Despite my feeling somewhat under the weather, we managed to squeeze in two films this evening before I collapsed into a snot-soaked lump, coughing and feeling pitiful. Yes, it’s man-flu’… I sincerely hope I didn’t annoy the people near us too much. I did try to reserve my coughing and sneezing for the noisier segments of both films.
Plot-in-a-nutshell: A drifter adopts a young boy when his parents are killed by roaming vampires in a collapsed United States
See it if you like: bleak, post-apocalyptic movies without huge set pieces
Comparisons first of all. Stake Land is like a cross between The Road and Zombieland. It has more of the dark, depressing feel of the former, but the constantly stalking monsters of the latter – albeit vampires rather than zombies. It’s a good mixture as well. With the cast being relative unknowns (with the exception of a very well played part by Kelly McGillis – a far cry from her Top Gun days) you never know who’s going to get it in the neck – so to speak – next.
There’s no long drawn out introduction. We’re dropped right into the middle of the story, the US already in tatters and people trying to make for a mystical “new eden” in Canada. No explanation is ever given for the vampire rising, the closest we get to a back-story is the occasionally-glanced newspaper headline.
The vampires themselves are more like fast-moving zombies. In fact, I’d say they’re nearer the monsters from the 28 Days Later franchise with an added inability to face sunlight. Feral, unintelligent and all the more dangerous for it.
The never-otherwise-named “Mister” (Nick Damici) takes Martin (Connor Paolo) under his wing when the young boy’s parents are killed, and together they head north. Along the way they encounter nice people in townships which are holding out… and The Brotherhood, a collection ofÂ religiousÂ nutbags who believe the vampires have been sent by God as a means to cleanse the planet. Or somesuch.
Between these two sets of villains and the environment itself, the journey unfolds and the characters develop well. It’s not a fast-paced adventure, but neither is it as slow as the incredibly dull The Road, mentioned earlier. Certainly, we both enjoyed it and would happily recommend it. If you think it sounds like you’ll like it from what I’ve said, then you probably will.
Plot-in-a-nutshell: jet pilot gets will-powered green ring from dying aliens and associated superpowers. Saves world (sorry if that’s a spoiler)
See it if you like: amusing superhero stories with decent special effects and tongue-in-cheek dialogue.
Green Lantern has never been a superhero I knew much about. He’s green. And he has some kind of magic (no, it’s not magic, sorry) ring which lets him fly and create stuff from the air. And his secret identity is Hal Jordan. That came in useful in a pub quiz once.
What I didn’t know is that there are 3600 Green Lanterns, one for each galactic sector. This means there are a lot of aliens in this film. Which means a lot of CGI and creativity. In fact, a fair few of the characters in the film are 100% CG constructs with the actors related to them just being vocal pieces – Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog and Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-Re being two examples.
The story is a typical “origins” one, being the obvious start for a franchise. I’m sure it will annoy a huge number of purists as they’ve taken many strands of Green Lantern history and interwoven them. For the layman ( that would be me), it’s resulted in a decent enough film that was worth going to see.
Ryan Reynolds is good enough in the lead, and Gillian’s main reason for going to see it especially as you see him dressed in nowt but boxers twice, and there’s a decent enough supporting cast. The effects are well done, the story decent enough and the dialogue never gets too cheesy. In fact, there are a handful of scenes with genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
A couple of points – and you could argue they’re spoiler-y but only to the tiniest amount:
1) Why do intelligent overlords always imprison evil beings instead of executing them? You’d think a group of all-wise immortals would have learned from the Zod episode that Superman went through in Superman II.
2) One moment Hal is saying “how do I know all this?” about the Green Lantern Corps (apparently the ring’s “higher functions” fill him with this background knowledge), and then three minutes later he’s having said background explained to him anyway by Tomar-Re? He already “knows” it, so what’s the point? Yes, I know the audience need to be filled in, so in that case drop the “higher function” thing and have hi know nothing at all.
Taken as it is – a silly superhero movie – it’s a pretty decent one. Certainly DC’s best effort outside of the Batman canon, and hopefully open to a sequel or two. In fact, hang around to the middle of the credits. Predictable though it is, that’s definitely an indicator that Green Lantern 2 may well be out in 2013.