Robin Hood

What is the movie about? :: Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) has been in love with Marian (Eve Hewson) since he first met her at a stable. He is the lord of a manor, and she is a petty thief, but they have no doubt that they are in love. Still, things change, as he is called to fight in the Crusades in Northern Africa. He fights with great courage there, and defeats as well as kills many, until he makes the decision to stand up against his leaders’ attitude and treatment towards the prisoners of war. He almost gets killed by his own people, but manages to get back to his lands and get back to his feet, thanks to a former Moorish commander known by the name John (Jamie Foxx) who becomes his new mentor. This training that he receives, with the skill that he already has, Robin needs to go against the most powerful man in the county, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With his return, he finds out from his good friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) that Marian is now with another man named Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). He also finds out that his family property has been confiscated by the Sheriff, who never stops tormenting people in the name of war. Sheriff has his own army to make sure that people pay for the war with all that they have. Robin and Sheriff decide that this has to stop now or people will be left with nothing. There is no hope for the common man, and Robin decides to become that hope, something which would include more than one robbery and fight. But with the knights of the Sheriff being among the strongest, can he find a way through all these to save the common man from losing everything?

The defence of Robin Hood :: There is no shortage of style in Robin Hood, and the action scenes are all nicely done. They might feel to be a little overdose and edited in such a way that it might be a little difficult to follow for the eyes. But they do work, and has our attention more than any other. The setting also feels strange at times, but it is nicely done. We can see that the divergence that this movie has is rather too high, but even in that case, the attempt is to be appreciated for bringing a different version. The archery scenes are among the best, and the visuals with the lighting brings a special effect. The messages revolution and equality runs right through the movie, and a few parts of the movie are funny, even though we feel that it is rather unintentional. The ending also sets the path nicely for a possible sequel even though that seems not coming as we consider the situation here.

The claws of flaw :: The way in which the tale in this movie is changed becomes rather strange. It is too much of a diversion, and it is not easy to digest many of those changes. Some of them feel unnecessary even for any standards. The case of John might be the strangest of them all. The movie could have also used some better editing, especially with its fight scenes. Everything keeps moving from one side to somewhere else without warning. The movie itself is clueless at times about the idea as well as the story, even though it keeps us entertained for most part. Most of the time, the movie also doesn’t look like its from the medieval age. It goes on trying to become like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie which does the same thing to the King Arthur legend as this one does to the Robin Hood legend. Well, only some movies could change for the best.

The performers of the soul :: Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are not here to leave that big mark, but the performances are okay. Taron Egerton had those miserable overrated Kingsman movies, and this one is surely above them, and he also has some nice dialogues to go with the same. The Irish actress Eve Hewson surely brings some charm to the movie, even though her role here is limited. Jamie Foxx doesn’t have the impact to create in this character who is the trainer – it has to be noted that Mohanlal in the Malayalam movie with the similar thief Kayamkulam Kochunni had so many times bigger impact as the trainer, and that movie itself was way ahead of this one with its thief who stole from the rich and helped the poor. Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham is not that much of a villain that we expected. Tim Minchin’s version of Friar Tuck is mostly irritating, and Paul Anderson’s Guy of Gisborne doesn’t have that big impact. Jamie Dornan’s Will Tillman can have the great strength only in a sequel if it ever happens.

Soul exploration :: There are different ways in which this particular movie can work, and one of them is similar to the American War on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, with different moments pointing to the same in one way or the other. There are people supporting both sides in a war, as we notice. We also feel that this might be a Batman movie which is not good enough, and something which could have been a different kind of Dark Knight, but isn’t. The hero does spend some time with a mentor, is rich and decides to save his town in a mask, that much is clear. But the fact that Robin Hood is not Batman, and he is not supposed to be like Green Arrow who goes through almost the same things and has the hood and arrow dressed in green. Was he called into the DC Universe to be the Green Arrow? One has to wonder about the similarities visible here.

How it finishes :: Even with all the style, it is strange that Robin Hood makers could think that this would be enough, if they did have that idea. Robin Hood is not our usual hero whom we can change and get away with it. He is not Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or any other superhero to have different version. The same was proved by the earlier adaptation of the Arthur legend. Even with a cast which included Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the 2010 version which felt closer to history couldn’t go on make it big as expected – these people had to be careful about it when making a movie like this, but the problem here is that there seems to be no such concern. Maybe this would work a little better with the 3D which was not there when we watched it – but about the movie, it is just random action entertainment which isn’t bothered about making things better.

Release date: 23rd November 2018 (India); 21st November 2018 (USA)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Starring: Taron Egerton, Eve Hewson, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, Murray Abraham, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Bjorn Bengtsson

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Amazing Spider-Man II

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Vampire Owl: How can they release the movie on a Thursday? That too a Spider-Man movie which releases in the United States on Friday?

Vampire Bat: Because it is International Worker’s Day and Spider-Man is part of the working class, not the rich bourgeois class like Batman or Iron Man and neither is he an alien like He-Man, Superman or Thor. You remember he used to deliver pizza on an awesome moped when he was Tobey Maguire with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. And he is amazing as you can guess from the title.

Vampire Owl: So he thinks that he is amazing. I wonder how much? Does that make the movie automatically amazing? And that former trilogy of Spider-Man, it was not amazing enough?

Vampire Bat: He should think that he is more amazing than most of the other amazing superheroes, just like my dead cat, until it chose to go Neo and play Matrix in front of a Tata Safari. Let’s check for that “amazing” thingy right now, and make sure that he is not just a vain hybrid like many others. So we are having onion uthappam today?

Vampire Owl: That would call for lunch before or after movie?

Vampire Bat: Now, that is a clearly amazing question, as far as there is no spider in the lunch.

[Wing-rides to the multiplex].

What is it about? :: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to balance his life as both himself and Spider-Man as he tries to save the world, spend time with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) along with searching for the secret behind the death of his parents. As our hero keeps reminding himself of the promise he made to Gwen’s father, he keeps breaking up with her, sometimes she herself breaking up with him as he keeps talking about what her father said. Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the city to see his dying father Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) who tells him that the disease is hereditary and he has been struggling to extend his life. As Harry takes over as the new CEO of his father’s business, OsCorp, he keeps trying to find a way to cure his disease. He finds that Spider-Man’s blood may give him a chance as he can heal himself pretty fast. He asks Peter to help him finding Spider-Man to which he says that he will try, but later shows up as Spider-Man to say no as he was unsure of what the results would be. Meanwhile Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an employee of OsCorp falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels making him a walking electric generator, but is captured by Spider-Man as he creates chaos in the city. It seems that both Harry and Max now has one spider enemy – and the battle begins.

The defence of The Amazing Spider-Man II :: The movie has Spider-Man on a mission to save the city as well as his love life. He does that in style here. The shots of Spider-Man swinging around the city and then his battle with Electro are breath-taking not just for the sequences, but also for the environment. The camera work is stunning and everything looks so awesome in 3D or truly amazing to fit the title. There is that scene when Electro uses his special power of electricity on everything around him, and Spider-Man goes on to make sure that everyone around remains safe by flying through the air and shooting webs all around him. There is also that battle against the fully powered Electro who uses his power in such a destructive manner that Spider-Man’s moves looks so impressive as the world of electricity around him which seems to recreate its own beauty beyond destruction on the screen in 3D. How often do you see such beautiful devastation and a battle which is so much electrifying not just in the sequence, but also visually? Where else can you get a superhero so selfless and gives so much hope unlike some of the others who seems to get the viewers further into darkness and the absence of hope?

Claws of flaw :: Despite being the best Spider-Man ever, the movie also deals with the usual stereotypes, as the villain falls into genetically mutated trouble yet again, and transforms into something special from the nobody that he used to be. He often reminds one of Megamind‘s Tighten with his desire to be noticed. He is too much of a Mr. Nobody in the beginning, a lot more than what can be taken. His powers are rather too much, and his evil side is a little half-baked. The Green Goblin gets very less screen time too, an Harry Osborn doesn’t shine and only leaves us with potential to be awesome in the sequel. OsCorp becomes more of the opposite of the Stark Industries here. The final scene also seems to have been forced for the inception of Mary Jane Watson into the franchise. The plot’s other side which involves Peter’s dead parents are also a little over-used. I won’t say that this affects the movie much, and the negative reviews only reflect the critics’ horrible inability to enjoy this movie, and one can never attribute it as the flaw of this movie. How can someone see the special effects and 3D of this movie and give a positive review with them only? The negative reviews are rather a case of shame.

Performers of the soul :: Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Peter Parker does a fantastic role in the multiple personalities, and let nobody fool you about this superhero’s two-sided coin of a world. I would say that no other superhero’s alter ego is that powerful as Spider-Man can claim. Nobody has this much conflicts in the real life, which should be why heroes like Iron Man can live without a secret identity, and money makes it easy for him and Batman. This is where someone like Andrew Garfield does so well to suit, and forms a nice pair with Emma Stone who is there stronger than in the first movie. She becomes Spidey’s first true love like nobody can deny it. She has quite much to do, and powerfully contributes in saving the day as well as the movie. I would have preferred her with black or brown hair, but Gwen was supposed to have the golden one. Jamie Foxx comes up in different avatars, as he transforms from a Spidey fan to an attention seeking villain who wishes to get rid of his competition on television. Dane DeHaan is no James Franco, but he has given us hope of coming up as the arch-nemesis of this Spidey, like Jim Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes and Joker is to Batman. He might not get that many claps, but gives us enough hope to bring a lot in a possible sequel – for this one is evil, and evil mind has just began to work.

Soul exploration :: Among all the superheroes, Spider-Man has been the most human, despite Iron Man and Batman claiming to have no real superpowers except for the help of superior scientific equipment and remaining closer to humanity. But what does Spider-Man give us? He was that superhero who gave us the best line to quote from a superhero movie not bothering the situation – “With great power. comes great responsibility”. There is no denying that Batman as the Dark Knight took off with so much style, and even his villains, Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Joker (Heath Ledger) made that powerful impact that no other super-villains could make. But there is something about Spidey, and it is that his villains have always remained powerful than him, and even with his superpowers, he is at disadvantage, and being the younger of the group, he also has to deal with more troubles, as he struggles to make his living. There is no other superhero who has his alter ego in that much troubles as he would have as a superhero. Yet, his battles are more interesting to watch than that of any other superhero, and there is the success of Marvel. He is the common man’s superhero. Yes, the verdict is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is amazing, no matter how fan-boys will try to degrade it.

How it finishes :: As Peter Parker says “Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything”. But there is always another side to it, and for that, there is the graduation speech of Gwen Stacy. But some critics are still caught in the web of The Dark Knight, and refuses to come out. No disrespect to The Dark Knight, but it is a shame to think that it is the only great superhero movie, and there comes the fan-boys with an extra-terrestrial ability to overrate that franchise. It is high time they step out of it, or stupid Bollywood superhero movies like Krrish 3 will copy from Hollywood and make some complete retarded stuff, pay for positive reviews and create new record at the box-office. It is worthless to ask, but one has to wonder how someone can like Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 3 more than this one? That was proved again with the positive reviews for one of the dumbest movies of all time, Noah. Or may be they have a case of arachnophobia, but I would give them the advice to take this movie as something which can take that fear out of them, use this to bring some love for the creatures, at least the smaller ones with no venom. Now, if it will overtake Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier as the highest grossing movie of the year is a question worth asking.

Release date: 1st May 2014 (India); 2nd May 2014 (US)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Marton Csokas, Louis Cancelmi, Max Charles, Chris Cooper, B. J. Novak, Denis Leary

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rio II

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All the colours of the world :: I had decided not to watch a movie until Easter, but this Saturday was always going to be a free day, and another movie and some writing was around the corner. I hope you all had a good Good Friday, and yes, this day before the Easter Sunday is at the animated Amazon for me. A sequel to the animated movie of 2011 stays alive this week too, much to my surprise, and I decided to watch it this time even as I had chosen not to go for it last weekend due to the powerful flow of too many movies. The one thing everyone was to be sure about was that the movie was to be incredibly colourful. Well, it has too many blue birds, and the other colours just support the one dominant colour, and this presence of colours is not really the Vampire Bat’s area. In fact, there is always something about colours as far as most of the animated movies are concerned. But the Vampire Bat does like birds, even as he doesn’t fly (Rio itself was about a bird who couldn’t fly). Then there is Rio de Janeiro along with the Amazon forests, as one of those dream cities which needs a visit in one life or the other. So Rio 2 is in the list.

A flashback :: When Rio released in 2011 with the tagline “from the creators of Ice Age“, it was something to be missed. It was not to be as popular as the other creature-animation stuffs like Ice Age and Madagascar, but it was to leave something good enough to bring more later in the form of Rio 2. Another successful franchise was to begin there, and continue the success that most animated movies enjoyed. It was the story of two macaws, Blu and Jewel as they struggle to escape from smugglers, making a lot of friends in the city of Rio de Janerio and also falling in love. We see that the owners of the two birds who fall for each other build a sanctuary for them at the end and the hero who was a flightless bird getting to fly by the end and saving his love, the only other bird of the same species. It had a seventy two percent in the Rotten Tomatoes and did well with the audience too, as it scored nice at the box-office. But does this movie work well enough to be a worthy successor for that movie? I did have my doubts about that.

What is it about? :: Rio 2 continues the story a few years after the incidents of the first movie. The hero birds are having a good time in the city of Rio with their three kids, who are too naughty and strangely smart to handle. The things change when they come to know that they are not the last of their kind on the planet, as more macaws are alive and can be found somewhere in the Amazon. Jewel is very interested in going into the forest and finding the others, while Blu is uncertain and kids are looking for an adenture. He finally agrees to go as the other members of the family wants it so much and his friends have also decided to join the team, except for the bulldog who gets late. Meanwhile, their old enemy Nigel notices the team and pursues them with his newfound minions, a poisonous frog who is in love with him and a hesitant ant-eater who is always looking for food. The birds soon find what they were looking for, and the leader of the macaws turn out to the father of Jewel who is rather unimpressed by Blu’s domesticated and human-loving behaviour. But as humans invade and attempt to clear the forests, they have to work together so that they can save the macaw home as well as save the environment.

The defence of Rio 2:: Rio 2 has assembled the most colourful birds with animation, and this time, there are a few animals joining the party too, not just a bulldog; but the movie remains about birds and birds only. The major colour remain blue, thanks to our star birds, then there are the red ones, all moving around in the green forests, making the whole things mostly about three colours and its variants. These creatures dominate the screen and easily entertain the kids and impress the eyes of the elders. The success of this movie will be more about how the kids and the families take all these. Other than the birds, there is the beauty of Amazon forests as well as the charm of the city of Rio de Janeiro which will stay in our minds for quite some time, especially the Christ the Redeemer statue, the mountains and the aerial shots of the Amazon river surrounded by green forests. There is nothing like a landscape so beautifully recreated through animation. There is a certain amount of joy that one can get from watching such a spectacle on the screen, and there is no denying it. As one of the jewelry ads here say, “beauty meets quality”, that meeting was something needed by the movie though.

The claws of flaw :: The movie moves through predictable lines. There is nothing too unexpected. There is nothing much that you haven’t seen before either. There is the father’s relationship with the kids and the husband’s differences in opinion with his wife. There is the misunderstood male protagonist in the centre of all these, and nothing really makes us feel that much. That makes this more of an unnecessary sequel for the regular viewers, even as the box-office collections are going to prove that it was much needed for the makers. The songs are actually less interesting, and any expectation that it was going to be something like those in Frozen is not going have a happy going. They rather affect the movie in the wrong way instead of helping it. The villain has turned Shakespearean here, as a birdy Hamlet with a skull in his hands and saying “to be or not to be” and continues to perform as if he is on a theatre, but otherwise, he is less effective. His side-kick or the new Juliet feels more like a dropped frog from Romeo and Juliet, and sings rather too much. The 3D is wasted, and that hurts the visual experience, especially if you had to pay extra for the glasses.

Soul exploration :: The movie is all about the protagonist attempting to keep both the human and animal world with him, not disheartening his wife and children who are more into the wilderness stuff. He tries his best, but both the father-in-law as well as his wife’s childhood friend seems to feel that he is a misfit and a pet of humans who will betray the birds on this day or another, and in no way does he belong with them. There is so much of family issues right there. The nature conservation theme runs all around the movie, but is mostly lost, thanks to all the attention that is given to the colourful birds and all the thinking as well as stupidity that they perform while remaining cute. The evil of deforestation could have been given more importance, and nature had to take the centre stage like in Dr. Seuss The Lorax and Epic, but this one is clearly targeting the kids from the way in which they have treated the subject. Illegal logging has to be stopped and forests are to be conserved, but this movie doesn’t really give it more importance than the issues of a group of birds. By the way, the Shakespearean speeches are adorable.

How it finishes :: I would consider this the seventh best movie from Blue Sky Studios, after all movies of the Ice Age series, Epic and Rio. With Peanuts and Ice Age 5 coming up from the same animation film studio, we surely have a lot to expect from the same studio. For now, Rio 2 has survived and is still going strong enough even at this part of the world where the regional movies have captured most of the multiplex screens. With the Hindi 2 States and the Malayalam 1 By Two released this weekend, Rio 2 is still attracting the family audiences, and there lies its strength. The kids simply can’t resist these birds, and neither can the parents who find it a safe choice to watch with their little ones. Tarzan also had the India release here, but seems to lag. We can talk about innovations and new ideas all day, but this movie will surely continue to do well with the same idea so many movies have used and its own predecessor further adjusted. Even I didn’t want to miss this movie and after delaying the procedure of watching it for a week and rushed for it. Now the next challenge is Transcendence, and its critical opinion seems to drive people off.

Happy Easter! 🙂

Release date: 11th April 2014
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Starring (voice): Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, William Adams, Rodrigo Santoro, Jake T. Austin, Tracy Morgan, Bebel Gilberto, Andy García, Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Rachel Crow, Amandla Stenberg, Pierce Gagnon, Natalie Morales, Janelle Monáe, Philip Lawrence, Miguel Ferrer, Jeffrey Garcia, Kate Micucci, Randy Thom

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

White House Down

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So here is the fight we have been talking about for a long time, as the 120 minute long Olympus Has Fallen has finally met its archenemy, its evil twin brother who is longer by 17 minutes. The ruler of the underworld compared to the shorter one’s claim over Mount Olympus, has arrived in the form of White House Down. As I had already written about Olympus Has Fallen (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/olympus-has-fallen/), and it was the first one to be released, it is that movie which I would consider the prototype for the list of White House attacking movies which can get a little longer as long as this one is not annihilated in a battle here against the opponents RED 2 and Turbo, along with already existing Pacific Rim and Man of Steel; not to forget the movies in all those languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. The former had no tough competition when it was released though, with a few weeks delay after the United States release. The delay has followed this movie too, along with the image of white building going down and only one man standing as a barrier in front of the ultimate success of the terrorists. It had fallen earlier, and now it is down, and there is no doubt about the fact that the first of the two had the best title, but the second has got the name which can connect better with the audience and stays close to action.

So the seat of the President of the United States of America needs to be saved again. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was the former secret service agent in our last adventure of this type and here, John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a U.S. Capitol Police officer looking to be part of the secret service. John already has trouble connecting with his daughter Emily (Joey King), and believes that he can impress her by getting a job with the Secret Service and also by taking her to the place, but fails in the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a former college acquaintance of his who knew him to be disrespectful to the authority and irresponsible, unable to stick to what he is doing and thus not good enough for the job. He tells Emily that there is still chance and they join with a tour group around the White House. Soon, there is a bomb explosion which separates the father and daughter, followed by a group of armed mercenaries taking control of the White House. The President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is in trouble, and we know that his only hope is the man who was refused his chance to be the saviour once, and the action begins in a few minutes. The situation is pretty much similar to Olympus Has Fallen, as one might have figured it out by now.

That fictional protagonist portrayed by Bruce Willis in Die Hard, John McClane doesn’t really seem to leave this world of the one-man shows, as here comes another one of too similar a name, John Cale – what he does is no different either. McClane’s marriage and the relationship with his children in a constant state of crisis, and his disregard for authority keeps him close enough to trouble – not the kind of things Cale can disagree with. Here, we have the typical Die Hard protagonist who is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and continues to be there so that he can save the day with almost no outside support at all. Being the lone wolf who is the right person to do it, the two Johns are one and the same, and if this new John is a cheap imitation of the old, that is for the audience to decide. Strangely enough, Channing Tatum has to battle Bruce Willis in the multiplexes here for the supreme position, as RED 2 is surely attracting enough people, and the elder legend is surely the more popular and the more talked about figure in this part of the world. It is louder and less interesting than the first four Die Hard movies most of the time, but it is better than the fifth movie of the series by a long distance. This could have been Die Hard 5, if Olympus Has Fallen can’t be the same, and even if that position is abdicated, there is always the chance to call itself Die Hard 6.

6.5 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for Olympus Has Fallen, and 6.3 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for this one clearly describe these two movies, and gives a vague report about how close their impact has been, and how much such a theme can affect the audience and the critics. It is a good thing that they are three weeks apart in their attack on the brains of the viewers, as they could have even destroyed one another if released close enough. Gerard Butler’s 300 + Gamer effect would surely give the former an advantage, but Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman would not stand a chance against the invisible fan club of Jamie Foxx which is bigger than it would seem to be from the surface, thanks to that strange effect which Django Unchained had created. This is how these movies come so close to being the same on impact. But our new movie seems to be struggling to fight against this week’s wave as well as the existing waves. There are less number of shows, and there is the need for a twist of fate for this one to bring the fight of money to its twin brother. But it has already proved that fight is on, even as victory is not within sight; the battle shall go on even as the causalities won’t be that interesting for this side.

This is closer than the similarities between the volcanic eruption related Volcano and Dante’s Peak, and the Earth-bound asteroids showing their power in Deep Impact and Armageddon. Even as Gerard Butler wins the battle as the hero and gets all the attraction, Channing Tatum does a great job in this one, but the movie remains lesser than him and Jamie Foxx. The two actors are undoubtedly bigger than the movie as they do defy the movie in what they do and so does the whole world inside the movie in one way or the other. The whole scenario might be stranger in this movie, but Foxx handles it so well that even the situations which seems to be going the wrong way turns out to be funny and interesting – those moments when Olympus Has Fallen takes the back seat. But there is still too much about his character, and there is too much of a strange ruler in the person, may be being closer to Django than the President of the United States. But people do love that kind of a President in the movies, that is for sure. Joey King’s character is cute and interesting most of the time, but annoying at times; there is no controlled environment out there and in the middle of such a hostage situation, that should be more than just agreeable, for kids no longer remain kids these days, and Lord of the Flies was never belonging that much to fiction.

Jason Clarke does manage to make a powerful impact at the same time, and being the stylish evil guy who takes over the place, he comes with some very good fight sequences with the hero. His presence would seem to extend the world from beyond the two-man show. James Woods works his villainy as the mastermind behind all these next. This movie also loses in violence, something which was not expected in the beginning, as right from the bomb explosion, something nasty was expected to come up, but it goes on more as destruction for the sake of demolishing rather than creating that impact of shock in the senses. There is no shortage of action sequences though, and the attempt to escape with a presidential limousine, the fall of the airplane and helicopters and tank v/s rocket launcher battle, they all make the destruction list go high. With the former Duke from G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Django of Django Unchained has held this one from falling deep, but its success in its genre won’t reflect in its box-office collection. That episode of the life of this movie is with the audience and until now, from what can be read, there is trouble for this one in catching up-to Olympus Has Fallen, or even most of the much expected movies of this season. These are bleak times indeed, but this movie has wasted its chance and therefore, blaming the audience or other movies is not the thing – a little adjustment might have saved this one as it is a good addition to its genre.

The movie lacks in a number of things compared to Olympus Has Fallen, as the most important thing is patriotism, and the next but almost equally important thing may be in being clever – there has been more silliness in this one, but there has still been enough control between the two sides of mindless action and saving the world. Emmerich’s works have been interesting, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 and my personal favourite, The Patriot. But he had to deal with being there second, and that would have been difficult. To add to it, the movie’s need to match up with the other White House take-over would have created a situation from where there is no escape. This movie is thus a wasted opportunity on one side, and a work which could live even with all its flaws on the other hand. It is on this dual nature that this movie can work on, but that won’t help its cause. It needed something special, and it has managed to achieve the same only through its leading actors, but even in their case, this is not their best performances. When White House Down looks up from its world deep down the underground, Olympus Has Fallen might be looking from the top of the Mount Olympus which it had created from its success at the box-office, and in the OHF v/s WHD battle, the war of the down-fallen houses, we have only one winner, and its name starts with O.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (India); 28th June 2013 (United States)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Michael Murphy, Joey King, Rachelle Lefevre, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Lance Reddick, Barbara Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Django Unchained

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The Vampire Bat knew only one Django and was planning to give him knighthood for being such a wonderful coffin-dragger. It would have been an awesome feeling to have one’s own coffin. What about the awesome graves where he could have worked with the Ghost Rider with a stylish motor-bike or a horse-on-fire burning bright? This bat has always dreamt about those coffins, graves and wastelands along with ghost towns. But he could get none of them in this one. Still, there were those strange horses which were not really on fire. May be this new breed of horses could go to school and end up as smart toothless people. Well, they would still be highly vulnerable to being shot by the new Django who can shoot like a gun’s ghost in a human-spirit form who has come back to seek revenge. The number of vengeful spirits never seem to throw the Vampire Bat into that bloody abyss of nonstop boredom, as he had so much of those intolerant revenge stories that he could see only one side of this world which is full of evil and supposed-to-be-evil followed by glorified revenge full of blood and scattered body parts which might have brought the most evil vampire and the most stupid zombie into that Ring girl’s well of eternal shame.

What the Vampire Bat had was a Mango Icecream so that it could rhym with the movie, and that was indeed a success and would later prove to be an even better experience than the movie itself. The movie starts with the shots of several male slaves being chained and transported to work in a possible plantation which run on slave labour. Among the slaves is Django (Jamie Foxx), who has been sold away from his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) – a name which the Vampire Bat heard as many things other than this certain one. They encounter Doctor King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist and a bounty hunter in the shades of an abandoned area on the way. After getting rid of the trouble from the slave owners, Schultz offers Django his freedom and a reasonably good payment in exchange for helping him track a number of people whom he has been tracing as part of his hunt. After they find and hunt down the targets, Schultz continues with Django as they do the same work. During this period of time, Schultz trains Django in the art of bounty hunting and on using a gun with efficiency.

After collecting a number of bounties and surviving with ease, they go on to free Django’s wife Broomhilda, whose current owner is Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the charming and stylish, but cruel owner of a plantation in Mississippi. They come up with a certain plan to make a big offer for one of the slave fighters of Candie, who fights till death, a offer which he can’t refuse. This catches both the curiousity and attention of the slave owner and he immediately agrees. But the seemingly flawless plan which was so close to success is shattered as the expressions of the two lovers raise the suspicions of Candie’s loyal and senior slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) who finds out that Django and Broomhilda know each other very well and that the sale of the slave fighter is just a trick meant to hide another big plan which lies beneath. This is where all the fun ends, and the death of Schultz would leave the Vampire Bat with nobody to root for. From this, the age of boredom begins. There are stupid shootouts and ridiculous explosions, with the presence of “the people of the night cooling glasses” and “the strangest of the strange horses”. The nonsense would reach a new level and ends with a ridiculous smile.

Well, Django’s “D” is silent, as he himself mentions, but the movie is anything but that. There is lot of violence and I am pretty much confident that there is the presence of even more violence around as the Censor Board has surely tried hard to make this PG-13 and give it an 18+ Adult rating in India. Django Freeman is evil, not by choice but by circumstances. He has so much body count that would make Count Dracula and Lestat de Lioncourt retire and beg for mercy from a dead wood elf with no teeth. Meanwhile, Doctor King Schultz is of lesser evil, as he works with his white man’s guilt to save one man, and to save the man’s wife, he loses his life. Now, that should balance his life and make it rather neutral or a little aligned to the side of good. But Django is away from redemption. He chooses the path of revenge without remorse, and thus the path to hell and may be even compete for a hell-hot cup of tea from the hands of the devil. He is highly hostile to anyone of another race, the only exception being the man who saved and trained him; he is also hostile to one person of his race, the man who is loyal to the people of the other race. That brings such a huge equation of race into the situation – bombarded to be exact.

Jamie Foxx’s Django is a very good potrayal, even as the character is at no point likeable – he has done well to make it so. There lies his success of showing the forced evil. Christoph Waltz winning the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor would be no surprise to anybody who has watched the movie. His character rules the movie, with the witty dialogues, action and lots of fun. He provides some of the best lighter moments, and also does the serious side with an incredible amount of mastery. Leonardo DiCaprio comes up with the power of extreme evil which seems inherent in the character. He should still be remembered for his Inception and Shutter Island, but this one also comes up with a memory leaf. Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t really fallen behind, as his character makes a powerful impression. Kerry Washington also contributes in the expected way, making this a movie of performances rather than anything else. It is here, in the acting department where the movie scores the most, followed by the one-liners which creates a great first half only to be made powerless by the second part of the second half and the climax scenes.

As far as Quentin Tarantino is concerned, this is still inferior to Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. Those stand a few Petronas Towers higher than this one. But there is no shortage of blood and violence here too. One has to wonder if these movies should belong to a new bloody genre. There are too many killings and in many sequences, blood and gore has the upper hand and humanity becomes mere spectator in chaos and brutality. There is no sympathy or empathy throughout the movie, especially when the guns take over and spits hell like fire-breathing dragons. Still, its treatment of the racism and slavery could have been better if it was done in a more realistic fashion. Well, not all movies can be “the art”, and this is that moment when the grand wish was to focus more on creating that entertainer which could gross a lot rather than something which could have made humanity aware of the truth. But this shall make the waves, even as not in the way it should have, if thought about from a righteous side – a sad movie for humanity indeed, as even movies like Hostel and Saw knew what was good and evil. Well, one can say that Django Unchained is a true torture porn of the worst level.

The more important of the questions might be about which kind of audience this movie targets. They are surely not for the intellectuals nor for the faint-hearted. The next doubt would be if this is a story of the revenge of a certain race or the story of a pure hearted man of one race helping the man of another race and even facing death in that process. This is surely no respectful treatment of anything, but for the mindless fans with its weird style, glorified violence, senseless admiration and huge historical twists, this might be a treat. There might be disrespect (to which side – or to both?), and there might be too much easiness, but as far as I know, this is a little too much to take as a movie treating such a subject. Satire? May be a little bit, not that much – can we really separate the reality of tragedy to have that feeling? In simple words, one race shedding the blood of others and vice versa – colouring the walls with shades of red is not what I wished for; I would have agreed to the same on some other occasions, but not on this. The movie came to India kind of late, and I am not really unhappy about it, as watching this one late has had its advantages – to hear about it and disagree on many occasions. There is the first half which gave hope, and what follows is not of expectations, and therefore clear thumbs down for the second. Another thing – beware of a drag and length.

PS: My rating for this movie has come down a lot since writing this, but I am not bothering to bring it down just because I don’t want to think about this again. I wish that I had asked only to the right people before watching this movie!

Release date: 22nd March 2013 (India); 25th December 2012 (United States)
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, Don Johnson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.