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Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Steward’

Dune” (1984)  —  movie review
With the release of the 2020 version of this movie due out “soon”, I decided to go back and look at the earlier version for perspective.
The 1984 version is directed by David Lynch and stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides (the hero and main character), Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica (the hero’s mom), Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides (the hero’s dad), José Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (the “real” main villain), Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (the villain with the most screen time), Everett McGill as Stilgar (the leader of the Fremen of Arrakis), Sean Young as Chani (Stilgar’s daughter and the hero’s love interest), Alicia Witt as Alia (the hero’s younger sister), Paul L. Smith as The Beast Rabban (henchman #1), Sting as Feyd Rautha (henchman #2, who has a duel with the hero at the end), Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck (one of the hero’s teacher’s / trainer’s), Dean Stockwell as Doctor Wellington Yueh (a traitor to the House Atreides), and Max von Sydow as Doctor Kynes (the Freman who first thinks Paul is their “messiah”).  Whew!!
The movie is a pretty standard hero’s discovery plot with a browbeating religious overtone thrown-in for the heck of it.  There’s a bad Emperor who is playing to main families off against each other and using a “spice planet” (Arrakis) as the golden ring.  The spice has something to do with enhancing your ability to “see” the universe and to fold space so trips across the galaxy / universe are instantaneous.  The Altreides family are the good guys and the Harkonnen family are the evil guys.  The only planet (Arrakis) where you can get the spice is a desert world of heat, sand and giant “worms” which burrow through the sand / desert.  (This strangely reminded me of the movie “Tremors” from 1990, and which is MUCH better movie.)
Anyway, the “Fremen” of Arrakis are awaiting a leader who will free them from the Emperor, blah, blah, blah.  And, along comes Paul.  A LOT more blah, blah, blah and Paul rides a worm, leads the Fremen, big staged knife duel with Sting and happily ever after.
Is this movie any good?  Does it do justice to the book?  Was it entertaining?  No, NO!!, and barely.
I read a couple of books in the Dune series (written by Frank Herbert) and, certainly the first book “Dune” is considered a “CLASSIC” in Science Fiction, space fiction, combat fiction and probably a couple of other “fiction” categories as well.  The first book (out in 1965) created a “universe” which the rest of the series builds on, but it (the first book) is bed rock.  As mentioned, I read them back in my very early 20’s, so back between 1975 and 1980 – when I was far more impressionable (Ha, ha).  I saw this movie when it came out and was extremely disappointed.  I have seen a few bits of it on YouTube, but never re-watched it (until today).  It has not improved with age.
I’m not sure if the book was too big (i.e. “Lord of the Rings“), or the movie suffered from poor vision by the director / producers, or just bad writing and acting, but the movie is plodding and  the story / plot poorly communicated and pretty badly acted.  So, no, the movie does not do justice to the book.
But, is it entertaining?  Well, other than the interpretation of the giant worms, no.  I found myself looking for the actors to see who I recognized from other roles and trying to place them.  When a movie is a little over two hours long and it feels like it’s well over four hours long, it’s either REALLY good or not so much…  (Understatement!)
Final recommendation: Poor movie.  Not a BAD movie, but it should have / could have been SO much better.  This movie pretty much ruined me for MacLachlan and I’ve hated Sting in everything I’ve ever seen him in – including most of his music videos (who’s early music – “The Police“, not his solo stuff – I mostly enjoyed).  I sure hope the re-make is better.  Fortunately, this version has set the bar pretty low.
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On This Day In:
2019 Not Enough
2018 One Thing We Do Know
2017 Preservation
2016 Going Back
2015 Just For Today
2014 Reaching For Destiny
2013 Still Just Passing Through
2012 Live Or Die
2011 On Secession
2010 A Rocky Weekend

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Logan (2017)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for the “R” rated live action adaptation of the comic book “hero / anti-hero” Wolverine, aka Logan.  The main actors / characters are: Hugh Jackman, (Logan / X-24), Patrick Stewart, (Charles Xavier / Professor X), Dafne Keen, (Laura / Wolverine’s daughter), Boyd Holbrook (Pierce – the “physical” bad-guy), and Richard E. Grant (Dr. Rice – the “brains” bad-guy).
Basically, Logan is getting old and dying from “something” related to the Adamantium he has infused in his bone structure.  Professor X is dying from old age.  Logan is protecting him until he dies.  Opens with fight scene.  Blah, blah, blah…  Logan meets Laura and has to escort her to “Eden” so she’ll be safe.  Blah, blah, blah…  Multiple fights.  Blah, blah, blah.  Logan figures out Laura is his daughter – sort of.  (I did NOT see that coming.  Just kidding…)  Anyway, more fights and more blah, blah, blah.  Logan meets a young Logan (his “son” – again, sort of).  More fights.  Blah, blah.  Big fight at end.  Laura and friends get away to start a new series of X-men movies with younger actors.
One note: this is “supposed” to be Jackman’s last appearance in the Wolverine role.  I never thought Jackman fit the role as he is tall (over 6ft) and Wolverine is supposed to be about 5ft 6in and broad, but I have to admit, like Robert Downing, Jr. and Ironman, Jackman made this role his own to such an extent that it is difficult to imagine who Hollywood will find for the eventual character reboot.  I hope they can give it at least five years…
Is this a good movie?  If not, does it work as a “comic-book” movie?  If you can get past the graphic violence (“R” for a reason), then yes, this is a very good movie.  Even beyond being a “comic-book” movie, it is a good adult movie.  The main issues are aging, friendship, loyalty, family and parenting.  All are dealt with in an adult / contextual way.  I admit to being very pleasantly surprised…  Even accepting that, the violence is such that I never would have thought this version of Wolverine would ever make it a screen – big screen or cable.  This is the Wolverine I could imagine from reading the comics way back when, but never fitting into a “PG” release to get the most money from a typical comic-book demographic.
Final recommendation: highly recommended!  This is the way I imagined Wolverine.  The movie, however, is not appropriate for young children – excessive / graphic violence and very little humor.  But, and it’s a BIG “but”, if you can see past it, the violence is what makes the movie dark (for Wolverine and the mutant children) and what ultimately gives the resolution emergent hope.
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On This Day In:
2017 Decisions
2016 Along The Path
2015 Make Mine Rare, Please
2014 Passion Flooding
2013 On Purpose
2012 Sans Gall Bladder, Day 4
How Did You Spend Your Day?
2011 It’s Hammerin’ Time!!
Convenient Auxiliaries

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been “binge-ing” on the TV series: “Star Trek: Enterprise“.   There are ninety-eight episodes representing over seventy hours of viewing so it was quite an investment of time!!  The series originally ran from 2001 through 2005 and I saw about twenty-five of the episodes when they originally aired.  I’m not sure why I never watched them all, but I’m nearly positive I didn’t as I remembered so few.  The series is about the first Starship Enterprise and humanity’s first attempts to explore “deep space” with the development of a Warp-5 capable spaceship.
Now, with full disclosure, I am a “Trekkie” and saw all of the original series (Star Trek: TOS) in their initial broadcasts and have subsequently viewed them all at least three times and most of them far, far more than that as I used to watch them back in the ’70’s and ’80’s when they were in syndication.  Back then, you could watch them day after day and so see most of the 79 episodes four times in a single year.  In fact, you could see them more than that as the series ran on a couple of different channels a various times of day.  Yeah, I know, a bit OCD!!
Anyway, as SciFi goes, like most of the other Star Trek franchises, this is not very good.  In terms of special effects, it is pretty good to outstanding – particularly for TV.  In terms of acting, the series starts out MUCH better than TOS (The Original Series) or TNG (The Next Generation).  TOS never had a chance to explain much of its back history and TNG was incredibly stiff in its first season.  Picard (played by Patrick Steward) was particularly wooden.  In terms of “realism”, this series is pretty much the same as all the others – little or none.
Does any of that (bad science, poor realism) matter?  Not one iota!!  The show is about humanity and our efforts to deal with “ultimate” issues: war, racism, sexism, slavery, social justice, etc.   All the things which have always made all of / each of the Star Trek franchise TV series great viewing.
This is a VERY good TV series which I thoroughly enjoyed watching!  I hate to say it, but it is every bit as good as the best episodes of TOS and TNG.
(I was never a big fan of DS9 (Star Trek: Deep Space 9) or Star Trek: Voyager and barely watched any of either.  Just a couple of seasons of each and then the odd episode.  I recognize that both of those series have their fans, but as neither of those series have had a sniff of interest in getting turned into a movie franchise, I think my opinion is justified.  I will admit, though, that now they are available (more or less free) on Netflix, I will be watching them both as and when I have time.  I doubt I’ll be binge-ing on them, though.)
As with both TOS and TNG, the stories all center around the senior staff and the most interesting characters are the Captain (Jonathan Archer played by Scott Bakula) and the main alien – as in TOS – the Vulcan First Officer (T’Pol played by Jolene Blalock).  Over the course of the series, the former goes from being an idealistic explorer to a military commander and diplomat while the latter goes from being an emotionally suppressed Vulcan to an openly emotional “almost human” female.  As such, the stories are mostly self-contained episodes with sub-story arcs which span a couple of episodes to the entire series.  Watching the whole series in compressed mode, therefore, made it seem much more understandable to me as I was easily able to remember nuances which I almost certainly would have missed (or forgotten) if I had viewed the series over a four year time span.
If you consider yourself a “Trekkie”, you must watch this series.  If you just want enjoyable SciFi about space exploration and humans meeting alien species, this is a great series.  As I said, it’s well written and character driven and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and highly recommend it.
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On This Day In:
2014 Astonishing Choices
2013 Three Hard Tasks
2012 The Only Remains
2011 Personal Capability
What Price Failure?
Both Of W’s Elections
Tea (Baggers) Anyone?

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