Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend Movie Watching

A three day break from work provides ample time for catching up on movies, and we took advantage of it. Here's what we saw, with a couple of comments for each:

I, Robot: Surprisingly good. It wasn't much like Asimov's story, but you could pretty much tell that from the preview. I liked Will Smith a lot in this one. He was a darker than usual -- a little less Will Smithy. I'd like to see him in a truly bleak role with no comic relief. I think he would excel.

Coogan's Bluff: An old Clint Eastwood movie: "Before Dirty Harry, there was Coogan!" I watched this one alone, because it did not pique my wife's interest. I liked it overall, although the love story (with Susan Clark, who would later play Webster's mom) dragged. Just a fun action movie.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: The wife had never seen the original Star Wars movies, but she really enjoyed Episode III. Therefore, I took the opportunity to purchase the dvd set of the first trilogy. We both enjoyed the movie. I had told her that the dialogue was a lot more crisp in the originals, and I was glad they did not disappoint. It has been interesting watching her adjust to the original after seeing Episode III first. She finds it disconcerting to hear James Earl Jones' voice coming from Vader when her previous picture of Vader/Anakin was a skinny white kid. On my part, I was really impressed with the special effects. I think the originals are more impressive than the computer-stuff from the prequels. One comparison is between the computer-added Jabba in Mos Eisley in Episode IV versus the animatronic creation of Jabba in Jedi. I thought the computer version looked clearly fake, no matter how impressive the rendering, while in Jedi Jabba looked at least passably real. Still, it is a great movie, and it looks really good.

The Empire Strikes Back: Another great one. The difference between the puppet Yoda with the different voice really struck Michelle. One minor disappointment for me was that Lucas has inserted Ian McDarmid in as the emperor. The desire for continuity doesn't really bother me, but I wanted to see what the old emperor looked like. Oh well.

National Treasure: This one kicked ass. One of the better action/adventure movies I've seen in a long time. It had good actors, a good story, and it was unapologetically geeky about American history. It was really neat to see the characters get excited and inspired about writings from the Founding Fathers without resorting to casting any p.c. aspersions on them. I think Sean Bean, who played Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring, is really an exceptional actor. Whether he's good or bad, I just enjoy his style. An earlier example of this is Ronin, a movie with some great car chase scenes.

No horror movies here, but not a stinker in the bunch, so I can't really complain.


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