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Movies Wot I Have Seen Recently

07 October 200903:23PMreview

Having some free time in the holidays, I've watched some movies which I've meant to watch for a while. And also some others. Actually, I really only planned to watch one (two if you count The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is still sitting on the table).

That one was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The premise is pretty simple - a league of superheroes (Avengers or Justice League style) using 1800s pulp characters. Practical too- they're all in the public domain, meaning they can be used totally royalty free. So, you have some of the greatest icons in fiction (Tom Sawyer, Van Helsing's partner from Dracula, The Invisible Man, Dorian Grey (Gray?), Captain Nemo, and Jekyll/Hyde) and you pit them against [Spoiler warning] the greatest villain in fiction, Moriarty, and the question is, "How badass can I make this movie". Unfortunately, the answer in "Not nearly enough".

I really wanted to like it. I really did. I wanted another Stardust or Sky Captain, which are just one movie-length of pure badass swashbuckling fun. The League somehow fails at this. I have no idea how. There were Crowning Moments of Awesome in there, but I think the problem was that in between them the writers got lazy and decided to just have the characters all pile back into the Nautilus for another boring travel montage. I wanted Nemo to play a smaller role (He pretty much owned the show, despite having Sean Freaking Connery on the same freaking set. Seriously, if you hire Sean Connery, you gotta make him a little more badass.) I wanted Sean Connery to KICK SOME FREAKING ASS. There was some of that in there, but it needed... distilling, I think. I don't know. Maybe that's what the director was aiming at, but it kinda was a bit of a disappointment to me.

Star Trek, on the other hand, which I have watched twice more these holidays, is just as awesome the second and third times around, if not more so. It's just... brilliant. Really. Even my mum liked it.

The other movies were the horror films we saw at Justin's the other night. The Blair Witch Project was... interesting. I suspect it would be not scary at all by light of day (much like the respective scenes in the film), but by night it was pretty damn scary. Two things really stood out for me: One was how well the documentary style worked for a horror film. You really got inside their heads, got to see what they were seeing, and what they weren't seeing (seriously, 50% of the film is just breathing and panicked voices over black or vague out of focus backgrounds... really creates the atmosphere of not knowing what the hell was out there.) The other was the social aspect of it. Supernaturally, there's nothing really that happens, they find a few weird effigies, some piles of rocks and... er... some organs. Okay, there is a supernatural element, but its the way the characters start to basically go insane with the paranoia that really scares you. Also, a tip, the ending makes more sense if you listen to the interviews at the start instead of Facebooking... someone had to explain the whole standing-in-the-corner thing and as a consequence I didn't realise it was meant to freak you out until a few minutes into the credits.

Dawn of the Dead was the other one we watched. Zombie flick. 'Nuff said. Highlight was the Making Of mini-doco where they detail exactly how they do the headshot effects (basically a combination of blood squirters, exploding headpieces and fake brains attached to cranes. Nifty stuff)

Okay, with that brainload of pop-culture off my mind, I can go to bed. Big day tomorrow, yes indeed.

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