It's clear they had a real long look at the original film and decided to keep the best pieces (the tension, the focus on group interaction, the music) but also try new things with it to attain the same feel of mystery the original was so good at.
The visuals are gorgeous, the acting solid, the writing exciting. And what I really love is the fact that there is very little use of CGI. What little there is, is convincing or subtle. Laurence Fishburn's appearance was a complete surprise to me and I loved his character. Though it reminded me a bit of Pandorum.
Like Sade said: "Never as good as the first time," but still a very well-crafted film.
"No country for old men" is extremely well-directed and the acting really stands out.
I love how most of the back-story is only implied at and left to the viewer to piece together. The pacing is slow and the scenery minimal, yet none of this makes for a boring movie, on the contrary.
Where it falls short, is relevance and at times credibility. I'll give a few examples.
If you find 2 million dollars of drug money, what kind of moron would you have to be to return to the crime scene in order to assist a dying man there you left in the first place. Not very credible. It seems more like a plot contrivance to initiate the hunt.
Running from a truck at night in the desert? And winning?
Woody's character finds the main character in 3 hours and the hidden money one hour later in a very unlikely hiding place. Really? He's one clever puppy!
There are a lot of scenes, characters and dialogues that seem to go nowhere. Tommy Lee Jones does little more than think aloud about "these days" and what role does Woody Harrelson's character fulfill? What does he contribute?
The total breakdown of the film came when the lead character is killed off near the end, creating a huge void that could have been interesting, but isn't filled at all. Instead the villain gets into a car accident and the sheriff retires and dreams about dad.
Now you can argue that is probably how it would unfold in real life. However, this "true to life" theme doesn't correlate with the lack of credibility I mentioned before.
During the film, you feel this underlying tension that seems to be building up to something. Instead, towards the end, it unravels into banality, leaving me with a feeling of doubt as to why I bothered investing time into characters that wound up nowhere.
In short, it's a memorable film with good emotions and powerful scenes, but with a very ambiguous ending. Not for everyone.
Great promotional film commanded by the British Heritage!
Because that's what it is really. Think about it: It's got London in it, barbaric Scottish tribes, Orwell's 1984, punks, knights, a Bentley, Lord of the rings, steam engines, Bob Hoskins, ... All of them British milestones!
Aside from all discussions whether or not this is just a blatant copy of Mad Max (down to individual shots) or an homage, Doomsday fails for one single reason.
It doesn't know what it wants to be.
It starts off as a very serious post-apocalyptic virus-out-of-control film. It then becomes a Mad Max copy, turns into a medieval Lord of the Rings epic, loops back to Mad Max kitsch and rounds everything up, back in Orwell's 1984's mob-against-the-government style, with one more hasty (and completely ridiculous) jump into Mad Max-land.
Seeing Mad Max battle freaks too incredible to be real was great because it was a closed and very consistent universe. Doomsday on the other hand mixes this pseudo-reality with the real world as we know it today and the two (three if you count the medieval section) just don't match! I mean, they escape knights on horseback with a Bentley only to be pursued by crazy punks in eighties throwback vehicles?
Defend it all you want, for me it is an epic failure.
I for one, do like the animation style. The characters seem like heavy, texturised Greek statues and it works. It is however true that they move as such, so that could have been improved somewhat.
The music is real nice with a lot of Arab themes which really fit the sand and dune backdrops.
The acting is solid.
The only downside here is that there is too much action. It's nearly all fighting and no talking. That makes for a hyper-charged film with little character and story development. And let's face it, watching clones and Jedi smash droids that come at you without even bothering to take cover, is only exciting so many times. An action sequence pretty much becomes a clone of the previous.
Michael Bay didn't get it. What's Transformers about? Robots transforming into machines? If you have only a mediocre interest in deep storytelling, like Bay, yes.
Transformers is about the ancient struggle between good and evil, embodied here by Optimus Prime and Megatron. The face-off between these two stands at the heart of the series.
They both have henchmen to expand on the universe and there are humans involved to make it more accessible to viewers. Bay however, didn't get that.
In the film it's all about some teenage kid Sam and his all-American new chick mobile which turns out to be a robot. Who has some friends. Who crack jokes. And fight evil robots. Who have a leader as well. And something about a huge cube. That can also conveniently fit in your pocket.
The transformers are pretty cool as machines, but no so much as characters. At that level they are as metal and clunky as their carcasses. When one of them dies, you're like "which one was that again?" As for the confrontation between the two leaders? Megatron appears only at the end of the film! They wrestle a bit without exchanging words and then it's already over and done with.
Where is the cool dialogue between the two giants? Where is the confrontation between good and evil? And Megatron dies? I'm betting they're going to do a follow-up. So, is this going to be like a Nightmare on Elm street, where the bad guy is resurrected at the beginning of every film?
Only one stone standing in this rubble, Indy himself.
First off, what DOES work? Harrison Ford is still the man, the action sequences will keep you on the edge of your seat, the first shadow of Indy is a memorable shot and the warehouse scene is great.
That's pretty much it, I'm afraid.
The story lacks motivation. Indiana Jones has always been a man hunting for priceless artifacts, to keep them out of the hands of evil people and in the hands of scientists or rightful owners. He was never really interested in the mystery behind or the power of the artifact. That made it very easy to root for his cause.
We have no idea what he was trying to achieve here. Activate the power of the temple himself so the Russians wouldn't have it? Maybe?
It also lacks dialogue. What little there is reminded me of the Da Vinci Code. Fast and unconcerned with character development. As for the characters? John Hurt as Oxley? Whack him over the head and ditch him in the Amazon already! John Hurt deserves better writing than this.
The effects? Super CGI-fest galore extraordinaire! No texture, no gritty realness. You can imagine the bluescreen studio behind it all.
What is really annoying, is Indy and his merry men of followers that detract from the one guy everyone wants to see, INDY! And what's with these hordes of Russian soldiers who always just stand around, point their weapons and gawk?
Indy and aliens? Really? Indy and atomic bombs? Reaaaally?
It's clear they chose to plant Indy firmly in the fifties. That means rock'n'roll, greasers, atom bombs, communists and aliens! None of these work well with Indiana Jones. They could have shown him as an ancient relic, out of place in this "new world". Instead they chose not to bother too much about any content at all and just whip up a lot of action sequences and one-liners without any pacing or substance or story or dialogue.
Everyone wanted this movie to succeed so bad! Except the screenwriters apparently.
A missed opportunity.
btw, Steve and George? If you really want to give people what they want? Show what Indy did during the second world war, kicking nazi butt all over the world!
If your kids have adhd, this movie is ideal for them. It basically has two paces, fast and hyperdrive! No time for character development, precious little time to connect to what's going on, hardly any time for the actors to deliver their lines, just go go go!!! Besson should have made some choices here. That way he could have slowed down the pace and could he have given the story time to sink in. For instance, the African tribe dudes don't add any value to the film, so that could have gone.
Biggest plus, David Bowie rules as the bad guy! A bad guy that looks a lot like those trolls from the Fifth Element.
Beautiful desert scenery, photography that really stands out, emotional soundtrack (though dated at times), powerful acting, great storyline and convincing character development
Nothing worth mentioning!
I can only speculate why this movie isn't recognised up there with Apocalypse Now and Platoon. Maybe the American audience wasn't interested in the topic in 1988, maybe it's because of poor marketing by Columbia (Seashellz talks about a period of transition there). Whatever the reason, it's a damn shame, because this marvel deserves more.