Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
You can get too much of a good thing as this latest installation of the mega movie juggernaut proves. The usual stars return for another romp with mystery, Nazis and adventure. Granted, older and more creaky; Shea LeBeouf being the (aggravating) exception. This time out, Professor Henry Jones is on the hunt for an ancient Peruvian city, leading a ragtag band of misfits constantly in hot in pursuit from a group of mystic Nazis headed by Cate Blanchett. Fantastical stuff yes. And while the film is utterly predictable and continues its farfetched jumps in logic, it does maintain the always great Spielburg pacing and framing and is worth a look if only to bring back the memories of when Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was fresh and new. My rating 6 out of 10.
The Chronicle of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Andrew Adamson directs this second installation of the Pevensie siblings adventures in Narnia. Based on the classic set of books by uber-Christian C.S. Lewis, the story has the kids enlisted to help ward off an evil King Miraz and restore young Prince Caspian as the rightful heir to the
land’s throne. The look of the film is great, but sadly the story creeps along at such a tiresome pace – all 2 hours and 29 minutes of it – that you quickly lose any interest in what’s going on. This, even despite the ‘will-Aslan-return-or-not’ plot devices. All battles all the time does not a movie make. Prince Caspian proves bigger and louder is not the right formula for a squeal. My rating 4 out of 10.
If you’re looking for a wonderful twist on a classic fairytale, look no further than Enchanted. Starring Amy Adams (as Princess Giselle), Patrick Dempsey (as Robert Philip, her modern-day Prince), James Marsden (as Prince Edward, her fairytale Prince) and the great Susan Sarandon (as the oh-so-evil Queen Narissa), Enchanted challenges the line between modern-day love and fairytale love. When Queen Narissa whisks Giselle from the saturated, colourful world of fairytales to modern-day New York City, she begins to rethink all her fairytale notions of love. Soon after arriving, she meets Robert Philip, a lawyer, who befriends her unaware she is a real fairytale Princess. The comedy that results is great and is enhanced when both Prince Edward, nasty Queen Narissa and her sidekick Nathaniel all appear in NYC. Charming in its innocence and revealing in its morale, Enchanted is a watch. My rating 8 out of 10.
The Golden Compass
Based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and specifically the first novel, Northern Lights, The Golden Compass is a fantasy story centered on Lyra, a young girl who lives in a parallel universe where people exist side by side with their daemons, animals of various ilks who hold your spirit. When Lyra’s best friend, Will, is kidnapped by the dark forces of the Magisterium, a veiled version of the Roman Catholic Church, she heads north to the land of the armoured polar bears to rescue him. In her possession is the alethiometer, the “golden compass”, which only she can use to see into the future. There is a lot going on in this movie and its ravishing mix of cultures, time periods and animal and human characters makes for a fantastical journey. The movie is ‘heady’ and says much about philosophy, theology and physics. Replete with star power including Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliot, Ian McShane, Ian McKellen and Freddie Highmore, The Golden Compass – while requiring focused viewing – is a treat for transporting you to a world unlike any you’ve seen. My rating 7 out of 10.