Thursday, April 10, 2008

Popcorn and Candy

So, I watched a few movies the past few days, including Good Luck Chuck, 30 Days of Night, The Game Plan, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and I Am Legend. But before I get into those, I want to talk about something else related.

I usually don't let what other people think of films get to me too much. Sure, before I rent a movie I'll look up average ratings if I'm questioning whether I'd like it or not. But I don't typically read full reviews of movies until after I seem them, and if it's a movie I really want to see I avoid as much press as possible generally speaking.

However, there was one time I didn't, and it affected my movie going experience immensely, and that was with Spider-Man 3. I had read conversations and reviews of that film before ever going to see it, and all the fanboys basically trashed it. Somehow, I let that affect my enjoyment of the film, and instead of just going and enjoying it, I found myself analyzing it from start to finish. It completely took me out of the film, and I hated that.

So, I got the movie for Christmas, and I have yet to watch it again because I'm purposely waiting for all that negativity and other peoples' views to get out of my head so I can try and just enjoy it for what it is.

It just frustrates me to know that I got sucked in, because, generally speaking, I think "fanboys" are way too harsh on films and expect them to measure up in every single possible way to the source material, be it a comic, novel, play, etc., ignoring the fact that some things have to be changed to reach a mass audience. I typically go into a movie with no expectations and just try to enjoy it for what it is. The only two franchises that came from novels that I ever read were Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, so obviously there was some expectation there. But I wasn't so enthralled with the source material not to open myself to what the films could be, even if they were slightly different.

All that said, that plays a part in a few of the movies I mentioned above.

First up is Good Luck Chuck, a film I honestly could have lived without seeing. I knew it would be a little raunchy, but I had no idea how raunchy. I unfortunately got a hold of the unrated edition, and I was sorely disappointed. Not just in the trashy theme of the whole film, but with the overall plot and acting. I'm a big Jessica Alba fan, not just because of her looks, but because I think she really is a good actress with range, and she showed that here. Her comedic timing and instinct was flawless in my opinion. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast basically blew. This was a huge disappointment. I don't think I'll ever watch another Dane Cook film. Employee of the Month was... ok, but this was just bad. And the guy's not funny at all, in the film, on the internet, in interviews or anything. I don't get the hype surrounding the guy at all.

30 Days of Night is one of those comic properties that fanboys would go crazy talking about. I stayed away from most conversations, so I'm not sure if it was well received by comicdom or not. I've never read the books, but the premise is very intriguing to me, so I checked it out. And I have to say overall it was a decent and suspensful movie. It went a little fast with not much build up or explanation, and I absolutely HATED the ending, but it was still worth watching.

I'm also a big fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, both in wrestling and in the movies. I think he's a solid and talented actor, and I've enjoyed everything he's been in, even Doom... well, a little. Walking Tall, The Rundown and Gridiron Gang were phenomenal in my opinion. And The Game Plan was pretty good too. It was a nice, fun, family film, and The Rock's personality was huge as usual. And his miniature co-star was a great young actress as well. It was nice to enjoy a lighthearted, fun film for a change.

And speaking of fun films, next up is Alvin and the Chipmunks. Now, I'm a huge fan of Alvin, Simon and Theodore from way back. I watched the cartoons, had the toys, and watched The Chipmunk Adventure more times than I can remember. I still love that film and feel it hold's up 21 years later. So I was hopeful, yet fearful, that this CGI/live action film would live up to the classic cartoons. And for me, it completely did, 100%! I thought the film was great. They captured every single character almost flawlessly. I thought Dave's yells for Alvin were a little less dramatic than they should be, and there wasn't enough focus on Alvin, but by and large, this film delivered the same feeling those cartoons did, which was pure fun and enjoyment. I loved the movie personally.

And finally, I Am Legend. There was so much buzz about this film, both in the film world and in the comic world. It's, I think, the third incarnation of the property under a different name. I can't remember the source material, nor have I read the book (which everyone says is better) or seen the other films, so I had absolutely no expectations going in. But this was another one of those that everyone around me was just trashing because "the book was much better", yadda, yadda. Will Smith is another favorite actor of mine, and I think I've seen everything he's been in to date. So I was going to check this out regardless, and I wasn't disappointed. I think it could have been a bit longer (it clocked in around an hour and 40 minutes) and given us just a tad more character, but it was a solid film that got the point across, and gave us a definite beginning, middle and end with closure. I was saddened by the ending, but unlike 30 Days of Night, I wasn't mad about it. The way 30 ended just didn't seem like the only solution - it felt like a cop out almost. No, that's not the right term. It was forced and felt put in for drama instead of serving the plot or bringing the film to a real conclusion. Whereas with this film there was no other solution. Add to that Will Smith's knack for deep emotional roles (see Pursuit of Happyness if you ever doubt this) and this was a 4 out of 5 for me. Not quite the best it could be, but far better than what others have said about it. Maybe my opinion would be different had I read the book. If so, I'm glad I didn't prior, so I could enjoy the film.

And that's my take on those films.I love movies, and I'd watch them every day if I could. I just don't get to as often as I'd like, nor do I get to talk about them much. So thanks for letting me rant on about them today.



Cary said...

actually, i like I am Legend the movie better than the book. i hated the book after the first 40 pages. it was truly awful in terms of pretty much every facet you could think of. the movie ruled in comparison. and if you watch the alternate ending of IAL, i think it's even better than the theatrical release.

dragonfuze said...

Thanks for the reviews, mate. Having Sam has cut massively into time for movies, but I am Legend is definitely on the list.

I am not really a horror fan, but I do love Vampires, so 30 Days Of Night is also on my 'to watch' list as well.

As for Spider-Man 3, I thought it was 'craptacular'.

Ray said...

Mate, first off. I LOVED Spiderman 3. I'm a huge fan and didn't think it was long enough. I reckon Venom was great.
I didn't like I Am Legend much, I thought Good Luck Chuck was hilarious but I did watch it with a bunch of guys so that probably made a difference. Haven't seen the others you mentioned.
You have to see Horton Hears A Who, loved it so much! Man you know I have fairly strong opinions about films, if you've read any of my reviews, but seriously go with what you think not anyone else.