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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mini Movie Reviews

I wrote this a few days ago, but forgot to save it. And, well…you know the rest of that story. Let's try this again.

National Treasure 2: This was good as escapist fare goes. Our intrepid heroes spanned the globe tracking down clues that will vindicate Ben Gates' (Nicolas Cage) great-great-grandfather of masterminding Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

In this movie we went to London, Paris, Washington DC, Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore. There wasn't a lot of original content, but it was fast paced and it was fun trying to figure out what their next moves would be.

I wasn't crazy about Ed Harris as the bad guy. Not that he did a bad job, but his role was bland and nonproductive. He was cast as a device to set the plot in motion. But I thought it was a little too contrived and weak as a catalyst.

The best scenes were with Jon Voight and Helen Mirren as Ben's parents. They were hilarious! And it was nice to see older people cast in a positive and meaningful way.

See this at the theater so you can get the full cinematic experience of the vistas, but this is fine as a rental.

PS: Page 42 in the Presidents' Book of Secrets sets the stage for the sequel. They do nothing more than mention it, which was a bummer. It would have been more delicious if they could have at least teased us a little more with some hints.

The Golden Compass: After all the hullabaloo about this movie, I expected some grand scheme in the works for subverting our minds and making us all atheists. I haven't read the book so I can't say how true the movie was to the book, but it felt as if the story was compressed in order to make it fit within the allotted time.

Did it cast the Catholic Church as the bad guy? I think it tried, but it was hardly worth the press it received. It was a tad preachy and manipulative, but no more than most commercial ventures. I went for the CGI, myself.

Ian McKellen was the voice of the polar bear, Iorek, and he did a very fine job. Loved the polar bear sequences and the short but memorable witches' scenes. Dakota Blue Richards as the little girl, Lyra was wonderful. A very tough little girl who takes matters into her own hands. I love protagonists that take charge.

Nicole Kidman oozed with wickedness and manipulation, but Daniel Craig was lukewarm. I expected more out of him. Sam Elliott was a hoot! I also loved his daemon, a jack rabbit. As a matter of fact, it was the daemons that gave each character so much color. They were just as important in the makeup of each character.

I liked The Golden Compass. It was a little predictable. (I am hoping the book wasn't quite so obvious.) The preaching was tolerable, offset by the killer special effects and the very colorful daemons, polar bears and witches.

It's fine as a rental, but you'll get more out of it on the big screen.

For fun, The Golden Compass movie site has a quiz that will pair you up with your daemon. Be honest with your answers. That's the whole point of having a daemon.

My profile says that I am modest, shy, assertive, responsible and solitary; therefore my daemon is the tiger. And his name is Araphon. (cool name!)

Go here to find out what your daemon is. (Click on Daemons)


Kaz Augustin said...

Thanks for the reviews, Maria. Those two movies are on my list. I picked up Pullman's books on Fictionwise when they were 50% but haven't had a chance to read them yet. They're still 20% at the Fictionwise end-of-year sale, so pop on by before Dec 31st, if you're interested.

My daemon is Philon, and he's a tiger too. I'm supposed to be modest, responsible, a leader, assertive and inquisitive. Must be the first time I've ever been called modest! LOL

Have a great New Year. I'm sure we'll do lots of catching up in 2008. I'm glad we met.

Maria Zannini said...

I'm not surprised you got the tiger. It fits you.

--I'm glad we met.
Me too! :o)

Mike Keyton said...

just for the record, the first two books are first class - whatever message there is subsumed by the plot. It's the final book - The Amber Spyglass that Pullman metamorphoses into to Steven Dawkins and a strident message hijacks the plot. IMO :)

Maria Zannini said...

No kidding? Good to know. I think I'd like Pullman's books from the short excerpts I've read, so I might plunk down some cash for the first one and see if he delivers as good as the preview.

Thanks, Mike.

Maya Reynolds said...

Well, we now have a trio of tigers. Mine said I was assertive, competitive, inquisitive and a leader.

His name is Anicetos.

Maria Zannini said...

>>Well, we now have a trio of tigers.
Not surprising at all. LOL!

There are days when I could use a tiger at my side.

Maya Reynolds said...

I've got your back, girl.

Maria Zannini said...

LOL! Ditto.