Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

My issues with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies mirror the same ones I had with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Namely that its not much of a movie on its own, but rather an extended climax sequence to the previous, vastly superior movie. This last overly serious entry in The Hobbit series has had all of the fun sucked out of it, making for an exhausting experience to sit through, and just as it still makes no sense for The Deathly Hallows to have been broken up into two movies, this movie acts as absolute proof that there was no need for this series to be broken up into three.

The movie picks up precisely where the last one left off, opting to use what probably should've been The Desolation of Smaug's climax as a prologue for this movie instead, then proceeding from there as the world goes to war over who can be the greediest group of people. And my numbers are probably off, but this whole thing feels like there's about thirty minutes of set up to two straight hours of action scenes, and man does it get real tiring after a while.

Gone is the fun and whimsy of pretty much every other entry in these Hobbit and Rings flicks, this one is serious business from start to almost finish, before it ends on a real odd note with some misguided comedic nonsense at Bilbo's home in the end that felt so out of place. I seriously would've greatly preferred a more straight forward conclusion, as what we got was hardly what I could describe as anything even remotely satisfying.

But yeah, the humor, other than that odd choice of ending, well, let's just say there where the other Hobbit movies provided for quite a bit of good snark from me, the only opportunity I found here was a single line from Gandalf where he says, "I need a horse!" which I silently responded that they only sell dogs there, to which he, of course, then demanded one large enough to ride on. Yeah, I know that's a grasp, but that was about all the fun I could have with this thing.

Speaking of the actual Hobbit, however, unlike the other two films, he does feel like he plays a bit of a more crucial part throughout the whole thing, rather than just slipping in and out of it so much as with the other movies. But I think that might also have to do with the fact that pretty much every other scene he's not in is mostly just action. And man does the action just go on and on here. Hell, for a lot of the movie, I honestly felt like I was watching someone play the video game version of this flick, as that's how the action came across more often than not with its staging, and lacking any real weight or tension behind its mask of CGI abuse.

And since there is so much action taking over the vast majority of this movie, it leaves little time for much else, which means that character interactions and the like were sacrificed as such. For instance, where as the romance between Tauriel and Kili was probably my favorite aspect of the previous film, here it felt forced, like it didn't really fit in, and I found myself not caring much for it.

And when we start getting some pretty major character deaths near the end, I too found myself not really capable of feeling much for them, as this film on its own does nothing to make me care for them. Sure, perhaps that's what the other two films were for, and perhaps this problem wouldn't exist if you were to watch these movies all at once. But having not watched the other ones in about a year and going into this looking at it as a movie on its own merits, this is a movie that's removed of any form of emotional grounding and ultimately just left me feeling cold.

So yeah, this one really didn't do it for me. This was a pretty lacking conclusion to these Hobbit flicks, and one that really proved that there was absolutely no reason at all for them to be split into three movies. In the end, I still really enjoy The Desolation of Smaug on its own, but for the sake of The Hobbit series as a whole, they really would have been better served just sticking to one or two films, as this is just needlessly excessive.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ninja Kat Backtrack - A Look Inside Velcro: The Green Lion

And now this week will be the last of these Backtrack posts for the time being. This time around we're going to take a look inside the pages of book two of The Ninja Kat series, Velcro: The Green Lion. Just click on the image below to read the first two chapters, and hopefully you've enjoyed these looks back at the Ninja Kat!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ninja Kat Backtrack - Velcro: The Comic - Chapter 7

In the aftermath of the battle with Slash, what new traps are lying in wait now as the Ninja Kat pushes forward with their mission? Find out in this week's Ninja Kat Backtrack!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mocking the Mockingjay - Part 1!

Oh boy, where do I even begin with this movie? The latest Hunger Games movie may not have been nearly as rage-inducing as the previous one, quite the opposite in fact, as this one ended up leaving me giggling all throughout, though all for reasons that were entirely unintentional by the movie. This is a movie that falls into that ever infamous category of movie that's almost so bad that it's actually kinda good in a way. That's right, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is kinda, sorta, an awesomely bad movie!

Now here is a movie that tries so desperately to stir your emotions with scenes of horrific destruction, yet it's all just so forced in such a way that I couldn't help but quietly laugh to myself. For instance, no matter what Katniss says or does, it's almost always followed up by a hammy shot of Philip Seymour Hoffman bragging her up and throwing himself a personal little party, as if what she said or did was such a wow-inducing moment or something. And it doesn't matter what she does, he always has this proud little look on his face that just left me snickering.

And what's even more funny about all of these such scenes is that Katniss herself is just the absolute worst. I'm sorry, I know that Jennifer Lawrence can be a good actor, but my god is she awful in these Hunger Games flicks. Her acting is so forced and over the top it pulled me out of the movie on more than one occasion, and she's at her absolute worst anytime she's supposed to be trying to convey some sort of traumatic emotion. I don't even need to get into the ridiculousness of some of her character's actions in the movie itself, a better actor could've sold this material easily, but Lawrence really doesn't cut it at all in these films, and her performance is just laughable (whenever it's not cringe-inducing, that is).

But holy crap is this movie desperate to try and move you. Scenes such as Katniss randomly singing some stupid ass song that I guess is supposed to be motivating (which, by the way, is it even actually possible for someone without a tongue to whistle?!), or scenes where we're supposed to watch in awe as everyone stands up and gives that goofy little three fingered salute, just scream of desperation, begging for the audience to please feel something. But in reality, the only thing such scenes managed to move was my eyes to the back of my head.

In fact, to give you a real good example of the kind of emotion this movie was actually stirring with me, when we reached a scene in the movie after a city is attacked, Katniss points out at some fire behind her and literally utters the words that this brewing war is a "fire catching". And oh man, when this happened I could barely contain myself, and, well, this gif essentially summarizes my exact reaction to that scene and its subsequent replays:

The movie was also littered with a number of really strange consistency errors. Like, there's a scene where President Snow essentially says of the resistance, "No, don't call them criminals, call them radicals," which is then followed up not even five minutes later by him publicly and explicitly referring to them as criminals. Or later on, when trying to come up with some sort of resistance propaganda scheme, they decide to send Katniss out on the battlefield and emphasize that she shouldn't wear any makeup. Again, not even five minutes later, out she is on the battlefield, with a full face of makeup intact. It's like, how did nobody seriously catch so many such instances of this sort of obvious error?

But I dunno, perhaps that was just me being overly nitpicky, but man did this sorta thing stick out to me. But even so, by the end of it, I had a hard time really hating this movie, and actually kind of found myself enjoying the act of mocking it throughout. Though it should say a lot that my favorite scenes all involved an orange cat who happened to share a striking resemblance to Zeke from The Red Scarf. That said, a scene where they're playing with the cat, making it chase after a light, was honestly probably made all the funnier if only because this scene acted as a nice unintentional callback to the new Night at the Museum trailer that preceded the movie, which just so happened to include that exact same cat gag in it.

The fact that the movie's not too long also definitely works in its favor, as I'm not so sure I would be even nearly so favorable to it right now (if you can even call my reaction favorable) if I had to sit through another half hour or so of this nonsense. And like I said, maybe it's because I was expecting the worst, but this movie wasn't anywhere near as bad as Catching Fire (in fact, I've been pretty lucky enough to avoid seeing a single movie as bad as that one since), though it's still nowhere near as good as the first movie, either.

I know that mine isn't going to be a popular opinion in regards to this movie, but whatever. By this point you all already know whether or not you're going to see this thing, so you don't need my recommendation either way to sway your decision for you. But for me at least, all in all, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 was the most obnoxious, insincere, self-contradicting nonsense I've seen all year, and I can't wait for Part 2!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ninja Kat Backtrack - Velcro: The Comic - Chapter 6

In this week's Ninja Kat Backtrack, things take a bit of a darker turn as the Ninja Kat's battle against the mechanized hamster Slash grows intense!