Film reviews - John C. Kirk
May. 7th, 2005
11:05 pm - Film reviews
Another weekend, another SJA duty. I was back at football today, for the Crystal Palace vs Southampton match. It turned out to be pretty quiet (from my point of view), although there was a large police presence, and we all got a special security briefing at the start (e.g. "if the police horses are sent in, get your arse out of there, because they won't stop for anything").
And speaking of security, I highly recommend the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer to anyone running Windows. Basically, it will scan your machine (and any others you point it at) for security vulnerabilities. In particular, it will check for patches that Windows Update doesn't mention (you need to be on the Technet Security mailing list to get the announcements).
Anyway, now that I'm home, and back to lazing around, time to catch up on some film reviews. Minor spoilers follow, but I've tried to keep them to a minimum.
* "Miss Congeniality 2". A decent sequel, which kept me entertained, although I think that on balance the first film was better.
* "Princess Diaries 2". A bit hit and miss, this one. Some very good scenes (particularly with the older characters), and some that fell a bit flat, although I think that was mainly because it was aimed at a younger age group. Shocking, I know! I'd forgotten about Stan Lee's cameo until I saw it - rather bizarre, but fun.
* "Lion King 3" (aka "Lion King 1.5"). This is an interesting one. I liked the original film, but the first sequel fell into the standard "sequel-itis" trap, i.e. re-hashing the original version and not doing it quite as well. It had a couple of good bits, but it's not something I'd advise going out of your way for. This film, on the other hand, takes a very different approach. When I saw the original trailer for it, I thought it was just going to expand the montage section where Simba is growing up with Timon and Pumba. That did happen, but the main point of the film was to do a "Forrest Gump" thing with Timon and Pumba showing up at various points during the original film. Actually, a better comparison may be the DS9 tribbles episode, where it's intercut with scenes from the original TOS episode. It's very much a comedy, and any serious themes tend to get undercut quite quickly. Personally, I thought it was very funny. You need to have seen the original film for it to make sense, but I'd recommend to it to anyone who did like the first one. You don't need to have seen the second one, since there are no references to it whatsoever.
And speaking of sequels, I see that "Mulan 2" is coming to the Disney channel in a couple of weeks, so I'll take a look at it then. Mind you, I don't have high expectations after the review that Billy linked to a while back.
Now for the big one: "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Before the film itself, I did like the latest "Orange film commission" advert, starring Darth Vader. Those things get more and more bizarre... As for trailers, they didn't show one for "Serenity" (the Firefly film), which was a shame, but I'm sure that will turn up in due course. "Batman Begins" looks promising. As for "The Pacifier", my immediate reaction was to think of the Zonar review I read a while back ("Gracious, but Vin Diesel has gotten to the Kindergarten Cop phase of his career rather quickly hasn't he?"). However, while it's easy to sneer, it actually looks quite funny (and as I've indicated before, I do like Disney films) - it's probably not something I'll rush out to watch at the cinema, but I'd be happy to watch it if it was on TV.
As for the Hitchhikers film itself, I thought it was alright. I knew that lots of people were disappointed (as depicted quite accurately in the most recent Dork Tower strips here and here), but Peter David endorsed it, so that was good enough for me to try it out. Incidentally, I was amused to see an American commenting that the film should have had an all-British cast. Anyway, I realise that I might be damning with faint praise here, but I've never been a rabid fan of the series anyway (e.g. to the extent of joining the ZZ9 fan club). In my case, I mainly know it through the books, which I liked, but I've always thought of them as amusing rather than uproariously funny. The things that have mainly stuck in my head over the years are the quirky concepts like the three space arks. That said, lots of the people around me were laughing a lot more than me, so I don't think that's a bad reflection on the film, just different senses of humour. As for the changes, I don't object to them; the only thing I was a bit disappointed by was "beware of the leopard". I wasn't sure about the dolphin song at first, but it turned out to be quite catchy (in a "stuck in your head" way), so I'm happy with that. My only real criticism was that there were a couple of sub-plots that didn't go anywhere. I gather that there will be lots of deleted scenes on the DVD, which is fair enough, but I'd rather that the film had been re-edited to chop them out altogether, rather than leaving the dangling threads. Still, all in all, it was worth watching. Finally, one piece of advice - if you haven't seen it yet, do stick around for the credits (there's an extra scene in the middle).