Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Films Make A Post: A severed hand beckons from an open grave!

Thor (2011): I've been thinking long and hard about why I enjoyed this particular Marvel movie the least of all they've produced in the last couple of years, although it's probably objectively not a worse film than the second Iron Man, and I think there are two major problems I have with the film.

Firstly, it's a Marvel Thor movie without Don Blake as a character, which is a bit like a Spider-Man film without Peter Parker - lacking an actual human being to counterweigh the power fantasy aspects of the material; or, if you're so inclined, it's lacking a soul.

Secondly, I don't think Thor as a character is in any way or form suited for the redemption story arc the film is trying to tell, especially not one told as uncreatively as director Kenneth Branagh does here, leaving us with a main character who never gives the audience a reason to actually root for the redemption of this major prick until the movie's more than half over, and then only produces that reason through a sudden love-induced change of heart that doesn't convince even in a superhero blockbuster like Thor.

Cannibal Mercenary aka The Mercenary (1983): I've heard a bit of minor online buzz about this Thai jungle action movie being an especially pleasant kind of crazy, but I personally don't see it. For me, this is just another shoddily shot film about guys running and shooting through the jungles of "Vietnam", and the gore and the kinda-sorta cannibals just aren't enough to make it a particularly noteworthy example of its kind. It's certainly a watchable movie if you're into this sort of thing, but it's by far not crazy enough to warrant its reputation.

Black Magic M-66 (1987): Don't expect the man's usual density of ideas or obsessively detailed worldbuilding when you read the name of Masamune Shirow as this OVA's writer, storyboard artist and co-director (the latter with Hiroyuki Kitakubo). You could argue that it's usually not Shirow that provides the anime adaptations of his work with the spark of genius anyway, but the people (like Mamoru Oshii) doing the adapting. That's an idea for another time, though.

Black Magic's a mere trifle that takes the basic Terminator set-up, subtracts the time travel, adds a military unit and replaces Arnold with something that looks like an elf doll and Michael Biehn with a blue-haired freelance video journalist who looks like all girls in Shirow's work.

There's enough mild excitement and competent animation, as well as some very cyberpunk chic cityscapes, to make Black Magic quite watchable, just don't go in expecting it to provide anything more.


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