Thursday, 28 November 2013

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

Having been disappointed with Universal's Frankenstein (1931), I was hoping that Hammer's Frankenstein Created Woman might tell the second half of Mary Shelly's excellent book.  Admittedly I haven't seen Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein, but as FCW also stars Peter Cushing, I was hopeful.  This optimism was sadly misplaced.  "Woman" is created (completely off screen, we don't see a thing) from a girl who drowns herself because she's has just seen her lover guillotined for a crime he didn't commit.  Oh, and she now has the brain of said guillotined lover!  Queue some revenge killing against the toffs who initially framed lover boy.

It all sounds a bit Young Frankenstein, and it is.  Despite not really connecting with James Whale's film, at least there were great sets, tremendous lighting and a dramatic creation scene.  There is none of that here.  It's a point and shoot film with no obvious creative vision, no "It's Alive!" scene, and a ludicrous plot.  Peter Cushing does his best, and his complete disregard for anyone’s feelings and his contempt for superstitious folk (as long as his research is undisturbed) is fun, but it's not enough.  Where Christopher Lee is able to rescue Rasputin: The Mad Monk by chewing the scenery, Cushing’s more reserved style isn’t enough to animate the lifeless body of FCW.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

Monday, 18 November 2013

2012 (2009)

Ridiculous nonsense.  Quite entertaining, but very stupid.  People often talk about films for which you need to leave your brain at the door; well if you did that and had never seen a movie before, I think that you’d still shout at the screen during 2012!  There is some spurious science involving solar flares and mutating neutrinos melting the Earth’s core (isn’t it already molten?), which all gives licence for some destruction on a global scale.  The latest creation on Roland Emmerich’s CV of disaster movies, 2012 seems to be the culmination of destruction that began 13 years ago with Independence Day, continued with some monster destruction in 1998’s Godzilla, and still further in 2004 with The Day After Tomorrow.  This time he obviously thought “Ah fuck it, let’s destroy the entire planet!”

John Cusack is the average Dad who is separated from his wife, doesn’t see his kids too often, and is way out of his depth.  He acts like he is way out of his depth.  It’s not his fault, I can’t think of anyone who would be able to play this role any better; the character is just cursed.  Of course he needs to be an average Joe, but at the same time we don’t for a second think that he might not survive; the bloated 158 min length simply means that Cusack’s Jackson Curtis spends an awful long time engaged in some “knees bent running around”.  Unfortunately this is true of all the heroes.  For any worthwhile performances, we have to look to the Government representatives; Chiwetel Ejiofor’s geologist, Oliver Platt’s Chief of Staff and to a lesser extent Danny Glover as The President.  These are the people who hold the film together, and help give some semblance of a reason for all of the heroes shenanigans.  The verbal sparring between Ejiofor and Platt was probably the highlight of the film.

No doubt 2012 was spectacular on the big screen, I’m sure some of the impact was lost on TV punctuated with adverts; but there’s no escaping that it’s a dumb film.  Spectacular, but dumb.  Because every time there is a spectacular scene, which should be terrifying in an end-of-the-world kind of way, there is some dumb driving/running/flying through the carnage nonsense.  I thought that it was entertaining escapism, ridiculous nonsense, but nevertheless somehow enjoyable-ish.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.