Monday, September 26, 2022

Andor isn't "real" Star Wars? Or is it as "real" as Star Wars gets?

This video is very insightful.


Daniel Fienberg, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, said that "Invasion verges on 10 episodes of setup so pure and unfulfilling that a better title would be Evasion", and that is the problem.  The series spends all its time following many different clueless people who don't yet realize that the world is going to hell because we are under attack from extraterrestrials.  Their first suspicion is that this is a massive terrorist attack as they flee looking for shelter.  This creates some interesting personal stories, but the show never delivers the goods.  When we finally do see the aliens it is too little and way too late.

Sam Neil plays the most interesting character, a small-town sheriff who on his retirement day is dissatisfied with his life but starts to realize that something big is about to happen.  Unfortunately, he is only in the first episode and I suspect that he was hired just to give the show a recognizable name.

 About halfway through the series, a lady President of the United States announces, "We are not alone in the universe", as if this were some great scientific discovery and all we have to do is extend a hand to the invaders.  Meanwhile, cities are being shelled from space.

These ten episodes might have made for a slightly interesting two-hour movie, but the way it stretches out its story bores the audience to tears.  I am shocked to learn that the show has been renewed for a second season.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Thor Love and Thunder


Marvel Studios Thor: Love and Thunder is a very fun watch just so long as you don't take it too seriously.  If you took out all the comical parts then the movie would be about half as long.  The film is a comedy and it is pretty clear that Chris Hemsworth loves hamming it up in a big way.  His character Thor was always a bit comical, which offends some people because they look at Thor as a classical hero.  However, the other half of the movie makes for a pretty good Marvel adventure, and the combination of comedy and adventure is great just so long as you are not put off by that kind of thing.

Christian Bale deserves much credit for his portrayal of the villain Gorr, who is on a personal mission to destroy the "gods".  You need a good villain to make a good superhero movie.  Although Gorr is not as deep of a character as Thanos, and at times might seem a bit superficial, Christian Bale pours his heart into the role.  He gets the job done.

Thor: Love and Thunder streams on Disney+.

Rating:  A-.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Willow 1988


When I saw the movie Willow 34 years ago, it felt inspired.  Many people like me remember loving the film.  Never mind the slightly negative reviews, this was like a retelling of the Star Wars story in a mythical setting, where an evil sorcerer's obsession with a child leads to her undoing.  

The film was a great success for Warwick Davis who played the eponymous character Willow.  He previously played Wicket as a 11-year-old in Return of The Jedi.  He went from being an anonymous extra in a major film to the star of his own movie.  He has since played many characters in Star Wars and other movies and has made a career out of his fame, appearing in all sorts of shows and conventions.

However, 34 years later the movie doesn't feel inspired at all.  It is dated and unoriginal.  It has its moments, but the film is a little slow and too low-budget.  What charm there once was has been lost to time as far better films have come out.

But there is quite possibly a happy ending to this story.  A new Willow TV series is coming out on Disney+ on November 30th.  Let's hope that it redeems the Willow franchise if you can call it that.

Saturday, September 10, 2022


The problem with the 2022 "live-action" Pinocchio is that it fails to justify its existence.  I say this having watched only about the first 20% of the movie.  The 1940 version of Pinocchio has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and for a good reason; it is a triumph of Disney animation.  It is perfect.  Over the last few decades, there have been several second and third-rate Pinocchio movies, but why do we need to watch any of them when there is a much better film that might possibly never be surpassed?

The term "live-action" is a bit relative since the Pinocchio character and other characters like "Honest John" are computer animated.  I am biased since I watched the so-called "live-action" The Lion King and that movie is a scene-for-scene imitation of a much better original, which was just barely as long as it needed to be at 90 minutes to tell an effective story.  The remake was 30 minutes longer and failed to utilize as well the Oscar-winning music from the original.

The Disney computer-animated remakes are a triumph of technology, but I don't go to the movies to watch a video game.  The Lion King remake looks amazingly good, but so does the original animated film. 

The dilemma is that The Lion King remake is 80% as good as the original, which technically makes it a good movie, but why do we need an inferior version of a nearly perfect film?  The Pinocchio remake feels like a good effort, but it still falls short, and there is almost no way that it could have lived up to the original.

It appears that the Disney corporation thinks that we will watch anything just so long as it is new and a little bit different in some way.  

Pinocchio began to lose me during the early cuckoo clocks scene, which in the original was a triumph of animation and humor.  The new versions of the clocks feature many Disney characters, turning the scene into a commercial for other Disney movies.  But then I gave up on the film, at least for now, after a scene where Pinocchio is walking to school and encounters a pile of excrement in the street.  Since Pinocchio hasn't been alive for very long, he doesn't understand what this is and is fascinated by this new experience.  However, if this is the case, why isn't Pinocchio fascinated by a hundred other things in the street that he hasn't seen before?  The scene with the excrement is a bit jarring and feels out of place in a fairy tale.

The fact that Tom Hanks plays Gepetto is interesting and really caught my attention.  He gives a good effort, but I found his presence distracting.  I kept thinking about how the character is played by Tom Hanks.  The movie would feel more authentic, and believable, with an older Italian actor.