Hola folks and ladyfolks.
Well this week I saw two films I had never seen before and they are what will appear right about.........now. Starting with:
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The hilariously named Marc Webb goes back to the roots of Spiderman, only ten years after Sam Raimi and Toby Maguire did pretty much exactly the same thing. The real question is, after such a short period of time, is there any point to this film and is it any good?
Firstly, the answer to the big question, is it better than the preceding trilogy? No. It is not better than Spiderman 1 or 2, although it is much better than Spiderman 3. Whilst Andrew Garfield makes a much more entertaining Spiderman than Toby Maguire, Toby's Peter Parker is a lot more fragile and weak than Garfield's skating hipster Parker, and for me, having a nerdy Peter Parker makes his transformation into Spiderman and the need to do good actions a lot more powerful. Whilst Garfield's Spiderman is the smart mouthed good guy, his Peter Parker is charming but that's it.
In terms of the story, I liked the changes in original The Amazing Spider-Man created, having Peter's father at the start of the story is something Raimi's version didn't have and it offers a level of intrigue and emotional pressure against Aunt May and Uncle Ben (in both versions, brilliant!).
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is a much more fleshed out character than Kirsten Dunst was as Mary Jane, Stone's Stacy is intelligent, helpful, useful and much more importantly, daughter to the police commisioner. Her role is very well written and well acted and she is a good foil for Garfield (the fact the pair of them were seeing each other at the time of filming may have helped).
Rhys Ifans is great as Dr. Kurt Conners, every bit as intriguing and potentially menacing as Willem Dafoe's scenary chewing Norman Osborn. His plight is quite heart rending and his connection to both Gwen and Peter makes a lot of sense, but it all goes wrong. He soom finds himself transformed into The Lizard, a huge, powerful ,unconvincingly CGI-ed thing with a human face that just looks...off. It is here that Dr. Kurt Conner's stops becoming interesting and is just another CGI villain to conquer. In contrast, I offer Willem Dafoe once he has become the Green Goblin and just how menacing and dangerous he was.
As the film goes on, The Amazing Spider-Man has action scene after action scene that just doesn't really impress in either spectacle or emotional clout. Certainly nothing on the scale of when the Green Goblin drops Mary Jane and the tramcar full of people to make Spiderman choose. Whilst the new film goes for a darker, more emotional take on the story and to some extent succeeds, certainly in regards to Peter Parker and his relationships with everyone around him, the film itself lacks the joyful fun that Raimi's version had (J. Jonah Jameson for example).
All in all, not a bad film, please don't think that. It is certainly worth a watch, maybe you'll like it more than Sam Raimi's films, maybe you won't, maybe you'll enjoy them both equally but really, it's not something that needed doing again but with that in mind, they did a pretty good job with it.
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
This is probably the first film I have reviewed with two exclamation marks in the title.
This is an animated film from Aardman studios, the folks behind Wallace and Gromit, as well as Chicken Run. It is not as good as either Chicken Run or any Wallace and Gromit film. It is pretty funny and very sweet but not hysterical and emotional as Aardman's other works.
Ably voiced by Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Salma Hayek, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven and Brian Blessed, the film tells the story of the Pirate Captain and his desire to win a Pirate of the Year award, but facing stiff competition from far better pirates. Enter his parrot (which is actually a Dodo) and Charles Darwin, who has a desire to present the Dodo to Queen Victoria (who he is in love with). Add on top of this a secret dining club, a monkey who communicates only through speech cards and beautiful visuals and you end up with a gorgeous looking and sounding film.
Most of the humour I found comes in really small pieces, the script is amusing and the voice acting handles it well but the best comedic moments are really blink-and-you'll-miss-it sort of stuff. It's not as fast or as clever and anything else Aardman have done so far but their standard is almost absurdly high and this is still a valid film.
Well worth a watch and I'm glad I stumbled across it but TP!IAAWS! (as it shall be known) was a good way to spend the evening but isn't the rewatchable, fantastic film that other Aardman creations are.
Trailer: (with amazingly catchy song BTW!)