Category Archives: matrix

Enthiran – The Robot

Enthiran – The Robot ~ This is a film whose reputation precedes it. Called the Avatar of its country, reputedly this is the most expensive film made to date in India, and also its highest grossing film. Not strictly a Bollywood film, but more accurately a ‘Kollywood’ film as it was made in Tamil Nadu, it is s work of science fiction, but as with all Indian films, it is truly a creature of mixed genre.

Also known as Robot, and Robo, and Enthiran, and a dozen other titles and spelling variations worldwide, this is roughly a Frankenstein story – a scientist makes a man in his own image, scarily Elvis-like, which tries to be human but eventually is looked upon as monster. The Robot, Chitti, is played by award winning veteran Indian actor Rajinikanth, who also plays his creator. His deadpan performance as the Robot is both fearsome and hilarious.

Written and directed by Shankar Shanmugam, or simply Shankar, the film has changed the way the world views Indian science fiction. And as the film is called the Avatar of India, similarly Shankar is called its James Cameron. No doubt he is one of their greatest visionaries.

The music is by A.R. Rahman, who also did the music for Slumdog Millionaire, Couples Retreat, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and dozens of Indian movies, among others – but this soundtrack was a worldwide instant blockbuster. That’s the popularity power of this flick.

The real star here is the special effects. CGI and animatronics from a company called Legacy Effects, the brain child of special effects wizard Stan Winston. From the robotics that make up our hero to the evil robot rampage to the outrageous cartoonish but reality based feats later in the film, as the evil robot fights everyone, and of course, the climax, the effects are king. More cars and guns than you have perhaps ever seen on the screen. Mind boggling. Matrix and Terminator, step aside.

This movie has everything. Adventure, romance, comedy, musical sequences, violence – both cartoonish and realistic (lots of gunplay and a very scary and racially offensive attempted rape scene, so it’s not for the kids), it’s all here. In many ways it’s a superhero movie sans costumes. This three hour long Tamil science fiction masterpiece, like Avatar, must be experienced at least once. Recommended.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 ~ One of the things I like most about this movie is that it gets right down to it. There is no wasting time with introductions and what-has-gone-befores, it just jumps right in where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 left off, and let’s get real – isn’t that what any movie with the words ‘part 2’ in its title should do?

This flick has already, before the weekend is over, broken box office records, so I think it’s safe to say most of the viewing public knows the score and is there to see how it all ends up. It’s a pet peeve of mine. All that’s needed is a good story, we don’t need every character’s entire background. And don’t even get me started on superhero origin stories. We don’t need to know it every time.

Our hero and his two sidekicks, looking every bit of late late teens and eight movies, move the search for horcruxes and the battle with Voldemort to Hogwarts. There’s a lot of bloodshed and lost friends but we knew that, at least those of us who read the book. And that’s another thing, not that I mind it – there’s not a lot here I remember from the book. It could be my age, and my memory, but then again, for me, when the movies have gone into non-book territory it has always worked well.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the way white afterlife scenes. They kinda reminded me of The Matrix and PBS’ The Lathe of Heaven, and not in a good way. The Harry Potter-is-dead scenes went on a bit too long for my tastes, and while subtle in the books, I thought the Harry-as-Christ analogy was hammered a bit too hard here.

All that said, I liked the movie a lot. It was everything it should have been and more. I loved Neville Longbottom in every scene he appeared in, and wished he and Luna had been in the epilogue. It’s a shame it’s over, for now. Highly recommended.

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Pushed

Push ~ Scanners meets X-Men meets The Matrix, only without the originality – that’s how this one strikes me. Telekinetics wage war in Hong Kong over a powerful drug, hilarity ensues, you can guess the rest. I did, after about twenty minutes.

Kudos to director Paul McGuigan. It takes a lot of skill to suppress a talent like Dakota Fanning and make her boring. Even the usually charismatic Chris Evans is deadly dull in what should be a special effects blockbuster. Been here before, with cheaper effects and on a second rate cable network. This is just a Saturday night SciFi Channel movie with a bigger budget.

There are a few interesting special effects and one or two fight scenes that ultilize them, but little else here other than some Hong Kong scenery (and honestly I’m not even sure it’s really Hong Kong). This flick really stinks of being a rejected X-Men script, so much so, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was. If it’s true… damn good thing it was rejected.

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Red Planet

A Video Review of “Red Planet”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Val Kilmer as a janitor, now why does that appeal to me so much? Because of his performance in Batman Forever? Nope, contrary to what one might think, Kilmer is quite good in that piece of crap, better than his predecessor Michael Keaton, I thought. I even liked him in Thunderheart and The Doors (and I hate Oliver Stone) and even the universally panned Top Secret!. It’s his decimation of “The Saint” that makes his suffering in Red Planet so pleasing to me. Don’t ever ruin TV icons, dude, or I’ll root against you.

Red Planet has some great cinematography, great scene fades and the red tinge to all the Mars stuff is ingenius.

Carrie Anne Moss puts in a good performance but her appearance here (and in Memento) convinces me she’s really nowhere near as hot as she looks in The Matrix. The Wachowski brothers must have used one hell of an airbrush in The Matrix.

The story is astronauts crashland on Mars and play a game of survival until only Kilmer and AMEE, a robot probe gone a bit whacko, are left. Now the previews made this out to be a suspense thriller with these two playing cat and mouse but that’s not the case, not until the last fifteen minutes, that is.

And while I rooted for AMEE, Kilmer is still good here and Red Planet is still worth seeing.