Alice in Wonderland

Let’s make a weird colourful film with Johnny Depp acting all crazy like. This seems to be the current Tim Burton formula for making movies. Depp plays the Mad Hatter as if it’s Willy Wonka with a funny hat. Come to think of it, he had a strange enough hat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too and that was a pretty ordinary film. This one is worse.

This movie made oodles of money so they’ll surely do another of this type. What’s next? My money is on “The Wizard of Oz” with Johnny Depp as the Scarecrow. I just hope they have a better script next time.

Two stars.

Clash of the Titans

A 3D movie involving Sam Worthington riding a majestic flying beast to save the day – what’s not to like? It’s no Avatar but Clash of the Titans moves along at a brisk pace, foregoing inefficient movie elements like character and plot development for more substantial meatier things like set piece action sequences and rapid pacing. I loved it for that. I don’t quite know if it was intentional but the movie employs a standard Hollywood standard of making Ancient Greeks sound British, whereas the demi-god Perseus, who is neither human, nor god, not necessarily Greek, but something else, gets a good old Aussie accent. A great touch.

The effects are great, the action is intense. Even the scene with Liam Neeson roaring “Release the Krakken!” which will obviously go down in movie history as one of the cheesiest moments in film, seemed kind of rad to me. The 3D is clearly an afterthought, and is unfortunately a weak attempt to make viewers pony up extra money when the film was clearly not originally shot for 3D but rather altered in post production. The quality of the 3D suffers for it, but it’s a minor quibble for an otherwise great fun film.

Four stars.

Resident Evil 5

The Japanese style of video games has never really connected with me, and for the longest time I have avoided the Resident Evil series. However the hype around RE5 had me believing that this game was more in the mold of US style action adventures like Gears of War.

This game is still very much Japanese in style, and while the production values are strong, it is ridiculously frustrating that you cannot move and aim your gun at the same time. What is with that? I get that it was possibly some kind of technical limitation in the old gaming consoles that was turned into a dramatic element of the gameplay to build the tension, but it’s just frustrating these days.

Gears of War it is not; and for some that’s a good thing, but for me, it was just a little bit disappointing. I played co-op with my brother and I suspect without him it would have been a little more disappointing.

Three stars.