Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie: How to Train Your Dragon

It was awesome. This is an excellent kids movie. It teaches a lot of important lessons like using your head, and avoiding stereotypes without beating you over the head about it. It also has a fascinating mythology to the whole thing that is pervasive but comes nowhere near overwhelming anyone unfamiliar with the setting (and I certainly wasn't going into this.)

The summary of the story is that a child named Hiccup doesn't fit in with the rest of the village of Vikings that are routinely raided by Dragons. Obviously (since the title kind of gives it away) Hiccup ends up with a dragon that he has to deal with and bonds with it. The rest of the movie involves how Hiccup solves the challenges that brings him, including how to rectify being the friend of a dragon amongst a people that hate dragons and want to kill them on sight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Movie: Inglorious Bastards

This movie is seven kinds of awesome. Basically it is a Quentin Tarantino movie about a group of US Jews who are sent behind Nazi lines to kill Nazis. That and the fact that it is basically a movie for those who felt the Nazis, especially the Nazi upper echelons that killed so many people and died before they could really be held accountable to the whole thing. I enjoyed it. There are a few elements of violence that are a little over the top, but since it largely involves blowing up nazis it is very hard to call it extreme. The ending is a classic that will be remembered for quite some time and the very very ending is even better.

In short, this is a movie worth watching.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movie: Alice by Tim Burton

This was a good movie. It was my third favorite Tim Burton movie after Batman and Beetlejuice. First of all, it was visually stunning. It was pretty, haunting and unique, but not garish like some of Burton's works. His style seemed to work perfectly for wonderland. Second, I liked the plot. He managed to set it up in such a way that you have certain expectations about the world at Alice and the beginning which are pleasantly turned on their head in the middle of the story. Third, comparing it to the recent sci fi mini series of the same name, it also incorporates the original mythology but this time with the same character and the books. While it mixes and matches "Through the Looking Glass" and "Adventures in Wonderland" freely, it does so in a way that actually makes the story work well.

Fluffernutting is a nice easter egg. Depp's performance, some say, is upstaged by the Red Queen. This is true. By a long shot, but in this case that makes sense since the Red Queen is the primary villain of the story. Depp is not so insecure a performer that he'll overact just to be the main stay of the series and it reflects in this, despite the fact that it is marketed with Depp's hatter on the movie poster. The hatter isn't the main character, not even by a long shot, though he is among the most interesting.

I am entirely mixed about the statements it makes about how women are treated at the time. On the one hand, it does so in a personal and visible fashion. On the other has a ham fisted, almost forced feel to it, but to be fair; one cannot make a historically accurate piece without acknowledging it and Burton takes his worlds too seriously not to. I respect him as a film maker and simply hand waving it away was not warranted. Still, personally I'd have been a bit more subtle about it; not reducing the content in the story but minor changes to the dialog to bring the same point home.

Not that I'm Tim Burton mind you.

The film left the door wide open for a sequel so expect, "Through the Looking Glass" sometime in the next year or two.