Marvel’s The Avengers

Holy sh*t, holy sh*t, holy sh*t, holy sh*t, holy sh*t…

That was my reaction after watching Marvel’s The Avengers earlier today. I was half afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype (it had a 100% rate on aggregate review site based on critics’ early reviews). After all, Marvel Studios has had such a long run of awesome movie making that they were bound to serve up another dud. Plus, you know it’s written and directed by Joss Whedon, which raises the expectations that much more.

I should have known better. Whedon has never failed to impress and it’s no different now that he’s handling someone else’s intellectual property.

Leader Class Sentinel Prime

Seeing as how it’s taking forever for the new Transformers: Prime – Robots in Disguise assortments to reach us here in the Philippines, here’s another overdue review. Got this baby a month ago and despite my hate-on for the movie, Dark of the Moon, I’ve got to say I’m really digging Hasbro’s Leader Class Sentinel Prime.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I’m going to spoil it for you with the rest of this introduction, so don’t go emailing me, whining about how I ruined it for you. Fair warning.


I recently watched A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. It was a pretty fun ride: not as good as the classic Harold &Kumar go to White Castle, but a hell of a lot better than Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay. I especially like the Claymation portion of the proceedings. There’s nothing like a Claymation puppet whipping out a 24” dong in the middle of a movie to get you to squirt coke out of your nose.

Why am I talking about Harold & Kumar? Because back in 2004 when our stoner friends were just meeting Neil Patrick Harris for the very first time, they went to Princeton and got trapped in the girl’s bathroom. While they were hiding in the middle stall, two excessively flatulent Ivy League girls occupy the stalls on either side of them and begin to play the most appalling game I’ve ever heard of: Battleshit.

This is what I think of when I remember the classic Hasbro board game now. Hollywood has ruined me.

Wrath of the Titans

I wasn’t all that impressed with the remake of The Clash of the Titans. Aside from the “Release the Kraken!” and the shiny Olympus meme it inspired, it didn’t leave much of an impact on me. More than anything, it felt like a cookie cutter straight to video release on steroids. Not that there’s anything wrong with straight to video movies. Some of my favorite films went straight to video.

It’s just when you have a budget of 125 million dollars, I think one would expect you to put a little more effort into the production. It’s not really fair to compare it to the original movie since you have to give that version a lot of leeway (it having been made in the 70’s, long before any of the creatures could be animated by computer). Still, Ray Harryhausen’s Claymation genius still got more wows out of me than the bland and confusing action of the second film.

Thankfully, Louis Leterrier has given over directorial duties to Jonathan Liebesman who seems to know what to do with a camera during a fight scene. The action in Wrath of the Titans is an improvement on the rather episodic scenes from the first movie, and it looks as if there was more thought put into the 3D scenes this time out. The bland acting is still though, but that’s basically Sam Worthington’s calling card.

While most reviews for the film aren’t in its favor, I enjoyed it immensely, and would watch it again. This is the kind of movie that I usually leave playing in the background while I’m doing chores around the house. It’s one of those that don’t require a lot of thought to follow. You can basically tell what’s going without looking at the screen because of the silly, sometimes anachronistic dialogue that is thrown around. At one point, Perseus (Worthington) says “You’ve got to be kidding me” in an Australian accent. Everyone else seems to be British.

Then again, this isn’t the kind of film you’d need that kind of control on. You go see Tarsem’s The Immortals and you expect it to pay attention to its props, set and costumes because that’s what Tarsem does. This is more like a Michael Bay movie from back in the old days when he wasn’t making the really big bucks. It’s like Bad Boys only with Greek gods and swords instead of drug dealers and guns.

That’s not to say that the filmmakers didn’t pay attention to the production design on Wrath. I liked the designs of the monsters a lot, especially the beasts with two backs (Makhai according the Internet) that fly out of Mount Tartarus to attack the Greeks, and the tomb of Kronos, with its attendant labyrinth was pretty awesome. Kronos himself was pretty wicked looking, and the way they framed him made him look nice and MASSIVE. The climactic battle against him once he broke out looks pretty good to me. The CGI characters in the film seem to have a good amount of gravity to them and affect the rest of the CGI land around them in seemingly realistic ways, so you aren’t pulled out of the movie as much as you’d think you would be.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the story in a nutshell.

Demigod, Perseus has settled down in a fishing village and had a son with his wife, Io (Gemma Arterton in the 2010 film). Io dies off screen and Perseus is left to raise his son on his own. Zeus comes down from Olympus to tell his son that there’s trouble back home. People aren’t worshiping the gods anymore and they’re losing their powers. All their works are coming undone, including the prison they built for Kronos, their father the Titan. After some doing, Perseus is recruited into the fold and has to go on another quest to gather various things to make a certain something to kill someone or other. Like I said, there isn’t much to it.

Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles as Zeus and Hades respectively, hamming it up some more. Edgar Ramirez joins them as Ares, another son of Zeus who’s pissed off that daddy likes Perseus more. Rosamund Pike takes over for Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, queen of Argos, now leading the Greeks against the Titan army. Bill Nighy rounds out the cast as Hephaestus and Toby Kebbell plays Agenor, another demigod along for the ride.

I’d say this one’s a solid rental, if not worth the 3D ticket exactly. It doesn’t hold a candle to John Carter for me, but its still some solid Hollywood moviemaking and I find myself looking forward to Revenge of the Titans. I just hope that this installment clears that half-billion mark in sales, otherwise Warner Bros. might just can the whole thing.

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