Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Category : Movie Review

Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld

Year: 2018

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only one of the best animated features of 2018, it’s one of the best films of the year period.  And going one step further, it’s not only one of the best animated features I have ever seen, it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen.  This re-imagining of the classic comic book character is one of the most amazing cinematic experiences you will ever witness, a film that goes beyond genre to a place that very few have gone before, and every award that has been thrown its way so far has been entirely earned.  I’m just sorry that I saw it so late, that I didn’t make more of an effort so see it immediately upon its release, because my voting would have been different had this been on my list; it might have vaulted immediately to the very top.  Spider-Verse is simply that kind of movie; a once-in-a-lifetime success on every level that will both blow you away and wrap you in an embrace that will last.

Miles Morales is a whiz kid who just transferred to a new school at his parents’ insistence, so that he could start down a path toward success.  But he’s also an artist, a kid of the streets of Brooklyn, and he misses his old school.  His uncle, understanding what Miles’ father can’t quite grasp, takes him down into an abandoned subway tunnel so that Miles can express himself through graffiti, but a glitching spider bites Miles, giving him Spider-Man-like powers, with a few special exceptions.  Meeting the real Spider-Man, Miles witnesses Kingpin using a device that opens up parallel worlds, unknowingly releasing multiple Spider-style people into Miles’ reality.  They must all team together to find Kingpin’s next test site, use the Super Collider to get home, and destroy it behind them before he can push it past its limits and rip open the very fabric of the multiverse.

There isn’t enough hyperbole to abuse to encompass how awesome Spider-Verse is; let me just say “wow”.  It’s only the beginning, but the animation alone deserves a standing ovation, and has perhaps single-handedly changed the direction of animated features to come.  It’s breathtaking what they were able to do with this computer-animated style, blending comic book pixelation with stunning CGI rendering, creating a world that looks like pages come to life, but with depth, clarity, and color that will leave you speechless.  Background objects blur, characters glitch, you can see every dot of ink, you won’t believe it’s computer-generated, and you’ll never see anything quite like this again.  The story is set in a parallel world to our own, details are similar but not quite exactly the same as the world we know, and then Spider-Men from multiple dimensions pop up, bringing their own unique styles, methods, and genres with them; genius.

The entire film is a masterpiece, a work of art that also has a wonderful plot, the two traveling hand in hand from start to finish, taking us along for the ride.  Miles is an incredible character, and it’s beyond refreshing to see diversity enter this classic world.  Miles’ dad is black, his mom is Latina, he has his mother’s name, the music is modern, the romance element is turned on its head, there are multiple points of view; this is the shot in the arm we needed, and it affects so many genres, this is definitely going to ripple.  Then there’s the movie, which is funny, silly, moving, passionate, action-packed, well-structured; I’m not sure if there’s a single thing I could point to as a weakness, it simply works from top to bottom.  And the cast, holy cow: Moore, Johnson, Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Hill, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Nic Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Oscar Isaac, Lake Bell, Stan Lee.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not, and it also doesn’t get much better than this movie as a whole, a kick in the teeth of the status quo and an example for future filmmakers of exactly what to do right.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Mummy Returns

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stephen Sommers

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah

Year: 2001

The Mummy Returns is as spectacularly bad as The Mummy is wonderfully good, the two balancing each other out like weights on a scale, but someone must have forgotten that we usually like our movies high-quality, as a general rule, we don’t require a mix 0f great and terrible.  And The Mummy Returns is sure terrible, a complete about face from what worked in the original, the sequel becoming a perfect example of exactly what not to do.  The stars return, the nods are there, they knew we wanted more, but instead of more fun we get more fluff, and the film completely jumps the shark.  It’s a difficult task, executing a sequel, and this cast & crew was simply not up to the challenge.

Once again, this time on purpose, the evil Imhotep has been awoken from his slumber to conquer the world and the O’Connell’s have to stop him before it’s too late.  A reincarnation of his ancient love has found a way to bring him back to life, but not just to be at his side, but also so that he can face the Scorpion King, commander of the armies of Anubis.  Whosoever defeats the King can command the armies, and so take over the world, making the King’s secret pyramid a site all greedy men search for.  To make matters worse for the O’Connell’s, Imhotep kidnaps their son, who knows the lost city’s location, so off they go on another adventure to rescue Alex, stop the bad guy, and save mankind; all in a day’s work.

It’s so bad it’s almost funny, but then not really, it just falls back to being plain bad.  Everything that worked in the first is amped up a bit in the second, and the result is a disaster of poor taste, poor decisions, and worse acting.  Oh the acting; Weisz can do no wrong in my book, but someone made her fight and do cartwheels, which can’t really be done with any self respect.  The plot is stupid, the action awful, the acting abysmal, the characters muddled, the Rock pops in, pops out, everyone sucks, and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket.  They would go on to make multiple more of these movies, and that’s just silly; the second one ruined the whole franchise anyway, and showed the world how not to make movies.  They really should teach classes with this film as a base, “Don’t Do This 101”; I think that might be the only positive to come from this utter waste of time.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Mummy

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stephen Sommers

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah

Year: 1999

Although I would also see her in Stealing Beauty, Chain Reaction, Going All the Way, and Bent, my love for Rachel Weisz would blossom with The Mummy and then solidify with Enemy at the Gates; I did, do, and will always consider her to be one of the best, smartest, most-talented, and most-beautiful actresses working.  I was 15 when The Mummy came out, 17 for Enemy at the Gates, and I think I quite literally fell in love, or at least as much as someone can with someone on-screen, but you know what I mean.  Through the years, she’s only grown as a professional, grown more lovely as well, and has to be in the Top Five talents in the industry.  It’s great to look back, re-watch, and notice her amazing skill, even in a silly movie like this one; she just stands out.  And in the film’s defense, The Mummy is silly in all the right ways, adventurous and comical and fun to perfection, holding up just fine 20 years later because it got so much right the first time around.

Legend tells of an undead priest who lies under the sands of Egypt, waiting to be awakened so that he can be reunited with his lost love and, with her at his side, conquer the known world.  His burial site has become the stuff of myth, X-marks-the-spot treasure folklore, but two men have actually been there: Beni, a craven opportunist, and Rick O’Connell, a soldier of fortune.  They lead two diverse groups of adventurers into the dessert in search of Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, where Imhotep the priest waits, wanting only the riches, not knowing what else is in store for them.  O’Connell falls for the woman who has hired him to guide her; the lovely Evie, who has Egypt in her blood and knows more lore than all the ancient scholars put together.  Hopefully it’s enough to get them out of the jam they’re about to get themselves in, because awoken, evil, immortal mummies don’t share their treasure, and also don’t usually let those who disturbed them escape with their lives.

The Mummy might be one of the best action/adventure epics of all time, and I don’t say that lightly.  It’s a wonderful mix of camp and cool, with fun for kids and story for adults, romance and gunfights and comedy and escapes all rolled into two hours that burst at the seams with entertainment.  This movie was a big deal when it came out, Brendan Frasier was a big star, and although we joke about his goofiness now, he didn’t seem that goofy then, and I think he was the perfect O’Connell; approachable and sweet, but somehow also a badass.  And of course Rachel Weisz was a goddess, still is, and she was made for this part.  The CGI was good at the time, the action was as well, and this film should always be remembered in context, but honestly I don’t think it needs any free passes, I think it still holds up.  It’s fun, it’s frantic, it has the ability to quiet down at times, it has the power to pick up and get the heart pounding when it wants to, and I don’t know many fantasy flicks like this that make as few mistakes.  I can’t wait to share this with my kids; they’re gonna flip out, and I’ll be right there with them.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Alien Warfare

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jeremiah Jones

Starring: David Meadows, Clayton Snyder, Daniel Washington

Year: 2019

I’ve seen my fair share of terrible b-movies, and I have to say, I’ve seen a lot worse than Alien Warfare.  I know one of the original writers, although his script was basically overhauled in the rewrites, but it’s still cool that he has a film to his credit now, and it’s available on Netflix, so it should get some views, regardless of its general straight-to-video quality.  But, again, I’ve seen worse, especially in this genre; special ops soldiers encountering aliens, fighting for their lives, in over their heads, rescuing damsels, you know the drill.  Alien Warfare at least knows that it’s over-the-top, and that’s the first element to a great bad movie, one that understands its scope and ceiling, and knows that it’s no good.

A team of Navy Seals has been assigned to a dangerous mission; infiltrate a top secret base, find out why the top secret scientists who worked there disappeared, recover the top secret experiment they were working on, and get the hell out of there.  Chris the LT, Mike the hothead, Jonesy the Medic, Thorpe the tech guy; this crew has worked some shit assignments before, but this one might take the cake.  Especially after they reach the site, find one woman alive, and realize that what they’re up against is alien.  That’s right, alien technology, when these Seals have been training against the worst humanity has to offer for years; now all that’s out the window.  The rules of engagement have changed, and they might not survive this freaky firefight.

I’m not kidding; I’ve seen SO much worse.  At the very least, these actors could mostly act, and I felt like a few of the people involved in this film might actually have had some awareness as to the kind of silly, explode-y, alien-y footage they were capturing, that it wasn’t wonderful, but that it was also kinda fun.  The team worked well together, the plot was enjoyable, the run time was short, and while we usually get a ton of boobs and blood with this kind of feature, it really would have been unnecessary, so I’m glad they held back.  There’s a difference between letting loose and jumping the shark, and this film walked that thin line rather well, only wavering a little, always pulling back just in time.  Don’t watch thinking that you’re about to see Annihilation, because duh, but for a low-budget sci-fli flick, Alien Warfare didn’t embarrass itself.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Field of Dreams

Category : Movie Review

Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones

Year: 1989

One of the greatest American movies of all time and an ode to one of our longest standing traditions, Field of Dreams is a classic film about a classic sport, but also a story about so much more.  Unlike Rudy or Hoosiers, which are equally wonderful, Field of Dreams focuses less on the passion of playing the sport and more on the mystical quality of the sport itself.  It brings to life the legends of the past and puts faces on the people who love the game enough to hold on to it forever.  It also breaks the heart with a message about the fleeting qualities of life, and how those we care for are gone too soon, before we can summon the courage to tell them how we really feel.  For all those reasons, this film is a pillar in the temple to cinema, and loses nothing rewatched many years and many times later, always summoning its magic from the inexhaustible pool of nostalgia, tradition, and family.

Ray Kinsella loves his wife, his daughter, baseball, and has just bought a farm; though the road to this point was winding, that about sums things up.  He’s in over his head as a farmer, but his wife loves living in Iowa, and they are a happy family: Ray, Annie, and little Karin.  One evening out in the corn, Ray hears a voice, and it tells him, “if you build it, he will come.”  Ray doesn’t know what this means, he fears that he’s going crazy, but he knows that the voice wants him to build a baseball diamond, right smack dab in the middle of his corn.  So the family dips into their savings, builds a ballpark, and waits, while the bills pile up.  But someone does come, and it’s someone Ray grew up hearing about from his father, who also loved baseball.  The man who appears from the corn to play ball on the field with his friends is “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, bringing with him the infamous Black Sox team of 1919.  Watching them play on his field is a dream come true for Ray, but his mission isn’t over, and the voice doesn’t stop.  What comes next is a journey of the spirit down a path that’s hard to walk, facing regrets that threaten to overwhelm you, but made a little easier by those who hold your hand along the way.

I well up during multiple scenes every time I watch this movie; it has that kind of power, the ability to hit you where you didn’t know you weren’t protected.  For me, it’s always been the message about father and son, but this time around it was also the fear of failing your family, of keeping your children safe, and growing up to be the kind of man you pictured you could be.  That was a surprise, those punches thrown from different directions, but I don’t blame the film for landing a few good ones; in fact, I welcome it.  Sometimes we need to let a little out before we burst, and Field of Dreams is just what the doctor ordered.  It’s deep, it’s beautiful, it’s touching, it’s heartbreaking, and above all it’s honest, even while it tells a fantastic story.  Magical realism, that’s the genre of the novel the film was based on, and it’s one of my favorites, an absolutely wonderful way to make a point about the human condition.  At the same time, this movie is about a amazing sport, one that we can trace back 150 years, something that’s an ingrained part of our country in a way that can’t be described.  This film tries though, and you can feel that truth within every marvelous moment.  Kevin Costner may not be the best actor, but he’s perfect here, never better, and his supporting cast helps him out the whole way through.  I can’t wait to watch this with my kids, to share this experience with them, because it’s made a marked difference in my life, and I will never forget either its hopeful message or its stunning voice.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Missing Link

Category : Movie Review

Director: Chris Butler

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana

Year: 2019

My reaction to the Missing Link trailer in January was doubtful, and I quote: “It’s hard to imagine this movie reaching the same level as other Laika films (Coraline, ParaNorman, Boxtrolls, Kubo); it just doesn’t have that same feel.  I’m sure the animation will be spectacular, what they do is so wonderful, I just don’t see any real reason to watch other than the production company’s fame.  I hope I’m wrong.”  Update: I wasn’t wrong.  Missing Link doesn’t bring the magic that Laika’s others have almost guaranteed from the first still image, failing to live up to the hype built up by audiences’ expectations when they imagine what stop-motion marvels might be next.  Good not great, it’s a project that leaves us wanting more, wanting something else, hoping that the next batter up will be a stronger hitter.

Sir Lionel Frost is the greatest adventurer that the world has never heard of, all his discoveries undocumented or unbelieved.  Wanting desperately to be accepted as part of the club of famous hunters and explorers, Frost doesn’t go for the easy bait, he sets his sights a little higher: dodos, mermaids, the Loch Ness monster.  But no one believes he can find something that has never been seen before, not even when he receives a letter inviting him to the American Northwest to view proof of the legendary Sasquatch.  In fact, he meets the Bigfoot, a kind and confused primitive man/giant animal who Frost calls Mr. Link.  The creature is gentle and can speak English, wanting only to find others of his kind with the help of a talented adventurer, starting a journey in which the pair will become friends, learn lessons, and experience wonders never before beheld by the eyes of man or beast.

Audiences will most assuredly be underwhelmed by Missing Link, a pleasant movie without any punches to throw other than the feat of its animation.  And that part can’t be ignored; it’s indescribably impressive how this team can create this films using stop-motion, how something so amazingly difficult can look this spectacular.  The motion isn’t played safe either, there are intense action sequences throughout, when your mind won’t be able to believe what your eyes are seeing.  The art from beginning to end is excellent, so beautiful, it must have taken so many so long to create something so lovely and complex; no matter what my opinion of the plot and delivery, there is no way I can watch a marvel like this and not clap.  However, and unfortunately, that’s not all there is to a theatre experience.

Coraline is dark, ParaNorman is cool, Boxtrolls is funny, Kubo is epic, but Missing Link simply doesn’t have anything to grab on to when it loses its footing, and it slips early and often.  The story is thin, the characters thinner, and the dialogue is surprisingly weak, with jokes that fall flat and a lack of music that’s both evident and confusing.  Much of the movie is fairly boring, and I didn’t need more action, when there was action present it was very nice, but I did need more …something: heart, depth, oomph, something.  Even my kids, who love everything from Laika to Disney, Ghibli to DreamWorks, left unaffected for the most part, underwhelmed by a seeming lack of effort to produce anything worth watching other than the animation.  I think I would have rather watched a documentary on how the the film was made, rather than the film itself, and that’s not good.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman IV

Category : Movie Review

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

Year: 1987

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the fourth, Superman is asked to become political, as the world enters a nuclear arms race and faces possibly annihilation.  He doesn’t want to take sides, but he also understands that he has to help in some way, that humanity isn’t ready to go it alone quite yet.  So Superman gathers up all the nuclear weapons and hurls them into the Sun, making Earth less likely to be destroyed; end of story.  But not quite, because tricky Lex Luthor is back again, and this time he’s hidden something in one of the bombs that has now been obliterated that will cause Superman some headaches.  Out of the ashes comes a new indestructible being, Nuclear Man, with the power of a star, and loyal to the evil Luthor.  He and Superman will duel, while Clark falls in love with another lovely lady and tries to figure out once more how to balance a social life with being the champion of an entire planet.

Sidney Furie might only have ever directed terrible movies, like 50 of them, it’s insane, but at least this much can be said for him; he saved Superman.  After Superman III, I’m not sure the world could have taken another direct hit, another film that was as much an insult to taste.  But he swooped in, returned the series to a style it had once sported, and left us all with a good taste in our mouths.  Hackman back as Lex, Kidder back as Lois, the theme music blaring, the same emotions stirred, a way shorter run time to speed things toward the climax; Furie knew what he was doing and did it well.  Now, that’s not saying Superman IV didn’t have its issues.  It’s over-the-top, fairly dumb, and showcases some world-class, F-grade acting; Mariel Hemingway and John Cryer are especially bad.  But, in the end, the film gets by on its own camp, going so bonkers that it starts to be pretty fun, even while we know it’s no good.  So ends the Superman quadrilogy, and the next time I return to it my kids will be a little older and ready to share in the experience with me.  It won’t have changed though, and that’s the magical thing about watching movies, they will be there for you forever, whenever you might need them.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman III

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Lester

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O’Toole

Year: 1983

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the third, Superman has made Lois forget about his true identity and their romance, knowing that the world still needs a super hero on the job 24/7, with no attachments of the personal kind.  But that doesn’t stop Clark, when Lois goes on an extended trip to scoop a story, from accidentally falling in love again while he’s on location developing his own article about small town life.  He attends his high school reunion and reunites with Lana Lang, his old crush, who begins to crush back just as hard.  But the world’s troubles won’t wait for a romantic picnic, Superman is needed, and more than ever.  Super computer genius Gus Gorman has teamed up with the wealthy and evil Ross Webster, who first wants computers to take control of the coffee crop, then the oil industry, and then the whole world.  To stop Superman from interfering, Gus gives Supes synthetic kryptonite, that doesn’t zap his power, but splits him into two distinct versions of himself, Jekyll vs Hyde, good vs evil, with the fate of Earth balanced between who wins the duel.

The third installment is by far the worst in the franchise, and comes close to one of the worst, dumbest, weakest, and most embarrassing movies I have ever seen.  It’s saved by the series, which I already enjoy, so I can’t exactly hate anything that falls under the umbrella, but boy does Superman III ever try its best to get us to despise it.  I’m not really sure where to start; the direction falling off, Superman’s evil twin who has a 5 o’clock shadow to show us that he’s a bad boy, the removal of the Lois love story, the absence of Lex Luthor, Richard Pryor not funny in any way, which is a complete shock.  Everyone’s acting takes a nosedive, like they all agreed to suck, and joke after joke fails to work, like the writer was purposefully trying to make the film tank.  I did like Annette O’Toole as Lana, and I did like that Margot Kidder was absent, but the computer stuff is plain ridiculous, especially looking back on the era 36 years later, and having two Supermen is a shark jump unlike any other.  I wish this movie didn’t exist, because it sullies the good name of the series.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman II

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner, Richard Lester

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp

Year: 1980

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the second, Superman is having trouble hiding his feelings from Lois Lane.  On location at Niagara Falls trying to break a story, Lois begins to suspect who Clark really is, and when he finally tells her and takes her to his Fortress of Solitude, it seems like the pair will officially be together.  But to become a mortal man who can love a mortal woman, Superman must give up his powers, becoming simply Mr. Kent, a price he is willing to pay to be with the woman he loves.  But little does he know that his past is about to come back to haunt him, right when he needs his inexhaustible strength the most.  Years ago, his father imprisoned three would-be rebels on Krpyton; Non, Ursa, and General Zod, evil criminals bent on world destruction.  Their prison destroyed, they have now come to Earth, and they have the same powers as Superman himself; well, the same powers he used to have.  They begin their conquest, with Lex Luthor’s help, and Clark is now just Clark, so who will save the day, and how will he explain it all to Lois?

The sequel is a step back from the original, what else should we have expected, but it still holds on to enough of the elements that made the first film work that it works itself, if just barely.  The music, the love story, Lex Luthor, a bit of Kryptonian history, a bumbling Kent; a lot of the same comes back, and that’s good, because when you look at it too closely, Superman II starts to look a little shabby, it definitely needs a strong foundation to keep from crumbling.  The three Krypton villains are silly, even helmed by the talented Terence Stamp; they just aren’t written very well.  And Margot Kidder, my god, she’s really, really bad, even worse than in the first, because she’s featured more often or at least more personally.  I hate to speak ill of the dead, I’m just commenting on a performance, so I’ll balance it out with how much I enjoy Christopher Reeve, who does an especially good job playing Clark.  I could have done with a little more Lex & Otis, they crack me up, but hey, you can’t always get what you want.  That should maybe have been the tagline for this film, because it delivers, just not exactly as well as you would wish for.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Superman

Category : Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman

Year: 1978

I remember watching the Superman movies on VHS and on TV when I was a kid; it used to be that renting a video at your local store and checking the TV Guide to see when a film would be on television were both big deals, and, at a young age, those movies you chose to watch stuck with you for a lifetime.  The Superman quadrilogy, most of which came out before I was born, was still a part of my film experience and my taste building, especially the first two, which I remember more clearly.  But the whole series is historic, in its own way, and recently I decided to do a rewatch from the top.  Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV; I expected some ups & downs and that’s exactly what I got, but the music and the memories were worth the visit, and this franchise will always be legend.

In the first, we are introduced to the alien hero Kal-El.  He was born on the planet Krypton as that world approached its self-destruction, as its leaders ignored the warning signs and refused to abandon their home.  Jor-El knew that the end was near, so he send his infant son into space, with all the knowledge of his people and with the means of reaching Earth, where a yellow sun and a different atmosphere would mean that Kal-El would grow up to be special.  Found by the Kents and raised as their son Clark in Smallville, Kansas, this boy would become the world’s greatest hero, after finally understanding the whole of his past and the mission his parents bestowed upon him when they saved his life; to protect mankind, to be their guide, and to always do right.  Clark Kent, moving to Metropolis and becoming a journalist for the Daily Planet newspaper, would keep the city safe.  But falling in love with fellow reporter Lois Lane and running afoul of genius villain Lex Luthor would complicate his heroics, and sometimes difficult choices arise when you find yourself in too deep.

From the opening credits onward, audiences can sense something special about Superman, an epic adventure with all the pieces present to go down in history as one of the very best.  The score is perfection, and flows throughout every moment, each main character receiving a theme; Superman, Lois, Lex.  John Williams is obviously the best there is, and his talents are on full display here, with music that I will never forget.  This is one of Donner’s first films, his career taking off in the 80s & 90s with hits that became cult classics, and you can see his skill easily.  Compared to today’s comic book movies, he kept things very simple; basically we see Krypton, meet Superman, he falls in love, and then saves the day, but that’s enough for one film, even one with a long run time.  The Krypton scenes are cool, the villains are hilarious, Reeve is an American institution, and the cast is solid, with Marlon Brando popping up to play Jor-El.  Margot Kidder I could have done without, she’s loud and weird, and not a very good leading lady, but basically everything else works, and I’m glad I’ll always have this film to return to.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆