As reported by theonering.net, Peter Jackson and the studio have agreed to release 3 films under the label of the Hobbit franchise. ("There and Back Again" to be changed to "Still Walking") :D

They say they're going to use material from the appendices to the LOTR. That means EPICLY HUGE DWARF VS. GOBLIN BATTLES! And, possibly, you guessed it, appearances in character from Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler in "Overdone Romance, the prequel"

Update: I understand somewhat better where it's coming from now, but that does not really change my opinion that the story is simply too short.


The Batpost: An Impartial Look At "The Dark Knight Rises"

Before I start, I'd like to say that I am a fan of Batman as a role model, not, after all, Batman movies.
Warning: This post is full of spoilers. But Maybe not, I don't know. Anyway, you've been warned.
Now, since, I'm not trying to rate it compared to other movies, don't take this as a review. Here it goes.

1) The Story: I assume the story is basically a dramatization of one or more Batman comics storylines. As a story in itself, it was up and down; sometimes "How are they going to deal with this?" and sometimes "Duh. Of course that was going to happen..." There were two or three real surprises; one in the opening, one in the middle, and a big one near the end. I was told to expect several "what is going on?" moments related to the backstory, but everything was explained. the confusing bits occurred in the present. I can also note that I was sometimes confused by the passage of time; the story takes place over random jumps in time through an entire year.

2) The Music: Hans Zimmer (and probably James N. Howard too) are back with their big, loud, dominating score. In the film, it is unavoidable, but it is actually quite forgettable. The track that played over the very end was the best of it. I did like, however, that this score had more drama in it than the previous one I've heard (Dark Knight).

3) Dialogue: I just thought I would note that because there were so many different voices in this movie, it lessened my enjoyment of it. I especially had trouble understanding Alfred and Miranda Tate. Christian Bale was coherent as Wayne, but inside the Batsuit his voice is lowered to hoarseness, which, though coherent, is a pain to listen to. Bane's "sophisticated Englishman" voice, which was said to have caused trouble in pre-production, was simply amplified in post-production to be at least three times louder than standard.

I don't claim to be judging anyone's acting; I just want to talk about the characters.
4) Batman: The dark knight is  a great hero when he really gets going. He's another one of those heroes whose got something on his mind, and I prefer that sort. He's especially notable because he's willing to be the fall guy; he'll save Gotham because only he can, but at the same time he also wants to be blamed for the problems he's stopping. (ok, so this plays into protecting his identity, but it's still admirable.) Batman has mercy; he doesn't kill his enemies, at least not with guns, though at times that may seem stupid.
5) Bane: Bane is far worse than the Joker. It's no contest. While setting himself up as liberating the people, he's killing them, and ruining any sense of order. Would you be relieved if a guy told you he was saving you, and then added that an enormous nuclear bomb was set to go off next month anyway? He orchestrated a plan to trap the entire Gotham police force underground. He snaps necks (in public too) simply because he can and wants to show off. The Joker was ruining any sense of order too, but he was doing it "for kicks" because he was downright insane. Bane is doing it to convince the people he'll be their savior. Not to mention that Batman can't really stop him. If the Joker won the award, I don't see Bane not being nominated. (more on that under Plot Devices)

6) Catwoman: Catwoman is a good character. Her entrance was a surprise, and I couldn't always tell what she was up to, but in general nothing she did was unexpected. 

7) Commissioner Gordon: Commissioner Gordon is a great character. He would make a great second Batman, but he's too old. Though I don't entirely understand it, I can see why people think Gary Oldman ought to win an award before he retires. 

8) Det. John Blake: I liked him, though I couldn't always understand him. He knows what he's doing. His batman geekness is similar to Agent Coulson's geekness in the Avengers. 

9) Plot Devices: For one, if the military was staying out, how did Bane's minions acquire several military tanks? Second, how were the trapped policemen getting materials, and how is it that they all survived six months in the sewer? If Bane was mining the roads. why didn't he just mine the whole thing? He had several months unopposed and the roadworkers under his control. Apart from all the working out he did, how was it that Batman could beat up Bane the second time? And of course he did it the only way; Pounding on the mask, which shouldn't have been damageable unless he had a knife with him. For that matter, how is it that a kid could escape the pit, but a grown man can't? And is it just me, or was Wayne's back surgery and recovery time a little too easy, apart from the agony of having your spine shoved back in manually?

10) Overall: I'm surprised that I watched it. Sure, a lot of stuff was happening, but I didn't enjoy any of it until the final 15-10 minutes began. As I said later, I practically had to remind myself I was seeing a hugely popular action movie. Marvel makes better movies, but DC makes better heroes.Or so I thought until I realized Wayne hadn't actually died. But for all that, don't be confused: I think batman is a cool hero.


Brave (Part 4 of 5)

This post is a little different, since I'm only doing one film this time. The last post is not far off. Anyway, here's what I have to say.
Walt Disney Studios has had some control over Pixar releases for several years, but it never quite showed until this one came out. This one plays less like a Pixar movie than any that came before. Previous Pixar releases are notable for the fact that they seemed very original every time (except Cars 2). Brave was the first release under the Pixar label to "rip off" a genre without clearly spoofing it in the process. This did not play well with us.

Alright, what was fun? Well, even though it wasn't great fun, as a Pixar fan, the story is watchable, unlike A Bug's Life and maybe Cars 2, although it doesn't rank any higher. The animation, what Pixar is known for, was the best yet, but that may just reflect improving technology. It's set in Scotland. (I've always been fascinated by the Celtic lands. I can't say why.) Archery is big. (the sequence in which the Princess does her practice run through the forest is fun to watch. It involves a knothole absolutely packed with arrows.) The best part of it (and this is what I always say) is the score by Patrick Doyle (Eragon, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter 4) The music was awesome! At times it actually sounded like Braveheart, but that arises from the fact that they both utilize traditional Celtic instruments to fit with the setting. Patrick Doyle is now my favorite composer along with Howard Shore. I hope he does more films I see. There were a few "inside jokes"; one of the clan chieftains looked like a reference to William Wallace, with handprint facepaint (ok, so the handprint was Hamish) and identical son carrying large claymore. This chieftain's name was Macintosh. Since the film was dedicated to Steve Jobs, who had been the majority owner of Pixar and Disney, we took this as an inside joke. 

And, what was not so good. This film played more like a "Disney Princess" than a Pixar. And they didn't even really try to make it funny! Previous Pixar releases are full of verbal jokes and situational gags. In this film, they dispensed with those, though I'm sure they could have done better. It disgusted me that the humor in this film consisted of "perfectionist has a temper tantrum.", "body part and clothes or the lack of them gags" and "Dad has no social skills." therefore, it wasn't actually very funny. Also, a major plot point turned on elements some find objectionable, namely, the presence of magic. There is one "joke" in the opening where princess and mom have a laugh at dad for not believing magic exists. (all I can say is, it's supposed to be the middle ages. Superstitious people then and now believe in it.) And then, what do you know, they run into a witch who helpfully  "unretires" . The Princess, indulging in the teen stereotype that she's being set upon by her parents, demands something that'll change her mom's personality. Well, that isn't actually what it is and things get steadily worse until she admits that she was at fault, at which point mom changes to "Let's run around and be teens together! That for responsibility! Life should be and games!"

Although, overall, it is not the downright worst Pixar release, (it is occasionally watchable)  Brave can not be said to be safe from even the firmest Pixar fans. Brave also, I believe, has the non-distinction of being the first Pixar film to fail to hold the top spot at the box office for more than one week. Even Cars 2  did better.


Ten, Well That's A First Step

It's happened, and like I said I would, I'm celebrating gaining ten followers. This has been achieved thanks to That Dude, who appears to have clicked the button because I know how to say "What's new with me" in Spanish. Thanks!

Since there isn't much material for this otherwise, I am going to take the opportunity to tell you what sort of posts you can expect to see from me in the not-too-far-off future.

1) I will finish my posts on the Pixar movies in about a week. The delay is because we're about to rewatch UP, and possibly Cars, and I don't want my post to differ with my final opinion. The post on Brave might as well be up next before I forget too much.

2) Prompted by the posts of JandJproductions, I will eventually be doing my own trailer review posts. I will generally constrict myself to films that are based on books I'm familiar with, but since there aren't many of those, I'm not opposed to offering speculative opinions on other movies that look interesting, for instance, the Superman film Man of Steel. The first of these will be on the new film of the classic Les Miserables, which I read and enjoyed.

3) I will admit that I now consider myself a Batman fan, so after I see The Dark Knight Rises, I will do a post which will be intended more as a reaction than a review. I'll leave reviewing to those who understand it better.

4) At any random time, I might post something that looks like rambling nonsense, which will be a completed Mad Libs word game. Until further notice, these will be Star Wars themed.

5) At some point, when I can think of some that would be vaguely funny, I will not hesitate to do a post full of Boromir memes.

6) On JT's Tales, chapter 46 of The Price of a Throne is in progress. I would greatly appreciate it if those you who like reading would occasionally take the time to check it out and read the further adventures of king Valun and the others who populate that story. Any feedback I can get would also help me improve the next draft. In addition, there are also other, shorter, stories posted on the site. Since I have no clue how to do it in a short time, I'm afraid I can't give you the links back to the other related posts. Story posts always go up on the closest Friday. jtslitblog.blogspot.com

Thanks everyone, and maybe someday I'll reach 20.  Thus says JT.


Finding Nemo, "that French food", and A Bug's Life (Part 3 of 5)

It just happens that for once life got in the way of my doing these posts. Whew! But anyway, I've returned to finish them, so let's get on with it.

Finding Nemo
The concept is interesting; it's a "road" movie concerning fish in the south Pacific.
Nemo is the only survivor of a shark attack that swallowed his mom and all the rest of his siblings (considering that the shark got all the rest, that Nemo survived in the first place is a plot device, but we have to overlook that for the moment.) In consequence of that incident, we have a familiar character in this story, the "overprotective parent". Nemo, of course, is the stereotypical teen who thinks his parents are ruining his social life. So, when prodded by a clique he trails out of fish school, he swims out into the ocean and deliberately touches a boat against clear orders. He then gets swept up by a diver and taken away in the boat. Dad immediately begins swimming after said boat.

Now, fun parts of this film are generally focused and triggered by the blue fish Dory who happens to begin following Dad around mid-voyage. She's funny because she has a terrible case of memory loss, the running gag being that she has to be reminded every day who she is, who Marlin is, and where they're going. The second is that she won't stop chanting the boat owner's address (which they got off a set of goggles that were knocked overboard). The other fun moments are running into Crush the sea turtle and being picked up by a vegetarian sharks' club.

I guess, simply as a movie, the biggest problem one could have with it is that it is so slow. There are only so many times you can get a laugh out of having a character forget everything that just happened, but to my memory, (which is poor) that happens a lot in this film. On the other end, Nemo's attempts to escape the fish tank are a bit slow because there's only one thing they can do: jam the filter, which is supposed to cause them to wind up on the windowsill so they can escape.

I don't see anything objectionable in Finding Nemo. There probably isn't anything. Since this one was the most monetarily successful one made before Toy Story 3,  the general public must have thought it worked.

"That French Food"
 Sorry, I can't spell the title and I can barely remember the gist of the plot. Sometimes I forget this one was even made. Therefore I can't talk about it.

A Bug's Life
In our house, this one is regarded as the most boring one made. The story follows an ant who invented a  machine to accelerate harvesting. After this machine causes chaos by breaking down and stalling the line, the innovative ant is banished from the colony. The main conflict, however, is that a horde of grasshoppers demand tribute from the ants. The tribute is delayed, so the grasshoppers begin a reign of terror. Meanwhile, the inventor is looking for warriors to fight off the grasshoppers. Eventually, he convinces a flea circus to follow him. These actors, of course, are totally inept at anything else. 

Good: The climax is a fun scene. It's also fun to see that in the end, everyone is using the machine. the Grasshopper chief's luckless henchmen also provide some laughs.

Bad: In general, this movie simply isn't funny. See the first sentence above. I doubt that we could give you a specific reason why though. It just doesn't feel right.