Friday, March 24, 2006

V for Vendetta

In a Nutshell: Quite fun! Doesn't take itself seriously. Not as good as the original Matrix film, but better than either sequel, IMO.

Quick Plot: A mysterious masked figure in the near-future seeks to topple a strict dictatorial government with the help of a young woman he abducted, and hopefully the rest of the nation.

In Detail: While I wouldn't quite say that this film lives up to its hype, it was great fun to watch. It is not meant to be serious (though it does have a few serious points to make in a satirical fashion), so just turn off your brain and watch. The V monologue alone is worth the price of admission. Quite a bit of stylish action, a large dollop of wit, and some fantastic tongue in cheek humor make for an enjoyable two hours. I have a special fondness for the actor who plays V (I won't give it away for those who like to guess), so that certainly doesn't hurt. Several have criticized it on moral grounds, and in light of world events of the last 5 years, I can see their point to a certain extent. Then again, perhaps that is one of the points of the movie, no? You decide.

Will I Buy It? I'd put it on the maybe list. I'd like to see it again to decide if I'd watch it frequently. I'm not sure that I would; I prefer The Matrix.


In a Nutshell: Bleh. Don't bother. Even films I don't expect much from need more than Milla Jovovich in skimpy costumes and CG effects.

Quick Plot: A group of genetic outcasts capture a weapon that will obliterate all of their kind from the planet. The agent sent to intercept it learns that it may also be the key to a cure. Can the cure be discovered before the others destroy it, or will it be the end of her people?

In Detail: We did not go into this film expecting very much, but it delivered even less. We thought of it it on the same level as The Scorpion King: great late late night film, should be a fun and forgettable 2 hours. The Scorpion King looks Oscar caliber compared to Ultraviolet and contains immeasurably more plot. It also doesn't take itself too seriously, whereas Ultraviolet tries to be both serious and relevant (and fails dismally). More than a few people left about 30 minutes in (it wasn't quite *that* bad). Several action sequences were either too long and/or too repetitive, to the point of using some of the same footage. What little plot there was seemed made up as they went along. I'm all for twists, but these didn't make any sense. It was like sitting in a room and asking for plot points for any movie, then trying to make them fit into this one with little or no effort to connect them (should there have been a way to do so), and some other things that could have used explanation were never even touched on. The effects were cool, yes, but that alone cannot carry a film. Let's not even discuss the acting. I've seen worse movies for sure, but this one was pretty bad.

Will I Buy It? You're kidding, right? Nope.


In a Nutshell: Great fun! Especially for the sci-fi or action genre fans. Definitely makes me want see Firefly (the canceled TV series the film is based on).

Quick Plot: The crew of Serenity take on a fugitive passenger with surprising capabilities, and her nameless pursuer will stop at nothing to get her back.

In Detail: First, allow me to state that I have never seen a single episode of Firefly, the television show on which this film is based, so I was not sure if I would understand much of what was going on. We followed along just fine. I do think there were parts where I was missing something, and I'm sure there was much subtexting and many subtleties that went right over my head, but overall, it was a very enjoyable ride. This is going to sound ridiculous at first, but I hope you will understand what I mean: it really is more of an action film set in space than a "sci-fi film" per se. And quite a good action flick at that; just turn off your brain and let it ride. The characters are interesting, the dialog is snappy if a little (intentionally) odd in cadence (though many of the best lines were used in the previews; I hate that!), and the fight sequences are exceptionally well filmed, edited, and choreographed (I genuinely believed she was kicking their butts!). You may recall that I was highly critical of the way the fight sequences in Batman Begins were shot. Had it been done this way, it would have rocked the house! Seriously, all action films should take notes from how these fights were done. A few of the plot points had the feel of being a checklist of things that needed to be addressed after the series was abruptly canceled, but as someone who appreciates when film makers pay homage to the source television material, I have no problem with that, and most of it did end up being relevant to the story presented in the film. Truly the best compliment I can give this movie is that it makes me really want to see the television show.

Will I Buy It? I'm thinking about it. I'd like to see it again to decide if it is something we'd watch over and over. It is definitely our kind of film, and if we ever see Firefly, we might be more inclined. It is currently on the "maybe" list.

Addendum: We have since seen the series, Firefly, and it is one of our all time favorite series ever. We watch the whole series (14 episodes) 1-2 times a year, we love it so much. So yes, we bought the movie, though it is much harder to watch now.