Friday, May 26, 2006

X-Men & Da Vinci Code: A Double Movie Review!

Ok, I promise. After this there wont be movie-reviews for a long time. Frankly thought about posting one of the stories here, but then shelved it. Anyways, today was an eventful day. Saw two exteremely hyped movies. Had my cents to share, so without much ado here it is!

PS: Spoilers ahead. Just scroll down to the Da Vinci Code review... there is nothin much to spoil there.

X-MEN : The Last Stand**

Iam a sort of moderate X-Men fan. Moderate because I havent read a lot of X-Men comics, but two of my closest friends are junkies for the series. It was largely their enthusiasm which swept me to go see the movie, 1st day... 1st show.

The first two movies... well, frankly had not stood out for me. A lot of characters were missing. Storylines were slightly weak (especially the first movie) and it had the typical Hollywood treatment, where the true essence of the comic strip was often lost.

Not now. Maaaan! This was THE real thing. In my opinion, it was the best superhero movie ever! Has a very tight script, which takes off right from the last movie where Jean Grey is lost in the flood after the dam broke. (if u havent watched the previous movie... it's ok, nothing much to relate to there)... she is rediscovered, and just as in the comics the darker side of her psyche's tremendous powers are revealed. The Phoenix Force!

The special effects are seen to be believed. The Phoenix Force is just SO... SO powerful, man it just blows your mind off! Anyhow, the story goes that a new "cure" for the mutant phenomenon is discovered, owing largely to the abilities of a rather strong mutant kid who's power is basically that he can suppress the mutant gene in other mutants around him! Or rather... he can cure mutants.

I wont give away much of the plot. But the action sequences are brilliant. Acting is top-notch except for the kid who plays Iceman. He constantly looks constipated. And the whole iceman-rogue-shadowcat triangle seems a little jarring with the flow of the movie.

The movie also shows us some of the more incredible powers of the X-Men, in effect upholding the essence of the comics rather than hollywoodising the whole deal! There is a sequence where Magneto rips a whole bridge and transports it across the river. Some people might say that's too much, but comic-lovers would instantly relate to that. Magneto has powers which can rip apart cities!

The bringing in of characers which are the core of the series like - the Beast, Angel, Juggernaut, etc. Also a lot of interesting characters are brought in. They all have their bits to do, makes for a very interesting watch.

Freaky-Chakra's Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Highlight of the Movie: The last sequence, where Wolverine is the only one who can step up to the massive Phoenix Force amidst the destruction. It's brilliant! Just makes you wanna go & grow claws! Argggh...

THE DA VINCE CODE

Ever watched a movie which you felt that was not going to stand up to expectations... then as the film ends, credits roll & you step out of the theatre, you start absorbing it in totality and realise just how BIG the movie is. You realise how wrong your initial modest expectations from the movie were. You realise that this movie was such a colossal piece of crap that "feeling let down" is not the point of contention... it's whether you can retain your sanity thereafter!

I mean I havent read the novel. And if it is anything like the shoddy shitfest the movie is, then my decision not to read it stands vindicated. I mean dont get me wrong, even in this massacre of an adaptation I could figure out what was essentially a very racy, compact and thrilling historical mystery.

But let me assure if that is what you go looking for in the movie... you shall not feel any of the mentioned things... not once during the whole movie. How someone like Ron Howard manages to make a movie that has such a potentially strong thrilling script, into one which during its entire length never - AND I MEAN NEVER - thrills.

It just goes on and on and on like a drab Doordarshan broadcast you are forced to watch when the cable tv connection is down. Tom Hanks, great actor... does absolutely nothing in the movie. Why he chose such a poorly scripted film? I can only guess, he has too much money already.

All the other actors in the film are equally confused and ineffective. Cannot really fault them much, because quite simply the script does not bring out any kind of characterisation for them to feed off. The whole movie is just a chronicle of the events that take place in the novel... no character development, no nothing.

And just precisely why does a kind of vision thingie regarding planets & solar-system comes to Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) when he cracks the code, is still something I cant guess. I understand the whole Newton logic which he explains later, and maybe there is some more sound analogy in the novel... but the shitty, forced use of effects here just has to seen to be believed.

But dont take the "seen to be believed" seriously. You can easily pass this one & then later smirk at your friends and say - "Haha, suckers!'.

Freaky Chakra Rating: N.A.
Highpoint of the Movie: Go ask Ron Howard!