21 December 2014

Final "Hobbit" Review: "The Battle of the Five Armies"


Tradition! For the past two years I've watched and reviewed The Hobbit movie installments as part of my holiday break, so I knew I had to finish with the third and final part, The Battle of Five Armies.

My Unexpected Journey review (which I now realize was actually written on Facebook, not here) was a summary of my thoughts while watching the film. My Desolation of Smaug review was the same, plus a transcript of my second son's enthusiastic commentary. (You can read both here.) This year I convinced my elder son to join us by suggesting he bring a blanket to hide under, which is what he normally does at home. (For him, a security blanket isn't so much a specific baby relic as it is any random screen against scary things on TV. For the record, he's a bigger fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings than my other son.) At the last minute my daughter begged to come, too, effectively making it a whole family affair - not to mention earning us a few looks and comments for bringing such young children to this movie. Don't tell anyone we did a LotR marathon last New Year's.

As expected, our daughter wasn't scared, but bored, and proved something of a distraction - mostly because of how much I worried she was being a distraction. I may have missed a few things as a result. Also, aside from a few enraged outbursts from my son about neglecting to warn him who would die (I did, by the way; we read the book this year), I was the one providing most of the spoken commentary. I'm sure this was mildly irritating for my brother, but sitting next to him in the theater was another requisite of this three-year limited tradition.

So, on to the summary! It probably goes without saying, but beware of spoilers.

26 August 2014

So I Finally Saw "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"


I never made it to see this in theaters, but instead chose blockbusters with higher ratings from critics. It's too bad. While I was repeatedly disappointed by those movies, this one actually exceeded my expectations. I guess that goes to show I should stop paying attention to the critics.

I agree it has its problems, but I still had a hard time finding things not to like about this movie. A second viewing might reveal more, but for now I can number them with the fingers on one hand - mainly just a few silly plot points. Narrative and tone took a lot of hits from critics, but I found the movie very well balanced. Sure, there are several plot threads to follow, but haven't we come to expect that from this genre? Isn't it one thing we like about this genre? What's more, they develop alongside each other, so that no character arc or subplot feels too sudden or convenient. We know where it's going and just get to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Or dread it, knowing the tragic fate beforehand.