When Keanu Reeves was announced as starring in a new take on the story, it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t going to be a historically faithful version. Then we started hearing about “witches and giants” and I guess they’d decided to chuck all realism out the window. The results look alright, I guess, but a little too heavy on that bland, plasticky big-budget action-adventure CG look that Hollywood has been cranking out too much of lately.
The film also stars Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi. It hits theaters on December 25th this year — in 3D, of course.
Director David Twohy and Vin Diesel’s second attempt to turn the main character of the surprise hit sci-fi action flick Pitch Black into a franchise (after the failure of Chronicles of Riddick) is coming on September 6th. This red band trailer for Riddick premiered at Comic-Con and found its way onto the film’s official YouTube page earlier today.
It looks a little over the top to me compared with Pitch Black (my favorite Alien film since Jim Cameron’s sequel*) but still kind of fun.
The film co-stars Karl Urban, Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, Nolan Gerard Funk, Keri Hilson, and Dave Batista.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim came out this weekend and made $38.3 million here in the US ($91 million worldwide). It’s the biggest del Toro flick to date, but the film also cost $190 million, so it will need to show some legs to make a profit theatrically. It does seem like it’s in good shape to make a profit eventually, though, which is good for two reasons del Toro’s career and the prospect of actually seeing more original genre films get made, not just sequels and comic book adaptations. It unlikely to spawn a sequel, though. Which is fine.
More importantly, I thought the movie was really fun. The dialogue was cliché-ridden, the characters were relatively thin, and most of the actors are pretty wooden. A notable exception is the girl who plays young Mako (Rinko Kikuchi’s character) in some flashback scenes; that little girl was gifted.
Despite its shortcomings, the pacing is brisk, with only a slight lull in the middle. It’s very funny. The fights are great, particularly the one in the city.(They are sort of slow, but like Jason says in the current strip, I think it’s more because these are gigantic monsters and mecha/Jaegers that could not realistically move as fast as we’ve seen them in the past than because of slow motion. There’s a little slow-mo, too, I think, but mostly the former.)
Spoilers are okay in the comments section here, so if you haven’t seen Pacific Rim yet, you have been warned!
Okay, if you didn’t watch that yet, watch it. (And since somebody is going to ask, yes, I loved it.)
The reveal at the end, for those of you who haven’t seen promotional images before, is that Hiccup is older. Five years older, in fact.
From the official synopsis: “While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.”
As writer-director Dean DeBlois explained to Variety earlier this year: “At the end of last film, all these Vikings who were previously somewhat landlocked are now on the backs of dragons so the entire Northern Hemisphere opens up to them. And with that Hiccup’s curiosity increases, the map expands and inevitably they are going to come across new dragons, new cultures.” Hiccup soon “discovers a larger conflict brewing between humans and dragons and he finds himself at the center of it.”
It’s a pretty brave move, to redesign characters from a popular film like this, and I think it’s a good sign that they might actually take some chances with this sequel and give us something original enough to stand next to the original.