Top 10 Most Exciting Films In 2016

28 01 2016

Film Reel 2016

I don’t know if you saw my Top 7 Films of 2015 post – if you did, thanks for the support, if you didn’t; why not? – but in that post I had a little gripe at the film awards season. It was more of trying to understand why they are held in February, and not January or December, and why was it films released between February and February, and why was it Always films neither me nor the rest of the cinema going audience in general is going to see. But anyway, I had a little gripe at that before going into my Top 7 films. Why 7; well it’s because I was going to do 5 instead of 10 like I did in 2014, but then I saw a film I wanted to mention (Spoiler Alert – something I don’t generally do, but just thought I would include one here); It was Krampus by the way, but then I don’t like the number 6 so I increased it to a number I do like…7. Anyway, had a slight gripe at Movie Awards before presenting my Top 7. It’s sort of like a Movie Award, being my favourite films of the year, and it’s from someone who enjoys telling people what films he’s seen in that particular year. Anyway why am I talking about this now, well, this is also something like a movie award, but not as prestigious, for an entirely different reason.

Joy (20th Century Fox - 2015)

Basically, the year has passed, some good films, others not, and in the time-honoured tradition since 2012, this blog is going to announce what films the blog writer (me), is looking forward to in the coming year. It’s sort of like an award, but not as prestigious as it’s a list of films that look good this coming year, but if the examples of last year are anything to go by, there is no guarantee that the films in this list will feature in the Top 5 (or whatever number I do Next January/December time) of my favourite films of that year, or generally if they are any good or not. Now while all of these films look pretty good (there’s a major issue with number 10…and number 6), there is at least one other film I can think of that I would have liked to have add, but seeing as it was released well before time of writing, I thought I would just briefly mention the Jennifer Lawrence film Joy. The reason for not including it is the same reason why Birdman was omitted last year, because it had already been released. Anyway, Joy Looks good and I thought I would let that one have some promotion. Anyway, enough of all this, let’s look forward to some stuff. So without further ado, here are the Top 10 films I am most looking forward to in the coming year.

Godzilla Resurgence (Toho Co. Ltd. - 2016)

10. Godzilla Resurgence – I know what you must be thinking; “Why is a Godzilla film, let alone a new Japanese Godzilla film only at number 10 in this list?” Good question. Don’t worry, I am still a huge Godzilla fan, but as to why this is so low in the list is simple enough to answer, just rather longer to explain. The simple answer is that I don’t know if I will get to see it or not. The longer explanation is; that when it comes to the release of such films in the UK, let alone anywhere in Europe, The UK and Europe are consistently ignored. Most of my Godzilla collection is American Region 1 Imported DVD’s and one Blu-ray (try to guess which one). The only DVD’s that are not included in that are a BFI release of the 1954 film, King Kong vs Godzilla released in 2006 for the DVD release of the 2005 King Kong…I think, the 1998 film, and the 2014 film. So, as I can get hold of some DVD’s sort of OK, watching the Japanese films themselves on the big screen are close to an impossibility in my home country, so the reason for this being so low is that “Why should I build up my excitement for something that I probably won’t get to see at all this year?” Ok, I do keep up to date with news of it, and like to hear new stuff. Yes there is something of a trailer out for this, plus I have seen the ‘interesting’ poster for the film, so I am not completely against this film (it’s not the new Star Wars). Hopefully I will get to see it sometime, plus apparently overseas markets are being looked into, so there is some, if be it little hope, that I may get to see it after all. So there is some allowance for Excitement (plus it’s also one of two films being released this year with the word Resurgence in the title).

Dad's Army (Universal Pictures - 2016)

9. Dad’s Army – What originally sounded like a bad adaptation of a popular British Sitcom, now looks like a really promising film. I have seen the trailers a few times and it does look rather funny. Set to star Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Gambon, expect laughs galore for what so far looks like a faithful rendition to an old TV favourite.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Nickelodeon Movies - 2016)

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – The sequel to the surprise film of 2014. Ok, it wasn’t much of a surprise, in the end it was alright and Fun, and did get into my Top 10 (just) for 2014. It was a funny film and at least for me was faithful to its original material, particularly the character of Raphael. So far the new film looks like it will improve over the first film, which I felt was rather quick and got bogged down too much in the origins story of the Turtles. The first trailer released a couple of months ago makes a good first impression and already looks like a major improvement. Don’t get me wrong I am looking forward to this film; I just think this film needs to accomplish more than the first and get the series on the proper track. So far it looks like the main cast is returning, along with some new cast members (including WWE wrestler Sheamus) to play old favourites. Who knows, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could turn out to be the big surprise of the year, or not as the case may become.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Dreamworks Animation - 2016)

7. Kung Fu Panda 3 – It’s been nearly five years since the last Kung Fu Panda was released, and the reasoning as to why this has happened is rather sketchy as I thought DreamWorks would have been more pro-active in releasing the next film sooner. Good news however, it is a sequel and in no way a reboot. Original cast are back along with new cast members Bryan Cranston, J.K. Simmons and Kate Hudson in a story that so far sounds like an adaptation of Seven Samurai, which pings my excitement a little more. Kung Fu Panda 3 so far looks like good old Kung Fu Panda fun, and all being well should be good enough to plug up the hole that it has created since the release of its predecessor. The trailer also looks really funny.

Gambit

6. Gambit – The first of three X-Men films to be featured in this list. Gambit is of course a standalone film about my Favourite X-Men character. The film is set to star Léa Seydoux and Channing Tatum, an actor whose career I am not familiar with, but already sounds like a promising choice (as does the casting of Lea Seydoux). Thankfully the film appears to be in no way connected to the events of Origin’s, however as far as my knowledge goes, it appears the film is yet to begin filming, so right now does not sound all that promising for a release this year, and if it does; the relevant quality also. However, given the quality of the X-Men series recently, I am hopeful that when the release date finally arrives, be it this year or not, that it should be worth the wait in the end.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Lionsgate - 2016)

5. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – What began as a film series that was worthy of a chance has grown into a series to be looked at. Divergent was a really fun film; Insurgent meanwhile was a vast improvement over the first with plenty of enjoyable quirks to make it stand out as one of my Favourite films of 2016. Now I am more and more looking forward to the next film in the series, and see where it goes. So far all I know of this film is what I have seen from the trailer, which just looks weird. I don’t get it at all. Ok, maybe the books will highlight some of the more weird bits the trailer is showing, but as I have not read the books, it’s kind of hard. Also, I don’t fully understand the casting of Jeff Daniels in a film like this, he just looks like someone who walked onto the wrong set, well as a far as the trailer goes. I am just worried that the high quality walls that Insurgent built, are just going to be flattened, just as the series is finally making some good headway. No matter, we’ll see what we’ll see. I mean so far it does look interesting and fun, and includes previous cast members in Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoe Kravitz and Naomi Watts (one of the big standouts of Insurgent). So while it is a mad looking trailer, the promises and successes of previous films in the series are good enough for me to put this high on my list.

X-Men: Apocalypse (20th Century Fox - 2016)

4. X-Men: ApocalypseApocalypse is a character I have been fascinated by since I first heard mention of his name in an episode of X-Men Evolution. Since hearing that name I have for many years been researching his character, and waiting for my opportunities to experience him in some manner of speaking. Either be it in the comics, cartoons or films. So upon hearing what the plan for the next X-Men Film was going to be after Days of Future Past, I could not wait. Since after the release of DoFP, I have been checking in and out with the news of X-Men Apocalypse. I have looked into casting, filming, and even saw a rough copy of the trailer that was filmed at Comic-Con. But it’s only recently I got to see the actual trailer. The film is set to star the main cast of the First Class series so far, with returning actors including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and the return of Rose Byrne who was sadly not in DoFP. Also in the spotlight for the next film includes classic comic characters Nightcrawler, Archangel and Psylocke to name a few, with rising actor Oscar Isaac taking the coveted role of the film’s lead villain. Also set for a return is the winning team that started the whole series from the word go, in producer Lauren Shuler Donner and director Bryan Singer (with any luck the X2 theme will return as well). As is the case though with the X-Men film series, the trailer does not show much in what is likely to be happening and appears to be a bit mad on the whole, and so it’s hard to see what the film is going to be about, however as this is the next film in a long line of extremely good films, I am hopeful that come release day, everything is going to be great.

Deadpool (20th Century Fox - 2016)

3. Deadpool – Since the dawn and for nearly every year in the current century, cinema appears to be awash with movies about Comic Book Superheroes. Now while this is all being well, and most of these are usually fun, there seems to be a level of child-friendly-like-ness to all of these films so far, and very little of the blistering action seen in the comics, as said fights could be considered un-child-friendly. Well in 2016 that is all likely to change with the release of Deadpool. Based on the X-Men Character of the same name, this will be one of two ‘planned’ standalone X-Men films due for release this year. This is not Deadpool’s first time on the big screen, but his last appearance did not go down to well, and was one of the low points of an already bad film. Things have appeared to move on however, and so far Deadpool is beginning to stand out as one of the must see films of 2016. Returning to the role, of which he also played in the bad film; is Ryan Reynolds. Looking at the trailer, the film appears to have Deadpool presented in his correct red and black, sword wielding, gun shooting, breaking the fourth wall…ing self that has become so loved by fans of the character everywhere. The trailer looks fantastic and from what I have seen of images here and there, Deadpool may not be the only X-Men Legend in this film, as the film looks like it will also star Colossus. Deadpool looks Fantastic, and it also looks really funny too, if this film lives up to the hype, this should be one of the best films of 2016.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd - 2011)

2. A Monster Calls – About this time last year, I read a book. Ok, I read many books, but I read a book in the space of just a few days, and at the end of which made me cry, becoming the first book I have read to make me do so. Since then I have looked through bits of it every now and then, and have come to like it as one of my 2 Favourite books. The book is written by the 2 time Carnegie Medal winning author Patrick Ness whose other works include The Chaos Walking Trilogy and More Than This. Anyway, why am I talking about this so far yet un-announced book? Well, in 2016, there is due to be a film release of this book, of which the title is, as the book: A Monster Calls. Not much info is readily available about this film other than Juan Antonio Bayona is directing it, Patrick Ness himself is writing the script for it, and that Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson are going to be starring in it. Ok, so there is quite a bit of info on it actually, but not as much as other big films of the year, but given from what I experienced in paperback form this time last year, if that is anything to go by, then A Monster Calls already looks very promising.

Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox - 2016)

1. Independence Day: Resurgence – In 2012, The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas with plans to make some new films. More than likely; 20th Century Fox probably weren’t best pleased by this announcement, especially as it was 20th Century Fox who took the original risk to produce the space film series after practically every other major studio turned down Lucas’s idea. It would be fair to say that 20th Century Fox were probably a bit miffed by this news; if it wasn’t for them having their attention on something else far more promising. You see as far back as 2011, they have had their eyes on the sequel to a film which when released in 1996 cast a shadow over the world’s cinema’s and did so well that all other films to that date were left in its shadow; and now, 20 years later; INDPENDENCE DAY returns. It’s been a long time coming, but the team of director Roland Emmerich, producer Dean Devlin and actors Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return once more to save planet earth from an impending alien invasion. News of this film has been mostly scarce (except for those actively looking for it) but just a few weeks ago, a trailer was finally released, and it looks EPIC (and I don’t use that terminology all that often). Everything I have read to date, plus the number of times I watched the trailer continues to get me excited about the release of this film. This time around it looks like the invasion from 20 years ago was just a Beta test, and things are going to be a whole lot worse for planet Earth. The trailer looks Fantastic, I have not been as excited about a single film trailer since the first teaser for the 2014 Godzilla film in December 2013. I have watched it over and over again since I first saw it, and I simply can’t get enough. It won’t long now until the film gets released, but I am more excited about this film more than any other due to be released this year. I don’t know how it’s going to turnout when it is finally released, but like many other films in this list, it’s one I am going to be keeping a keen eye on in the year to come.

GENEPOOL (2016 will feature a resurgence in the word; resurgence…..possibly).

Advertisements




Batman Begins – A Bite Size Film Review

5 02 2015

Batman Begins (Legendary Pictures - 2005)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (Batman and characters created by Bob Kane).

Cast: Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary OldmanCillian Murphy, with Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson.

Composer: James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer

Cinematography: Wally Pfister

Studio: Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Syncopy Inc.

Best Line: “It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do That Defines Me.”

BB1

After suffering the loss of his parents during his youth; Bruce Wayne dons the cape and mask to become the legendary caped crusader Batman, as he attempts to save Gotham City from the criminal underworld it is built on, as well as those around him. Set in a realistic setting other than a comic book world, Batman Begins is an interesting film as it becomes more of a crime/action film than a Superhero film. The film is beautifully produced. Gotham City looks gives the impression of a dying criminal city with very few things to appreciate in it. The action scenes, particularly the end train chase and mid car chase are spectacularly done and impressive to watch.

BB2

The films cast are a brilliant selection and easily dive into their specified roles and are very believable but also easy to connect with. The emotional devices of Wayne’s love for Rachel, as well as the emotion he feels after his parent’s death and how this changes them can be felt on a high level even if it is more an action film than a drama. The film’s soundtrack is one of its most standout features. A nice mix of emotional pieces and action pieces, particularly the train chase at the end are used to raise tension to great effect. The film’s main theme is the main attraction as it is easily recognisable but also surprisingly catchy. Altogether Batman Begins is an enjoyable film and a definite must see.

GENEPOOL





Before The War – Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

13 03 2013

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (Lucasfilm - 1999)

Every Great Story has a beginning. When the Star Wars saga began in 1977 who would have known at the time that this one film would be the beginning of one of Cinema’s Greatest film series. But every Great Story needs a beginning and 22 years after the original film’s release, a new film series would begin for the Star Wars saga in the form of The Phantom Menace. Now I have always said that when it would come to reviewing the Star Wars film, I would do it in the order that it is meant to be, start with Episode 1 and carry on to 6 (then probably 7, 8 and 9 after those). Similar to how I am planning to review the Harry Potter series but start with The Worst and finish with The Best. I have wanted to write the reviews for these films for a long time, and now it finally begins.

Star Wars (Lucasfilm)

The film opens with the opening crawl that appears at the start of each film and tells that the republic is in decline and the greedy Trade Federation have blockaded the peaceful planet of Naboo in response to the taxation of trade routes. The supreme Chancellor has dispatched two Jedi Knights to resolve the situation. The two Jedi; Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) arrive on one of the battle stations while the Viceroy of the Trade Federation Nute Gunray (Silas Carson) is alerted by a droid that what he thought were ambassadors are in fact Jedi. He contacts someone he calls Lord Sidious who tells him to Invade Naboo and kill the Jedi. The Jedi make their way to the central command room and almost get in but are attacked by Destroyer Droids. The Jedi then board two invasion ships.

SWTPM19

The invasion ships land on the planet’s surface and Qui Gon encounters a strange local creature named Jar Jar Binks (Voice – Ahmed Best) before reuniting with Obi Wan. The two Jedi are taken by Jar Jar to an Amazing Underwater city where the rest of Jar Jar’s kind (named Gungans) live. Jar Jar is captured though as he was banished from there. The Jedi have a meeting with the Head of the Gungans named Boss Nass (Brian Blessed) who states that he does not care about the people of Naboo despite living on the same planet as them. Qui Gon using a Jedi Mind Trick manages to secure transport for him and Obi Wan to get to the people of Naboo; he also frees Jar Jar and takes him with them. The trio journey through the planet core and get attacked several times by Giant Sea creatures. Meanwhile the Droid Army reaches the Naboo Capital and quickly captures the queen.

SWTPM5

The Jedi Arrive in the city and rescue The Queen. They decide to head to Coruscant and take the Queen with them. They rescue some pilots and take a cruiser from the Hangar. They immediately get attacked by the blockade and lose their shields. Several Droids are used to fix the ship but only one survives. With ship now partially fixed they manage to escape the blockade; however they don’t have enough power and need a new engine. The queen orders her handmaiden Padme (Natalie Portman) to clean up the surviving droid named R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). The ship lands on a remote desert planet named Tatooine where Qui Gon, Jar Jar and R2-D2 along with Padme head to a local town named Mos Espa to try and scrounge for parts. Meanwhile Sidious finds out about the cruiser getting past the blockade and dispatches his Apprentice Darth Maul (Ray Park) to find the missing ship.

SWTPM7

Qui Gon and the group search through the town and find a shop selling ship parts. Qui Gon meets with the shop owner Watto (Andy Secombe) to see if he has the parts. Watto has what Qui Gon is looking for but does not accept republic credits and Mind tricks don’t work on him. Padme meanwhile talks to the boy shop keep named Anakin (Jake Lloyd) who is a slave owned by Watto. Qui Gon and the group leave the shop. Jar Jar then gets into trouble with a creature called Sebulba (Lewis MacLeod). Anakin arrives to save Jar Jar from the creature, Qui Gon thanks Anakin. A storm arrives and Anakin offers the group shelter from it. He takes the group to his home where he lives with his mother, Shmi SkyWalker (Pernilla August). He shows Padme and R2-D2 the droid he is building named C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). Back at the ship a message is received from Naboo, in truth it was a trace to find them and Darth Maul heads for Tatooine. Over diner at his home Anakin finds out that Qui Gon is a Jedi. Anakin finds out about the problem that the group currently faces and suggests that Qui Gon enters him into the Pod Race. While his mother is unsure about it she says it’s ok. Anakin works on and test his racer after the storm passes while Qui Gon discovers that Anakin did not have a father. That night Darth Maul arrives on the planet.

SWTPM3

The next day people are getting ready for the race and Qui Gon makes a deal with Watto that if Anakin Wins he will be free. Watto however does not place his bet on Anakin and instead places his bets on Sebulba as he always win. The race opens and the commentator announces the racers while Sebulba sabotages Anakin’s racer. The race is about to begin and Jabba the Hutt makes his entrance to officially start the race. The race begins and Anakin stalls, after a few minutes he gets going. The race is intense and racers crash throughout the race. Eventually it comes down to just Anakin and Sebulba. Anakin manages to get in the lead after Sebulba crashes and comes home to win the race. Everyone celebrates and Qui Gon goes to see Watto who allows him to take the boy and have his ship parts. Anakin finds out about his freedom and after a tearful farewell with his mother, he goes with Qui Gon to learn to be a Jedi. When they reach the outskirts Qui Gon is attacked by Darth Maul. Anakin signals the ship to take off and Qui Gon boards it after a quick fight with Maul.

SWTPM20

The ship arrives at Coruscant where the queen talks to the senator for the Naboo, senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who tells her what will likely happen. Qui Gon and Obi Wan head to the Jedi Council which is led by Yoda (Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L Jackson) where Qui Gon tells them about his mystery Attacker and about the Boy. At the senate the Queen tells of her issue but two senators supposedly on the pay roll of the Trade Federation question her. The Queen calls for a vote of no confidence on the current Chancellor. The Queen talks with Jar Jar and finds out that the Gungans have an Army. Senator Palpatine arrives and tells the Queen that he has been nominated to potentially be the new Chancellor; the Queen decides to return to Naboo. Meanwhile the Jedi Council evaluate the boy and declare that he is too old to be trained. The council tell Obi Wan and Qui Gon to return to Naboo with the Queen. Darth Sidious meanwhile sends Darth Maul to Naboo. When they return to Naboo the Queen sends Jar Jar to contact the Gungans. He returns and says that the city is deserted. Jar Jar takes the Queen to a sacred place for the Gungans. Padme steps forward and announces that she is really the Queen and that the other one is just her Decoy. She forms a friendship between her people and the Gungans. The Queen announces her plan for the Gungan Army to draw out the Trade Federation while she, Captain Panaka (Hugh Quarshie) and her soldiers will go to the palace and capture the Viceroy. Fighters meanwhile will attack the droid control ship and destroy it.

SWTPM4

The Gungan Army marches out and confronts the Droid Army outside the city. Amidala, the Jedi, Panaka and his men attack the palace. The fighters manage to launch and head off to the droid control ship. Before the Queen enters the Palace she and her men are confronted by Darth Maul. The Jedi set to work with him while the Queen and her men enter the palace. Anakin meanwhile accidently enters a fighter and heads off into space. Things start going bad for the Gungan Army and are soon overwhelmed and a retreat is called, however Jar Jar and Captain Tarpals (Steve Speirs) are caught. The Queen is caught and is taken to the Viceroy and Anakin crash lands inside the droid control ship. Meanwhile Qui Gon is killed by Darth Maul during their fight. Back at the palace, Amidala and her men are rescued by her decoy and they manage to capture the viceroy. Anakin manages to disable the Droid Control Ship and Obi Wan eventually kills Darth Maul, he then rushes to Qui Gon and promises to teach Anakin.

SWTPM21

The newly elected Chancellor Palpatine arrives on Naboo along with the Jedi Council. The council gives Obi Wan the title of Jedi Knight and Yoda allows Obi Wan to teach Anakin and Qui Gon is cremated while Mace Windu and Yoda try to figure out if Darth Maul was the Master or the Apprentice. The people of Naboo celebrate and Queen Amidala presents a gift of friendship to Boss Nass.

SWTPM1

Star Wars Episode 1 is such an epic film on every scale that to properly analyse it we need to look at its major points one by one, so let’s start with the films characters. Because the film is the first in a new series and due to the fact that there is some headway to cover until we reach the original saga, there are many characters to introduce. So the first people to introduce should be the first people introduced in the form of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui Gon Jin. Qui Gon is one of the most interesting characters in the series, and is a shame that he only appears in this film. Played brilliantly by Liam Neeson, he plays the character as a wise old master much like Obi Wan in the original saga. He is not the sort of person to shout or yell and is calm for most of the film, does not once raise his voice but is stern/firm when he needs to be. These characteristics are attributed to him greatly and it shows that his Padawan learner in Obi-Wan is a good match for him. Obi-Wan is pretty young at this time and not as wise as he will become, he is loyal to his master yet strong and when he has a specific feeling he will air it even if his master does not agree. It is important for the film to show this bond between the two as well as Obi-wan at a younger because it shows that to become wise takes time and shows that you are not necessarily born with it. As you will see in the second film as Obi-Wan is much wiser as well as more patient than he is represented in this film.

SWTPM6

Next up we have Queen Amidala played by Natalie Portman. For most of the film her character is a mystery and mostly plays the part of a handmaiden. It is not until later when the big shock is announced, and it is a big shock because you had no idea that it was coming. Most of the time the queen part is actually one of Amidala’s Bodyguards, in this film played by Keira Knightley (Yes, you read that correctly, Knightly was hired to play the role because of her striking resemblance to Portman). What makes the shock surprising even more is the amount of time the film spends with the queen in the early stages which makes you believe it is the queen; also the age of which she plays the role too looks more senior than Padme’s part. But when Amidala is truly revealed the film follows her and remains with her. Padme as a whole is more warming as well to the audience than this very firm queen that is at the start of the film. Amidala’s reveal had to happen one way or another due to the amount of time spent with her as a hand maiden, unlike all the others, you notice her.

SWTPM2

Next up is of course Anakin Skywalker. This part is an important one and while he may not be the lead in this film he will eventually play the Biggest part in the series, that of the Main Villain. It is an interesting story to tell because in a way you want to know how this villain came to power. Even more so when you see this film and see how he is a nice young boy and becomes this force of evil. When he first makes an appearance he has this nice side to him as well as this inquisitiveness, he is not shy and instead asks straight questions. It is not until he rescues Jar Jar that Qui Gon knows about him and later becomes interested in him. Anakin shows great knowledge for his youth as well as interest into specific subjects. It is almost like he has Asperger Syndrome but on the opposite side to it he has no difficulty when it comes to social activities. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anakin is used as a subject or has been used as a subject for characters in fiction and the Autistic Spectrum, which would be an interesting study. His special characteristics work well in his favour once he has found proper channelling and direction in the form of Qui Gon; a skill he maintains through the course of the film. While not being the main role of this film in particular, he still plays one of the more interesting parts, when you think about it.

SWTPM22

Now we move onto Jar Jar Binks. When I watched this film a few weeks ago I posted that I did on Facebook and soon after I got a string of people saying that they did not like the film but did not explain why. Later on one person revealed the reason why they did not like the film was down to one character, Jar Jar Binks. Now in some parts I can agree with them, he does seem to be a bit more of a comical relief and to many people who see this film and not delve into it may just see him as an annoyance. However when you take time to look and think about the film, Jar Jar is a very important character and in most ways the most pivotal character in the film. If Jar Jar did not find the Jedi then he would not have taken them to the Underwater City and so the Jedi may have had to have walked to the city instead of going through the planet core. If Jar Jar did not get into trouble on Tatooine with Sebulba, Anakin may not have come to his rescue and so Qui Gon may not have mat Anakin. If Jar Jar did not tell the queen about the Gungan Army then the Queen and the Jedi may have had to take on the entire Droid Army in the city and probably lose because the Gungan army will not have amassed outside the city drawing the droid army out of it, and as such the people of Naboo would not have made friends with the Gungans. It was through the actions of Jar Jar Binks that almost every major part in the storyline occurred and as such he deserves more credit than he receives.

SWTPM23

Now for the rest of the Cast. Captain Tarpals is an interesting character with an amazing voice. He is a rather strong character with a professional attitude. For a character that only makes a few brief appearances, they are definitely worth it, even though it is a surprise that a character of his stature is not promoted to General before Jar Jar Binks. On the topic of Gungans lets move onto the impressive Boss Nass, Leader of the Gungans. Brian Blessed is the perfect choice for the character, while he plays the part differently to that of a King. While Boss Nass may be a leader he seems more like a gangster in style and in the way he talks and acts. Even before the battle scenes he has this gangster like walk and personality. This however does make the character special because if he was played as a king the character probably would not be as interesting.

SWTPM24

As for series regulars, The Phantom Menace has a satisfying and pleasant opening and explanation for the 2 droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. In the original trilogy, the droids were the story tellers, an angle that was originally inspired by the Akira Kurosawa Classic; The Hidden Fortress. This time however, the characters are not at the very beginning and as such are not able to fulfil their role. However, the moment that they both meet each other is also the same moment that the bond between the 2 characters begins and as we can see in the original trilogy, they are still the best of friends. This film also puts an interesting perspective on how the characters came to be, well it does for C-3PO at least showing that he was made by Darth Vader, while R2-D2’s beginning is still a mystery (unless someone has written about it).

SWTPM25

Another series regular that makes a return is the Jedi Master Yoda. This time around he is living in a time of piece and leads the Jedi compared to hiding away on a planet from all the hardships. Yoda is an important character to feature. While older viewers will remember him, younger audiences will be amazed by him. This small character with a big heart, great knowledge and a skilled fighter. While in the Blu-ray release he is a digital character, to me he does not look as good as he did as a puppet.  Alongside Yoda we have a brand new character who is somewhat annoying, Mace Windu. He spends most of the film disagreeing with people and does not give a single smile at all during the film. While a Jedi is a very disciplined warrior, that does not mean they have to be mean. However on the plus side, he is played very well.

SWTPM28

In the background meanwhile there is Captain Panaka, it is sometimes easy to forget that he is there, he does not seem to do much early on except advise the queen. It is not until he is involved on the attack at the palace that he seems to make a proper appearance. For the most part he is just standing around looking strong. When the queen arrives at Coruscant he almost seems to stop talking altogether. Captain Panaka is a strong character but with the lack of appearances for most of the film, it is easy to forget that he is there.

SWTPM18

Nute Gunray is an interesting character. He starts off in the film as a sort of villain but is more of a coward as well as greedy. He is more of an initiator and follows through with his plans but has to rely on other people to do things for him and if backed into a corner he would probably cower in the corner. However, his scenes, particularly when he is talking are always memorable ones to me as his voice is amazing and can show authority and in some way demand respect. On the other hand in the villain stakes there is Darth Sidious. The commander of evil as such for the story, all the way through all six films. In this film though he does seem to have a deeper and more sinister voice than on other occasions. He is of course Senator Palpatine and eventually the Emperor in Return of the Jedi (played by the same actor; Ian McDiarmid). He is great at hiding his identity, as it can be seen when he is Sidious, much like Christian Bale’s Batman in some sense, which to a simple passer-by who has not seen Return of the Jedi would not know any the wiser.

SWTPM29

Next up we have Watto and Sebulba. While these 2 don’t really share any scenes even though they can be both seen in 1, they are interesting characters and helm their spots brilliantly. Watto isn’t a villain as such; he is more of an obstacle, and a pretty big obstacle. He is not evil or bad, he is just a businessman who does not fall for tricks. He can be seen as he is represented but if you were to look at his point of view you may see someone like Qui Gon as the villain under the basis that Qui Gon is trying to trick him. Generally Watto is not a cruel person, just more misunderstood. Sebulba on the other hand, while not evil does seem to be genuinely not nice. However he does make a good rival to Anakin Skywalker particularly when it comes to the racing scene. Both he and Anakin already share a connection as they are able to swap pleasantries and conversation with depth other than just saying hi like two people who may have just seen each other from time to time. Sebulba as a creature is also interesting to me in the point that he walks on his hands which I do quite like and gives him some character, even though it is quite confusing when he is racing and swaps.

SWTPM30

Finally we arrive at one of the films and in some capacity, the series best characters, Darth Maul. For a first film he is a fantastic option to represent a universe of culture. He both looks and is a sinister character. He does not have to grimace to look sinister as a dead pan face can just convey it and make his appearance do the rest of the work. He hardly says anything in the film and when he does (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz), it shows him in a different light. You could have him not talk at all and it would not spoil the film or character in a way but when he does it reveals more. He does not have a deep or sinister voice, he more whispers which brings in questions about who or what he really is. His skills with a lightsaber also make him a dangerous fighter, how many Double Sided lightsabre’s have you seen. The simple fact that it has two ends allowing him to fight two opponents without losing an arm is incredible. Add his martial arts skills into the mix too and you get one impressive warrior.  He is the main villain of this film, you can forget Nute Gunray, the Trade Federation and Darth Sidious, Darth Maul anchors the sinister role. For the main part he is an incredibly mysterious character, even after the film ends, he is still a mystery. To me and several other people it is a shame that he has to die in this film as he could pretty much be the Dart Vader of the original trilogy. The Black and Red face is an excellent piece of design and as iconic to the series as Darth Vader’s Helmet and look. The soundtrack of the film works greatly with his character too, it’s almost like Duel of the Fates; particularly at the beginning of the piece was written for Maul just like Vader’s music was written to be his theme in the original series.

SWTPM10

While the film was released in 1999 (about 14 years ago), the special effects of this film still rival the effects of films that have been released since then. While films like Transformers and Avatar may have beaten that on a visual scale, in terms of technical achievement they are nothing compared to this film. While I always state that the best CGI is Jurassic Park (both visually as well as experience), Star Wars comes close. The CGI Characters are one of the amazing achievements. I remember a documentary about this film back in 1999 stating that Jar Jar Binks is the biggest technical achievement since Jurassic Park. But it is not just Jar Jar, creatures like Watto, Sebulba and Boss Nass, all of them which are completely CGI, the level of detail still makes them look like they are real. When it comes to characters though you cannot beat the real thing. Darth Maul is an amazing achievement in its own right, the horns being placed on the real human character instead of having to be placed on with CGI. Pretty much the same effect style that was used for TV shows like Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However if you compare Yoda from the original release of the film with the Yoda in the Blu-ray edition you will see a difference. The original Yoda was a puppet while in the Blu-ray version he has become a full CGI version of himself in the following two films. While people may say that the CGI version is better (which some will say it is better just because it is CGI with no real reason), to me, you can’t beat a real thing. While the lines are exactly the same as well as voice from the original release, to me it is not the same and I would prefer to watch the Yoda from the original release.

SWTPM11

But to me the best effects in this film are the environments. With a film like this which does rely on one previously used location in Tatooine, the film introduces several new locations previously not seen. Naboo is an interesting planet and culture. It has a sense of being very posh and upper-class and acts as a sort of opposite for the planet of Tatooine. Naboo’s structures even those in the Gungan city are very regal in style and more like old-fashioned, perhaps classical, not new, almost like it was built to be like that. But the best part of Naboo has to be the Gungan Underwater City. Using a pan affect the city is revealed, and it really is a city, it is huge and vast and expands farther than the eye can see. The light effects are amazing to as the city is revealed. Even when you leave the city image and head inside the city you still have this vast image of a culture that lives underwater. A culture that lives almost like any other culture. However the most surprising part of Naboo is the place where the Lightsaber duel takes place, it almost seems to be somewhere else entirely and not in Naboo at all.

SWTPM31

Tatooine has been seen before but this time it is a different angle in the form of Mos Espa other than Mos Eisley from the original trilogy. Mos Espa is more of a city and is very large and has a Pod Racing Track, which probably helps the local economy. However the economy is not rich, the place is very much poverty-stricken and so explains the slavery. Mos Espa is much more vibrant and in some way pleasant to that of Mos Eisley and does show a nice comparison for an already familiar location. The other major location for this film is Coruscant, a planet that is just one Big City. The scenes in this film look very familiar to that of any city skyline and it is not until the next film that a more familiar resemblance is shown. But the skyline look is important as Coruscant needs a hero like character for this film as the constant talk of the place makes it sound fantastic as well as safe. For me the best part of this city is the giant senate room with the flying discs. Why this has not been included in any video games (as far as I know) I don’t know, but it looks incredible as well as look like a lot of fun to both be there as well as pilot one of the pods.

SWTPM32

In terms of other major effects, the Gungan army sequence is brilliant. The whole beginning of the battle with the number of Troops as well as Droid Tanks, even when they are moving down the hill into position is incredible. The effect of all those soldiers easily beats that of any effect Lord of the Pants can achieve (which was after this film) but also is a sort of nod towards a company that LucasFilm founded and later sold, Pixar. The battle in outer space is terrific, particularly the shots involving all the droid ships at the beginning of the scene flying out of the star ships but also the destruction of the star ship which to me is a lot like the destruction of the Death Star, yet another example of the beginning of a new trilogy. A couple of scenes that are short but are of particular mention are the opening shot of the Star ships around the planet which is a great way to open up a film while present a previously unseen part of the universe. The other scene of note is the invasion shot when the ships leave the star ships and head for the planet surface. The sheer number of them along with a great piece of music to go with it makes it one of my favourite scenes in the entire film.

SWTPM33

While other effects such as the Planet core scenes show off wildlife of a planet through great detail, the scene that makes the best effects out of CGI as well as real effects is the Pod Race Scene. The various characters that appear in this scene such as Jabba the Hutt as well as The Commentators who I think are fantastic. But it is not just character, the pressure and tension that race itself produces is fantastic, the great pan shots as the racers drive off into the distance shows the speed of the race but many times returns to the foreground and close up for us to see the drivers themselves. But in my opinion the best part of this scene is when the racers are introduced, the music (which I will talk a lot more in detail about shortly) and the part with the flags, it is a lot to take in during a short part but it altogether it creates one of the most memorable parts of the series, (why isn’t it available on YouTube?).

SWTPM35

The soundtrack is an important part of any film but to Episode 1 it is even more so. The beginning of a new trilogy and it relies completely on its own soundtrack. The original trilogy’s soundtrack is really only heard on 2 occasions, the beginning crawl and the end credits. From the moment the film really starts it is completely its own film. One of the major importance’s with this film’s soundtrack is that a lot of this music will need to be used again later on, because we have another 2 films to go until the original trilogy begins. I do like the fact though that the soundtrack is a new soundtrack for a new trilogy. I also think that the soundtrack with this film does not get enough credit. If we were to look through each piece one by one, we would be here all day; so a quick run through. The invasion pieces have a nice military feel to them, the pod racing music has a nice sense of tension and pressure, which is also pretty much the same with the battle pieces but on a much larger scale. The Gungan city theme adds a depth of mystery to the scene but more on a reveal scheme, which is different when it is compared to the Coruscant pieces which are more on a pleasant grander scale to give the correct feel, which is sort of peculiar because it is almost the same as the Tatooine scenes and the celebration scenes for the end are complimented nicely with a piece of celebratory music. However quick we go through this though I do feel that I must give a more in-depth look at the films main and striking theme which is unlike any other theme in the series; Duel of the Fates.

Duel of the Fates is an incredible piece of music in it’s own right. It’s combination of loud music plus a vocals section mean it can stand toe to toe with great classical pieces such as In The Hall Of The Mountain King and Verdi’s Requiem. The opening vocals section is by far the best part and a great opening, it gets your attention, but not in a pleasant way. From this point it starts off gentle but soon becomes this fast paced track and brings it’s vocals back. Then it stops, before starting again, almost like a chorus. The theme includes sections of chasing as well as moments of stand offs and in-depth battles, the track could be used at several points in the course of the film as it almost suits any dramatic part. If anything this piece is the main theme for this film and as such makes it different from other films in the series as they rely on the main overall theme. It is also easy to see that this piece is also the theme for Darth Maul, just like Vader and Grievous had their themes, Duel of the Fates is Maul’s theme. It is incredible in some sense than that one of the series’ most outstanding parts as well as iconic in recent years is a piece from its soundtrack and in some way sells the film to other people, even those who have not heard of Star Wars even more.

SWTPM36

All these points together maybe hard to understand if you have not looked in-depth at this film before, but when you bring them altogether you get an experience like no other. The special effects are old in comparison to todays work, but they are far more impressive as they give a grander feel to the overall perspective and look of the film. The music gets you on edge but finds time to bring a sense of amazement as you look at worlds undreamed before but stills bring you back into the action. The characters are all well designed and while some may be annoying, the film would not be the same without them. But a film would not be the same without a story and this film explores several ideas and it is through this story that the films parts are brought together to make one incredible experience. The film in some sense is not anchored much around the Jedi like in the original saga, but the War has not begun yet, so they are not much of an issue. The film explores the idea of peace, an idea that did not exist until the end of Return of the Jedi, however there needs to be an explanation for the war, the high point before the fall. But the film also explores the important beginnings of characters, and with this film it explores the innocent beginnings of Darth Vader, which is a Good Story to tell. While there may be long-time fans of the series who may not like this film and have issues with it, It was enjoyable to me and many others. While Return of the Jedi is my favourite in the series, my second favourite film in the series explores what life was like before the war; and that film is called The Phantom Menace.

GENEPOOL (this film is also the first time that George Lucas has directed a film since Star Wars)





Lightning Strikes Twice But This Time It’s Irish – Clash Of The Titans (2010)

10 10 2012

If you were a Greek God, what would your name and what would you be the God of? Well seeing as I know which Norse God I would easily be (THOR). I suppose I could try this. Choosing one would be easy, I would choose Poseidon. If I was to make one up I would be called TEROS, the God of Monsters. TEROS sounds like Taurus which has something to do with Bulls and so in my case, Monsters. It is interesting to hear all the strange names for Greek Gods, but they are Greek of course, but I did not know that Zeus was Irish.

When I heard (late 2008/early 2009) that Clash of the Titans was being remade, I was excited. If any film deserved a remake it was Clash of the Titans. The legendary film from legendary film maker and special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. While his film used stop motion and whose Kraken too is one of the most iconic pieces of cinema, this film would of course use CGI instead of Stop Motion. While some people could have had their reservations about remaking it, I was incredibly excited. Even more so when I saw the trailer. When I had my interview at Teesside University the music from the trailer kept going round in my head. It was the film I was most excited about for 2010 (This film also Won 4 Awards at the Sam’s Rant Film Awards 2010).

The film starts out with a narrator talking about how the Gods overthrew their parents The Titans with a creature made from the skin of Hades. Zeus then becomes God of the sky and creates man, Poseidon becomes God of the Sea and Hades is tricked by Zeus to become God of the Underworld. The Gods stay alive and feed on the prayers and worship of the people while Hades finds sustenance on their pain. After hundreds of years, Man becomes rebellious and declares war on the Gods.

Out at sea a fisherman finds a coffin with a woman and a baby inside it and raises it as his son and calls him Perseus. The boy eventually reaches adulthood and his family has grown but has questions about who he really is. They eventually arrive near Argos (not the shops) and observe as the giant statue of Zeus is destroyed by Men from Argos. Strange Flying Monkey creatures then attack the men. They then come together to form Hades who then destroys the fishing boat. Perseus lives but the rest of his family drown. On Olympus (I Think, it does not really state) the Gods are angry about the defiance and Hades appears telling the Gods that they must strike at the Humans. Zeus agrees and allows Hades to attack the world. Perseus is rescued by the Men of Argos (not the shops) and taken to the King. The King and Queen of Argos are revelling in the joy of attacking the Gods. Andromeda (their daughter) does not like this and goes to Perseus to offer him a drink. The Queen of Argos then says that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Gods. Hades appears and makes the Queen age to death (makes her get older and die of old age) and says that he will unleash The Kraken (the creature that killed the titans) to destroy Argos (not the shops) unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before he leaves he reveals that Perseus is the son of Zeus.

Perseus is attacked by the guards and does not believe what hades has said. Andromeda tells the guards to let him go and the king asks him if he can help them. Perseus is then thrown in prison; he is then visited by a woman named Lo who tells him the story of his birth. Many years ago a former king of Argos (not the Shops) Acrisius declares war on the Gods and so to make an image of him and to punish him, Zeus impersonates Acrisius and impregnates Acrisius’s wife. Acrisius finds out and puts his new-born baby and his wife in a coffin. He then gets shocked by lightning turning him into a monster and throws the coffin in the sea. Lo reveals that she has been cursed with Agelessness after refusing Poseidon’s advances and has been watching Perseus all his life. He said to be the only man who can stand up to the gods. Perseus and a few men prepare to leave to find the Stygian witches to find a way of killing the Kraken. Before they leave a prop from the original film, Bubo, the Golden Owl, is found but they say they do not need it. The leave Argos (not the shops) for the witches.

Zeus finds out that his Son Perseus is living in Argos. Hades visits Acrisius (now called Calibos) to ask him to kill Perseus for him so that Hades can kill Zeus. Along the journey, Perseus is guided and told stories by Lo and is given presents that he does not want from the Gods including a Sword and the Pegasus. The group of soldiers are attacked by Calibos who loses his hand. They chase him into the desert where his blood creates Giant Scorpions. They soldiers fight them and manage to kill them. Three more appear, much bigger but are halted by a group of desert sorcerers called Djinn. Perseus is wounded by a bit on his arm and is cured by one of the Djinn. They then (Thanks to the Djinn) ride on the giant scorpions to the Stygian witches. Meanwhile back in Argos (not the Shops, I will stop doing this now) a religious cult is growing in number demanding the sacrifice of Andromeda.

The group arrive at the Stygian Witches and after some convincing, by threatening the loss of their one eye the Witches say that the Kraken can be defeated by Medusa whose gaze will turn all who look at her into stone. They also say that Perseus will die. They journey to the river Styx where Perseus encounters Zeus who asks him to live with them as a God. Perseus refuses and so Zeus gives him a coin for the ferryman. They arrive at the crossing and the remaining Djinn throws the coin into the river which summons Charon (the boatman) who ferries them across the river. When they get there, Lo explains that she cannot enter the lair of Medusa, only men can. They fight medusa and most of the group die, mostly by turning into stone. Using the reflective side of his shield Perseus manages to cut off Medusa’s head. He journeys outside her lair and is confronted by Calibos who kills Lo. Using his sword form the Gods he kills Calibos and then goes to Lo. Lo tells him to go for the eclipse has started. Zeus orders the release of the Kraken and the cult goes to the palace for Andromeda who surrenders herself. Andromeda is put on a sacrificial crane thing and hoisted into position. The Kraken makes its way to Argos with Perseus riding on the Pegasus to get there. Hades then reveals that this was his plan to make Zeus weak. Hades heads off to stop Perseus who once again uses his Flying Monkeys.

The Kraken reveals itself and heads to where Andromeda is. Perseus manages to get to her in time and turns The Kraken to stone with the head of Medusa. Hades appears and Perseus uses the sword of the gods to send Hades back into the Underworld. Perseus then rescues Andromeda from drowning. They eventually wake up on the beach and with boats coming to rescue them Perseus leaves Andromeda who is now the rightful Queen of Argos (not the shops, Woops, Sorry).  despite her asking him to be her King. He then encounters Zeus and once again refuses the offer of being a God. Zeus then revives Lo so that Perseus is not alone.

Clash of the Titans is a very Good film, not good as the original but still very Good. The Cast is a nice blend but I do think Sam Worthington could have been better. Lo (Played by Gemma Arterton) is an annoying character and I will tell you why later. While some people may have issues with Liam Neeson as Zeus, I think he was very Good (so much so I gave his performance an award).

For me the best of the cast is in the side characters. Kaya Scodelario plays Peshest who is the maiden for Andromeda (I Think, her name is not revealed). Even though she only talks briefly she is a good addition to the cast. Andromeda (played by Alexa Davalos who is a lot better than Rosamund Pike in the sequel) is another great character but is also not over the top like some of the characters in the film. Pete Postlethwaite appears in one of the last films he did before his death and though while it is a small brief part is magnificently delivered. But for me Liam Cunningham is the best, he plays Solon and while his character is slightly comedic it is brilliantly done and all his scenes are enjoyable (particularly before the boatman arrives).

The CGI is not basic; it has had a proper go. The originals effects are well known and so the CGI updates it for the current generation of cinema goers but to me the original effects are still the best. Back then it was cutting edge, CGI does not really hold that title anymore because almost everyone can do it. Scenes like these can easily be done whereas back in 1981, only a few people could do those effects. But still, very good, some of the best CGI in recent years.

All these points are good however there are some issues that need to be raised. Firstly, Ralph Fiennes as Hades. Ok at the time of the film he was playing Voldermort and so may have been an obvious choice as a villain. However I did feel his portrayal was a bit too much like Voldermort. He may have been an easy choice as well as carrying that thing of the villain being British but he was almost playing Voldermort and not Hades, I mean, it can’t be helping his career if he is A: Playing Villains all the time and B: Playing Voldermort all the time. At least he got his nose back after it was sliced off during filming of the Harry Potter films.

Secondly, Lo. Lo is an incredibly annoying character that constantly narrates everything and takes away the discovery part of the story. You know what is going to happen next because she said it. It’s like the credits role of the New Doctor Who, it tells us what is going to happen next so we may as well just stop watching. It also removes some of the mythology which the film should thrive on but in a way just turns it into a film instead of a film based on Greek Mythology. Thirdly, Overacting, there seems to be quite a bit of overacting in this film, the film should be called Overacting of the Titans. Fourthly, Continuity. By far the biggest issue is the continuity, in particular the story to the sequel. I will probably bring this up when I do that review. On a smaller note Andromeda has blonde hair in it whereas in this she has black, Wrath of the Titans should just be called Continuity Issues of the Titans. In this they say that the Kraken killed the Titans whereas in the sequel it says that the Titans were killed with a weapon.

The trailer for the film used a Heavy Metal piece which I liked and that genre would fit this film. However there was no Metal in it but the music was heading in the right direction. How many times do I need to say it, Heavy Metal + Fantasy = Fantastic. The Music was generally very good though and still enjoyable. It has though inspired me to make a Fantasy Film with Heavy Metal in it for the soundtrack. Unleash the Beast by Saxon would work for this film.

There is one other thing that needs to be said about this film. When it was released I knew about Legendary Pictures plans to make a New Godzilla film. When I saw the Kraken in this I thought that providing the effects are at least that Good then Godzilla should be Fantastic. So as a fan I gave Legendary my Permission to make a new American Godzilla film. A few days after seeing this film, Legendary gets the Go Ahead.

With its combination of Good Music, Great Actors, and Fantastic Special effects, Clash of the titans is a very enjoyable film. While it is not as Good as the original it is still a film that should be seen. It would be good to do a comparison between this film and the original just to see how it stacks up (I am sure there was more content in the original than in this). For now let us enjoy this one and enjoy what is a Great story and a Good Film.

GENEPOOL (Please leave your Greek God ideas in the comments, I would be interested to read them. If you are any of my Blogging Friends (Heather, Regan, TimHannah, LukeJosh or Matt) this could be a Blog Challenge)





It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do That Defines Me – Batman Begins

27 07 2011

Batman Begins (Warner Bros. - 2005)

Christopher Nolan is back, the ace director who created the mind bending world of Inception and directed the Highly Successful The Dark Knight returns as we travel back in time. You may remember that the first 2 reviews I did were Inception and The Dark Knight well this month it is time to go back in time and see what came before The Dark Knight. I have an interesting story about Batman Begins. It was about a year ago and I was watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Straight after that was Batman Begins on ITV. I missed the first 40 minutes and after watching Batman Begins I could clearly see that Batman Begins is better than Lord of the Rings (all 3 Lord of the Rings films).

Batman Begins takes a different look at the Caped Crusader by putting the character in a more realistic world than the world of a Super Hero; it makes the film more like a Crime Thriller than a Super Hero Film. This also adds to the characters with them being realistic and not having any supernatural powers. It is also an origins story explaining how Bruce Wayne went from having his parents killed to becoming the Caped Crusader. The story was written by David S. Goyer with Music provided by Hans Zimmer. The film was the first film to be produced by Legendary Pictures.

Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman. He is joined by a marvellous cast which includes Michael Caine as Alfred (Bruce Wayne’s Butler), Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox (The man who supplies Bruce Wayne with all the Technology needed to be Batman), Gary Oldman as Sgt James Gordon (one of only a few uncorrupted police in the city), Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard (the man who trains Bruce Wayne in martial arts and to fight injustice) and Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes (a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne and a Gotham City District Attorney).

The film starts out with a boy called Bruce Wayne who is playing with a friend of his called Rachel Dawes and he falls down a well and is attacked by Bats. Then the narrative changes to an adult Bruce who is in a prison in Bhutan. He is approached by a man called Henri Ducard who invites Bruce to train with an elite group of warriors called The League of Shadows which is run by a man named Ra’s Al Ghul. The narrative returns to Bruce as a child and he goes to the theatre one night with his parents. His parents get shot and die, the man is then captured and Bruce is raised by the Family Butler Alfred. Many years later Bruce returns to Gotham from University to attend the court appearance of the man, who killed his parents, he is to be set free so he can testify against a major crime boss. Bruce intends to kill him but one of crime bosses assistants gets to him first. Rachel discovers what Bruce was going to do and tells Bruce that his father would be ashamed of him. That night Bruce goes to see the Crime Boss named Falcone. Falcone tells Bruce that Bruce would not understand. Bruce then decides to travel the world and get into the mind of a criminal and eventually gets put in prison for stealing from his father’s company.

The Narrative returns to the Present where Bruce is trained by Henri Ducard and once fully trained the truth is revealed. Ra’s Al Ghul wants Bruce Wayne to lead the League of Shadows and destroy Gotham City which Ra’s Al Ghul believes has become so uncorrupted that it must be destroyed. Wayne refuses and destroys the palace of the League of Shadows and saves Ducard’s life in the process. Bruce then decides to return to Gotham City.  

On the journey back to Gotham Bruce learns that he is technically dead because the CEO of Wayne Enterprises wanted to take the company public. Bruce explains to Alfred of his plan to turn himself into a symbol to scare criminals. Bruce discovers a cave underneath Wayne Manor where bats are living and then chooses his image. He visits Wayne Enterprises and discovers a science division and meets a man named Lucius Fox who allows Bruce to use some of the equipment that has been created there. Bruce enlists Gordon’s help in disguise and then begins prepare his equipment; he also gains access to an armoured car.

Batman then stops a Drug Shipment, Captures Falcone and gives Rachel the evidence needed to convict him. Batman also uses Falcone’s body on a big light and uses it as a signal for the police to follow (creating the Bat Signal). Falcone is sent to Arkham Asylum with help from its corrupt administrator Dr. Crane.  Crane has been paying off Falcone to ship a toxic Hallucinogen into the City. When Falcone wants a bigger share Crane uses the Hallucinogen on Falcone making him go Insane. Batman later finds Crane and the toxin is used on Batman. Alfred finds him and takes him home. A few days later Bruce wakes up on the day of his birthday and is given a cure for the toxin by Lucius. Rachel then visits Crane and Crane shows her that he is pouring his toxin into the water supply, he then sprays her some of his toxin. Batman arrives and rescues Rachel and then evades the cops in his Black Armoured Car. He takes Rachel to his cave and injects her with the cure. He then gives her 2 vials of the cure and puts her to sleep, Alfred then takes her home. At his birthday party Bruce finds out from Lucius that the toxin can only be used when it is in a vaporised state, he also finds out that Wayne Enterprises has lost a device which turns water into a vaporised state.

While at the party a woman introduces Bruce to a man named Ra’s Al Ghul. Then he sees Henri Ducard who reveals to Bruce his real Identity as Ra’s Al Ghul. Bruce pretends to be drunk to get his guests to leave. Ra’s then tells Bruce about how the League of shadows has worked for years. They destroy a civilization when it’s reached its pinnacle and becomes a home of corruption, they previously caused the Black Death and set London on Fire. They have previously attacked Gotham before and failed. They have been working with Crane to poison the city with Insanity and are now about to cause the whole city to lose its mind. The League then traps Bruce in Wayne Manor as they set it on fire. Alfred returns and saves Bruce.

The League then release all the convicts from Arkham Asylum causing all the inmates to escape. All the cops in Gotham turn up as well as Gordon and Rachel. They are then trapped on the island as Ra’s Al Ghul turns on a machine designed to vaporise water causing everyone in the area to go mad. Gordon uses one of the Vials of the cure from Rachel and meets Batman. Batman tells him what is going to happen and gives Gordon the Batmobile. Batman then saves Rachel and a small boy and reveals to Rachel his true Identity – “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me”. Batman then fights Ra’s Al Ghul on a train which is heading to Wayne Tower which is also the central hub of the whole water supply in the city. Gordon uses the Batmobile to destroy the train tracks stopping the train from reaching the water supply and Batman leaves Ra’s Al Ghul on the train just before it crashes.

The next day Bruce takes control of Wayne Enterprises and put Lucius in charge as CEO. At the burned down remains of Wayne Manor Rachel meets up with Bruce who says to him that Batman is who Bruce really is. Batman then meets up with Lieutenant Gordon who tells him that they have a long road ahead and also tells Batman of another criminal who leaves a playing card at the scenes of his crimes. Batman says he will look into it and then leaves.

Batman Begins is a Brilliant film with many enjoyable pieces. The new direction created by Nolan and Goyer makes this an incredibly enjoyable film for everyone. The story is well written and the cast play their parts well. Katie Holmes in particular is very good as Rachel Dawes and is a lot better than Maggie Gyllenhaal who plays the role in The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight is a lot better than Batman Begins but there are some pieces in Batman Begins which should be in The Dark Knight. The fight between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul is brilliant whereas the Fight between the Joker and Batman could have been better. Also Begins has a lot of appearances from the Batmobile which gets destroyed in The Dark Knight.

Hans Zimmer has created some amazing pieces of music in films in recent years but his work in the Batman Films is probably his best with a brilliant theme for the lead character which is also heard in The Dark Knight, it is truly an iconic piece of Music. Batman Begins is a very enjoyable film and one of the Best Super Hero films around. Nolan and Goyer have made something excellent and it continues with The Dark Knight and the upcoming Dark Knight Rises. Batman Begins is Excellent from start to finish and an extremely enjoyable for everyone.

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: