Movie Roundup

We’ve been seeing a fair number of movies lately, so I thought I’d post some thoughts here. I’ll probably be spoiling some of them, so only click the “More” link if you’ve seen them.

The movies I’m writing about are The Hulk, The Italian Job, Terminator 3, and The Core. You’ve been warned.

The Hulk

I liked it. With a couple of exceptions, the Hulk effects were more than adequate—downright impressive. It started a little slow, but that’s fine as the backstory was built and was actually relevant—I was surprised at how much more of a character-movie this turned out to be, considering the subject material. Sam Elliott as General Ross was great, and Ross’ charaterization was right on, I could totally get behind it—unlike how he’s always been portrayed in the comics as a raving loon.

The whole subplot of Banner’s father becoming the “Absorbing Man” was unnecessary and poorly executed, however. I’m not sure why they couldn’t just have Banner’s father be a normal scumbag, rather than having to fulfill some supervillain role requirement—I guess they had to end the movie somehow with Banner/Hulk on the lam. Oh, well.

The Italian Job

This is a good, fun heist movie, along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven. We had a good time watching it; I rather like these types of movies when they’re well done (unlike, say, Entrapment (hmmm—I just noticed while linking this up, that Entrapment was directed by John Amiel, who also directed The Core, which I’m reviewing. Odd.)). The entire “Napster” running gag was one of the funniest points in the movie—was that really Shawn Fanning in a cameo role? (I just checked—son of a bitch, that was! Oh shit, that’s funny!!)

Terminator 3

This wasn’t a bad movie, but it sure wasn’t a James Cameron movie, and I’d be hard pressed to consider it “canon” Terminator material, if only because the ending was kind of depressing to me (let’s just say “Rise of the Machines” isn’t just a catchy subtitle).

Overall, the effects were good, but the movie seemed to lift a little too much from Terminator 2, plot- and structure-wise. Plus, adding a new character that is suddenly just as important as John Connor this late in the franchise seems a bit desperate—and it smacks of rewriting established “history,” which drives me nuts.

Seeing the psychiatrist from the other 2 movies was fun, especially as he basically had a cameo role that made me laugh. And, if you get the DVD, watch the “Sgt. Candy” clip from the special features—that’s too good to pass up.

The Core

Ah, the disaster movie. All of the character archetypes dictated by this genre are here, and you basically have the rag-tag group of “underdog” heroes banding together to perform the impossible at all odds. This was better than I thought it would be, and despite the pseudo-scientific techno-chatter, is fairly logically self-consistent and holds up well throughout. And it has nice visuals, for the most part. However, the hacker character here wasn’t nearly as funny or interesting as in The Italian Job. Probably the best description I can give for this movie is “Armageddon at the Earth’s core,” but that’s okay, because I rather liked Armageddon, too.