Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aladdin: The Prince of Persia Oh Wait, Wrong Movie

I have heard the rumors about the video game being turned into a film some years back when I was surfing the internet. Naturally I rolled my eyes and said that it was going to be bad just like all of the other movie adaptations of video games. The thing with this film is that it's not terrible, but it's not great either.

As far as video game film adaptations go, this one is by far the best, which is not saying much. The film isn't boring by any means. In fact it's pretty entertaining, but it just feels, standard. There is nothing that really makes this film stand out at all in any way, shape or form.

Ben Kingsley plays the most obvious villain in recent memory. Of course the entire time I was watching the film, I felt like I was watching the live version of a sexy and gritty reboot of Disney's Aladdin.  If you really watch this film again more closely, it is exactly that, a sexy, gritty reboot of Aladdin.

That's one of the things that made this film standard. I felt like I was watching Jerry Bruckheimer rip off Aladdin as opposed to making an adaptation of Prince of Persia. The only thing that was missing from the film was Robin Williams as Genie, a flying magic carpet and Gilbert Gottfried's voice.

Aside from all of the Aladdin jokes, this film appears to have a strange ostrich fetish. Not that I have anything against ostriches or riding ostriches, but I don't remember ostriches being in the video games, but then again, I have never played the series so your guess is as good as mine.

I also have an issue with the casting of this film as well. I have nothing against Jake Gyllenhall or Sir Ben Kingsly but why couldn't Disney hire actors that were actually Persian? It would give Persian actors some work and they would have probably turned out better performances. Gyllenhall wasn't too bad, but I think he should stick to indie fare.

Overall, the film is not terrible and its mildly enjoyable, but it's so standard. While the action sequences are impressive, they still lack that excitement and spark that comes along with the film. The ending is one of the biggest deus ex machinas I have seen in recent years and it pretty much slaps the audience in the face. Not to mention the love story feels slightly forced and this feels like a rip off of Aladdin.

As a video game adaptation, it does a good job, but as a film, it falls short.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Movie Bitch Reviews: On Deadly Ground

The Movie Bitch is going to end Steven Seagal Month (I know it's a little late, I apologize) with a bang! This week I reviewed On Deadly Ground!

Let's if this movie is hot, hot, hot or a hot, hot, hot mess.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We Are The Social Network

The Social Network is one of those rare films that defines a generation and a decade. I will say that this is the film of the year, yet I will even go so far to say that this is the film of the decade.

The Social Network has created so much buzz and hype around Hollywood and those in popular culture.

The question is, does it really live up to the hype, or does it fall short?

The Social Network does live up to its hype, but it manages to send a deeper message that most audiences will fail to see at first glance.

The first things that I will acknowledge in this film is that the acting is superb. Jesse Eissenberg played his part perfectly as Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin was absolutely brilliant. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker was a real show stealer though as his presence and charisma on screen dominated the film and gave the film the extra punch it needed.

The screenplay and the dialogue is absolutely brilliant and its definitely Aaron Sorkin's best writing in years. The cinematography is beautiful and the musical score by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) and Atticus Ross is absolutely wonderful and fits the film perfectly.

The Social Network does have one flaw and that would be the pacing of the film. The pacing of the film, especially in the beginning is uneven at times and this is apparent in some places in the middle too, there are some scenes that could have been cut out of the film, but that the only issue I had with the film.

The main thing that I really want to get into about this film is the message and the deeper context hidden within it. Throughout the entire film, Mark is seen and painted as horrible, selfish, manipulative and callous person. To Eissenberg's credit, he played Mark as someone who was inhuman, someone who was incapable of showing the slightest bit of emotion. The very little emotion he showed in the film was through his facial expressions, which were subtle.

The only hint of humanity that was left in this entire film were through Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) and Eduardo Saverin. As Eduardo was only trying to help Mark and do what is best for him, Mark was pushing him away and becoming addicted to the greed, success and attention that Mark desperately craved. As Eduardo famously points out near the end of the film "I was your only friend."

I did not see this film as a criticism of Facebook or any other social networking site that people of my generation use, I saw this film as a criticism of our generation as a whole. I have heard the previous generations say that my generation is the dumbest generation that has come around and that they weep for future generations. While this statement is overly generalizing my generation and that there are many exceptions to this, I cannot help but think that they are on to something. If you look at it on a deeper level, the need to become famous has become more important than actually accomplishing something worthwhile that you might get recognition for.

It is this need for fame that has reality shows like The Jersey Shore and Teen Mom on the air. The need to do something outrageous in order to get a TV show deal out of it. My generation has become so obsessed with fame that it is the only thing that they ever want to achieve.

Maybe this film was trying to tell me something, this film was trying to tell me that while my generation has made better strides in terms of acceptance and tolerance towards others, my generation has also taken many steps backwards. The social networking sites out there would not exist if it weren't for this need to be noticed, to be recognized.

This film itself is trying to sen the message that my generation has become the most selfish. narcissistic, callous and entitled generation, which carries the repercussion of being the most isolated, alienated and depressed generation as well.

You might think that it is easy to blame the internet age for this, but the issue is a lot more complicated than it really is.

Mark's actions in the beginning of the film were done out of frustration, loneliness and rejection. In the same way that my generation has started to feel these feelings when someone does not "Facebook" them or "friend" them.

I sincerely believe that if it wasn't for social networking sites, there wouldn't be any reality shows like The Jersey Shore or Teen Mom, or any other of their ilk. Social networking sites in a sense fuel the need for the fame and recognition that so many young people desperately crave without actually being good at something.

For every Mark and Sean there is in this film, there are also an Eduardo and Erica that bring some semblance of humanity and empathy in our fame obsessed culture.

This film is not a criticism of social networking sites or the internet as a whole, but rather a wake up call to the youth of the world. This film is a reflection of what our generation has become if we do not take the time to examine ourselves and rearrange our priorities.