Andy Serkis

war for the planet of the apes – some nice monkey business here

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third installment in the Planet of the Apes rebooted franchise. This film is directed by Matt Reeves written by Mark Bomback and Reeves. The film stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer and Terry Notary. 
The movie follows the journey of the apes led by Caesar, and the humans that want these apes killed.

The good, the CG is amazing in this film. The motion capture used on Andy Serkis for Caesar is very impressive. Very pleased that the films in this franchise had the budget for the apes, as opposed to the original franchise where the budget got lower and lower for each film addition.

The film hits all the right emotions, Reeves takes us through a journey. Insights into the apes and the humans are given and they’re both logical and relate-able. Caesar’s struggle to keep his people alive in a world where the other inhabitants want them eradicated is almost prophetic set against today’s state of things. Sure it’s not something everyone can relate to, but we can sure empathize with.
The same can be said for Woody Harrelson’s character. On the outset he’s the bad guy, but his motivations are clear, whether we agree with them or not.

The bad; this is just me, because I really love the original franchise, but everything is CG. I miss the practical makeup and prosthetics. The reason for this feeling is that there are scenes where it’s just the apes, and all of that looks great, but it’s all CG. Don’t get me wrong, it looks good, but how much of that is real and tangible? That’s the feeling I got from the original films, and how movie making used to be.

Overall, it’s a nice way to end the franchise. Matt Reeves does a great job pulling you into the story. War of the Planet of the Apes is one that you could watch on its own. It brings the audience up to speed with where things are and then moves right into where things are going. There’s this sense of a lot of things going on that aren’t spelled out, the audience fills in the blanks, it’s very refreshing and un-like most Fox movies.
Reeves is up for the new Batman movie, if he can do what he did here then we’ll be in good shape and hopefully the other films will take his lead.

Fade out-
Eugene

star wars: the force awakens – star wars! nuthin’ but staar waars!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally out. This is truly the most anticipated movie of the year. Now that the world has been given ample time to watch this film, here, we, go!
The Force Awakens takes place about thirty years after Luke became a Jedi and the second Death Star was destroyed. Now he’s disappeared and the First Order (what became of the Galactic Empire) and the Resistance (backed by the Republic and led by General Leia) search the galaxy to find him.

The film is directed by J.J. Abrams, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max von Sydow. It’s written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.

Now that the weekend has past you’ve all had a chance to see The Force Awakens, spoilers ahoy! Continue reading

the adventures of tin tin

I saw The Adventures of Tin Tin with Damielle, Gonzalo and Stephanie yesterday.  There were too many children in the audience, not technically, but mentally, just pathetic.  However, I managed to still enjoy this film.

The short of it; Tin Tin’s a reporter in Europe and he stumbles upon a quest for the Unicorn, a ship.  In the process he meets Captain Haddock whose ship has been hijacked/shanghai’ed by the villainous Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine.  Tin Tin must play catch up to Sakharine in a globe trotting quest for a family secret of Haddock’s.

The good; the animation is amazing.  There are a lot of shots where it looks so photo-realistic, then you have the characters walk in, which I love by the way.  They look like the comic book that they’re based on, which is a great way to adapt it to the feature film realm.  The characters’ renderings look almost real, but then there’s the touch of the cartoony nature of their facial features.

The tone is very balanced between the life or death situations to the comedy relief supplied by the bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson.  And only in the animated world can you bring about such over the top, almost slapstick, action sequences.

The film really reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie, it also being a period piece adds to that.  Tin Tin was surrounded by thugs wielding German weapons, another giveaway that they’re baddies, also like Indiana Jones, yet he hardly had a weapon to him, he used his wits.

The bad; the story.  In all honesty, as much as I enjoyed the film, it was a little off.  The action was so over the top that there wasn’t escalating action, if everything is life threatening an outlandingish, then there’s nothing to really out due one another.  I would rather the film had started with smaller, tamer, action and built up to larger more fanciful sequences

Another problem I have is the climax of the movie, *SPOILER* it’s between Haddock and Sakharine.  Tin Tin almost had nothing to do in this scene, which I get… but he is the main character, he should help Haddock somehow.  The fight could’ve still been left to the men, but Tin Tin should’ve had more of a role in the climax *END SPOILER*.  Another reason that the climax felt so anti-climactic was of all the action, as mentioned above, if they would’ve saved the most over the top sequence and lessened the others, the ending wouldn’t have been so tame.  Moffat contributing early as one of the writers actually does scream out at me, maybe because I know him from Doctor Who, but in this case he had to leave the project early because he became head writer for Doctor Who.  His essence of fast talky scenes remained though.  Makes me wonder why I don’t sense Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead)  style bleeding through the film?  He and Joe Cornish (Attack The Block) took over the writing tasks whens Moffat left.

Overall, very enjoyable.  Visual eye candy if nothing else.  I hope to see more in this animation style.  It felt like a good old film that brought us on a journey, Spielberg being behind the helm doesn’t hurt this vibe at all, and this is his first animated feature.   Well done sir!