Film Review: Blindness (2008)

Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles and Screenwritten by Don McKellar is a great film, not flashy or gordy but well penned and well told. Based on the 1995 novel by José Saramago, it’s story of epidemic blindness infecting the globe and the consequences of a lone individual retaining her sight.

I’m quite proud of the author wanting the film to maintain a strong allusion to the novel; he was “suspicious of the film industry and had therefore resisted other studios’ efforts to obtain the rights through large sums of money alone“. I hole heartedly agree with him on this, so often studios take something that is great on novel format and dumb it down thus casting a wider net for audiences in attempt to make as much money as possible. There are some books that this isn’t as much of a problem, JK Rowling for instance wanted the Harry Potter films to be enjoyable to watch by sacrificing parts certain plot lines but enforcing others (such as Kreacher in Order of the Phoenix).

The characters have no names, no history, focusing your attention on their actions to the situation at hand. You feel the burden of the Sighted Character’s dilemma and her internal struggle as greed and the lust for power festers. Her optimism is constantly tested as she literally watched the indignity and moral decline of those in her stead and her willingness to submit to it herself.

My personal reflection after taking in the behaviour of the devious blinded by the sickness it amplifies how bad things really could get if the protagonist hadn’t been so kind. Indeed even the sighted’s wardrobe tried to personify her angelic behaviour.

I don’t mind scary movies, I usually laugh at them, but this is by far the scariest film I have reviewed in recent history, not because of my fear of losing my sight but the decline of humanity when everyone is in such a dire situation. I hope that if a disaster does strike (and if Nostradamous predicted highly it may do so in December 2012) that communities will form rather than gangs, but alas nature is survival of the fittest, and the best fit is usually the strongest.

Unfortunately this film on condemned by the Blind Community for suggesting that “Blind people do not behave like uncivilized, animalized creatures“, I certainly don’t think they do. I think that the Human Race can in an anarchical world behave badly, and unfortunately, the pre-White-Sickness-blind fall into that category. Luckily the author José Saramago responds: “Stupidity doesn’t choose between the blind and the non-blind”, he’s quite right, anyone can jump to wrong conclusions, Just because it involves a topic doesn’t necessarily mean its about it.

Cracking film. But be warned there are some graphic scenes.

  • Picture: 8/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Effects: N/A
  • Story: 9.5/10

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: Taken

When your girl isn’t about and its Valentines day what do you do? Indulge in cliché behaviour of beer, crisps and films involving violence or explosions! The first 2 are very easy to procure, plenty of brands of beer out there in a variety of distils, crisps are just as easy, the synergy of the entire night for me is the film. Choose wisely and the tone of the entire night is amplified, pick wrong and you’ve at least got your friends around to laugh with you, or if it was really bad and your fault, at you.

This film is fast paced and intense. I’m not talking about the intensity that was promised to us in Quantum of Solace, I mean sitting in your lounger, heart pounding the inside of your chest, not being able to stick a ‘goodie’ in your gob cus your hands are shaking.

That being said I think its because the plausibility of the scenario that teenagers get kidnapped and are sold into prostitution in the world heightens the fear factor because of the shocking reality that you ARE scared not only for the characters but what you think might happen. It is a very cleaver trick, a dominant theme in films such as Cloverfield and Signs, that creates fear not from what you do see but what you don’t.

Without a demanding presence onscreen I don’t think that this film would draw you into it so much. Neeson is truly spectacular in his role as the protective father, and keeps pace in the numerous action sequences.

At first I was dubious about watching this film due to emotional onslaught that a parent would go through but to view this film through the eyes of a teenager they would surely find a greater appreciation for the things that a parent does, or prevents us from doing, in our best interest.

Not for the week hearted, literally.

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

Film Review: The Dark Knight

Film quality is getting better and better. The bar, the standard, has been pushed so high that its very expensive to beat the expectation the last film leaves you for the next. The Dark Knight, the second in the new Batman franchise left me in awe. Having recently seen Iron Man I expected practically seamless transactions between actors, digital dummies, and effects what I didn’t expect was the entire package; sound, mood, storyline, growth, depth. Everything came together beautifully, each frame felt like it had been hand crafted rather than one in a among hundreds or thousands, in a particular scene.

There are 3 aspects that warrant attention, and all for positive reasons; The Joker, was magnificently portrayed by Heath Ledger, at the Première there was at least one mention of it being an Oscars worthy performance, this I whole heartedly agree with, whether it will actually happen is another story altogether (Best Picture 1977?).

Highlight number two, the score, a beautiful classically based musical accompaniment. It didn’t feel like pulp culture music, I felt it was an everlasting classic, something that won’t feel dated over time.

And finally the story, gripping, I never knew what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to find out.

No criticism from me here, I really would like to try but I can’t, it was a film I thoroughly enjoyed and will sing praises loudly about. Not something I often do so enjoy it while it lasts, hopefully I’m not the only one to feel this way and no-one will throw any right hooks and my view.

Rating: 97.8%

-0.2% because cinema ticket prices are so damn expensive when wanting to see it again.

Film Review: Firewall

I’ve just finished watching the movie Firewall, it wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad it just was. Its one of those films that a select few revere (there always are a few) but I’m guessing the majority are like me and think “m’eh”.

In fifty years time it’ll be one of those films that put on in the middle of the day that when someone goes sifting through the TV guides looking for were it says in bold letters FILM: they’ll see this, skim the synopsis and more on for something more interesting. What I don’t understand is why the legend that is Harrison Ford got involved in it? I mean a living legend, he’s had a lot of high hitters ( for example 9 top 10 movies in the 1980s ) a slew of others since then. This it was just a little plain, yeah okay he’s getting on a bit but so was Sean Connery when he did Last Crusade or even later still Entrapment.

I just hope that the effort that when into this movie isn’t the same that gets applied to Indiana Jones 4 if it ever gets out of the pre-production stage.

Rating: 53%