Tag Archives: homages

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think it’s important to come back with a bang. More accurately, a Gyllenhaal. In one of the best homages to a video game, this film takes the concept of the Prince of Persia series and takes another element everyone loves. Parkour. Combine a gameplay feel and straight ahead roller-coaster plot and you have yourself the next best thing to The Pirates of the Caribbean. Never mind the

We meet again, Sir Ben.

lackluster acting and portrayal of a country/nationality that doesn’t exist, Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is on this one. And if he did POTC, how could this be bad?

You may sense some sarcasm in the way I wrote that last paragraph. But, in actuality, I didn’t mind Prince of Persia. I had watched my girlfriend play a bit of the games (specifically Sands of Time) and I got a precursor to Assassin’s Creed that was a bit too much of a coincidence. Loving that idea and the inspiration that I’m sure AC drew from Prince of Persia, I was more than happy to sit down and watch the film. And what I got was exactly what I thought I was going to get. An adrenaline ride with pretty graphics and average characters. Think… The Mummy meets Indiana Jones, or something.

Get a load of that chest…

I think that’s what people need to realize when it comes to video game movies or action movies in general. What you expect is what you get. If you think this is gonna be an entertaining movie about a great video game, then you will get that. If you’re thinking Oscar worthy action thriller, you will be sorely disappointed. Please, critics out there, stop classifying all movies in the amazingly stellar films category. It ruins it for all of us with your snarky and harsh reviews, thus making everyone feel they should believe what one person’s opinion says in print. That’s B.S.

So, that straight ahead plot I was talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a made up name for the main character of the Prince of Persia series (he is the Prince after all). You wouldn’t be surprised how many times they use the title of the movie in the actual movie. Anyways, Dastan is a street rat (not far off from Aladdin) who is

Jakey’s angry face.

taken into the care of the King (Ronald Pickup) and treated as his son after an act of courage. After years of success and conquest, Dastan and his brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) have come again to another city, the city of Alamut, in order to conquer it on what seem legit reasons. Oh, but the plot thickens.

Yeah, Arterton, you should be off camera for this shot…

After capturing the priestess Tahmina (Gemma Arterton) and promising her to Tus, the King and his subjects celebrate a misinformed victory. The King is poisoned by the framed Dastan while the King’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley) stares on in horror. He flees with Tahmina and a dagger he won, only to find it has the powers to control time. With such a great power, well, you know the rest. It is up to the banished Prince of Persia to save the ones he loves and stop the destruction of the world. The typical main points in any action film.

Of course, there were the obvious faults in the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is putting on a strange English accent and portraying a tanner race that no longer exists. Everyone speaks in either an English accent or some strange Middle Eastern tinged accent. The one actress in this film is annoying and godawful. What is there to say for action movies like this when one

Parkour to the extreme!

that is a decent video game remake has the worst female presence? Either get a better actress, or realize that most action movie females are there for sex appeal. At least there’s Lara Croft (but those shorts/tight fitting tanktop aren’t really helping…).

But I would say I was surprised that this film didn’t go for the cheesy lines as often or the special effects taking over the action. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like Jake Gyllenhaal did all his own stunts. The parkour was entertaining and the sword fights are what you would expect from a Disney film. If you kick or punch someone, they’re down for the rest of the film. I had just as much fun watching the film as I did joking about it. Bruckheimer must be doing something right to keep my attention for more than 2 hours like he did…

Homage to a dastardly hero.

It was nice to see Tony Kebbell again, although his character was just a gruff and always yelling side character to the main plot. And I don’t know how/why Ben Kingsley does it, but he gets roped into these average films when he’s been Ghandi for crying out loud. Bloodrayne, The Love Guru, and The Last Legion? How does he do it? But seriously, get rid of that female actress. She added nothing to the film, and I didn’t mind the ending they had before the last 20 minutes. Get some of that, Arterton.

Overall, I’m sure, this film isn’t the greatest. It is entertaining though. For those of us out there who find Jake Gyllenhaal to be a hunk, traversing over Agrabah’s rooftops and allowing his flowing mane to pierce the skies, this film was no probelm-o. There’s nothing wrong

Give him a lick, he tastes just like sexy.

with mindlessly being entertained, as long as you are aware that it’s all in good fun. That’s what this movie was. Good fun. For Alfred Molina to show up again after the supposed “disgrace” of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (same year), it takes guts. And I’m sure they all had fun doing it regardless. Gotta say, a lot of those costumes looked ballin’. 6.3 out of 10.

Advertisements

The Shawshank Redemption: I Finally Saw It

As most gigantic film buffs know, this movie is top dog when it comes to classic films everyone has to see. And how long did it take me to see since I’ve been really into movies? 10 years. I know you may be thinking I might as well shut down my review website, but hold your horses Seabiscuit. It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to see it and shrug it off as some dumb flick not worth my time. (Although… a bit lengthy.) This movie is across the board considered one of the best of all time, and it came out a mere 17 years ago. And there’s quite a few movies that would rival that from more than 50 or 60 years. But no, this movie, paid with a dollar to Stephen King with a single dollar bill, is now considered a masterpiece.

This movie in particular holds quite a bit of significance to me, but more to my father. So yeah, it’s pretty special. My father grew up in Mansfield, site of the Ohio State Reformatory, located just outside of downtown Mansfield. Coming from a low budget movie filmed in one location (Mansfield), I would call the achievement of this film phenomenal. And turning the old reformatory into Shawshank State Penitentary in Maine, and thus turning Mansfield into a hotspot location for film buffs: fantastic. The streets of Mansfield, some family friends staring down the camera, yeah, this film has some history with me.

Okay, basic plot. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of killing his wife all the way back in 1947. His wife was cheating on him with a golfer (naturally Tiger Woods) and she got what was coming to her. And it’s never really clear whether or not Andy committed the crime. Anyways, Dufresne is sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine, home of the writer of this short story, Stephen King. While there, Andy keeps his head down, stands up for others, and makes friends with Red (Morgan Freeman) the narrator of this fine film. Despite his status as convicted or not (all Shawshank inmates are innocent!), Andy Dufresne must stick by his beliefs and not get Shawshanked. Overused pun? Or am I the first? Let me know.

Of course, as expected with a great movie, there’s some great acting in it as well. It is Morgan Freeman. Known simply to most as “The Voice of God”, it was roles like The Shawshank Redemption that gave him the opportunity to narrate beyond a prison story. Tim Robbins, as I’ve figured from this movie, got into highly acclaimed, Oscar worthy roles because of this movie. Although Morgan Freeman won for best actor, it doesn’t demean Tim Robbins any that he was in a movie that was up for 7 academy awards.

Who else, you may ask, deserves a nod from this acclaimed film? I would tip my hat to William Sadler as Heywood, the bumbling idiot and all around good guy, just trying to get through prison life. The only life most of them know, and that comes across in this movie with James Whitmore’s performance as Brooks Hatlen, a role that would later be ironically poked fun at by a Robot Chicken sketch. (Get busy livin’, or get Kraken.) Come to think of it, there’s always the occaisional homage or spoof that comes up about this film, and now I can enjoy them more thoroughly.

So I give the biggest nod to Frank Darabont and his screenplay from the words of Stephen King, utilizing his Dollars to Direct program of all his short stories. I do wonder though if he’s kicking himself about missing out on this cash cow. But all-in-all, I’m sure this was a wonderful film to be a part of, and I know I’ll be watching it again in the future. 9.7 out of 10.

I also wanted to throw on this little clip from Seth Green’s Robot Chicken for a little quirky spoof that got me interested in The Shawshank Redemption. Enjoy!


RomeoxJuliet: Neo Style

And yet I keep coming back. I know I’ve been gone for a short while, but those college finals are creepin’ up on me. But I’m here for yet another anime review, and this time, it’s academically related.

So this time in Anime Club, we watched RomeoxJuliet, the slightly altered fantasy version of the classic Shakespearean teen angst play, Romeo and Juliet (not much of a title change). But this time, it’s different. No spoilers (already had it ruined for me before I saw the ending) but it’s not as different as you’d think. Slightly different. Okay, kind of a major plot twist ending. And yet, still romantic and tragic. Yeah…

So this is the story of Juliet “Insert ridiculously long middle name here” Capulet, the remaining member of her noble family who were wiped out 14

Juliet. More manly/aggressive.

years ago by the evil Montagues. It was a good thing she had Conrad (who was only a badass in his earlier years. Now he looks like a whiny old coot.) or else she may not have survived, thus, no need for this anime. But anyways, now her and her family’s followers are out for revenge. But for the first 5 episodes or so, she doesn’t know she’s of royal descent. But yeah, of course that changes her and gives her a bit more of an edge and a chip on her shoulder. It’s expected.

But what does she do before she learns this sworn hatred of the ruling Montague family? She falls madly and irrevocably in love with the son of that

Romeo. Pansy.

evil bastard, Romeo Montague. I feel like it was a love based on herbology, but that’s for another review. Just know: irises. So this complicates things. OH, AND DID I FORGET TO MENTION? They have been passing off Juliet as a boy for the last 14 years of her life. She’s been Odin, knowing she was a girl, but she never knew why. Now she does. And now, Romeo is sexually confused. Add that little twist to your lemonade why don’t you.

So the rest of this little Twilight romance (yes, there are references) is played out in Neo Verona, a floating island above God knows what and it’s falling apart. That’s cool. But these little lovebirds must decide what’s more important, love/angst or their families, and we all know how that one goes. But it’s a great twist and quite worth a look see.

Great supporting cast.

Things I liked. The use of other characters from other plays. If only in name, this was a great tribute to Shakespeare, and, being in a Shakespeare class now, I can appreciate the sentiment. Again, I also liked this anime because it didn’t follow the exact plot of Romeo and Juliet. It used the new additions and twists to carry along a well told out story to a new end. Quite interesting if I do say so myself. Looking back on the list of voice actors, I wish I had watched this dubbed and not subbed. J. Michael Tatum as William “Willy” Shakespeare? Thanks very much I’ll take that.

The animation/art was quite good and the plot was ripe for the homages. The ending reminded me of Xam’d untimely end, but I think that’s the only reason I liked it. Otherwise the ending was terrible. The explanation, the random use of the tree of life… I was a little thrown off by how out of place it all was and why any of it was relevant. You have this nice little Romeo and Juliet plot zooming along and then you throw that tree/world wrench in there. Completely unnecessary. Other means to end the anime would have been appreciated.

Other than that, quite a good show. The story empowered Juliet instead of making some damsel in distress out of her, and it actually turned the story around completely. It made Romeo into the princess in the tower and quite

How cute. He's "watching" her from afar.

the whiny, unlikeable counterpart to Juliet. It took a while, but he came into his own. Tybalt destroyed people, I loved the Curio/Francisco (Eric Vale, by the way) dynamic, and it was all good (sort of) in the end. If you’re a Romeo and Juliet fan, or a Shakespeare fan in general, check this out, it’s worth the watch/twist. 6.8 out of 10.

Did I mention this anime ruined Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” forever. Well, it sorta did. But here it is all the same.