Just return from the cinema where watched “Rango“, a cartoon that I’ve been waiting for a bit after seeing the trailer.  I have to say that trailers for this animation are slightly better than the final result, but not by too much.  It is a rather brave take on westerns with way more blackness and drama than most other kid’s animations allow.

It was a bit slow at places, and for Maxim’s taste there was a bit too much talk, but the story was good, the characters were interesting, and the whole feel to it was … unfamiliar.  If it was a movie, it would probably be one of many.  But being an animation, it stand on its own.

Music deserves a special attention.  There was as much of it as you could squeeze into a film without making it into a musicale.  It helped with atmosphere, entertainment, and more.  It changed from Mexican el mariachi to classical orchestra and back.  It faded from background to foreground and back.  And it was by my movie measures exceptional.

Overall, I’d rate the animation as 4 out of 5.  Recommended for adults and for older kids mostly, but anyone would probably enjoy it.

P.S.: If you are watching it in K-Cineplex Limassol, make sure to pick up your portion of nachos with cheese sauce at the cafeteria, which are a special served for this movie only.  Helps with the whole Mexican atmosphere, and they are indeed yummy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The other day I had no choice but accompany my beloved wife to the cinema.  Harry Potter was in town again.  I myself am not a big fan at all.  I think it had great potential and the first movie absolutely awesome from pretty much every perspective, but then it went south.  It turned into a story of growing up characters, which is rarely a good thing.  It became dark and scary.  And complicated.  And now it’s all over the place.

Seriously, I don’t know anymore who is the intended audience for these movies.  It’s definitely not kids, due to all the darkness, politics, and complexity of the story.  And I’m not so sure about adults, because it’s getting increasingly stupid.  Maybe there is something for teenagers, but I can’t see that.  And those teenagers who were present in the cinema seemed to be missing the point also.

Anyhow, to set the record straight, I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books.  And I started skipping the movies.  I think I missed the previous episode, but saw the one before that. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” didn’t make any sense to me and on top of that it was as boring as they come.

It started off with too many characters who I didn’t remember and had no idea of who they were.  There was some action that I didn’t see any reasons for.  And then the movie simply died.  It turned into the least favorites of Lord of the Rings for me.  Where the hobbit people were just walking and walking and walking.  It was exactly the same here.  Except that hobbits had a purpose.  And here, even if there was one, it was not obvious.

With nothing to engage my attention, I started looking closer at the technical side of the movie.  And not surprisingly it sucked too.  OK, I can understand that Harry and friends aren’t innocent children anymore and its hard to hide.  But I think that excessive face and chest hair are the mistakes of the make-up team.  Camera work was horrible.  By now we are all well familiar with handheld cameras and the effect that give the movie.  Many of us in the audience also know where it makes to use the effect and where it doesn’t.  And in Harry Potter it mostly doesn’t.  Yet, there are plenty of sequences where it was used.  The music – one of my favorite parts about Harry Potter movies, was practically non-existing also.  In several scenes, where I was trying to figure out what was going on and what was the mood of the setting, I caught myself thinking that I’d appreciate the music instead of the silence.  Are they in trouble?  Are they scared? Are they bored or just waiting for someone?  A tiny bit of background music could help the audience answer such questions.  But not in this installment.

Overall, the movie was too long for what it had to show.  Too boring.  Not engaging at all.  And technical cheap and poor.  It felt like one of those things you’d get from a pirated copy, stolen from the director’s table before the work is finished.  And yet it was an official theatrical release.  Bad.  Very bad.  1 out of 10.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Olga and I went to the cinema today to see a long awaited “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“.

Directed by: Garth Jennings
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Cast: Bill Bailey, Anna Chancellor, Warwick Davis, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Su Elliot, Martin Freeman, Stephen Fry, Richard Griffiths, Dominique Jackson, Simon Jones, Thomas Lennon, Mark Longhurst, Kelly Macdonald, John Malkovich
IMDB raintg: 6.8
My rating: 8.0 ********

I really liked the film. It was much better than I expected. Actually, it was kind of difficult to expect anything, because the book seemed to me very unscreenable, so to speak. The book is one of those that I consider very hard to base a movie on. So, I was rather suspecious. But the film turned out to be great.

I don’t know though how difficult it was to find any sense for those who didn’t read the book.

First of all the Vogons. They were absolutely fantastic. They were even more disgusting than described in the book. Both Olga and I exclaimed a loud “Ewww, yuck!” when we saw the first one. That’s a compliment, by the way.

Secondly, I thought that the solution to the “second head” of Zaphod was great. It’d be kind of tough following a two headed guy with all the articulation and random stuff that he was supposed to do, but not having a second head would be unbooky. The way they went about it was creative, original and entertaining.

Thirdly, the whole planet building factory was unbelievable. It rocked. It was my favourite scene by far.

Fourthly, Marvin was something. Using the voice of Alan Rickman was the absolute genious thought.

Overall – the film was great. It is one of those film that keeps the audience glued to the screen. Mostly because the said audience has no slightest idea of what’s going to happen next. Even those few who read the original book. Not many movies do it these days. Eh, Hollywood…

Strongly recommended.