Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Break Movie Review

I thought it would be a bit of fun if I did a review of the movies I saw last month. Christmas break is one of the few times a year I actually go to the movies or spend the time to watch movies I have not seen yet. Here goes nothing.

The Bourne Legacy: Although this movie came out over the summer, Christopher and I watched it on the plane ride home from New York to California (a six hour flight!) I loved the original Bourne movies and was excited to see Jeremy Renner. The script for this particular movie however was just terrible. It was based quite a bit more on the book which is incredibly poorly written. Now I understand that while watching a Bourne movie you have to suspend some disbelief. However, some of the plot devices used in this movie were ridiculous. Poor Jeremy did what he could with it and for his effort I would give the movie 2 out of 5 stars.

The Hobbit: As everyone reading this probably knows I am a HUGE Tolkien nerd. The LOTR trilogy is not only my favorite set of books but my all-time favorite movies. They were cinematic masterpieces. The Hobbit however fell short of its predecessors. Be ready for quite a long rant, or you can just skip to my far more pleasant review of Les Miserable.

 First, the 48 frames per second filming was atrocious. It brought everything far to in focus and made the battle scenes look like a theme park ride.

 The introduction of the “White Orc” (who in the appendix was murdered by Thorin’s father) was unnecessary. The dwarves and Bilbo have and will face trolls, oblivious stone giants, goblins, Gollum, giant arachnids, an enchanted river, inhospitable Elves, a nasty dragon and a horde of men, elves, and other creatures that are all lusting after the treasure. Was there really any reason to introduce ANOTHER villain who is technically already supposed to be dead?

I also disliked their depiction of poor Radagast. Radagast the Brown is supposed to be a wizard who is incredibly in tune with nature. He is a walking encyclopedia of plants, a living atlas of Middle Earth and the confidant of all good animals. He is not supposed to be covered in bird poop, doing schrooms and riding a sled led by rabbits. I was particularly disgusted by their depiction of the Goblin King. In the book their encounter with the Goblin King is brief but terrifying. He is not supposed to look like a more comical version of Jabba the Hut.  Sorry Jackson, but no.

There is much else I could discuss about the Hobbit. There was quite a bit I did like and also some that I enjoyed. I did love Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I also that Andy Serkis’ performance was absolutely brilliant. Easily the best scene in the whole movie. Because these few shining moments, this movie receives a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me.

Les Misérable: This is my absolute favorite musical. And the movie was all that I could ask for and more. Hugh Jackman was a wonderful Jean Val Jean. I found his conversion and later his death scene particularly moving. Russell Crowe was a quiet but brilliant Javert. Anne Hathaway was a stunning Fantine. I am usually moved in general by “I Dreamed a Dream” but her rendition took my breath away (and kept the tears flowing). I usually hate the characters of Cosette and Marius but Amanda Sigfried and Eddie Redmayne made them likable. The music was brilliant, the scenery was stunning and the costumes and make-up were spot on. I also loved the close-up of the characters as they were singing. It brought all of the emotion you sometimes miss when you are sitting several rows away from the stage to life. If this movie is not nominated for best picture I feel insulted on their behalf. Five out of five stars.