Friday, July 25, 2008

Tron 2. Tron...Freakin' .2...

Whooping, hollering, and flashing the horns at my monitor all ensued after reading this.

It’s a sequel, not a remake (god, how I hates my remakes). And Jeff Bridges is in it.

That’s all I needed to hear.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dark Knight

I’ve waited a few days to talk about The Dark Knight. I wanted to give people some time to see it and needed a little more time to ponder the film.

Days later, I still don’t know how I feel about Christopher Nolan’s second act in what I assume is a trilogy chronicling Bruce Wayne’s first years as Batman. It is an amazing film: the most mature (and I don’t mean in that “it has boobies” sort of way), intelligent, and compelling comic book movie ever made. It’s the first movie of its kind to warrant Oscar nominations outside of technical awards – and not just for Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker, either.

Still, I don’t think I actually enjoyed it. I certainly don’t believe that movies need to be enjoyable or fun to be loved and appreciated, but I think a film about Batman should be those things. Batman Begins had a better balance of psychological drama while remembering that it was a film about a guy dressed up like a bat…like a bat, for God’s sakes.

I can think of only a few films as bleak and emotionally oppressive as this film. This isn’t a film about Good vs. Evil. This is a film about Evil: how good, decent people try to understand it and combat it; how people are destroyed by it; and, sometimes, how people are overwhelmed and seduced by it, becoming just as terrible as the enemy they're fighting. Good may win a few battles in The Dark Knight, but Evil is winning the war.

As Harvey Dent says in the film, “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” I can’t think of better words to sum up this film. I can’t wait to see the third film if Nolan once again co-writes and directs, to see “the dawn” that he would create. That “dawn” will help shape my final opinion of The Dark Knight.

But I wouldn’t have Nolan change a frame of this film. Nor I can think of a better person to helm the Batman franchise and shape the character for a new century and a new generation. I like his take on Bruce Wayne/Batman more than anyone else’s – except maybe The Animated Series of the early 90’s, which nailed the character.

The Dark Knight is equal to the sci-fi/fantasy classics of the early 80’s, like Blade Runner, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Wrath of Kahn, that obviously inspired Nolan and his generation of filmmakers, back when films were treated, at least to some degree, more as creative endeavors than financial endeavors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Like this summer’s The Incredible Hulk, I’m going to hold my final opinion on Hellboy II until I see the director’s cut on DVD.

Of course, there's no guarantee of a director's cut. But the first film had one and it looks like this one is doing significantly better bank. More importantly, this film needs – demands – a director's cut even more than the first film.

I walked out of the first Hellboy with mixed feelings. I instantly fell in love with Ron Perlman’s performance and Guillermo Del Toro’s direction, but the story was a bit shaky, some of the jokes forced, and the villains underwhelming. The movie grew on me considerably after multiple viewings, especially when the director’s cut came out, since it smoothed out almost all the film’s rough edges. It’s one of the few films where the director’s cut was worth the double dip and was, without a doubt, the best version of the film. It’s never going to beat The Wrath of Kahn (once again, the director’s cut) for the most watched DVD in my house, but it’s on a short list of DVDs that get a lot of play in the stately Wickett manor.

I walked out of the second Hellboy with the same mixed feelings I had for the first film. The story is both better and worse. Del Toro seems keenly aware of the first movie’s problems, though sometimes he overcompensates in these areas, which causes its own problems. But Del Toro, Perlman, and company are more confident and experienced with the material – and, more importantly, they obviously loved every minute of playing around in Mike Mignola’s world.

It is the best comic book movie ever made? No. But I can’t think of one that is anywhere near as fun, nor made with so much love and good will.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360 version)

Let me make this clear: I didn't pay for this game. It came into work, I checked it out...that's it.

After spending an hour trying to play this game, after an hour of not trying to throw my 360 controller at the nearest available cat in frustration, I must ask the same question I always ask myself after deluding myself into playing a Star Trek game and thinking that I might actually, you know, enjoy it (*):

Who do I have to screw once every seven years to get a good Star Trek game up in here?

* Bridge Commander and Elite Force 1 & 2 excluded.