ORBzine Movie Reviews June 2002


Time Machine

This is the newest adaption of the book by HG Wells . Ironically the fact that it is directed by his grandson, , does not prevent it from being typical Hollywood crap.

We are introduced to our hero, a nerdy Victorian Era Guy Pearce [ Memento ]. Through his conversation with chubby buddy Mark Addy [ Knight's Tale ], Pearce establishes his credentials as a Physics Professor, complete with the compulsory throwaway reference to Einstein. Then a terrible tragedy befalls him. He builds a time machine so that he can go back and prevent the tragedy from taking place.

Unfortunately things do not work out as intended. Pearce goes into the future, where he enters a library and meets Orlando Jones [ Evolution ]. Pearce's theoretical papers on Time Travel are filed under fiction, beside the books of HG Wells himself!

There is the essential global catastrophe, something more original than the typical nuclear war scenario. Pearce continues into the future, until finally it becomes a polynesian paradise peopled with the likes of Samantha Mumba . She's beautiful and exotic, though her blatant Dublin accent somewhat ruins the iullusion. She and her brother are the only ones who can speak English - they learned it by reading old signposts!!!

Before Pearce can settle down and live with the locals, evil CGI beasties named Morlocks arrive - in a scene reminiscent of the recent remake of that other 1960s Scifi Classic, Planet of the Apes . Finally we get a climactic confrontation with the eeevil leader of the Morlocks [Jeremy Irons - Dungeons & Dragons ], tacked on not to illustrate the Class War theme of the original novel, merely to provide a villain that Pearce can oppose!

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  • Dragonfly

    Kevin Costner plays a doctor whose wife dies suddenly. He tries to get over his loss with the help of friends including Ron Rifkin [ Alias ] and Kathy Bates . However, he begins to suspect that she is trying to contact him from beyond the grave.

    This is basically a retread of Mothman Prophecies , with a touch of Sixth Sense thrown in for good measure. It is unoriginal compared to the former, and does not even begin to compare with the latter.

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  • Thunderpants

    This is the story of a young boy named Patrick Smash, who has a medical condition which means that he is a compulsive farter. The boy is English, though his parents are played by Victor Maguire and Bronagh Gallagher. Even the School Headmistress [ Celia Imrie ] hates him because he farts during school assembly. His only friend is Alan A. Alan [Rupert Grint - Harry Potter ], a frizzy-haired ginger nerd with no sense of smell. While the hero is convincing because of his subdued sense of innocence, Grint hams up his part for all its worth, and delivers a traditional mad scientist reminiscent of Lloyd's Doc Brown in Back To The Future .

    The first part of the film introduces the characters and gives the hero his goal - to overcome his disability and to discover his special talent. Grint helps by inventing thunderpants, special trousers that can control the farts.

    The middle part of the film concerns Patrick assisting an opera singer by doing the high bit with my arse, much to the dismay of a rival opera singer [a Snidely Whiplash type]. This leads on to an untimely death, and Patrick is prosecuted for murder by Stephen Fry. All this takes place in less than a week!

    The climax of the film involves Grint and Patrick being recuited by Ned Beatty and Paul Giamatti into the U.S. Space Program. And to top it all off we get a moral to the story. Yes, it's not just a film about farts. It's a reasonably decent kids film made in the UK.

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  • Musketeer

    This is the latest Hollywood interpretation of The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas , and this is as much a bastardisation as has ever been made. It comes courtesy of Peter Hyams of all people - how sad that he has stooped to things like this.

    D'Artagnan [Justin Chambers] comes to Paris as the ultimate exponent of not only swordplay but also wire-fu! He meets the babelicious Mena Suvari , who gets him to help the Queen of France [ Catherine Deneuve ].

    The villainous Cardinal Richelieu [Stephen Rea] is behind the plot. However, for some reason the writers chose to make Richelieu less than fully villainous - he is manipulated by cliched uber-villain Febre [Tim Roth, who seems to be playing the same character he did in Rob Roy ].

    While the script and action scenes are OTT, the film does have some good points. The cast is decent - Chambers is an unknown, Rea is unrecognisable and the Musketeers are unknown Brits. The film was shot on location in Luxembourg, which are convincingly authentic. And the end result? Shallow, but somewhat spectacular.

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