Treasure Planet (2002)

Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet Movie Review

Treasure Planet is a 2002 animated science fiction film which is the 43rd Disney animated feature. It is a solid, but very flawed film.

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Look at you! Glowing like a solar fire.

You’re something special, Jim. You’re gonna rattle the stars, you are!

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Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

The film is basically a modern retelling of Treasure Island, but set in space. That is a high-concept idea of mixing old with new that is pretty clever in my opinion, but it’s a shame that it was never executed to the fullest degree. It never utilized on its great potential. In my opinion, Disney copied Star Wars too much here with all the robots, space adventure and weird alien designs. The film is engaging to watch and sometimes quite charming, but it’s just never as adventurous as it should have been.

The characters are a mixed bag here. Some work, others not at all. Jim Hawkins is a solid hero as he is more modern than usual for Disney. I also liked that he wasn’t as heroic and as good as usual and that was refreshing. He is definitely an even more modern version of Aladdin. John Silver is excellent and he is the finest character here without any doubt. I loved his accent and his constant shifting from good to bad was very interesting to follow. The relationship between the two again reminded me of ‘Aladdin’. In that film Al and Genie were best buddies and their friendship seemed like a bromance. Here it is exactly the same and although not done as well, they are still a very charming, wonderful duo and the heart and soul of this film.

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Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Delbert Doppler is a hit-or-miss character who still could be funny at times and Captain Amelia is a tough female character and of course Emma Thompson killed it in the role, but the two just weren’t as well developed as they should have been which is a shame as both had potential. But their pairing was fun. And even though I liked Emma in this role, it was still too obvious that it was her and to me the voice casting here should have went to the unknowns.

Mr. Arrow is underdeveloped, but his death was still pretty tragic. Jim’s mother is typical, but still it was great that finally a Disney hero has a mother and the fact that his father did not die but left them was also pretty refreshing. Scroop is a pretty striking spider villain and some of his scenes verged into horror territory which was an interesting and ultimately successful approach. Morph is so cute and I loved all of his scenes. His design is interesting and he’s a wonderful sidekick. The same cannot be said for B.E.N. who is such an annoying robot that is an obvious rehash of C3PO from Star Wars that it was quite shameful. His jokes did not work and he was so annoying and unnecessary that he totally ruined the second half of the movie.

Treasure Planet is beautifully animated as it features a very pleasing mix of hand-drawn animation with computer generated imagery. The use of Deep Canvas from ‘Tarzan’ is also put to good use. I loved the looks of the different aliens and especially of the ship itself. The color palette is gorgeous as the extensive use of blue and purple was great as it led to a pretty interesting looking and different film.

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Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

But it’s such a shame that, as I said in my review of ‘Atlantis’, Disney just never managed to properly make an ”anime” film which is basically what they tried here. The attempt is certainly admirable, but only half-successful unfortunately.

As for its score, it is excellent and its theme is very uplifting and memorable. Whenever it appeared in the movie, it lifted those scenes emotionally. And its basically only song I’m Still Here is an interesting departure for Disney as it is a rock song for once. I liked it personally. It isn’t great, but it is catchy and serves its purpose in terms of emotion for the relationship between Silver and Jim.

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Treasure Planet Movie Review…………………………………………………

Treasure Planet isn’t as emotional as it should have been overall and only the main duo provides charm and emotion here. The humor is hit-or-miss. The film is awfully frenetic in pacing and the action is solid, but certainly overwhelming. The film is not well edited at all and the entire second half is rushed and not as great as the build-up demanded it to have been. Overall, it succeeds as a solid and even underrated in a way sci-fi tale (similar in quality to underrated ‘Titan A.E.’), but it is still far from great and another proof that Disney never quite managed to make a successful movie when it departed from fairy tales and animal pictures.

The bromance between Jim Hawkins and John Silver is interesting and charming, the visuals are frequently mesmerizing and the film features a fine mix of new and old ideas. But it has too much action, it is badly paced and the supporting characters are not as memorable. It was also influenced by Star Wars a bit too much. So Treasure Planet is in the end a solid and admirable sci-fi effort, but a very flawed one indeed.

My Rating – 3.5

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Dinosaur (2000)

Dinosaur Movie Review

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Dinosaur Movie Review

Dinosaur is a 2000 animated adventure film which is the 39th official Disney animated feature. It is unfortunately one of Disney’s weakest offerings.

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Some things start out big,

and some things start out small,

very small.

But sometimes the smallest thing

can make the biggest changes of all

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Dinosaur Movie Review

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It follows an orphaned Iguanodon who along with his family of lemurs moves in search of a new home after the asteroid hit. Now, the plot is fairly simple and very ordinary. Of course the setting and the creatures are great. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? I myself like them a lot as most people do and I especially love everything ancient and prehistoric which is why this movie was intriguing to me and why that asteroid sequence was the highlight, so well done.

Another major highlight has to be the beginning which is just incredible! It is one of Disney’s better openings and although a bit too much inspired by ‘Tarzan’, it was still great. Watching the egg go from predator to predator and then end up at the lemurs’ place was a phenomenal way to open the movie, it instantly hooks you in the story. But it is then such a shame that the rest of the film is a failure. It is so slow and so typical in its conflict and very uninvolving in its overly standard journey story that it was just one giant snoozefest to witness.

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Dinosaur Movie Review

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Let’s talk about the characters. Well, they are not the greatest to put it mildly. The character development is so weak and uninspired that not a single character leaves a bigger impression after you watch the movie and all just fade away. Aladar is as boring of a hero as you could possibly be. Typically selfless and heroic, but without any other attributes to him. As for the lemurs, all of them are forgettable and the mother is basically Kala as the similarities to ‘Tarzan’ continue to pile up. And that womanizing lemur was cringe-worthy with his humor. As for the other dinosaurs, Neera is as basic and forgettable of a love interest as they go and Kron is just so over-the-top and typical. Such a clichéd and dull brute. The conflict between him and Aladar was so boring.

The voice acting is atrocious and possibly the biggest blow to the quality of the entire film. I don’t know what went wrong here as Disney’s films usually have great acting in them, but this one features such terrible or bland at best voices and whenever the actors and actresses had to sell those more emotional sequences, they failed miserably time and again. They definitely hurt the movie the most in the long run.

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Dinosaur Movie Review

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Dinosaur had groundbreaking animation for its time and it is worth noting that it is the first ever Disney movie to feature CGI and again Disney won’t use computer animation more prominently until 2005. But here lies the big problem – the film is dated. Yes, obviously it must have been absolutely incredible to watch when it came out, but nowadays, the animation is telling of its age. And that is the problem with computer animation, it is just never as timeless or as artistic as hand-drawn animation is which again goes to show that all of today’s animated films are going to be very dated in just a couple of decades. Such a problematic medium to use. Another problem here is that the use of live-action scenery also felt dated and to me not pleasant at all as it created a jarring look to it. Very frustrating.

Where Dinosaur excels is in the score which is amazing. I just loved its theme which was gorgeous, majestic and epic in the style of Disney’s best scored movies. It certainly helped to elevate many of its scenes to greater and more epic heights. It doesn’t have any songs in it, but the score is so good and it accompanies the scenes so beautifully and fittingly that it is the most memorable aspect of the entire film.

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Dinosaur Movie Review

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It isn’t well paced and it isn’t particularly well directed. The dialogue is as ordinary as these types of films usually have. And I have to say that the humor was also lacking and the film was overly serious and whenever it tried to be funny, it mostly failed miserably. Also the emotional investment isn’t the greatest. Yes, some of it was moving, but most wasn’t. I appreciated its realistic approach to the character designs no matter how dated they look now and I liked its apocalyptic and adventurous overtones, but the film was ultimately too ambitious for its own sake and it is one of Disney’s weakest films for sure. It was evident by now that they have entered their darkest period yet.

Dinosaur definitely is realistic and ambitious, it has a couple of awesome sequences with the beginning being the highlight plus the score is the major standout being uplifting and majestic, but the CGI animation here is dated by now, the characters are beyond forgettable, the story is dull and the voice acting is bland leading to one of Disney’s more lackluster efforts.

My Rating – 3

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a 2001 animated science fiction adventure film which is Disney’s 41st animated feature. It is one of their weakest outings.

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“You are a scholar, are you not?

Judging from your diminished physique

and large forehead,

you are suited for nothing else?”

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

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I don’t know how they could have screwed a premise like this – A crew in 1914 goes to search for Atlantis, the lost civilization. They find it, but the trouble arises when their captain wants to use its resources. It definitely had a lot of potential, but the execution is so muddled that it ended up being one of Disney’s weakest films ever. Now I changed my mind upon second viewing and now I do not think it is bad but rather passable. But still that is very weak for Disney’s standards.

It is crazy to think about, but James Cameron basically ripped this movie off when making ‘Avatar’ which is just too similar to this storyline. That is because this is a good story that deals with important issues and themes. I liked its adventurous tone and it is also the first science fiction film to come out from Disney. But the storytelling isn’t the greatest and the film ended up being too simplistic and way too fast paced for it to work.

Let’s talk about the characters. They are unfortunate as the character development is Atlantis’ biggest flaw. The voice actors admittedly did a very good job plus it is a very interesting cast of characters as it is so diverse. There is a Black/Native American character than a Puerto Rican one and also an Italian and French guy. The movie is surprisingly ethnically and gender diverse for a Disney flick.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

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But that ultimately did not matter as the film is overstuffed with too many characters and neither of them ever get properly developed and they are all thin as a tissue paper and very forgettable. Milo James Thatch is such a boring central character who is actually more annoying than sympathetic. Rourke is such a typical villain who did pose some threat near the end, but is mostly forgettable.

Kida is a typical native love interest who is weakly developed and overly sexualized. Vinny is the most forgettable of the bunch and his jokes did not work. Sweet is highly likable, but also underdeveloped. Helga is interesting and has some great scenes, Ramirez is also interesting albeit not particularly likable and Mole is just too ridiculous of a comic relief and never really funny. But Packard was funny as this elderly bored lady and she is the only character who made me chuckle here.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire is gorgeously animated. This is the first movie from the studio to be heavily influenced by anime as they really wanted to employ that Japanese style here. And they definitely could employ it successfully so it’s a shame that character and plotwise, all three Disney anime films are very weak (‘Treasure Planet’ and ‘Big Hero 6’ are better than this one, but still so problematic).

I loved its hand-drawn animation, the character designs are very good and particularly the scenery is gorgeous. Some scenes such as that last sequence were stunningly beautiful and that was probably the highlight of the movie. I loved the city, I loved the water and everything looked awesome. The attention to detail that went into this production is staggering as the Atlantean buildings are very unique and they even created an entire language for them. That was very fascinating to witness.

Even though Atlantis is not a musical and doesn’t have any songs whatsoever, it still features a stellar score. The sound is great, but the score is excellent from beginning to end and very atmospheric and grand. It pleasantly reminded me of those old adventure flicks and in that area, it managed to recreate that adventurous feel. That theme near the end is stunning.

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire Movie Review

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So in the end it is a three-star movie and one of Disney’s weakest for sure. It is awfully fast in pacing and that is why it was a bit dull at times as I dislike excessive action and the third act here suffered from that. But the first act is very rushed too. I just wanted fewer characters in its cast and more time to breathe with more quality dialogue and emotion. This movie is so cold emotionally that it infuriated me. Disney movies are supposed to be heartwarming. So it is an okay film and intriguing, but ultimately frustratingly weak.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is one of Disney’s most intriguing experiments with a gorgeous anime-influenced animation, excellent score, an impressive attention to detail and a winning premise, but it ultimately failed to become a great sci-fi adventure as it is too fast paced, too emotionally cold and filled with way too many characters who are all very weakly developed. It is a film that had great potential, but is so frustratingly misguided that it ended up being one of Disney’s weakest efforts.

My Rating – 3

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Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Lilo & Stitch Movie Review…………………………………….

Lilo & Stitch Movie Review

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 animated science fiction comedy film directed by Chris Sanders. It is Disney’s 42nd animated feature and a pretty good film in its own right.

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Ohana means family.

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review…………………………………….

So this is an interesting mix of sci-fi and family drama and comedy. I thought that the sci-fi elements were childish, yet charming and a lot of fun. The humor is good, but the film isn’t as funny as critics have been saying it is. It succeeds the most as this family drama of two sisters and their relationship. That is where the heart and soul of the movie is along with Stitch’s place in the new family. To me the film used that ohana quote way too often to the point of verging into childish preachy territory, but it’s still such a great, memorable quote from the film that is wonderfully pro-family, but in a very modern way. I thought it was also quite emotional in some scenes, but also in a good, heartwarming manner. And by the way, I got some serious ‘Men in Black’ vibes from this movie which was interesting.

Lilo is an interesting protagonist for the fact that she is far from perfect and is actually a very problematic individual. A parentless orphan is a Disney cliché by now, but it was still done really well here with a lot of emotion and seriousness. Her personality is quite different than the rest of Disney protagonists and she is more relatable and realistic because of it. Nani is sometimes annoying, but still a positive, respectable character and the relationship between these two sisters is moving, so well established and quite sweet.

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review…………………………………….

Stitch is an interesting case as well. Both him and Lilo are unusual Disney characters in that he is for once an ugly creation and that was great to see and only further brought a lot of charm from him. His change in personality was expected, but still well handled and the relationship between the titular duo is quite wonderful. He could have been funnier, but he still ended up being a lot of fun.

Dr. Jumba Jookiba is a good sidekick, but in my opinion Pleakly is better and funnier. This duo is surprisingly solid in their own right. Cobra is memorable and I liked the twist in his background. Captain Gantu and David Kawena serve their purpose and David is a likable dude, but way too underdeveloped unfortunately. The voice acting is pretty good in this flick.

Lilo & Stitch is interesting for featuring watercolor animation which is a style the studio rarely does. And that’s why I really enjoyed it. The colors are pleasing and very inviting and to me the Hawaiian setting is gorgeously utilized here both in terms of animation and storytelling. The character designs are pretty good and the highlights are some of the more artistic and painterly color palettes and landscapes.

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review…………………………………….

Lilo & Stitch is not a musical, but it does heavily utilize on its soundtrack. It has quite a lot of Elvis songs in it and I am a fan of his so I liked that choice quite a bit. It fit so well within this world in my opinion. Suspicious Minds is the highlight as not only do I love this song, but the sequence itself is unforgettable and very inventive and funny.

There are two original songs to be had here and I have to say that I liked both of them and they are quite underrated if you ask me. Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride is a lot of fun. It is such a cool and laidback Hawaiian song and I really enjoyed its rhythm and the accompanying scene. But to me He Mele No Lilo is even better and such an unfortunately underrated song. I learned it by heart by now and I really enjoy it for being such a catchy tune and for being a good introductory opening for the character of Lilo.

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review…………………………………….

This script demanded better dialogue as what we got here is too preachy at times and way too simplistic. I liked its themes of course, but better dialogue was needed nonetheless. And the pacing is all over the place. The film is fun and it flies by quickly, but its overly extended beginning and rushed ending are super troublesome as they significantly reduce the enjoyment of the film in my opinion. But it is still such an endearing, fun flick that is one of Disney’s best in this decade, certainly the finest after ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’.

Lilo & Stitch has weaker dialogue despite a couple of instantly recognizable lines and its pacing is all over the place as the beginning is overly extended and the ending is rushed. However, this is still one of Disney’s best 2000s efforts owing to very good characterization with interesting and different main characters than usual, fun sci-fi elements, pleasing watercolor animation, good score and a heartfelt, well explored family drama.

My Rating – 4

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Movie Review……………………………………..

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Movie Review

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a 2002 romantic comedy starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett. It is a typical genre film.

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I’ve never seen my sister this happy,

Ian. If you hurt her,

I’ll kill you and make it look like an accident

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding Movie Review……………………………………..
It follows a young Greek woman who starts dating a non-Greek man much to the chagrin of her parents. Eventually the two marry through a series of traditional Greek rituals. First of all, this is an obviously stereotypical movie. Yes, comedies are supposed to exaggerate everything, but here Greeks were portrayed as overly xenophobic and traditional which just wasn’t realistic at all. Because of that, it is such a usual over-the-top Hollywood comedy.
Another problem is that My Big Fat Greek Wedding is beyond clichéd and predictable from beginning to end. That is why watching it wasn’t nearly as fun as it should have been. It is an amusing film, but I still knew every single thing that was going to happen and that was annoying. I know romantic comedy is the most clichéd of all genres, but I just cannot forgive such immense clichés no matter what.
The actors all did a nice job and I liked thay Nina Vardalos is Greek herself, that was great. She is likable here and most of her family members are memorably goofy and funny. But John Corbett was obviously typecast here and the role is boring as hell.

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding Movie Review……………………………………..
Does it succeed as a romance and as a comedy is an important question. Well, to some degree, but only slightly and rarely does it reach greatness. For example, the scene where the two first meet is very romantic and charming, but everything after that was devoid of any genuine warmth and romance. The same goes for laughs. Some supporting characters are funny, but most aren’t. Some lines were pretty memorable and they made me laugh, but this is mostly not a particularly funny movie which is problematic as the premise and scenarios demand much more comedy. And I liked seeing some of Greek traditions (the score is great as is their family dynamic) and that was nice and very ehtnic, but unfortunately too over-the-top and just false.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding has some memorable characters, a couple of funny lines and it is sweet and harmless, but it is mostly too over-the-top in its portrayal of Greek people, the film isn’t funny or romantic enough and the story is awfully clichéd and predictable.

My Rating – 3

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Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

Monsoon Wedding Movie Review

Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 Indian film directed by Mira Nair. It is a pretty good, but still flawed movie that could have been much better.

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These are my children,

and I will protect them from myself even if I have to

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

We follow an Indian wedding in New Delhi and all its traditions as the cousins from all around the world come to attend it. I liked that the film realistically portrayed one Indian wedding and everything that comes with it. It was well executed and the film works as a strong, sometimes even emotional drama. There are some discussions and conversations that are so good here.

However, what I didn’t like is the film’s lack of focus. Having in mind that it has such a large number of characters in it, I guess I should forgive them for that. But still I wished for a clearer and more focused narrative. For example, the sexual abuse that happened in this family came out of nowhere and although it does have its tragic effect, it was still thoroughly underutilized and needed much more screen time just for itself.

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

As for the characters, they are mostly really well developed for the short time that they received. I loved the parents, they are the most memorable and well realized of the bunch and the scenes between the two were very strong. Of course everything surrounding the marriage with the daughter was also well executed. But everything with the wedding planner was frustrating to me as he is such an annoying, pointless character and I disliked that part quite a bit.

Monsoon Wedding isn’t an Indian film, but it is a coproduction between different countries and that is evident in its execution and tone. The film is certainly very Indian in the wedding scenes and especially in the music as it utilized on their traditional music and dances, but it is quite American in its characterization and especially in the dialogue which contains more curse words than you would expect from India and its erotic sequences and talk about sex and abuse.

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

It is very well directed by Mira Nair and is so well acted. The acting is strong across the board with each and every performance being satisfactory. The script is also pretty strong and I liked that it dealt with a lot of different things such as arranged marriage, the costs of a traditional marriage, the future of the children as well as sexual abuse. The film works as a pretty solid and sophisticated examination of its subject matter and I guess that it is immensely relatable to Indians in particular. But it still feels universal enough in its themes and emotion that everyone from all around the world should enjoy it like I did. Some scenes were even touching and romantic. Overall, I really liked Monsoon Wedding, but I just wished that it was less convoluted, more focused and it would have been much better. Some scenes were also too laidback owing to its slow pace.

Monsoon Wedding executes its subject matter really well with a strong script filled with many interesting themes. The performances are very good across the board and most of the characters are well realized. The film definitely lacks focus and is filled with too many characters and subplots, but it mostly managed to make use of them all with some scenes being quite emotional and powerful and the overall film being very dramatic and ultimately satisfactory.

My Rating – 4

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A Serious Man (2009)

A Serious Man Movie Review……………………………………………………..

A Serious Man Movie Review

A Serious Man is a 2009 black comedy film directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Michael Stuhlbarg. It is an incredibly frustrating, weak film.

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The Uncertainty Principle.

It proves we can’t ever really know… what’s going on.

So it shouldn’t bother you.

Not being able to figure anything out.

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A Serious Man Movie Review……………………………………………………..

It follows a Jewish man whose life crumbles both personally and professionally leading him to questions about faith. The film definitely had a great deal of potential as the premise is actually stupendous. I loved its themes and it was interesting seeing the man reevaluate and question his religion. That theme and conflict is always fascinating to me.

However, the execution is quite poor and thus successfully diminishing the movie’s impact. I have never liked the Coen Brothers and their style is very annoying to me. They are definitely not my cup of tea. And I am saying that because they are the ones who are responsible for this movie’s problems as they usually are. The direction is weak and annoying with a lack of any focus and with no point to it whatsoever. It just sort of starts and ends with no message and yet it is also not thought-provoking. They wasted such a great premise on a terrible execution.

The characters are solid. They are memorable and they are realistic. But these actors are obviously of lower caliber and Michael Stuhlbarg was never great and all of the others gave quite weak, passable performances in a movie that needed better acting.

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A Serious Man Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The film is well made, it is definitely slow, but it isn’t really boring as it benefits from solid dialogue and a couple of really effective, emotional sequences. I liked the conversational scenes the most and I wish the entire movie was more theatrical in its approach instead of slower and with some scenes that do not feature any dialogue and those were my least favorite. I found the film’s prologue to be exceptional and riveting. It instantly hooked me in the story, but they never really connected it well with the other parts of the film and the ending was just so stupid. The film was basically an excuse to torture the protagonist with no point or message whatsoever. It did not deserve its Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nominations at all and it is another overly acclaimed work from two of the most overrated directors.

A Serious Man is another very overrated work from two very overrated directors. It has its intriguing moments, the prologue is very interesting and the premise is actually quite fascinating, but the Coen brothers wasted such a great premise on such a poor execution with far from great performances and an unfortunate lack of focus plus there is no point to it whatsoever.

My Rating – 3

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The Golden Compass (2007)

The Golden Compass Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The Golden Compass Movie Review

The Golden Compass is a 2007 fantasy film directed by Chris Weitz and starring Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards. It is a solid, underrated film adaptation.

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“One thing I do know, Lyra, you mustn’t grasp at the answer.

Hold the question in your mind, but lightly, like it was something alive.”

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The Golden Compass Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Now this was an interesting film for me as I departed largely from the general opinion of it, both from audiences and critics. It is based on ‘Northern Lights’ which is the first novel in His Dark Materials trilogy. And even though it is obviously a very problematic adaptation, it is still a very solid one and it didn’t deserve the mediocre reviews at all. It isn’t great, but it is somewhat satisfying.

In terms of storytelling, it mostly succeeds. The entire first and second acts are just phenomenal and very faithful to the source material which I did not see coming and it made me happy. The entire movie is actually quite faithful and some scenes are even directly taken from the book both in scenery and in dialogue. But of course that third act is just so troublesome in every way. They basically decided to cut off the last couple of chapters and intended to feature it in the second film as they had already filmed those scenes. But because the film failed both at the box office and with the critics, they never made the sequels and thus we’ve never seen those scenes which is so unfortunate. And the ending where she was going to Lord Asriel thus felt disappointing, abrupt and did not provide the necessary closure.

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The Golden Compass Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

But that is the only problem I’ve had in terms of the story as otherwise it was really well crafted and adapted and the action was great and not excessive thankfully. But the character development is definitely quite weak and the characters are just never as memorable as their book counterparts. Lyra is very disappointing and she got more of a passive role in the movie and was overall not as complex. Pan was solidly utilized. Mrs. Coulter is excellent and Nicole Kidman did such a great job in her role, very menacing and she stole every scene she was in. Lord Asriel is disappointing. I didn’t imagine Daniel Craig in this role, but he was solid. The problem with him is that they cut off too many of his scenes. Serafina Pekkala is actually quite solid and Eva Green was perfectly cast for the role. Lee Scoresby is likable as he was in the novel and Iorek Byrnison is very good and looked great. But I agree with the critics in that the heart is missing and the film is just never heartwarming and is too cold like its glacial setting.

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The Golden Compass Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

There is no denying the film’s visuals as it truly is technically accomplished, absolutely gorgeous to behold. The special effects are splendid, fantastic and they aged really well. It is in fact one of the best looking movies of the 2000s decade. It thoroughly deserved its Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

But the film’s scenery is just as good and the cinematography is amazing. I loved the scenes with Oxford and England looked wonderful and some of the scenes were jaw-droppingly gorgeous to witness. But of course I loved the icy scenes later on and the bears were well designed and both the film’s exteriors and interiors were quite inspired. The costumes were also top-notch as was the film’s score and sound effects. It was obvious that they poured the last penny on the production values and it paid off as the visuals are the film’s strongest asset.

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The Golden Compass Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The action is also pretty good and The Golden Compass is actually pretty well edited and paced if you naturally discount that awful third act. Now obviously it wasn’t as clever as the book was, but that wasn’t the problem to me as the film is meant to be more of a visual and kinetic experience. And it did deliver on both fronts as the action is quite good and memorable and some scenes were just as I imagined them. The dialogue, although not great, is mostly solid and passable. Overall, I think it was undeservedly judged and although far from great, it is better than most book-to-film adaptations.

The Golden Compass is an undeservedly judged movie that is actually quite solid and never as mediocre as critics made it out to be. Yes, the third act is just awful as they basically cut off the last couple of chapters from the book and thus left no closure to it plus the characters are never as memorable as they were in the written form, but the film is still satisfying because in terms of the plot it was actually very faithful and great before that third act and it is a visual feast for the eyes with absolutely gorgeous scenery, exquisite costumes and brilliant special effects that rightfully won the film its Oscar.

My Rating – 3.5

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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

An Inconvenient Truth Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

An Inconvenient Truth Movie Review

An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim and starring and written by Al Gore. It is one of the most overrated documentaries.

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What we take for granted might not be here for our children.

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An Inconvenient Truth Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

I really disliked this film and for many obvious reasons, at least they were obvious to me. It is obviously good meaning with a good message and a respectable goal, but I just couldn’t get into it mainly because it felt overly aggressive in tone. It was made to scare people more than to help every one of us and this entire subject matter has been proven time and time again to be exaggerated for hysteria. Some statements here were just false or repetitive or definitely overly emphasized for dramatic effect.

Al Gore is another reason why to me An Inconvenient Truth fell apart. I just could not accept this choice for him to be the center of the movie at all. I do not blame the director as maybe Davis Guggenheim would have done a better job with someone else, but with Al Gore it proved to be disastrous. For one, he talks about polluting Earth and blames everyone and is a self-proclaimed environmental activist and yet he drives expensive cars and planes and does contribute to polluting himself.

Another problem is that he just isn’t a scientist. The movie would have been much better had it focused on real science and spoken by a real scientist who knows what he’s talking about and not some environmentally conscious politician. And I’ve also had a feeling that he wasn’t particularly honest and something felt off in his speeches. Maybe this was his carefully choreographed step for a major political goal, I don’t know. But he just seemed dishonest here.

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An Inconvenient Truth Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

And the final and biggest problem the film has is its awful technicalities. It is basically one giant slideshow of pictures, there isn’t any direction, or cinematography or good editing to be had here whatsoever. Certainly nothing artistic or cinematic and that is my major gripe with it and why I think it thoroughly did not deserve its Oscar for Best Documentary.

An Inconvenient Truth means well and presents a good goal, but that is all I can say that is good about it. It is otherwise an immensely overrated, frustrating movie that put Al Gore at the center of it which is a choice that is bad for many reasons and it is just a technically awful movie (consisting of basically one giant slideshow) that did not deserve its Oscar at all.

My Rating – 2.5

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Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls Movie Review………………………………………………………

Mean Girls Movie Review

Mean Girls is a 2004 teen comedy film starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Tina Fey among others. It is such an entertaining flick.

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I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me…

but I can’t help it that I’m popular.

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Mean Girls Movie Review………………………………………………………

The story here is very predictable and clichéd. There isn’t anything new here whatsoever. True, it does explore girl high school cliques and it does have a great message, showing you how damaging those can be for girls. But the overall plot was very simple, very familiar and I guessed correctly what would happen almost every time.

But the characters make Mean Girls so memorable. Cady is truly fantastic and I loved her progression from a good girl to a mean one to just being a human being. I thought she was the most realistic and relatable person here. Regina George is your typical over-the-top villain, but she was as good as this character can be. Gretchen was the weakest among them, although funny at times. But Karen is very funny and she is also very likable.

The film is very diverse and it features both black and Asian students, but none of them play a major part and as for the gay character, I found Damian to be awfully stereotypical, but I guess you would find such a person in this group and in that way it was realistic plus he had some funny scenes.

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Mean Girls Movie Review………………………………………………………

Janis is very sympathetic and I really liked all of the teachers as well with Norbury naturally being the highlight. I found the principal quite typical, but he had some memorable sequences. That is great about this movie – most of the characters have their moments and most delivery in terms of the humor.

The acting is excellent and is actually its strongest suit. Amanda Seyfried made her debut in this movie and she instantly made it count, delivering with a performance that features both heart and humor. Tina Fey is expectedly good, but Rachel McAdams is excellent in one of her earliest roles as well. It’s great watching this movie and seeing all of these actresses at the start of their careers and all did a great job. Lindsay Lohan is easily the highlight, so good here and actually quite stupendous at times, delivering a genuinely strong performance in such a good role.

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Mean Girls Movie Review………………………………………………………

The humor is, as I said, really good. To me this film isn’t as funny or as good overall as ‘Clueless’ and it is rarely genuinely hilarious, but it is more often than not very funny and of course most of the characters deliver with some great snappy lines of dialogue. It’s a shame that the ending is so typically emotional and dramatic, but most of the movie was lightweight and funny instead of dramatic and I liked that. The dialogue is of course very good here and the movie is quite quotable. Again, not as quotable as ‘Clueless’ is, but still pretty good in its own right with a couple of very recognizable and amusing lines. The film is also well paced and entertaining from start to finish. Thanks to all of its strong technical aspects and humor, it manages to transcend its very predictable and familiar storyline. But I’ve just had a lot of fun watching this flick and I laughed more than a couple of times and found it to be overall very realistic, if a bit too over-the-top in a typical genre manner.

Mean Girls is such an entertaining teen comedy that transcends its familiar and predictable storyline and sometimes over-the-top approach with genuinely strong humor, excellent performances from Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams in particular and mostly realistic characters of whom almost all had their moment to shine.

My Rating – 4

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