Entries tagged with “Chris Pine”.


So we bought our tickets and our medium sized popcorn box (usually lasts about 15 minutes in the movie), grabbed the 3D spectacles and sat in the theater to watch Wonder Woman. That’s the way to do it. Each genre has its rules and one needs to know a minimum of them before entering the cinema theater or starting to see a movie on TV or on his/her preferred viewing device. When I chose to see a super-heroes comics inspired movie I do not expect a lot of realism or credibility from the story, and these are not the films where I am looking for lessons about life. On the other hand I am ready for fun entertainment, for action and special effects, I hope to see a coherent story with actors performances that make me care about the characters. I do not care about the laws of physics, but I hope there will be some humor and that the good guys will eventually prevail.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279/

 

Many of the super-heroes movies nowadays do actually carry some cultural background, it’s just a different type of culture, and it helps, although it is not mandatory, to know it. ‘Wonder Woman’ is a character that combines the mythology of comics stories with the other mythology, the ancient Greek one, the one we read about and maybe learned about in school. Invented during WWII, at a time when women were playing an increasing role in supporting the war effort, mostly by undertaking the roles played in economy by the men sent to fight, but not on the first line of the front, the character of princess Diana (yes, this is the name of the character) carries a strong feminist message. The authors of the script and director moved the origins of the story to the end of WWI, the war that was supposed to end all wars. By the way, hard to believe that this talented director is at her only second film, and that 14 years passed since her remarkable debut with Monster. They brought the princess from her isolated island somehow hidden in the mist of mythology, in a tentative to really end all wars. We all know that the tentative failed. In the process the hero will learn a few things about men and evils of mankind, will avoid and block a whole arsenal of bullets and bombs and will kick many bad guys to dust.

 

(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

I enjoyed ‘Wonder Woman’ because of a few good reasons. The feminism of the message is never dogmatic and almost always impregnated with a dose of self-irony. who plays the lead role may not be a great actress, but she has the looks, is very well fit physically and typologically for the role. The film is very much the story of her coming to age while learning to understand mankind and fighting on the side of the good guys. She does it with the smile of a teenager on her face and radiates optimism and belief in truth which somehow becomes credible and succeeds to overcome the horrors of the carnage fields of the world war we see on screen. While playing well on the mythology grounds, the story has enough humor to avoid being dry or pathetic and lets us understand we are still in fantasy land. I also liked the special effects, especially in the opening scenes when the Amazons fight the uneven battle with the war machines created by men since they were lost in history. The color palette of the cinematography was well adapted to the different phases of the story, although the 3D spectacles made it (again) too dark – there is something that needs improvement in the technology here. I also liked two of the supporting actors – who succeeded to be the nice guy without being over-sweet (also because of the dose of humor invested in his role), and especially which I have seen previously in Fargo and who develops to be a formidable actor. I liked less the other characters, especially the bad guys, who were, well … cartoonish. The end of the story was a little disappointing. It looked like one of these epic superheroes endings, but the careful preparation and building that preceded prepared me for something better. It leaves however clearly the path open for the sequels and I will be making reservations when pre-sales tickets become available.

 

It takes time to build mythology. The original Star Trek was a TV show that ran for years and was followed by next and other generations of space-ships, commanders and crews, some of them memorable, other easier to forget. The latest generation on the big screen debuted in 2009 and are now at their third adventure and movie together. The one big achievement of ‘Star Trek Beyond‘ may be the fact that the team is now coming together, the characters have slowly won the hearts and minds of the fans, and if they did not erase the memories of the members of the old crew (mission impossible!) they have become at least compatible with them and have now a life of their own.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2660888/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2660888/

 

Screen direction for this 3rd series is trusted in the hands of Taiwanese director  of ‘Fast and Furious’ glory. As one may expect there is a lot of action, speedy editing, special effects which to a large extent are different than the ones in other Star Trek films. As many critics and viewers noticed since the previous installments, Star Trek and Star Wars starts to converge to something that is less specific to the worlds that each of the movie comes from and is closer to the Hollywood big action movies of the 21st century. Do I like this trend? Not really, but I cannot but admire the art direction and set decoration. The cities of the future will be fantastic if they will look like in this film, these are no orthogonal worlds, there are no right angles, but a number of dimensions that largely exceeds the commonly accepted figure of three. It’s a cheap bet that some Academy Awards are around the corner for the technical categories.

(I had some problems with the 3D projection though, especially in the lower-lit scenes. I cannot comment if this was because of the film or of the conditions in the theater we saw the movie).

 

(video source Paramount Pictures)

 

What about the story? Characters development? Some new and original villains we can cheer and feel sorry at the same tine after the final fists fight? None of these happen in too large amounts in this movie, it’s only the cliche that seems to gin ground, although the film enjoys some acceptable acting from , , and . The connection between the new frontiers explored by J.J. Abrams and the good old world that was imagined by Gene Roddenberry is pretty casual. There is some retro-technology as the heroes use an older model of the Federation space-ships to flee a planet the Enterprise crushed on, and there are some memories of the new Spock for his father who does not appear but in photographs (the late Leonard Nimoy).

The difference between my generation of fans and the fans of today (some are our grandchildren) is the almost infinite number of options the younger folks are exposed to. Yes, there is some evolution, coalescence, more consistency in the characters of the latest film in the series. The question is whether this does not come too late.

 

As everybody is bracing for the second series of the new Star Trek series, I realized this is the right moment to see the first episode which somehow I missed a few years ago. I am a fan of the Star Trek TV series and movies, so there were little chances for me not to like this film. The passing of the torch from Gene Roddenberry who created the original series to J.J. Abrams makes a lot of sense to me, as I see in Abrams the successor of Roddenberry in creating science-fiction which keeps the right balance between science and fiction while adding human and in the best moments philosophical meanings to the action on screen, with an universal message that while the Universe may be infinite and the borders of knowledge just expect to be pushed further and further, the basic values that govern this Universe are the same, whatever form they wear.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366/

 

The story in this first series of Star Trek is a prequel to where the original series started in the 60s. Same as George Lucas did with Star Wars, we are being brought to an earlier phase of the conflict between the Federation and the Romulans, and we get to know all the familiar characters of the original series at an earlier age. Rigorous science was never the strong point of Star Trek, one accepts the conventions in order to enjoy the show, so the space travel as well as hint of alternate universes Abrams likes is used here as well, and it’s not necessary to analyze it too closely to find some flaws. What counts is however the way the young actors build their characters and how they drive them towards becoming what we know that they will be in the series that began back in the 60s. The effects around are pretty standard for the space wars kind of movies, and the old tricks like the ‘transporter’ have kind of a ‘retro’ look. Here lies actually part of the charm of this film, and this balances to some extent the ‘teens on space ships’ moments, or even the ‘intergalactic sex’ scene (yes, there is one, not too explicit, do not worry).

 

(video source muiemanelistilor)

 

The presence of Leonard Nimoy as old Mr. Spock living thanks to some time travel tricks to meet his young self played by Zachary Quinto ensures continuity and connects well with the older TV series. Young captain Kirk is played by Chris Pine and I probably need to wait for the next series to see how he evolves into the character of Kirk as I remember him. A few good actors I know from TV series (Karl Urban, John Cho) add good supporting acting to the cast. Reasonable action combines well with nostalgia, but this combustible is already burnt out completely in the first episode. I hope that the coming series will find something new and interesting that speaks not only to the captive audiences like myself but also to the broader ones who were less exposed to large doses of the older Star Trek series and movies.