Tag Archives: 2002 movies

Spider-Man (2002) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence
Cast:
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin
James Franco as Harry Osborn
Rosemary Harris as May Parker
J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
Director: Sam Rami

“Spider-Man” centers on student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) who, after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, gains superhuman strength and the spider-like ability to cling to any surface. He vows to use his abilities to fight crime, coming to understand the words of his beloved Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

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With Spiderman Homecoming coming in under a couple months, I decided to check out all the Spider-Man movies. Honestly, I dreaded rewatching the first movie, because it seemed really cheesy and didn’t hold up that well, I had a feeling that I wouldn’t really like it. I was actually surprised at how much I liked it. It is very entertaining and well put together by Sam Rami. Not all of it holds up, but some of it surprisingly does, it’s enjoyable at the very least.

The first thing I noticed about Spider-Man is that the story moves at a surprisingly fast pace, Peter Parker gets bitten by the radioactive spider and earns his powers in the first 5-10 minutes. In a way, the fast pacing does work, it’s just a little jarring seeing a comic book movie (especially for an origin story) to move this fast. One downside to this is that I wasn’t really that invested in the story. After Peter becomes Spider-Man, it then becomes a standard comic book movie, it’s nothing really that special, it’s just a reasonably entertaining comic book movie (not that this is a bad thing though). The movie is very easy to follow, and its very difficult to get bored in. Now a part of the movie which is obvious looking back at it now is that it is very cheesy and campy, with some of the ideas, dialogue and decisions made. However, there is a bit of a charm to it, so I can’t say that it bothered me too much… it only bothered me occasionally. Most of the dialogue is cheesy and some of it is kind of stupid and hard to take seriously at times, especially when it comes to the romance between Peter and Mary Jane. The way that the movie handles the Green Goblin was very hit or miss, not just the way they took his character, but the dialogue and all that, way too over the top, couldn’t take him seriously as a villain for most of the movie. But I’ll get into that later. Overall, Spider-Man’s plot is generally good and fast paced, entertaining but nothing special, you’ve all seen this type of comic book movie before.

Tobey Maguire is really good as Spider-Man, he perfectly delivers on the geeky side of Peter Parker, and is quite likable in his role. With that said, he wasn’t always great, but that’s to do with the writing. After Uncle Ben’s death and after he becomes Spider-Man, his character development seems to almost stop. In 2 and 3 he is given more to do. I didn’t feel that he was quite a 3 dimensional character yet, but he still worked well for the movie. Kirsten Dunst is Mary Jane Watson, Dunst is a great actress but in these movies, she’s sadly not given much to work with, especially this movie. Her character isn’t really that great, and the awkward dialogue between her and Maguire makes it hard to see any believable chemistry. But she does the best she can. Willem Dafoe is Norman Osborn/Green Goblin and I have to say that is one of the best comic book movie casting decisions ever made. As for what I think of the performance itself… I have mixed feelings. I know plenty of people love Green Goblin in this movie, but I won’t lie, I’m not a big fan of him. I really liked Willem Dafoe when he was Norman Osborn. However when he’s Green Goblin he goes really over the top, and it’s just hard to take him seriously (especially when he’s in the Goblin suit). He’s literally singing “Itsy bitsy spider”, saying cliché 1960s era villain lines, all the things that comic book movie villains do and say. Even as Norman, he has some goofy moments when he is talking to himself in the mirror or literally talking to the Goblin mask (which is just sitting on a chair and the Goblin voice is coming out of it), it’s hard to not find these scenes unintentionally hilarious. It wouldn’t be so bad except it feels like the film wants to take Goblin seriously as a villain, most of the time he just comes across as a Power Rangers villain. I’m not at any point intimidated by him, I find him ridiculous. I will say at the very least, Dafoe seemed to be having an absolute blast going absolute nuts. And to be fair, Goblin does get a couple great scenes, one on a rooftop, and the other is the final fight with Spider-Man. We also get supporting performances from James Franco, J.K. Simmons and others which were also pretty good. And we get a Bruce Campbell cameo, which is always great.

A lot of the CGI hasn’t held up well and in most of the big action scenes, Spiderman and Green Goblin look very rubbery and fake, and at times it looked like it was a videogame. The action itself is pretty well filmed. With that said, most of the action wasn’t that great, nowadays it looks a little goofy and was a little underwhelming, (the action in the sequels definitely got better though). The last fight scene however is surprisingly brutal and intense, it was a very effective end action scene, that was definitely the best action scene in the movie. I will say, seeing Spiderman swinging around is always great to see, along with some other sequences like with the Spider-sense, that was also handled vey well. I liked the design for Spiderman’s costume, while the CGI for it wasn’t always the best, the design itself worked well, it never felt cartoonish, I could take it seriously. Green Goblin’s costume on the other hand…. was very cartoonish. He looks like a Power Rangers villain, not a Spider-Man villain, it’s just hard to take him seriously when he looks like that. Then again, I guess the costume matched the performance.

So, 15 years after it’s release, does Spider-Man hold up? The answer is yes and no. It’s easy to understand why Spider-Man had such a huge impact on the comic book movie genre. Spiderman (especially back then) isn’t an easy character to bring to the big screen, huge props to director Sam Rami. It’s not a perfect movie, the fast pace did lessen my investment in the story, it has some cheesy elements which don’t hold up (especially with regards to the Green Goblin) but at the same time there’s a real charm to it that makes most of these moments enjoyable. It is an entertaining movie at the very least.

The Bourne Identity (2002) Review

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The Bourne Identity

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin
Clive Owen as The Professor
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Director: Doug Liman

The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

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The Bourne series is one of the most famous action franchises, and with the 5th instalment of the franchise coming reasonably soon, I decided to start to review the Bourne movies (maybe not Legacy). The first film, The Bourne Identity, is a pretty good and influential action film which spawned a successful franchise. While the other films are arguably better, The Bourne Identity is still a great action film, from its action to its complex and dense plot, it is a must see for action fans.

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The Bourne Identity is a movie that requires your full attention to understand what’s going on, if you don’t, you’ll be completely lost as to what is going on. However with that said, after a few viewings, it wasn’t as complicated as I remembered, it’s just that there’s a lot of details that you have to process. The plot itself is written quite well, and all the details and plotlines structured well. The film does have quite a good balance of intrigue and mystery as well as action and thrills. Now I will say with the exception of Jason Bourne, I did not find any of the characters interesting. They weren’t bad by any means, they just weren’t that memorable to me. That’s really one of the only major flaw that I could find with this movie.

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Matt Damon gives one of his greatest performances in the Bourne series. With this film, he proved that he was action worthy material. He manages to be absolutely believable as a trained assassin in the way that he carries himself, what helps is that there are many action scenes where you can clearly tell that he’s doing a lot of his own stunts. He really is the stand out of the movie. The rest of the cast consists of such talented actors like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox, who are good but none of them really stand out, to be fair though their characters aren’t really that interesting, so it’s not like they had much to work with. One actor who does leave an impression at least to me however is Clive Owen, he’s only in a few brief scenes but he gives off a presence and he was great with the little amount he was given.

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The one thing known about the cinematography of the action is that it’s quite shaky (a technique that director Paul Greengrass would continue in the sequels), however I thought that it’s done rather well. That’s because it’s obvious that it’s not done in order to hide bad choreography like a lot of action movies which use shaky cam today (and you can actually see what’s going on), it’s done to put us directly into the action and to make it feel more realistic. On that note, the stunts are great and made the action even more believable, the action sequences are the highlights of the movie.

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While in my opinion it’s not the best movie in the franchise, the Bourne Identity is still a great action movie in itself. The plot is complicated but interwoven well, Matt Damon really brought his A-game and is completely convincing as his character and the action especially makes this movie. Paul Greengrass gets a lot of credit for the Bourne movies but people should know that it was director Doug Liman who started this series off with a bang.

Red Dragon (2002) Review

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Red Dragon

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror Scenes and Violence
Cast:
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
Edward Norton as Will Graham
Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde
Emily Watson as Reba McClane
Harvey Keitel as Jack Crawford
Mary-Louise Parker as Molly Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddy Lounds
Director: Brett Ratner

A set of grisly murders brings FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) out of retirement and puts him in search of an atrocious killer (Ralph Fiennes) who’s driven by the image of a painting. Yet his only means of survival and success are to seek the help of another madman, whom he himself captured, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Marked by past scars and quickly running out of time, Graham finds himself tangled in a heap of madness, sacrificing his work, his family, and above all his own life, to put an end to pure evil.

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When people think of great Hannibal Lecter movies, most people think of Silence of the Lambs and in the case of lesser Lecter films, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. However I’ve noticed that Red Dragon has often went under the radar, I don’t know whether it’s because of director Brett Ratner’s involvement or the fact that it has competition against a great film. I have to say that in my opinion, Red Dragon is one of the most underrated movies of all time. It’s got great acting, an interesting story and the movie really should have more notice than it has.

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Brett Ratner is directing this movie and that could’ve had some cause for concern has he hadn’t made a lot of great movies but he actually did the movie quite well. I thought that the Francis Dolarhyde storyline was well handled, it showed his layers and elevated Ralph Fieness’s great performance (I’ll get to that later). I think one of the only flaws I can find in the movie is the fact that aside from his scenes with Hannibal, Will isn’t given as much depth as he should have. The film was mostly focussed on Francis Dolarhyde and while it was understandable, I felt that a lot of Will’s qualities should’ve also been shown in this movie. You don’t really see these events affecting will as much in other Will Grahams like in NBC’s Hannibal, he’s still quite in control of himself. I still do think that he was written fine, it’s just that they could’ve handled him a little better.

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Edward Norton makes for a great Will Graham, even though I said that a lot of his character’s qualities could’ve been handled better he still does good work with what he has. Ralph Fiennes also makes for an interesting and complex villain, giving him many layers and allows us to get into his character’s head. Anthony Hopkins returns to the role and as usual is great as the creepy and calculating Hannibal Lecter. I personally like the connection between Will and Hannibal in this movie more than the one between Clarice and Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs, that’s just me. Other actors like Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman do great work as well, particularly Watson, who has a major part in the Francis Dolarhyde story.

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This film is shot and directed greatly, everything has such a sleek and stylish look. The sets and production designs are fantastic and while they’re very similar to Silence of the Lambs, I thought it elevated the movie. I also love Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, it really added to all the scenes and infused all of them with suspense.

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Red Dragon has excellent acting, a great story, a pretty good story and after watching it a second time I can’t believe that it flew so under the radar. I know that this is a big thing to say but I honestly consider Red Dragon on the same level as Silence of the Lambs. If you liked Silence of the Lambs and haven’t checked out Red Dragon yet for whatever reason, do so as soon as possible, you won’t be disappointed.

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (2002) Review

Star Wars Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones

Time: 142 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Senator Padmé Amidala
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
Christopher Lee as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda
Director: George Lucas

The film is set ten years after the Battle of Naboo, when the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. Under the leadership of renegade Jedi Master Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), thousands of systems threaten to secede from the Republic. When an assassination attempt is made on Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), the former Queen of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is assigned to protect her, while his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is assigned to investigate the assassination attempt. Soon the Jedi are drawn into the heart of the separatist movement, and the beginning of a new threat to the galaxy: the Clone Wars.

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I said before watching Attack of the Clones that it would be better than Phantom Menace, despite some calling it the worst Star Wars movie. After seeing this movie I still believe that, however it’s still not a very good film either. The dialogue is still bland, some of the characters aren’t well written, and it has one of the worst romances in movies I’ve seen. It still has some good ideas and potential, they just aren’t fully realised.

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This film is only slightly better written than The Phantom Menace but I can give credit to this film for introducing the Clone Wars, it wasn’t just an origin story for the Stormtroopers, it led to a lot of interesting stories in the Star Wars universe. The dialogue is still emotionless, particularly with the Jedi, however I wasn’t getting frustrated like I was with Phantom, with the exception of the dialogue between Anakin and Padme, which is very cheesy and really let the actors down. Overall the story is better than Phantom and it has some good ideas, however it needed to be put together better.

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Like I said in the past, the actors aren’t to blame for their performances, it’s the writing that lets them down. Hayden Christensen suffered greatly from this, most of the dialogue he delivers you don’t buy but that’s the same for most of the actors. It’s not all bad for him though, there is a moment halfway through the movie where he is great, as he doesn’t have to deliver any bad dialogue and can effectively act visually. Natalie Portman is the same as she was in The Phantom Menace, maybe worse as she and Christensen have forced romantic dialogue and no chemistry. Ewan McGregor was really good however, in the previous film he never seemed like Obi Wan but here, he seems like a younger Alec Guinness and can make some of the dialogue seem credible. I liked seeing Jango Fett in action, even though I don’t think that it was necessary showing the origin of Boba Fett. I also really liked seeing Christopher Lee as a villain but the film should’ve used him more, at least he played a bigger part in the story than Darth Maul.

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There are quite a lot of battle scenes that I enjoyed but you can definitely tell that they are fake because of the CGI overload. They weren’t as painful as the ones in Phantom Menace, but the effects still weren’t very good. The soundtrack by John Williams is excellent, that, and the sound effects are the only elements that are consistently great throughout the Star Wars movies.

Star Wars II, attack of the clones Année : 2002 - USA Thousands of Clone troupers on a Kamino landing platform Réalisateur : George Lucas

I still say that The Phantom Menace is the worst Star Wars movie and Attack of the Clones is better than it. However it still has a lot of flaws in the writing, dialogue and effects. I think the main reason why Attack of the Clones gets more hate is because it wasn’t that much better than Phantom Menace, and it’s still not a good movie. I still do like this film more though, I was more interested in the story, I wasn’t bored (for the most part) and it had some pretty good ideas.