out loud funny, very nice movie. No, I'm not put off that it's an animation. I love animation. In fact, I find animation to be more impressive than life-action hits. Thanks for 'bouncing on' my blog! And keep watching movies!

9:31 PM  

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