Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Look, I loved doing the Month of Spooks. But god damn, have I missed being able to talk about other kinds of movies. So let’s talk about a children’s film.

Ladies and gentlemen… “How to Train Your Dragon”.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the son of a great dragon-slaying viking (Gerard Butler), yet he himself is expected to reach his father’s legacy. And one day when he meets an injured dragon, he soon learns that these beasts might not just be bloodthirsty monsters. So now we have our children’s fantasy adventure story. And by Odin’s beard, this story is great. Yeah, sure, we’ve seen similar premises done before. But the care they put into how their storytelling is presented here is quite astonishing. The story here is told in a really mature way that doesn’t treat its audience like absolute idiots, like so many kid’s movies do. And by the end I was emotionally invested in the story, thanks to the clever and nuanced storytelling.

The characters in this are colorful, layered (for the most part), unique, and really interesting. First we have Hiccup, son of a great viking, but more of a scrawny wimp himself. He’s a smart young dude, relying on wits to get him through shit rather than actual force. And he has an interesting and fun arc in this movie that I really enjoyed following. And I think Jay Baruchel did a great job voicing the character. We then have Gerard Butler as his burly dad, and he’s great. You get America Ferrera as Astrid, a local girl that Hiccup may have a bit of a crush on, and she’s great in the role. You get Craig Ferguson as another viking/comic relief, and he’s great. And in other supporting roles you have people like Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller, and more, and they all do a great job. Really, it’s a top notch cast.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell, and it was absolutely wonderful. Big and epic, but also small and intimate. Epic and exciting, but also subtle and emotionally resonant. It manages to capture every emotion one would want in a movie like this.

Based on a novel by Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” was written by William Davies, Dean DeBlois, and Chris Sanders, with DeBlois and Sanders handling direction. And just like the story and characters before it, the craft on display here is marvelous. Everything in the direction is carefully considered, not a single frame is pure filler, everything exists either do develop a character or to add nuance to the story. Which leads us to the animation, which is absolutely spectacular. It’s highly detailed, and makes for some absolutely gorgeous images, especially during the action scenes, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen in an animated feature. The final set piece alone is one of the best I’ve seen in relatively recent movies. And with this being an animated kid’s film, there’s of course plenty of humor throughout… and it’s funny, I laugh. Slapstick, snappy comebacks, it’s all there, and it’s funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #189 on the “top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best animated feature and Best original score.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in recent years. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Aye*. My final score for “How to Train Your Dragon” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “How to Train Your Dragon” is now completed.

I can now see what all the fuss was about.

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Boxing. Two people standing in a small arena, trying to punch the shit out of each other. Yeah, I don’t understand the point of it. That said, I don’t know what the point of any sport’s existence is. Feel free to hate on me for not understanding the appeal/purpose of sports… I don’t care.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Million Dollar Baby”.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a woman determined on becoming a great boxer, so she starts training at a gym owned by old and hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). And soon Frankie takes Maggie under his wing to help her become a great boxer. The story follows them as their relationship evolves while they also go through stuff. While the ideas presented at first glance are very basic and familiar from other boxing movies, the execution of said ideas is much better than a lot of other movies in the genre. Seeing their relationship evolve over the two hour runtime is quite fascinating and it makes for a really solid plot that actually delivers a few devastatingly emotional punches (pun intended) at the right times. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all fleshed out and quite interesting. Hilary Swank is terrific as Maggie, perfectly playing this determined woman. She wsa believable in the role and I really cared about her. Clint Eastwood is great as Frankie, giving us the perfect blend of classic Eastwood gruffness and relatable vulnerability. Morgan Freeman (AKA god) plays an employee at Frankie’s gym (while also providing the movie’s narration) and he is absolutely terrific in the role. We also get a bunch of great supporting performances from people like Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Brían F. O’Byrne, Michael Peña, and Margo Martindale. So this is a pretty stellar cast.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood? Really? *Does more research*. Yeah, Clint Eastwood composed the music for this movie… surprise. Jokes aside, he did a pretty great job with the music. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, and it just fits the movie perfectly. Good job, Mr. Eastwood.

This movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and he did a great job. The shots look great and every shot is at the perfect length. Now, since this is a boxing movie we should talk about the boxing scenes. So how are the boxing scenes here? Yeah, they’re pretty great. They’re exciting, intense, and kind of brutal. It all feels quite realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscar in the categories of Best picture, Best Actress (Swank), Best supporting actor (Freeman), and Best director. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Eastwood), Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing. 

“Million Dollar Baby” is an absolutely fantastic sports-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Punch*. My final score for “Million Dollar Baby” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Million Dollar Baby” is now completed.

Is this one of Eastwood’s best films? Hell yes.

Movie Review: Robocop (2014)

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Remakes are happening all the time. Some good like “3:10 To Yuma” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Then there are shit ones like the 2013 version of “The Lone Ranger”. Then we have remakes that get reviews so mixed, that they wake the interest of people even more. That recently happened for this reviewer fairly recently with a remake of one of the most undreground hits of all time…”Robocop”. So what did this reviewer think of the remake that has gotten a PG-13 rating instead of the M rating the original had.

Ladies and Gentlerobots…”Robocop”!…The remake.

In 2028, company Omnicorp has the leading grasp on robotic technology. Mostly for military needs overseas. But they want to expand it to have for police based needs in the US. But the people are not too happy about it. The guy who want to put it in the hands of cops, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) really wants to push the idea forward. He looks for valid candidates to put this technolgy on. Mainly people who have lost limbs and been in the army and shit. But they find no good one. Enter police officer Alex James Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) who after coming home from a regular day of work and checking why his car alarm is going off an hour or so later…gets blown up. So naturally he gets picked out, his wife (Abbie Cornish) signs the papers that basically say “Yes I allow scientists to do weird robot shit with my husband” and he gets rebuïlt by Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). So after he wakes up and stuff, he goes on a smaller rampage just because he is scared and don’t know what the hell is going on or where the hell he is. But after getting shut down and getting everything explained to him by the good Dr. Norton, he will be tasked to become the first ever…Robocop (Roll the credits…oh wait). So yeah, they did some changes to the origin story a little bit and drags the whole transformation into Robocop out until circa the 30 minute mark. Then he becomes Robocop. But changes aren’t always so bad (Except if Michael Bay makes them), they might actually help. And I feel that the dragging out until the transformation thing was kinda smart, considering it gives it a little more buildup. But they try to make the entire story thing a shit-ton more complicated which kinda takes away from the charm a little bit. And since they make it more complicated…it kinda loses its edge a little bit. Also…it’s PG-13…so no ultra violence to make it more entertaining…damn. Also, they reversed the character of Robocop a little bit. In the original, he had to learn to become more human. In this one he need to learn to be more robotic. So yeah…changes!

The characters, I’m gonna be honest are kinda jsut there to be characters and fill out space. They are not here for anything else. The only one I even remotely cared for was Alex (Robocop) since he was the main protagonist with any development. Oh wait…Dr. Norton had some too…but not as much. So the characters are not the strong suit of this movie.

The music is something I liked in this. It is exactly what you’d expect from this type of movie…techno-esque things and a few rock tracks. And I really enjpyed that. Also, minor spoiler (but still not) for the end credits. They played the song “I fought The Law” by The Clash on the end credits…and that gets some major points from me.

The special effects in this…they are honestly really good. Those are one of the few things driving this movie forward. Also the action scenes, while brief, are surprisingly well done and actually enjoyable…even if they are few and far between. And this movie looks really, really good. Good job director-guy.

Reception for “Robocop” has been very mixed. For example: Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 49% rating. Metacritic gave it a 52/100 rating. The things in this movie that has gotten most praise were the performances and the looks of it. But getting criticism for the lack of violence and social satire in it. And to top this off, imdb.com has given this movie a score of 6,5/10.

So I have given my opinions on the movie and is ready to throw it a score. The score for “Robocop”…the remake, is a 6,89/10 and a recommendation rent it. This movie is not bad…it’s quite good. But it is not as fun as the original.

Review is now completed.

Your move, creep!