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The LEGO Movie Review

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

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: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.
 

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Signing out from the movies!

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


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The Last Starfighter review

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

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: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.
 

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Adam West Batman Movie review

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

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: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.
 

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Miracle review

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

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: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.
 

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The Desolation of Smaug review

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

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: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.
 

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Mulan Review

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Reviews Dec 07 2013 · 135 views
Disney, animation, epic, China

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:kaukau: Mulan was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theatres, and to this day remains one of the most rewarding big-screen experiences of my life.  This film was made to be larger than life.  Is it the animation, the music, the deep and rich colors, the epic backgrounds?  I don't know, but if I were to narrow it down to one thing, I would have to say that, next to some key moments in the Star Wars saga and the opening to The Lion King, seeing the Huns charge down the mountain slope was the most epic moment ever to appear on the big screen.
 
There's something dramatic about the film, and in spite of its perfectly times comic relief, it actually does have an earnest story about honor, growth, and sacrifice.  Mulan's character is far more serious than any Disney princess to precede her, and even many who came after her.  Many Disney films opt for a poetic name, but they titled this film after its main character because there's really something that stands out about her.  She's big enough and the has the character to carry the film.  What interesting is that her story is really quite simple, and the plot doesn't have too many twists.  However, that never really occurred to me when I first watched the movie, and it didn't occur to me last night.  There's power in the story's simplicity.  The movie doesn't bother being complicated, but that's okay because it focuses on being big.
 
How big is this film?  It's an epic, and at stake is the future of all of China.  Disney didn't try to show the whole of the country, and while I regret to say that perhaps a greater illustration of the setting would have been nice, I also realize that we all understand that China is a big place.  The film didn't personally show how big a place China is, but it does help people feel just how big it is.  From the Imperial Palace to the mountains to the long journeys to the Great Wall of China,something felt truly big and epic in scope about the landscape.  In any case, I think most people, even kids, have a sense of China being a big place.  From childhood, after all, everyone has heard of the sheer size of the Great Wall.  Even if a young viewer knew nothing of China before seeing Mulan, he or she would still be transported to a far-away land.  When I was a little boy going to see this film, I forgot I was in Iowa.  Instead, I felt like I had traveled halfway across the world to see this film, because this film made me feel like I was in China.  It made me feel like its characters were travelling truly long distances.
 
Yet, the largest part of this film is still Mulan herself.  The fantastic journey to China was indeed tremendous, but the main reason why this film is big is because of Mulan's conviction, and everything that's at stake for her.  She gives up honor to do what's compassionate.  The emotions and the music behind the scene where she chooses to take her father's place are intense and very real.  Again, this film feels big, especially at that moment.  Her decisions are huge.  Indeed, they are legendary.  In spite of the plot's simplicity, that is why Mulan's actions ring so loud.  Seeing her select few choices, few enough that they could have been concisely told in a brief folk tale, I clearly saw a legend in the making.  I could feel the legend.
 
What I really like about the character is that in many ways, she is neither male nor female.  Even though I was a boy seeing that film, I sometimes forgot that she was a woman, even though that was part of the point of the film.  I thought of her as Mulan, a person.  A big deal was made of her in the beginning when she didn't really fit into female stereotypes.  Yet, she wasn't rebelling against the norm; she in fact attempting to go along with it in the beginning as best as she could.  She wasn't a tomboy, nor was she a ditz in an uptight society.  She didn't have a specific dream that set her apart, so why was it that she couldn't be herself?  It seems that what defined her were her convictions, and she was constantly held back for being, as the ending song says, true to her heart.  As her legend goes, "the greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter."  In other words, honor is nothing if you are not true to your heart, and your heart is empty if it does not have love and compassion.
 
What Mulan did out of love is something I think everyone should take to heart.  That's big.  It justifies the whole movie, from the beautiful hand-drawn animation to the elegantly painted landscapes, from the powerful Jerry Goldsmith score to the two iconic songs everyone remembers, from the idyllic setting of Mulan's home and garden to the panorama of the capital city.  If this movie came out again in theatres, I would not think twice about going and seeing it again to recapture what I had once seen in my childhood, and what is in my mind one of Disney's best films of all time.
 

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Frozen Review

Posted by Kragghle , in Reviews, Movies Dec 02 2013 · 137 views
Disney, Frozen

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:kaukau: For their 53rd canon movie, Disney managed to produce a really cool film.  This film instantly hit home with me and will from now on hold a special place in my heart.  How do I describe this film in words?  There's hardly anything I can say without giving anything away, and you literally don't have to know anything about this movie beforehand to know that it's worth seeing.  If you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out on a cool experience that you will regret down the road.  This is Disney at its finest.  This is Disney at the quality it had during its renaissance, sans the hand-drawn animation (which is the only thing missing from an otherwise perfect film).
 
I am confident that this will go down as one of their greats.  Seeing this was an event, and I was very happy to see that the theatre was filled with parents and their children.  And yes, for the record, this film is worth seeing no matter what age you are.  If you're in your twenties and think you're too cool for animation, just remember that The Lion King and Hercules and Toy Story probably still hold a special place in your heart, and this film is like them.
 
Furthermore, I had not seen a single trailer for this film.  All I knew in advance was that there was a snowman, a reindeer, a magical winter, that it was computer-animated, and that it was Disney.  Then I heard the reviews, and I knew that Disney had put their heart into this.  It was worth seeing.  I sacrificed a Black Friday to see this thing, and it was so worth it for the memories.  I am also truly glad to say that I watched it not only with my mother and sisters, but also with my Godfather and his little kids.  When we were outside of the theatre, we spent hours talking about the film and all of our favorite parts, since there was never a moment of the film that wasn't memorable.  What can I say?  It was magical.
 
Perhaps the best thing I can do to convince you to see this, to prove to you that this is truly classic Disney, is to advertise the brilliant song that defined the film.  If you don't want to listen to it because you know you want to see the film, that's probably a good thing, but if you need convincing, look it up and know that, yes, the rest of the film is that good.  There are many songs throughout the film, and most of them were memorable.  They stuck in my head.  People are going to be singing them years down the road with other Disney songs.  My sisters, my cousins, and I found ourselves singing many of the songs when we were out of the theater, including "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"  But we especially sang "Let It Go", which was the highlight of the film, hits close to home, and will likely win many a heart as a brand new favorite.  At risk of degenerating to the level of proclaiming commonly used advertisement quotes, that song was "a triumph!"
 



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Argo Review

Posted by Kragghle , in Movies, Reviews Nov 25 2013 · 143 views

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:kaukau: Argo earned the respect of my difficult to please uncle and for that I wasn't surprised to hear that it won an Academy Award.  Now that I've seen it, I don't understand it.  The movie didn't stand out to me and didn't draw me in, nor did I get invested at all in what was happening.  It felt small and trivial, and the end didn't have me cheering.  The Academy Award it won for film editing seems completely wrong, since there's nothing special about it whatsoever.  In fact, I didn't like the editing at all.  I was also promised that Argo contained a fresh blend of both serious and humorous elements that the ideal movie often has, but the humor fell flat everywhere except for when the titular film within the film, Argo, was in development.
 
I'm not saying that this is a bad film.  My uncle watched it and said it was the only true good movie he had seen throughout the year. The friends I watched it with really liked it.  But bear in mind, it doesn't stand out, and I wish that it didn't have an Academy Award for Best Picture to inflate my expectations.  It would be best to watch this without any expectations at all.
 
As usual with movies today, the cuts are too short, even when they don't need to be.  The Iranians start off potentially very humanized but fall into a stereotype.  Like many other films today, it also starts off with a promise to get a big picture perspective on this event in history, and it fails to give us that perspective.  And because I'm left wondering why I should care about the hostages who were kept in the Canadian embassy, a question the film doesn't answer, I just get annoyed with them.  The actors did a good job, since everyone seems real and believable.  They're all remarkably similar to their real-life counterparts.  But I still don't care, even if this is based off a true story.  All the decisions going into making this film felt arbitrary, and that's exactly what I hate about films these days.  Arbitrariness is the bane of good films these days that undermines everything, from drama to comedy.  Arbitrariness is what kills a director who otherwise would have had a vision.  But Ben Affleck is no visionary.
 
All these negative things having been said, the story isn't bad.  The acting isn't bad.  Everything with John Goodman and Alan Arkin kept me in the movie.  But the moment Tony Mendez walks into Iran, I stopped caring about the movie.  Especially since I knew that this was inspired by real historical events, and I figured that the film would have a little more reverence for that fact.  It could have used the concrete narrative of history to at least add to its atmosphere.  There's also that age-old problem of knowing that in a film inspired by a true story, it's difficult to tell what's historically accurate and what's not, especially in a film like this where everything is so arbitrary.  Since it is inspired by an interesting real-life story, however, it is inevitably a story that's technically pretty good.  The directing could have easily been better, but on paper the screenplay is good.  Since it's merely "inspired" by a true story, though, and not modeled completely off of it, I can't help but wish that the true story had "inspired" them to create a screenplay of CIA agents who actually worked on their fake movie in Iran, since that would have been more colorful and the film would have lived up to its title.
 

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Taken 2 Review

Posted by Kragghle , in Reviews, Movies Nov 17 2013 · 102 views
Liam Neeson, action movie

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:kaukau: The general word on this film is that it is not as good as the first one, which I will agree with, although I will defend it by saying that it isn't necessarily bad.  I think that the main fault is that he's mainly motivated by survival in this film, whereas in the first one his motivation was far more archetypal and hit a primal nerve in the audiences.  He normally would have been too brutal of a main character, but it made sense because his daughter was kidnapped.  This time, since he's the one who's taken, it's about survival, and it just isn't as pleasurable to watch.  It doesn't have that magnetic element that simply clicks with audiences.
 
However, I remember when I saw the advertisements that I thought that it wasn't going to have any Liam Neeson action and that it was all going to be the daughter following his instructions.  I'm glad to report that, in this movie's favor, it still gives Bryan Mills plenty of butt-kicking action and that he's almost as brutal as in the first film.  He also comes up with some very crafty solutions for finding out information on where he and his wife have been taken, and his detective skills were perhaps one of the best parts of the film.
 
On a more technical note, I played a little game while watching the film.  It was called "count the number of seconds in each camera shot."  I rarely got past two seconds.  The director does not have my respect, and I hope that when the inevitable Taken 3 rolls around, they can bump the average shot length up to ten seconds, which I think would be pretty reasonable.
 
There's a scene where Liam Neeson crashes into the American embassy in Istanbul.  We never get to see their reaction to that, and in the next scene he's back on the streets doing detective work all by himself.  Something seemed very contrived about that.  I know that almost everything about this film is contrived in order to be a quintessential action film with creative fight scenes where Liam Neeson manages to kill every single one of the bad guys, but this particular point stood out and disrupted the film.
 
The other point of contention that I think people could walk away criticizing is that Bryan Mill's daughter, by the end, seems unphased.  I and the people I watched the film with laughed at the ending, because realistically she would be paranoid of ever even leaving the house.
 
Oh, and there's a boyfriend who shows up briefly in this film.  Bryan Mills acts like a typical father and is suspicious and not easily won by the poor lad.  I swear, that could have been played up for so much more, since he is easily ten times more protective than the average father.  Alas, I hope that's a chemistry that's built off of in Taken 3.
 
On the whole, however, I'm not saying that it was a bad action movie.  Action films that I would consider pure action films aren't as common today as they were a few decades ago, so if you like your high octane, it will live up to that promise.  Just don't go in expecting a memetic moment anywhere near as powerful as "I will look for you; I will find you; and I will kill you."
 

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Thor: The Dark World

Posted by Kragghle , in Reviews, Movies Nov 09 2013 · 237 views
Marvel, Thor, superheroes and 2 more...

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:kaukau: The movie lives up to the trailers, and Loki, thank Odin, is better than ever.
 
The Dark World solves many of the problems I had with the first movie in the Thor series, which was a thurrough "meh."  It also avoids many of the problems in Iron Man 3, in which Tony Stark didn't spend much time as his alter ego and the villain was a disappointment.  So what did it get right?  The Dark World takes place on an epic scope, spanning many battle locations and featuring a lot of destruction.  There was a battle on Asgard, which is what I wanted to see in the first movie.  The hero finds himself genuinely distressed and pushed against threats that could easily be his undoing.  Problems take time, sweat, and heroism to solve.  Thor's character is more likable.  Jane Foster becomes worth Natalie Portman's time.  Prominent characters die.  More time is spent in his gigantic fantasy world.  And Loki is twice as devious as he was before.
 
There are of course flaws.  Malekith is a Dark Elf who's pretty much exactly that.  I can't think of any other ways of describing him.  His character doesn't have a ton of depth, and it's not as if he has the gravitas of twenty Oscar winners.  However, I think most people would prefer a villain like this to the underwhelming Mandarin in Iron Man 3.  As far as I can tell, he doesn't trample upon any sacred ground and he has some cool presence, enough to justify the spike he gives to the threat level barometers.  His legendary background is enough for me, and what matters is that he destroys buildings in Asgard.  He's not as good as Loki was in the first film, but that's okay.  Loki's still in this film, predictably playing the unpredictable trickster who's helpful enough to the hero to help himself.
 
Even before the action begins, the film is stunning.  I'm a sucker for sets, and The Dark World has plenty of them.  I'm willing to forgive the backdrops that could only be accomplished through CGI; the amazing sets and costumes for Asgard make it all worth it.  The first act of the film is spectacular and pleasing to look at for how atmospheric it is.  I especially fell in love with the brief scenes in which it was snowing in Asgard.  It made me immediately wish I had seen it in 3D, because there was a lot of depth to the world, literally.  The director made sure to capture as much of the realm as possible, so it was an excuse to slow down the camera work.  It's fun to watch the characters, but the characters wouldn't be near as much fun if it wasn't for the fantasy-adventure environment they were in.
 
Considering that the last superhero film I watched was Man of Steel, it's pretty fair to say that The Dark World provided a much better example of cinematography that allows you to actually see what you're looking at.  That's really useful when the action can often times be difficult to follow.  By no means is this cinematographic genius, but I'm glad that the director knew what he was doing and it's far closer to what I was hoping from a Thor movie.
 
Again, I must emphasize how much I love that much of this took place in realms other than Earth.  It's far more befitting for a character such as Thor, and it also does a good job of expanding the Marvel universe than any of the other Superhero movies do.  It seems that the Thor universe is the one that keeps the others going, even though people often like to call The Avengers by the nickname Iron Man 2.5.  Tony Stark is a better entertainer and showman, but Thor's the one who actually puts everything in locomotion.  To further evidence that claim, is appears that by the time the after-credits scene rolls around, it's already setting up the conflict for the next movie.  It appears that once again an Avengers movie will revolve around a relic from the Thor universe.  Which is perfectly fine for me, since a superhero universe needs its mythology to pull from and Thor has plenty of it.
 
Speaking of an end credit scene, stay until the very end, because there are two of them.
 
The Dark World did lack somewhat in terms of battles, which could have been more epicly shot, but I realize that this isn't a war movie, but a hero movie.  The story revolves around a central character, not an ensemble cast.  So I missed out on the opportunity to see an Avengers-style fight during Asgard's invasion.  I didn't see quite as much destruction as I wanted, but it was enough to fill in the void left at the end of Thor.  I got to see more of Thor's supporting characters and their relevance in his world, and I got to see them contribute more to the conflict.  Making up for the lack of any Lord of the Rings style battles was the portals in this movie, which were used as I have always wanted portals to be used.  That is to say, creatively and unpredictably.  I always loved the use of interdimensional portals in science fiction.  In fact, I think they were one of my very first notions of science fantasy, and they feature prominently in my own science fantasy epic..  Now that I think about it, my very first notion of portals being so awesome came from a Thor comic back in the October of 1993!  How fitting that I finally get to see them properly used in a battle in this movie.
 
The science-fiction-ness of the portals made the final battle somewhat worth the fact that it took place on Earth.  I mean, I still think that it should have taken place somewhere else, for the sake of the scale of it all.  A battle on the lava planet seen through one of the portals would have been more interesting, or on some other planet's capital city.  Instead, it takes place in England, and there aren't even that many skyscrapers.  I would have prefered portals and a fantastic other world, but I suppose I could live with just portals.  Besides, they still allowed the characters to essentially teleport unexpectedly from one realm to the next in what I can only call a four-dimensional battle.
 
As usual, when Christopher Eccleston visits London, science fiction mayhem ensues.  Chris and Christ battle together, and the portal element makes for perhaps the best part, though I will agree with the one Christ when he says that he expected that a villain with such a powerful MacGuffin would hit harder.  It actually goes both ways, since Chris's hammer's worth has devalued since the last film.  Apparently the most powerful weapon ever created it is not, and important bad guys seem to be able to take quite a few hits from it, and Thor manages to lose his hold of it numerous times as it flies around without an owner.  He seems to get hurt easily enough, and the cuts on his face don't heal immediately.  The villain also seems to be able to survive Thor's hammer but can also get pierces by a spike of ordinary metal at the end.  Granted, it didn't kill him or anything, but considering that for plot convenience it could at least stick to him.  There were other places where something seemed off about the physics of the film, or at least the consistency of how things worked, but upon this first examination it's still far better than most other Superhero films released lately.  At least it all works in part due to the timey-whimey wibbly-wobbly stuff at the climax.
 
That being said, this version of Thor would definitely lose in a fight against any version of Superman.  Even Season One of Smallville's Clark Kent could beat him in a superhero boxing match.  Thor would never lie his hammer on the red-blue blur.  And the recent Man of Steel version who never used superspeed?  Even before he could fly, his natural movement showed that he was far more powerful than Thor, and he also developed laser vision pretty early on.  Batman, however, Thor could take on.
 
In the end, I would say that this does a far better job as an origin story than the first film.  Then again, does Thor really need an origin?  He's a god, and that's really all there is to say on the matter.  Thor was an almost unnecessary film save for its function as a means of setting up for The Avengers.  The Dark World functions really well on its own and can be seen without having watched Thor.  The character himself is more natural, down to his appearance, in which his hair looks real and the actor, Chris Hemsworth, didn't die his beard a fake-looking yellow.  He also isn't forced to undergo character development in a day and a half.
 
If anything, the first movie was an origin story for Loki.  The Avengers was just a transition film for him, in which he showed up, executed what Tony Stark called a "bad plan", and went out lacking much of the charm that was necessary for the precise role in the story given to him.  He returned with a blaze of glory in The Dark World as a secondary villain, or anti-hero, or whatever he was.  And he shined, baby, shined!  Just as charismatic as the first time, just as well-developed, and just as internally conflicted.  One thing is a little different, however.  Asides from being a backstabbing sidekick for Thor and a character who demands constant attention and guesswork because of his tricky nature, his unpredictability has become slightly more predictable than before now that it has been exposed for what it really is.  Whenever anything happens with Loki onscreen, I'm very alert and contemplating the various ways in which he might pull off a deception.  This time, I managed to call a lot of his tricks beforehand.  The only time I was surprised was when Thor made for a slight of hand.  His antiques are nevertheless very clever and well-executed and helped drive the story forward, and just because I could see them coming doesn't mean that I still couldn't enjoy some of the mysteries he presented me with.  For example, he would off and on impersonate other characters, very convincingly, and I can't help but wonder what those characters would have actually said and done, and if they would have been any different at all in reality, even slightly.  He leaves me with some open ends, and I'd love to keep on guessing.
 
Sadly, Tom Hiddleton says that he will not return as Loki for The Avengers 2.  Given the events of The Dark World, I think it's safe to say that even if he did it would be very contrived.  I will miss his character, but it was very good while it lasted.
 

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Me

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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.

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