Um, 5.5? WTF? This isn't the greatest thing I've ever seen, but it deserves far better than a 5.5. I mean, seriously, what's wrong with it? I'm giving it a 10 just to counteract some of the bizarre hostile reviews this thing has gotten. Oh, and apparently I have to fill this review with 10 lines of text, so here goes. This is a crime show that contains reenactments of real life criminals who ran from the law. This show does a very good job portraying how the criminals committed their crime(s), how the people associated with them reacted, and how they were eventually caught. The show does a very good job portraying this and DESERVES HIGHER THAN A 5.5 ON THE IMDb SCALE! Thank you.
The only reason I saw this movie is because I met one of the actors. Otto Thorwarth, the man who played the jockey. He basically told us his life story, which can be seen by typing his name on YouTube. Seeing the trailer, I pretty much knew what to expect. A feel-good tear-jerker. And I was right.
The movie has so many clichés, I would spend the rest of this review typing out all of them. Presenting the 1970s as an American utopia, presenting Secretariat as some kind of deity, presenting the owners as good, wholesome people with no faults, presenting Secretariat's competition as total moronic asses, a weird, mystical relationship between Penny and the horse, portraying all men as discriminating against women and Penny being the ideal feminist that proves them all wrong, watering down of history, etc., etc., etc.
Yet despite all this and more, there's something about me that really enjoyed this movie. I can't even put my finger on what it is. Was it the acting? Was it because the movie was slightly less corny than I expected it to be? Was it just the fact that deep down, most people like a feel-good story every once in a while. I don't know. Maybe it was a combination of all of these factors. I say the movie is a good movie for families that's worth at least one watch.
I didn't expect much, but I didn't expect it to be THIS bad.
As a teen, I have enjoyed the Alex Rider series. Yes, it is a book series about a kid who becomes a spy, but it's done A LOT better than Spy Kids, Agent Cody Banks, etc. The books actually make it believable that a kid really could become a spy. Unfortunately, the movie fared far worse than Cody Banks and is just as bad as Spy Kids, if not worse.
When I saw the trailer for the movie, I thought, "This could be decent. After all, the British did give us the Harry Potter films and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and those are fairly faithful movie adaptations of the books. Why should this be any different?" Unfortunately, I learned a hard lesson about judging an entire country based off of a few individuals.
For starters, I'll say that the movie itself actually wasn't bad. If it was just a normal movie, I'd probably give it a 5/10. Unfortunately, I simply can't do that. If you are going to make a movie based off of a book, for the love of God, could you please make it similar to the book? Americans almost always fail at this attempt, yet I've always respected the British for making good movie adaptations of books. As the Harry Potter movies and the Lord of the Rings trilogy demonstrates, it's really not that hard. This is all you have to do.
1. Read the book. 2. Get hired by a studio to make a film based on the book. 3. Make a movie based off of the characters, settings, and scenes in the book.
There. That's it. So, why on earth do so many movie adaptations come out like this? The way this movie turned out, I wouldn't be surprised if the director heard the plot of the book from "this guy who knows this guy who knows this guys hairdresser's cousin who skimmed through the plot on Wikipedia."
Let me just say that I don't care about minor changes. I don't mind that Alex used a Nintendo DS instead of a Game Boy. Those are expected changes that actually enhance the plot of the movie. But there are so many things wrong, they're just unforgivable.
Why does Alex go all James Bond on multiple guards with a rope? In the book, Alex just took out one guard by kicking him, which is far more realistic and less stupid than him flinging a rope around like an idiot.
Why on earth did you change the name of the villain in the movie? Are you telling me there wasn't a single Lebanese person in the entire world willing to play this part?
Why, why, why, is Sabina here? Why? It doesn't make any sense?
Why don't the characters look or act like each other as they do in the books?
Why did you turn this into a Spy Kids-esque movie where, instead of presenting a good plot or believable characters, you decide to show someone getting kicked in the nuts? Oh, won't that just make the primary school children giggle with glee?
Movies based on books are beyond easy to make. You literally have the plot, characters, dialogue, and set designs sitting right in your lap! All you literally have to do is make a movie based on what you see in the book. It is beyond simple, yet it astonishes me how so many of them fail.
Oh, well. At least the movie bombed and we won't have to suffer through any sequels.
This movie is absolutely terrible. One of the worst I've ever seen. I honestly don't understand how anyone could possibly like this, but seeing as how so many do, I guess I'll have to explain why.
For starters, I am aware that this is based on a book and that the book is probably better. Unfortunately, this movie killed any chances of me reading it. I simply won't be able to. I will just be reminded of this horrific movie.
Okay, let's start with the plot. Some guy drinks water out of a random stream that just happens to be located in Middle of Nowhere, USA that makes him immortal. No one else has discovered this stream, no one else bothered to drink it, no animals are now immortal because they drank out of it. No. Out of thousands and thousands of years of this stream's lifetime, absolutely no living thing has bothered to take a swig out of it except for some random family from the 1800's. Anyways, Winnie, 15, ends up being kidnapped and develops Stockholm's Syndrome and falls in love with Jesse, 104, the stereotypical Hollywood bad boy that girls just gush their panties for. There is absolutely nothing creepy about a 104-year-old dating a 15-year-old. Nothing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Despite the fact that this guy has probably gotten laid so many times he's sick of it, he also develops the hots for a girl who's 89 years his junior. Then comes the terrible part. The "love" scenes. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! NO! GOD, SPARE ME! This is the worst dialogue I've ever seen. Ever! And this is coming from someone who's seen Teen Witch, Twilight, Disney Channel, AND the Barbie movies. (please don't ask why) It's just indescribably awful. What on earth was the director thinking? Here are some of the many gems from the movie:
"Spend forever with me, Winnie?"
"How am I supposed to take you home when I can't make my feet move from this spot? If I could die tomorrow I would, just so I could spend one more night with you."
"Winnie: Jesse, don't let go! Jesse: It's OK, it's OK. There's no chance of that, Winnie Foster. I'll never let you go."
Somebody kill me! Girls, THIS is why men HATE romance movies! It's not because we aren't romantic, it's not because there's no boobs or explosions, it's not because you have a thing for Edward Cullen, IT'S BECAUSE THEY SUCK! ALL OF THEM! The bland, uninspired plot, the atrocious, ear-bleed-inducing dialogue, the woeful boredom of scene after endless scene filled with absolutely nothing but the characters professing their undying love for each other, even though they just met each other 2 hours ago! Do you now understand? Romance movies are to us, what porn is to you. You don't understand why we like porn, and we don't understand for the life of us how anyone could possibly enjoy romance movies. There's no point in either side trying to reason with each other on this, as we have tried and failed for many years. So let's just agree to strongly disagree. Anyways, back to the plot.
Apparently there's something bad about the Tucks' secret being found out. If it's ever discovered that they're immortal, some crazy maniac bent on world domination could find out, and try to kill them so...oh, wait? Seriously, why is this a big secret? Their lives are in no danger! THEY ARE IMMORTAL! So, why are they treating this like it's some big secret? For that matter, why don't they just tell everyone? I'm sure a lot of people would love to be immortal, and all they have to do is drink water from a random stream. Anyways, the Tucks leave forever and Winnie gets over herself and lives to be 100. Apparently, the Tucks could never come back to visit in all of those years. I guess their lives must have been in danger or...oh, wait?
Anyways, that about sums it up. The one saving grace is that the movie is relatively short. But those 96 minutes were some of the most excruciating minutes of my life. Minutes that made me want to gouge my eyes out, kill a puppy, and listen to the pleasurable sound of nails on a chalkboard. This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, if not THE worst.
When I first saw this movie, I was 10-years-old. I believed in everything this movie promoted. My mom used this to "witness" to one of my neighbors. 9 years later, a lot has changed. I won't discuss my beliefs too much, but they are a lot different than they once were. Going back and watching this, I feel angry at the people who actually believe this. Let me explain.
The movie's premise is that a Bible professor named Russell Carlisle travels from 1890 to 2006 (I worked out the year from one of the lines in the movie) via a time machine. Russell sees how terrible and evil the world has gotten in the past 116 years, and returns to the past with a new perspective. He makes several revisions to his soon-to-be-published book as a result.
First, I'll list the positives. For a low-budget film, it is executed very well. The lighting, the music, and the visual effects are all pretty decent. Even the acting isn't bad (those who are complaining about the acting obviously haven't seen very many low-budget films), though it's a shame the lead actor seems to be the weakest of all.
So, why did I give this a rating of 1? Simply because I despise it's message. It's a terrible premise for a movie and for that it gets a 1. I would do the same if it were a Nazi propaganda film.
The whole concept is that life was a happy, go-lucky Christian utopia in 1890 and only in the past 60 years or so have things started going downhill. The premise is quite obviously ridiculous for several reasons.
For one thing, there was a ton of racism and sexism in 1890. This is only 25 years after the Civil War ended. Also, the divorce rate was not 5% as Norris stated in the film. It was closer to 10%. Yes, divorce has gotten worse, which is one of the few things the film gets correct, but that could be due to any number of reasons. It doesn't mean that the end times are coming.
A number of bizarre things happen in this movie. The first scene has a kid steal some marbles (right in front of the kids' mother, I might add). This is contrasted with a girl stealing a hot dog right in front of Russell. (Seriously, what's with people stealing random things in plain sight in this movie)? In one of the most cringe-worthy scenes, Russell barges out of a movie theater with the notion that the person is "blaspheming the Lord", which I find hilarious, since it's people in the 20th and 21st centuries that have a strange aversion to "cursing". In all prior centuries, you can find plenty. Somebody ought to show this guy Mozart or Shakespeare. Considering the fact that I can't even curse in an IMDb review on the Internet, I really don't think there's much basis for this.
He then meets a Christian woman and they discuss how terrible things have gotten. She talks about how the right to pray in school was taken away (which is false, they just took away government endorsement of it), and how much more vulgar everything's become. Could somebody please tell me what was so grand about 1890? Seriously, why? I seem to recall that the crime rate wasn't exactly low back then.
The main problem I have with this film isn't that it's Christian. I have no problem with people spreading their beliefs so long as it's done respectfully. But this movie contains outright falsehoods which make me hot with rage. The fact that this movie asserts that for the first 1,950 or so years after Christianity took off, everything was so fine and dandy, and then all of a sudden the sky is falling, society is on the brink of collapse, and Christ is coming back soon are just flat out preposterous. Setting aside the fact that I could point out about 500 or more societies that are far, far, far worse than the current American one, I have no idea where these people are taking this. If everyone was out slaughtering each other in the streets, drinking each others blood for nourishment, I could understand their sentiment. But stealing hot dogs? "Cursing"? Kissing in public? These don't signal the end times. At best, they're minor annoyances and at worst, they represent problems society has always had and always will have. This isn't anything new. It could hardly be considered bad compared to the stuff they could have shown on screen.
There are so many other things I could point out, but you get the point. If I was a fundamentalist Christian, and I was making this movie, I would make it much grittier. Show the REAL problems our society has, like child molestation, school shootings, and terrorism. I'm not saying these things didn't always exist (they most certainly did), but it would have made for a much more effective film in my opinion.
A lot of people say this was the moment when Disney got really bad. I personally thought it got bad when Lizzie Mcguire came out, but that's just my opinion.
But in my opinion, this was the defining moment for the next generation. After Disney saw how successful their new "sitcom" was, they just couldn't stop. Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Hannah Montana, Cory In The House, Wizards of Waverly Place, Suite Life On Deck, Sonny With A Chance, Good Luck Charlie, Shake It Up, etc. Then Nickelodeon followed suit.
Raven wasn't as bad as the endless mass of "sitcoms" that would shortly follow, but it was by no means good. This was the start of the "canned laughter" after every hackneyed joke.
Unlike the later "sitcoms", Raven actually had decent sets. It didn't look like the later ones where you could almost see the paint dry on the cardboard cutouts. Her house looked like a house. The restaurant looked like a restaurant. Not great, but not bad.
Most of the episodes revolve around typical teen issues, but with psychic powers. Very corny adventures ensue. I'll just leave it at that, but this was definitely the beginning of the end for Disney.
After the "sitcoms" which have dominated the airwaves for years, and the cartoons like The Buzz On Maggie and The Replacements, I didn't expect much out of this new show. For years, I thought I was just too old to find these shows funny anymore. Now I realize that Disney just sucks at making good shows.
But, wow, what a breath of fresh air. Despite the occasional corny dialogue, I am astounded at how truly funny this show is. It's like Family Guy for kids except with better jokes. I wasn't too impressed with the early episodes, but once it settled in, I actually started laughing. For the first time in years, I actually laughed at a Disney show.
This is the way all future shows from Disney should be. Get rid of the "sitcoms", they were never funny to begin with. Dan Povenmire and whoever else works on this knows how to make a good show for both kids and adults alike. My favorite moments are from Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
I probably shouldn't expect much considering Disney's track record as of late, but I'll just cross my fingers and hope they don't start making the show suck. And please, Disney, PLEASE make more shows like this! I might actually start respecting you again, who knows?
I must take issue with some of the reviews here. I'm not saying the show was a masterpiece, but it was a lot better than they're making it out to be.
The characters: Otto: The jock. Big ego, with supreme confidence in all his abilities. Most of the time, he is the cause of the problems the kids have to face.
Reggie: The "voice of reason". Most of the time, she's the one who organizes a strategy to deal with Otto's screw-ups. Otto's sister.
Twister: The idiot. Not much of a help in a crisis, but he delivers most of the shows one-liners. Best friend of Otto.
Sam: The nerd. Low self-confidence, always trying to be as good as his friends. Basically, the polar opposite of Otto.
Raymundo: The dad we all wish we could be. Loving, but with a firm hand.
Tito: Sort of the "mother" figure of the show. He's always giving the kids advice with his (in)famous "Ancient Hawaiian Sayings".
The plot: Yeah, so some of the episodes were corny. Big deal, it's a kids show. It reminds me of the times I used to spend with my friends. (Except we sucked at sports and didn't have a dad who ran a fast-food joint.) Yeah, most of the episodes revolved around sports, but they were good plots. About bettering yourself and making friends and "practice makes perfect" and the good old morals a kid's show should have. One of the episodes I will always remember is the hurricane one. Pretty intense for a kids show.
In short, it was probably one of the last decent shows Nick made before becoming a Disney clone. They had a couple good ones like Avatar, but it was all downhill from there in my opinion.
It seems that Nickelodeon has chosen to copy Disney and make a bunch of preppy "sitcoms" to make kids feel like they're watching "grown-up shows" like Seinfeld or Friends. Watching a single episode of this show will quickly prove otherwise.
As usual, the concept of the show is actually pretty good, but the delivery is just god-awful. It's all about a girl and her friends making a webshow. Something almost always goes wrong and threatens to cancel the webshow. Carly and her friends must band together to keep it running. All with a healthy dose of humor. So, what could possibly go wrong with such a great concept? Surprisingly, a lot.
There is no humor in this show. At all. Sure, there may have been a time or two where I chuckled a bit, but that is the height of this show's comedic genius. They don't use a live audience and for good reason. You couldn't pay people to laugh at this. But for some reason, the guy who's in charge of the "canned laughter" button seems to get some kind of sexual thrill from pressing it over and over and over again. Literally, after every single sentence, the laugh track is played. The jokes ARE NOT FUNNY! Sam's "prison" escapade jokes are not funny. Spencer setting things on fire is not funny. Carly and Spencer's strange way of talking to each other is not funny. Saying "no chiz" is NOT funny. And the webshow. Oh, the WEBSHOW! I will tell my grandkids horror stories about that god-awful, satanic webshow.
Others have already commented about the "cheapness" of the show and I have to wholeheartedly agree. I could spend $50 making a movie and still make it look better than this. First, like Disney, they use maybe 2-3 sets for the entire duration of the show. But when they have to make a new one, God forbid they actually use some of that multi-million dollar budget to make a decent set. It looks like something straight out of an elementary school play. Just terrible.
I won't criticize the acting too much since they're just kids and I probably couldn't do much better. But when the adults act just as bad, you know something's wrong. I actually don't blame the actors themselves. It's the convoluted scenarios they force the actors to portray. All I know is, they better be paying these actors truckloads, because they essentially lose all of their acting credentials just from being associated with this show.
Lastly, the webshow. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to children's entertainment. Period. Sitting through one of these is like sitting through 10 Fred videos. (Incidentally, there was an episode when Fred appeared on the show. For the sake of my sanity and yours, I will not mention details of it here.) Apparently, SOMEONE on the production team thought this was a good idea and NOBODY bothered to criticize him. If there was any doubt as to the childishness of this show, watching one of these will remove all doubt. A 5-year-old would cringe at it.
Nick, what have you become? You used to have great cartoons. But now that you have become a Disney clone, I have no choice but to vent and make this review about how stupid you are. Burn in hell!