Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movie Review: Clash of Titans, Alice in Wonderland, Kick-Ass

Movie Reviews

I recently saw 3 movies near back-to-back. The Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, and Kick Ass. Of the three, I like Clash of Titans least. Wonderland and Kick Ass, I like equally but for different reason. I had wanted to see Wonderland in 3D, but unfortunately, the theater was taken by Clash of Titans, so I saw that in 3D instead.

The Clash of the Titans:
It's a well-made movie, but unfortunately, too special effect heavy. By that, I mean that the acting is put as secondary consideration. What was there is fine, certainly nothing wrong with it. However, I'm only impressed by the acting of two actors: Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Having seen Terminator 4 and Avatar, I know Sam Worthington can act, but it seems that his talent is under-utilized here. I also like the performance of that kooky old guy who put Andromeda to Kraken.

The special effect, however, is terrific. Unfortunately, the 3D special effect is wasted. I don't know why, but they fell flat, even though they shouldn't. There's enough scenes that should highlight the 3D effect. All other effects, though, is excellent. You can really feel the power of those gigantic scorpions breaking through the columns. Kraken is downright scary. The scale feels epic.

So, watch it in theatre for the effect, unless you have great surround sound system, because I believe the sound easily contributes 30% of the effect. The 3D effect is forgettable, so if you do have great sound system at home, you can skip the 3D effect.

Alice in Wonderland:
Down the rabbit hole she went. The story is kind of different. All the elements are there, but different. This one has plot. I'm having trouble judging the acting skills. I think Alice acting skill is actually sub-par compared to the rest of the crew, animated ones included! The rest of the cast is terrific. A pleasure to see Johnny Depp portray the Mad Hatter. Enough craziness to be mad, not enough to be silly. A very fine performance, indeed. Helena Bonham Carter is obviously typecast, but also put on an excellent performance. All the wonderland characters has this quirkiness that is just slightly out of this world. The physical proportion is off compared to that of the real world.

As far as the plot is conceived, I'm having trouble thinking why Alice can't eat some cake and crush the Jabberwocky with her fingers. Other than that, it is fine. A standard reluctant heroine plot. The environment, however, is marvelous. The costumes are terrific. The colors are brilliant. The movie really does transport you to another world, and I'm really sorry that I missed it in 3D.

Kick Ass:
I have to say that I wasn't going to watch this movie because it has a silly plot. But I did go see it because the performance of Chloe Moretz is rumored to be good. It's true. Having seen that movie, I can tell that she is a professional actress. And she was 11 years old at the time!

The story is that of Nerd-Turned-Superhero plot. However, it was presented in such a way that is believable, and generate sympathy, while at the same time, providing over-the-top fighting sequences. What other superhero do you know gained their power by being stabbed in the stomach and hit by a passing car? That is both painful and funny at the same time. That is the kind of humor this movie has, and it provides them by the buckets. Rumor has it, this movie is made with 30 million dollars. If so, that is 30 million dollars well-spent.

The acting skill and casting is superb. From Nicholas Cage down, everybody is terrific. Geeks act like geeks. Pretty girls act like pretty girls. Thugs act like thugs, and so on. The only one that I notice is sub-par is Red Mist. I know he's supposed to be stupid, but it seems like he's only stoic stupid. The role actually provides a range of acting skills, so there should be dumb-stupid, angry-stupid, bewildered-stupid, and so-on. I guess you can say Bruce Campbell Evil Dead series would be a good template. And yes, I am very impressed with Chloe Moretz's acting skill. I'm not a Nicholas Cage fan, but I have to admit, he's very good in this movie.

The story is good. The acting is top-notch. The special effects are flawless. Is there any downside? Depends. If you take the ridiculously violent movie "300", then you know how violent this movie is when I say that this one has more violence than "300". Also, the number of swear words seems to be there by the buckets. The humor, also, is not mainstream. Definitely adult-fare. If you're okay with that, and I am somewhat ambivalent about it, then yes, you should go see this movie.

And please, don't do that at home.

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