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Showing posts from June, 2016

You're right. When you're right, you're right and you are right.

Dick Tracy (1990)
(SPOILERS) So, I pretty much denounced Dick Tracy at first sight. I couldn’t understand why it seemed to be getting such a charitable response, since it fundamentally failed to understand the hows and whys of translating a comic to the big screen, certainly in terms of capturing the thrill or dynamism of reading one of the things. I had problems with Batman, but at least it featured Burton-esque quirks and a couple of memorable performances. Dick Tracy just sat there, oblivious, its only noteworthy aspect being an eyeball-grazing colour palette.

But, I reasoned, said appraisal took place prior to my discovery and appreciation of all things Warren Beatty. Or at least, all things, or at least most things, Warren Beatty in the 1970s, as long all those things were his actual 1970s movies (and Reds, but that may as well have been the 1970s). I don’t tend to rewatch movies I thought were lousy in the first place unless I think the passage of time, or some redeeming aspects, m…

They're not screaming. They're celebrating.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
(SPOILERS) I guess you can never quite tell. Dinosaurs have always been popular with kids, but that didn’t mean Jurassic World wasn’t going to be another Jurassic Park III (and just wait for that The Land That Time Forgot remake… anyone?) Independence Day seemed like a dazzling one-off marketing coup (aliens blow up the White House! – and other, less important global renowned global sites – as Jeff Goldblum knowingly informs us here “They like to get the landmarks”), but that didn’t mean its sequel couldn’t tap a similar vein of ‘90s nostalgia as Jurassic Park, or bring alien invasions to a rapt new generation. Yet such a prospect looked a whole lot less likely when Big Willie opted not to bring his inimitable style to the party, and sight of the picture confirms he made the right decision; even with his cocky pilot in frame to fill one of the narrative vacuums masquerading as subplots, Independence Day: Resurgence would still have stunk.

The absence o…

Welcome to Earth!

Independence Day (1996)
(SPOILERS) I was never the greatest fan of Independence Day, which is probably why it has taken me a full 20 years to revisit it, and only then for the sake of referencing with regard to its belated, forlorn follow-up. ID4 is a difficult film to actively dislike, just as it’s a hard to one to come out swinging for. Its pertinent problems and common complaints are at least partly intentional, based on its makers’ bizarre notion that the ‘70s disaster movie genre was some kind of worthy template to strive for and reinvigorate. That the picture hits its marks in this regard will likely be some measure of your tolerance for its content, but mostly its lustre is down to showing off Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum at the height of their powers. Oh, and Randy Quaid, wherever he may currently be hiding, proudly sporting an industrial strength tinfoil hat.

For my money, director Roland Emmerich later bested ID4’s dubious template with the giddy end-of-the-world overkill of 20…

Would you follow a king to the Black Fortress?

Krull (1983)
(SPOILERS) Krull is the embodiment of what happens when a studio has a vision of money to be made, but lacks a visionary to make it. It wasn’t just that it came late to the sci-fi-fantasy party, released the same year as the finale of Star Wars, the trilogy that spawned a thousand imitators. More damagingly, it was armed a paucity of inspiration, and no grasp of the alchemy required to turn a huge budget into a blockbuster, or mould the tried-and-tested principles of the hero’s journey into something that would resonate with audiences.

What Peter Yates’ film actually is (which is not to denigrate the stop-motion pioneer’s fine and inspiring legacy), is closer in tone to the Ray Harryhausen mythic romps that peaked with Jason and the Argonauts some two decades earlier, with all the problems of vague travelogue plotting, listless pacing and indistinct leads that ensnared later outings. While offering tokenistic laser-zap and space-wise gestures as a nod to George Lucas’ saga,…