Day 235 & Day 236 & Day 237 – Krull & Total Recall (2012) & Papillon (1973)

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Movie Title: Krull

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 1 min.

Rated: PG

Who did I watch with?: Josh

Where did I watch it?: Regal Stadium 12 – Swansea, MA

Review:

Krull is a gargantuan turd of a movie that is most noteworthy for being the first feature films of both Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane who would obviously go onto bigger and better things. Not so much can be said for the rest of the cast who are universally bad. The plot is simple on paper. A princess on the planet Krull has been foretold to be the mother of a child that will rule the universe. She arranges a marriage with a rival clan and intends to marry the dashing Prince Colwyn. However, aliens who arrive in a teleporting black fortress (you read that right) come to force her marriage to their leader who is a weird looking cross between the creature from the Black Lagoon and a piranha.

After being attacked on their wedding night by aliens that for some reason have swords with lasers attached Princess Lyssa is carried away. Colwyn has to rescue her. Along the way we meet an entire troupe of annoying characters that have no relevance to the story, but for some reason stick around. The plot is maddeningly incoherent as they go from one meaningless side quest to another without any of it really mattering or making sense for that matter. For example, they encounter a cyclops that can foresee his own death. Yet for some reason he stays behind to meet it at different times only to be perpetually rejoining the group. Horses are also magical creatures that can transport you around the world if you light them on fire in the world’s worst special effects competition.

Krull is just a trope on various other movies that are all readily obvious. Most frustrating of all are how terrible most of the special effects are. There are some cool matte paintings, but largely the effects look amateur. The movie it most closely tries to rip off is Star Wars and Krull couldn’t produce special effects on anywhere near that level with nearly five times the budget. It would seem most of the budget was spent on special effects, so this is particularly frustrating.

Verdict:

If you enjoy a romp through a hilariously bad movie see it. Otherwise, skip it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Total Recall (2012)

 

Movie Title: Total Recall (2012)

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

At a glance, Total Recall (2012) is not a movie that needed to be made. The Schwarzenegger original is a great take on the original short story by Philip K. Dick called We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. So, I was skeptical. Total Recall stars Colin Farrel as Douglas Quaid. Quaid is a factory worker that suffers from dreams in which he is a secret agent. His life is staid and boring. He also just missed the latest potential for promotion at work. He goes to Rekall which is a company dedicated to crafting false memories that can make you feel more excited about your life. However, if memories exist of something you have actually done it can cause the system to break down.

Break down it does. Suddenly, it is revealed that Quaid is in fact a spy and that Lori Quaid (Kate Beckinsale) is a government agent intent on making sure Quaid doesn’t lose it. The set up is identical to the original movie, but from there the plot deviates in a different surface direction. It doesn’t go to Mars and stays firmly planted in a more future realist direction than the original which is absurdly over the top. The general themes of having an oppressor with a boot on your neck remains generally the same.

The performances and action are fun. Farrell and Beckinsale as protagonist and antagonist are exciting. Jessica Biel plays the lady of Farrell’s dream well. There are also unexpected turns from Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy (small Underworld reunion) that make it a lot of fun. John Cho also appears in a small role.

Verdict:

If you can avoid comparing it to the original it is a fun sci-fi action movie well worth a viewing. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Papillon (1973)

 

Movie Title: Papillon (1973)

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 31 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

With this movie I went in the other direction from the previous one. Papillon has a remake due to be released any day now. I am probably not going to see the new one because this is a movie that never needed to be remade. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman are terrific in the leading roles and could not be replicated by anyone else. This is one that would have been left well enough alone.

The plot is simple. Papillon (Steve McQueen) and Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman) are both being transported to French Guiana to serve their prison sentences. After they finish their sentences they will have the privilege of living the rest of their lives in the jungle. McQueen was convicted of murdering a pimp and Dega infamously swindled oodles of people through a massive counterfeiting operation. Many people would like to see Dega dead. McQueen and Hoffman both deliver excellent performances as they wallow through the muck and mire of a miserable prison sentence filled with brutality. Hoffman manages to show his character’s perpetual shock in subtle ways that are very effective. Steve McQueen can work the cool even into a prison sentence. The costuming, set design, and scenery are beautifully well done and convincing. As usual, you end up rooting for the bad guys.

Verdict:

Papillon is a great prison escape movie ranking among Escape from Alcatraz and The Shawshank Redemption. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: The Stepfather (1987)

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