Unlike any other films based on previously published material before them, the Harry Potter series really does have two completely different audiences. There are the die hard fans who have read and reread the novels, and there are the movie fans who enjoy the magical tales on film only, which are still great but just... different.
I admit to being a Harry Potter junkie, and therefore my review is completely biased by how I compare the film to the books, albeit fairly and realistically.
And wow, they did a great job this time out. The bigger books MUST go through a rigorous "trimming", and that is understandable. But in Goblet of Fire, the film felt choppy and full of holes, not so with Order of the Phoenix. Maybe it's the story, maybe the screenwriter, maybe the director... whatever it was, it worked well. This was my second favorite film in the franchise, barely falling right behind Prisoner of Azkaban.
The story focuses a lot more on Harry and tells it from his point of view more so than the last film, which Really helped the overall feel of the film. It is MUCH more personable, you can connect with all the characters more readily.
The casting of important newcomers playing Luna Lovegood and Dolores Umbridge were SPOT ON!! The rest of the cast was brilliant as always, but I always feel like I wanted more Snape and McGonnigal...
The action takes a while to come to, but when you get there, they do it up right. The big battle at the end has the very best magical duel ever put on the big screen!!!
Like I said, I cannot help but compare the films to the book, and they always fall short, but I can be fair in my expectations... and this movie was great. I took a friend who doesn't read the books and he loved it as well, saying it was his favorite of all the films.
Either way, this is a great Potter flick, so if you like the series in any format... go see it! Now!
First of all, I'm a life-long fan of the original toys, cartoons and comic books. So, like many others who embrace all things Transformers, I was dying to see this film. Well, one dream came true, I got to see some of my favorite Transformers on the big screen, brought to life with magnificent special effects. That is all the kindness I can show this movie.
Just because I love the robots doesn't mean I don't care if the rest of the movie completely tanks. The story was drawn from the lore of the comics/cartoons, but it just felt thrown in there and barely treated as important, so when they did focus on the story line for 5 seconds it felt cheesy.
There were also many sub threads, it seemed to me they were going for the converging character threads as in the film Independence Day. But ID4 had interesting likable characters. I'm not sure why I could care so little for the humans in Transformers, they did a great job casting. But I felt no connection to anyone in the film. There was no need for one minor thread at all, concerning a blond British hacker girl... if the one saving grace of this movie could have been the exciting action scenes, there was always this girl popping up to SLOW the movie down TOO much.
And I realize they wanted kids to like this movie to sell more toys, but can't you be funny without making the whole feeling of a scene, or even a movie, be so STUPID? Giant robots hiding in some one's back yard... The CARTOONS took the subject matter, and therefore the audience, more seriously than this!!!
Cool robots... big CG baddies with cool futuristic weapons who change into awesome cars, tanks, jets... all of that good stuff. But that's all this movie had. I had better adventures with the toys in my backyard when I was 10.
YIPPE KI YAE!!! John McLain is back in action, and he doesn't miss a beat... or a beating! This time out he's got a great new sidekick in the form of a young hacker who is every bit the smarmy, reluctant hero we've been missing since Die Harder. These wrong-place, wrong-time everyday folk make the perfect team of protagonists for the sequel to a series made famous for its top notch, bareknuckled action and more importantly, it's smart writing... with top notch blending of action-movie fantasy and gritty realism.
Who can forget the moment in the first Die Hard, when you realized just how smart this kick ass action franchise could be, when the villain Hans Gruber intones "You wanted a miracle... Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... the F.B.I..." This series hasn't let up since, and just because it's been awhile, don't expect this film to falter.
The cyber terrorism plot is a perfect fit for McLains next gen return. The action may be all blissfully over the top, but the story is downright scary and convincing.
All key players are expertly cast. Once again you have a quintessential Die Hard villain, one of the franchises' most stand-apart traits. Timothy Olyphant plays a scathingly cool hacker extraordinaire, bent on bringing the country to its knees through it modems. He is assisted by the stunning Maggie Q, the beautiful bad ass who gives McLain his best fight yet!
Justin Long (You know...Mac Boy) is terrific as the uber geek turned action hero, equally balancing his sidekick duties with heroics of his own. The banter flies freely between the two, and it always rings true and genuine, and more importantly, damn funny. This kid could become a star...
And Bruce Willis is still box office gold, this may be his best action film yet. I say keep 'em coming!!!
Finally, the summer movie season of 2007 has begun! Live Free or Die Hard succeeds on every level; engaging story, superb writing, phenomenal acting, and the best darn roller coaster riding, fingernail biting, seat gripping action scenes of the summer!!!
DOA certainly won't be winning any Academy Awards, but, then again, that's not what movies like this are meant for. They are meant to entertain, and I found DOA to be extremely entertaining. As far as movies based on video games, DOA actually stands high above most of the drek that's been cobbled together and marketed to it hardcore fan base... only to disappoint them.
In the same vein as the few standouts, in my opinion Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill, and the Resident Evil films, DOA does exactly what it set to do... Which is to bring all the cool stuff you love about a particular game to life... in all the full motion, 3D, live action glory you could realistically hope for.
First off, the game DOA is a fighting game, so the fights need to be good. And they're not just good, many of them stand out as great fight scenes. They're well choreographed, nicely filmed, good stunts and effects, good variety... and oh yeah, there's a heck of a lot of them. Way more fight scenes than even Mortal Kombat had.
Another plus of the game that translated well to the film, and that the marketing did not fail to capitalize on at all, is the roster of gorgeous female warriors. Sexy, hot, and bad ass, the gals of DOA do not disappoint. They even take it a step farther, often wearing outfits from the game (which are classic unlockables to fans of the game), and even pulling off signature fighting moves straight from the game's move list! Very cool.
For true fans of the DOA universe, there is even an awesome beach volleyball scene. It could have been disastrously ridiculous, but they pull it off so well, you can't help but love it.
But, there has to be a downside, I guess. And it's not the story. The story is just there to have a reason for all the fighting, but it actually isn't bad. Yes, you've seen this story before... All the world's greatest martial artists assembled for a top secret tournament on a mysterious island where there just might be an ulterior motive. But again, they pull it off with just enough tongue-in-cheek that it really works.
However, some of the hottie cast that they found to flesh out the DOA characters seem to have a real problem with the whole acting thing. Yeah, they look awesome flashing a katana and some cleavage, but when they speak... Not just the women, either. The dialogue for this movie passes rapidly between good, okay, and f'n cheesy... and it just seems all the worse when some of the actors seem to be reading it off of cue cards.
But then a fight breaks out, and you'll forget all about it. Fun movie.
Oh, and Helena is SO freakin' hot.
The original Fantastic Four was a decent hero flick, but I wasn't sure at the time that it deserved a sequel... I was apparently wrong and I'm glad. Rise of the Silver Surfer didn't change drastically from the first, but it was just much better written. The Silver Surfer and Galactus story line best fit this team, it was the perfect story line to showcase the FF.
The action is abundant and fast paced with great effects all throughout the movie. The team uses all their great powers in a variety of sequences, you get to see alot of super powers, fight scenes, and, most important... they didn't drop the ball with the Surfer. Lawrence Fishburne does great voice work on top of a well animated CG Surfer. Comic based films flounder when the effects fizzle, but this whole film is a CG super powered treat.
Aside from all the action, the side stories concerning the teams personal lives are smartly written. This keeps the film from getting dull between all the heroic daring-do.
The dialog is cheesy at times but there are only a few lines that are truly cringe inducing. Most of the corny parts are actually pretty funny.
This has been the best "summer movie" this summer. Everything is just much cooler this time around for the Fantastic Four; and Victor VonDoom is much "more" Dr. Doom-like, and the Surfer is bad ass! The stories good, the effects top tier, and the cast seems more into it this go around, maybe its just the good writing.
The only thing keeping this from being a perfect super hero flick, in the high ranks among X-men 2 and Spiderman 1&2, is a horridly cliche "oh wait.... They're not dead!" moment, but don't worry, you will see it coming a mile away.
If you like comic based action films, you are really going to like FF2, despite how you much you liked or disliked the first movie.