I am all for cutting corners where one can to save some money. In my heyday you should have seen my coupon prowess. But what was the studio thinking when they saw a script like this one which had Bruce Willis’ name written all over it? Maybe Bruce’s asking price was too high and the studio went instead for a discount. So they chose Guy Pearce (The King’s Speech, Traitor) to play the role of wrongly convicted, smart mouthed Snow. Not that Bruce has cornered the market on quick-witted, sarcastic retorts; but, I became bored early on with Guy’s attempts. Here is the story in a nutshell: Snow was offered his freedom if he would agree to rescue the President’s daughter Emilie Warnock, played by Maggie Grace (Taken, The Jane Austen Book Club), who was trapped inside an outer space prison, when overtaken by the prisoners. Granted, not the most original of ideas and the movie studio did not just stop there in their frugality. I found the special effects, for this day and age, lackluster and unexciting. The one object I found cool could be seen in the trailer–the space-aged motorcycle ridden by Guy Pearce. Okay, so it looked like a pimped out Bat-Pod. Remember, the producers were trying to save some change. As you may have gathered, I did not find too much to like in this movie. All I was hoping to accomplish was some space out time with a thrilling fun science fiction movie. Instead I felt a dose of reality as I watched this cheaply made movie that should have gone straight to DVD.
1 2/3 stars
This is today’s lesson: size does not matter, when it comes to making an evil character. Just because a character is the largest one on the screen doesn’t make them the meanest or scariest. The character I am referring to is Kronos, father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. Though the studio had the key pieces to make a blockbuster of this movie, they did not follow through in taking the parts and expanding on them. The perfect example was the Kronos character. After draining the power from Zeus, played by Liam Neeson (Taken, The Grey), the audience was led to believe this power would give Kronos the energy to break free and destroy the world. At least that is what Hades, played by Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter franchise, The English Patient) was telling us after he imprisoned his brother Zeus in the underworld. Talk about your family dysfunction. The hero coming to save Zeus was his son Perseus, played by Sam Worthington (Avatar, The Debt). I give credit to Sam, for his role appeared to be a truly physical one as he was being beaten and thrown around. As I mentioned, the pieces were all here: from the love interest, to family betrayal, to battle scenes, to the love between a father and son. However, the story was not able to glue these parts together and create some excitement. It was not like I was totally bored with this movie; there was some good special effects that entertained me. But at one point of the movie I did wish they would have brought back the Kraken and let it destroy everyone in the movie, so there would not be any further sequels.
On my quest to see all 50 states, little did I know I had been to Mars on one of my excursions. While viewing this movie I recognized the landscape in several of the scenes. Did it distract me from the story? Not at all; it was about the images and it was obvious Disney poured a lot of money into this visual extravaganza of a movie. For me, the look of it reminded me slightly of Star Wars. There were fascinating alien creatures, big battle scenes and a love story involving a princess. Lynn Collins (The Number 23, The Lake House) played the strong, intelligent princess, Dejah Thoris. As for the story, I found it weak, leaving me confused in some parts. Civil War vet John Carter, played by Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Covenant), unwittingly discovered he was transported to another planet, where he now had super strength and agility. Oh and those twelve foot tall aliens were another clue he was not on earth. There were several basic plot lines: a group of mysterious beings that I did not fully understand what their ultimate purpose was in the story; an individual who was determined to take over the entire planet and a search for some mysterious thing that would tip the scale of power among opposing forces. As I said, the story was not the best; however, the movie’s action was exciting and I enjoyed all the special effects. I only wish Disney would have spent just a little more money on disguising the locale they used, here on earth.
2 3/4 stars
This movie should have been rated MHC: Must Have Child. I do not see any other reason why you would want to see this film. It has been marketed as a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, but the only connection between the two movies was the character of Sean, played by Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, Bridge to Terabithia) and both movies had CGI special effects. In this movie Sean, accompanied by his mother’s husband Hank, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Fast Five, Tooth Fairy), go on an adventure in search of Sean’s grandfather. Watching Dwayne I wondered if they enhanced his appearance, since he almost looked cartoonish with his massive build. Though I have to say his character was likeable and well directed, to deliver his lines in a playful, sarcastic way. What I found interesting was the way the movie was shot. I viewed the 2D version, yet in many scenes it was obvious they were filmed in a particular way for the 3D effect version. It annoyed me slightly, thinking they used the action for 3D as the center point to the set up of the various scenes. The humor was childish, hence why the MHC rating, the dialog was bland; the only reason to see this movie would be for the variety of colors used and special effects. Outside of that, for me, the movie was silly.