Hercules

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Hercules last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t they already prove that good movies are prevented from releasing in India or postponed? Remember The Purge Anarchy, Devil’s Due and Deliver us from Evil? They had just taken all the screens for something like Kick.

Vampire Owl :: We were lost last weekend; like Count Dracula who knew about a blood pool and couldn’t find it.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but the moment has arrived.

Vampire Owl :: So we will finally watch Hercules.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with 22 Jump Street as a possible substitute in case of a houseful situation.

Vampire Owl :: See what they did with Hercules and delayed us our opportunity last week – this is why we should owlify this world.

Vampire Bat :: In the name of Madras Cafe, Amen, Celluloid, Drishyam, Memories, North 24 Kaatham and The Lunchbox, can you just delay the owlification procedure?

Vampire Owl :: I shall ask the owlifier.

Vampire Bat :: You do that later, now lets check the Rock.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and his own nephew, an inexperienced fighter but elegant storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) through a number of battles and winning them all. The legend is about Hercules being the son of Zeus, who has accomplished the impossible against all odds. His reputation is far beyond anything that is known in the Greek world, matched by nobody else. This makes sure that the princess of Thrace, Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) approaches them with an offer they can’t leave behind, as they are offered as much gold as their weight. They are asked to lead the Thracian army into battle against the barbarians who are supposed to lead by an evil man and his minions. Hercules and his mercenaries run through the enemies only to be confronted by a truth which was never really expected. After this twist, they have to make the decision which will change their paths forever.

The defence of Hercules :: The one thing that one can be sure about is that the movie delivers exactly what it was supposed to bring to the audience. Some might need a little more, but this a lot to be exact. The power-packed performance from the Rock as Hercules is there, and the mythological hero is given some other sides here, and some good companions are also added. There is so much strength in the action sequences, and the wars are nicely depicted and so are the heroic deeds. The 3D is very good especially with Atalanta’s arrows and the monsters around. The CGI with the monsters is also good and the Greek world is nicely re-created, and surely not overdone with splendour. I would say that the delay of this movie release in India actually made the result movie make us feel a lot better. In the end, we are left with the need for the more of the hero or may be a prequel or more about the twelves labours that he achieved. Just some information for the doubters – he is Hercules, a demigod and he can do a lot more than what is shown in this movie – no exaggeration there.

A few troubles :: Those who are not big action fans might find fault with this one, and a prejudice for the WWE superstars will also work against them. Unlike, some of those sons and daughters of superstars who get a free ticket to act in the movies, these people from wrestling entertainment can act very well – keep that in mind. If you don’t like action movies or The Rock, please do not watch this movie, and never even have a look at it and spoil its awesomeness. Its name was already spoiled by another Hercules movie released much earlier this year, in the name of The Legend of Hercules, and that proves how well this movie has managed. Then, if you don’t like the Greek mythology or don’t follow it, care not much about this movie, because you will need to develop some love for the same to enjoy this movie more. Well, if you don’t like this movie, I would guess that you would need to go and watch movies like Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. May be Bollywood movies will suit you more, with random people performing bigger stunts than a demigod. Otherwise, you can show respect to the action-packed stuff which is this movie and watch it with pride.

Performers of the soul :: There is no one like Dwayne Johnson who is suited for this movie, and there is nobody like the Rock in doing such roles. The former WWE star is one of those people whom I have always thought as the great hero from the Greek mythology. He once again proves why he was among the greatest entertainers in the history of professional wrestling and at the top of the WWE chart. He often becomes bigger than most of the other things in the movie. He has such a great screen presence and his physique helps him in being the incredibly strong demigod. The next person whom one will notice will be Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta, the huntress making a powerful impact with her arrows which are shot with such speed and accuracy that this character often takes over a lot of action. She is another perfect fit for the character. Irina Shayk has only a small role as Hercules’ wife unlike expected. Ian McShane has some nice funny moments there, and Rebecca Ferguson is quite appropriate for the role of the princess even as there is not too much there to do. The other companions of Hercules are pretty good too.

Soul exploration :: Even as I have always preferred Achilles among the Greek heroes just like most of the people would, there was always something about Hercules and Odysseus, a lot more than a few others like Perseus, Thesues and Jason for sure. My interest for Hercules was there not only in his brutal strength and his demigod status, but also in his suffering. Along with his adventures known as the the Twelve Labours of Hercules, he has suffered a lot, and never had the great status as some other heroes did. He was never a greatly revered general or a king, but a man who went through a lot of trouble to accomplish some of the tasks considered impossible. Even among the monsters, there is nothing more interesting to me than Hydra. The physical strength element is there, and so is the divine side, but he achieved something even the gods of the times would have doubted on achieving. The demigod side is rather brought down in this movie, and Hercules here is rather made more mortal, bleeding and even captured and beaten up, and as he goes on with his companions, there is nobody who is considered as a lesser mortal among the group. This newly achieved mortality is rather a nice addition to this movie.

How it finishes :: This movie is as strong as its own hero and the man who leads the cast. The strength of the Rock as the powerful character as well as his own image is reflected in this movie. The Rock has made his best comeback as the hero right here. It is what the action movie fans have always hoped for, and it is what this movie delivers. It releases with 22 Jump Street here, but I would choose an action movie with The Rock in it instead of some stupid comedy with added adult stuff which had an overrated first part – I got a feeling that I might like that one too though. If you haven’t read much of such mythological tales, it might be time you read some. If you are looking for some simple re-telling of the Greek mythological stories, I would recommend Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green – a part of Puffin Classics available in India. With the tagline “Walk amongst the gods and men”, this book gives a quick and easy reading of the tales of Hercules (Heracles), Theseus, Atalanta, Prometheus and many others. Well, I am surprised about what some of the Indian reviewers are writing about this movie, and I hope they continue enjoying some “extra special” Bollywood movies.

Release date: 1st August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Rebecca Ferguson, Steve Peacocke, Joe Anderson, Tamina Snuka, Barbara Palvin, Tobias Santelmann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

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Every dog has its day :: Mr. Peabody needs a day for himself, just like any other dog (but surely with specs and a bow tie) without that day being called “a dog’s day”. Yes, the other person without the title is the human character who is obviously less intelligent. As the cats have nine lives and continues to dodge death (with the exceptions of our favourite cats who successfully tested the speed of those faster cars on the highway, may be not knowing that eight of the nine lives have ended and it is nearing game over – they should come up with a life bar on the top right corner of the eye or something), the dogs also need a day on which they can use their awesomeness to good use without taking any physical risk that could permanently place them outside the material realm to be devoured by the soul reaver. This is that day for Peabody, a white dog which could have easily been the ruler of the planet on another parallel Earth. As an intelligent creature who doesn’t ask for the nine lives for himself or claim his right to a possible return from the dead in the name of equality, this dog takes us into an adventure which has already been highly rated by the critics and is indeed splendid.

What is it about? :: Mr. Peabody might be not only the smartest dog in the world, but also the most intelligent creature on Earth surpassing all humans with ease. He proved that he was different from the other dogs in the childhood itself, due to which he was never adopted and never had a home as a puppy. So later, he adopted a boy named Sherman instead, only after he gets rich and popular. As Sherman gets into conflict with his classmate, Penny Peterson who tried to the be the “mean girl”, the adoption agency blames it on the behaviour of Peabody who is an animal and they threaten to cancel the adoption. As Penny is invited to their home with her parents to make sure that nothing worse happens, the kids end up in the time machine invented by Peabody which is usually used to teach Sherman history. As Penny gets caught in Ancient Egypt, Peabody and Sherman has to make things right before the space-time continuum is completely destroyed. But for the same, just a random journey to Egypt won’t be enough, that is for sure.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Ancient Egypt :: Chronologically the first place to be visited, but otherwise the second, the Little King Tut a.k.a Tutankhamun wants force Penny into child marriage to which she has no objection (even with the revelation that his name rhymes with butt) until she comes to know about the wonderful customs of the land from the Vizier. This is a nice little episode (the movie is so short, so it had to be little) which involves them wandering around through the tombs inside The Sphinx and using the statue of Anubis, the god of death to their advantage. There are some nice jokes involving plague, the underworld and the god-kings. This place is the answer to where, when and how the adventures of Peabody and Sherman actually begins. Well, what is the use of a time machine if you haven’t seen the Pyramids in the zenith of its glory? We don’t have the Roman or the Persian Empire at its zenith, at least we got Egypt. Still, there could have been more of the place, and the same can be felt about what is to be mentioned next.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Greek-Troy War :: The trio lands in the middle of the Greek Trojan war as the result of a crash making it chronologically the second place to be visited, otherwise the final one. The Greeks are ready to avenge the death of Achilles and bring the fight into the city of Troy as they have carefully placed themselves inside the Wooden Horse. Sherman joins King Agamemnon, Odysseus and team in their battle against Troy, but is saved by Peabody before Trojans get to him. One has to admit that Agamemnon is the funniest character of the movie, and as the good guys beating up the enemies, they are lots of fun. From the location map, I was of the impression that this was going to be the Dracula Castle which was not to be. Well, there should be a sequel, we can hope for that. The father-son relationship reaches its climax during this visit and right after that, as a good number of historical figures make a visit to the future.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Italian Renaissance :: The trio catches up with Leonardo da Vinci during his attempt to paint Mona Lisa and even manages to make the lady smile or rather laugh in the process. Chronologically the third place to be visited and otherwise the second, this visit to Florence is when Sherman finds himself capable of something and he also gets along with Penny even managing to fly the prototype of a flying machine made by da Vinci together. The city of Florence as well as the Florence cathedral looks beautifully created, and the painting scene as well as the flying scene are nicely done. It is obvious that there were so many people in the theatre who knew nothing about Renaissance, it was a cultural movement of the thirteenth and fourteenth century beginning in the Italian states, especially the city of Florence. We were not taught about it in detail in the school history books, but Mr. Peabody will make sure that you won’t forget it that easily.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @French Revolution :: Being at the French Revolution was more of a study trip for Sherman until things get serious. Thus it was the first time travel event to be shown even as it should come last in a chronological order. Caught between the cakes of Marie Antoinette and the call for assassination by Maximilien de Robespierre, Sherman avoids some advice for having cake as Peabody is almost executed in the guillotine before he finds a way out. As he mistakes Reign of Terror which comes with the French Revolution to be just another rain – they seem to struggle to escape, but Peabody does the escape act with ease. Nobody seems to be a match for the talking dog. The significant role which history would play in this movie is evident from this. I would say no history lover can dare to miss this movie, and it can also serve as a very interesting history class for kids, even as the movie might seem to lack logic like any other animated movie along with lacking in total content.

How it finishes :: Mr. Peabody & Sherman is that movie which has prevented Non-Stop from releasing here, and it might not be a good news for many, as it was a much awaited movie especially with Liam Neeson coming back to that path and into that avatar which the fans would like him to follow. Still, it has only lesser shows here at selected multiplexes just like The Lego Movie had if not slightly better. But as it is such a wonderful movie, why would someone ask for anything else? To add to it, this movie releases here a week before it releases in the United States, and that is a twist of fate. Let’s not be fooled by the name of the movie, as it is indeed not good enough to bring people to the big screen. The first impression that came to my mind when I heard the title was not good either. But do not just a movie by its name, especially an animated movie, as they never cease to surprise you, like this one which is the best movie of the year so far – yes better than The Lego Movie too.

Release date: 28th February 2014 (India); 7th March 2014 (US)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Starring (voice): Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Leslie Mann, Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Zach Callison, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Dennis Haysbert

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.