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The Tourist: A Review

I finally succumbed and checked out what was meant to be one of the worst Johnny Depp movies of all time.

I wasn’t totally thrilled when I heard the news Depp and Jolie were going to be working together. They’re both pretty amazing in the sorts of films they normally do together and I just wasn’t quite sure their special own brands of magic would work that well together.

Also I remember there being sum hoo-ha over a shower scene between the two of them (which was cut from the TV version I saw, if it ever made it into the cinema release) and Mrs Depp not liking the combination much either, probably due to the way Jolie picked up her last two partners, although she does seem pretty settled with her current fella so that may have just been an unfortunate coincidence.

But back to the film. The plot was so-so. Fairly standard action/spy plot with no way near enough explosions. Jolie did pretty much no action sequences at all and I think that’s some of the issue. Her action’s usually fantastic. The whole time in this she was pretty much aloof and uninvolved. I know to some degree the character is meant to be this way but I just didn’t buy it.

In terms of Depp I could also see what he was trying to do. He mostly came across as this gorgeously sweet, bumbling math teacher who was out of his league and paunfully aware of it. And sometimes this was brilliant. He seemed shocked in all the right places and uncomfortable in all the right places, but he also seemed uncomfortable in all the wrong places. It was like he was on his guard all the time and the infatuation between him and Jolie just never came through when it was meant to. Even in the few  times they kissed.

I actually found myself a little sad at the end of this film. I really wanted to love it. I even got quite excited when Paul Bettany appeared and I could enjoy the gorgeous Jarvis voice (Iron Man’s software), and then I got excited again when Rufus Sewell appeared, but it just didn’t quite have me convinced enough to love it. I was entertained well enough for the evening but not swept away. Oh, and I totally saw that ending coming!

Dark Shadows: A Review

As many people are aware this is the latest Burton, Depp, Bonham-Carter and Lee conglomeration. It’s based on some old tv series I have to admit I’d not heard of and having only seen the first major trailor fir this film I didn’t really know what to expect, other than I thought it would be rather funny and would have a few darker undertones.

Annoyingly it wasn’t as funny as I expected. Still reasonably amusing but not the full blown funny I had hoped for. Maybe it was because the cinema wasn’t that full or because I went with a different set of people to my normal cinema buddies, but the atmosphere just didn’t quite get there for me and there were a few points when I’m sure I’m the only one who laughed out loud.

The acting wasn’t entirely up to scratch I don’t think either. It felt a little like everyone was tired and maybe a teensy bit bored. even the usually perfect Depp didn’t quite bring his quirky character completely to life, though he got the closest of the lot. Christopher Lee just felt wasted as the ship Captain and while Helena Bonham-Carter had some good moments it wasn’t a particularly good character to be playing for her.

I also felt that they tried to pack too much into the film. It was very story heavy and because so much had to happen in the plot I don’t think it allowed each part to properly develop. There was no room for relational development so people felt too trusting too soon etc. It could have actually benefited by being 20 minutes longer and having more funny one liners in as a result.

The final point I didn’t like was all the magic, but I suppose that’s to be expected from a vampire film, although the trailor didn’t imply that much and was a little more light-hearted than the film actually turned out to be. I think this also would have been improved by adding a bit more to the film in terms of humour and relationship development.

While saying all these bad points, this is a film made by one of the greatest directors of our time and with some of the best actors so even though it felt like an off day for them it was by no means bad. I don’t regret seeing it or spending the money. I just wasn’t wowed like I’ve come to expect from this group of people.

Pirates Of The Caribbean, On Stranger Tides: A Review

As I’ve already said on my blog recently, I am a big fan of these types of films and books. There is something I’ve always liked about adventures at sea.

I went to see On Stranger Tides the day it came out here in the UK.

The first thing I was struck by, as I sat watching, was the lack of slapstick gags in comparison to the second or third film. I actually thought this would be a good thing, but I have to admit, it wasn’t. There was something lacking in Jack Sparrow because of it. Like the new writer hadn’t quite managed to get his head around Jack the same way the old writer had. It was almost like they obeyed the many fans of the first, saying the second and the third were too silly and not serious enough. That alone wouldn’t have been too bad.

The first Pirates film got the balance right between a serious plot and Jack’s rather special outlook on everything. Unfortunately they went too far and took out the very essence of Jack. There were no really special Jack Sparrow escape plans or one liners. Not only was the slapstick gone but the special mad Jack moments were as well, at least until right at the end. There was one final line that was quite Jack. Nothing really quotable though, unlike the previous three.

In every other respect the film wasn’t too bad. The plot was pretty good. Typical pirates type plot. One really bad pirate that all the other pirates have to stop and some fun, who’s side are you on anyway, moments. It was a little predictable in places but that’s fairly inevitable with the 4th in a series. You just get to know the characters well enough by that point to predict them.

Ian McShane made a very good Blackbeard and you could hardly tell it was Lovejoy under all that makeup and wig. So this for me was a plus. He’s definitely improving as an actor. Though still not perfect.

With Jack being not quite Jack, however, my favourite character ended up being the missionary that was on Blackbeard’s ship. He was there as the only survivor of a ship and crew Blackbeard had attacked because his first mate wanted Blackbeard to be redeemed and have his soul saved from hell. A rather interesting premise from a pirates first mate. It did mean there were a few really good chances for the Christian aspect to shine through, as they actually did a fairly good job of portraying a Christian’s beliefs.

And without giving spoilers that’s probably all I can say. I have to admit I came out feeling a little unsatisfied. It was better than the 2nd and 3rd pirates but still not quite as good as the first. I’m hoping it’s a film I will like more on a second viewing though. I imagine with it being based on a book there is some more subtle stuff to be gleaned from the plot and characters. I also will still go see any more they make at the cinema as they did set it up for potentially a more Jack mad sequel. Maybe they can get the balance right for the next one. They are obviously trying to.