Friday, July 23, 2010

The Last Airbender vs Predators

I've been catching up on summer movies this week. First I saw The Last Airbender. I'm a big fan of the Avatar TV show, and I was hoping M. Night would shake off his losing streak and knock this one out of the park but it was not to be. While it's faithful to the look and basic plot of the show, all of the fun has been sucked out of it. The actors (many of them miscast) are lifeless and the scenes are slow and dull. Bella was getting restless so we actually left halfway through, something I haven't done for a long time.

Somewhat better was Predators. It's as much remake as sequel, lifting the score dialogue and even whole scenes from the original. While it doesn't up the ante in the same way as Aliens, it's a solid action flick and definitely a step up from the AvP flicks. The ensemble cast (which includes a too brief appearance from a raving bonkers Laurence Fishburne) is suitably tough and there are even a few surprises towards the end. The only thing that lets the film down somewhat is the obvious cost-cutting. We get four predators instead of an army (the shot in the trailer of Adrien Brody covered with laser targets is not in the film) and the "alien" planet looks suspiciously like Hawaii. Still, it's a minor pleasure in a mostly disappointing summer.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart!

Saw Eclipse at a screening at work before the midnight craziness began. It was the most action-packed of the series so far, yet also the most boring. The movie is basically a series of talking heads scenes, leading up to a big battle that has some cool moments but is over far too quickly. The trio of main characters are as unlikeable as they were in the last movie, and there's no Michael Sheen to enliven things in the last act as he did for New Moon. The other Volturi do make an appearance, but are underused. As is Bryce Dallas Howard, who has little to do before being literally shattered in the finale.
The only characters that get any development are Edward's "siblings" Jasper and Alice, who actually get some screentime and backstory. Jasper is actually quite a badarse when he trains the others in how to fight newborn vamps. There is some humour about whether Edward or Jacob is "hotter" and a tent scene that almost seems as if it's about to evolve into a threesome, but little else to keep the interest going during the downtime. I'm sure it'll please the fans once more, but after three blockbusters, one wonders who is going to see these movies other than fans of the books and girls (and guys) who want to ogle the hot boys. Maybe that's the only audience a film needs these days to break records.