Tagged: Andy Serkis

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Summary: Set thirty years after the events of Return Of The Jedi the universe is once again facing upheaval.  Rising from the ashes of Darth Vader before him Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) leads the First Order as they strive to conquer (and in some cases) destroy the galaxy. In order to do so they know they must kill every remaining Jedi which means they need to hunt down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who has been missing for years.

Leading the resistance against the First Order is Leia (Carrie Fisher) who despite the good intentions of her fighters, like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), is losing the battle against the First Order. The Resistance gets a much needed boost when a map that may show the whereabouts of Luke is found. But in order to have any affect a young scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley), a reformed Storm Trooper named Finn (John Boyega), the legendary Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and everybody’s favourite Wookie (Peter Mayhew) must get the map (which is hidden to a droid) to the Resistance.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 18th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: J.J. Abrams

Screenwriter: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, George Lucas (characters)

Cast: Gerry Abrams (Captain Cypress), Sebastian Amresto (Lieutenant Mitaka), Erik Bauersfeld (Admiral Ackbar), Leanne Best (Min Sakul), Jason Boyega (Finn), Anna Brewster (Bazine Netal), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Crystal Clarke (Ensign Goode), Tosin Cole (Lietenant Bastian), Morgan Dameron (Commodore Meta), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Warwick Davis (Wollivan), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Emun Elliott (Brance), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Cailey Fleming (Young Rey), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Michael Giacchino (FN-3181), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Nigel Godrich (FN-9330), Stefan Grube (Yolo Ziff), Greg Gunberg (Snap Wexley), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Jessica Henwick (Jess Testor), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Andrew Jack (Major Ematt), Jeffrey Kissoon (Rear Admiral Guich), Ken Leung (Admiral Statura), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Rocky Marshall (Colonel Datoo), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), James McArdle (Niv Lek), Jim McGrath (Vice Admiral Resdox), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Korr Sella), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb), Yayan Ruhian (Tasu Leech), Philicia Saunders (Tabala Zo), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Claudia Sermbezis (Lema Eelyak), Kiran Shah (Teedo), Mark Stanley (Knight Of Ren), Pip Torrens (Colonel Kaplan), Iko Uwais (Razoo Quin-Fee), Brian Vernel (Bala-Tik), Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), Harriet Walter (Dr. Kalonia)

Runtime: 135 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

It might be a brutal thing to say but Star Wars: The Force Awakens is perhaps George Lucas’ worst nightmare. For years now we’ve heard people worldwide speculating at how Disney and J.J. Abrams were going to destroy the Star Wars universe. Well now after viewing Star Wars: The Force Awakens I can say that it seems that Abrams actually has a better understanding of that universe than what Lucas himself has had over the past few years. Episode 1 and the rest of the new trilogy made me lose my childhood love of everything Star Wars but last night The Force Awakens just awakened it inside me.

There is little wonder that true Star Wars fans at the Melbourne premiere last night clapped their hands off as the final credits rolled last night because Abrams has obviously created this film from his Star Wars fanboy point-of-view. In fact in light of day this script could have easily been lifted from any short novella on a Star Wars fan-fiction site… that’s how true to the original trilogy it was. The original Star Wars feel to the film can also be credited to Abrams’ right hand man – legendary screenwriter who has brought us gems like The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and Raiders Of The Lost Ark… yes the man knows how to write what audiences love.

In some ways Abrams plays the safe-card with The Force Awakens. He sticks to the tried and true tropes of the original Star Wars films even using similar storylines such as a very important map hidden inside of a droid. Instead of feeling like a blatant rip-off though it instead feels like Abrams paying homage to something that he has loved over the years. Having said that though Abrams does put his own stamp on the franchise very well. His new characters, such as Finn and Rey, are likable and unlike Lucas’ attempt with the ill-fated Jar Jar Abrams shows that his new characters don’t need gimmicks to try and win over their audience. Sure you have to wonder how much political correctness was in mind when characters like Rey, Finn and Poe were created but that doesn’t stop them from being the kind of characters that fans of the series are very quickly going to warm to. The idea of Finn being a reformed Storm Trooper is a stroke of genius from the Abrams camp, while Rey and Poe seem to have some pretty interesting back stories that need to be explored in future Star Wars film… and yes it is very obvious that Finn and Rey have some sexual tension that is guaranteed to surface in the future as well.

Perhaps the biggest stamp that Abrams puts on the Star Wars franchise is his visual style. Teaming up with cinematographer Daniel Mindel (who Abrams has also worked with on the Star Trek franchise) Abrams here has created a film that doesn’t need CGI to enhance its environment. Whether it be a great light sabre in a forest, a Millennium Falcon led dog fight or a group of Tie fighters flying out of a sunset Abrams put a visual stamp on the film that George Lucas always seemed to fail at doing throughout his time in the Star Wars world. As The Force Awakens plays out you realise that Abrams’ main focus here wasn’t CGI creatures but instead developing a film that not only had a decent plot but looked damn fine as well.

The big plus for this film though is the inclusion of old favourites. Giving Han and Chewie such a big role in this film is another stroke of genius from the Abrams’ camp. It gives the film some familiarity and the fact that Han is so accepting of Rey and Finn gives them a huge ‘in’ with the film, plus the Abrams’ screenplay provides Han and Chewie with some truly great moments as well. The comedic dialogue works well between the two and once again Harrison Ford shows that even at his age he can be a believable action hero who is more than capable of carrying a film like this… plus the time on set with such a legendary actor will surely put the young stars of this film in great steed for the future.

After the disappointment of the previous three Star Wars films J.J. Abrams touch on the franchise is a welcome relief. Finally there is another Star Wars film to be proud of and yes this is one former lover of the franchise that has had his flame rekindled.

 

Stars(4)

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam’s full Star Wars: The Force Awakens review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #157

Stars(4)

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Star Wars: The Force Awakens review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #157

Stars(4)

 

Harley Woods:

Big Star Wars fan, here. As a child I wanted to hire the original trilogy videos every week. I wanted to be Luke; loved the tale, mythology and symbolism littered throughout. I loved the prequels, despite them generally getting a bad rap these days.

Then it was finally announced – episode 7! We’d see what really happened after Return Of The Jedi. And then I saw it…

And I was sad. A brilliant opening set the scene well – I was hooked. But it falls apart more and more as we progress. The film had a habit (even before release) of building expectations, then dashing them. Even from the opening ‘story crawl’ – “…Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts…” Most daring pilot – is it Han Solo?! No. It’s newcomer Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). That’s OK, I want to get to know him (but barely do). And the old ally… who could it be?! No-one we’ve ever met before. Played by a very famous actor, Max von Sydow, ‘old ally’ Lor San Tekka is killed-off in about 5 minutes, as just a plot device. Even Poe Dameron is seemingly killed-off within the first half hour, only to suddenly reappear later in a cheap way. It was hollow, like something wasn’t right so I kept looking for some big surprise around the corner. Nothing.

Everything builds-up to go nowhere. The opening line of the film is “Luke Skywalker has vanished” – so the story is about finding him, right? No, it’s the main crux of the story but forgotten about and sidetracked with nonsense until the last few minutes.

The new characters of Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisey Ridley) were great and the performers did well. All the impetus was put on them by Disney as what they wanted to sell. The fans wanted to see more of the classic characters along with the new generation, but the classic cast was left underdeveloped or written sometimes out-of-character. I remember when you could half understand the Droids’ bleeping, but now it’s like random sounds.

Daisey and John, at least, are great at bringing their characters to life and we enjoy following them, but there’s too much time spent sidelining the plot. It sets up questions (which kind of look like they have predictable answers – we’ll see in episode 8, probably) that don’t pay-off. You need to give the audience some pay-off, even if this is part of a trilogy. Both characters get invested in their journey then alternatingly both want to leave, then just-as-suddenly change their mind again.

So, then they look for Luke Skywalker, right? No, there are more distractions as the First Order (just a condensed copy of the Galactic Empire from the original trilogy) come to find the map to Luke Skywalker as this is also their plan… or is their plan to blow-up planets with yet another Death Star – oh, sorry: “Star Killer”? While I like the ‘Star-Killer’ nod to George Lucas’ original Star Wars script where the Skywalker clan was named Starkiller, that would have been more than enough of an in-joke. But everything else in the film is a nod to something, a re-make of an old scene, an in-joke for fans, etc… We get two hours of fan-service and maybe 30 minutes of it is story-related. Instead of finding Luke we deal with the unoriginal ‘planet-killing’ device – something we’ve seen fail TWICE already – then clumsily get to a plot point of killing-off a character.

We see what was probably an important planet destroyed by the Starkiller (actually, the home of the New Republic; an element totally lost as the First Order seems to have such power that it seems NOTHING has changed since episode 6) but we don’t care because we never saw the planet. We see some people about to die in horror (including great actress, Freema Agyeman, who’s little more than an uncredited extra after deleting an important scene earlier in the film) but we don’t get invested in their deaths as it becomes such a non-point with little gravitas or repercussion.

Abrahams and Disney cut so much of what was filmed after already diluting so much of what George Lucas had written for them that the current universe isn’t properly established, so have little grounding. But then Abrahams goes all-out on padding the movie with stuff we’ve seen before but has little reward. We get a couple of important plot-points, but mostly this movie is just played out as an small opening act for an actual story which leaves the experience very hollow.

Gone, also, are the layers of myths and symbology that Lucas created in his original films, which I still enjoy discovering to this day, leaving with us something quite superficial.

Technically, the film is well-achieved, and if you want mindless spectacle over an adventure you’ll enjoy this film. I think Disney have been too keen to cash in on this (you can see them whoring the franchise out to anyone who will pay to have a Star Wars image on their product – including Gillette razors) and wanted to hurriedly establish their characters to use as they wish with little continuity constraints (and probably because they’ll be cheaper than the existing heroes). And a new Star Wars-related film will be out every year! Great, so long as they have actually gone to the lengths to make it GOOD.

I, of course, can’t wait for Episode 8 and have hope (A New Hope?) that it will make-up for TFA’s shortcomings and actually develop the plot and story properly. We want more than a money-making romp from Disney, and sadly that is all this film feels like in the end.

Stars(3)

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Star Wars: The Force Awakens review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #157

Stars(3.5)

 

Sam Gironda:

Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ (Directed by J.J. Abrams) is a sequel, continuing on from the original Star Wars trilogy.

The Force Awakens is said to be the biggest film release in history. But does the film live up to all the hype?

Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ introduces us to a new range of characters when at the same time bringing back ones from the past. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and a brand new droid, BB-8. Poe is an X-Wing pilot and is on a mission to protect classified information from the hands of the First Order.

The audience is then introduced to Finn (John Boyega). Finn is a Stormtrooper who disagrees with the ways of the First Order and decides to run away. Finn escapes to the planet of Jakku where we meet Rey (Daisy Ridley). Rey is a scavenger living a life where she needs to recover any junk metal or spare parts that are good enough to be traded for food.

Any Star Wars film wouldn’t be complete without a major threat and villain fighting to make that threat a reality. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the leader of the First Order and is accompanied by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).

We are of course greeted with some old faces as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher and of course Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It was amazing to see the characters we know and love return to the big screen and to see how they have changed after all these years. C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) also return to join the returning cast.

The one thing that stood out to me in this film was the acting. J.J Abrams chose actors who were not well known to a large audience and they have definitely shown their potential when it comes to acting.

Throughout the movie there is so much going on that it’s hard to determine your thoughts about it and what you think. After seeing the movie and taking a moment to breath I can honestly say that it was a triumphant return for the Star Wars franchise. The movie was non-stop action and intensity and it was amazing to see that J.J. Abrams kept to the old films and didn’t change anything that would leave fans disappointed. Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ is an amazing film for Star Wars fans and the ending has been left wide open for future stories and films to connect with.

The one thing I loved most about this film is that the only CG (Computer Graphics) used was for when they are in space or in battle, flying through the air. There was a physicality to it that made the Star Wars universe feels so real. All the character, droids, aliens, sets and locations were all real and done brilliantly.

My finale thoughts of the film are that it was a great comeback for the Star Was franchise and it’s great to see this universe be introduced to a whole new generation of fans. I would definitely see it again!

Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ is in Cinemas now!

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviews: You can listen to our full Star Wars: The Force Awakens  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #157.

Trailer:

Avengers; Age Of Ultron

Summary: When Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally unleash the evil that is Ultron (James Spader) onto the world it is up to themselves, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to re-group and once again try to save the world.

But as Ultron’s extra-intelligence helps him stay ahead of The Avengers as he prepares to destroy them and then mankind, he is also aided by the mysterious powers of newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Joss Whedon

Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (comics), Jack Kirby (comics)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/The Vision), Linda Cardellini (Laura), Don Cheadle (Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk (voice)), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anthony Henry (Charlie Nash), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L/ Jackson (Nick Fury),  Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Claudia Kim (Dr. Helen Cho), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Wolfgang von Strucker), Stan Lee (Veteran), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Nick W. Nicholson (Dr. Taryl Jenkins), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Zrinka), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw), Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), James Spader (Ultron (voice)), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver)

Runtime: 141 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Joss Whedon finds himself in an unusual predicament with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. When he took the helm of the franchise with The Avengers he created an action film so perfect that many were labeling the best action film ever made. Now Whedon has the hard task of trying to match that with his latest Avengers installment… only one poor man can relate, poor Christopher Nolan who had to back up the Oscar winning The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises. Adding more problems for Whedon was the fact that the Russo’s further enhanced the franchise with the epically wonderful Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Whedon hits the ground running with Avengers: Age Of Ultron starting the film mid battle which amazingly enough creatively gives each Avenger their own piece of screen time to show exactly what they are capable of. To Whedon’s credit he doesn’t muck around re-introducing the members of the Avengers, no if you haven’t seen the other films in the franchise… tough!!! From there the film is topsy-turvy though. Once again Whedon’s special effects team goes into overdrive with some amazing sequences, although he should probably hold back so many slo-mo shots though as they become tedious after awhile. Surely such a creative director could have thought of some other kinds of shots, especially seeing at times Whedon manages to take his audience right inside the battle with some pretty creative directional moves.

While Whedon does at least create a very creative way to place the Earth in peril and some of the film’s deep points on those who set out to bring peace to this world, the politics of war or those with a God-complex are quite thought provoking, other parts of the films will let down their audience. The mind-bending scenes that come as a result of Scarlet Witch messing with the brains of The Avengers seem to lack the certain something they need to really standout. The attempts of Whedon to make them artsy certainly didn’t work and many audience members will find themselves tuning out during them.

Also missing this time around is a lot of the humor that made the first Avengers movie so memorable. Yes there are the occasional funny moments and lines (thanks largely to Tony Stark) but nothing as good as the Hulk smashing Loki moment from Avengers. Now talking about Loki, that also raises the biggest fault with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Loki was everything that you want in a bad guy – evil, cheeky and strong but here you’ll quickly find that Ultron is a little bit of a bland villain. Yes he is formidable and he is strong, but instead of making you chuckle his ‘pearls of wisdom’ threaten to make your brain explode as you try to think about. The logic behind Ultron is also strangely like the internet demon that Willow created in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the giant robot that Spike and Angel tried to build in the strange series… at least Mr. Whedon is borrowing from his own material.

The other thing that is going to peeve off comic book fans as well is the treatment of Quicksilver. Now I know that X-Men is currently owned by a different company but it does seem a little weird that the Quicksilver here in Avengers: Age Of Ultron has a very different back story to the Quicksilver we now know in the X-Men franchise. Sadly, I can’t tell you though why the two different Quicksilvers in the two different franchise is going to mess with the minds of fans even more because sadly that would be giving away a major plot point of this film… all I will say though is it will completely mess with you and have you tearing your hair out.

The one thing though that does prevent Avengers: Age Of Ultron from becoming a really bland comic book movie is that this is a movie that does have some heart. Yes it lacks the storylines that have been so strong in the pervious films in this franchise but at least it has heart. The hidden family of one the Avengers that is revealed and also the budding relationship between two Avengers almost makes up for the ludicrous lines uttered to cover up the fact that neither Gwenyth Paltrow or Natalie Portman wanted to return this time around.

It is easy to see that Avengers: Age Of Ultron will frustrate many of its fans. While Joss Whedon does need to be congratulated on the epic scale of this film (although it does pale when put alongside Captain America: Winter Solider) this film simply just doesn’t front up to the brilliance of the original The Avengers. Yes the film contains love, death and violence but you won’t be remembering this film for years to come like you did Whedon’s first journey into the Marvel universe. Oh and be prepared for a bit of a morose finale that leaves the audience with more questions than it answers, keeping in mind that it has already been announced that this is the last film that will contain this line-up of the Avengers. There might be some weeping amongst true fans of the franchise.

 

Stars(4)

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(4)

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(2)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Avengers: Age Of Ultron reviews: You will also be able to hear our Avengers: Age Of Ultron review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126.

Trailer:

 

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Summary: Survivors of the simian plague trigger an all-out war between humanity and Caesar’s growing forces.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenwriter: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle (novel)

Cast: Kirk Acevedo (Carver), Lombardo Boyar (Terry), Jason Clarke (Malcolm), Jon Eyez (Foster), Judy Greer (Cornelia), Toby Kebbell (Koba), Richard King (Stone), Karin Konoval (Maurice), Scott Lang (Luca), Enrique Murciano (Kemp), Douglas Murray (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket), Keir O’Donnell (Finney), Gary Oldman (Dreyfus), Kevin Rankin (McVeigh), Lee Ross (Grey), Keri Russell (Ellie), Andy Serkis (Caesar), Larramie Doc Shaw (Ash), Jocko Sims (Werner), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Alexander), Nick Thurston (Blue Eyes)

Runtime: 130 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87

Stars(4)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

When you scan over the list of blockbusters due in the cinemas in 2014 Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably one that most would skim over. The first film in this re-booted franchise, Rise of The Planet Of The Apes, was a good film but never seemed to quite gain the traction that its producers obviously hoped that it would. But it only takes watching Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes for a few minutes to see that there is something pretty special about this film.

Set a decade after the events of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads a group of genetically evolved apes as they have formed a colony of their own on the outskirts of the old San Francisco.

With most humans eradicated by the virus that spread right around the world the Apes now feel completly safe, but they feeling is eroded when a group of humans including Malcolm (Jason Clarke), Ellie (Keri Russell) and Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) venture into the colony in a bid to restore electricity to San Francisco.

Their arrival causes the Apes to wonder about the true intentions of the human leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and makes Koba (Toby Kebbell) decide that it is time to question Caesar’s authority due to his closeness to humans.

Surprisingly early on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes seems to go against everything that Hollywood wants from a film these days. It’s been long known that American cinema audience have an aversion to subtitles yet here we are with a mega-blockbuster film that opens with discussions between a group of apes which of course have to be portrayed to the audience with only the use of subtitles. It almost seems eerie to be watching these scenes with no humans in sight, but boy as a film lover I loved it.

It almost seems like director Matt Reeves (who has brought as genre classics such as Cloverfield and Let Me In in the past) wants the audience to side with the Apes from Day One, a surprise move but one that is pulled off with absolute brilliance. The fact that it seems that the screenwriters have worked harder on giving characterisation to apes such as Caesar, Koba and Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) rather than to any of the human characters only seems to push this point any further.

In fact that is the biggest weakness of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the lack of characterisation for most of the human characters. One Ape snarls at one point “humans are all the same, how can you tell them apart?” and sadly that is also the case when it comes to the audience trying to separate the human characters portrayed in the film. Some work has been done giving the character of Malcolm some characterisation, he’s caring and lost his wife amid the mayhem a decade earlier but that is about all the audience is told. His son, Alexander and girlfriend Ellie and treated in the same way by the screenplay while Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus almost becomes your stereotypical clichéd bad guy.

As a film Dawn Of The Planet OF The Apes works best when the relationships between the Apes and Humans is first beginning and then tested. This brings an element of suspense and drama to the film and that point the film remains a ‘thinking persons’ film, but that quickly evaporates when the guns come out and the last quarter of this film becomes dangerously close to becoming just another shoot-at-each-other action film. It even has its own sky-high battle on a building site which almost seems to be mandatory in the modern day action film. To be honest it almost feels like this is a film that has been directed in two parts.

Still the early parts of this film is what makes the film so memorable and it also becomes a visual delight for any film fan that likes good CGI. For the most part Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a visual delight, the Apes themselves look eerily realistic, as does their colony, although it does seem like some dodgy last minute CGI work was done especially in some scenes that involve the Apes swinging on the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge. Still that is a very little gripe to have when you consider how good other parts of this look – it seems to even go a step further than anything even Peter Jackson has even done.

This is a film where CGI is the big winner. Often CGI generated characters are hard for the audience to develop feelings for, but here it seems that the audience ends up loving Caesar and co but struggling to identify with some dangerously underwritten human characters. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes does have some weak moments but for the most part it keeps afloat the tradition of most of 2014’s blockbusters being fairly decent films.

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes′: For our full Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87. You can also read Dave Griffiths’ Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Hobbit

Summary: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.

Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…

A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA/New Zealand

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh

Cast: Richard Armitage (Thorin), Timothy Bartlett (Master Worrywort), Manu Bennett (Azog), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Benedict Cumberbatch (Necromancer), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Mark Hadlow (Dori/Bert Troll), Peter Hambleton (Gloin/William Troll), Ian Holm (OLd Bilbo), Barry Humphries (Great Goblin), Stephan Hunter (Bombur), William Kircher (Bifur/Tom Troll), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Bret McKenzie (Lindir), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Michael Mizrahi (Thrain), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Lee Pace (Thranduil), John Rawls (Yazneg), Thomas Robins (Young Thrain), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Conan Stevens (Bolg), Ken Stott (Balin), Jeffrey Thomas (Thror), Aidan Turner (Kili), Stephen Ure (Fumbal/Grinnah), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Runtime: 169 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Review: 

While ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, it also has the potential of becoming one of the most frustrating films of the year. Many audience members will find themselves being blown away as director, Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones, King Kong) once again takes them on a journey into Tolkien’s Middle Earth world but sadly the film is also let down by the fact that Jackson has experimented with a new of film-making.

Closely following the original novel ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ begins with Old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing down more of his adventures for Frodo (Elijah Wood – TV’S Wilifred & TRON: Uprising). This time around he tells a story that occurred sixty years before the events of the original ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy.

This new adventure sees young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman – Animals, Pirates! The Band Of Misfits) selected by Gandalf (Ian McKellen – Miss In Her Teens, TV’S Doctor ho) to take up the part of ‘burglar’ in a group led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage – Captain America: The First Avenger, TV’S Strike Back) that has the mission to returning to a once grand Kingdom (now known as the Lonely Mountain) that belonged to the Dwarves and then to defeat a Smaug the Dragon that took control of it and the gold that it contains.

But when they begin their journey they soon realise that there is a dark rising in Middle Earth. While this means the group is constantly under threat by a group of Orcs led by the war-chief Azog (Manu Bennett – TV’S Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms & Spartacus: Blood And Sand), a meeting with a wizard known as Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy – The Academy: Special, Eldorado) also reveals that a new evil has emerged, an evil known as the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch – Wreckers, War Horse).

And while not giving away any spoilers the journey also sees the group meet up with old favourites including Elrond (Hugo Weaving – Cloud Atlas, Happy Feet Two), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett – Hanna, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg), Saruman (Christopher Lee – Dark Shadows, The Hunting Of The Snark) and Gollum (Andy Serkis – Arthur Christmas, The Adventures Of Tintin) while also introducing new characters including the Jabba The Hut like Great Goblin (voiced by Barry Humphries – Kath & Kimderella, Mary And Max).

To the credit of Peter Jackson and the team of screenwriters (which included Guillermo del Toro) that helped put together ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ the film’s story carries quite well. Yes there are some slow moments before the journey actually begins but they are necessary to set up the characterisation of those going on the adventure. Others may find the singing parts (especially the stacking of the cutlery) a little too Disney, but others will also see this as an important part of bring Tolkien’s world to life.

The story does provide a great deal of suspense as various members of the small troop have their lives put at risk on a number of occasions although if you are thinking about seeing the film in the 48FPS format you should probably reconsider. At times the picture is too crisp to be believable and this format of showing the film leads to an annoying optical illusion that at times makes it feel like it is being played in fast-forward. The format does although enhance some of the battle scenes and it is almost virtually impossible to tell what is CGI and what is real but then at other times ruins the film by clearly showing that some of the backdrops have been made from cardboard or polystyrene while the rabbit sleigh sequence looks so bad you could be excused for believing that you are watching a badly made 1980s music video clip.

If you want to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ looking at its absolute best go and see it in 2D or in standard 3D form because the 48FPS will only ruin an otherwise brilliant film for you.

When it comes to the casting Peter Jackson has hit the nail right on the head. Martin Freeman is likable as the younger Bilbo Baggins but to be honest you never feel as close to his character as you did with Frodo in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, but the real star here is Richard Armitage who brilliantly portrays Thorin, so well in fact it is a truly memorable performance.

If you choose to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in the right kind of format you are in for a truly magical experience, but be warned if you see it in the 48FPS format you may be in for a disappointing time.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB Rating:The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) on IMDb

Summary: With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring. Hunting Frodo are servants of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the Ring’s evil creator. Of Sauron reclaims the Ring, Middle-earth is doomed.

Year: 2001

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2001

Australian DVD Release Date: 15th April 2010 (new version)

Country: New Zealand/United States

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, J.R.R. Tolkein (novel)

Cast: Noel Appleby (Everard Proudfoot), Sean Astin (Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee), Sala Baker (Sauron), Sean Bean (Boromir),Jorn Benzon (Rumil),  Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas Greenleaf), Billy Boyd (Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took), Marton Csokas (Celebron), Megan Edwards (Mrs. Proudfoot), Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad), Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins), Alan Howard (The Ring (voice)), Peter Jackson (Albert Dreary), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz), Ian McKellan (Gandalf The Grey), Peter McKenzie (Elendil), Sarah McLeod (Rose ‘Rosie’ Cotton), Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Ian Mune (Bounder), Craig Parker (Haldir), Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Andy Serkis (Gollum/Witch King), Harry Sinclair (Isildur), Liv Tyler (Arwen), David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)

Runtime: 178 mins

Classification: M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Review:

Originally appeared on www.helium.com.

For science fiction fans ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ was the beginning of an epic journey, for film fans this was the beginning of a franchise that would change the cinema world forever. Many doubted that director, Peter Jackson would ever be able to bring the classic work of J.R.R. Tolkein to the big screen, but he did it and created history along the way.

‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is the first film in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ series at sees aging wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) realise that the power of a very special ring is starting to get the best of a curious hobbit called Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm).

Gandalf asks young hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to look after the ring but when it is soon realised that the evil Saruman (Christopher Lee) is raising up the dark forces and is desperate to gain the ring Gandalf instead decides that it is time for Frodo to go and destroy the ring in the fires of Mordor.

Soon Frodo is joined by the likes of Samwise Gangee (Sean Astin), Peregin Took (Billy Boyd) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) on a journey where they need others including Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom) to protect them. But with danger at every corner and never knowing who to trust this is never going to be an easy journey.

Peter Jackson draws in the audience from the very beginning. Normally in a franchise you would never expect a main character to die in the first film, but Jackson shows very early on that that isn’t the case with ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Both Frodo and Gandalf’s lives are put at risk on a number of occasions and as a result you are kept on the edge of your seat.

Jackson also captures the landscape of New Zealand remarkably well and despite this largely being an action film you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the film. He also uses that same creative eye when creating some of the ‘creatures’ that appear on screen and despite a couple of dodgy moments it is easy to see why this film was ahead of its time when it comes to special effects.

Despite being such a monumental however ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ does have its downfalls at times. With so many characters being introduced in this the first film it is at times difficult to keep track of who-is-who and it is a little disappointing that you don’t get to learn a little more about important characters such as Aragorn and Legolas. It’s hard to care for them during battle scenes when you haven’t really been told that much about them.

‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is an epic movie of every scale but it is a film that Peter Jackson should be extremely proud of it as it was a fantastic way to kick off this series of films, and despite being the first of a trilogy the audience certainly doesn’t feel like they haven’t been taken on a journey by the time the final credits roll.

Other ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Reviews By Dave Griffiths: Nil

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IMDB Rating: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) on IMDb

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