Posts Tagged ‘chris pine’

wonder woman

Diana, (Lilly Aspell, Emily Carey, Gal Gadot) is princess of the Amazons, a band of fierce female warriors, who live on an island, with no men.  She wants to train to be a warrior, but her mother Queen Hippolyta  (Connie Nielson) forbids it.  So Diana gets training from General Antiope (Robin Wright) behind her mother’s back.  One day, American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes through the barrier that keeps the island from being visible to others and into the ocean.  Diana saves Steve and learns that Steve is an American spy on a mission to end a secret German chemical weapons program, spearheaded by General  Ludendorf (Danny Huston) and Dr. Maru, (Elena Anaya)  and end World War I.  Steve has Dr. Maru’s formula for the mustard gas, and has to deliver the book to British intelligence.  Diana believes that someone on the German side is really the Greek God of War Aries, who is trying to prolong the war and kill as many humans as possible.  Diana’s mission is to find and kill Aries. Does Hippolyta allow Diana to leave the Amazon’s island and travel with Steve to the front?  Does Steve accomplish his mission to stop the chemical weapons from being used?

This could have been a classic movie, but it sends all kinds of mixed messages.  One is a message of a woman imbued with great powers to stop the human race from annihilating itself, which is a wonderful message.  But if Wonder Woman is so powerful, why does she need help from a man?  Then, the writers want to superimpose some kind of messy love story within the superhero genre.  This kind of genre mixing rarely ever works. It’s been tried in Superman with Lois Lane, and Spiderman with Maryjane, with varying degrees of success.  In the context of this movie, the love story actually undercuts the female empowerment story.  There are also silly scenes that overemphasize Diana’s femininity.  Other than the lead character being a woman, this is a pretty generic superhero film, and the ending is pretty generic as well.  And if anyone thinks that being a woman makes Diana a pacifist, you haven’t watched a Hollywood superhero movie lately, this movie is very violent.

There is one redeeming aspect to Wonder Woman, and it is the performance of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince.  Her earnest, sincere, heartfelt, and serious (that’s a compliment) performance make this movie worth watching.  While most superhero actors are looking for a tagline, Gadot conveys the genuine feeling to the audience that Diana only wants to help people.  Her naiveté is refreshing as well.  If this movie stands out, it is because of her.  Chris Pine is not so lucky, he gives the standard hero performance, but he’s supposed to be an American spy who infiltrates the German military not once but twice.  He doesn’t even try a British accent to blend in to British society, and his German accent is weak.  His ham handed performance almost steals the movie from Gadot, Chris Pine, this wasn’t your movie.  He seems to have forgotten that Gadot is the focus of the film.  Robin Wright has a small role as the woman who trains Diana, but the role is too small to make an impression.

A big deal was made that Wonder Woman was directed by a woman.  The fact is Patty Jenkins added very little to this movie that is different from a man directing the same film.  There’s a backstory, an over reliance on special effects, and a long, long running time.  What exactly is the difference between this movie and Captain America’s origin story?  Not much and so why should Patty Jenkins deserve credit for directing a standard issue superhero movie?  She shouldn’t.  The only outstanding performance is by Gadot, and the pacing is slow at times.

Wonder Woman:  Wondering Why It Wasn’t Better.

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into the woods

Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) battles her stepmother (Christine Baranski) to go to a three day festival given by a Prince. (Chris Pine)  Red Riding Hood (Lila Crawford) steals cookies and bread from a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) to feed to her granny.(Annette Crosbie) She must evade a hungry wolf (Johnny Depp) to get to grandma.  A boy named Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) sells his cow for some magic beans from the baker. The baker and his wife are childless.  A witch,(Meryl Steep)  who keeps a girl with long hair named Rapunzel  (Mackenzie Mauzy) locked in a tower.  The witch says she can give the childless baker and his wife a child, if they bring her something milky white, something red, something golden like corn, and golden slippers.  Does Cinderella get her prince?  Does Red evade the wolf?  What happens to Jack and his magic beans?  Does Rapunzel get out of the tower?  Does the baker and his wife have a child?

This is what some people call a fractured fairy tale, I call it a morally ambiguous fairy tale.  The characters may seem familiar, but things are not as they seem, thanks to a twist near the end of the film.  These characters may end up happy or not, but their lives are far from perfect after the twist.  If there is happiness to be had, these characters will have to work for it.  If there is a theme it is about child rearing, how to be a good and consistent parent.  It’s an interesting take on these well-known Grimm fairy tales. The music enhances the story, makes it livelier in some circumstances provides exposition.  If there is an issue with this movie, there are too many characters, and some of the characters have very little development.

The acting is generally good, with Meryl Streep giving a standout performance, with Emily Blunt giving a complex, multi-layered performance.  The younger actors, Daniel Huttleston  and Lilla Crawford also give strong performance,  Chris Pine tries very hard, but neither his voice or acting seems up to the task. Johnny Depp has a great cameo as the wolf.

The direction gives this story the proper eerie feel, the pacing is good and the songs are well-staged. The kids will enjoy the songs, they might not understand the subtleties of the movie, but they will enjoy the fairy tale aspect of the movie.

Into the Woods:  A Knotty Tale.

Star-Trek-2-Into-Darkness

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) rescues Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) from a primitive planet, but reveals the Enterprise to its inhabitants, thereby violating the Prime Directive of non-interference. Spock reports him and Kirk gets demoted to serving as first officer under Captain Pike. (Bruce Greenwood) While Kirk is demoted a bomb goes off in London, at Starfleet storage  facility.  As Starfleet command gathers to try to find out who bombed the storage facility, the Starfleet gathering is attacked by John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch)  who, after killing Pike escapes to the Klingon homeworld of Kronos.  Kronos is on the edge of the neutral zone, but Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) gives Kirk the Enterprise back armed with Marcus’ newest weapon, the photon torpedo. Marcus wants Harrison killed, and possibly to start a war with the Klingons that he feels is inevitable.  Kirk wants to capture Harrison alive, and just when he is on the verge of doing that, Harrison turns himself in.  Who is John Harrison?  And why would he turn himself in after killing many members of Starfleet command?

I did not like Star Trek Into Darkness, to tell you why would ruin the movie and I don’t want to do that.  I want you to be outraged, just as I was outraged that the studios greenlighted this script.  The writers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindeloff, think they can spew some terms like Prime Directive, and planets like Kronos and the fanboys would be delighted.  Well, I wouldn’t call myself a Trekkie, not in the convention going sense, but I have watched all the episodes of the original tv show and at least 4 of the movies, so I’m pretty conversant about Star Trek.  I find the reveal in this movie insulting as a Star Trek fan, and a movie fan.  And I think anyone who has seen the show and the original movies would feel the same way.  I was wondering why this movie didn’t gross that much in the first weekend, now I know.  See it if you want, but Iron Man 3 is a much better movie.  Chris Pine makes a good Kirk, he’s a much better actor than William Shatner, almost anybody is. Zachary Quinto annoyed me, he sounded like he was doing a feeble impression of original Spock Leonard Nimoy.  Benedict Cumberbatch was great as Harrison, he was the only saving grace in this movie.  He is equally good in a much better BBC tv show called Sherlock.

Here is my review of season 1 of Sherlock. https://reviewswithatude.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/tv-review-sherlock-1-2010/ Check the show out if you can.

The pacing of Into Darkness lags, especially towards the end when the excitement should be building, that is the fault of Hollywood’s newest hot property, JJ Abrams.  I hope he does not do to Star Wars what he did to this installment of Star Trek.  I really hope he has better ideas, for Star Wars fans, and moviegoers everywhere.

Star Trek Into Darkness:  JJ Abrams is in the dark about what makes a good sequel.