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Prince of Persia—Orion’s Take

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

This is not the worst fantasy action-comedy romp I’ve ever seen.  That dubious distinction goes to the absolutely terrible “Clash of the Titans.”  That being said, the only positive things I can say about this movie is that it gathers a lot of talent, talent absolutely wasted on a movie like this.

The plot is worse than the plot of the video game, which is a new low for action movies in general.  Basically, the Prince of Persia is framed for his father’s death, and there are a series of twists (which obscure nothing at all, because the true villain is obvious from the get-go), which reveal a villain, who then almost wins, but is foiled by the brave efforts of the Prince.  This somehow is wrapped up in the last 20 minutes into a nice, happy ending, despite the fact that everyone, even the Prince, dies at some point in the movie.

While the action scenes do well enough, Jake Gyllenhaal is lackluster and is short his usual charm in his turn as the young Prince of Persia.  With no plot dedicated to the explication of the Prince’s character, Gyllenhaal is forced to play two radically different characters: the brash and arrogant Prince of the beginning, and the heroic, romantically minded Prince of the end.  This explains why he looks so confused all the way through.  Ben Kingsley, why oh why did you choose to do this movie?  It’s a waste of your talents to play a one-dimensional character like Nizam.  You aren’t even given any action scenes, except at the end.  As for Gemma Arterton, I have no idea why she agrees to take up these stock female roles in fantasy action movies (Io in “Clash of the Titans,” anyone?).  Nothing to see here.  The only redeeming facet of this film is the rather humorous Alfred Molina, who tries with all his might to offer the audience a few laughs.  The fact that he succeeds tells you more about his acting ability than about the humorous touch of the screenwriter.

And to answer the question you are all thinking, yes, this movie is worse even than Eclipse.

2/5 Waffles

-Orion

Tron – Orion’s Take

December 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Tron: Legacy is beautiful nonsense.  When the Grid pops out in 3D, when the light bikes explode in a glorious explosion of psychedelic colors, there is nothing in your head besides Daft Punk’s excellent soundtrack.

I’d love to expound on the merits and flaws of this film, but truthfully speaking this movie is nothing but fluff.  The graphics are incredible, as expected from a movie with a $175 million budget.  The acting is passable (with the noted exception of Olivia Wilde’s turn as Quorra, which is bad only because the script gave her no room to act), and after all, the great Jeff Bridges does a lot of the lifting (acting as protagonist and antagonist both).  The script is absolutely terrible, but hey, that’s not why you go to watch this movie.  One major minus is that the fight scenes are rather bad, however, as a fluff movie usually has to have some really good fight scenes.

But let me say that what saved this film from being a total waste of time.  First, I cannot explain to you how pretty this movie is.  Watching it in 3D was comparable to watching Avatar in 3D, and truthfully I preferred Tron.  Secondly, there is one sunset scene that contrasts perfectly with the darkness and pulsing neon lights of the Grid.  It occurs at the end of the movie, and acts as a kind of detox that allows you to walk out of the theater without a headache: a thoughtful touch that I appreciated after 2 hours of graphical chaos.

In the end, how much you will like this movie will depend on how much you like eye candy.  If it is just enough to withstand a ridiculous plot and half-hearted acting, this will be a treat.

3/5 Waffles

-Orion

A lack of legacy, logic, and layers – “Tron: Legacy”

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Once upon a time, in 1982, there was a breakthrough movie named “Tron” – it employed state of the art technology and quickly became a cult classic.  Now, 28 years later, we have its sequel, “Tron: Legacy,” which unfortunately comes too late for fans of the original and too early for a new generation of fans.  I never knew Tron was a real game until Orion described it as “like snake but with multiple snakes” and certainly wasn’t familiar with the original movie.

The basic story behind “Tron” is that twenty years ago, Sam Flynn’s father, Kevin Flynn, vanished.  Now grown, Sam stumbles across the Grid, a dark world illuminated only by fluorescent streaks.  His father has been trapped there, and it is up to him, a program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and his father himself to get back to the real world and stop antagonist Clu from taking over the world!

First, there is no doubting the film’s visual beauty.  This is the best use of 3D that I have encountered; the world of the grid truly comes to life.  Some of the film is even purposely filmed in 2D, to present a contrast to the 3D parts of the film.  But however much depth we might perceive the film’s visuals to have, the story is cardboard-thin.

Discussing the movie afterwards, we agreed that it felt like the story was forcibly pressed to fit the backstory that was already present.  What was especially hilarious was the technology mumbo jumbo rattled off by Kevin Flynn – his mumblings about ‘digital DNA’ set off a series of giggles in my friend Kathy Huang and I, which subsequently set off a series of shushes and elbow prods from Orion.

Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund, is supposed to be almost thirty years old, although Hedlund himself only looks a young twenty-something.  We were joined in the theatre by eight kids and their parents, and I wasn’t sure who the movie was more directed towards.  Olivia Wilde was especially miscast as Quorra – the character is evidently meant to be naively awkward, but with Wilde, it was just plain awkward; it didn’t work.  I’m missing out on good movies so far this holiday season; really looking forward to “The King’s Speech” with high expectations.

Overall, 2/5 – see it in 3D for some awesome graphics, but otherwise, skip this sequel.  Throughout the whole movie, we never even see the eponymous Tron’s face.

Best regards,

Apple

And the videogame!

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