Six Hundred Horsepower…And Leaf Springs…Are You Mad? – Love The Beast

9 03 2016

Love The Beast (Eric Bana - 2009)

I love cars. Cars are one of my big interests in my life along with other interests such as Writing, Films, Godzilla, Board Games, Cooking, Music, TV, Video Games, Technology, Trains, Dinosaurs, and Buildings. OK, so I do have a lot of other interests too that include but are not limited to the things I have just mentioned. But, I genuinely like cars. Yes, it’s been tough since the loss of Top Gear, but as a car fan I have still managed to keep up my love for the things. I may not be able to drive (yet), but I always have a keen eye out for cars when I see them out on the street (and wish I had my camera with me). I even have my fantasy car collection that includes cars produced by companies such as Lamborghini, Pagani and Jaguar (cars which I hope to drive one day providing I can get somewhere with my writing career). So with a love of Cars and Movie’s, you may think that I must love it when the two come together? Well Cars and Video Games yes, Cars and Movies though is something I have not tried until I saw Love The Beast.

LTB2

Released in 2009 and Directed by Eric Bana; Love The Beast is a documentary-film (or docu-film if you prefer) about the love affair Hollywood star Eric Bana has for his first car; a Ford XB Falcon Hardtop, which he’s named ‘The Beast’. My own personal knowledge of this film ends before I saw it. I first heard about it on an episode of Top Gear where Eric Bana was the Star in the Reasonably Priced Car. After that I did not really look into it. But then, after I started working in Barnardo’s; I found a copy of it on the shelves. After a few months passed, I finally got it out of curiosity and thought I would give it a go; which I did.

Eric Bana

Love the Beast begins with Eric Bana talking about his youth, and especially about watching Australian Motor Racing. He remembers seeing something taking place at the Bathurst motor race involving a couple of Ford Falcon’s. From that moment on he was in love with that kind of car. So much so that when he was about 15, he persuaded his Dad to buy one for him. Over the next several years, Bana and his friends work long periods to bring the car back to its original glory. Eventually, Bana and his friends enter the Falcon into the Targa Tasmania: a motor race that funnily enough happened to take place in Tasmania. Hoping to enter every year from his first appearance in 1996, fate gets the better of Bana and he becomes an international Hollywood star.

LTB1

11 Years after his first Targa, Bana decides to enter his Falcon into the 2007 race, after rebuilding his Falcon yet again. He enters with some childhood friends, one of them being his navigator. At first they struggle with the newly built vehicle, but soon they manage to pick up the pace. Things eventually lead to tragedy however, as on the 4th race of the 5 day event, they crash into a tree. Though a little shaken up, Bana has to leave the race and get back to his day job, by attending a New York movie premier and appearing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Upon returning to Australia, he gets to have a proper look at his badly damaged vehicle. From then on it becomes a question as where to go with it next, eventually ending with him covering it up in a sheet in his garage. The film then ends with the suggestion that he will one day return to it and fix it again.

Love the Beast is a film I find hard to really review, this could be though do it being a Documentary film rather than a fictional piece of work, a genre I have only done one other film review before. I suppose, a great place to start would be to talk about what it is. Love The Beast is a film about cars, a documentary about cars specifically. It is a film about a man’s desire to enter a car he loves into a motor race. Now if this was an ordinary man no-one had ever heard of before, it would be a different story. In this instance however it is actor Eric Bana whose movie output includes the film’s Troy and Hulk. In this case it is quite different, as it becomes a film not where he is playing a character, but more one where he is talking about his social and personal life. From the outset, the film talks about his growing up and what part of his young life the car meant to him. The film then goes in the various directions a documentary would go to cover all of its bases. It goes into talking about the Targa Tasmania, the Falcon and its appearance in the original Mad Max; it then goes into talking about Bana’s father’s love affair with his own Ford Thunderbolt. Then in the background of the film, there is a host of interviews of Car Enthusiasts and celebrities including Jeremy Clarkson, Jay Leno and Dr. Phil McGraw. It then talks about the Targa in more detail and includes the style of cars used in the race series and the difference between new super cars, and old muscle classics. It is a film that is definitely about cars and man’s love affair with them. Not in the form of them as tools driven by people who consider them nothing more as tins on wheels, but as symbols that mean something to people growing up and how they become a metaphorical camp fire for people now grown up and how they still need these symbols in order to be themselves.

Mad Max (Village Roadshow Pictures - 1979)

That is what the film is trying to present, well aims to achieve, because on the whole it has a lot of issues. Love The Beast has narration off-screen frequently throughout, but from the start this comes with a level of near boredom. Bana himself I felt is not all that good a narrator, or at least not yet. As he spoke from the beginning away from the camera, it was like he was reading from a pre-prepared script written by someone else. It was not like he was telling a story, nor like he was informing the audience about his past experience. When he is in front of the camera, being in the scene and talking normally/casually with everyone else, his soul and passion for what he loves comes out to the full, but as a voice over it is not really all that believable and can be pretty boring. Bana presents himself as a more straight-up kind of guy; but the way he narrates this neither suggests nor promotes his love and interest for his car.

Ford XB Falcon Hardtop 2

When I first started to watch this film I was constantly near blacking out, like there was not much going on. I like cars, love them in fact. Before lasts years consequences ended it for good; Top Gear was my Favourite show. My Favourite car for many years now has been the Pagani Zonda F. I like cars, but this, a film about cars, is something I am finding hard to like in the least bit. It’s a real case of the Marmite belief. Marmite, some kind of ingredient/spread that you can do edible stuff with has always had the moniker of either you love it or hate it. Well, Love The Beast is something like that, and I myself am not too sure on where I personally stand with it. As a film, it’s more of an informative piece. Something you would watch on an afternoon if there was nothing good on tele, not on a Friday or Saturday evening.

But then, when you reach the 40/50 minutes in marker everything changes. It goes from a half attempted documentary on entering a racing series to an understanding of what this car means to Bana. It’s a different yet interesting point of view of a well-known person in the public light. Instead of gossiping on every element of his personal life with subjects like food, weight, clothes, relationships and all the other garbage gossip; Love The Beast becomes a deep and moving insight into a true passion of his, his car. Up till now it has been a basic documentary with nothing much really to focus on. No theme for the documentary to follow or look into specifically, but then as it finally begins to gain pace, we discover that for Bana, the car is less a tin on wheels tool/contraption for the masses; but an icon of his youth and an important part of his history. It provides him with personal drive (pun not intended). This passion ultimately leads however to tragedy, as while everything was going well at first; in a heartbeat it ends in a collision which brings the star to a halt as fast as the crash itself. At first I thought this sounded like it was planned, but to this though comes the films real story and eventual meaning.

LTB3

The film, the events, the interviews; it’s not about Bana learning about the car or its place in automotive history, nor is it about a man entering a race in the hope of achieving sporting glory. You realise that all along from the beginning, that what it’s all really been about is this titan of Hollywood coming to terms with the crash and the damage sustained to his beloved Ford XB Falcon Hardtop. Something that is more of a childhood friend severely injured/disfigured rather than it simply being a gash to a tin with wheels on it. From the moment he sees it in proper in a garage, it changes him, and he goes and talks to the celebrities to talk to them and ask them for some form of guidance or hoping that they may shed light on what has happened and why it has happened. For Bana, it’s less a documentary or film, it’s actually therapy. This is the moment where the film goes from its original aim to a personal struggle. This is true reality and one that is felt deeply. Love The Beast’s true meaning therefore is one of how much symbols and icon’s mean to us personally in our lives from a young age and how these things can hurt when they take a hit…..no matter how old we are.

Ford XB Falcon Hardtop

Ok, I can see I may have gone off track (pun not intended again) with this film as a whole, but in effect, that’s what this film is about, one man’s passion for his car and what it means to him. Now that is not to say the film did not have its issues, but from these issues comes a film (in a similar style to the BMW M5 review on Top Gear) that provides something different. I like documentary films. I really do, and while this one did struggle to begin with from this mediocre/weak start; it became a really passionate story. Add to this the inclusion of top car personalities like Clarkson in particular, and you get this really interesting creation. Yes, there are better things to watch on a Friday and Saturday night slumped in front of the TV, but if you love cars as much as me, and carry a passion for the true monsters of automotive design and engineering; then you will want to see this film.

GENEPOOL





When Is The Hulk Getting A New Film?

18 06 2014

Hulk

After the success of the Avengers movie back in 2012 and with a sequel coming out next year which I am only very partially excited about for several reasons, many of the films cast and characters have been getting more and more movie parts with the recent conclusion to the Iron Man series, the brilliant sequel to Thor in Thor: The Dark World as well as the recent Captain America and the Snowmobile Driver. Since then of course further films have been announced into what could quite well be the most unbearable film series on the planet since Harry Potter with the announcement of films including the up and coming Guardians of the Galaxy, the quite idiotic sounding Ant-Man, a third Captain America film and other potential film ideas including a third Thor film (at last, some good news), something involving Doctor Strangelove…..sorry…..Strange no love, The Runaways, Iron Fist (who?), Nick Fury, Black Panther, a stand alone project for Black Widow (who has not been the same since after Iron Man 2), Inhumans and Ms. Marvel. While it has also been announced that a new Blade film is in production (which has been way too overdue seeing as none of these current Marvel films wouldn’t even be happening if it wasn’t for the Success of Blade), I really do hope that it shares no connections with the Avengers film series as Blade is not like that and he is not exactly the kind of person to team up with other super heroes, and if he were to join up with the Avengers, the character would be ruined, just like Doctor Who is right now.

The Avengers (Marvel Studios - 2012)

Now while all this is (supposedly) good, isn’t it strange that the real star of the 2012 Avengers film has yet to have a film announced, and by that I mean a standalone film, however none of the films since the release of the 2012 Avengers film have been actually standalone films and have had to include at least one reference to the 2012 Avengers film, which by and large has sort of lowered the tone of expectations from all of them and have started to make me wonder if there is any point to these films at all except for the studio to make money out of them. But yes, the real star of the 2012 Avengers film or Avengers Assemble as it was called in the UK for some unexplored reason, seriously though why was it? Anyway the real star of Avengers Assemble has yet to have any sort of potential but unlikely standalone at all film to be announced and as yet there is no real reason except for maybe some connections with a couple of films released 11 years ago and 6 years ago respectively. Yes as given by the title of this post and referencing both those films I am talking about The Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk (Marvel Studios - 2008)

While the last Hulk film entitled The Incredible Hulk and staring Edward Norton in the lead role along with Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt does actually contain one of the very early references to The Avengers, it’s still not exactly had a sequel yet, even though in relative terms it was a sort of sequel and a reboot to the previous Hulk with Eric Bana (probably chosen because Bana is pronounced the same way as Banner in Bruce Banner) along with Jennifer Connelly (who I thought was definitely better in the role as Betty than Liv Tyler, although Tyler was a good choice if it was the case that Connelly was not available) Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott which in all fairness means that it has about an equal number of films as the others. But when you think about how good a performance Mark Ruffalo gave as Bruce Banner and The Hulk and the possibility that the Avengers wouldn’t have been as good without him in it, why hasn’t there been at least the possibility of a development of a Hulk film. It has been stated that negotiations are underway for such a film to be made, but that does not mean in any way shape or form that one is going to happen at all and if any character in Avengers Assemble should get one, it’s the Hulk. If you look at Avengers Assemble UK, the character shows so much detailed emotion in both living with himself and persecution and bullying (particularly from Black Widow) that his character connects more with the audience compared to a billionaire playboy, a mythical entity, an athletic spy, a non-Olympic gold medallist and a frozen selfish full of himself soldier. So if Marvel are looking for a touch more drama in future films, I would gladly suggest a new Hulk film as the character is just that, along with being green, tall and angry. Even though it was sort of annoying that his catchphrase was used by someone else in UK Assemble.

Ok, while it is true that Hawkeye has not had one yet, given that Jeremy Renner has become a big action star, the production of such a film possibly cannot get underway until he is actually available to do such a film, but also with the brilliant series Arrow on at the moment, a Hawkeye film could be seen as just as either a relation to those who don’t know the differences between Marvel and DC or as just a copycat production. The character possibly could be used in a supposed Black Widow, which could be possibly set in Budapest?

Hawkeye

While Hulk is set to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, or Avengers: Age of Ultron Assemble as it will probably be called in the UK, it’s still not the same as a proper film, but it does mean that along with two other characters (Thor and Iron Man) that the film is worth being excited about along with the arrival of two other characters who are technically X-Men characters with relation to Magneto (hmm, interesting?) with one of them (Scarlet Witch) being played by the terrific Elizabeth Olsen and the other having already appeared (Quicksilver) in X-Men Days of Future Past but this time being played by another Godzilla cast member and Super Hero veteran Aaron Taylor-Johnson means that the film does have some credit already but given what the cast apart from the terrific Cobie Smulders in the previous film means that I am still only very partially excited about it bar the previously mentioned cast and characters. But who knows, maybe this one might just work out and also we have more Avengers spinoffs to look forward too including Iron Fist (whoever he is?) and a potentially ruined Blade film; things to look forward too, although with the recent Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there could be a second series of Blade: The Series,which would be nice, provided it is associated with that series and has the cast used in that series.

GENEPOOL (This has gone from a post about a new hulk film to other up and coming Avengers films, primarily Blade and some guy called Iron Fist).








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