Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Remake, A Re-imagining, and Drawing Inspiration.

Today, I woke up with a plan, and the motivation to follow through with it. It isn't anything big, but it's the sort of thing I've been incapable of doing for months and months, and the reason I'm so excited for my coming shift change. What was my plan? Make a much needed trip to the movies. YES! The movies! At last! For those of you who don't know what makes me tick, who don't know what things spin my top, allow me to enlighten you. First and foremost, before everything else, I'm a movie lover. A Film Connoisseur so to speak. A Move Buff, and at the end of the day, I'm not happy unless I'm regularly seeing movies, which are new to me, and expanding the universe inside my head. I've seen maybe four movies in the past four months, and two of them were today, and that just doesn't cut it. The good news is, it won't have to anymore. I'm not there yet, but I'm almost back on track and moving in the right direction in my life, and along with everything else, going to watch new movies on a regular basis is definitely going to be a coming practice for me.

So with that said, I wanted to share my opinions on the two movies I watched today, because frankly I have nothing better to do, and I am trying to get myself back into the swing of making these Blog posts. Part one of my doubleheader was the recently released film Fright Night 3D. Usually it's my stance to avoid 3D movies like the black plague, and until today I completely had. Unfortunately, with the new 3D Gimmick, instead of having a movie airing every hour of the day at a theater, they have separate theaters for the normal version and the 3D version. Even better, it seems like the normal versions are sharing time with other movies, so when I sat down to check out movie times, there was no way to work out watching both movies unless I saw one of them in 3D. Now, I don't know about the second film, but I knew that Fright Night was actually filmed using 3D cameras so I felt that would definitely be the one to see if I absolutely HAD to see one in 3D. So, I did. For the first time in my life, I paid the extra five bucks for a gimmick.

Yup... I did it... And much to my chagrin, I was absolutely won over. I still maintain that I will never see a Post-converted 3D movie, but when it comes to films specifically shot in 3D I'm not sure I will ever go back. Let's talk about the actual movie for a minute first, though. Fright Night is a remake of a campy horror flick from the 80's starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale (Who?! Oh! The Guy from Mannequin Two! Wait... this makes me gay, doesn't it?), Roddy McDowell, Amanda Bearse, and Stephen Geoffreys. Now, I'm not sure if back in 1985 this was considered a Star-Studded cast or not, because I was three years old, and honestly didn't see this movie until last year. Having seen it so recently, though, I feel like I'm in a good position to offer an opinion in regards to how good of a remake the new Fright Night really is. Because sometimes, a movie calls itself a remake but completely fails to live up to the awesomeness of the original film (See Death Race or Arthur).

In the case of Fright Night 3D, I have to say that the movie lives up to and even surpasses the original in almost every way. And you know, while the story holds up, I think the real reason this movie succeeds beyond the previous was the casting. While the three teen roles played by Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse could have been given to anyone and probably been equal or better than the originals, but the shoes of Sarandon and McDowell were big ones to fill. As such, in my opinion, the success of this movie was always going to rise and fall on the performances of Colin Farrell as the exceptionally creepy vampire Jerry, and David Tennant as the exceptionally ridiculous vampire expert Peter Vincent. Colin Farrell rose above and beyond my expectations by far. He was just as intimidating and simultaneously intriguing as Sarandon was in the role, brought took the vampiric lust for blood to a new level. Once you see Jerry in the new Fright Night, you'll never look at Edward seriously again. Jerry doesn't sparkle. He rips out your throat. He doesn't meet young girls in High School, he kills their families and drains them for dinner. And on the other end of the spectrum, Tennant plays Vincent as less of a complete and total fraud, and more as a subdued douche bag with a past he's been running from his entire life.

While Fright Night was a bit shorter than I would have liked (what movie isn't these days?) it was a perfect balance of story, acting, suspense, and 3D cinematography... which may have been the true star of the film, frankly. Having never seen a 3D movie before, I was a total nonbeliever until my week at Comic-Con last month. During my time at Hall H, I actually got to view some of the Fright Night footage with 3D glasses, and got my first taste at how a 3D camera can work with a normal movie. Set in a suburb of Las Vegas, there is nothing specific about the story of Fright Night that screams MUST BE 3D! But I think that's actually the point. Watching the movie, it was clear in the first 5 minutes that the role of 3D in Fright Night was to add texture and depth unlike anything I had ever experienced. Every scene I was pulled deeply in, even if there was little more than two teens making out on a bed going on. Every single time the camera panned left or right, or zoomed in or out, the world of the film came to life. While super HD makes movies seem "Real" in that it removes the film quality and makes it seem like you're watching real people in front of a camera, this 3D experience actually draws you in and makes you feel like you're there. One specific sequence you're riding along in a car, racing down a dark road at night, and as the actions in the scene take place, it's as if you're experiencing them along with the actors.

Really, it was quite surreal.

I would most definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a fun time. I'm not the type of person who puts a lot of weight in a movie being "Good" over "Entertaining" because in my book, if you have one, you have the other. If you can blow the extra money, though, I think it's a MUST SEE in 3D and you'd be doing yourself a serious disservice if you don't. It can be a bit bloody at parts, but if I could stomach it, anyone can, since everyone who knows me knows that I don't do gory horror movies.

Unfortunately for the next movie, Fright Night was a hard act to follow. And while I did really enjoy Conan, any review I give will pale in comparison to the words I delivered above. As I said above, I don't know if Conan was filmed in 3D or post-converted, but I didn't see it in 3D so that really doesn't matter where I'm concerned. If I find out it was filmed in 3D cameras, I might go back and see it again, but for the sake of this short review, it does not matter!!! Haha. So yeah, Conan the Barbarian! Even though it's being advertised as a remake, I consider this film to be more on the lines of a Re-imagining. From what I've read, the script of this movie was based more on the original stories by Robert E. Howard, and after having seen the movie, I definitely want to go out and pick up one of his books. Now, even though I'd call this a re-imagining, it's more because it's a new story than because it's leaps and bounds different from the old movies. Actually, it was quite the contrary. Except for the fact that the Score of this film was forgettable compared to the masterful scores of the original Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, the movie felt very much like those movies in pacing and cinematography. Obviously, the action was on a higher level and far faster paced, but otherwise the film moved in a very similar way. Another similarity is that this movie definitely made no attempt to hide the fact that it was a bit cheesy. There were moments, scattered throughout, that were filled with so much cheese that I wished I'd had nachos. Yes, moments as cheesy as that line. But the movie was unapologetic to that fact, and for that I respected it.

I could go on and on about the similarities and differences, but the only thing about this movie that really matters, and that ever mattered to me, was the star. Conan. Played by Jason Momoa, a relative unknown who had me saying "I'm just going to wait and see" from the day I found out he was cast. And really, I would have waited, but Jason didn't let me. He went out and got cast as Khal Drogo in my new favorite show, Game of Thrones, and drew my attention, and raised my hopes. So when I walked into that movie today, I knew I would love or hate it based on Jason's performance and his performance alone. The story was solid, the cinematography was alright, the score was lackluster, the casting was slightly cliche (Ron Perlman playing a Ron Perlman role, Stephen Lang playing a Stephen Lang role, Rachel Nichols playing a Rachel Nichols role, Rose McGowan playing a Rose McGowan role...), but the movie was really entertaining for me because Jason Momoa was...the...MAN! I walked out of the theater with a full blown Man Crush. Momoa played Conan was an honorable brute who was as sharp of mind as the sword he wielded, but as hot-tempered as the forge that very blade was created in. He was an emotionally withdrawn warrior who you truly believed was capable of love, but too occupied with vengeance for that sort of nonsense. I feel that he really, perfectly nailed the role. If there is a Conan sequel, I'd love to see drunken Conan, droning on about the lamentations of the women, but there wasn't any place for that in this film. Oh and in case you were wondering... maybe the best sword work and choreography I've ever seen. The way Momoa wields that blade... flawless. Every time he was fighting, I was riveted.

So while I wouldn't say Conan is the must see that I'd say Fright Night 3D is, I still absolutely loved the movie, and walked out of the movie theater on an entertainment high. And more than that, I feel... reinvigorated. I feel... inspired. I think we all have something that moves us and inspires us in a way that nothing else can, and for me that's definitely movies. I know it seems a bit lame, because someone else's work is my inspiration, but really it's like art. Da Vinci's works still inspire people to this day. Two weeks, three tops, ad my life will finally be transitioning to what I need it to be, and when it does I'll finally be able to get inspiration when I need it. I'm super, super excited.

Anyway, if you got this far, I thank you because I definitely made this thing WAY longer than I expected it to. I hope my opinions help you when you choose whether you will or won't watch these movies though... I think you just should. :) Soon I'll be back on track with my Book Updates, but maybe I'll drop a little movie review here and there too, since I do love me some movies! Until then...

Dream Big,


1 comment:

  1. Awesome man, glad to hear you really enjoyed both and I think I too may need to see Fright Night if it was shot in 3D, that would be a first for me as well.

    And I totally here you on being inspired by film! Film and Music-(nothing post-2004 unfortunately) and Novels are the only forms of art that truly inspire me these days, so I completely agree!! Glad to see you are getting back on track and I agree...2 weeks, maybe 3 tops! =)