100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (13/12/12)

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit was one of my most anticipated films of the year at the beginning of the year. With a whole year to wait, the anticipation and excitement was only going to rise. And it did. With every production diary video I watched, the more impatient I got. December rolled around and tickets were booked as soon as they were available. Though… in boring old 2D.

While I’m all for pushing the boundaries with technology and all that new stuff, I’m fairly old-fashioned with my cinema viewing. I don’t want to have to wear anything on my face. I don’t want to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy the story and film making.

So this is a non-HFR, non-3D review of The Hobbit.

What of The Hobbit? Well, in a nutshell, I enjoyed it. It was a welcome return to Middle Earth. It felt like going back to an old TV show and already knowing what to expect. But in a good way. That nice familiar feeling watching the camera roll around Hobbiton. It felt like home!

Howard Shore’s score made it all the more familiar with themes from The Fellowship of the Ring creeping in every now and then. I really loved Over the Misty Mountains Cold. Really beautiful bit of music. Solid score. I expected nothing less.

The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Young Bilbo was a bit more sullen than I expected. Gandalf was as I remembered him. Exactly how I wanted it. Gollum – wow. Sure he was only onscreen for a short amount of time, but he lit up the screen. Loved the riddle scene so very much.

The dwarves were all brilliant, but they came off as more comic relief than anything else. Which was a shame. While watching this troop I couldn’t help but compare to the Fellowship and how they were all such individual characters and, yes at times, comic relief, but they had purpose. The dwarves all blended together a bit for me. Which was a shame.

I’m amazed that from this one film we have only got a portion of The Hobbit. The good sort of amazed. There’s a lot of Middle Earth history, which I appreciate and look forward to seeing more of. I’m not sure how successfully it was intertwined with the story of The Hobbit. I think LOTR did a better job with their pre-title prologues.

The set pieces of the film let me down a little. Not visually. But just that there were quite a few of them. Lots of fighting. Not in the spirit of the book. But guess they have to cater to the mass cinema going audiences.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Hobbit. Probably more so because I saw it in 2D. It’s a welcome return to Middle Earth, but it’s not on par with The Lord of the Rings for me. So far. It lacked the heart of Fellowship but hoping that will change with the next two installments.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

100 movies: The Three Musketeers

100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

The Three MusketeersThe Three Musketeers (06/03/12)

The hot-headed young D’Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

I remember reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandra Dumas when I was a teenager. I also remembering being mildly obsessed with the 1993 version of the film. Oh and remember Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds? Yep, loved that too. It’s safe to say that The Three Musketeers have been littered throughout my TV and film related history.

I did however miss this one when it was released in the cinema. I blame the complete lack of 2D screenings. I’ve been taking a firmer stand against 3D films.

Watching the beginning of the film, I knew this film was going to take the source material a little… lightly. Suited me fine. I’m open to different interpretations. Including those that involves dogs. Though there were definite similarities with the 1993 version and this version when D’Artagnan first bumps into the Three Musketeers. I liked it.

Swashbuckling is what you’ll call this film. With a bit of steam punk. I enjoyed it. The villains were twirling their moustaches while the good guys were off being heroic and saving damsels in distress. It was a lot of fun. Great action set pieces. That do go way over the top. But why not? Where I wished they’d drawn the line was with the slo-mo. There was no need. It didn’t add anything to the action scenes. No drama, no suspense. Nothing. They could have saved at least 10 minutes by not having the slo-mo in there!

I did spend a lot of the time comparing Christopher Waltz’s Cardinal to Tim Curry’s. (Tim was far more unmistakably evil.) Thought Logan was great as the young D’Artagnan. I was expecting a little more life out of Matthew Mcfadyen’s Athos. He felt a bit subdued.

I knocked a point off this film’s score because of the score. It was just completely underwhelming. I was expecting a huge big orchestral score with a solid theme. What I got instead was hints of Hans Zimmers’ Sherlock Holmes and Pirates of the Caribbean scores. It had no identity of its own. Which I thought was a huge shame.

Overall, a great action/adventure film. Not to be taking seriously. Well, the airships make sure of that. But just to watch and enjoy and have a few laughs. Good work.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ movies: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

120+ Movies of 2011, Annual Movie Challenge

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the UnicornThe Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (27/10/11)

Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. But someone else is in search of the ship.

This was the kind of film I was hoping the last Indiana Jones was going to be. It’s fun. It’s not just for kids. And it’s fun. Though one irk to get out of the way – I don’t understand in the point of doing an animated feature if the point of your animation is to make it as realistic as using people. Why not just use people and live action! Answers on a postcard please!

Minus my little irk, I really enjoyed the film. There was a father sitting near me who kept telling his children, who didn’t seem to care, that it was exactly like the old comics and cartoon. He couldn’t stop telling them how much it was like he hoped it would be!

All the voice talent was spot on. Most of the time I couldn’t tell the difference between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! Jamie Bell’s voice was almost unrecognisable as Tintin. He did good!

The story was a simple one, but it didn’t need to be anything more than it was. There wasn’t anything unexpected. There didn’t need to be. There’s enough character in the characters and a few laugh out loud lines. Or at least moments that will deserve a snort.

Go and see it. Not in 3D. I think I might be blind to 3D. Barring a few moments of floaty dust and swords protruding, I just didn’t see the 3D!

One last thing – the opening sequence is beautiful. John Williams score and some gorgeous animation. Yes, it’s a bit Catch Me If You Can, but it’s still a wonderful opening title sequence.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ movies: Getting behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I think I’m running a bit behind this year if I hope to get to over 120 films for the year! Need to pick up the pace.

A Beautiful MindA Beautiful Mind (01/05/11)

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.

Beautiful film. Really great film. Great performances from everyone and I think Russell Crowe’s best since Gladiator. Jennifer Connelly completely tore me up as John Nash’s world started falling apart. I completely and utterly believed what John Nash was seeing and doing. I didn’t really think that he might be hallucinating. Well, until things started going really crazy.

Loved the James Horner score. Think it’s my favourite score of his since Titanic. It doesn’t sound like a lot of his other scores, most of the time! The biggest problem I have with Avatar and Troy’s scores.

Very touching film that had me in tears!
Rating: 4/5

ExtractExtract (05/05/11)

Joel, the owner of an Extract plant, tries to contend with myriad personal and professional problems, such as his potentially unfaithful wife and employees who want to take advantage of him.

Thanks to my new love of Arrested Development I have a bigger love for Jason Bateman. Seeing his name listed in the credits for this film made me think it’d be worth a watch. Him and Mike Judge of Office Space fame, which was one of my favourite films I’d seen last year.

Extract just bored and irritated me sadly. There were some funny moments. JK Simmons made me laugh as did Bateman. But overall it just felt like a painful film to watch with none of the fun or wackiness that Office Space had.
Rating: 2/5

HannaHanna (06/05/11)

A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Loved this film. I really like my action-thriller type films. This one had the added benefit of Eric Bana. Even with a slightly unidentifiable accent he was very good in the film. However all the credit in this film goes to Saoirse Ronan. Fantastic young actress who can play a ruthless assassin as well as a very naive young girl who’s never been out in the world. Think the weakest character in the film was probably Cate Blanchett’s Marissa. She just felt a little one-sided to me.

At times the film felt a bit schizophrenic, but in a good way! Flipping from fast paced action thriller to an indie feeling film about a very innocent girl.

Loved the British family played by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng. They weren’t caricatures, instead felt like real people. Funny people at that.

The score was awesome! I’m loving this trend of DJs scoring films. There was Daft Punk and Tron, Basement Jaxx and Attack the Block, and now we have The Chemical Brothers and Hanna. Loved some of the pieces they did during the action sequences.

I know there are talks of a sequel. I hope there isn’t one. Well, unless they can top this one!
Rating: 4/5

CatfishCatfish (07/05/11)

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother.

A lot of hype surrounding this film and it’s hype I got caught up in. However, it still took me a long time to watch the film. I think the hype ruined it slightly.

I did enjoy the film but I think I was expecting a bit more of an ‘OMG’ twist towards the end. I kept hoping something else was going to happen. Though, after I’d watched the film and thought about the events a bit more, I did see the madness of it all properly.

Ariel really annoyed me throughout the film. I just got more and more annoyed with him. I can’t remember why, but I remember the annoyance!
Rating: 3/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (20/05/11)

Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

I’m one of those weird people who enjoyed films 2 & 3 in the POTC series. Yes, they were long and convoluted. But they’re fun to watch and get lost in.

I did not get lost in On Stranger Tides. Johnny Depp is still fantastic as Captain Jack Sparrow and new additions Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane were great, but there were some other new additions who weren’t so great. The main plot line of the fountain of youth was a fun bit of adventure. The love story between Philip and Syrena felt a bit pointless and was just in there for extra padding. Neither character had much depth to them and I couldn’t get behind either of them.

There were some good set pieces, but none of them felt like they were as big in scope as any of the ones in the first three films.

I sadly did spend some extra money and see this film in 3D, due to lack of 2D screenings. There were some attempts at some things pointing out into the audience, but for the most part, like Thor, it just wasn’t necessary. Especially during the action and fight scenes where things are moving so quick it makes me feel slightly cross-eyed with 3D glasses on!

Wasn’t impressed with the scoring on this film either. I was looking forward to some good stuff from Hans Zimmer – I’ve loved his previous work with this franchise. But it just didn’t feel like this film had its own theme.

I hope there’s not a fifth film!
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far: