Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Today's movie is going to be a little different. I'm not judging it based on how good of a movie it is, but on how good of an adaptation it is. And no, I won't be using my own experiences with the books, I'm going to be using my girlfriend's experiences.

Alright, a little backstory. I am not all that familiar with the book series that today's movie is based on, and hadn't really heard that much about it until I saw the first trailer for it. My girlfriend, on the other hand, is a fan of the books and was waiting for this movie with the attitude of "Please don't suck! Please don't suck! Please don't suck!"So, this review is going to be a combination of my thoughts (as a casual viewer) on the movie as well as hers (being a fan).

Let's get this out of the way: It sucked. Doesn't matter who you ask, her or myself. It's just bad. From what I reckon, it's not Last Airbender bad, but it's still pretty poor, at least they got the name pronunciations right.

So, again, knowing next to nothing about the series, I went in with an open mind not exactly expecting Harry Potter, but with some high hopes. Put it to you this way, if I had a nickel for every time I shrugged my shoulders and thought "I guess I should have read the books" everytime a character did something nonsensical or something just came out of left field, I could fund my own Dark Knight Trilogy, and it would be awesome and not have Ben Affleck, but I digress. Seriously, there are some moments that just come out of nowhere. Like a guy being called out on having the hots for another guy. Apparently it was made clear from the beginning that this character was gay but in the movie, we were just expected to know it already, I guess. I wasn't able to call it. Then again, I'm a guy, my gay-dar is practically nonexistent. But I digress. I will give it credit for having some creative ideas and a competent enough cast, but I just couldn't get over the number of plot holes that came up that only those who read the book could fill.

On the other end of the fence, you have my girlfriend who's feelings on the movie were almost identical to mine, but her contempt for it had more to do with the fact that so much of the book was either left out or not explored enough. Not to mention that a key character was totally botched, both by the writing and the character performing his part. I guess in the book, he was a sarcastic wise-cracker and in the movie, he's very stoic and serious all the time.

Final grade: D+, wait for the dollar theater

Sleepy Hollow Pilot

Am I the only one who ever imagine the different networks as being like competing siblings? Whenever one comes out with a cool show that is creative and kind of different, at least one of the other competing networks has to jump on it and make their own version. For instance, ABC has Once Upon a Time, NBC has Grimm, the CW has Supernatural, and now Fox has their latest entree, Sleepy Hollow. Each of these shows have the premise of taking some old stories or mythology and bringing them into a modern day context, as is the case with today's show. In Sleepy Hollow's case, they have taken the characters or the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane and brought them into modern day New York. I know, it sounds lame, but then again, so did the other shows I listed above when I first heard about them, and they all seemed to have done well for themselves. I have to admit, I even find Once Upon a Time to be kind of fascinating, but I digress.

I went into watching the pilot episode thinking it was either going to be cool and creative or just flat out lame. And I was actually rather surprised. Going into it, I learned that the head writers of the show were also the brains behind such success as Lost, Cowboys and Aliens, Prometheus, and the recent Star Trek movies. Now, whether you like or dislike all or any of those endeavours, you at least have to admit that the writing that went into each of them was really creative and there was a lot of thought put into them. As is the case with Sleepy Hollow. The plot is much deeper than you would expect, and the dialogue is witty and well written and the ending of the pilot episode did leave me wanting to see more next week. One of the more major strengths of the show is that it tackles the time-jump element really well. There are a number of good jokes and one-liners regarding Ichabod's struggle to adapt to the 21st century, and the Headless Horseman, while he does start out with the classic Big Fucking Ax, he eventually upgrades to toting a shotgun and assault rifle. Is it cheesy? Undoubtedly. Is it cool as fuck to see? Hell yeah!

My only concern is that maybe a little too much thought went into the show. I know it sounds odd, but the plot of the show is if you took National Treasure, Da Vinci Code, Dark Shadows and the book of Revelations and all shoved it into one. It's creative, but it feels a little crowded. Though then again, I guess that's why they decided to make a show instead of a feature-length movie. And besides, we already have a movie.

So, my final word on the show is while it hasn't gotten me hooked in the way that Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or even Hannibal has me hooked, it is still intriguing, though I wouldn't be totally crushed if it went off the air in a season or two.