During my week off I managed to stuff myself with a number of films. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any, let alone so many back to back to back. So, what remains here is a triple feature of mini reviews. A veritable Battle Royale. Which film will come out tops?
Squaring off in this event are three films that I’ve been meaning to see for a while. Well, I didn’t exactly have a burning desire to see the first, but I was interested to see what it was like. Sherlock Holmes; a Game of Shadows. The Adventures of Tintin. 3:10 to Yuma. Three fairly diverse films.
Firstly, Sherlock Holmes. Love the first film, or hate it, it certainly bought a fairly fresh take on the dusty old hero (it’s been done better since, in my opinion, by the BBC). Hinted at in the first film, this one brings us face to face with Sherlocks arch nemesis, Moriarty. It has the makings of a good film, what with the stylistic choices that made the first film so unique.
Pity it sucked.
If you’re going to put Sherlock up against his equal intellectually, you’d do better by making him a little smarter. Perhaps it says something of the audience that the film is pitched at (really, Sherlocks not that smart in this film, or its predecessor) but if you can’t guess Moriarty’s master scheme in the first 2 minutes then maybe this might be your sort of film. Sherlock pulls Doctor Watson back from his wedding with ‘just one more case’ which is almost as boring as the film itself.
The things that were rather cool in the first film, like Sherlock thinking through his fights are overused here. Even the twist on that idea turns out boring when the fights moving at a snails pace. The bullet time sequences are just as bad. I considered walking out. Staying to its conclusion didn’t do much to improve my outlook on it.
Sherlock does not win this fight.
The Adventures of Tintin are something that I grew up with, along with Asterix. Steven Spielburg and Peter Jackson teamed up for a trip into something that the early trailers made look like Uncanny Valley. Later trailers sold me. This film was going to look good. I shelled out just a little more to watch it in 3D. Instead, it might have sold me off 3D films forever. It added nothing to the experience, perhaps even less than the last 3D film I saw; Thor.
The things that made Tintin a great graphic novel were perhaps just a little stodgy when applied to the big screen. Tintin follows things clue to clue to clue (it’s certainly more fun than watching Sherlock deduct his way through his own mystery). Unfortunately, he spends a large amount of that time initially talking to his dog Snowy, which works fine in the graphic novel, but bordered on annoying here.
I liked this film, though. It certainly isn’t going to win Oscars for best film, but it was an enjoyable ride that lingered almost on the Indiana Jones at points. It could have done with a little more spoken comedy to balance the drunken slapstick antics of Haddock, which weren’t all that funny. But the visuals more than made up for a bit of a muddled plot that hashed together about three or so of the novels. The ending was just strangely placed. Pity they had to set up for more adventures.
All in all, easily better than Sherlock Holmes.
Which brings us to the final film, 3:10 to Yuma, a film that I’ve been told to see any number of times. It’s a pity that I played Red Dead Redemption before it, because there’s a bit in common between the two at key points. At it’s heart, a fairly tightly plotted and well paced western about a farmer who happens across one of the territories most notorious outlaws busy doing what he does best. Christian Bale plays the farmer with a past, opposite Russell Crowe as the restrained outlaw.
Both actors are excellent in what is a by the books film of its genre. Plenty of everything we need in a good western too. Guns, men with dry expressions and even drier words. Throw in Pinkerton agents, a few horseback chases and a true western ending you can see a mile off, and you have a great film. I wouldn’t say that it stands too close to something like True Grit, but it comes close.
So out of these three films, it would be 3:10 to Yuma that comes out on top. I’d say that the degrees of difference in these three were fairly wide too, from poor, to fine, to good. Now if only I’d gotten to see the Muppets as well, it would have been fun to throw that one into the mix.