Archive for May, 2004

 The Day After Tomorrow

An enjoyable film. The special effects were excellent, with two notable exceptions. The CG wolves were a bit weak (reminiscent of the animals in Jumanji), and I wish that until Hollywood has mastered the art of adding post-production cold-weather breath, directors would refrain from using it in their movies — it’s just lame. The movie fails as an environmental cautionary tale since most of the story is outside the realm of scientific possiblity, and as a result the president’s concluding monologue comes off a bit preachy.

 Troy

I’ve heard some critics complain that this movie suffers because it was stripped of the gods that figure so heavily into Homer’s Iliad, on which the film is based. I never missed’em. In fact, the characters are left to pick up the slack, and they do just fine. Brad Pitt’s Achilles is a certified bad-ass, and his non-conformist, free-agent politics are appealing. His preoccupation with his own legacy is a bit overwrought, especially given his divine lineage (which is all but ignored in the film), and seems incongruent with his character’s bloodthirstiness. This movie is an epic in every sense of word. The battle scenes are immense and the vistas are dramatic and sweeping, both complimented well by the CG special effects. An excellent film.

 Van Helsing

This is definitely a fun movie. The story relies heavily on gadgets — which can often ruin a film (witness Wild Wild West) — but it thankfully doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence by trying to explain how it is possible that the the titular character carries a gas-powered automatic weapon in the 1880’s. It is also fun to see just how many movies this one borrows from or pays homage to. Some scenes seem to be lifted directly out of the James Bond or Indiana Jones franchises, and the premise of the story itself is recycled from innumerable films like Men In Black or this year’s Hellboy. This shouldn’t stop you from seeing it, however. Check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride.