Movies, movies and more movies

I can't say it was an unproductive weekend. Although saucy fantasy fiction writing unfortunately took a backseat, I got some blogging done, as well as some work on my continuing big freelance job and even got the latest Girlz 'N' Games comic sketched, inked and coloured - just in time for online debut later this week.

In terms of pop culture though, this past week was all about film. In fact, in 6 days I made 3 trips to the cinema. Along with the movies on the big screen though I also watched 2 DVDs.

Doomsday is in essence a post-apocalyptic action movie. However, it is also one of the most bizarre genre mash-ups you will ever experience. This British film (starring Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell) starts off like 28 Weeks Later, then becomes Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome before transforming into, I dunno, Excalibur, before a little more Mad Max - this time The Road Warrior. Doomsday is also the most gory movie I have seen since Wrong Turn 2 Unrated, and that's saying something. Human flesh is barbecued in close up, limbs and heads are hacked off with regularity and even a few bunnies explode in a shower of blood and guts.

Doomsday starts off fun but after a while - probably the point in which Mitra's character engages in gladiatorial combat with a fully armored medieval knight - the deliberate B-grade ridiculousness becomes a bit much. Then again, perhaps Doomsday jumped the shark much earlier during its run time, when the heroes outrun a gang of cannibal punk bikers on a steam train.

Planet 51 by contrast was a pleasant surprise. This science-fiction-themed CGI-animated film doesn't come from any of the major studios but it features some fantastic animation and very intelligent world design. You see, Planet 51 is an inverted take on the alien invader scenario. In this case it's a cocky human astronaut who lands on an alien world much like 1950's Mid-Western America, and proceeds to cause all kinds of hysteria.

Although Planet 51's storyline and humour are quite weak, the film is packed with clever references - both verbal and visual - to various sci-fi classics. It's a treat for fans of the genre, and I'm tempted to say that I enjoyed it more than last year's other animated tribute to B-grade 1950's sci-fi, Monsters Vs. Aliens.

As for cinema visits this weekend, on Friday evening I watched How to Train Your Dragon in 3D. You should know the drill by now - my full review will appear on this blog very shortly. For now though I'll say that How to Train Your Dragon is surprisingly sincere animated entertainment for the whole family. If you're looking for Madagascar-style wackiness you won't find it here. What you will find though is an emotionally engaging tale (not as affecting as Up, however) with some exciting action sequences and well thought out character design.

Speaking of exciting action sequences, on Sunday evening, I finally got to watch this year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker. I'm pleased to report that The Hurt Locker is a very good film. It's not quite at the classic war movie level of, say, Full Metal Jacket, but it's a masterful exercise in tension nonetheless - combining engrossing subject matter (military bomb disposal in Iraq) with excellent performances, editing and cinematography. If you liked Black Hawk Down in particular, I think you'll like The Hurt Locker. Just expect a very different type of action.

Out of interest though, and I found this truly bizarre, over 10 people walked out of the screening I attended.


Riaan said…
Also got to see How To Train Your Dragon this weekend, in 3D! Unfortunately the 3D didn't add that much to the movie for me, I guess I expected more (or was spoiled rotten by Avatar's 3D :p )

The movie itself, however, was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was disappointed when it finally had to end, made me feel like a laaitie again!

Weird about the people walking out of The Hurt Locker, guess they expected something different after all the hype. Their loss.

Haven't seen Doomsday, yet, but I'm sucker for post-apocalyptical/horror stuff, so I'll look around for it.

P51 was a lot of fun, I haven't seen the whole movie, only caught the last half of it while vegging out on my cousin's couch due to my slight post-Ramfest hangover, but the little I saw was quite cool.
Tim said…
Having never watched a movie in 3D before, I was particularly disappointed with that aspect of How to Train Your Dragon. It certainly doesn't make me want to rush out to watch other 3D movies just for their 3Dness. I'll take your word for it that the 3D in Avatar was better.
Pfangirl said…
Thanks for commenting, guys.

Riaan, I'm still stumped about people walking out of Hurt Locker because it's not even close to being a bad movie. It has a few dull patches but I didn't find anything obviously offputting about it. Other people I know who've seen the film said the same thing happened at their screenings.

Tim, there seems to be a lot of movies that have 3D versions at the moment, but very few films that fully capitalise on the format without it being gimmicky and obvious. Avatar and Coraline in my personal experience are the only 2 films that have really used 3D to the best of its capabilities.

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