Blog Archives

The Overnight (Quick Reviews Spoiler Discussion 4)

Here’s the fourth Spoiler Discussion from Quick Reviews, this time, tacking The Overnight.  This little indie stars Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godreche and I don’t so much review the flick as a whole as I do explain why it didn’t really work for me.  And yet, it’s still a decent flick.  Read the rest of this entry

"Meanwhile" – the series finale episode of Futurama (tv review)

(You can skip the first two minutes of the above video.)

“Meanwhile” is the series finale episode of Futurama, one of my top five favorite animated shows of all time – and it’s probably in my top 10 of favorite TV shows over all. Minimal spoilers from here forward! Read the rest of this entry

X-Men: First Class movie review

stars-three-halfIf you’re not familiar with the X-Men movies from the previous decade (the three gay rights allegory films: X-Men from 2000, X2 from 2003 and X-Men:  The Last Stand from 2006, or, as I like to call it, X3:  What happened to Nightcrawler?), don’t worry about it – you can easily sit down and watch X-Men:  First Class (equal rights allegory) without any trouble.

Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t have any problem with allegory; and, aside from X3:  The Search For A Plot That Feels True Without A Ton Of Tacked On BS, I like the X-Men movies, and this newest prequel installment is no exception.  Sure, it confuses 1962 with other years that starts with 196 in an attempt to put more women in little skirts, but whatever.

Read the rest of this entry

Prince of Egypt Movie Review – Passover Style

As we’re in the midst of Passover, I thought now would be an appropriate time to take a look back at 1998’s The Prince of Egypt.

NOTE:  I’M NOT BOTHERING TO PUT UP THE SPOILER ALERT NOTICE FOR THIS MOVIE… IT’S OVER 10 YEARS OLD AND IT’S ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK OF EXODUS, SO ODDS ARE, YOU’RE PROBABLY ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH THIS STORY.

Before I get to into The Prince of Egypt, I think I should disclose that I’m not much of a fan when it comes to musicals.  You know what I find so weird about musicals?  People spontaneously burst into song and choreographed dance, that’s what.  Besides that, it feels like all musicals are adopted from original source material and the story suffers for it.  Perhaps the most seamless transition from book to movie musical is The Wizard of Oz, but the movie still leaves a lot of the book on the cutting room floor.  However, if you were a movie producer way back when and somebody handed you this fantastical book and wanted to make a movie about it, you’d be right to do it.  There is plenty of wackiness in Oz already, why not ad some singing and dancing?  It’s already weird as it is, and making it weirder isn’t going to be much of a problem – anyway, that’s what the guy in the talking lion costume said.  I still remember the first time I saw a poster for the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde musical – having read the book, I was shocked.  “What could they possibly find to sing about?”  I wondered.  I imagined a moment where he broke the forth wall and explained to the audience what it was like to go back and forth between being Jekyll and Hyde in a rousing number I called, “Duel of the Fates” – what?  There’s already a tune by that name in Star Wars?  Oh well.  Let’s just set the words to that tune:  “First I’m Jekyll, a kindly doctor; Then I’m Hyde, a hideous monster!  Korah! Matah! Korah! Rahtahmah!”

In my mind, singing about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde doesn’t work, so you can imagine how I feel about turning elements from The Bible/Torah into musicals (take that, Andrew Lloyd Weber) – but really, why sing at all?  Does anything do more to take away the seriousness of a subject then adding song and dance?  If you’re working on the premise of ‘slavery is bullshit,’ do you really want some asshole to start dancing around, singing some ridiculous song about it?

I just don’t get it.  Who’s bright idea was it to adapt The Book of Exodus into a musical?

from Wikipedia:
The idea for the film came about at the formation of DreamWorks, when the three partners, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, were meeting in Spielberg’s living room.

Oh.

I thought then and I still believe now that the decision to do an animated musical version of the Exodus story is because they were thinking that there was no other way to get the audience to take it seriously.  And you know what the worst part is?  It’s actually a pretty entertaining movie.

Despite the fact that the movie is a musical and adopts its story from a book of The Bible/The Torah (…uhm… I guess you get to pick depending on your religion… and if you’re neither Jewish nor Christian, I guess you can just say it’s based on Judeo -Christian lore), it’s a pretty good piece of film making.  Aside from the aforementioned “Playing With The Big Boys,” the songs are decent, and “All I Ever Wanted,” is very well done, both musically and visually.  In fact, they really directed their ass off – and when I say ‘they,’ I do mean theyBrenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells are all credited with directing the movie on IMDB…  maybe animated movies always have multiple directors, but I don’t know.

Then there’s the cast:  prince_of_egypt_movie_poster

Val Kilmer as Moses/God

Ralph Fiennes as Rameses II

Michelle Pfeiffer as Tzipporah

Sandra Bullock as Miriam

Jeff Goldblum as Aaron

Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti I  (“Engage!”)

Danny Glover as Jethro

Helen Mirren as Queen Tuy

Steve Martin as Hotep

Martin Short as Huy

Val Kilmer takes on a double role as both Moses and God – how’s that for a resume?  The worst part of the movie is Jeff Goldblum as Aaron, who makes no attempt whatsoever to act and hide his Jeff Goldblumishness – his character’s tone sounds so out of place with everyone else in the film, and it’s hard to blame the directors for this because this movies was made way back when Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum was a big deal.  As an actor, he needed to suck less, but he couldn’t be bothered.  Otherwise, the cast does a fine job.

The movie didn’t really win any awards, though – it pretty much got it’s ass kicked by The Iron Giant in the Annie Awards, but rightly so – The Iron Giant is an amazing original film, while The King of Egypt is simply a solid movie, no more, no less.  Is it worth seeing?  I suppose so – if you want to get your Passover on in animated musical form.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

spoiler alert

What’s a spoiler alert?  Any time you see the spoiler alert image

spoiler alert

 

in one of my posts, you know I’m about to give away crucial information that could ruin the fun for you in some way.  Sometimes this is OK; you have no intention of seeing that movie, reading that book or comic book, listening to that album… what have you.  But, I do think it’s important that I point it out before I do it.

To see a spoiler alert in action, check out my review of Rambo.

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