Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

I remember distinctly going to the theater in my home town to see Big Trouble in Little China, the John Carpenter film starring Kurt Russell, and coming out not liking it. Over the next thirty plus years, I heard a lot of people support the film, some even going as far as to place it on lists of the greatest ever. I have been considering doing a Do Over with Big Trouble for a few years now, but I never got around to it. Tonight, taking a break from the Genre-ary, I rented the film off Vudu and watched it for the second time. Sadly, I still did not like it much.

According to IMDB, “Truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) arrives in Chinatown, San Francisco, and goes to the airport with his Chinese friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) to welcome his green-eyed fiancée Miao Yin (Suzee Pai)who is arriving from China. However she is kidnapped on the arrival by a Chinese street gang and Jack and Wang chase the group. Soon they learn that the powerful evil sorcerer called David Lo Pan (James Hong), who has been cursed more than two thousand years ago to exist without physical body, needs to marry a woman with green eyes to retrieve his physical body and Miao is the chosen one. Jack and Wang team-up with the lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattrail), the bus driver and sorcerer apprentice Egg Shen (Victor Wong) and their friends and embark in a great adventure in the underground of Chinatown, where they face a world of magicians and magic, monsters and martial arts fighters.

I found this movie to be ridiculous. I did enjoy Kurt Russell’s performance in the film as the overly macho doofus Jack Burton. His over-the-top antics fit in with the tone of the film.

The special effects do not hold up very well. To be fair, it was 1986 and even the best films at the times have some difficulty holding up, but this did not feel as strong in special effects as Ghostbusters did a few years prior. There were more practical effects in this movie, such as the Wild-Man character.

There did seem to be plenty of the Chinese racial stereotypes heavily used through the film, and there can be no denying that Jack Burton is the personification of the “white savior” trope that has been prevalent in so many movies. Of course, Jack was not as significant of a fighter as his sidekick, Wang Chi. He is overshadowed by the charismatic Russell. This is the type of movie that would never be made today.

Big Trouble in Little China almost felt like a satire or a parody of the martial arts style of movie, but I do not think it works very well. There is humor in the film and it, at times, overwhelms the movie.

I guess my initial reaction to the film is maintained. Maybe I’ll try it in another 35 years.

The Village (2004)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 13

M. Night Shyamalan was one of the hottest young directors working after his debut The Sixth Sense and the Bruce Willis vehicle, Unbreakable. Unfortunately, the reported wunderkind’s work began to take a downward spirals, to the point where they were not even placing his name on the trailers promoting the movie.

Part of the problem was that Shyamalan films started with a couple of epic twists and he became known as a director whose movies will always feature a mind bending twist that makes the movie special. This became expected, and, this became an albatross around Shyamalan’s neck.

The twist completely crushed The Village beneath the banality of the truth of this movie. Any positivity that the film may have built up with its 19th century aesthetic and eerie creatures is undone by the twist ending that Shyamalan presents.

I was astonished by the cast of this movie. As the opening credits flew by, the names of the actors involved in The Village was way more remarkable than I remembered. Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Cherry Jones, Brendan Gleeson, Judy Greer, Celia Weston, Jesse Eisenberg, and Frank Collison was an amazing group.

There are moments in the movie that work well. The relationship between Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) is nicely developed, but some of the oddities of the characters could be developed more. Adrien Brody’s character was ill-defined and felt more like a plot point than anything else.

Boy, does the plot require some stretching and, in the end, has so little reason to it that it destroys the goodwill it may have had. The initial appearance by the creatures from the woods was creepy and they looked good, but the answer to the mystery just was unsatisfying. There could have been a really strong horror film with some adjustments to the story and the elimination of the twist ending, but it was there to the film’s detriment.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 12

I saw this Mel Brooks comedy in the theaters. It attracted my attention because Cary Elwes was in the role of Robin Hood, and it played upon my love for him as the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride. Unfortunately, I hated this movie. So this week’s Do Over brought back Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Watching this one today, I did not feel the hatred that I did when I first saw it in the theater, but I would not say that I liked it. Much of the humor was forced and just not funny. I’ve seen much funnier Mel Brooks films such as Young Frankenstein, which is the bar for all of these.

This was the basic Robin Hood story, parodying the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Roger Rees’s Sheriff of Rottingham was a clear parody of Alan Rickman’s performance from that movie. I am not sure if it is intended or just a side effect of having Cary Elwes play a familiar role, but the film felt as if it were also parodying The Princess Bride at times.

Dave Chappelle played Ahchoo, Robin’s friend and the son of the man who helped Robin escape from a jailhouse during the Crusades. Richard Lewis played Prince John, who was ruling the kingdom in his brother’s absence. Amy Yasbeck was Maid Marion with her metal chastity belt protecting her honor.

There were a ton of cameos in the movie including Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Isaac Hayes, Megan Cavanagh, Patrick Stewart, Tracy Ullman, Dick Van Patten, Robert Ridgely, and Avery Schreiber.

I did enjoy the song and dance routine to “Men in Tights” that featured most of the main Merry Men. I remember hating this in theater, so this piece of the film was an improvement.

I did not find any of the “blind” jokes about the character of Blinkin, played by Mark Blankfield, to be funny. It was a joke that carried throughout the entire film and just seemed to be poking fun at a handicap. It just did not age well.

In the end, I did not hate this movie as much as I did when I was younger, but I did not like it very much either.

Clerks 2 (2006)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 11

I’m not for sure that I have actually seen this movie before. If I had, then I certainly did not remember much about it. Clerks 3 is due out later this year and the Do Over has been dedicated to rewatching the previous two. I thought Clerks was a decent film. Sadly, Clerks 2 was horrible.

The Quick Stop burned down sending Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) out for a new job at a fast food restaurant. Dante is engaged and preparing to move away from Jersey to Florida, however his friendship with his boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson) may complicate things.

Honestly, there are some good parts of the film too. The relationship between Dante and Becky was solid. Rosario Dawson was charming and amazing as Becky. She was shining like a true star every time she was on screen. There were some funny bits and the ending with the fight between Dante and Randal was actually quite effective and took this friendship into a deeper territory than I expected.

I also enjoyed the continuous pop culture references scattered throughout the movie. There was everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to Silence of the Lambs (which was probably the standout reference in the movie). The dance number involving The Jackson Five’s ABC was fun too.

Sadly, the sexual jokes and dialogue was nonstop and was very over the top. It was too much and it overpowered anything that was trying to happen in the story. Too much vulgarity and gross out moments that did not highlight the film but that took away from the story it was telling.

Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) were back to continue their running jokes from the first film. Not much new with these two.

Overall, there was a scrap of story inside the juvenile plot and vulgar language. Some of that type of humor goes a long way and Clerks 2 went too far past it. Rosario Dawson was above everything and stood out among the mess.

Clerks (1994)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 10

I watched Clerks when I was younger, but I can honestly say that I remembered almost nothing about the movie. I remember the hockey on the roof, the black and white filming, and that Jay and Silent Bob were in it. Other than that, Clerks was a big blank slate in my memory.

I have become a big Kevin Smith fan, though I have not always enjoyed his movies. Watching his podcast Fatman Beyond is always a great time and, from watching, I knew that he had been working on Clerks 3 and that it will be released this year some time. So I decided that I should probably give the previous Clerks movies a Do Over before I watch Clerks 3.

A convenience store clerk Dante (Brian O’Halloran) gets called in to work on his day off and he deals with all sorts of craziness with his friend and fellow clerk from the neighboring video store Randal (Jeff Anderson), his current girlfriend (Marilyn Ghigliotti), and his former girlfriend Caitlin (Lisa Spoonauer).

There is not much narrative structure, but that is what was intended with this film, which is a series of incidents and the way in which it affected Dante. Dante’s constant complaint that he “wasn’t supposed to be here” was the rally cry for Dante’s continually downward spiral of a day.

The dialogue of Clerks is absolutely the selling point of the film. It is, at times, vulgar, reflective, combative, depressing, hopeful, but at all time hilarious. The fast-paced, fast-witted dialogue sparked each bizarre scene with a burst of energy that creates a remarkably entertaining film.

Randal, the consistently badly behaved and poor influence, seemed to have the key to encouraging Dante to do things that he wouldn’t normally do. Randal does it in such a deadpan manner that he feels more like the devil-on-the-shoulder than a friend to Dante.

Jay (Jay Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) start their run of appearances here as the film kept coming back to see them in a series of weird moments (almost vignettes) of the pair dancing to music or doing other juvenile activities.

As with a lot of Kevin Smith movies, there are plenty of references to drugs and sex, but it all seemed to be stream of consciousness for the misbehaving duo.

The black and white shots made this feel so much more classic than just a couple of losers talking about their failing existences. It gave the film a distinct feel and was a fascinating choice.

This was very original and you could see how this helped launch the career of Kevin Smith. Next week we will look at Clerks 2.

Men in Black II (2002)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 9

Sequel time this week on the Do Over and we head into the early 2000s with Men in Black 2. I remember being a big fan of the original Men in Black and also of Twin Peaks and The Practice, where our main villain of this film, Lara Flynn Boyle, appeared. It couldn’t have failed. However…

I disliked the sequel quite a bit the first time I watched this. Will my opinion hold up?

Spoiler alert: Yes, it does.

A new intergalactic threat arrived on earth in the tentacled form of Lara Flynn Boyle and she was in search of a new MacGuffin called The Light of Zartha. Coincidentally, only the neuralyzed K (Tommy Lee Jones) knows where it is so his old partner J (Will Smith) had to retrieve K. help him get his memories back before the The Light of Zartha explodes (apparently in the next couple of days) and destroys the earth. All the while avoiding the dangerous alien Lara Flynn Boyle. Oh, Johnny Knoxville is here too, with two heads as if one isn’t bad enough.

The plot on this is just ridiculous coincidental. There is no way everything falls into place perfectly for this movie to have taken place. Everything dealing with this story is just poorly written and lacks any comprehensive story design.

There was a ton of CGI and special effects in Men in Black II as well and most of it is clearly at a lower level than we are used to. I would go as far as to say that it was not up to par for a film in 2002 either.

Then, a lot of the same jokes and beats from the original are reused in the sequel. That is not an uncommon thing, but there are really a lot of them. Everything from K now being the person unfamiliar with the real world and having to take hints from J to blowing the head off of Tony Shalhoub so it can grow back. No matter how much I loved Tony Shalhoub, I think that is the only reason to include this character in this movie.

There are some good jokes scattered throughout and, of course, the chemistry between K and J shined like a light through the mess around them. Jones and Smith are easily the best part of this movie and anything that was enjoyable about it was directly from them.

Although did enjoy Rosario Dawson too, though her part was underwritten and I wanted more from her even if her part of the plot was perhaps the biggest eye-rolling section of the film.

In the end, there is enough here to not hate myself for re-watching it, but it is not a good movie and my original opinion looks to be right on the money.

Valkyrie (2008)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 8

Around the time when Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie came out, I had not been going to the theater much. Instead, I had been going on Tuesdays to Wal-Mart and picking up DVD copies of new releases, many of which I had never seen. I amassed quite a collection of DVDs and many of them were films that I did not like or had never seen. In fact, there have been several that I never wound up watching. Valkyrie was one that I did watch, but was never engaged with. It has become the next film in the Do Over binge series.

Valkyrie was the story of the final attempt by Germans to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This true story was directed by Bryan Singer and starred Tom Cruise as Colonel Stauffenberg, one of the major architects behind the coup attempt against Hitler and the attempted use of Operation Valkyrie, a national emergency plan to maintain the German government in case of Hitler’s death.

After watching the film for a second time, I found the initial half of the film a little slow and the set-up lacked the intensity of the second half of the film. The second half of the movie, specifically when the bomb went off, increased the level of anxiety and suspense despite the fact that I knew historically the assassination plot had failed. The end of the film was much stronger and compelling.

Tom Cruise is solid as the German Colonel and he was joined by an outstanding cast including Essie Izzard, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp, Carice van Houten, Kevin McNally, David Bamber, Jamie Parker, David Schofield, and Christian Berkel.

While this was a good translation of events, I can’t help but think this could have been more intense and compelling than what we got. It was better than I remembered, but it may not be one that I remember fully movie on.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 7

It seems like the Coen Brothers’ films are the ones that I need to see more than once before finalizing on an opinion. Fargo leaps to mind immediately. Now there is No Country for Old Men.

I remember watching this the first time at a friend’s house and neither of us were paying too close of attention to the movie. It got to a point where we just decided that it was time to stop because the film had failed to grab out attention. After watching this for the Do Over, I can guess that we did not give this the chance that it deserved, because this is much better than I ever remembered.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a local hunter in rural Texas, discovered a drug deal that had gone wrong and, instead of calling the police, he took the bag of $2 million dollars with the hope of starting a new life with his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald). Psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) wound up on the trail of Llewelyn, leaving a trail of bodies in his path. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) investigated the case, reminiscing about a different time.

There were so many jarring moments in this movie that it totally keeps you off guard. Throw in some brilliant performances, especially from Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, and this movie is unexpected and extremely well done.

When something specific happens that I do not want to spoil, it flipped the entire film on its head. It was so unexpected that it, at first, felt like it sent the entire story off the rails. However, the chaos of the situation I think is part of the concept of the film. The more I reflected on the ending, the more I enjoyed the shock of what the filmmakers were setting up, despite the overall depressing nature of the world they created.

I’m not sure the film ends in a satisfying way, but, again, I think that is part of the intent. I’m not sure how many times I would revisit this, but I found this much more engaging this time for sure.

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 6

When I first saw Interview with the Vampire, it was on a rental (probably VHS). I found it boring. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was not what I was looking for at the time: a gothic horror period piece.

Today, for the Do Over, I watched Interview with the Vampire. It was one of the first films I thought of when coming up with concept. I would have done this earlier, but since I already had done Blade 2, I did not want to typecast the Do Over as a vampire topic.

According to IMDB: “Against the backdrop of a gloomy San Francisco, the nearly two-century-old vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac [Brad Pitt], recounts the unbelievable story of his eternal transformation and a life worse than death to the sceptic reporter, Daniel Molloy [Christian Slater]. Spanning two hundred years of cruel betrayals, extreme solitude, and unquenched thirst, Louis’ grimly fascinating tale pivots around his perpetually regrettable decision to embrace the dictatorship of blood, and, above all, his maker: the seductive blonde aristocrat of death, Lestat de Lioncourt [Tom Cruise]. Is Louis’ mystical epic of bloodshed genuine? Is this, indeed, an interview with a vampire?”

The moody, atmospheric film is considerably more interesting to me today than when I saw it for the first time back in the 1990s. The film is much more a character piece than what I wanted back then, focusing on Lestat, Louis and Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Claudia, in particular, was a fascinating character and Kirsten Dunst, without a doubt, gave one of the best performances of the movie. Such a young girl who was able to bring such menace and, dare I say, evil was revolutionary and amazingly believable. She showed how powerful of an actress she was going to become with this early performance.

The story itself was fine, though a little too strung together for my tastes. I did not enjoy the very last scene in the car because it made the entire film feel too cheesy. I did not find any of Interview with the Vampire to ever cross into camp until the very end, and that tonal switch felt like a betrayal to what had come before.

Both Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were excellent in this movie as Louis spent his vampire existence longing for a change and Cruise wishing that he would just embrace what he was.

Based upon the book by Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire had a slow burn but it created an amazing atmosphere and built a sense of tension and suspense as these vampire characters tried to find answers for their unhappy existence.

Wall-E (2008)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 5

The movie for this week’s Do Over is a film from Pixar, a studio where I have always enjoyed their efforts and some of my absolute favorite animated movies such as Toy Story 3 and Inside Out have been created. However, I have always stated that I did not like Wall-E, one of the films that is nearly universally beloved among the Pixar lineup. Wall-E won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film and holds 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. So this week’s Do Over will feature Wall-E to see if my opinion of this movie changed from when I first saw it years ago.

I did not see Wall-E in the theater. I would have watched the DVD of the film to watch it, which makes sense, since as I watched the film today on Disney +, there were several things that I did not remember. What I remember of my initial thoughts was that Wall-E was dull and boring. It is quite possible that I did not watch the entire film, skipping parts of it.

After watching this on Disney +, I found Wall-E to be considerably better than I remembered. I did not find it boring or dull in the slightest. While it may not break into my Pixar Top 10, it is certainly no longer going to be down at the bottom with Cars or The Good Dinosaur.

Wall-E (Ben Burtt) stood for Waste Allocation Load-Lifter: Earth-Class, which was assigned the job of cleaning a post-apocalyptic earth. Ultimately, the earth proved to be too damaged to be fixed and the robots all were gone. All, that was, except for one Wall-E unit that achieved sentience. Wall-E spent his day collecting intriguing pieces from the planet while compacting the rest into little blocks. Along with his cockroach friend, Wall-E did not realize that he longed for companionship as he watched old VHS copies of musicals.

One day, an egg-shaped probe arrived on earth named EVE (Elissa Knight), pronounced Eva, which stood for Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator. Wall-E was taken with the new robot and tried to make friends with her. He showed EVE lots of the things that he had collected, including his VHS movies. When Wall-E showed her his latest discovery: a small, living plant, EVE went into her primary function, which was to return to the ship with the plant.

Wall-E hitched a ride along with EVE and found a starliner named Axiom. Aboard the ship was a population of humans who had become lazy and fat from decades of pampering and service by the robots. The humans sat on hover chairs and had the robots do even the littlest of jobs.

The Axion’s captain, Captain B. McCrea (Jeff Garlin) was just as slovenly, but when he learned of the existence of the plant from earth, he began to study the past history of earth, and he heard the terrible message from Shelby Forthright (Fred Willard), CEO/owner of the Buy n Large Corporation and President of Earth.

With the hope of the green plant, Wall-E, EVE and the Captain attempt to find a way to return to earth despite the resistance that sprung up against them.

This was a lovely film. The animation was extraordinary and remarkably imaginative. The section that I would have thought was boring back when I first watched this was an important aspect of the film as we learn more about our little robot and the status of the planet earth.

The film certainly seemed to have an anti-technology theme as it implied and came right out with how technology can cause humans to become complacent and lazy, despite their better judgments. However, I always thought that the humans in this movie were to represent the worst of the human race, those completely given in to the 7 sins, especially sloth and gluttony, but after watching this again, I do not think that is accurate. I think this is a warning to people that technology advancements could figuratively place them into a coma, a state of inactivity that causes them to stop thinking, living. The film wants people to be able to keep everything into perspective. You can tell it is not the seven sins because as soon as the plant appears, the humans kind of awaken from their trances and begin to hope to go home.

There are plenty of other themes at work here as well including the use of waste and the effects on the environment. For a movie about a little robot that has a limited amount of dialogue, Wall-E is considerably deep.

Wall-E is much better than I remembered and I am glad that I took the time during this Do Over to give it a second chance.

21 Jump Street (2012)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 4

Still not sure how I feel about this.

Everybody seemed to love 21 Jump Street, the “adaptation” of the 1980s TV show into an action/comedy movie starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. I did not like it much at all, but this is the Do Over and I give films that I didn’t like the first time a second viewing to see if I missed something about it the first time.

Honestly, there are a ton of things in 21 Jump Street that I never like in movies. I am not a huge fan of vulgarity, and there is plenty of that in this movie. Drug jokes are not one of my favorites either and this movie’s whole plot focuses around drugs. I have never been a fan of Jonah Hill as he falls right into the loud, obnoxious protagonist character that I have always found off-putting. All of that is still in 21 Jump Street.

I will say that I found a little more to enjoy in the film the second time around.

I did appreciate the chemistry between Tatum and Hill. If they did not work together, the film absolutely falls apart. I found Channing Tatum to be surprisingly good. This was one of the first opportunities he has had to show his comedic timing and he does an excellent job with it.

I’m not sure if Chris Parnell is just going to be in every movie that I watch from now on as he was in three different films that I watched this weekend. Ice Cube was funny as the 21 Jump Street Captain, and the cameo with Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise was fun.

The storyline is pretty stupid, which I think it was supposed to be. However, it is interesting looking at the idea of popularity in high school and how it has changed over the years. How the groups in high school form and how that affects the people involved. Getting a taste of being popular sent Jonah Hill off the deep end and he was doing things that he never should have been doing to maintain the level.

Phil Lloyd and Christopher Miller directed the film and tried to do something unexpected than just recycle an old TV show for nostalgia purposes. There were thoughts on deeper themes contained inside 21 Jump Street that elevates it above just another vulgar-comedy. Unfortunately, a lot of what turns me off in a comedy are on display here, so I still do not love the movie, even if I may respect it a little more.

The Golden Compass (2007)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 3

I just barely remember the first time I watched The Golden Compass. It was on DVD and my slight memory was that I was bored during it. So when I saw that this movie was leaving HBO Max at the end of the month of May, I decided this would be a good film to use for week three of the Do Over.

What I found amazing upon the second viewing was that a film with as many fantastical elements and magical creatures could be as dull as The Golden Compass was.

According to IMDB: “It was no ordinary life for a young girl: living among scholars in the hallowed halls of Jordan College and tearing unsupervised through Oxford’s motley streets on mad quests for adventure. But Lyra’s greatest adventure would begin closer to home, the day she heard hushed talk of an extraordinary particle. Microscopic in size, the magical dust–discovered in the vast Arctic expanse of the North–was rumored to possess profound properties that could unite whole universes. But there were those who feared the particle and would stop at nothing to destroy it. Catapulted into the heart of a terrible struggle, Lyra was forced to seek aid from clans, ‘gyptians, and formidable armored bears. And as she journeyed into unbelievable danger, she had not the faintest clue that she alone was destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

That synopsis from IMDB just scratches the surface of the convoluted story of The Golden Compass. What a mess the story of this film was. It seemed to change every ten minutes or so, much like the main antagonist (if that is who she was) Nicole Kidman. Kidman played Mrs. Coulter and her motives changed in every other scene. The movie also starred Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel, although I could understand if you forgot that he was in the movie because the movie certainly forgot that. He appeared at the beginning and was not seen again until the very end, and that was not even in person.

The young protagonist Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) showed herself to be quite a strong little girl who was an accomplished liar or manipulator. She was thrown into several situations but I never once felt that she was in any jeopardy (except the one near the end in a lab, but it was resolved in such a unlikely manner that you could hardly count that one).

I did enjoy the inclusion of Sam Elliott as Lee Scoresby, a character nearly identical to dozens of characters I have seen Sam Elliott play before, though he is such a likeable actor that you forgive the repetitive nature. The ever wonderful Ian McKellan voiced the polar bear Iorek Byrnison, who went from drunken servant to king in the space of about 30 minutes. He pledged his fealty to Lyra because she let him know where his armor was being held, despite it being a painfully apparent location.

The CGI and special effects were hit and miss. Sometimes the film looked good, but other times it looked as fake as you could imagine.

The the film just ended. It pulled a Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ending (which also had Ian McKellan in it) and the group had come together to head off on a quest. Let’s just say that this was nowhere near as satisfying as that movie was.

Prior to the abrupt ending the film pulled out about three Dues Ex Machinas in the final battle. This included the sudden appearance of Iorek Byrnison, who apparently can teleport (or else is a really sneaky gigantic armoured polar bear).

The Golden Compass was a disappointment and packed with ideas that are not executed or are so messy that you do not care by the time the film gets around to them.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 2

The second week of the Do Over is here and this week we are revisiting the 1993 Nora Ephron film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle.

I remember watching this film for the first time on VHS and being truly bored by it. In fact, I remember being so bored that I fell asleep during part of the movie. Despite enjoying the work of Tom Hanks, I haven’t been interested in revisiting this.

However, with the Do Over series, I gave Sleepless in Seattle another chance and I found it to be much more enjoyable than the first time.

Recently widowed, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moved with his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) away from Chicago where everything reminded him of his lost wife to Seattle for a new start. Jonah was seeing that his father was not moving on and he called into a radio show designed to help people with their love lives.

Jonah is able to get Sam on the phone to talk to the “doctor” and his story went out across the nation. Annie (Meg Ryan), engaged to a man (Bill Pullman) who was steady and kind, but who was not magical, became obsessed with Sam and Jonah, finding the pull of the pair to be irresistible.

Using the romantic movie An Affair to Remember as its backbone, Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic comedy that looks at the fantasy/magical side of love, how some loves are destined to come about despite distance or implausibility.

There is certainly a ton of implausibility inside this script. Just the idea that Jonah could get himself to the top of the Empire State Building from Seattle alone is implausible enough. There is the apparently live broadcast of “Dr. Marsha Fieldstone” on Network America that went live across the whole nation instead of being taped and recorded earlier. Not to mention that Jonah set this whole thing up because he read Annie’s letter that talked about Brooks Robinson. Oh, and there has never been a man like Bill Pullman’s character in the history of the world.

Sure, there are plenty of moments that are just not realistic, but that works in this movie. The movie depends on the unlikely to pull the viewers into the magic. We know that Annie is not a creeper and that there is some unspeakable connection between the two of them and you root for them to overcome these unlikely odds to find a way together. And the ending scene on the top of the Empire State Building is both amazingly romantic and downright weird at the same time.

Sleepless in Seattle is considered one of the greatest rom-coms of all time by many and I have a much more appreciative opinion of the film than I did before. It helps that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are exceptionally likeable actors and that Ross Malinger is as charming of a kid in the movies as you are going to find.

Blade 2 (2002)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 1

With the DailyView concluded, I am beginning one of several new features at EYG. Every Sunday morning, I will be watching a film that I had seen before, but did not like. Many of these will be loved by others and I am going to do a Do Over to see if my thoughts on the film have changed since the first viewing. It has happened several times (Seven, Fargo being two major examples). Starting on May 1st, I have revisited Guillermo Del Toro’s sequel to the Daywalker himself, Blade 2.

I really enjoyed the first Blade and I had high expectations for the movie. I remember going to see it in the theater with a bunch of my friends down in Iowa City and coming out of it very disappointed. We had spent time before playing video games, particularly a fight video game, and I could not shake the feeling that Blade 2 was nothing more than just another video game. I thought the graphics were terrible and that it looked no better than the animation in the video games that we had played prior.

Unfortunately, I felt that way still after watching it this morning. There are just so many moments that are so rubbery in the fights that it takes me completely out of the movie.

Of course, Wesley Snipes is perfect casting. He personified the character of Blade beautifully, even in the moments of this movie that I did not like.

The return of Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) was ridiculous. They just wanted him back after his impactful death in the original and I am not sure I bought how they brought him back.

Norman Reedus was there too as a Whistler-lite replacement. His story arc made no sense and was there just for the predictable swerve. Reedus does much better work in The Walking Dead and, hopefully, gets a chance to play Johnny Blaze in the MCU because that feels like perfect casting. Here…not so much.

The villains are dull and reminded me too much of the Ubervamps from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To be fair, this movie looks to have been released before (right around the same time) the Ubervamps made their appearance on Buffy, so this is most likely coincidental.

The story was lackluster and simplistic. I did like the idea of Blade being forced to team up with the vampires to face a greater threat, but, in the end, that plotline fell apart. There were plenty of moments that made no sense. It was just included in the film because the plot needed it to be there. There was very little in way of character development.

Leonor Varela was an interesting addition to the cast as Nyssa, but she was the only one of the entire vampire team that had any personality at all. The rest were all just characters there to look cool and to get picked off. Even Ron Perlman’s Reinhardt was the bad ass that you knew eventually would face off against Blade. And then that confrontation was anticlimactic.

Overall, I did not find much more enjoyable about Blade 2 than I did the first time. I am hoping that Marvel Studios will do better with their upcoming Blade film.