|TITLE & REVIEW|
SwordfishThe film starts with Travolta, a Tarantino actor, giving a Tarantinoesque monologue on why Hollywood films lack realism. We then move swiftly to a Matrix -style freeze-frame camera-spin violence extravaganza. This pretty much sums up the film - it borrows stuff from successful movies, but tries to improve and put its own spin on them.
Travolta's character is like the villain in a Bond film. The film is littered with things that one would expect to see in a James Bond film, such as the hard-ass hitman [Vinnie Jones] and the antagonist's mansion with swimming pool filled with naked babes. The film also attempts to join the Net-thriller genre, with Jackman's character as the world's greatest hacker [even though he's a lot older than most people who portray such characters].
Hugh Jackman [who looks like a young Clint Eastwood] is sucked into joining forces with Travolta. Don Cheadle [Traffic] is a Fed who arrested Jackman, and is now trying to pin so-called cyber-crime on Travolta too. However, Travolta is the man with the plan. He wants to commit a huge-scale electronic heist, and needs Jackman to pull it off.
Travolta's femme fatale assistant is Halle Berry , who is unbelievably gorgeous and sexy. She was totally wasted in X-Men , which also starred Jackman, but here she is given full appreciation and even a brief topless scene. She reportedly got a $500,000 bonus for it, and this reviewer is not complaining.
Xena: Warrior Princess fans should watch out for Tim Omundson [Eli] as one of the detectives near the end.
Dr Dolittle 2After Nutty Professor 2 , Eddie Murphy has now done a sequel to his other comedy remake.
The storyline is the kind of save-the-trees plot that was commonplace ten years ago. This is the kind of thing that America needs, especially since Dubyah has taken over.
A logging mogul [Jeffrey Jones] and his slimy lawyer [Kevin Pollack] plan to tear down an entire forest. Only Dolittle can stop this, by reintroducing a circus bear to the wild and thus ensuring that the area is protected for endangered species.
However, the wild female bear [voiced by Lisa Kudrow ] prefers rugged wild bears. Can Dolittle teach the circus bear to be macho enough to seduce Ms Kudrow?
Cats And DogsThis film starts with the premise that dogs and cats are both sentient species, eternally at war because Cats wish to enslave mankind while Dogs wish to protect the humans. A young puppy in search of adventure finds himself thrust into the role of Secret Agent. He is helped by a couple of experienced Dog agents, Butch [Alec Baldwin] and Lily [ Susan Sarandon ].
The villain, the kind of fluffy white persian thing that Blofeld has, plots to take over the world. When he's not being pampered and humiliated by Nursie [Miriam Margoles], that is. The plot device he's after is a dog-allergy-serum developed by Jeff Goldblum [ The Fly, Jurassic park ] and protected by the Dogs ...
This is not a childrens' tale, in the manner of 101 Dalmations. Rather, it is a parody of the standard Bond-esque action film. The Austin Powers-esque laughs implied by the trailer are never delivered.
Final Fantasy: The Spirit WithinThe plot has a few cliches and the odd blatant line of expository dialogue, but the story is not the real reason you should see this. The great thing about this film is the fac t it is computer-generated, with the kind of photo-realism an virtually flawless animation that Shrek was meant to have. Okay, taht was MEANT to be a cartoonish Disney parody, but Aki is a LOT more realistic than the Princess was.
The real benefit of the CGI animation is the seemless blend between the actors and the SPFX. No stuntmen, no phony blue-screen filming ... what you see is what you get. This allows for the creation of perhaps the most impressive and frightening aliens ever ... The Phantoms are an energy-based life-form, they can pass through walls and if they touch you, your soul is sucked out. Creepy!
Our heroine, the babelicious Dr Aki Ross, is on a quest to find the spirits, a series of living things with life-forces that can somehow counter the energies of the Phantoms. Her helpers include her luurve interest, square-jawed Space Marine Captain [Alec Baldwin, who voiced a very similar character in another recent CGI-intensive film, Cats & Dogs ], and his unit of hard-ass starship troopers [Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin ]. Unlike in Verhoven 's film these guys actually have proper combat suits. When out of the suits the marines' appearances are generic, and owe nothing to the individualistic actors. Of course, since we identify the characters by the actor's voice, it's less of a leap. Still, it shows how true to the novel the adaption could have been, if they had waited for the right technology ...
As well as the Phantoms, Aki's other enemy in the film is the General [James Woods, who voiced a very similar character in another recent animated film, Recess: School's Out ]. He is not the standard one-dimensional cliched military mad dog, but a reasonably well-drawn character. The other notable role is Aki's mentor Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland - Don't Look Now, Space Cowboys ).
Planet Of The Apes Tim Burton has done what many thought should not be done - remake a film widely regarded as a masterpiece.
We start on a space station in 2036 where Mark Wahlberg is an astronaut, training genetically enhanced chimps to fly space probes. Their mission is to explore a space-time rift, mentioned in the original film but actually shown here thanks to CGI SPFX.
The plot from there on is pretty much the same one from all those 1970s Doug McClure movies. Our hero splashes down in an unknowwn land, where he is captured by the ape army [led by Tim Roth and Michael Duncan Clarke]. He is sold to an orang-utang slave-trader [Paul Giamati] and bought by a chimp Human Rights activist [ Helena Bonham Carter ] the daughter of a politician [David Warner].
Other stars who get brief appearances as apes are Anne Marie [the director's girlfriend] and Charleton Heston himself!!! Heston's brief speach is hailed by some as being anti-gun ... however, the truth is that he only states that human intelligence allows humans to overcome brute strength.
There is a twist ending, of a sort. It is a complete non sequitor, it makes absolutely no sense in relation to the rest of the film and seems totally tacked-on. There are rumours that this will be explained in the sequel ...
Return to the August 2001 Special
Return to the ORBzine Homepage.
© Speculator 2001-5