A Belated Review of Thor Trek 2: Catching Smaug
Er, wait. That’s not right. Let me try again.
A Belated Review of The Desolation of Thor Games 2: Into Fiery Darkness
Carbonized cheese-chunks. I knew I waited too long to do this review. Sigh. Let’s try this one more time.
I. Colina presents: An Incredibly Longwinded and Belated Review of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching (Darkness) Fire, and The Hobbit: The Desolation (aka darkness) of Smaug.
Four reviews?? One post??? WAY TO MUCH CAPITALIZATION/ITALICS/THINGS BOLDED FOR EMPHASIS/QUESTION MARKS????? Ah yes, all that and more is happening right now on this very blog.
Also, Star Trek Into Darkness may not have a colon in its title (nor any other part of the digestive system for that matter) but hey, rule of fours.
Now where to begin? Nonsensical plots? Cheesy over the top explosions? A plot to drown the world in endless darkness? Awesomeness so intense you don’t really care about any of the previous things? Actually, the answer is simple:
Life hack: you always start with Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Hiddleston. Always.
Now then, as far as movies are concerned, we’re going to go from worst to best (in my opinion anyway). Also: spoilers spoilers spoilers SPOILERS ABOUND IN THESE HERE WATERS YE HAVE BEEN WARNED AND IN A VAGUELY PIRATE-Y VOICE NO LESS!
~full reviews after the cut~
INTO DARKNESS WE GO
“Um hi. My name’s I. Colina.”
Crowd: *mumbles “hi, I. Colina”*
“And uh, I didn’t really like Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Crowd: *boos and slingshots rotten watermelons onto stage*
Yeah, this one didn’t work so well for me which ended up being a slight source of contention in my family as my younger brother loves this movie, to the point where he has claimed it as one of his favorites (if not THE favorite) of all time. My explanation for this rests mainly on a theory I’ve dubbed “The Eragon Effect” (named after the infamous Inheritance Cycle series). In short, The Inheritance Cycle is extremely and unoriginally derivative of other fantasy works (particularly Tolkien’s) and is seen as clichéd and boring to readers experienced in the fantasy genre. However, the series sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was popular enough to get its own poorly made movie adaptation based on the first book.
My theory: because of the audience. A younger less widely-read audience to which Paolini’s work appeared completely unique. Not because it was unique but because it was unique to them as the first time they had encountered such tropes.
This is how I explain (some of) the popularity of Star Trek Into Darkness. In all fairness, it is a pretty good movie. It’s just one I’ve personally seen before.
And that, in essence, is my problem with it.
The appeal of the original show (and subsequent shows) seemed to be about originality and hope. Hope that the future could be different from the past and the present and that, while we may never achieve perfection, humanity would continue learning from its mistakes and continuing forward. I could go on all day about how OST in the 60s, though it wasn’t without its problems, was an unbelievable breakthrough in terms of how women and minorities were treated or even simply represented.
There’s no breakthrough in Into Darkness. There’s nothing I hadn’t seen before. If anything, we went backwards from OST, what with the female characters treated as slabs of meat and the whitewashing of the main villain. The movie may seem original and new to younger generations who have no prior frame of reference for the story but to someone who’s already seen the potential of the storyline, this kind of laziness is endlessly frustrating.
With the heart taken out of it, Into Darkness ultimately falls into the category of ‘yet another shiny reboot’ like the Transformers series. I have a feeling it will continue to make a lot of money off of DVD sales but will never be remembered as spectacular.
THE DESOLATION OF MUDDLED MIDDLES
Secondary lifehack: if for some reason you can’t find Tom Hiddleston or Jennifer Lawrence, attractive elves are an excellent runner-up.
If you’ve been hanging around the Bloginator for any amount of time, you probably know by now that I am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and since The Hobbit book was my first introduction into Tolkien’s world, I like to think that particular story holds a special place in my heart.
Perhaps that’s why this movie disappointed me.
It’s not a bad movie per say, much like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey wasn’t an bad movie either. It’s just that something seems. . .off. Throughout TDOS I constantly caught glimpses of something awesome, (whether it was the fantastic spirit of adventure of the original movies, or the humor and joy that was in the book) but ultimately any possible awesome was dragged to death by the slow pace or crushed to cheesy mangled bits by the unnecessary love triangle.
If the entire series had been one or even two movies instead of three, I think the faster pace would have cleaned things up a lot, but as it is now, the storyline drags on forever without actually accomplishing anything. The stakes are raised and. . .wait for it. . .keep waiting for it. . .oh, haha, turns out you’re going to have to wait until part three comes out in a year to get any payoff. (Seriously?)
Where each of the LOTR movies had their own beginning, middle, and end within the larger story, The Hobbit does not–and it shows. It looks like a single story awkwardly chopped into three sections that depend heavily on each other to make any form of sense, because (shocker of the year) that’s what it is.
Now that I’ve razed the movie to the ground (like Sauron was planning to do to Minas Tirith) I will admit that I enjoyed the movie. It’s still a great adventure in middle earth (despite the torturous pacing) and the whole thing is worth it just to see Martin Freeman as Bilbo.
The best parts of Thor: The Dark World were the parts without plot, and I say that with all sincerity. I really wasn’t interested in Malekith or his dastardly plan (in part since it was obvious he was going to be defeated in the end and I never got invested in his character arc) but when it came to every other character in the movie, I was sold. Thor grinning and smashing things (as he is wont to do). Sif kicking butt. Warriors three partying and tossing off one-liners. Selvig running around Stonehenge. Jane going on awkward dates and sciencing. Frigga being a boss. Darcy, just Darcy. Odin being the all-father of exposition. Every scene with Loki in it. Shhh, no. Every scene. My interest was focused less on the end of the universe as we know it and more on the character interactions. And I, for one, am perfectly fine with that.
The boring plot can be grating at times, but it also depends on how you view it. If Malekith is the villain of the film, the main storyline gets boring rather quickly. If Malekith is a distraction from the real villain however. . . Well, it’s enough to get me to overlook the plot holes and nonsense-science this time, even if I do hope the next installment is considerably less jumbled.
It’s a difficult task to adapt a story to different mediums, especially from books to movies, not to mention when those books are written from the first person point of view. While the first Hunger Games movie did okay with this adaptation, it still left a lot of room for improvement.
With that in mind, perhaps it’s not as surprising that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire blows its predecessor out of the park.
Every scene, every quote, every emotional note and character design, and even sometimes costume design either had its origins firmly planted in the book or was taken straight out of it.
And it worked. Somehow, it worked magnificently.
Honestly it’s difficult for me to come up with anything else to say since the movie so impressively shattered my expectations. The book Catching Fire is my least favorite of the trilogy, as it suffers from the muddy middle syndrome (see The Hobbit: TDOS entry above) and plays up the irritating yet somehow inescapable love triangle that seems to be pervading the young adult genre these days.
The movie on the other hand seemed to smooth everything out and the story managed to avoid the melodrama while simultaneously providing a fun, exciting, and terrifying adventure that stayed impressively loyal to the source.
Posted on January 31, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged a very belated review, hunger games: catching fire, Review, star trek into darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, thor: the dark world. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on A Belated Review of Thor Trek 2: Catching Smaug.