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Star Wars Saga Marathon January 30, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction , 4 comments

There are some things in life that you have to do at least once. Eat an ice-cream at the beach, spill hot coffee on yourself, kiss a Camel. For the fan boy there’s a few more options. One of them would be watching the entire Star Wars saga in one sitting. With a complete day to spare I finally did that. Was it worth it? I’m not sure.

I think lots of fans had waited for the day to watch all the films back to back from Episode I-VI since they are one epic story.  I had wanted to do it myself for a while but since you have to put away at least 12 hours of free time without interruptions it’s really difficult. Thanks to it been a holiday with many places closed and thanks in part to the poor weather I had that time to burn (Star Trek 7).

For anyone who hasn’t attempted it here’s what you might need.

Food. Snacks if you will, but a easily cooked decent meal will help get you through it, especially those prequels. I find snacks somewhat distracting at times and I can’t relax with messy hands if it’s crisps (chips) or chocolate etc. I had a big meal before starting and at the midway point I had another big meal followed by a walk outside to refresh myself.

Coffee. Coffee will be needed. A Coffee break during the prequels will be more necessary. The Original Trilogy will require less coffee as the films themselves will keep you alert.

Phone off. This won’t be difficult for some of you (all 3 of you) but if you have a life it’s just going to get in your way. Either tell your friends what you are planning to do or leave an automated message on your phone letting them know why you can’t come to the phone right now. If they are fellow fans maybe they’ll ask to join. If they are normal people they aren’t going to understand in which case it’s just better to say you are taking a vow of silence for a day to raise money for….the rebel alliance!

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Anyone remember when we didn’t use this “episode” stuff? When the ‘Star Wars’ wasn’t ‘Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope’.

I remember I went to the first night showing of this on the day of release at my local cinema. My local cinema at the time been utterly useless in design. If someone sat in front of you it would block part of your view of the film and if they were tall you were screwed. The problem was added by the fact that there was no ticket numbering. You just bought the ticket and sat anywhere. It was a first come first served basis. With this being the first Star Wars film in 16 years there were a lot of people wanting to book advanced tickets so fortunately I was able to book a good seat early. One week before. To avoid the problem of having someone blocking my enjoyment of this movie I also bought the seat in front of me. That wasn’t a joke.
It’s the only film I watched where the audience applauded at the beginning of the movie. As soon as the title and music kicked in there was a rapturous applause and whoops from people. We were excited. This was Star Wars. F**k YEAH! The films blew people away in the 70s and we were ready to be blown away again.

“That was crap!” said a young overweight boy as we shuffled out of the cinema at the end of the screening. The voices in my head said otherwise “No it was good, it was good, IT WAS GOOD!”. You can’t come out of that film experience and hype without trying to think that all the years of excitement and anticipation were for nothing.

That was then, this is now. I still consider TPM to be the weakest Star Wars movie. What I liked was the silent Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jin. Both of whom get killed off. I thought having Anakin Skywalker as a kid was a mistake as it turns Obi Wan into a Father figure/Teacher rather than a best friend/brother figure that might have made a more interesting trilogy. Also we have to deal with pissy teenage Anakin for the sequel. The Jar Jar Bink’s performance has aged better. Jake Lloyd flying playing around in a Starfighter IS NOT INTERESTING. Accidentally blowing up the enemies ship is not ENTERTAINING. The space battle is a poor man’s Death Star run. No drama, childish and a rip off of the original, AGAIN.

Lightsaber fights. Pretty cool and fast. Very choreographed though. But for most of the film it’s just chucked full of too much cutesy wutesy CGI that shows us Lucas is now out of control. How many times do we need to hear little CGI cartoons say “uh-oh” in one movie?

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

A Step up. Anakin being a pissy teenager doesn’t work though. You can believe that this asshole is going to turn to the dark side. Where’s the inner conflict? Look at Luke, so good and innocent but conflicted because he is afraid of the dark side and desires to protect his friends. Anakin is just arrogant clearly from the beginning. He’s still the same little boy Padme knew? Clearly not. This punk just talks big and gets his ass whooped by Dooku in the end.

Speaking of Count Dooku. This is a villain the Trilogy sorely needed and it harkens back to an older time of movies in the 70s and 80s when bad guys were  not braggarts but cool, collected and intellectually evil. Christopher Lee onscreen reminds me of Peter Cushing in ‘A New Hope’.

The Anakin and Padme relationship is a big bunch of nothing, wannabe ‘Titanic’ stuff. Ful of random scenes of them talking about their feelings for each other when we haven’t even seen how these feelings developed. I felt that the Han Solo character got split into two characters, the comedic, roguish side went to Obi Wan’s character while the romantic, asshole, cold blooded killer (yes, he shot first!) side went to Anakin’s character. In truth both characters only work half as well as they should because they are lacking in personality beyond what was given to them.

I liked the final land battle, it was reminiscent of something out of pulp science fiction magazines. Yeah I know when we heard the word “clone wars” we didn’t realize they’d be on the side of the Jedi. Neither did the Jedi actually. A Clone army is conveniently and suspiciously created on their behalf and they use them without a second thought to fight a war which that is in reality being controlled from both sides by the same person. It’s unnecessarily complicated and makes the heroes look stupid to go along with it.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Best of the prequels, tries to tie everything up in one movie. Grievous seems rather wasted as a Character. Anakin is still a dick. Space Battle awesome, light saber battles awesome. Ian McDiarimid is dripping with awesome.

But the setting and these characters are by this stage bland and uninteresting. The plot is thin and used solely just to bring characters to their next destination/action sequence. The film doesn’t really have a story because it’s based around these set pieces and the action is not the result of conflict, the conflict is the result of the necessity of an action scene. It’s the downfall of Anakin but compared to Luke’s story it just isn’t compelling because the focus is not so much on the inner conflict which never really existed, but on the set pieces that present the story visually with action and flashy effects. If you put the actors sitting in a room only reading their dialogue then what we would get is this…

The final Lightsaber battle of the Prequel Trilogy

OBI-WAN: I have failed you, Anakin. I was never able to teach you to think.

ANAKIN: I should have known the Jedi were plotting to take over . . .

OBI-WAN:
From the Sith!!! Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil.

ANAKIN: From the Jedi point of view! From my point of view, the Jedi are evil.

OBI-WAN: Well, then you are lost!

ANAKIN: This is the end for you, My Master. I wish it were otherwise.

OBI-WAN: It’s over, Anakin. I have the high ground.

ANAKIN: You underestimate my power!

OBI-WAN: Don’t try it.

OBI-WAN: (continuing) . . . You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would, destroy the Sith, not join them. It was you who would bring balance to the Force, not leave it in Darkness.

ANAKIN: I hate you!

OBI-WAN:
You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.

Now compare this to the final conflict between Vader and Luke. Also a Lightsaber battle that the original trilogy would end on.

VADER: You cannot hide forever,Luke.

LUKE: I will not fight you.

VADER: Give yourself to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for….

VADER: (Continued) Sister! So…you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the darkside, then perhaps she will.

LUKE: NEVER!!!

EMPEROR: Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side!

LUKE: Never! I’ll never turn to the dark side. You’ve failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

EMPEROR: So be it…Jedi.

Revenge of The Sith was written by George Lucas.

Return of the Jedi was written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas.

Now I get hard for action and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the action and visuals of Episode III or any of the prequel films for that matter, but once you’ve seen them and look back on those films what is it that people would talk about? Just the action alone or what was actually going on between the characters that the action was centered around? Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship was a crucial part that this trilogy hinged on but not enough focus was given to it.


Episode IV: A New Hope

From the opening minutes of this movie I find it to be far more tense and exhilerating with a real sense of danger from the beginning all the way till the end. The perfec Space adventure. I’ve already reviewed this and Empire as being among the best Sci-fi movies so I won’t go into too much depth with the reviews here.

The Death Star Run. Wow, even though I have watched this movie so often and know the outcome it’s still edge of your seat stuff and I still keep wondering if Luke can really do it. That’s movie magic right there. just compare that to the battle in TPM with little Ani spinning around in a starfighter saying “oops, uh-oh, this is not good, spinning! that usually works”, with no real sense of danger or immediate threat unlike here. This film should be the blueprint for that.

Episode V: Awesome

The Empire Strikes Back is without doubt the best. Luke’s journey is so much more compeling than Anakin’s. Luke is a guy who just doesn’t get the force, he’s a fighter pilot. He didn’t grow up training to be a Jedi, he even says so in a New Hope. When Obi Wan offers to train him at first he refuses until he is left with no other alternative. But he is the hope of Obi Wan of defeating the face of the Empire. Darth Vader. He knows he isn’t ready and he fears that and yet knows that he has to help his friends too. This conflict comes before he even knows who Darth Vader really is.

and yeah i still say this is the film Noir of Star Wars…

‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Directed by Irvin Kershner, Cinematographer Peter Suschitzky

‘The Big Combo’ Directed by Joseph H Lewis and Cinematography by John Alton

Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

Pretty nice film to end the trilogy on. I have few problems with it except to say that the Ewoks are the early signs of the Direction Lucas would eventually take this franchise in. Too cute, indeed. But a fun adventure movie. It’s the weakest of the original Trilogy but the characters and setting that have already been established are already captivating enough to carry this film and make it pretty darn enjoyable.
The Luke and Vader conflict is wrapped up nicely and the scene that I have found most powerful in this movie which has stuck with me since I first saw it as a child is the scene of Luke cutting off Vader’s hand and then looking to his own which is robotic too, just like Vader’s was. It shows that the more Luke cuts Vader down the more he becomes like him and it’s so well done that even as a kid I totally got the message.

I wonder what a child’’s impression would be of ‘Revenge of the Sith’ though. Something like “Don’t F**k with Obi Wan or he’ll cut your arms and legs off and let you burn on the side of a hill even though he had raised you since you were 10 years old.” What kind of message is that?!

So I concluded my viewing of this 6 movie saga with the opinion that spending 6 hours watching the prequel trilogy is a bit of a hard slog and ultimately not worth it. But spending the better part of the day watching the Original Trilogy is a heck of a lot of fun. I formed this opinion about 2 minutes in to the start of ‘A New Hope’. What the movie shows more than ever is how flawed the previous 3 films you just watched were. So in my opinion just do the last 3 as a movie marathon.

As I write this Episode I is about to be released in 3D. I had thought about seeing it (I’m 3-D-curious ok!) but I don’t think I can sit myself down to watch Episode I again so soon. ‘The New Hope’ on the other hand i’m already itching to watch again.

So for anyone who has never watched Star Wars (what hole have you been hiding out in?!) then I suggest IV-VI first followed by I-III. If you want to give your kids a good movie education in good vs. not good movies then I suggest you show them all of these movies and while they watch the prequel trilogy have em smoke a full packet of cigarettes and you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

Favorite Quote: “May the Force be with you, always” - Obi Wan Kenobi (Old Ben)

Unmade: King Kong vs. Frankenstein January 23, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Unproduced Scripts, Asian Cinema , 2 comments

Conceived originally as a sequel to the 1933 film ‘King Kong’, ‘King Kong Vs. Frankenstein’ was the invention of Willis O’Brien, stop motion animator on the original film who came up with the idea to get his career back on his feet much like Carl Denham, by bringing back the Mighty Kong to the big screen. The plot roughly went like this…

The Monster of Frankenstein is created somewhere in South Africa by Frankenstein’s Grandson. His body is made from parts of animals, his skin that of an elephant etc. Two groups of explorers set out in a race to bring back the world’s greatest monsters. One group heads to South Africa to Hunt down Frankenstein’s Monster. The other group sets out to get King Kong (although I don’t know which King Kong they refer to, the original and his son were both killed. Perhaps grandson?). Both Monsters are brought back t San Francisco, they escape and have an epic battle destroying much of the city before both been destroyed.

O’Brien brought the idea to Producer John Beck who quietly stole it and sold it Toho Studios under the title ‘King Kong Vs. Prometheus’. Toho studios had been interested in making a Frankenstein movie for a few years and would eventually do so in future in ‘Frankenstein Conquers the World’.

Toho eventually dropped Frankenstein from the plot and replaced him with Godzilla and thus ‘King Kong Vs. Godzilla’ was born. A film which would see a very shabby looking King Kong taking on Godzilla who would have to use all his tactics to defeat King King. These tactics included Karate Kicks…. Kong’s downfall would be his messy hair that Godzilla sets on Fire with his atomic breath.

My idea has always been that Godzilla represents the Atomic bomb. He is born from atomic testing, he has atomic breath and he brings terrible devastation to Japan. I have said in my previous reviews including Space Battleship Yamato that Japan is one of those countries that takes a terrible event and turns into into something powerful and positive. Godzilla eventually becomes a Hero rather than staying a Villain in Japan. In the Book ‘Monsters in the Movies’ by John Landis he theorizes that Godzilla represents Japan’s relations with the United States and the growing warmer relations between the two is represented through Godzilla who starts out as a terrible monster destroying cities to becoming Japan’s protector. His face even changes to take on more human tendencies and cartoony eyes almost like that of Micky mouse. I like Landis’s examination of the character and he might be right. At the time ‘King Kong Vs. Godzilla’ was made a security treaty had been signed between Japan and the U.S.

‘Frankenstein Vs. Godzilla’ was intended to be a sequel to this movie but the idea was eventually dropped. There was also once an idea for ‘Batman Vs. Godzilla’. Lets not go there…
Interestingly enough King Kong had appeared in Japanese cinemas before 1962. ‘Wasei Kingu Kongu’ a 1933 silent film which is unfortunately lost along with about 90% of Japanese silent cinema. There was also ‘King Kong appears in Edo’ 1938 which has also been lost. It is unfortunate as these films predate the Godzilla movies and show Japan’s earliest foray into the Monster movie franchise.  Fuminori Ohashi who created the monster suit for the Japanese King Kong in 1938 would later go on to create the very first Godzilla monster suit.

As much fun as ‘King Kong Vs. Godzilla’ is (or isn’t depending on how you view it) I would have really liked to have seen a stop motion Kong go at it with Frankenstein. That would have been a classic film. Sometimes putting guys in suits just seems a bit easy. Not that there isn’t an art to that way of making monster movies. Probably the majority of the world would prefer a King Kong Vs. Godzilla movie over a Vs. Frankenstein movie. I remember getting King Kong and Godzilla toys in my Christmas stocking on separate years and having them stand on my shelf locked in battle. Maybe these ideas will come to fruition in future.

Sherlock January 16, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Sherlock Holmes , add a comment

So i’m just sitting here now sipping on a warm cup of tea, listening to the sound of the city’s tram groaning along the tracks down below and contemplating what I have just watched. Episode 3 of Series 2 of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’ which ended with a brilliant and clever episode. More on that later.

The ‘Sherlock’ series has been around for a while. I first noticed it on IMDB back in 2009 when I was checking out Steven Moffat’s profile. A pilot episode had been filmed setting Holmes in modern day London. A nice idea I thought.  But the episode had not been broadcast. The BBC chose not to show the 1 hour pilot and instead asked for it to be re-filmed as a 90 minute episode. This episode and subsequent series was finally broadcast in 2010 introducing Holmes to a new generation. Executive producers Steven Moffet and Mark Gatiss decided to make Holmes relevant to the world we live in today and although it is set in present day instead of the 19th century it is perhaps a medium that is closer to the Holmes canon than that of even the recent Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes which claims to be a truer interpretation of the character.

Certainly Ritchie’s movie does place Sherlock Holmes in his proper setting of the late 19th Century but had turned the character’s personality and quirks up to 11. Moffat’s and Gatiss’s Holmes is still the same character that is in the books. From the first episode of the series “A Study in Pink” we are introduced to the character beating up a corpse with a whip to see how the body bruises after it has died. This might seem a fun invention by the writers to make Holmes a darker, funnier character but this is actually the exact same way we are introduced to the character in the books. Beating up a corpse. The similarities continue: John Watson’s injury from the Afghan War, same as the books. In another instance Sherlock describes John’s Mobile Phone telling him that he must have got it from his alcoholic brother as there are scratches around the phone’s charger socket on his phone that shows an alcoholic who has unsteady hands must have tried to insert the charger wire. In the books the object is a pocket Watch which was scratched due to Watson’s brother having a drinking problem and scratching the watch when he goes to wind it. So that’s one of the reasons I adore this show. It is still Conan Doyale. It’s still Sherlock Holmes and john Watson and it’s a lot of fun to see how creative the writers get modernizing the character.

In no small part was the series also successful due to the talent in front of the Camera. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Cumberbatch plays Holmes as a Superhero without powers, he knows his good, he doesn’t have to hide it, he doesn’t need to be nice because he can crush you with intellect. Freeman who was know for his Role in ‘The Office’ brings the every day man quality with Watson, similar to how he was in the office in terms of being sane among the insane. For Holmes’s intelligence John is the viewing audience who requires an explanation for what Sherlock says and does. Of course the characters are modernized for the 21st Century now calling each other by their first names Sherlock and John instead of Holmes and Watson. Sherlock too is a man who no longer smokes but using nicotine patches and when he needs to think a 3 pipe problem becomes today a 3 patch problem. Fabulous. There are hints of a darker less legal drug running through Holmes’s body and mind. This is hinted at in the first episode of series 1 where 221 B baker street is being searched by police and Sherlock tries to shut John up about Sherlock never using drugs. In Series 2 Mycroft asks John and Mrs Hudson to check the apartment before Holmes returns to make sure it’s clean of any substances he could use to relieve his depression. He wasn’t talking about Cigarettes folks! I’m glad they didn’t shy away from this dark aspect of the character unlike the Guy Ritchie movie. Show some balls, Guy.

Jim Moriarty. An Irish man being the mastermind criminal of the world. Natural to make him Irish with an Irish family name. A nice twist with the introduction of the character although like others I found the character a little off the wall. A bit like John Sim’s “The Master” in ‘Doctor Who’.

Series 2 of Sherlock is probably the best bit of Television i’m going to see this year. I was completely blown away by the first episode of series 2 and the relationship portrayed between Irene Adler and Holmes. A perfect match for the character in terms of intellect and strategy. Even more than Moriarty. This is another thing Guy Ritchie dropped the ball with in his Holmes’s movie.

The final episode of Series 2… I was EXTREMELY interested to know how they would do it. Having seen different iterations of the Reichenbach falls (most recently in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows‘) I wondered if BBC would send Sherlock to Switzerland also. Instead they took a slightly different, if no less interesting, route. I’m quite sure they borrowed some ideas from the stage play ‘The Secret of Sherlock Holmes’ in which Holmes admits to having created Moriarty himself (since in the books it’s only Holmes who sees him). To me that’s a fascinating psychological play on the character and although the idea is used they only go so far as dipping their toe in the water with it and then pulling it back. Which is good because that’s a road I think you can’t take the character back from once you go further down it. There is no actual Reichenbach falls because it’s a play on the words from the first episode of the series, meaning “revenge”. Nice touch, writers. As for Sherlock’s escape from death I would make a hypothetical guess and say that Sherlock did jump and fall softly into a truck on the street while Molly dumped a corpse dressed as Sherlock out of the window. As for Moriarty I think he’s a goner. I think this opens up the possibility of creating a new villain in series 3.

I have to say that Jeremy Brett is still “my” Holmes. Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely wonderful in the role but Brett’s performance is my favorite. Well, they are both different styled series with the ‘Sherlock’ series it’s a lot faster pace storytelling as the attention span of today’s TV audience is so low.

Oh and how fraking cool is it that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be in the next Star Trek movie? I thought I had woken up in an alternate reality of awesomeness when I read that news and if I had been an elderly man I might have wet myself with excitement. Between his Role as Smaug the Dragon and The Necromancer in ‘The Hobbit’ and this Star Trek role and the 3rd series of Sherlock there’s a lot of great stuff coming up for the Cumberbitch fans.  (no really, they call themselves Cumberbitches). Martin Freeman too will be Bilbo Baggins! Ah…it’s good to be a geek.

Favorite Quote: “All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock.” - Mycroft Holmes

A Trip to The Moon January 15, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Science Fiction , add a comment

George Melies’s imagination was limitless. Not confined by budget or practicality. His mind soared as far as he would allow and if he had been alive today I think his films would have been extraordinary and unlike anything else.

Combining film and magic Melies saw the power of film which was still in it’s early days and in itself had the power to astonish alone. Combining the two was by pure accident when he was filming a street scene and his camera jammed until he got it working again. Upon later viewing of the film he noticed objects onscreen disappeared magically when they moved out of view when his camera jammed. Thus a new type of magic was born. It may seem obvious to us today but back then it was something truly unique.

It’s sad to think where he ended up. Selling Toys in a shop in Paris and having even burned some of the negatives of his own films. But his misfortune was not completely of his own doing but that of the era he lived in. Film was a young form of art, there was still problems with copyright and his greatest works were distributed by others such as Thomas Edison making him richer while leaving Meilies without a penny to show for his masterpiece.

An image almost everyone is familiar with is the picture of the face of the moon with a Rocket in the Eye. This was Melies ‘A Trip to the Moon’ (La Voyage Dans La Lune) and is one of his most ambitious works. The story is pretty basic. A group of astronomers decide to go to the moon and the film depicts the building of the rocket, their adventures on the moon in which they are attacked by Aliens and eventual homecoming.  Fortunately I was able to watch both the black and white and hand coloured versions of ‘A Trip to the Moon’. The Black and White version I watched at the George Meilies exhibition in Hong Kong which also had on display concept art and storyboards of the movie. The art is absolutely epic in scope and vision. From the designs of the aliens to the drawings depicting the iron casting of the Bullet spaceship. The coloured version I saw rather fittingly at the Hong Kong Space Museum.The coloured print was lost until it was found in 2003 in a barn in France. The coloured version is obviously clearer and more detail can be seen but I still like the original black and white version which match the concept art and storyboards. It just seems to match the image which he probably had in his mind when visualizing it.

It’s a high concept science fiction movie in my opinion and the first of our time that took place 50 years before humanity even reached space. It inspired countless other movies about voyages into space and intrigued generations by having them look up into the sky and look at the face of the moon in wonder.

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D January 4, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Asian Cinema , add a comment

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate is the best looking 3D movie I have ever seen and while I don’t like 3D and think it’s a gimmick the Director Tsui Hark makes good use of the effect. With that said I still think that it has no impact on the overall enjoyment of the film nor does it change my feelings about the story. But on a purely 3D level it is a step above the rest. It’s better than ‘Avatar’. The only other 3D movie that moderately impressed me was ‘Tron Legacy’. The worst 3D movie I have ever seen was ‘Battle Royale 3D’ with cgi bullets and blood spatters. Awful. The post conversion 3D of Harry Potter and any other number of movies is frankly dull and adds nothing to the movie except to make it look darker and after a while I found my eyes adjusted to the use of 3D anyway. I got more annoyed by having to wear the 3D glasses through the entire movie. Now we have ‘Star Wars The Phantom Menace’ coming out in 3D this year (what genius..) and JJ Abrams has announced that the next Star Trek movie will be filmed in 2D and converted to 3D, which sucks, but I imagine that there might have been studio pressure to do that. I am both equally dismayed and attracted by the idea of seeing Space ships fly out of the movie screen but I doubt it will be as good as I could imagine.

Tsui Hark makes clever use of 3D by not making everything 3D just because it’s close to the screen but when we get a beautiful shot or big action scenes the 3D comes into effect making it very noticeable to the viewer. He doesn’t rely on the cheap tricks of having swords come out of the screen at the audience ala ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4′ (you suck). He seems to use a deep focus shot in 3D.  Rather than having objects come out of the screen he has the foreground of the image layered thus making anything coming from the background of the image to the front have a lot more depth to it. If that makes no sense then let me just say “it’s different”.
I’m kinda excited that the 3D worked for once to impress me and I’m excited that it happened here in Hong Kong. It’s perfect for a movie like this that has WuXia action. Tsui Hark had ‘Avatar’s visual-effects supervisor, Chuck Comisky come onboard to work on this movie so no expense was spared here and it might hint at how good the 3D will get for the proposed ‘Avatar’ sequel.

Unfortunately Cinema goers in Hong Kong don’t have the choice of watching a 3D film in 2D. Everything that is filmed or converted to 3D is released in 3D only. The audience has no choice but to pay more to watch a film with this effect. The last 3D movie I watched before this was TinTin and I thought the 3D of that movie was really pointless to the point I didn’t even realize I was watching 3D anymore. A customer should only pay for what they want. They don’t have a choice as to how good or bad the movie will be but they should at least be able to choose how they see it. With 3D we are getting a weird perspective sometimes with the front of objects looking out of proportion and bigger than the rest of it. Hollywood calls 3D as “Cardboarding”and until it goes beyond that and until we don’t need to wear glasses to see it I’d rather not watch everything in 3D.

So the film itself? It’s good. Tsui Hark said it’s not a remake but more of a reimagining of the 92 version but there are some elements that seem to make this a sequel. There is little chemistry between the cast but the acting is impressive. Taiwanese actress Gwai Lun Mei has a stand out performance and is utterly seductive onscreen.

 Favorite Quote: “Better to live in the Jianghu World than the real world”. - Chow Wai On

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