Seth Noble's Movie Reviews 2001

Due to the suck fest that is summer television (a few gems like Farscape and maybe Witchblade being the exception) Cindy and I have been seeing a lot more movies lately. Or maybe its just that no good video games have come out recently.

Whatever the reason, here's my take on a few of the summer's popcorn fare.

Final Fantasy
Yet another case of marketing weenies who don't actually watch the movies they're selling. Before you go and see this movie (which you should), you need to understand its genre: Anime Science Fantasy. Final Fantasy is not a video game movie (despite its origin), nor does it conform to the standard American story structure. If you are an anime fan, you'll very much enjoy this film. The incredible CGI actors are just a bonus. If you've never seen anime films before, you may be a bit jarred by the slightly different rules that such stories follow. But as is so often the case in films, knowing the genre going in (I only figured it out about half way through, "Oh! This is Anime! Now I get it!") makes the movie very enjoyable.

This is one of those movies that disappoints only because it has the potential to be Great, but is merely Good. Haley Joel Osmond deserves an Oscar nomination, but the script and the editing need improvement. It IS a good and entertaining movie, but in classic Kubrick style it takes one too many left turns and needs about twenty minutes cut out. I would have preferred if the story had not been told chronologically (which would have done away with the need for narration) and if one of the secondary characters had been cut out completely (which would have taken care of the excess 20 minutes). Beyond these minor flaws, it's a good hard-core Science Fiction film in the class of Blade Runner and 2001.

Tomb Raider
This movie makes it to Good by way of Doesn't Suck. Let's remember our genre here: Video Game Movie. When compared to the likes of Street Fighter and Mortal Combat, this movie is exceptionally good. It's no Indiana Jones and there's no reason to expect it to rise so far from its video game roots. If you've played Tomb Raider at all, then you must see the movie: Angelina Jolie is perfect as Lara Croft and the film itself is essentially one long screen capture of a game. (However, Cindy would want me to point out that they changed Lara's hair color: it no longer matches hers.) If you haven't played the game, then the novelty of seeing a stacked babe jump around and shoot things (can that style ever get old?) may get you past the gaping plot holes and cheesy dialog. But don't expect anything more.

Like most modern Disney animated features, Atlantis is good adventure flick and not a bad way to pass an afternoon. The story is predictable but entertaining. The animation style, which I'll describe as anti-realist, was very annoying at first, but fit better once the story reached more fantastic realms. If you are an animation fan, Atlantis is worth seeing. If you are not an animation fan, go rent Anastasia or Titan AE instead and become one.

It's not Ghost Busters, but it's born of the same mold and is entertaining in the same way. It is a classic collection of slapstick, one-liners, and sight gags. If you laugh at flatulence on a grand scale, you'll laugh at this movie. You can wait for the video, or go be amused in someone else's air-conditioning. SPOILER WARNING: David Duchovney's Ass. Seeing that almost spoiled the movie.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Draggon
If you can find this still in the theaters, and for some strange reason you haven't seen it yet, GO NOW. Just remember to bring your glasses becuase it is subtitled (you'll get used to it). It is not your typical Hong Kong kick fest nor is it an Americanized action film. The story follows the structures and traditions of classical chinese legends so be ready for a style you may not have seen before. Enough said, go see it (again).

The Mummy Returns
It is not often that sequels are really truly sequels to the original story. The Mummy Returns picks up several years after where The Mummy left off and does an admirable job of continuing the story along familiar Action-Adventure themes without rehashing the same old plot. The characters have actually grown, and that makes for much of the movie's fun. I recommend that you rent The Mummy before seeing The Mummy Returns both because that was a great Action-Adventure flick and because it will help you get some of the references in its sequel.

Seth B. Noble - Movies - sbnoble - July, 2001