Monday, October 13, 2014

Dracula (1958)

Well I may not get to do much personally for Halloween this year, but at least when I was last hanging with Blaine, he decided it was high time I take a look at what Christopher is best known for aside from being Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings, and various stuff from Tim Burton: Dracula. And how did this film itself turn out? Let's find out.

Plot: Johnathan Harker comes to the castle of Count Dracula to become the castle librarian. But secretly, he really is a vampire hunter, attempting to destroy Dracula. He succeeds in impaling the vampire women that Dracula had trapped, but in doing so awakes the count, sealing his doom. So it's up to his friend, Dr. Van Helsing to investigate what happened to his friend and attempt to succeed where Harker did not in destroying Count Dracula.

I honestly am not entirely sure what to especially say about this movie than what is more or less already said. Dracula delivers exactly what you would expect with giving us the story of Dracula with Christopher Lee performing as him, which he does a great job at. He's stern, calm and polite at first, but once its night time, he will be a vicious blood sucking killer...with barely any of the blood. In fact, I think RottenTomatoes says it best in the beginning of their consensus for the film as trading the gore for the grandeur. This is a well slow placed film that has a splendid style to it from the setting, to the events of the film themselves. And it has a very memorable cast. I thought the real interesting focus of this film for me was going to see a young Christopher Lee of all things, but no, I got much more than that; namely an also young Peter Cushing and Michael Gough (Grand Morf Tarkin from Star Wars: A New Hope and Alfred in the original Batman films) as Van Helsing and Arthur. If you consider how both actors look in the films I just listed to how they look in this particular film, You would probably be a little surprised at how young they are too. And when the film is suspenseful, it kept me interested and wanting to know if the protagonists where going to live. Now was it a really scary movie for me? Of coarse not. I mean let's be fair, this was made in 1958, and it's on a concept I know well about as much as the next guy. So naturally, I would not this this a scary as people would back then. But even with that said, I can see why people would be scared, because it is a thrilling movie that times its really dark moments with Lee very well.

And that's my review for Dracula. I honestly feel like I didn't say that much about this film, but at the same time I also feel like I don't really need to. It is simply a well acted movie with a great cast and a well slow paced story of Count Dracula with Christopher Lee as Dracula himself. I honestly think those elements are enough for the film to continue being memorable and classic considering the monster genre. So if you haven't seen this movie yet, definitely give it a shot. 

Rating: 100%

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

A couple of weeks ago, I got together with Blaine again and he showed me a couple more movies. One of them was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which we watched in a really small theater a little ways from where he lives. So here's my thoughts on the film.

Plot: Set ten years later after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the virus Will Rodman worked on has caused the collapse of human civilization. Since then, Caesar has formed an ape civilization in the Muir Woods while a group of humans who have survived the collapse live in San Fransisco. One human named Malcolm convinces Caesar to allow him and some other human to work on a dam in the woods so that they can have electricity in the city, and they begin to form a friendship. But things start to go uneasy between them as both humans and apes create a conflict, and Malcolm and Caesar have to find a way to prevent war between their races.
When talking about my thought about watching this movie, it's important to know that I would by little to no means consider myself a fan of this particular franchise. The first movie mainly just showed me what I already knew about the franchise just based on what I heard with things like a few moments from The Simpsons that have done parodies about it. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was not much of an improvement as it was better, but still had a predictable all around story. So it's saying quite a bit when I say that I found myself enjoying this movie to the point that I want to know what they're going to do in the next movie. Whereas the other two movies where really a means to just know what happened and I wouldn't really care, this one kept be interested almost from beginning to end. The apes themselves were interesting with how they have formed as a sentient civilization with Caesar as the wise and highly respected leader that you do not want to mess with. The human characters where likable too. Granted, most of them where characters that you have seen before, but at the same time, similar to the human characters in Rise of Planet of the Apes, the film does a good enough job in developing them to the point that you do root for them. The GCI is also much better. Some shots did come out as obviously fake to me, but even then, it was a nice improvement from the last film, particularly with making it visually helping us tell the ape characters apart. But the real heart of the movie is the conflict. Despite how much I expected it to, the story wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. And a lot of that comes from how the whole situation isn't very black and white. Even with the antagonists in this movie, you can see their points of view and why they were so driven about what they were doing. The action was also pretty entertaining, which is great because since all I really remembered about the action in the last film was apes jumping off of buildings a few stories high and land on the ground fine. But here, it's bigger, darker, and much, much more entertaining. The only problems I have with this movie was that we didn't get as much time with Gary Oldman, and the first half hour of the movie did feel a little long for me personally.

And that's my review for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It was compelling, it's well acted, it has really good CGI, it had likable characters, and it all around succeeded where Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes genuinely failed in terms of really entertaining me. Did it make me want to see more of the franchise? No. But it got me interested for what they'll do for the next movie, and that's still quite a win for the movie on my account.   

Rating: 90%

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004)

So for a couple of weeks, I went through the earlier seasons of Spongebob Sqaurepants, in hopes of going through the entire show to find out how it went downhill as well as being ready for the upcoming sequel to this film; Sponge Out of Water. So let's take a look at the big movie that came before Spongebob's last, good season, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.

Plot: Spongebob Sqaurepants becomes heartbroken when his boss, Mr. Krabs doesn't promote him as the manager of the second Krusty Krab restaurant because he is not mature enough. But when Plankton steals King Neptune's crown and sends it to Shell City and frames Mr. Krabs, Spongebob convinces Kind Neptune to give him 6 days to retrieve his crown and prove Krab's innocence. So the race is on for Spongebob and Patrick to retrieve the crown, unaware that Plankton has planned to use this to get the Krabby Patty formula. 

I realize just from writing the plot paragraph, that if you are not familiar with the show, you are not likely going to understand a good portion of what is happening in this film. But with that said, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie is still a fun movie to enjoy. In fact, for those of you who don't recall my review for Hey Arnold! The Movie or haven't read it, I gave examples of how theatrical movies based off animated TV shows work best if they give us a story of their characters going on a grand adventure that comes out as very epic and works unlike Hey Arnold! The Movie itself, which was bland movie and shockingly had little to no energy. And The Spongebob Squarepants Movie was one of those examples I gave. This film does give us a grand adventure that Spongebob hasn't come across before. And it pulls it off very well. We get Spongebob and Patrick going somewhere beyond Bikini Bottom, they comes across all these different obstacles, and Plankton finally gets the Krabby Patty formula. All of this at the time worked in giving us something that the characters haven't come across before. But they still give us the comedy and charm that Spongebob and his friends at Bikini Bottom have, while also expanding the world of Spongebob Squarepants. Including giving us new characters such as King Neptune and his daughter Mindy, voiced by Jeffrey Tambor and Scarlett Johansson (yeah imagine that today, Black Widow in Spongebob Squarepants), and even Alec Baldwin as Dennis, who I personally think did a pretty decent job disguising his voice. All three of these new characters have their likable moments. Although I will say that as a kid and even now that I'm grown up, I can't help but wonder why Neptune and Mindy never made any future appearances in the show. I mean sure, they wouldn't be there all the time, and they probably wouldn't be voiced by Tambor and Johansson again. But at the same time, I always felt we could've gotten more stories with those two. I mean what about Patrick's crush on Mindy? That went pretty much nowhere in this movie, so why not give a little more to that in episodes that take place after the film? But I digress. The music also has its memorable moments too...even if most of them are memorable in a love/hate kind of catchy way. There is no doubt that there are some people who really hate certain songs like Best Day Ever and especially The Goofy Goober song. But the same time, both songs come off as a lot of fun and really catchy to listen and sing to. And then there's the real focus in the film, on Spongebob and Patrick. Like I said before, they both succeed in giving us the comedy and charm that makes them likable...even if some of the jokes they pull come out as a lot more weird now that I'm grown up. Which brings the need to point of that it really depends on your sense of humor on whether or not you would like this film, or even the show for that matter. Now if there's one personal problem I have with the film that I honestly am kind of glad they will be fixing in some degree in the next movie, it would be that we don't exactly get enough of other characters in the show like Squidward, Gary, Mr. Krabs and Sandy. All of these characters are just as likable as Spongebob and Patrick in their own way, and yet neither of them have much to contribute to the film aside from Mr. Krabs' dilemma moving the plot along. 

And that's my review for The Spongebob Sqaurepants Movie. It's a fun, goofy movie with strange with mostly enjoyable humor, likable characters that are either from the show or are made just for the film, and a story that works in giving the characters a big adventure that makes it work as a movie made from an animated TV series. Now am I going to continue going through the whole show? I mean I'll watch season 4 and some other episodes here and there that I hear are a little good, but from what I've seen from videos about the show from YouTube video reviewer; TheMysteriousMrEnter, the show really has gone to crap. In fact I think it's safe for me to say just based on what I saw from his videos, that even compared to other shows that I've seen lose its touch in later seasons, what has happened to Spongebob recently is ...atrocious. But I still hope to see Sponge Out of Water when it hits the theaters. I don't expect it to be good, it could be enjoyable in some way. So stick around to see how that turns out in a few months.

Rating: 70%