Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Movies of the Past: Spider-Man

This movie is great in almost every way. This is one of the movies that helped get me into all the comic book stuff when I was in my early teens. Well, the character of Spider-Man anyway. Now, six years on, Spider-Man is one of my favourite comic book characters and Stan Lee is one of my heroes. It gives a really good origin story in the beginning that stays pretty true to the comics for the most part. Sure there were changes made to the story in some parts, but it was still pretty close. The origin carries into a pretty solid plot, which really works as a Spider-Man movie.
The acting was really good, and I felt the actors all portrayed their characters well. I thought that Tobey Macguire made a really good Peter Parker and a decent Spider-Man, James Franco was really good as Harry Osborne, and I think I'm one of the few people that thinks Kirsten Dunst made an alright Mary Jane Watson. They all had great chemistry together. You could really imagine that Mary Jane was the girl that Peter loved, and that Harry was his best friend. The father/son relationship between Harry and Norman Osborne was pretty believable. All the actors just worked really well together, and I believe good chemistry works really well toward making a good movie. Even the supporting characters are perfectly cast, like Uncle Ben, Aunt May, J Jonah Jameson and Betty Brant seemed as if they were straight out of the comics.

The storyline is pretty cool, being filled with lots of drama, and you get to see Peter feeling different things throughout the movie. Guilt, love, confusion. You get to see the transformation of a nerdy, weak teenager into a powerful hero. It's not just about some kid who gets bitten by a spider and becomes a superhero, it's got a whole lot more depth than that. And for the most part, the actual storyline doesn't just feel like filler until the next action scene. That's part of what sets it apart from a lot of other comic book movies. Some of the dialog in the movie is a bit cheesy, especially some of the stuff between Peter and Mary Jane, but I don't really let it bug me.

The action scenes are really good, although a little fleeting for the most part. They just seemed over too soon sometimes. They were still really cool though, and were definitely some of the high points of the movie. The costume designs are really good as well. The Spider-Man costume looks awesome in about 132 different ways. Apparently the changes that were made to the Green Goblin costume in comparison to his comic counterpart caused some problems with fans. I think the changes were necessary to avoid being too cheesy. And his new costume looked awesome anyway. The special effects in the movie were pretty good, especially in scenes where Spidey is swinging around. There are some scenes where it does look a little fake, but it shouldn't take away from the movie for people. But I know people do like to whine about every problems in movies, so some people might find the effects an issue.

All in all, it's an awesome movie, and we were lucky enough to get two sequels to it. I've watched it a few times, and it holds up well. A fairly re-watchable movie. It was one of the movies that helped start the modern Marvel movie trend, along with X-Men and the Blade movies before it. Just another great thing it had a hand in. Sam Raimi is a great director. Spider-Man is a great character and was really done justice in a movie that could have easily been awful.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Character of the Day: Bubbles

In my earlier teen years, I used to watch a lot of Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network, especially when they had several episodes of it on every day to promote the movie. My favourite character of the show was always Bubbles. She is one of three little girls, created when a professor attempted to create the perfect little girls, by mixing together sugar, spice and everything nice. The experiment went wrong when the professor's lab partner (a monkey called Mojo, who went on to become the main villain of the show) knocked in a chemical known only as Chemical X. The resulting three girls were born with amazing powers, such as eye rays and flight. Bubble is the friendliest of the three sisters, and this little blonde usually stayed true to her name, as a bubbly and sweet little girl. She wasn't exactly the smartest of the three, and could sometimes be a bit naive. She seems to have been a bit on the outside of the team, since Blossom and Buttercup shared a bit of a rivalry, which sometimes meant Bubbles had to try and keep the peace. At first glance, Bubbles would seem like the weakest Powerpuff Girl. In actuality, it was the complete oposite. As the series progressed, the hidden potential of Bubbles was revealed, showing that she is possibly the most powerful of the team. This was originally shown when her abilities as a warrior were being constantly questioned. She set up a training session for herself at maximum difficulty, and when she thought about people thinking she was weak, she unleashed amazing power and destroyed all her oponents with ease. Since then, Bubbles sometimes displayed a darker and more angry style, which I always thought was cool. But I always loved the sweet and inocent Bubbles a whole lot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Character of the Day: Flippy

I know that I haven't been keeping up with these characters of the day or my blog in general. I've just had problems with motivation. But since I am trying to become a better writer, I need to stick to things. So I will try harder. Anyway, today's character is the lovable little bear from the series of internet shorts turned TV show- Happy Tree Friends. He is a war veteran who was left severely traumatised by the events in whatever war he was in. Although he has returned to living in peace, (well, as peaceful as you can consider the world of Happy Tree Friends) he cannot help but return to being the killer that he was turned into during the war whenever he hears a noise that takes him back to the time. Like, for example, a crackling fire making him think he's under bullet fire. When this evil version of the usually kind hearted Flippy is unleashed, nobody is safe. He will use anything at his disposal to kill everyone as horrifically as possible. It is not until he has killed everyone around him that he returns to his cute and cuddly self, with apparently no memory of the terrible things he has just done. Later episodes showed that while he had no memory of these events, he was aware that they happened. One episode showed him fighting the urge to kill long enough to stop himself murdering somebody, but he was trying to fly a helicopter as a weapon, and because he stopped, a crash resulted, killing him. This shows how good hearted Good Flippy really is. But that doesn't matter, because he was back soon enough, just like all the other characters. Later on in the double episode Double Whammy, when Flippy got professional help to try and control his gruesome outbursts. This led to an awesome battle between Good Flippy and Bad Flippy in the mind. That's all I will say about that episode.... I will just say that it is probably my favourite one. The reasons I like Flippy are pretty simple. He is a killing machine, who is always creative. But I also like his good side, because of how sweet and caring he is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Movie Review: Star Wars: Clone Wars

Fan buzz has been very negative for this movie. Myself, I have tried to remain positive. But even I, as a very leniant movie watcher has to admit that this really wasn't great. It's not on par with any of the other six movies of the franchise. It wasn't all bad though, and I will tell you what was good and bad about it now.

The animation was a real mixed bag. It had great backgrounds that looked almost like they were taken right out of the movies, then you have these very poorly designed characters. As much as I liked most of the designs on everything but the characters themselves, I couldn't help looking at the animation like a beautiful painting with poo smeared in some spots. You can look at the painting, but it's hard to enjoy it when you can't take your eyes off the poo. It takes away from the potentially awesome animation. They look plastic and stiff, and the facial expressions and lip syncing look like something from a Playstation game from 1999. The voice acting was pretty bad aswell, although Christopher Lee did and alright job, and Matt Lanter had a lot more emotion in his voice acting than Hayden had in the entire role.

The dialogue was about as bad as can be. The exhanges between Anakin and his apprentice were all cliche and boring. Not to mention almost all the droids were like copies of Jar Jar Binks. A main problem was that this would focus more on action than it did. That's why I felt all that lame childish stuff wouldn't matter. But it was mostly disussions and stuff, which was the last thing this movie needed. There was a fair bit of action, but even when they were having awesome lightsabre duals, they felt the need to stop every 4 seconds and talk about stuff that I didn't need to hear. I wanted to see lightsabre duals on a level that they couldn't manage in a live action movie. They did not deliver in this way. A lot of the other action was pretty good though, some being very fast moving and intense.

The storyline really didn't consist of much.... just people trying to get Jabba the Hutt on their side, basically. This is not a movie that I think many old Star Wars fans will enjoy, but it may be a movie that helps introduce new people to the franchise, which is always a good thing. This is definitely a movie for the younger audiences, not older people and film critics. It basically just felt like a long TV Show episode, which is basically all it was. It was good for a TV episode, but not for a movie. If the action is as good in the series as it was in the movie (and hopefully there will be more), then I will be looking forward to it. But if they release another movie that looks to be at this level, I will have to wait until DVD. If I had to rate it, I would probably give it around a 6-6.5.

Character of the Day: Butters Stotch

Butters, one of my favourite characters from the series South Park. Easily the kindest and sweetest of the series, Butters usually just wants to do what's right and avoid getting grounded. I love Butters because of how goodhearted he is, a trait that is rare in the South Park series. The fact that he is usually teamed up with the evil Cartman always makes for great episodes. Originally more of a background character, Butters has grown into a much more important character over the seasons, especially after Kenny's "death," when he became the new forth friend in the main group. But in unlucky Butter's fashion, he was soon kicked out of the gang, of course not before having poo smeared on his face, chased by a robot, given home liposuction, and beaten by his parents. That's when he became Proffesor Chaos, an evil supervillain bent on causing whatever chaos he could. Too bad he couldn't come up with an evil deed that hadn't aleady been done in The Simpsons (The Simpsons Already Did It is one of my favourite episodes). Soon enough, Butters was back to his sweet old self. Sadly, the fact that Butters is so sweet and trusting, often leads to him to great suffering (like the things I listed before). One of the best episodes sees Butters finally getting the upper hand, when one of Cartman's schemes go wrong, in AWESOM-O. All in all, Butters can be summed up in one word. Awesome. But, I will also say that he is adorable and just plain likeable. Butters is the character that I think most people won't be able to resist loving.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Movies of the Past: Big Fish

When I first saw this movie in the cinema, I was a mildly bored teenager who, though enjoyed the movie, didn't find it very memorable. Several years later, after hearing a lot of great stuff and realising it was from one of my favourite directors Tim Burton, I decided to grab it and give it another watch. I am definitely happy that I did so. I got so much more out of it when I watched it a second time. I'm not saying every teenager will be bored when they watch it, though. Probably the opposite. I'm the first to admit that my taste in movies at a young age wasn't exactly the best, but even at that stage I was able to look back and see the good in the movie.

The movie revolves around the stories that father, Ed Bloom (played by Albert Finney as an old man) told his son, Will Bloom as a child,(who as an adult is played by Billy Crudup) who has now grown up and looks on those stories not as nice exaggerated tales, but as lies that he was once foolish enough to believe. Throughout the movie, you are shown various stories from Ed Bloom's (played by Ewan McGregor throughout his adult years) life, where he meets lots of colourful characters and affects their lives. And you also have the side of the story Will Bloom dealing with a tattered relationship with his father. The story is nice and sweet, with lots of touching moments. I'll avoid much more about the plot, so I don't take anything away from the joy of watching it for yourself. I will just say it's a great plot, and I loved watching all these far-fetched stories come to life.

The characters and acting in the movie are great, because of all the depth and well.....character they have. The character of Ed Bloom (in the stories) was very well written, and very likable. Ewan McGregor plays him perfectly. Will Bloom, wasn't exactly the most likable character in some ways, but the aspects of his personality were important to the overall plot. He was played well by Billy Crudup. The supporting cast was really great, with very interesting characters played by actors like Danny DeVito, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Buscemi and the late Matthew McGrory. Considering the large cast of characters in the movie, they were all handled very well considering their stories were all being told in one movie. That is another positive point of the movie.

Visually, this movie is fairly different from most of Tim Burton's movies. It lacks the Gothic theme that almost all of his films have. It was a bit of a change for him, but he handled it really well, and I look forward to seeing him take on some more movies in a similar style. This movie has become one of my favourites and is definitely in my top five Burton films. People of a really young age may not enjoy the movie much, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under the age of about ten anyway, since some of the scenes may be a little mature for them. My advice would be that if you haven't already seen this movie, it should be near the top of you "Films to Watch" list.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Character of the Day: Piccolo

Piccolo is today's character of the day. Originally a member of the Demon clan, it was eventually revealed that he was an alien called a Namekian. First appearing in the final saga of Dragon Ball, he was the reincarnation (or son, however you want to look at it) of Piccolo Daimao, another villain of the series, who was the evil half of the Kami of earth. His mission was to kill Son Goku, the hero. His battle at the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai against Goku remains one of my favourites of the series, due to how evenly matched they were. That saga showed Piccolo as a ruthless warrior. I thought he made a really great villain. After being defeated, he eventually faced new threats, which pushed him to train the son of his nemesis- Son Gohan. Son Gohan's inocent nature and the fact that he treated Piccolo like a human brought out some of the goodness that was lying deep in his heart. He soon became a mentor figure to Gohan, maybe even more than Goku was. He couldn't help but develop feelings for him, and when he was in danger, he sacrificed his own life to save him. That sacrifice was probably one of the biggest moments of character development in the series, and it was very touching. Even Piccolo didn't know why he did this. After he was brought back to life, he continually risked his life for the greater good, even willing to go head to head with the awesomely powerful Freeza. But he still wasn't exactly the friendliest guy around. Except, of course, with Gohan. He later fused together with Kami-sama and became incredibly powerful, and seeminly a little more happy. He may not have always been the most powerful character in the series, but he was always willing to help in any way he could. He lived the life of a true warrior, even turning down a peaceful life with his own kind, because it was too "boring." He has an awesome design, an arsenal of cool attacks, and the really handy ability to regenerate lost limbs. He remains one of my favourite villain/heroes ever, even higher in the ranks than Vegeta.

Character of the Day: Homer J Simpson

The first character I am talking about is our yellow skinned hero, Homer Simpson. Everyone should know who he is. If you don't, then you don't have a TV. Obnoxious, rude and basically an alcoholic, Homer is seemingly a terrible father, husband and friend to have. In most cases you would be right, but you can tell that Homer actually has a heart of gold. Sure, he messes up a lot and does some downright awful things (strangling a 10 year old, anyone?), but in the end he is always willing to put things right. He loves his family and would do anything for them, such as hiring mobsters to help his wife sell pretzels, risking $2000 for a half-brother who hates him, giving up his dream to ride a blimp so his daughter can enter a beauty pagent feel pretty and facing a mob of us crazy Australians to avoid his son getting kicked in the bum. He is a very important character for me because he (along with the rest of the characters) was always there for me in a way. I know how lame that sounded but it's true. I wasn't exactly the happiest guy when I was younger, but I could always count on the Simpsons to be there for me. I suppose I should also than Channel 10 aswell, for not having anything else to put on most the time, so usually we could have it on every night, sometimes up to three episodes. The Simpsons always makes me smile. Anyway, moving on. I guess part of what makes Homer perfect is how far from perfect he is. He is obviously not the smartest guy around, and he has a lot of issues. He has to work hard to be the husband and father he wants to be. He's not the nicest person, with an apparent hatred of his infinitely happy and friendly neighbour Ned Flanders, but even with him, he will come through for in the end. He cares for people a lot more than he lets on. In more recent years he has become more of a jerk, but I still like his character a lot, since the true character always shines though the jerkiness. This is why he is my first character of the day. Come back tomorrow to see who is next. No, it won't be someone from The Simpsons.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movies of the Past: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

Another thing I plan to do for the blog. When there is nothing to report, I will try and post reviews movies of the past. They will not all be classics (which should be clear from this review), but they are basically just....older movies. I can't define what is considered "old" here. I could review a movie from the '70s, or I could review a movie from as recent as the early 2000s. I don't know. At least you won't really know what to expect. Anyway, on with the review.

This is a great mindless horror movie. This seems to be the part of the series where they just decided "Look, people don't watch these movies to be scared anymore, they watch them to see Jason cause carnage." So what do they do? Well for the most part they forget about the type of scenes where they hear a noise, and it turns out to be a cat or something like that. Then they throw in a bunch of corny humour, and last but certainly not least, bring back our man Jason and throw all his limitations out the window. Sounds like the perfect recipe to me.Yes, it has the most ridiculous plot so far in the movie, (Remind me to write in my will that before burying me, I want my family to have me struck by lightning a few times and see if that helps) but who really cares? It's all part of the fun.

It was offering something new to the series. As much as I love the other movies, most of them were all pretty similar in terms of plot, with characters that were hard to distinguish from one another, to me anyway. Sure the movies were all different in a couple of ways, but they still had a fair few similarities. Bunch of teens in a secluded area getting picked off one by one. Sure Jason Lives sort of has that, but it's a much smaller part of the movie.

A New Beginning tried something new, but it didn't really pay off for them. The thing about the other movies were they were essentially about the killer taking out the people for most the movie. The minor exception to that rule was The Final Chapter, which contained some awareness to the situation, but even that came under that profile for the most part. Jason Lives seems to focus more on the fight against Jason. There are characters who know what he is doing from the start.

Another thing I like about the movie is the fact that the kills seem a lot cooler to me. Normally you would just see characters see Jason, have a scared look on their face and get killed. Or a character killed so fast they probably wouldn't even realise that they are being killed. It's not a major problem but it wasn't really what I wanted to see every time. Now scenes in the range of someone firing rounds of shotgun shells into Jason is more like it. The movie has removed a fair few of the Friday the 13th series, such as bare breasts and drug use.

There is lots of awesome and pointless violence, heaps of lame jokes, and an awesome soundtrack (Alice Cooper! Hell yeah!) and just plain Jason being awesome. This is not a movie to watch if you want to be challenged intellectually or anything. It's a movie you watch when you want some mindless entertainment.

I will add that the mindless entertainment is what I like best about the series. If they can do that with the reboot of the series, then I have no problem with it. The franchise was never really more than a cash in on the slasher genre, so I don't see why people have such a problem with the movie being made. It may be lazy, but I also see them trying to do some different stuff with the series. I'm looking forward to it. If it's as fun as Jason Lives then I will be happy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lethal Weapon 5: Too Old For This Shit?

Yep, from now on I will be reporting on new information and giving my opinions on it. Let's see how many updates you can make it through, before you just say to yourself "This guy is a fucking idiot!" I'm a guy who embraces the idea of sequels......well, in most cases. There are exceptions. Lethal Weapon 5 is not one of those. Yes, rumour has it there will be a 5th installment into the franchise. Could suck, right? I'm not so sure. Firstly, aren't they too old? My answer, no not really. Not the actors, anyway. It really depends on how long after the forth they set it. In the first movie the characters were written a fair bit older than the actors were at the time, such as Danny Glover's character, Roger Murtaugh was celebrating his 50th birthday at the start, while Glover was only 42 at the time. So I guess if they wanted to, they could have the 5th take place like 3 years after the 4th and the actors could have just been written to have had a rough few years. I think the actors can handle it. And if they want to write them as old farts, then let's see what they do with that direction. Something that gives me faith in this movie is that it doesn't just have another director planning to do it, it has Richard Donner, who has stuck by the franchise the whole way. Also, the writer is Shane Black, who not only wrote the first movie, but also the awesome "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." So I'm not worried about the director and writer. Now this is what worries me. Will they get back all the old characters and actors? What I liked about this franchise is how they kept the characters, even if they only had the smallest of roles. Like how Murtaugh's family always had minor roles. And Joe Pesci showing up time to time. When I watched the movies, I thought that was really cool. So I really hope all the characters make appearences. Yes, that means Chris Rock aswell. Sorry that I can't really offer much in the actual information department, since my original source,, didn't really have much information. At least you know how I feel about this potential sequel, if that's any consolation. I hope we get to hear more on this, because this is a movie I would like to see.