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Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Image result for pirates of the caribbean dead men tell no tales movie poster free useBeen a long time. Here’s to the return of WisTim.

Great cinema is precious, as sovereign as an angel and at times, a true blessing to behold. Such grandeur is not created unilaterally but by a team of stars both before and behind the lens. Such performance requires a certain deftness and composure. Superb film making mandates a chimerical touch, both a fascination and a mind willing to push forward both conceptually and contextually. It takes both aplomb and humility with a few pinches of stoicism.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the pole opposite of these accolades. Dark and desolate, overused and washed up, a stain on the record of a talent beyond his years. That is what POC 5 has to offer. It presents the marketing of a new chapter to one of the better franchises of the 21st century and promptly violates the pureness of it. It is what could have happened to The Force Awakens if the people who became a part of the project decided a tonal shift or crude humor was a missing part of the single most important franchise in film history. Instead, one of the better franchises of our times has been soiled like a sacrificial lamb, though the term sacrificial suggests this was something that needed to happen and it certainly did not. Literally no one was asking for this. No one was asking for a Seth Rogen-esque script writer, one fully reliant on his audience’s enjoyment of ill-mannered bacchanals.

There is one asteroid-sized problem with this scope: a small minority of Pirates of the Caribbean fans walked into a theater, not once, twice or thrice but four times and thought, “I hope this one is like Billy Madison but pirates and Depp.” It seems fair to make this claim because Pirates of the Caribbean had made billions from its loyal fan base that, presumably, enjoyed the content as it was. I do not recall reading a protest online from viewers decrying any Pirates film, vehemently berating the producers for not including more raunchy retorts and less substance in both character and narrative. Who asked for this?

If you haven’t caught the drift yet, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a shipwreck of what was a quite glamorous creative vessel that now, hopefully, has seen its final days. Like many great athletes that can’t bear to leave the game even if it is clearly time, POC5 is a reminder that the end of something beautiful is usually quite ugly.

Johnny Depp’s most critically acclaimed role, at least in these critic’s eyes, is blinding in this installment, a nearly severed connection to the lively, clever swordsman we have come to love. The quick-witted Captain Jack Sparrow is nowhere to be found. Instead, a drunk who’s lost his edge enters from behind the curtain. The envious Sparrow never failed to be one step ahead of us or to keep us enthralled in his parlor tricks. He was a tactician with a smirk of metal as much as he was a coach with near flawless decision-making, traits quite rare among seafarers. He was a king of the dramatic and a prince of the perverse.

That beloved character is physically present but mentally unavailable. The bedrock of this persona isn’t here, nor does it ever feel like Sparrow shows up. Johnny Depp is on the screen dressed as him but the character glorified over four films is not.

It’s especially painful to watch because I can’t emphasize enough how natural this role seemed to come to Depp. It allowed him to show his polished, witty delivery and there’s no doubt Captain Jack Sparrow is the most articulate pirate I’ve ever seen. Look at this. This scene is so Jack Sparrow it’s silly. I could watch this all day.

It does nothing in terms of plot, aside from get Captain Jack to a new location, but it’s premier Johnny Depp, utilized by a scriptwriter who clearly understands the heart of the man and his character.

You’ll be hard strung to find a scene even remotely as good as that here.

I have not been beguiled. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is not arcane, some great mystery that critics and viewers alike can’t solve. It’s simply a generation that didn’t inherit the praised talent of its ancestors and can’t help but leave a taste of disappointment in all who hoped for more.

It’s hard not to be churlish here. With another captain at the helm of the project and writer at his side, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales falls into the pit of off-color humor, which is so tonally off the mark. Pirates of the Caribbean was flamboyant, excessively melodramatic, making a show out of life. That presentation and exuberance doesn’t arrive and neither does the type of cinematic treasure we’ve come to expect.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (SinisterOlympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the Sun)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide SquadBatman Forever)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great WallRobin HoodUnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: Apocalypse)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Power RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the Apes)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: 46.

Prosaic rather than poetic, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales seems to miss the heart of what made Pirates of the Caribbean intriguing: that both Sparrow and the script could always add something extra that we didn’t see coming, like the scene above to surprise us. It’s a film that has betrayed its identity, and concurrently, its audience.

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Movie Review: Black Hawk Down

I was scrolling through my blog yesterday and I realized something: I hadn’t written a review on a good film in a while. The last time I reviewed a film that scored in the 70’s or higher? The Red Dawn remake on August 13. Today is September 12. A month of cinematic incompetence? “No,” I said to myself. “I will not go a whole month without writing at least one movie review with a 70’s or higher score.”

To be truthful, I did re-watch volumes one and two of Kill Bill, but I didn’t want to write a review on those just yet. I want to keep some of the classics around for later.

I have some films on the shelf that have yet to be opened that I’m anxious to open up and throw in but I felt like something else. Despite all the wrongs Netflix has committed against me (although I admit partial responsibility), I continue to go back to it. Among the top picks for me was Black Hawk Down.

I saw some of this on TV once but I never got to finish. Based off what I saw, I wanted to see the whole product.

There are a lot of faces I recognized in this film, such as Josh Hartnett and Ewen Bremner from Pearl Harbor and Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and William Fichtner of course. Tom Sizemore from practically any war movie but especially Saving Private Ryan, nice to see you. A young Orlando Bloom and Tom Hardy were aboard for the ride I see and Jason Isaacs a.k.a. Lucius Malfoy. You can’t hide from me behind that Texas drawl!!! I WILL FIND HIM!!!

Alas, this film might have had a minor case of OBCLD. For those of you who didn’t read my Expendables 3 review, that means Over-Bloated Cast List Disease. Thankfully, these aren’t all big-name stars so this film isn’t neglected or blanketed by the opening credits and familiar faces. I’m just saying I noticed.

With that said, I was expecting some stuff with Black Hawk Down. I’m a heavy war movie addict. I watch a lot of war movies. The brotherhood/camaraderie features, world dialogues and brutal realism get to me. They’re not always “fun”. Sometimes they make you hate people, despise the world and wonder why you’re still in it. Other times, it’s about showing you that not everything can be done the clean way. Somebody needs to get down in the trenches and dig out the mud. Should it happen? No, but it does and while we will never be able to attain the experiences of veterans, the least we can do, in my opinion, is seek out ways to empathize with them. Cinematic carnage gives us that chance.

Somalia’s a corrupt, anarchist state run by one general that gains followers by starving them out. That’s some dark stuff. I’m a history buff but I can’t say how precise director Ridley Scott’s visual novella is. Setting aside its historical truths or inaccuracies, Black Hawk Down is about leaving no one behind and putting others before yourself.

It’s admirable stuff that could have been done better. The OBCLD is partly to blame here, but there are so many faces, so many parties involved with this story that trying to remember where everyone is location-wise and personality-wise can become an arduous task. I don’t think I can call them subplots because they all interact with the main problem, which is thousands of Somalians with AK-47’s and happy trigger fingers. That rather large ripple in this film’s metaphorical pond is a stalwart try but the film’s time in the oven leaves that attempt cooked well-done rather than how it was meant to be cooked: medium. The same can be said for the overall piece in my mind.

Aside from the empathy bid, there’s not a whole lot of character here. At the end of the movie, Eversmann (Josh Hartnett), which is a play on names (every man), says that we all changed. The context is understood but I still found myself asking, “Did you though? Did you really?” Keep in mind I’m speaking of the character, not the conflict and those who actually served in it. There isn’t any time set aside for character drama. It’s a war zone, yet war films usually incorporate these reflective character sessions into the story. Saving Private Ryan had them. Braveheart had them. We Were Soldiers had them. Every memorable, exceptional war movie has them. Black Hawk Down did not.

Coming from the same guy that made Gladiator, I was surprised. Ridley Scott has made portraits fine, great and exceptional. Among his previous sculptures, I’d consider Black Hawk Down in the greats, but with a stronger leading arm could have been exceptional. It would have needed a lot more than it gave me, but I believe in Sir Scott. I think he could have pulled it off.

The Academy graciously awarded Black Hawk Down two Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, but I found the action to be rather tame compared to some of the other bloodshed I’ve observed. I’m not saying it needed to be mind-bending brutality, but I think this could have gotten heavier, darker and more representative of the burdens our veterans carry. War is no light matter. Black Hawk Down concurs with the previous statement but for an R-rated film, it edited itself far below the ceiling that an R-rating incites. If you want to make a conflicted film that all ages above 18 can enjoy, this is probably the way to do it without turning anyone off to the material. However, sometimes it is the things that spur debate that are the greatest, like Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech for example. If you let public opinion object your creativity, you’re doing yourself an injustice. People don’t know revolutionary until you put it in front of them.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (RubberHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeed)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (GallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmenClash of the Titans)

My score for Black Hawk Down: 77.

The story had a lot of potential but the normal cuts and jabs we expect from Scott don’t show up in Black Hawk Down. I’m not sure if it’s on Ken Nolan and the screenplay, book author Mark Bowden or on Ridley himself, but this had more buzz and certainly more talent to be explored. I’m sure I’ll find my way back to this for another viewing, but in no way does this even attempt to make the climb to war movie classics.

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Movie Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

[ LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING POSTER ]The Lord of the Rings saga comes to an end with a final sound-off and salute, propelling it to becoming one of the best films of the decade and of all-time. In its honor, a bonus roommate edition!

Tim: The cast and characters that fanatics like myself had befriended and loved for the last three years return as does the king of Gondor. Aiding them in their journey is some of the best story-telling, visual effects, and musical scores ever made. A better cast could not have been made nor better characters been written. The pacing is like a trek through the most dire terrain, with metaphorical cliffs and ditches at every turn, just waiting until it erupts with the greatest splendor, whether through action scenes that scream psychedelic or the character building that plays with our emotions like a baby on a trampoline. The picturesque scenery, the voluminous battles, the suspense that drills at our inner core and then some, this is a movie like few others.

Jon: Despite my tendencies to make jokes at Lord of the Rings movies, it is one of the best movies I have seen. With every aspect, Peter Jackson got this movie right. The scenery is spectacular and it’s no surprise to me that this movie did so well in the box office and in the awards. While it is incredibly long and sometimes difficult to watch in one sitting, it is the greatest Lord of the Rings movie and one of the greatest I’ve seen in my life.

Tim: And that is where I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. The time and energy that I put into these films, just watching them, I felt I was a part of this brotherhood of heroes. I felt like one of them. This film as well as the other two instill such a strong faith in humanity, in the good of mankind, in the belief that good will always conquer evil, that how anyone could be displeased with the Lord of the Rings or view them with contempt I have not the slightest indication. It connects with its audience through its story and its characters that are portrayed so perfectly. I would go so far as to say this film lives inside you, livens you as a person, as a human being. It opens doors to your heart and gifts you with new perspectives on life. It fully envelops you in the tale like an embrace with a loved one you will not see for a long time, one that you wish could last for hours just because the moment is so precious and so heart-warming. Despite those who may complain about its length, I didn’t want the story to end. It was a piece of me. This film trilogy had contributed to my self-worth and my being. Perhaps a film series is not supposed to have such a profound effect on an individual, but The Lord of the Rings did for me. I could have watched this for six hours, as long as it meant spending more time with my dear friends.

Sam and Frodo will forever be one of the most memorable duos in cinema for me. Their friendship is the way friendships were meant to be. It also depicts the values I look for in my friends. Sam is so loyal, so trustworthy, brave and selfless, that there is no doubt in my mind he would have taken a bullet for Frodo and then some. Frodo does not always fully grasp how great a friend Sam is at times, although I attribute that to his constant battle with the Ring, but when he does, that is when you see friendship at its philosophical plateau. They won’t give up on each other, and no matter what the next desolate, seemingly hopeless predicament they wander into next is, it is already accepted they will both be going at it together. Sean Astin and Elijah Wood may be type-casted forever, but that is nothing to be ashamed of, for these performances are the ones that stick with you, the ones you will never forget despite all the years that will pass since their original release. 100 years from now, the names Sam and Frodo will be uttered by someone in a crowd, and all will turn to this person and say Lord of the Rings, because that is how monumental these characters are. And yes, I know that was overly dramatic. Shut up. I’m a guy trying to express my feelings.

Jon: Frodo also illustrates how true a friend he is to Sam when he goes to step onto the ship to leave Middle Earth, knowing that Sam would never be able to leave the family that he has. Sam will always have the book to remember the times that they went through but even Sam acknowledges at the end of the movie that Frodo needed to leave to let Sam live his life. Frodo did the most selfless thing he could think of for Sam as Sam had done for him throughout the entire series.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (MiracleScroogeThe Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Green Mile, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugPoseidonIron ManLone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: 98.

With dialogue that furthers the plot and tugs at our inner-being and souls, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a film for the ages, one that will stick with those who journeyed with the characters for the rest of their lives.

Also, before I bid you adieu, my roommate has finally started blogging on WordPress.

Hello, my name is Jon St. Laurent.  I am a good friend of Tim’s and his roommate at school.  I’ve been blogging for a few years now but I recently switched over to WordPress.  I’m still working on getting my blog to be fully completed, but if you’re looking for a sports blog to talk about baseball, football, hockey, and anything that is top sports news, I’m your guy! Check it out at citb10.wordpress.com  Feel free to read, comment, and give your thoughts and arguments; that’s what it was created for! Thanks everyone!

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Movie Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

[ LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS POSTER ]The next installment of Peter Jackson’s medieval masterpieces returns in the two towers. Since there are two towers, there are two reviewers in another bonus roommate edition!

Tim: In this one, the acting is much better, with the actors really putting on the costumes of their characters and getting into their respective niches. The story splits into three perspectives but it doesn’t prevent the story from taking its journey forward. Frodo and Sam’s friendship reaches new heights and you really get to admire the bond that they have. Elijah Wood will be forever type-casted for me as will Sean Astin. The bond’s chemistry is furthered by catalyst Smeagle played by Andy Serkis. Sometimes you side with Frodo, other times with Sam, and you really don’t know what to do about Smeagle. This conflict keeps the audience thinking and that’s only one part of the story that’s being told.

Jon: This is my favorite of the three movies and I personally prefer to focus in on the story arc that involves Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn. I think the battle against the orcs riding their beasts is very well done and I think the battle of Helm’s Deep may be my all-time favorite large army battle in all cinema despite some flaws we will discuss in the spoiler edition. I also like the Ents. Especially the one that dunks his flaming head in the water.

Tim: The trio of Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn is tight-knit and loyal to one another, all sharing a band-of-brothers mentality. The three facilitate some of the best action scenes of the movie and they are very impressive. The set design and visuals are once again premium, introducing the audience to the world of middle earth and making you a part of it.

Jon: I also like the spirit of competition between Gimli and Legolas. It provides comedic effect to help counter the seriousness of the events going on.

Tim: As I said, it’s filled with scenes that make you think and there’s plenty of emotional and impactful dialogue that’s said that really touches your heart and makes you admire the story all the more. Easily my favorite part of the film is Sam’s monologue.

Jon: Don’t give up on your dreams because the people who you want to be could have turned back but didn’t. There is good in today’s world. It’s just hidden behind all the bad news. If there wasn’t any good left, then there’d be nothing worth fighting for.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Real SteelMiracleScroogeThe Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Green Mile)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugPoseidonIron ManLone Survivor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: 95.

The film perfects set and costume design, story line, and character connection. That coupled with some memorable moments and a fantastic score shoots this movie into the lore of must-buys.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION

Tim: The architectural planning of Helm’s Deep is questionable. As someone who took architectural classes in high school because I originally planned to become an architect, I don’t understand why you would put the drain under the wall like that. Aside from the hole making the stability of the wall weaker, it also would make the ground underneath damp and if there was a heavy enough storm, I’m sure the wall would collapse. Good thing it was only raining during that final battle.

Jon: There are a plethora of ways they could have built this aside from the way they built it. They could have had the water drain behind the wall, go to the water pools in the caves, dug a ditch in the side of the mountain… I’m pretty sure your brother could have built it better.

Tim: My brother is a Lego mastermind and undoubtedly could have built it better. You also make a fort made out of solid rock and then put a wooden door on the front? Didn’t anyone think “Hhmm, maybe we should leave this here” while they were digging that section out?

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Movie Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

[ LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING POSTER ]J.R.R Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings became a film in 2001 with a great cast that includes Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen and many more. I still remember first watching this film and thinking that this had the potential to become something big and director Peter Jackson did not disappoint.

It’s a film that starts off slow and at times drags a little too much but it is a common occurrence with an opening film of a series. It’s a film that relies on its characters and while the actors didn’t get into the characters as much as I would have liked, they still dug below the surface and showed us the roots of some of the characters. It’s more than adequate or average, but not quite reaching the pinnacle that I felt it was capable of reaching, but once again, it’s a starter film and starter films do usually struggle with this, so it’s not the end of the world to me, but it is something to note.

The sets and scenery to this film are so iconic and well-detailed, vibrant and life-like. It’s executed so well that it feels like you’re there. If the film was made to be a New Zealand tourist attraction video, it did a fantastic job. Some great visual effects won the film Oscars for Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects. The costumes are killer, really aiding what the scenery and sets are trying to accomplish.

Speaking of killing, this movie does a wicked job with its fight scenes. Great camera work and angles so we can follow the action and we’re not struggling to do so.

What I like about this picture is that it feels real. At times, fantasy/science fiction film’s dialogue can come across as largely corny and elementary, something that never happens in this film. It’s intense and suspenseful when the film is in the “zone”. Sadly that’s not all the time but it is for much of the movie.

At times, this film feels too long. Some things probably could have been eliminated but at the end you never feel like you wasted your time. It only gets you excited to see the next one.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Real SteelMiracleScroogeThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Green Mile)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (ElfThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugPoseidonIron ManLone Survivor)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: 88.

The Fellowship of the Ring is by no means the best series starting film, but it’s up there. There was room for improvement but it was definitely an attention-grabber, one that entertained, gave us an adrenaline rush, and a fair share of philosophical/emotional aspects intertwined.

Also, remember in the film it’s Bilbo’s 111th birthday. This is my 111th post. Just thought that was ironic.

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