Good Production Quality vs. Boring Plot: Do you Take the Gamble

Gambler

                The Gambler is a movie that promises another journey into the sullen underbelly of the gambling world. Often the hero, or mores o the zero, finds himself invincible on a lucky streak only to fall into a spiraling world of debt as his luck runs out. The outcome of the movie as we know often depends on the type of protagonist we get, and also if the tale is based on a “true story”. So when I saw Mark Wahlberg taking the lead on this project, I decided to take another trip down gambler’s lane in hopes of getting something fresh.

 

Unfortunately the verdict is the Gambler follows the same formula, focusing this time on a pessimistic bum as our supposed hero of the times. What is unique though is the approach this character takes to gambling. Wahlberg’s character Jim Bennett is one many will love to hate, as his rude, bleak mannerisms reflect his don’t give a crap attitude. Bennett pushes his luck, constantly playing the tables and irrationally gambling everything he has to prove some point. When he loses, he shows no remorse, almost as if he is planning on losing in order to bury himself further into trouble. At first it kind of set the scene, but the pompous attitude got old about halfway through. Now if there was a good explanation for his actions, perhaps I could have stayed on board and respected the man. This movie though has surprisingly shallow character development, especially when it comes to the Bennett’s background. Was it really the opening scene that started this fire? If so, there should have been a revelation as to why, but if not then I guess it was a symbolic character of how rotten the world’s morals are. Whatever the explanation, the character is overly morose and not one I actually was rooting for in this movie.

 

Speaking of morose, this film has very little optimism to it. The famous quote in the movie is if you don’t got the magic then you’ll never make it, and that attitude is embedded in just about everything Bennett teaches. What a horrible lesson to embed in a movie, practically saying if you aren’t the best you suck at life. The fact that we constantly get beat over the head with this dark aspect of life you can pretty much bet you’ll feel like a million bucks at the end of the movie. As if that wasn’t enough to bring you down, the focus of this essentially suicidal man sucks the energy out of the movie, only relieved temporarily with a few witty remarks and a few shots of actual sunlight. Combining all these factors makes for good dramatic tone, but also for a film that drags on with what appears to be no end in sight, especially with how far this man goes. Despite dragging it out though, there really is no suspense, all of the supposed bookies giving him a thousand chances to essentially crap on their respect, and have no consequences whatsoever. Why this was the case? I guess they were that desperate for the money, but the movie lacked any real suspense for me, with the exception of the last twenty minutes where things, kind of wrap up.

 

So what is good about this movie then? I agree with my fellow reviewers that the film is shot beautifully, the crew using ashy filters and lighting to capture that oh so sweet depression mood. Emotions come out in full force, and the bleak despair of a man who lost the light of the world is well captured in the camerawork. Most of you probably don’t give a crap about that though, so what else is there. Acting wise Wahlberg does a great job playing the sullen role, foregoing his usual street punk, ridiculous comedy stunts, for a more serious role, though he still has a few quips that had me chuckling. In both looks and delivery the man wins my approval, as he makes an endgame attempt at the Oscar award for best actor. Goodman as well does a great job in his role, the man doing so much for such a limited role, and his character is integrated well with the other loan sharks that swim in the city. Characters aside, the setting will give you that feel of being in the underbelly, Bennett’s journey taking you to just about every dive you could think of as a casino. Aside from that, the rest of the cast does a fine job acting, often providing some openings for a few good zings, occasionally spouting something out that’s funny.

Overall the Gambler is an okay film, but nothing I can really brag about. Yes the acting, filming, and setting are good, but it lacks a lot of key elements that I feel were needed to support such a bleak character. Fans of rogue, devil may care attitudes, or those in love Mark Wahlberg, might enjoy this tale, but for the rest of the public, avoid it and wait for Redbox. One word of advice if you do choose to see it, DON’T TAKE TODDLERS, OR IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN TO THIS MOVIE. If the F bomb doesn’t blow them away, I’m sure some other things will.

 

Scores are:

Crime/Drama/Thriller: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

 

Big Eyes On The Acting Prize

Big Eyes

            Tim Burton, a man with an odd look at the world, one that often is twisted into some nightmarish vision that speaks Halloween, or some occult motif. So you can bet I was surprised to see him as the director of his latest project entitled Big Eyes. Seeing the trailer for this film, I saw Amy Adams as the lead star, playing a role that looks to be right up her ally. Thus, I returned back to my home theater to write another review!

 

This movie is a Drama, but fortunately not one of those scandalous movies that use sex and affairs to “entertain” the audience. Instead, this one focuses on plagiarism, and lying for money, so life essentially. Margaret’s journey is one of those stories about a person defying the trend, becoming a stereotypical hero willing to take a risk to get her paintings recognized. The tale follows the same formula we’ve seen before, small success at first that quickly turns to dismay. One will be able to foresee what is coming, even if you haven’t read the true story. Predictable as the plot may be though, the movie itself is produced well and in a time efficient manner. The editing did a nice job organizing the scenes, giving us a dramatic build up without taking too long to get to the point. Yes, there was some tightening they could have done, a few of the suffering scenes left out if we are being honest. However, these scenes of suffering often have something else tagged on to help keep the plot going. Also it didn’t have the same Tim Burton strangeness that we have come to love, so don’t set your hopes high.

 

In addition to the good editing, Big Eyes has beautiful artwork scattered throughout the film. For those who love the arts of painting and drawing, you will fall in love with Ms. Keane’s work, admiring the uniqueness amidst the uniformity. Amidst the big eyed paintings, there are a few other styles thrown in to the fray, works that I find simplistic, but others may find…magical. I was more interested in the process of art, from pencil to painting it was intriguing to see the work unfold before me. Of course, it wouldn’t be real art movie if we didn’t get to see how that art was accepted. From pompous critics to the layman, you get the whole spectrum of the use of art in this capitalist world, pitting quantity vs. quality.

Even more impressive for me was the integration of the morals into the story. As her artwork evolved, Margaret found a niche in her Big Eyes that brought happiness, and money, despite the lack of credit. Of course popular trends led to a depreciation of art, leading to more cash and more misery for our leading lady. Namely as the paintings become more successful, the artist gets put more in the shadows, causing her to push herself to her artistic limits. The morals of inspiration, passion, and creativity are beaming in this movie, and great lessons for any who partake in the arts. As an added bonus, there is also a nice lesson of standing up for yourself, though it comes near the end after her limits are reached. Still, the audience, in particular the female members, will become empowered by this movie.

What really makes this movie come to life though is the acting. Adams in particular is the stalwart heroine we love to see. Noble, hardworking, and perseverant, this woman has all the qualities one would want when it comes to facing hard times. Yet, she isn’t a Marvel superhero, she has flaws that lead to her suffering, paralyzed from taking action due to fear of repercussions. I felt bad for the girl, hoping she would find the guts to send her con artist of a husband packing, or at least give him a good punch. Despite how strong she was though, Amy’s performance is only half the equation of this tale. The iconic Christoph Waltz plays his villainous side once more to perfection, bringing greed, selfishness, and lying to the table. Christoph sold me into his character’s skills, working the community for everything it was worth. At first you get disappointed at his antics, but as the movie goes on he evolves into a character you hate, most likely wishing for something bad to happen. Separate they are fantastic, but together they are even better. Unfortunately some of the other cast members are pushed to the side, but less screen time means less money spent, so cheers to that… I guess.

Big Eyes is one of the better dramas I have seen, especially in terms of editing and acting. This tale is not that original, and is predictable from a mile way, but hey what story isn’t these days. Fans of the either Waltz or Adams will love this movie, and those who are artists will find this movie incredibly relatable. Again, there are still some things that needed work, but it’s a good movie to check out at home. Is it worth a trip to the theater? For the acting yes, for the story maybe, but it doesn’t have the effects made for the silver screen.

 

My scores for Big Eyes are:

Biography/Drama: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Dare to Venture Into the Dark, Vague, Musical Woods?

Into the woods

            Tis the season for musicals, and Disney has released yet another holiday film to brighten up their day by putting more money in their pocket. This Christmas, thousands of people are flocking to the theaters to watch their latest masterpiece entitled Into the Woods. Director Rob Marshall has taken the liberties of making a movie version of the play, lining it with a star studded cast and special effects to hopefully craft a world America will fall in love with, and buy a crap ton of merchandise as well. So once again this reviewer has braved the crowds, in hopes of finding a treasure amidst the see of ordinary. What’s the verdict? You know what to do.

 

Likes: Marshall accomplished his goal in terms of special effects and setting, as the movie version of this tale is brilliantly brought to life. The forest is teeming with darkness, hidden threats lurking behind a seemingly innocent woodland. Marshall and his team give us two worlds in one setting, the transition occurring between day and night the latter of which is supposedly the most dangerous part. Nevertheless, the use of shadows, lighting and color are combined together to visually represent the woods, as well as the emotions tied with them. Another strong move was changing up the texture of the woods, forgoing the uniform span of trees, for a more realistic texture change of marshes, bogs, and clearings. This provides the audience a little more diversity, the clearings offering a sense of safety, while the bogs foreshadow danger. And what goes good with a good setting? Why good costumes, and this movie is chock full of wardrobes that fit the setting of a fairy tale village.

Outside of the visual effects though, what else does this movie have to offer? We start with the acting, with Meryl Streep leading the cast as the witch bringing an incredible spectrum of emotion to a typical role. Emily Blunt wins my favor with her cuteness and charm, playing the motherly role quite well and further showing the span of parts she can play. Of course her character would have paled had it not been for her film husband James Corden, who was my favorite of the bunch. The Baker had the best balance of comedy, story, and character of the whole bunch, Corden integrating himself into every aspect of the tale. This character was easy to latch onto for me, and kept me involved in the movie when my attention started to stray. Anna Kendrick did a nice job too, but not going to lie, not my favorite role for her, because her character was a little too… weak and atypical for the strong actress. The humor in this movie though relies heavily on the actors, and had me actually laughing because it was based on delivery, not stupid one liners.

Being a musical though, you probably want to know about the music. In all honesty this wasn’t my favorite soundtrack, most of the songs sounding very similar and overpowered by voices. I’m no expert at this genre, but I prefer to have a blend of instruments and voices in my songs to craft a tune, not just one or the other. A few songs like the opening tune, held a melody I liked, but I can’t say I’ll be buying the soundtrack. Instead I liked the emotion in the tunes, and how they were designed to tell parts of the story, or the thoughts of our beloved heroes. However, these songs were also a weakness for me.

 

Dislikes: One of the major weaknesses for me is that this musical relied too much on the music to tell the tale, and it got old for me. It seems like every five minutes a character was breaking out into the same tune, describing their emotions in a number that sometimes didn’t fit for me. You might be saying, “A musical is all about the music you moron!” I hear you, but when a soundtrack doesn’t click well for me or stand out, repetitive singing annoys me more than makes me dance. Luckily there is some comedy in a few of the melodies, more so at how ridiculous the characters were than anything else.

Speaking of characters, Into the Woods wide cast of characters is both good and bad for this reviewer. The character Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) was a pugnacious brat, who tried to be cute, yet had an edge to prove she was no weakling. Well for me, the only edge she had was being a little punk, whose high pitched voice made me cringe and whose songs just made me laugh. Running a close second is Prince Charming (Chris Pine) who was really nothing but sex appeal and temptation as he charmed the females of the audience. His story is shallow, very little involvement in the plot, and quite honestly a cheesy character. At least they got decent screen time though, because the legendary Johnny Depp, who after all the hype, did little in the movie other than sing one song. The same can be said for Rapunzel, whose tale was reduced to one of eye candy, cute snuggles, and two songs, much like a Nicholas Sparks movie.

Outside of the characters, the story itself is okay, but lacks a lot of detail, relying on songs to fill in the gap. The mystical giant’s world is never seen, only described in a little boys song, which was not my favorite song, and the giants themselves reduced to only some candid shots of CGI bodies. Jack’s story wasn’t the only partially told tales, as just about every tale ended abruptly or vaguely, in a rather rushed, often-dark tone. This dark theme was in almost every aspect of the movie; so if you thought this was another Frozen, go no further. The story was rather depressing, filled with important lessons yes, but the characters had to go through hell to learn them. Even the vague ending didn’t shed much hope, despite the dialog promising hope and a start of a new future. I guess when you go into a place like the woods one should expect the tale to be darker.

I had such high hopes for Into the Woods, but I think the presentation of the story is best left to the live show theater. The setting, special effects, and acting are fantastic, but the music didn’t do it for me, and the lack of closure was lost on me. Was it worth the hype? Not even close, but those who know what the film holds, or are big fans of musicals will most likely enjoy this tale. It has plenty of qualities for the theater, but I strongly ask you to think twice before taking kids to see it. My scores for this film are:

Comedy/Family/Fantasy: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5-.7.0

Diluted Adventure, for Comedic Bluffs, The Closing of the Museum

Another day, another sequel and this one is unfortunately another kids movie that shouldn’t have seen the light of day. I’m not against sequels mind you, but in most kids series seldom is any sequel as good as the first installment. This is the case for this past weekend’s release starring the ever wacky Ben Stiller and his posse of celebrities. Yes my friends we take another trip back to the museum, for another hopefully fun adventure amidst it’s hallowed halls. So sit back and read a late review of another Night at the Museum, the Secret of the Tomb.

 

Likes: One thing I have always liked with this series is the selection of exhibits they choose to bring to life, and the integration of their personalities. This installment brings the magic early on, bringing back familiar faces like Teddy (Robin Williams), Jed (Owen Wilson), and Octavius (Steve Coogan) in all their comedic glory. Amidst a grand speech, cool CGI effects are put into effect to bring the constellations alive that shine in all their cool blue light before chaos arises. Once we get to the London museum, more exciting things come alive, in the form of another CGI fossil, a mythical snake demon made of metal, and the warrior with golden locks Lancelot (Dan Stevens). The effects are fluid, the designs beautiful, and when actually integrated into the movie, more on that later, you get the fun feeling you got in the first movie. Unfortunately most of these objects are background, aimlessly wandering around the scene while the big boys come out to play.

Outside of the special effects there are some fun pokes at human society’s obsessions, especially at internet videos, pop culture, and of course ridiculous habits that celebrities have. Some of these jokes are well timed, often delivered in a manner that is quite funny. However, many of the jokes, as happens most of the time, lose their charm and the lack of any witty humor makes it pretty much just mindless rambling that kids will only enjoy. Oh sure it’s cute, but Hollywood needs to learn that more isn’t necessary funnier, in fact it’s the opposite. However, audiences allow them to get away with it, so what is the use in complaining.

Now past funny, this Night at the Museum has another emotional side to it, helping to teach the moral lesson of moving on in the magical theatrical way. With the use of orchestrated symphony work, well angled camera shots, decent writing, and of course great acting, I’ll admit I got that tingly feeling all over. No it’s not gas, but those looking for a life lesson reminder will get it in this film, and a decent closing to the series… I think. As for acting, well Stiller gets the most screen time on this one. The verdict, it’s alright… when he’s not acting like a buffoon, and the man has some surprising agility and giant snake battle skills. Most of the time he is a bumbling idiot, but given enough time he can pull out some other feelings that we saw in Meet the Parents. As for Williams, may he rest in peace, the man gave one brilliant performance despite his character being diluted from its previous glory.

 

Dislikes: A lot in this category for this reviewer. It starts with the adventure, which in the third installment has been diluted to a rushed set of sequences, hastily edited together to get out in time for Christmas. A shame since the tale had promise of suspense, timing, and mystery that could have tied so many things together. Instead, the story lacked any depth, quickly revealing the secret without so much a trial, a challenge, or even an argument, it was just handed right to them and a rather lame story as well. In addition, a lot of the suspense was missing in this film, with only an irregular decay in the tablet’s magic threatening our heroes. Speaking of which the cavalcade also lost their spunk, the strong willed character reduced to comedic boobs, some of which hardly utter a line, as Ben Stiller takes center stage. Such a shame indeed, but your kids will get a kick out of the simplistic journey, that is if they can sit in there seats… which some chose not to.

Instead the adventure was put aside for… comedy, or what passed for it in this movie. Yes there were a few zingers at first, but they quickly were lost to stupid rants of ridiculous arguing with his caveman doppleganger, stupid exchange of words with exhibits, and some rather awkward discussions with Rebel Wilson. Sure it happens once or twice I can handle it, but it just kept happening, even at the big, exciting climax, with the lame bad guy. Why can these films not realize the limits of tired jokes? I can’t answer it either, but sadly it took away from the movie. Perhaps this comedy was the reason why the characters were also a shell of their former glory, and why they were pretty much background characters with the new exhibits. Even the normally cute dynamic between father and son was bad, Hollywood choosing to make the son another lame teenager like most movies do. Is it accurate? Probably, but in a movie with magical tablets you would think a little magic could spread to the humans as well.

I’m not going to lie, this movie failed me on many levels, and disappointed me for the grand conclusion. Still, it is a cute film that kids will handle, and still holds a little of the spark that got me into the series. Worth a trip to the theater? Not really, but if you wish to pay homage to a few of the stars I wouldn’t blame you. My scores for this film are:

 

Adventure/Comedy/Family: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Fun Soundtrack and Adventure

It’s another day in the world of remakes as Hollywood churns out another rendition of a beloved film. This time it is in the form of a beloved musical that focused on an energetic, somewhat annoying, redhead named Annie. In this film, the redhead has been replaced with a lead who had twice the volume, and more of an attitude to lead the assorted cast. Now I’m not a die hard fan of the first film, but I will admit that the trailers did not paint a good picture for this film. A lot of doubts lowered my expectations of what was in store, but nevertheless I scoped out the latest holiday musical. So let’s kick into Annie shall we?

 

Director Will Gluck has designed this rendition with a modernized twist, trading in the tap dancing numbers for ones with a little more hip hop kick. Fans that like a bass driven track will enjoy the upbeat dances placed throughout the film, while others will enjoy the slower paced tunes that have a bit more emotion, and instrumental work. Quvenzhané Wallis has a majority of the numbers, and the girl has some pipes and attitude that bring her solos to life. Surprisingly even the talented Jamie Foxx has his own style in the form of an R&B like approach that is smooth, suave, and very fitting for most of his songs. The only thing that may make you cringe is Cameron Diaz’s attempts at singing Hannigan’s parts, which was only tolerable once drowned out by the chorus music. Regardless of which style, this reviewer feels your family, especially your young ones, will enjoy the autotuned spunk the soundtrack has, and the fun numbers that coincide with it. What does this also mean for the world? Another soundtrack that many kids will continue to repeat over and over again, hopefully not to the extent of Frozen’s soundtrack, or so I pray.

 

Outside of the musical numbers, Annie is a cute movie that is fun adventure for the young and young at heart. The young orphan’s adventure spans the city streets of New York to capture the dingy, poor slums that many know the series for. I agree with other reviewers that the beginning part is dull, though necessary, as it sets the stage. Many of the numbers are thrown in to get the soundtrack started, and some of the scenes are pointless, in particular the school scene, as they are dropped in an instance. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for the young girl to run in Mr. Stacks (Foxx) who drags us out of the grey and into the HEEEEEEY! Once the two are united, the real fun begins as we take a ride in the luxury side. The incredible penthouse is just the first stop of impressive delights, with a technological set many dream about owning. Following the luxurious home come premiers, fancy restaurants, and helicopter flights all well built to actually have a purpose in the film. Unlike some films that develop backstories and characters with boring, often overdramatic, scenes of randomness, this tale keeps the adventure going as our characters are driven to new roles. While this keeps the movie going, there are some flaws to the editing namely some over sappy moments and a rather pointless dance number near the end that was a bit overdone. Also some rather big events in the movie are blown over, somehow the characters miraculously getting over their problems in a span of seconds. Like how realistic is that? How close to the original is it? There are many references to the old one, and the framework is there, but this rendition has enough of its own flavor that diverges from its predecessor.

 

Another important component to this movie is the acting. Wallis shows her talents once more, and brings the sass, smart mouthed edge to the role that was needed for modern day audiences. Despite her street smarts, Wallis still can bring out a vulnerable side to the character, though sometimes looses the emotion mid-scene and becomes a little monotone. Leading lady Rose Byrne brings her charm to the film, and her kind elegance enlightens the role. Her sweet disposition was perfect for the assistant role, and helps bridge all the characters together in a fun manner. My only flaw with her, is her jokes are always drawn out displays, of awkward comments that lack timing, or originality despite her good delivery. As for Foxx, let’s just say the man saves the film, bringing well timed jokes, grand theatrics, and an attitude that makes the character of Stacks. Yet, the man also has the ability to span a variety of emotions from selfish ignorance, to concerned fear, showing he is a chameleon of acting. Unfortunately for Cameron Diaz, the woman is lacking balance in her latest role, falling into an overacted, and ridiculously silly. She puts too much emphasis in her lines, and did not play the drunk role well, rather just an uncoordinated mess with an ugly temper. Yeah Hannigan is supposed to be like this, but the old one has a much better delivery in my opinion. Diaz does get better as the movie continues on as her character evolves from the orphans lessons.

 

Modern day Annie is a fun adventure for the family, and has some great comedic moments that had me laughing. It is entertaining to see the exciting life the rich can lead, and even more entertaining to poke fun at modern day obsessions. Yes it is different from the classic, but if you give this a chance you can enjoy this simplistic, predictable film and the positivity it radiates. Is it worth a trip to the theater? Not even close, but take a peek at it when it hits redbox in a few months. My scores are:

 

Comedy/Drama/Family: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Battle of Imbalanced Editing

hobbit 3

 

Seems forever ago since the epic journey of Middle Earth appeared on the silver screen. Young Frodo joined a merry band of misfits, warriors, and hunks to deliver the small trinket of a ring to the fiery forges of Mount Doom. Of course it wasn’t enough to end on the high note of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, no he had to go and make a new trilogy of the Hobbit. I’ll admit there are ups and downs of this series, especially with the slowness some of these films have had, but the battle of five armies was a title that promised action and excitement that I so longed for. Does this movie live up to the praise the trailers call for, or does Jackson drop the ball on what is supposed to be his final installment. Read on to find out.

 

The Battle of Five Armies opens up with a fiery blaze, as fifteen minute opening of Smaug’s descent on the city fills you in high definition “glory” that could have easily been integrated in the last moments of Hobbit 2. Jackson’s hasty integration of the opening scenes was a let down for me, the epic moments diluted by some sloppy, albeit graphically impressive, sequences that left me wanting more. From there the action lessens, and we are bombarded with a massive medieval soap opera, that does a nice job of portraying the descent into madness. Yes it provides a nice build up and character developing opportunities, but the editing could have left a few dragged out dialogues for the director’s cut. Eventually the epic action promised is given to you in the form of the final battle, which at first is a slew of computer generated, grey blobs that seem to only know how to run into each other. Occasionally the mayhem gains some clarity in a few of the soldiers getting some epic moves, or some poor animal steeds meeting a rather graphic end (hello animal rights enthusiasts). Unfortunately the battles lack any real teamwork and personalization that the others have, and misses that detailed touch I love so. However, when the war hits its peak, you get the personalized action that I wanted, filled with well choreographed swordplay between dressed up actors and CGI monsters. All of this ends with a decent ending, that ties up some loose ends, and transitions to the opening of the first series.

 

If you haven’t guessed yet, my biggest problem with this movie is the editing and choices Jackson made with this tale. Some of the moments were just extra baggage, details that avid fans can go reread or see in a director’s cut later on. What was even worse was the placement of some of these scenes, especially Thorin’s descent into madness in the middle of battle. I came to see fighting dang it, not the internal thoughts of a man suffering from “dragon’s sickness” with repeated audio clips. Yet Jackson decided to stuff the movie with overdramatic moments, some of which hit home and others a little ridiculous. Oh well, I do have to admit that despite the length and predictability, Jackson does nice work with his characters, though many of the dwarves in this movie are put on the far backburner and hardly catch any screen time.

 

Perhaps I wouldn’t be too upset if the action was actually up to the level Lord of the Rings had, but sadly this movie failed to reach the same threshold. As mentioned earlier, Jackson chose the 3-D high quality film, but skimped on some of the visuals, choosing to put swarms of CGI bodies entangled. Despite their being five armies, the teamwork amidst the races was at an all time low, and strategic moves were essentially absent, replaced with mindless slashing. Sure some of the commanders had some impressive displays of swordmanship, but it paled in comparison to some of the proceeding stunts. Don’t get me wrong, there were some awesome fights near the end, but these epic battles began to evolve into a prolonged mess of ridiculous dives, mindless flaying, and rather lackluster finishes.

Another weakness is how convenient/inconsistent some of the qualities were.   My point starts with the joke “How many slashes does it take to kill an orc?” The answer, it depends on the orc. Full clad monsters fell with one or two slashes, but others took quite a punishment and still were able to bite back. However, giant bats and trolls could fall with a few arrows or a hit to the head, that is definitely a stretch of fantasy. In addition, how the tide of the war changed was a bit cheesy as well, especially the lack of any strategy or surprise with the introduction of the fighters. For this reviewer, I also found some of the combatants pointless in the fight, many making an appearance for a few seconds before being lost to another sequence of Thorin, Bilbo, or Bard. Of course one other thing is the predictable foreshadowing of the fights, namely in who will be killed.

I’ve had a lot of complaining in this review, but let me review a few of the positive qualities of this film. Jackson has done a great job with the casting, the acting in particular well executed by the entire staff. Richard Armitage does the part of the mad dwarf thorin quite well, capturing both insanity and honor in a very diverse manor. Martin Freeman once again plays Bilbo incredibly, bringing a lot of the comedic relief in a rather dark film, yet also getting rather emotional. Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly were beautiful as always, but unfortunately their characters took more of a backseat to the madness at hand, with not only their skills, but characters downgraded in this installment. Acting aside, the high definition footage is clean and crisp, the musical score beautifully set to the movie, though some of the tracks are starting to annoy me, and the comedy in the film is surprisingly good. The emotions in this movie are strong, though again some parts cheesy, and some parts rather moving.

Overall Hobbit 3 is a well put together movie, with a little bit of everything for the avid movie goer. With things like high quality video, a great score, and character development with action in between, one will get a nice conclusion to the adventure. The main problem is the editing, in that Jackson still needs to work on cutting out extra fat, straying from swarming armies, and working on the timing of his scenes. Is this movie worth the hype? It’s good, but not worth all the hype Hollywood is pumping into it. Still worth a trip to the theater though, especially for those who love the series.

 

My scores for this film are:

Adventure/Fantasy: 8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5-8.0