Transformers: The Last Knight. (A film of two halves)

I say a film of two halves, but it was more like a film of two thirds – and then another third.  Most of the film plods along at a sedately pedestrian pace, dipping into history here and there to fill in a back story that provides a little relief from the drawn-out ramble to the inevitably epic finale. And what a finale it was:  a cacophany of car chases, massive gunfights and expensively CGIed global devastation that raced and meandered like a torpedo with a bent propeller until you finally reach a conclusion that leaves the door swinging wide open for another movie.

The best thing I can say about the film was that it was okay. It was an inoffensive kids’ flick that you’d probably forget about as soon as you left the cinema, if not for the ringing in your ears.

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Mark Wahlberg turned in his usual workmanlike performance as the male lead, and I think any problems I had with Laura Haddock as the hyper-intelligent and hyper-stunning Oxford professor (I wonder if she knows the hyper-intelligent and hyper-stunning Oxford professor who appeared in The Mummy) were probably to do with the direction. Continue reading “Transformers: The Last Knight. (A film of two halves)”

Film review: The Mummy

So then, what happens when a movie studio aims to kickstart a money-spinning franchise with Tom Cruise driving it and Russell Crowe riding shotgun?

Well, a complete drubbing from the critics first off, but that was pretty much inevitable.

The Mummy is Universal’s first outing for its Dark Universe series, and if we listened to the aforementioned critics then only die-hard Cruise fans should probably see it. Well, I think Tom Cruise makes good action movies that don’t overreach themselves, and The Mummy hasn’t strayed too far from that familiar path. It’s a shade under two hours long, dips into the standby bag of familiar action characters (ruggedly flawed hero: check; beautiful and hyper-intelligent love interest: check; slightly sinister and even more intelligent boss: check; comedy sidekick: check. Okay, everyone’s here, let’s crack on…), and packs in as many car chases,  plane crashes and fight scenes into the shortest film space possible.

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And you know what? It’s not half-bad. It blazes along without pausing for any meaningful exploration of character or motivation, and that, oddly enough, seems to work. The plot hangs together very well, but given the depth, that shouldn’t have been too difficult. The special effects were top-notch, and though there wasn’t much chemistry between the two protagonists, they did manage the occasional comedy moment that actually made me laugh … well, okay maybe not laugh, but I definitely smiled because I could feel my cheeks aching. The ending was weak and fairly predictable, but it was tidy at least, and opened the door nicely for the next movie, which should be better, if they listen carefully to the audience for this one.

Make no mistake, this film will not change your life or provide you with the answers to the universal questions that plague your every waking moment, but it is a shade-under-two-hours of harmless entertainment. Nothing earth-shattering, but a decent first outing for the Dark Universe nonetheless.

Six out of ten.

Film review: Wonder Woman

Okay, this is was a swings and roundabouts sort of a deal for me. They got a lot of stuff right, but I still think they have a way to go before they match the sheer awesomeness of Guardians of the Galaxy or The Age Of  Ultron.

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Okay, so what did they get right. Well, first off: Gal Gadot. This was a courageous and inspired piece of casting. I can imagine the punch-ups around the water cooler when someone suggested putting a near-unknown in the armoured corset, rather than someone with a more Johanssenesque quality.  Well, the gamble paid off; Gadot brings a sort of naive, willful determination to the role, which was a welcome relief from the square-jawed stoicism we saw in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Continue reading “Film review: Wonder Woman”