Hello, gang. It's Reaper Rick, back from a mental and physical sabbatical and prepared once again to regale you with my opinions of that celluloid marvel which we so take for granted--Film.
First of all, I would like to thank the 'Gurl of Myth' for taking over the reins last month with her movie review, but feel I need to offer a 'rebuttal' to one of her reviews. I, too, watched "AVP" expecting this film to be a sequel to the previous "Alien" and "Predator" movies--I mean, what else should we have expected? And, I admit that I was momentarily disappointed when, in fact, I discovered that aside from the creatures depicted in the movie, there was little else to associate it with those earlier blockbusters.
However, if you put aside your preconceived expectations and watch this movie as a separate vision, you should be well pleased. Granted, it was a bit 'cheesy' in its presentation, but the concept was imaginative and the action sequences were great. Anyone who enjoys 'gaming' should get a kick out of this flick. The idea that this huge, ancient pyramid was actually an ever-changing game board was something that took some serious getting used to. Once the unsuspecting (and basically helpless) scientists were trapped within the structure, every few minutes, the entire configuration of the inner pyramid would shift, leaving the 'players' (or victims) in a totally new situation, usually confronted by any number of murderous alien creatures.
The whole set up was, apparently, a right of passage for the warrior 'Predators'. They were locked inside this ever-changing killing field and either came out bloodied, successful warriors, or they didn't come out at all. The human characters in the movie just happened to have stumbled onto this age-old training ground and since they were no match for the Alien enemy, they all died, except for a lone female, who with the aid of the single surviving Predator, managed to overcome the Aliens and defeat (apparently) the Alien Queen. The last Predator warrior, however, was killed and while taken aboard his ship as a fallen hero, unbeknownst to the other Predators, his body is the host for an Alien embryo, so a sequel to this movie is entirely possible.
The special effects in this movie were top notch, the action (once it got started) was terrific and exciting. So, overall, I have to give this film a rousing three and a half howls of pleasure. If you watch it as a separate, well made entity, rather than a supposed sequel, I think you will agree with me.
All right, now I must totally revert from character for my next review. I watched this film expecting something totally different from what I found myself actually witness to. I am an avid viewer of Martial Arts films. I myself have studied (to an unfortunately, limited extent) several forms of the Martial Arts and so, I expected "Hero" to be an action-packed movie of exceptional special effects and massive bloodletting. I was admittedly 'Stunned' when I finally saw this film.
Momentarily disappointed that the movie was in Chinese, with English subtitles, I soon found myself enthralled and amazed with what I beheld. True, there were absolutely amazing scenes of spectacular Martial Arts exhibition, but these scenes were overshadowed by the complete artistry and power of the film, itself. This is a story of love, of honor and of rare courage.
The photography was absolutely breathtaking and I repeatedly found myself on the edge of my seat when confronted by the beauty and sensuality that was presented in nearly every scene. Something as seemingly unspectacular as rainwater falling from a roof into a line of symmetrically positioned bowls brought
a chill to my spine in its simplicity of beauty.
Director Yimou Zhang's use of color to evoke an emotional response from the viewer is unparalleled. He may take you from two individual warriors dressed in white, battling each other in flowing sensuality amid a totally barren landscape, devoid of even a hint of color and juxtapose to a literal sea of grey-clad soldiers, numbering in the thousands, who move and flow as a single, mindless entity. There is a fantastic scene in an autumnal forest, where two women fight amid a storm of windswept russet leaves swirling up to envelope the dancing/struggling characters as they twirl and spin with blades flashing, amongst the naked trees. The movie is sensual in every aspect--from wind blown silken hangings that hide and expose fighting warriors, to the only scene that might be considered 'sexual' in the movie, when 'Sword' and 'Moon' are (almost) visible beneath a red silk covering, their bodies flowing and merging together in an almost liquid embrace.
The locale of the movie is ancient China, some 2,000 years ago, before the six warring states of that nation were brought under the control of a single warlord, who would become the first Emperor. The story centers on a single warrior who attempts to assassinate the powerful leader of Qin Province, to avenge the death of his family. Beyond that, any telling of the tale would be anticlimactic.
This is a powerful, breathtaking film. I am rarely rendered speechless, but when this movie ended, I had to sit and silently watch the credits roll by, mesmerized by what I had been exposed to.
I wish that I had taken the opportunity to see this film on the big screen, rather than waiting to view it on DVD, because so much of the grandeur is lost on a small screen, but I can safely say that overall, "Hero" is one of the 'Best' movies
I have ever had the pleasure to experience. I was constantly amazed at the beauty and scope of the photography I was witness to. The plot, while well thought out and packed with surprise twists, was secondary to the way the story was actually presented. I am still stunned by the scale and beauty of this film. If you have not yet seen this movie, I urge you to do so and share the experience with someone you care about.
There is no way I can accurately give this film what it truly deserves in praise, but I nonetheless offer our highest possible rating--FIVE mighty Howls of Pleasure, mixed with tears of joy and amazement.
And so, I leave you, for now, with quiet respect.