Monday, June 27, 2011


While syndicated review columns are available to many news outlets, I personally do not believe in posting a review unless I have seen the item in question myself or one of The Free Choice E-zine's staff has done so.
Therefore, although (movie) reviews are not as prolific here as they might be elsewhere, the following are my genuine opinions on two films I have recently seen.

It is easy to view an adaptation of anything with preconceived notions of how the subject matter should be, based upon your experiences with the source material.
There are comic book fans that have commented about how this movie is not always true to the periodicals it's based upon, but taken on its own merits, Green Lantern is a fun movie.
As an origin/debut movie, it works well. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), while a cocky jet pilot, is a bit hesitant to assume his new assignment as part of an Intergalactic peace keeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps.
While their portrayals here might not be as detailed as they are in the comic books, the villains Parallax (voice of Clancy Brown, who has done voice work for DC/Warner Brothers animation before) and Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) were creditable threats.
It must be pointed out that if Hammond wasn't affected by Parallax, who thus became aware of the existence of our solar system and Earth, it could have otherwise been years/decades before the threat came our way, and by then it would have been too strong for anyone to deal with.
Jordan, while not easily so, believably defeated Parallax based upon previous events in the movie prior to encountering the main villain for himself.
Blake Lively as Carol Ferris and Mark Strong as Sinestro were totally believable in their roles.
The CGI was on par with this film's peers, giving us credible aliens/other Green Lanterns, and presented a valid image of an Intergalactic force, while not losing sight of the new recruit.
The only additional scene is in between the main cast and crew credits, teasing at the possibility of Green Lantern 2, with a story line any comic book fan will tell you they saw coming from a light year away.

While the movie never came right out and said exactly how much time has passed since the end of the last installment of this franchise, Johnny Depp has not lost one iota of his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Having made his way to England in order to rescue a former crew mate, Sparrow winds up in a race to find and claim the legendary Fountain of Youth that Juan Ponce de Leon is supposed to have discovered.
Jack and his friend Joshamee (returning performer Kevin McNally) get mixed up with English and Spanish contestants, as well as the legendary pirate Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) who, to make matters even more complicated, is a former love interest of Jack's.
As the race progresses across the Atlantic Ocean for parts unknown, or at least unidentified, it is revealed that one must acquire a mermaid's tear for the fountain's magic to work properly.
While some can argue that the movie might have been a bit long at 137 minutes (compared to Green Lantern's 114) there is no denying the fast paced action and high adventure to be had.
I would love to know what happened to Serena the Mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and Sam Calflin (Phillip Swift) after their last on screen scene, although the explanation as to why there was a missionary on board Blackbeard's ship was a little thin in my humble opinion.
The only additional scene is all the way at the end of the final credits, and sets up the potential for the next movie. But that scene also makes me wonder if Naomie Harris at some point will be reprising her role as Calypso from the third movie. If so, you will hear no complaint from this viewer.

Both Green Lantern and Pirates 4 were presented in 3D at my local theater. While the technology has come a long way from the days of the red lens and blue lens glasses, I personally think the effort was totally wasted on Pirates 4.
While used to great advantage in the special effect and outer space scenes in Green Lantern, On Stranger Tides stood on its own merits and didn't need it. After all, what's so exciting about a ship's prow or an occasional sword point coming right at you?

There are some who say this 'fad' is wearing out its welcome rather quickly because of its over use. I'm afraid I have to agree with that, to a point.
The technology is much better than 3D's debut in the 1950's, but it needs to be used more to a specific movie's advantage than any studio's potential box office return.
Case in point: think about James Cameron's Avatar. That was the first movie I ever saw in the new 3D and well worth the extra ticket money.
In other words: don't complain about the gimmick, just its over use.

As previously stated, the above are just my personal opinions about the movies. Yours may vary.

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