Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope Movie Review

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is a 1977 science fiction fantasy film directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. It is the very first installment in the massively popular blockbuster franchise.

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May the force be with you

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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So the story concerns the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia who attempts to destroy the Death Star. Luke Skywalker comes into the mix when he comes into contact with the droid who possesses some valuable information. The story is very good and interesting and it begins basically when ‘Rogue One’ ends. That film is a prequel to this particular story.

The storytelling is very good here. The film does not attempt to have any serious themes, message or deeper meaning or emotion and that is fine as it knows what it wants to do and it doesn’t stay away from that. However, the main problem with the entire film is the excessive amount of action employed.

That is why A New Hope is an enormous influence on future filmmaking for better and for worse. It just has way too much action. For example, the entire third act with the battle scenes in particular was just way too long and it honestly bored me pretty quickly. It also employed some detours when the three were on the ship and it definitely needed a tighter, more involving and less action oriented narrative and approach.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Let’s talk about these famous characters and actors. Luke Skywalker is as boring and as bland as most of these blockbuster heroes are. He is just a bland, tiresome entity and I dislike him quite a bit. That also stems from Mark Hamill’s very mediocre performance, at least in this movie he was very weak.

Han Solo and Princess Leia are much better and much more memorable. Certainly this was typecasting as Harrison Ford always plays these cocky, charismatic characters, but this was one of the first, before the Indiana Jones franchise and thus I like him more than Indy. He can be funny, but still too arrogant for my taste.

Leia definitely is underutilized here, but excellent. She is basically a Disney Princess in a way, especially now that Disney owns this franchise. I like her quite a bit as she is competent, action oriented and brave while still retaining her womanly attributes, beauty and royal behavior. The interactions between these three were quite strong and Carrie Fisher is great in her signature role.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Peter Cushing is solid as the villain and of course Darth Vader is iconic in terms of blockbuster villains and unforgettable and menacing in each one of his scenes. In my opinion this Obi-Wan Kenobi is not great because Alec Guinness obviously disliked being on the set, he did not understand the role and thus we got a very confused performance.

As for those cutesy characters, I still do think that they were just blatantly added for the appeal to the children everywhere, even in this first entry. Chewbacca is particularly forgettable and the worst costume effect of them all. C-3PO and R2-D2 are a fun couple with an interesting dynamic. The former is feminine and very talkative while the latter is cute and mute. They are definitely an interesting duo, but again overly utilized in too many scenes.

A New Hope has some of the best special effects of the older blockbusters, that goes without question. What they pulled off here was remarkable. The sets look great, the space battles and spaceships are awesome and so cool and of course the costumes and the practical effects are so detailed and carefully designed that they mostly aged remarkably well and they added realism to the picture that CGI is not capable of.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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That is why George Lucas should be respected for this film. He brought an entire new universe to the audience and they were captivated back then and still to this day. It is a mish-mash of older ideas, but an original mix nonetheless. It has way too much action and weak pacing, but one of the best scores in film history for sure as that iconic John Williams opening remains legendary and the rest of the pieces are pretty terrific themselves. It is a good first entry, but the second one is much better.

A New Hope is an extremely influential blockbuster for better and for worse as it brought the wonder and epic majesty of space operas to the world but it also brought too much action which is in this film overwhelming. It also has some detours and the pacing is bad which is why its successor is so much better. But still the film features some great characters, that iconic, legendary score from John Williams and extraordinary special effects which mostly aged remarkably well. The beginning and the ending are the highlights, but most of the third act with that overlong battle bored me leading to a good, but far from great first entry.

My Rating – 4

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Dennis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling. I prefer it over the original.

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Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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The storyline here is very difficult to comprehend at times which was mostly a good thing. The film features a very complex and detailed narrative and it flows really well. For an almost three-hour long project, it never felt like it and it honestly was never at all boring which I did not expect at all and was thus very pleasantly surprised. It is a slow movie, but a positive slow-burn experience with great build-up and a very intriguing mystery to it.

The problem with Blade Runner 2049 is that it just never has any scene that is astounding and awe-inspiring as that ending from ‘Blade Runner’. That scene was better than any scene in this film. Another thing that the original gets better is the emotional investment. This film is emotional, but never as moving as the original.

And of course thematically speaking, it also fails in comparison as it is much less deep and thematically rich and complex. Plus the first movie’s message about individuality fares much better than this film’s anti-individuality, nihilist approach. Thematically, the two movies are so different which was weird to witness.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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But in terms of technical aspects, characterization and story, Blade Runner 2049 is better than the original and thus a better film, but not by far and it is definitely slightly overrated as it’s far from a great film. As for the story, I liked most of it, but the highlight was the twist near the end which literally deconstructed one of the biggest clichés of any genre film and I admired the heck out of it.

I really liked K as he is such a well developed, very likable hero whom you like to root for. Deckard is also quite memorable here and Luv is definitely such a badass female villain who stole the show in her every scene. I really disliked Jared Leto and his character here, totally not needed. Harrison Ford actually gave one of his finest and most emotionally charged performances here and the same can be said for Ryan Gosling who is the star and soul of the entire movie.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049 truly is a cinematic achievement in every sense of that word and I am so glad that I saw it on the big screen. The direction from Dennis Villeneuve is absolutely terrific and after this film and terrific ‘Arrival’, he truly emerges as a talent to follow when it comes to serious, hard science fiction.

The acting is strong across the board as is the directing and the script is stellar, but the visuals are simply mesmerizing. The score is very good although not great and the sound design is particularly effective, loud and it builds the atmosphere so well. But the highlight is the cinematography from Roger Deakins which is stunning and couple that with high-tech gadgetry and cars, timeless special effects and such outstanding, artistic sets and high fashion and you’ve got a positive assault on the senses.

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Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

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It has such awesome atmosphere which is felt from the beginning and it transports you to its world so beautifully. Truly the film felt like a work of art and in that department it trumped the hard science fiction and noir elements to it which again led to a more visually and audio driven than truly clever or deep film.

Blade Runner 2049 is much inferior to the original when it comes to deep emotion and rich themes, but when it comes to storytelling, characterization and especially technical aspects it is much better than the first film. What it lacks in truly memorable scenes and thought-provoking ideas, it more than compensates with superb performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, very strong characters with a kickass female villain and great atmosphere and sound design. It also has such an admirable twist that basically deconstructed one of the biggest genre clichés. It is not a science fiction classic, but it is a work of art as evidenced by amazing cinematography, such competent direction, high fashion, fun technology and absolutely outstanding set design. In the end, I prefer it over the original, but it is still an overly praised film which is consistently good and engaging despite its long runtime, but rarely truly great.

My Rating – 4

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Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner Movie Review

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Blade Runner Movie Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford. It is one of the most overrated films from this genre.

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I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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I have to say that upon second viewing I confirmed my dislike for this film. And I don’t mean dislike in a sense that I hate it. I don’t. It is not a bad movie by all means and it is actually rather solid. But having in mind that it is so acclaimed and is considered to be the best science fiction film of all time along with ‘2001’, I do not consider it nearly as great and I am definitely not a fan of it subjectively speaking.

The main problem here is that it isn’t a science fiction film at its core. It is just as much a neo-noir, if not even more. And that’s a problem for me not only because I prefer pure sci-fi cinema, but also because I just wasn’t a fan of the crime angle here. The action was overwhelming, the storyline was too convoluted and not in a good way and sometimes it felt that the movie was just going through the motions, going from one plot point to another, almost like a video game.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Another aspect I dislike is the pandering to men. I dislike eroticism in movies and here everything was done to please the male viewer as you have this giant emphasis on women’s bodies and nightclubs and prostitutes. That took away from my enjoyment of the film as it was not connected and not really necessary for the overall story and almost came as a detour.

Whereas I dislike the neo-noir elements strongly, I love the sci-fi elements in Blade Runner and it truly is a smart film, at least from time to time as it sadly focuses little on those elements or certainly not as much as it needed. The entire idea of these Replicants who have shorter lifespan, but the emotional capacity of humans is excellent and I did see an early shade of ‘Ex Machina’ here. The film explores quite well what it means to be human and the A.I. versus human. That ending is just beautiful, highly emotional and it just leaves your breath away. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie wasn’t as glorious as that finale was.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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But the characters are quite weak here except for Roy of course who is excellent and so well acted by Rutger Hauer. He’s the standout here. But Rachael is not all that well developed and Rick Deckard is a very boring protagonist. I have never been a fan of Harrison Ford and here he gave a fine performance, but he wasn’t great and a different actor would have been much better for this material.

Blade Runner admittedly has superb technical aspects and that is where it shines honestly. The visuals are mesmerizing and the color palette and the overall design of the buildings and the overall city is highly memorable and the film oozes future in its every scene. It does succeed as a futuristic movie even today, let alone during the eighties. The dialogue is good when it needs to be which is unfortunately rarely as it has too much action and crime in it. The emotional involvement is strong and the score is simply iconic to this point, gorgeous and highly moving and timeless in quality.

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Blade Runner Movie Review

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Now I can confirm that upon second viewing I am still not a fan of Blade Runner and it is one of only a few acclaimed science fiction films which I deem to be very overrated. Certainly the score is highly iconic, the visuals are mesmerizing, the sci-fi elements are great and its ending is simply remarkable and immensely moving in its score and emotion. But unfortunately the rest of the movie is not as great with an unfortunate emphasis on neo-noir instead of science fiction. The crime elements are weak here, the action is overwhelming, the characters are mostly bland and boring and the film is mostly just a blockbuster masquerading as serious science fiction when it is regrettably intellectual just in a couple of scenes.

My Rating – 3.5

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 fantasy science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Harrison Ford. It is quite a good, but very flawed movie.

The story itself is problematic because it is obviously incredibly derivative and quite unoriginal in many respects. This film wants so hard to be an homage to the original movies, but in the process ends up being a rip-off instead. There are many plot points here that are directly taken from ‘A New Hope‘, from the protagonist’s journey that is literally the same to that of Luke Skywalker’s to the family drama to some sequences that directly copy the original with the most obvious one being the confrontation between Han Solo and Kylo Ren.

However, the plot still has its strengths and there are many good things to be had here. First of all, it is admittedly very entertaining and an engaging, even charming experience. The second half had so many problems, but the first is really good with many superb moments. I liked the beginning, the character interactions and the ending, although disappointing to the rest, still has some cool action scenes and is well wrapped up and a great start for this new trilogy. And the final scene is well realized and quite intriguing, making you excited for the next chapter.

The character development is mostly quite good here and even stupendous for some characters. Rey is such a strong female character that is sympathetic and you root for her, but she still possesses those same annoying qualities that almost every protagonist has in these big blockbusters –  she is overly strong, she does not make any mistake, she becomes very powerful near the end, her backstory is typical and she is just not such a well written character compared to the rest here. Yes, she is strong, but still unrealistically so and sometimes the approach with her character was aggressively feminist and that frustrated me.

But Finn is absolutely great and one of the best characters here. He is very likable, realistic and has such a great sense of humor and is very funny at times. He is a great new character who was unfortunately quite underused in the end product. I was never a fan of Han Solo, but I liked how they dealt with his character here and he has some really good moments. Leia is also very well handled and the two share a couple of truly great moments. Now, Kylo Ren I thought is a rip-off of Darth Vader at first, but I realized later on that that was the point and that he wants to be the next Vader which means that this development is quite intriguing. His character was so menacing in the first half and had such a great presence, but once he removed his mask, he lost some of that momentum and the family drama with him is a bit annoying, but more on that later. Poe Dameron is not as present, but is a pretty good inclusion and the relationship between him and Finn is really well established. That is one of the best things about The Force Awakens – every character interaction and every relationship is very well handled and the actors share a great chemistry together.

Maz Kanata is an intriguing character and Snoke is okay, but I disliked the use of robots. Yes, BB-8 is cute, but aggressively so and I always felt that these robots in the Star Wars movies are just a ploy to sell toys and are just there to appeal to women and especially children. The story never has as much need for them as it should and they are just there for the cutesy factor. The same goes for Chewbacca whose appeal I never understood whatsoever. These characters were always too childish too begin with and I myself am not a fan of them.

The acting is quite good and, as I said before, the chemistry is noticeable. Adam Driver is fine, but Daisy Ridley and John Boyega steal the show and they are so great together. Harrison Ford did a good job in one of his most iconic roles, but Carrie Fisher wasn’t as good. And Oscar Isaac did such a good job and this was his most likable role yet.

I did like the action sequences in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The flight scenes did annoy me as they were overlong, but the lighsaber fights were so well utilized. The force elements were contrived, but still had momentum as some scenes were quite memorable. The score is quite good and sometimes very moving. The film is also visually terrific with such good special effects and great imagery. The cinematography is superb, but the scenery is so memorable and I liked the aerial as well as the sand and snow scenes. The film is quite visually appealing. The film also has a solid running time and the pacing is mostly really good as most of the scenes are not rushed and the film movies at a brisk, but engaging pace. It is predictable at times, but still has its surprising moments. Also, the film is emotional and although too much family drama is in there, the emotion is still mostly realistic and never too emphasized or maudlin. But I did find the family drama annoying as it was only a proof of how Star Wars is shrinking instead of expanding the universe. And on that note, I expected more of an epic feel to it, but it never explored other planets and just stayed on a couple of locations.

However, the world building is still quite good as I liked the use of those locations quite a bit and all were memorable and well utilized. The dialogue is also solid and the humor is very good with a couple of really funny lines. This is the probably the most light-hearted and humorous entry yet and that is not a bad thing as it worked in its favor and lead to a more charming and likable movie. The tone is well handled overall, but the directing is weak from Abrams as he never introduces anything particularly new or unique here. The film relies too much on the established SW formula which is a choice done for better and for worse as it will satisfy fans, but others will find its derivative nature too problematic. But I liked the newly introduced characters overall and the film tied everything up with the previous installments rather well. This is better than the prequels, but I would say that all three of the original movies are better overall.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens transcends its derivative nature, an overly childish approach and some annoying characters with mostly likable characters, a charming feel to it, great relationships and interactions between the characters, excellent visuals and some excellent and quite memorable scenes. It is a very flawed movie, but as blockbusters go, it is pretty good and even stupendous in some respects.

My Rating – 4

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a science fiction adventure film starring Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf. It is the fourth and the last entry in the franchise.

It follows Indie who along with his son and former lover is on a quest for the crystal skull. It is a story that is somewhat different than before, in terms of genres. Whereas the previous films were fantasy adventure flicks, this one is an adventure but with strong science fiction elements which is an interesting addition. And although it is ridiculous and hard to believe being just pure fantasy at the end, those elements are still somewhat intriguing. But it still has way too many action sequences which really got on my nerves and it is as silly as ever. The whole quest has some intriguing mysterious moments and provides some atmospheric thrills, but it is mostly too fast-paced and action-oriented with a rushed beginning and ridiculous ending.

The characters are okay, but nothing to write home about. Indie is thankfully not as annoying or as arrogant here and I like that they emphasized the actor’s age. I liked that aspect a lot. Also, Marion is a lot better and more likable here than she was in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark‘ and his son played by Shia is quite a solid character and the relationship between all three of them was definitely the highlight here in my opinion. Irina Spalko is a typical over-the-top villain and although her conclusion was somewhat interesting, she is still pretty annoying. And the rest of the characters are all forgettable.

Harrison Ford did a nice job and Karen Allen and Shia LaBeouf are surprisingly good as well. And Cate Blanchett also gave a pretty good performance in a pretty unlikable role and she looks good with this looks they gave her. Overall, all of the actors and actresses did a fine job with their roles.

As for its technical aspects, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull certainly looks good. It is solidly directed and very well shot. The effects are questionable, but I like the photography a lot as it is for once very light and you can see everything with nice colors. It is a badly paced movie, but is well acted. The action sequences are boring and tend to last for an extended amount of time. The scenery is at times beautiful to look at and the dialogue is solid. The score is so-so and the movie is tonally inconsistent with too many silly plot points and a lack of comedy. But it has a couple of funny moments which is more than can be said for some earlier Indiana Jones films.

Speaking of earlier films, I have to say something that a lot of people do not think – I don’t understand how this film is bad when compared to other Indie films, I just don’t. All of these movies are silly, not just this one, all of them are incredibly silly and just so over-the-top and frustrating which are the reasons why I am not a fan of this franchise and I never have been. But honestly, only ‘The Last Crusade‘ is better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in my honest opinion. It is far less annoying than the original and it is more entertaining than ‘Temple of Doom‘. People pinpoint how silly the movie is which is ridiculous having in mind that all Indiana Jones films are endlessly and laughably ridiculous and unrealistic.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has too many action sequences which are boring and annoying, some parts are silly, the ending is ridiculous and the pacing is troublesome, but the characters are solid as is the relationship between them and it has its moments and is overall somewhat entertaining. It is an underrated movie which is on par with its predecessors. People hate it for being silly which is ridiculous as all of these movies are immensely silly and laughably unrealistic which is why I am not a fan of them. But it is frustrating to read those comments when in reality this movie is just the same as the rest of entries in the franchise.

My Rating – 3

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Review

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. Is the last entry in the original trilogy and an evident improvement upon its weak predecessors.

The plot follows  Jones’s search for the holy grail and his team up with his father played by Sean Connery. Now granted, the story has many issues as before. The romance and sex angle is so frustrating once again and very annoying and not to mention incredibly cliched. It also has many silly sequences as expected and the action is overwhelming. However, it is not as overwhelming as before and the whole first half is genuinely refreshing in its slow pace and drama angle. Also, the protagonist is not as annoying as in previous films and the duo established here is solid. Yes, it is typical and highly familiar and an expected direction from Spielberg, but it also lends to much needed character development and even a bit of emotion, although not too much. It is structurally and story wise a very uneven movie, but also way more interesting and enjoyable this time around.

The characters are so-so. As I said before, Indiana Jones is much more realistic and much more likable here. He is still annoying and arrogant at times, but thankfully to a lesser extent and his relationship with his father provides some small laughs, albeit predictable ones. As for the father, he is similar in some ways to Indie, but he is also distinguished somewhat as a different character and he is sympathetic to some extent. Their relationship is familiar, but still a highlight of the movie. And as for the love interest, she is once again a bad female character, but thankfully the movie is not as sexist as its predecessor.

Yes, everything about this movie screams better. It is much better than ‘Temple of Doom‘ and it is way better and more enjoyable than overrated ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is a film that trumps its predecessors in a great way, but still not enough to make it more than a solid flick.

The acting is really good. Ford improved his acting chops this time around and Connery is amusing in his role and he did a really good job in a very atypical comedic role for him. Speaking of comedy, it is still not funny, but at least they tried harder here and some moments are mildly amusing. The directing is better and the pacing, although very problematic, is still okay as the first half is much slower and lacks the stupid action. But later the action gets annoying really fast. But the whole third act is the highlight with a really interesting story for once and a rather intriguing adventure and mystery to it.

The imagery is more memorable here and the film is well filmed for sure. I liked its adventurous spirit that thankfully got in front of the action here. The tone is okay and the dialogue is more mature, although some lines are just awful. It is definitely a smarter film, but still not that clever, especially when you compare it to non-blockbusters. The score is repetitive, just repeated from previous entries. The film certainly has a genuinely more intriguing and memorable storyline, but that is still undone by its tendency to go into silly and action-packed territory.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is an evident improvement upon its weak predecessors. It still has some annoying scenes, it still has a bad female character, way too much action and is wildly uneven, but the duo between Ford And Connery is amusing, the story is much more engaging and even intriguing in its third act and it is just much more enjoyable and interesting than the previous entries.

My Rating – 3.5

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Witness (1985)

Witness

Witness Review

Witness is a 1985 thriller drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison Ford. It was nominated for incredible eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and it deserved it as it is so surprisingly good.

It is about a detective who must protect a young Amish boy and his mother after the boy becomes a witness of a murder. This film is very odd. And in its concept and especially execution it feels as if you are watching two different movies. Witness’s genre mix of thriller and drama does not mash well, but is still so unique and different that I enjoyed it very much. The first and the last act are both in the thriller genre. But the whole long second act is pure drama. It is an interesting concept and it gives the movie some heart as well as a brain. Let me explain. By having that Amish drama, Witness suddenly has a romance to go with it as well. And although it is predictable and expected, it is still moving and well realized. But it succeeds even more on the intellectual level as it showcases a great understanding of both cultures and although it presents Amish as somewhat better people, it still strikes a balance in the comparison between the two in showcasing the different lifestyles and moral codes. It really is a fascinating subject matter, very authentic as well, but thankfully explored incredibly well.

But Witness succeeds as a thriller as well and that is all due to its beginning as the ending I did not appreciate as much. But it starts with a bang! The first fifteen minutes or so with the murder happening is so pulse-pounding and so thrilling that it is incredible to behold. It is also instantly recognizable and the most memorable and the finest part of the whole movie, the one that is executed with the most style and power. It is something that Hitchcock would have in his films – an unexpected situation filled with thrills and intense moments, but with powerful execution as well.

Now, the characters are also surprisingly well developed for a thriller film. John Book is a fine protagonist, still somewhat too heroic, but nevertheless well portrayed and likable, which is rare for Harrison Ford characters. Rachel Lapp is also a great character and the romance between the two is wonderful and she is realistically portrayed, albeit with her beauty too emphasized. Samuel is also quite good as a kid character and the other Amish people are well realized and the villains are quite solid.

The acting is really good. This is Harrison Ford’s finest performance without a doubt and the only time he played a real, likable character that you can root for. And although you could still see the acting at certain times, he still gave a mostly good performance that is easily his best as he was never a particularly good actor. Kelly McGillis is also stupendous and she gave such a great and nuanced performance.

The directing from Peter Weir is really good and the film is very well shot and wonderfully executed. The score is also solid with at times thrilling results. And for once I liked the slow-motion sequences as they are displayed at just the right moments to increase tension. The movie is very original in its genre mix and it is also very emotional and it does have a heart and it does have something to say thanks to a smart screenplay. The humor is rare, but once there, it is quite good. And the movie, although predictable and familiar in some plot points, is still riveting from start to finish and very realistic in approach. Apart from one prolonged sequence in the Amish part that was very unnecessary, the editing is regardless superb and it is deftly paced and never boring and thankfully never too frenetic.

I agree with its Oscars. It thoroughly deserved Best Editing and most importantly Best Original Screenplay as this is the rare thriller that is very original and authentic in its story, but also so clever. As for Best Actor nomination, I wouldn’t go so far, but it did deserve its technical nominations as well as Best Picture and Best Director nods. It really is a superb thriller and one of the best from the eighties without a doubt.

Witness‘s genre mix of thriller and drama is definitely original and even audacious even if at times it doesn’t quite work. But it is still such a well crafted story, for once meaningful and smart, having both romance and drama, but still having terrific thriller elements, especially in the pulse-pounding and so memorable beginning. It is a thrilling, but emotional film that also has something to say. It is incredibly well executed, well directed, well acted, but above all well paced and riveting from start to finish. It is one of the best 1980s thrillers without a doubt.

+ Phenomenal screenplay.

+ Great acting.

+ Excellent directing, editing and a technically deft film.

+ Smart themes.

+ Memorable thrills.

+ Authentic mix of genres.

– The mix doesn’t always work, seems like two different movies

– Editing is good apart from one overlong sequence.

– It is predictable and familiar at certain points.

For:

– Thriller as well as drama fans.

– Harrison Ford fans.

Not for:

– Usual thriller fans who expect an all-out thriller.

My Rating – 4.5

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Movie Review

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Review

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 adventure film that is the second in the Indiana Jones franchise, once again starring Harrison Ford and directed by Spielberg. It is again a boring experience, but it is better than ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.

Indiana Jones is asked by village people in India to seek a mystical stone and he later is met by a cult practicing human sacrifice. This is still an awfully weak story, but it is still better than its predecessor as it has its moments and is genuinely more interesting. But also what makes it a less excruciating experience than before is definitely its much darker approach with at times even very dangerous consequences, or close to dangerous at least. I like the incorporation of darker themes with the cult and it is the highlight of the film.

However, it is still filled with an endless amount of action. The action sequences once again are nonsensical, childish and unrealistic tending to go for an awful amount of running time making you question for whom this is supposed to be. I would say children as it is not only frenetic to the point of being absurd, but it is also at times incredibly silly. Though it has some charming moments, it is mostly devoid of it, instead relying on cheap action, campiness and cheesiness. I hate how cheesy this franchise is. I really hate that.

The characters are here even worse than in the original. If that was possible. The protagonist is even more aggressive, cocky and unlikable this time around and that kid is awfully annoying. But it is the woman who is the worst thing about this film. This is inexcusable. She is overloud, annoying and tends to panic for most of the movie. She is awful and there is no other way to say this, but the movie is incredibly sexist. And I hate, despise actually, how it got away with it because of the status of the franchise. It cannot get away because it is not that old and it just goes into complete stereotypical and offensive territory with its portrayal of women. It is awful, unwatchable and done in very poor taste. It should not be forgiven.

The acting is okay, but nothing to write home about. The pacing is of course awful with too tedious action that goes forever. The direction is quite solid and of course the movie again looks great with excellent cinematography and some terrific scenery. It is very well filmed and shot which is the highlight of this whole franchise. The score is repetitive and way too similar to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. But overall, comparing it to that movie, as I said before, it is better because it is darker and more engaging, but it has weaker characters on the other hand. It is predictable, it lacks any heart or realism whatsoever and the tone is problematic, shifting from dark to silly abruptly.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is better than its predecessor because the story is more bearable, it is more engaging to watch and it is thankfully much darker, but it still has endless nonsensical action, it is awfully cheesy and the tone is not dealt with properly as it goes from dark to silly abruptly. But the characters are awful, even more so this time around. The protagonist is even more cocky and unlikable and the movie is indescribably sexist in its portrayal of women and I hate how they got away with it because of the status of the franchise whereas in reality what they did here is unforgivable.

My Rating – 3

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost ArkRaiders of the Lost Ark Review

Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 adventure movie that is regarded as one of the finest blockbusters whereas in my opinion it is incredibly over-appreciated.

It follows Indiana Jones in search of the famous ark also chased by the Nazis. Now, the story has excellent themes – the search for treasure, the heist, mystical objects, Egyptian mythology, the jungles and excellent locations overall. But it never makes use of it with a tired and awfully predictable and clichéd plot which is of course dressed in the grandiose blockbuster clothing. And it literally copies the adventure movies from the thirties not only for the themes but for it is set in that exact period. But it doesn’t have the charm of those 1930s movies neither in the actors nor in the tone and it is never nearly as engaging or fun but rather dull and even annoying. But what’s the worst is that it is filled with action after action instead of effervescent adventure. There are literally scenes that go for over ten minutes of non-stop stupid action. And I blame this movie as one of the films that influenced others and started the stupid blockbusters over-reliant on spectacle.

Ok, so the plot is weak, but what about the characters? They are even worse! The character development is so subpar here that it quickly warms its welcome. Indiana Jones is fun for many people, I get that. But he is annoying and obnoxiously arrogant that I wanted to punch him in the face. He is the typical Harrison Ford, full of himself character that I honestly absolutely despise and he is the reason the movie does not work. His girlfriend is also not strong, she is better than the female character from the next movie, that’s for sure, but she is nevertheless very forgettable. And all of the other characters are so thin and badly developed that I have no need to talk about them.

The acting is good. Harrison Ford is okay in the role, I dislike him and the character, but there is no denying that he is a good actor and that he plays those types of roles very well. As for the other actors, they serve their purpose, but again nothing out of the ordinary and their performances are quite forgettable as are their characters.

The directing from Spielberg is weak here as he displays no purpose and no structure whatsoever. Technically, it is a solid movie with great effects for the time, excellent scenery and solid acting. But the approach with constant action is awful and because of awful editing, some action sequences tend to go forever. What is also troublesome is that the movie fails to bring any emotion or charm to the table whatsoever and add to that weak and annoying characters and a typical story and you’ve got an empty blockbuster movie that unfortunately influenced other American films to follow in its wake which is why big-budget movies nowadays are so bad.

The movie is also undeniably predictable and also stupid in many scenes with expected mistakes that just go against reason. As for the sound, it’s quite good and of course the score is iconic. But then again, even that score is not one of my favorites from John Williams and the movie relies on it a bit too much. As for the humor, it is awful. There is not a single moment where I smiled, not to mention laughed. And that is problematic because they evidently try. And the famous scene with the swords guy is not just ridiculous, but incredibly annoying and it gets on my nerves. And the tone in this movie is bad because it is too silly and not to mention that it possesses the unbearable amount of 1980s cheese.

With awfully clichéd and not a bit engaging story that was literally copied from the 1930s adventure movies but lacks their charm and authenticity whatsoever, too silly tone filled with unbearable amount of 80s cheese and incredibly thin characters thanks to weak character development with Indiana Jones being just obnoxious and annoyingly arrogant, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a big dumb blockbuster that looks good with excellent scenery, great sound effects, iconic score and solid acting, but it is badly directed, awfully edited with some action sequences going on forever and it is literally filled with action after action that it quickly becomes difficult to watch. It unfortunately influenced other movies and that is why nowadays we have these stupid blockbusters filled with endless action and no story or character work whatsoever and I am not going to congratulate this movie for doing that. This is one of the most overrated films made by one of the most overrated directors.

My Rating – 3

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