Tag Archives: Adventure

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Film Review #film #review #filmreview

13 Dec

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For anyone who is looking at the Hobbit posters that are plastering our walls, buses and underground stations, and wondering whether or not its worth your time (about 2.5 hours) and money to sit in a dark room throughout party season; I can categorically tell you it is!

Forget the first installment of the film franchise and all its appalling high frame rate filming and dull overly long set up plot lines, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a triumph! What was lost in the first film is the distinct transportation to another world (its pretty hard to get lost in a film when the clarity of the filming is so high you can see the prosthetics covering each characters faces) and more frighteningly a lack lustre sense of action and adventure. Luckily part two brightens up all our woes and keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.19

I know its always a good sign when I remember to check my watch and realize that its already over two hours through. I had been so preoccupied before hand with everything going on, I didn’t even think I stopped to take a breath let alone look at the time!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the continuation story of Bilbo Baggins the dwarves and Gandalf the Grey as they continue their journey to reclaim their rightful homeland Erebor, from the fire-breathing dragon that is Smaug. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, Bilbo is also in possession of a magical ring which gives him extraordinary powers and makes him a brave and valuable asset on this quest.

First and foremost the action is amazing. Whether it is a newly tweaked version of the 48fps or indeed the standard 24fps version, you will be dazzled by the intricacy and excitement of each action led sequence. One key highlight has to be the battle with giant spiders, which with added 3D gives them a new monstrous perception and will make you shudder out of reach in your cinema seat. Secondly, is the incredibly impressive river barrel sequence, with prancing elves killing Orcs with “endless” amounts of arrows, the logistical reality does not come into play in any way within this sequence as its 15 minutes of glory is truly breath taking.Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.54

Each character that we have seen in the first installment of the franchise becomes more developed in their own right in this film. Bilbo has an increased level of confidence thanks to his secret weapon, Gandalf goes off to fight his own battle against Sauron, and there is an interesting start of a love triangle between Killy (Dwarf), Tauriel (Elf) and Legolas (Elf) which is left hanging ready for the conclusion in the third film.

And finally, we get to Smaug – Benedict Cumberbatch is superbly cast as the greedy dragon resting in the Misty Mountain awoken by Bilbo. The detail that is used to create the dragon is some of the best out there, each scale is clear to see and the fire in Smaug’s belly prepares you for a visual feast of fire and gold.

To round up, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug brings Peter Jackson back to Tolkien’s original fantasy and his directing best. Fun for all the family, this film is THE go to film for the Christmas period and not one to miss.

4 Stars.

 

TOTAL RECALL – Same same, but different!

17 Aug

 

For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid, even though he’s got a beautiful wife who he loves, a mind-trip from company Rekall sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police.

 

Now where have we heard that before…ah yes the prosthetics heavy, Arnie grunting, mission to mars 1990’s original….well not quite. 

 

For those who remember the original, the idea of a Total Recall remake could be a complete mistake, as the nostalgic elements that make up the Paul Verhoeven version stay cemented in your mind as the ultimate pre CGI (almost) 2084AD adventure. But fear not, as this version isn’t half bad.

 

Total Recall (2012) stars Colin Farell as Douglas Quaid, Kate Beckinsale as Lori Quaid and Jessica Biel as Melina. Although this film definitely pays homage to the original, it does not frame by frame, line by line, recreate it, thankfully. Infact the great thing about this version is that it manages to blend Total Recall, Blade Runner and Star Wars into a sci-fi cocktail with a little bit of iRobot as the garnish on the glass.

 

Yes there are elements of the setting, particularly towards the beginning, where despite its oriental decoration looks decidedly like the colony you’ve seen before, and within the first twenty minutes a three breasted lady once again graces the screen, but there is no Johnny Cab and everything else is a lot less Fifth Element but a bit more Terminator Salvation in feel.

 

Now how about our Doug Quaid? Well he’s no Arnie, but Colin Farrell is convincing and I’m pleased to say that his accent doesn’t drop once! Farrell really does bring Quaid into the 21st Century with his smoldering looks and buff physique and he convinces the audience expertly that he really does have no clue what is going on and has no idea (for the majority) who to believe. Beckinsale also shows us that her Underworld training has come into good stead as she really does pack a punch, she’s utterly convincing as Lori even if on the odd occasion you do want to tie her hair back so you can see more of her gorgeous face.

 

Now from the gorgeous to the ridiculous, although the casting in general is strong, Biel included, Bill Nighy in just two scenes makes you wonder if there was an element of laziness as Len Wiseman transforms him from Viktor King of the Lycans to Matthias a rather lack lustre Head of the Resistance. Thank goodness he’s only in it for a short time, as I don’t think he, along with the rest of the audience believed a single word he said, or that he would maintain that awful mock American accent for more than two minutes.

 

It’s a shame because that and the fact that the film was just a tad too long made it ever so slightly uncomfortable towards the end, but overall Total Recall is not going down in the history books for anyone to reference as a masterpiece of our times, but it does showcase some flawless action sequences, slick CGI and an action film to enjoy on a Friday night. Definitely worth a watch but not sure if it will be top of your Christmas list.