With the imminent release of the Transformers movie on DVD I find myself really apathetic to watching it again.
I can't say I'm in any hurry to go out and buy it and spend 2 hours watching it again.
Once at Botcon and once with Max Power, Kelmeister, and Kelmeister's Husband was plenty enough.
And what's even funnier?
We rented Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer this weekend and while I went into it expecting nothing at all I was totally shocked at how entertaining it was for the most part.
I really expected pointless action and what I got was an actual character-driven comic book movie!
Sure the ending was utterly lame and Jessica Alba is still totally miscast as Sue Sorm, but for the most part they totally nailed the interaction between the 4 main leads. That was really surprising.
Doctor Doom, due to the pointless alterations to his character from the first film is just as weak here, but it would have been hard to redeem him in any major fashion.
The Surfer was ok. After watching the featurettes on the 2nd DVD I'd really rather have had the actor who did the motion capture than the CGI insert. He pretty much is a cypher that doesn't really do all that much.
All in all, it was far more entertaining than I thought it would be.
I had avoided it not in the hopes of avoiding another comic book-to-film adaptation gone possibly wrong but because I'm still too close to the source event.
Longtime readers will know I've got one of those useless degrees in Classics and I focused primarily on Ancient History.
The Battle of Thermopylae has been an interest of mine since I was 7 and one has to be extremely careful in fictional adaptations of primary interests. Some of you may even remember that King Leonidas of Spart was even incorporated into a design of naladahc.com back in 2002 for quite some time.
Now Frank Miller's 300 novel is OK and is saved by Lynne Varley's phenomenal painting/colors. And this transfers to the film.
It is a remarkable piece of visual imagery. Truly beautiful to behold and a part of me regrets not having seen it on a big screen.
The film also does a remarkable job of showing the likely savagery of hand-to-hand combat, especially with the Spartans. They were indeed literally bred as fighting machines and I think the movie conveys it very well.
Of course, it works best when viewed as a Spartan telling other soldiers of the last stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermoplylae, wrapping it up in an almost ethereal fantasy. It makes the savagery much more potent when viewed through this lens.
Sure it isn't historically accurate. Though there were 300 Spartans at the battle, in reality there were quite a few other soldiers from other city-states who were also instrumental in the battle. That is totally missed here. The fact that Sparta enslaved an entire people and that pederasty was ingrained in their military culture is totally overlooked here as well, funny since much of the ancient history is about enslaving others and specific forms of homosexuality were institutionalized in much of Greece.
Using the lens of the soldier reiterating the story makes this barely palatable that that is pushing it.
Now one thing that kind of irked me was the portrayal of all non-Greeks as basically monstrous creatures. In fact, some of them, even Greek traitor Ephialtes, are portrayed visually as if they come from Mordor instead of the Greek highlands or the Middle East.
Of course, once again, if viewed through the lens of a storyteller making the enemy and traitor disgustingly monstrous actually makes a certain amount of sense.
I recall that some critics were all up in arms over the portrayal of Xerxes and all but really, just look at how any culture portrays its enemies and any argument can quickly fall apart.
Overall, it is one hell of a beautiful film.