Movie: Jack the Giant Slayer

"Jack the Giant Slayer"

Jack the Giant Slayer tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend-and gets the chance to become a legend himself.” — (C) Warner Bros

Not a fan.

Okay, so I might be a little tired from all the things I have been doing in real life. But I was well-rested, sort of, before coming in to watch Jack the Giant Slayer. So imagine my surprise when I slept through the opening scenes.

It wasn’t until the beanstalk sprouted from the ground that things started to feel like something was happening. I didn’t fall asleep after that. I did start to wonder though what story the movie was going to tell, because by that point, I realized that the movie was only about one thing: Jack wants to get inside the princess’s pants.

I read somewhere online that the film was very handsome. And it is. Everything looks great. The computer animated bits? Seamless. Well, the giants looked a tiny bit too clean, but that was it. The rest were visually pleasing. The costumes, the sets–everything. Now, if only the people behind the film spent just as much time on the story.

The story of Jack the Giant Slayer really starts on the night the beanstalk shoots up, up to Jack finding a way to stop the giants from killing everyone. The rest of what happens feels like filler, scenes to stuff the film with just so it looks like there’s a lot happening. What it succeeds in doing though is make the film drag.

Seriously. The film takes so long to get anywhere, and by the time it does, everything just suddenly speeds up and before you know it, the movie’s done.

And the worst part is, I wasn’t even entertained. Well, I was a little. Ewan McGregor is a hoot as Elmont, the leader of the King’s elite guard. Stanley Tucci’s Roderick was exceptionally evil. The rest of the cast, I think, took their roles too seriously. And that created a disjoint, I think. A movie that has sight gags and cheeky winks at the audiences shouldn’t allow their leads act like they’re on a sweeping love story.

I think this was the biggest reason why I couldn’t connect with the film. The film couldn’t even connect with itself!

But that’s just how I see it. Have you seen the film? What can you say about the retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk?

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Movie: Warm Bodies

"Warm Bodies"

A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world.” — (c) Summit

It’s funny how, almost two years ago, I couldn’t imagine the book being turned into a film–much less a film worth recommending. But that’s just what happened. Summit has made a good movie.

What I really liked about Warm Bodies was how it was trying to change the zombie genre. But, as I said, I couldn’t imagine how the people behind the film would translate that. What we end up with is a romantic-comedy sort of film. And it works.

Warm Bodies, in essence, is a Romeo and Juliet story. You have two factions, and a love that was as much impossible as it was inevitable. But it happens. And the film captures this, and celebrates this. So much so that we actually get a balcony scene between Juliet and R which I found really hilarious.

Though, much as Nicholas Hoult and (a strangely plain) Teresa Palmer do great in their roles, it’s actually Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton who steals the film for me. They are awesome and hilarious–and they hit the right notes. Especially Analeigh Tipton. This is, I think, the first time that a movie version of a character made me like a book character that I didn’t really notice. And now that I love Nora, I’m very much looking forward to the paper book version of Isaac Marion’s The New Hunger which makes Nora a bigger character than she is in Warm Bodies.

Before I move on to the other things I liked about the film, I want to bring this up: what happened to Teresa Palmer? I’ve seen her in I Am Number Four, in Bedtime Stories–and she looked hot. So why does she look like a blonde Kristen Stewart in this film? That’s not a good thing, let me tell you.

Moving on.

What I like best about Warm Bodies the film is the subtle things they incorporated–especially with R’s character. Something is changing in R. As per the synopsis, he’s increasingly becoming more human. And the make-up department does wonders with their gradual change of his skin tone. Nicholas Hoult also does well with the slow subtle changes he puts into his character–like the fact that he’s always slouching in the beginning of the film, and starts to stand up straighter as he turns more human.

R’s asides in the book fit nicely with the voice overs for the film.

And I like how there are four different looks for the film: the blue-gray tint of the zombie ruins, the harsh lighting of the survivor camp scenes, the toned-down and yet vibrant colors of memories–and the warmer colors of the ending scenes. This is a great use of color-grading, I think. Something I hope the makers of Tiktik take notice of when they get to the post production of their sequel.

Overall, the movie is a must watch. It’s not perfect, but it’s totally worth the ticket price.