3 films that couldn’t be more different. A fantasy film for adults and children, an exorcist lite and a big budget action film. Which did I enjoy?
Let’s start with Hugo. I went into this only knowing a few things, a) that it featured a kid b) that it was directed by Scorsese and c) it somehow covered film history. This meant that I had a great experience of seeing a cool film that hadn’t been over hyped or over explained to me. Hugo is a film with real heart, that has a main theme of dealing with loss. Primarily a child’s loss of his father but it develops as the film goes on to encapsulate the early years of cinema and imagination. It is beautifully directed, well acted and is framed throughout with a sense of wonder and another world- at the same time being set in the very real environment of a train station- albeit with every action in that station framed through the eyes of a child.
Hugo also has some of the best 3D effects that I have seen and it is definitely up there with Avatar in leading the technology. There is no post conversion here- the film is directed with 3D in mind, using depth, pop outs and awesome effects such as steam and clock movements to really show that in the right hands 3D can add a lot to the atmosphere of the right film. Hugo definitely fits the bill here with this adding to the sense of being sucked into Hugo’s world. A good film for kids, not for little ones- but for early teens I would think. Definitely one adults can watch too.
From fanatsy to horror I also saw The Last Rite. It’s one of those exorcist rip offs, which somehow managed to attract Anthony Hopkins as it’s star. I guess becuase it tones down the jump scares aspect of horror and also tones down the fantastical elements of possesion, instead trying to explore psychological aspects. That is until the end of the film when it realises how boring it is and makes a late attempt to turn into a real horror. Which doesn’t work and largely doesn’t make sense. Maybe they just didn’t have enough budget for cgi or effects. Anyway there is nothing in this film that you haven’t seen before or indeed seen better. There is no reason to watch this at all. The bases are covered with The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose and a host of other better possession films. Watch one of those instead.
Finally Fast Five. Now how do you take a franchise like The Fast and The Furious to the next level and double the takings? Simple- you get the best stars from the last 4 films, you add The Rock and add some of the most ridiculous stunts that any action film has ever made. Don’t even bother rooting the stunts in reality, if the audience is not both amazed and laughing at the same time you haven’t done your job. Fast Five is both brilliant and ridiculous. The gang from the previous films are all together for a big heist, which will also of course feature a ton of very shiny and very expensive cars. Most of which will explode at some point. Or crash. At the very least they will go fast. The Rock is here as the law enforcement that hates bureaucracy, and of course we know by this that we will also be rooting for him in the end. There is also some sort of brazilian cartel as the real bad guys- but who knows or who cares? Fast Five is all about the stunts and I am happy to say some of the stunts are fantastic. Whoever dreamt these up, and in particular the last main stunt featuring a million cars and a safe, is some sort of crazed action genius. Watch it- even fast forward between the action scenes if you want- this is a great action film.