Friday, May 11, 2007

Re-packaging of Shrek films offers nothing new

Okay, I like “Shrek” just fine, but this is just an example of redundant re-packaging in order to promote a new film due out his summer in theaters.

If you don’t already own the first “Shrek” film, this package gives you the first film, plus the 16-minute 3-D film that was produced to bridge the storyline between “Shrek” and “Shrek 2.”

I hadn’t seen the 3-D film previously and I’m a sucker for any 3-D film. I happily donned my red and blue glasses and put the disc in the player. It’s not bad, though not memorable either and the 3-D proved to my eyes at least as rather iffy – sometimes it worked and sometimes it looked just like a jumble.

Don’t expect anything new in this package.

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© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spiderman Three is the weepiest superhero movie ever


Considering the amount of CGI footage in “Spiderman Three,” I can’t help but view this film in the same light, as I would look at a Ray Harryhausen film. It may be a live action film, but so much of the film’s success rests squarely in animation.

Having said that, I have to say this film is going to suffer when seen on a small TV screen. It was clearly designed for the big screen and considering how many animated scenes take on a dizzying quality, I’m afraid unless you have a nice big flat screen, what you see may be a little confusing.

This is not necessarily a criticism. I’m happy to see filmmakers who are composing their movies for theatrical screens, rather than thinking about the second life on television screens.

Director and co-writer Sam Raimi has given us the weepiest superhero movies ever. Peter Parker sheds tears at least four times. Aunt Mae cries. Mary Jane cries. Flint Marko cries. J. Jonah Jameson does not cry, but I was expecting him to.

Emphasizing the Peter Parker twisted love life may turn off some action fans, but if my 12 year-old niece and her friend who accompanied us to the theater is any indication it served an important demographic. Both girls were quite smitten with Toby McGuire and his puppy dog persona.

It was fun to spot Raimi’s salutes to “Saturday Night Fever” and Jerry Lewis’ “The Nutty Professor.” The scene in which a Venom-inspired Parker humiliates May Jane at her jazz club gig is at first funny and then truly disturbing.

I think from a character development point of view, I would have thought by the third film Parker would have had grown a backbone and understood a little more about Mary Jane, but it seems the permanent Parker persona is a nerd.

So does the animation deliver? I think so. The Venom scenes in which Topher Grace becomes the character are well done and the Sandman sequences are pretty impressive. I like the fact that essentially Sandman is a villain who can’t be defeated and the film’s ending depends upon forgiveness.

The web slinging scenes are also well done and the illusion is quite good.

Overall, I’d give “Spiderman Three” a solid B+ but I don’t plan to buy it when it comes out on DVD.

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs