Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I Watched in November

Well, I have seen the supposed start of the new Universal Monsters franchise and it was OK. DRACULA UNTOLD is the film they seem to have set out to make even if its not exactly the film I wish that they had set out to make. It's an historical tale melding the Vlad the Impaler legend with the Bram Stoker character and as such it's not too bad. The film moves well, the cast is up to the effort and the story is not bad. The film paints Dracula as a well meaning lord that feels he must strike a harsh bargain with a terrible vampire monster to save his people from destruction. He makes the deal but events turn so that he is unable to save his land or himself from damnation and he is cursed with eternal life and its required inhuman thirst for blood.

As I said, its an OK film but hardly deserving of a sequel much less as the first step in the launch of a Monster film series. Granted, Luke Evens in the title role is very good and Charles Dance is fantastic as the monster that turns Dracula but a much better script will be necessary to make this more than a passable time waster.

BIG HERO 6 is the latest big screen animated film and it was quite fun. It is a fast, fun and very amusing science fiction adventure that even has a few narrative surprises in the form of altering the audience's perception of two characters at the midway point. This is not something that most Disney films would have tried before the more complex Pixar version of delicately complicated storytelling was introduced.

I've not be overly enthused for the past couple of years about seeking out the newest animated feature films and I as I watch BIG HERO 6 I began to understand why. I think I've finally reached the point where I've seen enough of them that I know what I'm going to get every time. Not that i don't enjoy what the films serve up but its like listening to a new performance by a band you know very well - unless there is some fresh or innovative addition to the song, it's just not as great the fifty-first time as it was the first thirty or so. There is nothing wrong with this film- in fact it is pretty damned good. I just think I've realized that it might be the last of these types of movies I actively seek out on the big screen. 

ASSAULT ON PRECIENT 13 (1976)- 7 (rewatch)
TWO SECONDS (1932)- 6 (solid but set-bound stage adaptation)
BABYLON (2014)- 8 (pilot for British TV series)
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988)- 3 (rewatch) (just as bad as I remembered)
NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2 (1994)- 6 (superior sequel!)
BYZANTIUM (2012)- 8 (excellent variation on the vampire tale)
THE BIG BOSS (1971)- 6 (Bruce Lee action film)
COCKNEYS VS. ZOMBIES (2012)- 7 (very fun horror comedy)
SPINETINGLER! The William Castle Story (2007)- 8 (rewatch)
BIG HERO 6 (2014)- 7
BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA (1966)- 3 (rewatch)
I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014)- 2 (rewatch)
GAMERA (1965)- 7 (rewatch)
THE MONSTER OF THE OPERA (1964) - 5 (padded vampire tale) 


Nick Rentz said...

It's been years since I've seen Night of the Demons and a couple months since the second. I remember liking the first one, so I ask why such a low rating? Also, have you seen the third one and or the remake?

Rod Barnett said...

I just find Night of the Demons to be -- terrible! I've given it two tries now and each time I'm stunned at how poorly made on every level it turns out to be EXCEPT the makeup effects. The acting is some of the worst I've seen in a horror film of the period and that bar is set LOW. It has the look and feel of a barely competent student film blessed with one or two talented crew members. Sorry.

Hunter said...

I reached my animated movie saturation point quite a few years ago. As you said, I can still enjoy some of them, but my first thought when I see a trailer is not, "Oh, I need to see that!"