I was not jumping up and down when the first GI Joe movie posters came out. Do not get me wrong, I am a fan of GI Joe, but I was thinking they would make a botched up job. It is a relief they proved me wrong.

All characters, Joes and Cobras, were given ample exposure in the film. Not unlike the X-Men films, were Wolverine obviously gets more screen time and dialogue. The movie is almost like a prequel because it depicts the history of the main characters. The characters are very interesting, both for a newbie or a fan (but more so for the fan).

I honestly do not find Sienna Miller hot but this movie is the exception. She takes a very different persona as the svelte brunette villain Baroness. Rachel Nichols is not bad either playing the resident GI Joe redhead Scarlett O’Hara. Hot hot hot!

Ray Park did an excellent job portraying everyone’s favourite GI Joe character, Snake Eyes. I feel Channing Tatum though was a miscast as the All American Hero, Duke. He is not the leader-type of a person.

Yes, the action sequences are over-the-top, but if you are making a movie based on a toy, it is only consistent to have those sorts of scenes.

In the course of the movie, you will sometimes notice a few crappy CGI’s here and there, but I think it is forgivable. They may have faced limited budgets, but in the end it is the actors and story that mattered.

It is but inevitable that the movie GI Joe: Rise of Cobra will be compared to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Both characters are from the 80’s era. Both movies came from a very popular toy line. Both are loaded with generous servings of CGI. In terms of special effects, Transformers has the advantage; because Michael Bay has perfected the craft. Unfortunately, a movie is not all special effects. For me GI Joe wins hands-down only because the story is both logical and entertaining.

The ending of the movie has closure; however, you would most likely observe the movie was all along neatly preparing the stage for the sequel, which I hope is going to be bigger.

A very worthwhile diversion and a fitting end to the US Summer Blockbuster season. A definite must-see. Now you know and knowing is half the battle. (Cue slow motion walk).

I am a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise. I wrote this film review from the point of view of someone who has not read the sixth book. (…because I haven’t really read the book, honest)

The film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince surprisingly focuses more on the hormonal changes experienced by the main characters. This is not a very wise move in my opinion, unless the director David Yates wants a Twilight-wannabe movie. People who watch the Harry Potter movies expect to see wizard duels, potions, and magic. Good thing the director did not go as low as open shirts for the teenage wizards. Nevertheless, I must commend the director on the fresh and mature approach when portraying teenage adolescence.

The previous movies portray Harry Potter as an average wizard with talented friends and allies on his side and more than enough luck. I felt that Harry finally stepped up and proved himself a formidable wizard. This film is the harbinger of the best yet to come. I can only imagine how intense the two-part movie finale will be.

There is an immense maturity and coming-of-age for the Hogwarts wizards. Characters, both heroes and villains, face very mature and difficult decisions. In the battle against good and evil, Order of the Phoenix versus the Death Eaters, sacrifices DO have to be made.

The actor, Jim Broadbent, gave an awesome performance as Professor Horace Slughorn; which I feel is a very difficult character to portray. Actor Bonnie Wright playing Ginny Weasley grew up to be a fair lady in the film. I hope she gets more exposure in the next two movies. As with the previous Harry Potter movies, Alan Rickman, gave a brilliant interpretation to the most mysterious and interesting character in the series, Severus Snape.

The cinematography is splendid. The special effects are stunning, none more so than the scene when the Burrows was attacked. Towards the end of the movie there is the obvious sense of forlorn and despair. Soundtrack is first-class, as always.

A bit disappointing though is the ending. All the events of the first two hours build up for that decisive moment only to fall flat and end in a cheesy way. It is as if the climax of the film were for nothing. The climax does not make full sense when quite few of the plots where not tied properly. I suspect they are withholding all the good stuff for the two-part movie conclusion.

I think the general rule is if you have not read the book, then you will find the movie very perplexing. The director may have assumed everyone has read the book so he excludes a few characters and storyline. Realistically speaking though, no director can fit the whole book in a two and a half hour movie. With that said, the book and the movie go hand-in-hand; one cannot live without the other (wink wink).

I particularly do not read the Harry Potter books but I listen to the audio books. Do not get me wrong, it has nothing to do with laziness, I love reading books. However, there is something magical (pun intended) about the Harry Potter books read by British actor, Stephen Fry. I find him amusing and relevant because he changes his voice for different characters; and he has a British accent, which is appropriate for a “British” book. More importantly, Stephen Fry reads the book from the heart. I am now on Chapter 4 and I cannot wait to finish it. Try it.

So to appreciate the film: read the book before watching it or watch it first then listen to the audio book afterwards. Perfect.


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