Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies and play member and staff-run games
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes, and vote to decide the winners
  • Participate in raffles, including exclusive raffles for new members, and win free LEGO sets
  • Send private messages to other members
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!

Posted Image


Click to ToggleParticipate in our raffle!

Hi, Guest. Come take a look and participate in our raffle:

Chima 2014 Big Raffle
Chima 2014 New Member Raffle
Chima 2014 Little Raffle

Kraggh's Works ♫♪



Photo

The LEGO Movie Review

Posted by Kragghle , in Bionicle, Movies, Reviews Feb 14 2014 · 168 views
LEGOs, username change

Posted Image

 
 
 
:kaukau: The LEGO Movie turned out to be what I wanted it to be, which is good.  The problem is, how to I begin to explain what my hopes for this film were?  Well first, I certainly wanted something that felt definitive, something that wasn't just a LEGO movie but The LEGO Movie.  It fit the part by having a good story that expertly mixed together a dramatic narrative with plenty of comic relief.  And trust me, there was plenty of comic relief.  There were so many jokes in this movie I would have to watch it twice in order to catch them all.  The dramatic element, meanwhile, intimately incorporated the nature of LEGOs into its character.  This isn't a movie with a bunch of LEGO jokes and gimmicks but an overarching plot that could have otherwise been unrelated to LEGOs.  This is a movie with LEGOs that's about LEGOs.  There is simply no other way that this film could have been made.
 
The beginning of the movie, meanwhile, was a strong note.  The villain gains control of a mysterious device from Wizard Freeman.  Whatever it is, it's powerful and could only possibly be used for evil, and it's called the Kragle.  You know I smiled at that.
 
But that's not the strong note, even though I personally loved the name of the doomsday device.  What I loved was that the opening of the movie made use of giant LEGO sets and made a complex LEGO city filled with movement.  Not only was it visually splendid, but it had a great way of establishing the feel of the universe and the way things worked.  There were countless things going on, enough to make me think that this was indeed the LEGO Movie, the one where they pulled out all their guns and did everything that could ever possibly be done with LEGOs.  The smartest thing about all this, though, was that it was also all put to a theme song.
 

 
Having an establishing sequence set to a song that defines the theme of the movie is a staple of classic movie making, which shows that the makers at LEGO decided to use all their tricks.  The great thing about this song is that it also works as a great description of what LEGO is all about, without necessarily being about LEGOs, sort of like how "When You Wish Upon a Star" works as the official theme for Disney.  It's also catchy enough that I think I could play it for five hours straight.
 
As I said before, this movie is visually amazing, incredibly clever at every turn, uses every single LEGO-related joke and story element you can imagine, and also includes a pretty great reference to BIONICLE to keep us at BZPower happy.  Even the references to things non-LEGO are pretty good and done to far better effect than in movies like Shrek.  I genuinely think that they put everything they could into this movie, and made LEGOs a strong enough theme for a story, that it works well on the big screen.  In fact, I think that this was made for the big screen, and seeing it later on VHS DVD/Blue-Ray would be a cause for regret.  The end credits suggest as much when some of their credits feature LEGO versions of those popcorn bags that you get at the theatres and poor butter on.  So take my advice and see this before it goes onto the small screen.  Especially since you're reading this on BZPower and that obviously makes you a fan of LEGOs.
 
To put it another way, everything in this movie is awesome.
 

Posted Image

 

Signing out from the movies!

 
 
In need of a new signature because of this,
The KRAGGHLE!


Photo

Happy LEGO Day

Posted by Kragghle , in Life, BZPower, Nerd, Events Feb 14 2014 · 103 views
LEGO
:kaukau: Why not?
 
Valentine's Day is a stupid holiday.  Always thought so, always will.  It wouldn't make a difference if I was in a relationship, because the things I value in a relationship transcend hearts and chocolate (although to be fair to chocolate, it is one of the greatest inventions ever).  I mean, to have society try to associate your relationship with such a commercialized event that has seemingly nothing to do with relationships when you two are too busy doing something that's actually important is kind of embarrassing.  Everything about it is awkward.  Is it the only day of the year that people are supposed to be romantic or something?  Is there supposed to be some sort of special date that boys take their girlfriends out on this day?  I would have figured that a special date wouldn't be on a day where everyone else is doing it, because you'd want to make it a little more personal.  It's kind of hard to be personal when everyone else is doing it, and when the romantic theme of Valentine's Day is also so vague and ambiguous.  It's like you're not celebrating anything in particular, or anything meaningful about relationships.  You're just celebrating the shallow stuff.
 
So from now on, I'm making my own holiday on February 14, something that's actually fun.  I missed out on seeing the The LEGO Movie on its opening weekend, but there's a matinee this Friday.  I decided that I would dedicate this day to LEGOs and see that movie.  A friend even knew that today was LEGO Day for me and suddenly dropped in on me at midnight to say "Happy LEGO Day!"
 
I'll have a review of the movie up tomorrow, and I hope everyone else who hasn't seen it yet takes some time today to see it.  In fact, it would be awesome if you, too, would consider today LEGO Day from now on and it became a little tradition among us BZPers.
 
Happy LEGO Day!
 
Oh, and I admit, I did give in and celebrate Valentine's Day just a little bit.  This morning, I treated myself to a chocolate, heart-shaped doughnut.  But that was because of the chocolate. It just might be as awesome as LEGOs.
 

24601




Photo

Shirley Temple Black

Posted by Kragghle , in Events Feb 12 2014 · 107 views
death
:kaukau: Shirley Temple Black, best remembered for her collection of movies as an adorable child actress, passed away today.  She's actually someone I had been thinking of a lot about lately and was on my list of favorite actresses and someone I always wanted to meet.  I will miss her, but I am very happy for the life she led.  It was a good life, a happy and fulfilled life.  I have faith that she's in a better place now.  The main loss is in the hearts of those left behind, that people like me only ever got to hear about her character instead of getting to know about it first hand.  She would have been interesting to meet, and I regret that I will never get that opportunity.  But even more, I hope that her family and her descendants can find peace and togetherness in these next few days.  Death in the family is never easy, no matter how well-prepared we are for the inevitable. I look with a weary eye at my aging grandmother and worry about the time I have left with her, and I think of the mistakes I made with not getting to know my grandfather well enough before the opportunity was taken from me.  Since I have the chance not to take this great family bond for granted, the passing of an icon is a good reminder to value these last years all the more.  To the people who knew Shirley personally, and who had that opportunity to have her as a part of their lives and vice versa, I hope they never wasted that time.  And now I hope that they live lives full of love and happiness, and Shirley would have wanted.
 

24601




Photo

MexiCAN or MexiCAN'T?

Posted by Kragghle , in Humor Feb 11 2014 · 180 views
Star Trek
:kaukau: When you're from Mexico, you're either one or the other, according to Agent Sheldon Sands.  Unless you're this guy.
 

Posted Image

 
When you're Ricardo Mantalblán, you get to be a MexiKHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
 

24601




Photo

Let It Go

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Music Feb 02 2014 · 177 views
Disney, Frozen
:kaukau: Just when I thought I couldn't love this film more:

 

 
I think that this goes to show the standard Disney holds its films to.  That it's been tailor-made for 25 different countries and dialects shows that their movies truly are event films.  They are universal, and they unite people.  Looking back at what Disney himself said about his films, I feel that the company has used their animated movies to continue the spirit of Disney animation, which is to be to promote good standards, find quality entertainment that doesn't sacrifice anyone's innocence, combine both realism and idealism, bring people (especially families) together, discovering the brightest possible pictures our imagination can conjure, bringing out the best in people, and being a source for good in the world.  I all of these, I think that Frozen excels.
 
Furthermore, I am always amazed at the TLC they put into their animated movies.  They always feel full and complete, and so solidly made that they almost always become classics, though they are never mentioned within anyone's lists of classic movies.  It would make sense, of course, that if each and every frame is to be painstakingly animated, the filmmakers would make literally every frame count, and every single moment of the story live up to its best possible potential.
 
I find it odd how people often neglect to mention Disney movies when talking of some of the great movies that are released these days, as if animation is somehow an inferior means of storytelling and merely some form of sub-culture.  Yet, when people talk of the best films of the year, which ones are they going to watch with their children, maybe even without their children, repeatedly on VHS Blu-Ray?  I think that should be a clear sign of the quality of the film.
 
Congratulations to the makers of Frozen for winning my heart and making the best film I saw in all of 2013!
 

24601




Photo

The Last Starfighter review

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Reviews Dec 30 2013 · 46 views
science fiction, 80s

Posted Image

 
 
 
:kaukau: May I introduce you to the second-ever "photorealistic" use of computer generated environments put to film, right after Disney's TRON.  Made in 1984, it's far from realistic by our standards and doesn't even measure up to the expectations we have for a cheap video game these days, but somehow I would say that the effects have aged well.  Part of the reason, I think, is that they don't have that manufactures feel about them, and the look of the film somehow shows that it was lovingly put together.  This was before "special effects" was just a synonym for "CGI," and the director took a genuine risk making this film the way he did.
 
Personally, I think that this all could have been done without computer-generated-imagery.  I would have preferred that look, especially today.  As it stands, it looks like an old video game, but there's something fitting about that.  Unless you're been living under a rock, the premise of this film is that the main character, Alex Rogan, gets recruited to be a starfighter for an alien race known as the Rylons after getting a high score in an arcade game simulating the starfighter experience.  Since the video game was an integral part of the movie's premise, it makes it more forgivable that the digitally rendered ships should look like they came from an old 90's video game, and it gives it a certain fantasy look that has never really been done in any movie since.  It feels like it's neither practical effects nor computer effects, even though it is the latter, since it's a look I have yet to see again.  In any case, I find it easier to suspend my disbelief for something like this than for a lot of CG today that makes me want to closely analyse it for faults.
 
Regarding the story, it uses some science fiction cliches, including names like Xur and Xandoxans, the Ko-Dan Empire, Rylos, and an lovable con-man named Centauri.  If you are in the mood for something that takes a queue from Flash Gordon, add this to your things to watch.  Of course, it inevitably ends up with a number of similarities to Star Wars that it has rightfully been called a Star Wars ripoff, but "the best one."  That is to say, director Nick Castle was aware that this could easily turn out like Star Wars and tried his hardest to make it different, only to find out that George Lucas really knew what he was doing when he embraced universal archetypes that show up in just about any story, such as the reluctant hero with a modest rural background.  The director went from trying hard not to copy it to accepting any similarities that came up.  As much as he can, he does try to make this his own thing, hence, "it's a Star Wars ripoff, but the best one."
 
Alex Ross was initially also intended to come from a suburb, but Castle felt that this was too "Spielbergian."  That's another thing that Nick Castle had to fight against, and ultimately failed to do.  However, being similar to the best of the best isn't too bad, since at the end of the day it's pretty fun.  Had this been a story meant to cash in on those successes, that would be a problem, but this was a very well-intentioned movie that really just wanted to provide people with a charming, escapist fantasy that all of us have in one form or other.
 
Regarding that non-Spielbergian background, though, that was supposed to be a suburb but turned into a trailer park: I'm glad they did that.  It's a setting I've really never seen in a movie before, and it felt very real to me, in spite of the slightly unrealistic elements they through in there to advance the fantasy.  It hit a chord with me, and it was a pleasure to watch the characters in their home environment.  I think part of that is because watching neighborhoods with a distinct identity and self-comfort automatically feel familiar, and few stories call for such a cultured illustration of home life.  The mountain scenery in the backdrop of the trailer park was also stunning, which cetainly helped with the feel for this modest trailer park.  Overall, it created a distinct atmosphere that was uniquely American and definitely from the 80's.  So 80's.  Considering that this was actually made in the 80's instead of being a period piece, this means that this is an authentic souvenir of that time period, making it pretty cool to watch.
 
The fantasy, however, was far less complete.  I loved everything having to do with Alex's home life before his fantasy began, since it was set up so well, but the adventure ended fairly fast, and there were obvious loose ends to tie up.  it reminds me very much of Star Wars Episode IV, what with Darth Vader escaping, the empire remaining in power, and Luke Skywalker merely beginning his quest as a hero of the Rebel Alliance.  This movie needed a sequel that never came.
 
The reason why the fantasy works is because of a character known as Beta.  if you haven't seen the film, I'll explain this in a roundabout way.  There are two storylines going on in the film, both following characters played by Lance Guest.  One of them is Alex Rogan, and the other is someone named Beta.  The latter character is fun and funny, and also shows that Guest had to be a flexible enough of an actor in order to be in this film.  I personally think that Guest was perfectly cast, and he brought a lot of charm to both the roles, the all-American boy charm to the one and the humorous charm that came with the other.  I like Beta, and he was probably the selling point of the whole film.  He allowed me to switch from the fantasy to the home environment that seemed rather captivating and, being an alien to trailer park, equally as much a fantasy.  There's really two stories here, one of a mundane character adopting to a fantastic world and one of a fantastic character adopting to a mundane world.  I think that it makes this experience just unique enough, and gives it just enough heart, that it can be watched repeatedly.
 
By the way, in the last five years there has been talk of making a sequel.  I personally feel it should likewise be lighthearted, and wait until a third installment before going for a major tone shift.
 

24601




Photo

Adam West Batman Movie review

Posted by Kragghle , in Reviews, Movies Dec 28 2013 · 99 views
Batman, Nananananananana and 1 more...

Posted Image

 
 
 
:kaukau: "Jingle bells, Batman smells!  Robin laid an egg!  The Batmobile lost a wheel..."  These lyrics and and Adam West were the first impression I ever had of Batman growing up.  I do remember the movie series that started with Michael Keaton and the animated series, which was ironically the most serious of these incarnations of the character, but my real indroduction to Batman was through the Adam West television show.  The character was fun and I never tried to take him too seriously, so Batman Begins rdefined that world for me a little.  This, however, will always be my first Batman.  It is tied with Batman Begins as the best Batman movie ever, perhaps even exceeding it in its excellence.
 
That satirical song about Batman will always have a special place in my heart.  I remember learning the first couple of lines during a swim meet, the rest from the first, best friend I ever had.  "Batman's in the hall — peeing on the wall."
 
Goodness, I'm getting nostalgic tingles just thinking about it.
 
Anyway, the movie doesn't take itself seriously at all.  Everything about it is silly.  You know exactly what I'm talking about: the wham's and the zook's appearing comic-book style during the climactic fight scenes, gadgets both bizarre and mundane all bearing the prefix "bat", and bat-logic that bears no resemblance to reality whatsoever.  The producers knew exactly what they were going for, and it's something that not enough of Hollywood appreciates at the moment.  According to their opening: 
 
"ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: We wish to express our gratitude to the enemies of crime and crusaders against crime throughout the world for their inspirational example.  To them, and to lovers of adventure, to lovers of pure escapism, lovers of unadulterated entertainment, lovers of the ridiculous and the bizarre --- to funlovers everywhere --- this film is respectful dedicated. [spotlight passes by a couple passionately kissing]  If we have overlooked any other sizable groups of lovers, we apologize.  The Producers"
 
There you have it.  The film reviewed itself.  If you are one of these people, go ahead and watch this film.
 

24601




Photo

Miracle review

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Reviews Dec 26 2013 · 63 views
Olympics, Disney, sports

Posted Image

 
 
 
 
:kaukau: To my surprise, this movie was made in 2004, and I really though it was made sooner than that because it feels like it's always been around, like it had always been a classic.  Surprisingly, not a lot of people regard it as such and it doesn't get the credit it deserves.  There are a lot of great sports movies, but this is perhaps my favorite.  A little while back I gave strong acclaim to Rocky, which turned out to not really be a sports film, even though it had a sport in it.  Before I saw it, I thought it had won Best Picture because it was something like Miracle.
 
I can understand why this isn't iconic  There's something familiar about it all, since it uses a theme that one critic called "a sure thing."  That is to say, it's an inspirational sports movie about a touching historic event, and it was produced by Disney.  It also starred Kurt Russell, who had a long history with Disney, so everything about this was squeaky clean.
 
You can go into this movie expecting either something groundbreaking or "been there, done that."  I would set either of these expectations aside and desire a movie that simply takes the norms for an inspirational sports movie and delivers them as purely as possible.  Yes, the athletes walk in needing character development.  Yes, they work so hard that they honestly can't believe they're still standing.  Yes, there's a great big payoff at the end.  All these things happen and they must happen, but what I appreciate is that the director knew that the story was bigger than the style he brought to it.  I have for a few years now adhered to a quote by Thomas Carlyle that goes "The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity."  With this, the film excels and doesn't have any inhibitions about being sincere, even if it means not being the most artsy of all movies.  It takes on a certain vulnerability by being humble.  It isn't trying to be great because it's merely reflecting the greatness of history it has great respect for.  In spite of being a "sure thing," it wasn't a manufactured film; rather, it was very well-intentioned and proved itself as such.
 
Skipping to the chase, this movie is about Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), understood by director Gavin O'Connor to be a mad scientist with a far-fetched idea no one else is willing to try or even fully conceive.  He has a certain plan for the team, but he's the only person who understands it.  Basically, he plays the coaching equivalent of "good cop, bad cop" with them so that they can unite against him and start working as a team.  He always maintains a professional distance from them, but he dedicates himself so much to training this team that he also alienates himself from his wife.  As such, Herb doesn't have both feet in either worlds.  Still, those moments behind closed doors with his wife, Patty, offer an excellent moment of vulnerability to the man behind the team and help us to get behind him, to understand him, and to be able to go with him through the movie.  In O'Connor's directing and Russel's acting (in what I believe to be his definitive role), I'm really sold on Herb.  He was always a pleasure to watch.  It was subtle, but the result was that throughout the movie Bert's character absolutely shined.
 
Herb, however, is not the person we are to relate with.  Assistant coach Craig Patrick plays the role of the chorus, whose reactions to Bert tell the audience how to feel.  It wasn't in the original script, and it didn't occur to me that this was what the director was doing until he said so right in the commentary.  Once I heard it, I realized that he was absolutely right.
 
Then, finally, there are the hockey players themselves, one of them even being the son of the very man he depicts (Buzz Schneider was played by his son, Billy Schneider), which perhaps makes for the most interesting element to this film.  The actors who played these figures were hockey players themselves, and had to perform up to a certain standard before being allowed to audition for a role.  The director wanted these guys, of all people, to be real and authentic, and taking on people who weren't actors for the roles was a big risk.  M. Night Shyamalan more recently did this in The Last Airbender and failed.  Miracle, by some miracle, succeeds with an entire cast of non-actors.  The reactions that these people had to Kurt Russel playing Herb were often genuine and unscripted, captured on-camera when the director kept things rolling in case he found a jewel.  Kurt would reinforce this authentic chemistry by keeping his distant from the hockey players.  They would genuinely drill the actors, and when two of the players got into a fight in the movie the actors were genuinely involved in fighting.  The bruises and sores on their body were real and not products of the makeup department.
 
Nowhere did this authenticity come into play in the film's most powerful and pivotal scene, where the team finally "gets it" and understands what Herb is going after.  They tie to Norway and Herb begins to drill them.  Again.  And again.  And again.  How long this went on, I'm not entirely sure.  The director did an excellent job of distorting time, which was probably a good call.  The scene went on for a long time, with Herb coaching the team with some very strong words, such as "you think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone!" and "This cannot be a team of common men, because common men go nowhere.  You have to be uncommon.  Again."  There's about seven minutes to this scene, of the repeated drilling.  Technically, that could have all been done in just one brief moment, but O'Connor knew that this was the one pivotal moment in the film where everything needed to be slowed down.  This repetition needed to reinforce the audience as well as the characters, and they ended up reinforcing the actors themselves.  When I said that this scene was authentic, they genuinely drilled the hockey players until they dropped.  That exhaustion is completely real.  The players kept on drilling in front of the camera until they got sick.
 
So say what you may about this being a film that's been done before, about normal people overcoming extraordinary challenges, but you don't come across something as sincerely communicated as that too often.
 
To capture everything he possibly could, O'Connor kept many cameras rolling at once.  He talked about how there was always something going on in every shot, whether it was something physical or something emotional, but he was always progressing the story.  With so much to show and so many priceless shots, I actually noticed that this was perhaps the most impressively edited film I have ever scene.  I tend to be a person who puts a lot more emphasis on cinematography than editing, preferring to make takes that are long and unedited, but if a film is going to have a lot of editing, it might as well feel like this, since everything falls together so seamlessly.  It really shows in the Oslo drilling scene, but also in the opening of the movie, which is a montage of the 70's which did an amazing job of building up the context and the atmosphere of the film.  All I can say was that it was truly beautiful.  Elegantly put together was also a scene in Minnesota where the team played football in the snow while Herb drove home to a family who had already gone to bed, all to the voice-over of President Carter speaking over the radio.  It was another highlight of the film that I always strongly remembered, especially since the football game looks so amazingly real to me as a person who, as he types this, is looking out the window to a Minnesota landscape painted white with winter's glory.  Something about that scene really hits home with me; perhaps that something is everything.
 
After all the drill montages and the jumping between the two worlds Herb Brooks lived between, the film climaxes exactly how you'd expect it to.  There are few historic liberties taken in the telling of this tale.  Some of the moments behind closed doors and the climax of the Oslo scene were liberties taken by the director and writers, but they they did a great job of contributing toward truth that was already there and was all generally used to show us the psyche of these real people in ways that we could understand only later during interviews.  I really appreciate what Disney, Gavin O'Connor, Kurt Russell, and the hockey players in the cast did with this film, and it will always hold a close place in my heart.
 
I believe in miracles.  God bless America.
 

24601




Photo

The Desolation of Smaug review

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Reviews Dec 26 2013 · 106 views
Tolkien, fantasy, dragon

Posted Image

 
 
:kaukau: Before I watched this movie, I made a point of not seeing a single trailer.  I walked out of the theatres and changed the channel whenever a trailer for The Desolation of Smaug came up.  Therefore, I can respect anyone who doesn't want spoilers for this film and I will try to avoid them as much as possible, even though there are things in here that I would love to talk about specifically.  The first part of this review will consist of general impressions on how the film felt, and the second part will lead into specific examples if I find that I simply can't help myself, in which case I will certainly warn you in advance of when you should stop if you aren't interested in hearing more about the film.
 
First and foremost, Smaug has a lot of action.  If you went in expecting fireworks, you will definitely get the show you've been looking for.  The concepts behind the sets are brilliant and the fight scenes are choreographed as only Peter Jackson could choreograph them.  He's my ideal action director, seeing as he manages to compose action scenes that blend complexity, ingenuity, fantasy, and adrenaline all together while still making it all comprehensive and easy to follow.  That's exactly how I like my action.
 
Their job of portraying Smaug, while not perfect, was very flashy and tremendously realized, so I think I think that visually most people will be pleased here.  Everything about their fantasy is big and larger than life, made as cool as they could possibly make it, and they know how to revel in their fantastic elements.  It's every bit the event film people would expect it to be and it reminds me a lot of The Avengers. In short, it's a popcorn flick.
 
That praise set aside, I do take certain issues with the film.  People have been praising it as being better than the "boring" first installment of this trilogy, when I personally have to disagree.  It starts off right in the middle of things and the film really doesn't have an actual ending.  It's the cinematic equivalent to a sentence fragment, and as my uncle said, "It told the story it wanted to tell, but it wasn't a movie."  He's right, since by the time the credits start rolling it feels like one big transition, like a television episode leading up to the season finale.
 
To make matters worse, there are five different plots going on in this film and not a single one of them is resolved.  At least in An Unexpected Journey, the subplot of Bilbo's struggle to find acceptance within the group had its closure by the end of the film and they ended a note with just enough declining action to feel like it had concluded itself.  With Smaug, however, I didn't get that, and to make matters worse there was definitely a subplot they added that wasn't in the book that could have easily run its course before the film was over.  As it stands, this film doesn't feel like it has enough character of its own and is defined completely by the the upcoming third installment that will have to fill the gap left by the cliffhanger ending.  Instead of feeling like The Hobbit, part II, it feels like part I of part III.  It simply isn't a standalone film that stands as its own as a distinct phase in the telling of The Hobbit, and I think that Peter Jackson of all people could have got away with adding another twenty minutes to the movie to add some closure to the matter of Smaug before rolling the end credits.  To be honest, I don't think a whole lot of people would have complained about having twenty extra minutes of an extraordinarily imagined dragon, and he could have ended on a far better climax that would have made for a more artistically sound movie experience.
 
This is, however, the smallest of my issues.  The second-largest issue I have is that I'm questioning whether Peter Jackson was truly the right director for this film.  He managed to get The Lord of the Rings perfect.  I'm still amazed by those films.  I am not, however, utterly amazed by The Hobbit so far.  Normally with a movie of this magnitude, I can imagine the big names getting together and saying "Alright, if we're going to do this, we're going to do this right.  We can't mess this up!"    It doesn't seem that Peter Jackson is as determined now to get the "it" feel as he was before.  Part of it is the excessive CGI, which truthfully bothers me more here than it did with the Star Wars prequels.
 
Yet, I think that the major reason why Jackson hasn't captured the feel that to me says "this is The Hobbit" is because he's directing this far too much like it's The Lord of the Rings.  he's trying to capture all the same scale and all the same grandness of Return of the King, when it doesn't really work that way.  To me, The Hobbit is supposed to be much, much smaller.  As brilliant as these action scenes are, I knew they were contrived to fit in there.  It feels like they're taking the book and going overly Hollywood with it, and as such some of the simple joy behind the adventure loses its charm and instead feels manufactured.  It seems like Bilbo's adventure was anything but a simple fairytale, but rather a giant, sprawling epic with five different plots intertwining all together, and where everything is larger than life.  There is nothing that is small and nothing that is subtle.  I'm a little disappointed that this film never stepped back to take a breather.  This is The Hobbit, not Lord of the Rings.  I guess Jackson proved that you don't need a war for the fate of Middle Earth to find reasons to include fight scenes in your movie, but at the same time I have to wonder if could means should.  I think not.  I could have lived with it if Smaug was the only larger-than-life component of this film and if they had changed nothing about the way they portrayed him, but everything else could have been a little less packed and a little less grandeur.  They could have taken joy in the subtler things that the book had to offer.  In fact, I could have seen this film taking on a bit of inspiration from Matilda and A Christmas Story, which would have done far more justice to Tolkien's way of telling this tale.
 
That is to say, Bilbo's adventure was small enough that, when it was revealed that his ring was the Ring, it really opened a big door for a much larger story that made what happened before seem like a silly little thing in the past.  The Fellowship of the Ring opened with a lot of simplicity that really showed the essence of who Bilbo was.  Now, Smaug and the Hobbit trilogy thus far have done an excellent job of getting the right feel for its main character.  Everything about Martin Freeman feels consistent with Ian Holm's Bilbo, but they could have focused on that more.  Yet, The Hobbit trilogy is now feeling more like it should be called The Ensemble Cast of Larger-Than-Life Characters Trilogy.  There's so much going on that it's easy to get lost and lose focus on the evolution of Bilbo Baggins.  When there was a war for all of Middle Earth going on in The Lord of the Rings, it made more sense to have such a strong ensemble cast, but the point here is to focus The Hobbit on the hobbit!  I want to see the evolution that the series takes as it turns into a story about one man to a story about the whole world, but they're really rushing it.
 
I suppose that's the problem with living up to the standards set by The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  There's a pressure to repeat that success, and a certain set of expectations is there, whether spoken or not.  I think Jackson feels obliged to make The Hobbit in a similar way as to how he made The Lord of the Rings.  He's changed some elements of his style, of course, but if you look at the books, the difference in style between the series is even more significant.  The Lord of the Rings is ultimately more mature reading that can, at times, get a little dry, and the films reflected that.  The Hobbit was a book that was written for kids that was just deep enough adults could also enjoy it, whereas this film seems like it was made for adults, albeit young adults, and made just innocent enough that kids could also watch it.  To be honest, though, I think that this film should have been made so that it was rated G.  That's probably the simplest way I could describe the difference between what this film is and what I feel it should be in terms of directing style.  It's PG-13, but it should have been G or PG at the very most.  I think most people can instantly figure out what sort of vision would accompany that rating.
 
My biggest issue of the film, however, which is probably my most objective criticism, is that it undoes the tone set in the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring.  For those of you who saw An Unexpected Journey, which I'm assuming you have if you're reading this review, then you might have noticed that the Ring was played up a bit.  They weren't too subtle about its future importance.  In this film, nothing about that changes, and since he uses it as several times its importance is hinted at even more, if "hinted" is even the right word.
 
Here is where I start dropping spoilers, so if you don't want any of those, then this is where the review ends.
 
if you don't care about spoilers or if you have already seen the movie, then here's the issue: literally every single time the ring is brought up, it's treated as pretty ominous.  You can hear it whispering to Bilbo, and you can see it effecting him already.  There are already times when he doesn't act like himself, and it's always when he's wearing the ring.  They already hit this point home in the first movie where Bilbo kept the ring a secret from Gandalf, but they did it again in Smaug to make it absolutely clear that the ring was the most important secret in the whole film and something Bilbo would drop out of character for.  There was some whispering thrown in for good measure.  For crying in the night, even Smaug takes his steady time to recognize that the ring is powerful and far more precious than gold, suggesting that its true nature is so extraordinary that its relevant even to a great dragon like him.  In the book, it was treated as just a cool little trinket, but it's not treated that way in the movie at all.  There's nothing cool about it, and as far as the narrative is concerned, it's only ever ominous.
 
Furthermore, Gandalf should know that the ring is important by now.  He should have been perfectly aware that Bilbo was hiding something from him.  Evne if he doesn't question that now, he will have to question it later.  After all, Gandalf clearly knows now that Sauron is truly coming back to power.  This knowledge seems to devalue the narrative of The Fellowship of the Ring, where Sauron's return didn't completely surprise Gandalf but wasn't something he was expecting, either.  Now Gandalf is entirely aware of Sauron.  He feuded with the other powers that be to look into the situation at Dol Guldur in the first movie, and now he went there himself.  What did he find?  Everything he could have possibly needed to know.  He didn't just hear rumors about Sauron, but he fought with Sauron himself.  As flashy and as awesome as that fight was, you would think that if Sauron was strong enough to kick Gandalf's butt he would also be strong enough to raise an army.  Wait, he did that as well.  What other evidence does Gandalf need in order to dedicate everything of himself between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring to preparing for the war for the future of all of Middle Earth?  He saw Sauron on top of Sauron - literally.  Okay, that moment, if you know what I'm talking about, was pretty cool.  Still, there was nothing subtle about it at all.  The backdrop of The Hobbit is revealed, making the revelation in The Fellowship of the Rings merely redundant, and it also completely messed with the plot.  Are they planning on giving Gandalf a bump on the head or something?
 
We also know from The Fellowship of the Ring that Gandalf knew about Bilbo's ring.  Either he knows about it already, in which case shame on him for letting Bilbo just blatantly withhold that information from him, or he will learn about it in There and Back Again.  With what he knows now, he should know the moment he sees Bilbo's ring that it's the Ring.  He really has no excuse.  The importance of the ring is clear not just to the audience, but to the people within the movie.
 
There you go in a nutshell.  That's the biggest problem with The Hobbit.  It really assumes that you've seen The Lord of the Rings first and that you were part of that generation when it should have considered future viewers and made this under the assumption that this is the first the viewer has ever seen of Middle Earth and that this movie should be seen before Lord of the Rings.  That, and it now created some major plot holes concerning who knows what and when they know it and creates inconsistencies with Lord of the Rings.  I'm officially going to be one of those snobs who likes the book better.
 
Since I'm in a section full of spoilers, I have a few other miscellaneous criticisms.  First, Legolas had awesome parcour ninja skills that he seemed to lose between this movie and The Lord of the Rings.  His eyes were also rather disturbing and unreal.  I'm not sure why they made them that way.  Why not just make him look the way he looked in the past movies?
 
Second, that romance between Tauriel and Kili was incredibly awkward to watch.  Perhaps it was their last-ditch effort to intrudice something in the film that felt smaller than everything else, but it was completely unnecessary.  If I was an executive, I would have fought against this.  I know that this will be the subject of a fan backlash and will become infamous in the future.  Not as infamous as Jar-Jar Binks (who I enjoy, by the way), but still generally seen by the online community as a mistake.  It was, after all, awkward.  There's really no other word for it.  I mean, a dwarf-and-elf romance that has no reason for happening whatsoever except for fanservice?  It really has no place within this movie.
 
Third, I feel that this film could have used songs in it, like the first one.  I thought "I See Fire" was going to be within the film itself.  That it wasn't disappointed me.  As I made it clear before, I think that this should have had a G-rated charm to it that it didn't have.  Adding some songs to the movie would have been an excellent way of making this far more youthful and innocent than The Lord of the Rings. and also keeping a more consistent tone with An Unexpected Journey.
 
Fourth, I think that Smaug could have been done more justice.  As I have said, he is the most perfect thing in this film.  They didn't pull that old horror movie technique of only partially showing him.  We got to see him in all his glory.  His design was flawless and he was a spectacle to look at.  I loved the way he moved and I loved the way he held himself.  They also made him in such a way that he really could pull off some of the action scenes he was in.  However, as far as the character went, I think they missed out on something.  He is clearly very wise, but there were times when he simply acted incredibly stupid, and also times when his character was meant to be highly dangerous but he had moments of ADHD for plot convenience, such as in the very end when he decided to ignore Bilbo and the dwarves for the sake of hurting their feelings and killing the people in the town instead.  That's pretty lame.  Seriously, he could have been far more intimidating that what he was.  As a familiar voice said earlier this year, "He wanted to exploit my savagery! Intellect alone is useless in a fight."  Smaug, however, wasn't the type who was brilliant, ruthless, and would not hesitate to kill each and every one of them.  And you know, maybe they could have passed that feline part off, but they just didn't deliver it with the power they could have.  As charismatic as he is, Smaug is no Hannibal Lecter.  If they were going to give him the type of personality that wouldn't pounce when he had the chance, at least give him some moments like Hannibal's that are going to make people want to rewatch those scenes and quote them again and again and again.
 
Finally, the final chase between Smaug and the band of misfits through Arabor was at times disjointed.  The action was, for the most part, well-shot and I could tell what was going on, but often times I couldn't tell where the characters were.  I really wanted to get for myself a sense of what Arabor was like, and where one location was with respect to another, but I didn't get that.  It's a bit of a shame, because spacial context would have made the visual splendor of the rooms far more satisfying.
 
Spoilers end here.
 
Those are my praises and those are my issues.  It's clear that The Desolation of Smaug does have a lot of problems and, artistically, can only receive so much critical acclaim.  Still, even though it's not the best-made movie, it doesn't take away from the fact that it's an event film.  It is, as I have said, a fireworks show, and in every way it delivers on that.  If you were planning on watching it because it was going to be a simple, straightforward kind of entertainment, don't let these issue get in your way.  I knew  was going to watch in no matter what, too.  Just be prepared not to come out convinced that you just saw a masterpiece that was everything it should have been.
 

24601




Photo

Manly Man #5

Posted by Kragghle , in Superman, Hierarchies Dec 21 2013 · 68 views
Smallville

 
 
 
:kaukau: The greatest man anyone can ever encounter is his father, and let us pray that our fathers are good men.  In these men rest the foundations of every future adult.  For no one was this sacred duty more important than Jonathan Kent, and few could have qualified for the tremendous task at hand for him and his wife, Martha.  His son was no ordinary boy, who would grow up to become no mere man.  There are good fathers and bad fathers, terrible fathers and extraordinary fathers, but there are few words for the type of father Jonathan Kent had to be in order to raise Superman himself.  In order to be a father figure to that kind of man, to be Superman's Superman, he had to be a man of the ages.
 
There were certain things everybody knew about Jonathan.  He was old-fashioned in his approach to many things.  He was the idyllic Midwestern farmer, with classic values from an age long past.  he held true to the type of things that never get old, no matter how often society looks the other way the more impersonal it got.  He believed in truth, and assuming the best in people.  He was also intensely loyal to the people in his life, to the point where he threw away a future to help his father on the farm.  He was also incredibly stubborn, to a fault, but he did all these things for a good reason, and it was really quite simple why.
 
He loved people.  He knew who he was and wasn't ashamed of it, which is always manly, but what makes him extraordinary is that he knew exactly how much he loved his son, his wife, his friends, and the common man.  He knew what his obligations to them were and he would sacrifice himself to be a strong figure for them.  He was an everyman, and everybody's man, and yet nobody owned this man except God.  He would never sell himself to anyone and abandon what he believed.  He was never higher than morality.
 
These values and more he imparted on his son, and in doing so was perhaps one of the most important figured in the DC Universe.  He gave the most powerful man in the world a vision, and he gave him love.  Not once did Clark ever feel unloved under Jonathan.  Because Jonathan was stubborn, his stalwart demeanor could sometimes be frustrating.  He was, after all, overprotective, and he also knew when to hold Clark back when Clark was being impatient or reckless.  Yet, he was also always just gentle enough so that his son knew that this stubbornness came only from the deepest love he could give.
 
When I began watching Smallville, I began to really appreciate the first several seasons when Clark had both of his parents at home.  Coming from a divorced household, I always liked to imagine what it was like to have two loving parents who I could always talk to, who could be my counselors when my heart was troubled, and who I could be open and honest with.  Jonathan Kent was such a parent.  Clark could always seek out the wisdom and love of his father, and always count on him to be stronger than him when he was week in spirit.  Call that too good to be true, call that poor storytelling, but I soaked it all up, because I've seen enough stories where the household is torn, divided, and corrupted by dysfunction.  I wanted to see a family as a family ought to be, a home that could give me hope and an ideal to strive for if someday I ever became a father.  By God, Jonathan Kent was a father as fathers ought to be.  I want him as my dad.
 

24601








Me

Posted Image


Username: Emperor Kraggh
Real name: N/A
Age: 20
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, 25% Hungarian, 12.5% Swedish, 6.25% German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Smallville & Arthur the Friendly Aardvark
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, politics, drawing
Political party: Republican
Religion: Christian
Language: Not English, but American.

Blog Divisions

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Search My Blog

Recent Comments