Film Review: Night At The Museum 2

I really enjoyed the first Night at the Museum. To anthropermophise inanimate objects like statues and exhibits and see them interact as what they embody is hilarious. How would cowboys who are often depicted operating solo cooperate with Roman infantry who function as teams; The perfect situation for comedy!

The story: The Night guard Larry Daley has left the museum and started a company selling his inventions such as the glow in the dark flashlight (torch to you and me), the museum has lost the attraction of the public and is being updated with technological aids, such as holograms, to make it interesting once again. For this the exhibits have to move and the tablet of Akmunrah with them, not prepared for the calamity that will ensue Larry tries to stop it. On the first night in their new homes on of the Pharaoh Kamunrah tries to takeover and Jedimiah the cowboy calls Larry for help.

With such high standards set in the first film any sequel is likely to be cursed with what happens to most; it tanks. For me the subtitle “Battle of the Smithsonian” is misleading, I imagined all the exhibits in the Smithsonians 19 museums to come alive and face each other in a slapstick engagement. What we end up seeing really is several new characters alongside many of the old ones.

Night At The Museum 2 Cowboys And Romans

Don’t get me wrong here, the film was executed beautifully, the animation was vivid and blended, the story just interesting enough and good acting all round. The gags come thick and fast, blowing away the expectation on jokes dug up from the dirt and tried on something new, they makers kept it fresh.

I’m not usually one to enjoy Ben Stiller Movies (and I’m not the only one) because of his insistence on playing OTT characters, but when he does play ‘ordinary’ people as Mosh puts it I quite like them.

Night at the Museum 2: Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart

Something I didn’t like very much was that Amelia Earhart was portrayed as alone in her flight, she was navigated by Fred Noonan, where was he? I’m not trying to undermine her accomplishments, but Neil Armstrong wasn’t alone getting to the Moon, the often remembered Buzz Aldrin landed in the Lunar module as well and the seldom remembered Michael Collins orbited just above in the Command module. And even then there are hundreds/thousands of unseen and unsung people that helped and planned the Apollo 11 mission.

Sailor Kissing Girl In Times Square V Day

There were some really great sequences in the film such as when they dived into the photograph Sailor Kissing Girl in Times Square (by Alfred Eisenstaedt), seeing all the celebrations and their reactions to the out of place Night guard, Aviatrix and their attire. (P.S. Keep watching the credits for more on this 😉 ). The octopus was a great creation (and I’m not making this up like The Goonies did) although I was expecting it to be ferocious rather than angry.

Summery: you don’t need to have seen the first one to watch this, it is a great movie to chill out with or to entertain the kids with and very few should be disappointed.

  • Picture: 8/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Effects: 9/10
  • Story: 8/10

Film Review: Angels & Demons

Angels and Demons Half Angel, Half Demon Statue Wallpaper

Angels & Demons was regarded by the Vatican as harmless, unlike the Da Vinci Code which jabbed at the righteousness of the Church. What I do find shocking is that whilst Catholics, or generally those of the Christian persuasion get in an uproar about their religion being badmouthed Scientists haven’t been outraged (as far as I know) about the potential dangers of Antimatter and the Science Fiction surrounding its use for nefarious purposes in this film. If I were to play devils advocate I would say that maybe Science doesn’t need defending because its right and religion is just mumbo-jumbo but I know that to be mostly wrong, those with religion keep it very close to their heart and as such its easy to bruise both at the same time. Still, maybe if there wasn’t a kerfuffle at every little bruise then the world wouldn’t have seen so many wars and would be a happier place, I digress.

Summary: An ancient secret society called the Illuminati steals the antimatter created a CERN and hides it Vatican City. Its container will fail in 24 hours causing an enormous explosion, with the Pope having recently died, the four Preferiti missing and the papal conclave in progress with the highest order of Cardinals in attendance the entirety of the catholic church is in Danger. To track down the Illuminati Robert Langdon is summoned to follow the Path of Illumination to the societies secret meeting place hopefully where the bomb can be found and the antimatter contained.

I enjoyed the Da Vinci code for its fast paced adventure and the educational parts, which is why I didn’t enjoy Angels and Demons as much. Dan Brown’s (quoted below) thrillers are written to interest and entertain which is why I’m surprised the dynamic of the film changed so much. If they are going to make a third around 2012 I hope that as a compromise they render the plot somewhere between outrage and bland rather than toward the extremes where I feel they’ve played so far.

“My goal is always to make the character’s and plot be so engaging that readers don’t realize how much they are learning along the way.”

The writers and director most likely scaled back the religious intrigue and subsequently the characters. Watching Tom Hanks’ port ail of Robert Langdon I felt for the entire film that he was holding back for something, I continued to sit on the edge of my seat taking note of each Chekhov gun waiting for all or many of them to be explained beautifully with illustrations, alas it never happened. Coincidently I feel guilty for Ayelet Zurer whom didn’t have much dialogue to work with unlike Audrey Tautou’s Sophie Neveu whom Langdon conversed with often.

As a standalone movie I enjoyed watching this quest but when compared to the sight, sound and experience to the The Da Vinci Code (2006) I find it vanilla. Take the soundtrack for example, in the first film the sound rose from your toes all the way to your ears, especially the part called Chevaliers De Sangreal played whilst by the Tomb interred by a pope, whereas the soundtrack doesn’t enhance A&D it is a mellow accompaniment.

The small and medium visual and special effects where well concealed, but the larger stunts, particularly the ones to risky for a actor to perform where of a similar quality to the Matrix fight scenes from 10 years ago which were the peak of their time, surely they can be outdone now.

Perhaps this is a trend we can come to expect from sequels, Quantum of Solace was similarly inoffensive compared to Casino Royale but then again The Dark Knight surpassed Batman Begins greatly. Despite all this I recommend paying out to see this at the cinema but if you’re only going to see 3 movies I’ve see Star Trek, Transformers 2 and Harry Potter.

  • Picture: 9/10
  • Sound: 6/10
  • Effects: 8/10
  • Story: 7/10

Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Sequels are fantastic things because they offer something more about something you already like. However trying to use, or recreate the same ‘magic’ that made you like the original is trickier creating something widely liked from scratch.

The first Mummy film was fantastic. The Mummy Returns felt to me like another adventure in the series and was about as good as the first. This third film, whilst it was goods in it own right, does not do the other ones justice. I however would like a forth film, (the hot Coyote Ugly owner) Maria Bello, stated in an interview that “absolutely” another Mummy film will be made so I look forward to having 2 sets of Mummy films in my collection as that is really how I see them, 2 distinctly different series both of equal rating to the other.

Continue reading Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Film Review: Transformers

My toys when I had a single digit age were Transformers, I saw the amazing animated movie at the cinema and even dressed up as Optimus Prime for a Halloween. As such in my teenage years I daydreamed what a live action film would be like, drawing on conclusions from what I’d seen in the cinema that week, be it The Matrix, or Episode 1. As years passed I grew more and more doubtful anyone from my generation would write a screenplay to get it directed and produced. Now its 2007 and my extremely high expectations have just about been reached.

Whilst I didn’t expect blocky robots with grotesque transformations I never imagined that the Autobots and Decepticons would be depicted so authentically. All the internal parts of the vehicle modes are visible in the humanoid form which is absolutely breathtaking, I don’t care how much it cost to render all the frames at 38 hours each it was worth every penny. However, now that the initial thrill is over I bet in the sequel (and there blatantly has to be one) there are more panels covering the mechanical organs, probably ret-con’d in as armour now that they are warring again.

Showed me something uncommon then, and a rarity now; for once the good guys didn’t always win outright at the conclusion of that weeks episode but they did eventually triumph in that particular story arch which meant that anything could happen and kept me guessing each week and inspiring me to work it out with my toys. With the eighties show being so iconic I assumed that the film might do the same, whilst the tale didn’t regale me as a beloved intrepid leader falling at the hands of the enemy the special effects did, something progressively harder in these insensitive times.

As for the toys, I owned Optimus Prime, both the original version and the Power Master version. I did not have Megatron, which is easily forgiveable because his alt mode was a pistol and given one of them to a kid is not something I would be entirely happy with today, toys guns should look like toys, plastic and brightly coloured. Maybe I’m being to PC but there are many parents not being protective enough out there and others being too much, if I fall into the ‘to much’ category on this issue so be it. Anyway, with the detail on the transformations being so high I’m interested to see how they engineer the newline of toys…

Hopefully you’ve kept reading to this point and as such I’ll not keep your attention much longer. This film whilst not entirely faithful to the animation that I loved so much is a fantastic watch. An entertaining story, great effects and superb performances.
Rating 96%

Wallpapers: Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9)

Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Wowzers, good sequel. Its not quite what I expected through, I anticipated a movie that felt like the first half of an adventure not an enduring quest that draws out the action. What I mean is the punches felt spaced out rather than a rapid succession. The first film was and still is a swashbuckling adventure the second more of a journey across middle earth to save the entire world.

In most cases where sequels are desired but the companies funding them are unsure of their success endings aren’t left closed. The creators have always said they wanted to make more than one but obviously they didn’t thread the first stories into the sequels. This often leads to sequels having stories that are a little far fetched, they twist the facts to account for the past film and leave out others. Dead Man’s Chest marvellously takes off exactly where you would expect Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Ms. Swann to be after such an absence.

The entire film cried quality, I ask, if there were any special effects (besides the monsters) I couldn’t see them. The digital stunt doubles were seamless unless they got actual people to do the stunts in which case I’m insanely happy because you don’t get that enough these days. Sound was beautiful, I love a good score to a film especially when you get to hear it in full dolby surround sound!

Towards the end it seemed like they were trying to do too much, the 3 way sword fight for example. Not quite as entertaining as the sequence in the first film in the blacksmith forge, the snappy dialogue and movement around the environment, floor, press/furnace, rafters kept it interesting whereas going around and around on the watermill and standing in the middle of an expansive beach didn’t quite get my juices flowing. Admittedly the beach sequence was ‘dull’ to not distract from the ‘humour’ being spouted by Ms. Swann but it just wasn’t funny enough.

The ending was colossal, such a grandiose finale for Jack and a surprise I never saw coming. Certainly kept me interested in returning to see the 3rd instalment and hopefully not too long a wait a la Matrix Reloaded to Revolutions (6 months give or take) in comparison to the Lord of the Rings’ 12 months.

Rating: 88%