Tag Archives: Michael Caine

GB’s VHS Vault: The Truth about the Jaws Sequels

Jaws is an amazing film. I think most people would be hard pressed to argue with that fact, and if nothing else Jaws made almost everyone afraid to go into the water.

The VHS and poster art is a work of genius, so simplistic and yet so powerful. It is also a great example of summing up an entire movie. People swim, Jaws eats them. Aside from how they beat the shark, that’s pretty much the movie in a nutshell. It is the Jaws sequels I want to cast my beady eye over this week and the slap dash approach they took with VHS marketing. Like a lot of series, this line of movies went from great to dire until they decided to knock the whole franchise on the nose and send it on its way (that’s how you distract a shark for a few minutes you see, by hitting its nose, so that comment is actually quite clever!).

Jaws 2 decides that Jaws was such a winning formula they should just copy and paste it into a new plot line. So not much has changed, it follows Sheriff Brody again, and people still will not listen to him about there been a pesky shark roaming about. The man paid his dues, surely they should cut him some slack. Anyway the cover is pretty standard; it has blonde looking happy, water skiing until old Bruce (the sharks nick name from Jaws) 2 pops up behind her. This is where I start to get a bit pedantic people, as it’s the same shark. Now I know this may come as a shock, but not all sharks look exactly the same, sure similar – but not identical. Does the shark from Jaws have a bloodline that covers the entire frikking ocean? I know it’s iconic and all, but come on.

In the first Jaws film the shark is coming from the bottom of the ocean to the top to get the woman. But here the shark is already behind the woman in question, and she is facing us directly, not swimming sideways. So the angle of the shark looks all wrong. He should be facing the front of the cover, so we see his eyes and teeth or at least his fin poking out. It just looks like the shark has torpedoed himself out the water like a missile, and it seems that the water-skier would have noticed that. Most of the shark attacks I have seen (well on TV at least) always have the sharks pop out the water at a slight angle, so it can get a better grip of its food. Not the case with this shark, he is a drama queen and must make an entrance. The funniest thing I found about this is, if he is coming in at that angle he will land down onto the water pretty quickly, creating the biggest shark belly flop known to man or beast.

Jaws 3, alas does not change the formula either. In its defense though, it does at least show two sharks (which is a big part of the movie one a baby, one its mum) on its VHS sleeve, and it does show the SeaWorld staff having a good time until the shark chases them. Maybe if they spent more time sorting out the SeaWorld pipes they would have noticed the damn sharks, but that’s beside the point. The shark is actually going in the right direction this time, with its fin just been visible. It makes it a lot more credible and to be honest a lot more scary. The artwork is pretty good here too, so it is a definite improvement. The SeaWorld resort is plainly seen in the background and it looks huge, which makes it a little bit more believable that two sharks would pop in for a visit. This was 3D in the cinemas and the Jaws 3 logo makes it look as such, which also adds just a little bit more originality to it. My VHS copy however does not have 3D capabilities, so it puts me in a foul mood to think I missed 3D Jaws. Overall in cover and plot at least they tried something different. What they did not do however, is get rid of that bleeding shark image! Even worse on this one – it’s not even in the water, it’s just hovering over the resort like some mega shark waiting to attack. In all fairness maybe they were going for a metaphor on how the shark is like a spectre of death hovering over the resort until it has its revenge, probably not though.

This brings us to Jaws 4The Revenge. Wait I thought the last film was about shark revenge. Well ignore that, as this film brings us right back to sheriff Brody’s family. He is dead now, shark induced heart attack (or maybe boredom as I would get sick of sharks popping up every two seconds). His wife thinks that a shark is stalking them. Is it? Who cares that’s not what I’m here for, I’m looking at the VHS cover. And boy this is a slap dash affair. There are two different covers for this. The US one which is the best, actually looks pretty good. It has a woman, alone on a ship, ready to fight a ticked off shark. It even breaks the trend of completely ignoring the human cast involved in the film, by having them on the bottom of the front cover.

Maybe they put them on so we knew who to blame when everyone who watched this thought it was a turd sandwich. The other cover, which is also the promo poster for the movie sucks. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 2 but it has removed the girl entirely. Even the people who make the VHS covers were sick of having teenagers on the cover! All they have done is add a few splashes around the shark mid rift to make its jump out of the water scarier. But it’s not, because the shark looks like an idiot. He is in the middle of the ocean (there is no land present anywhere on the sleeve) and there is no one there, he is actually chasing nothing so why the big entrance? A Shark Prima Donna yet again, making a big entrance but this time for no body. It actually just looks stupid. And no extra points for using the shark as the A in Jaws – The Return, it’s not clever and it reeks of desperation. The viewers thought so to, as this nose-dived at the box office and killed the series. So what have we learnt from this? Well Jaws 4 needed better VHS art (or a better plot I’m not sure).

Just for giggles I’m including the unofficial sequel Jaws 5 – Cruel Jaws. It was a TV movie shot by Bruno Mattei which focused on a tiger shark (so not the right shark then) kicking off and doing the usual shark things these movies do. The cover is hilarious though. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 4 only more crudely drawn and with an explosion in the background, because everyone loves sharks and explosions right? This may be my favourite cover actually! But all this bitching and moaning aside I should not complain. Without these films we would not have had some of the amazing rip offs (like the above mentioned film) which would warrant an article themselves. We would also not have had the CGI shark flicks of today. Hell some companies would go bust if it was not for the fact you can mix a shark up with pretty much anything (Two headed shark, Shark man, Dinoshark and Sharktopus been fine examples). I don’t know if I could live in a world that did not have these. So for that reason alone I salute the awful VHS covers of the Jaws franchise and thank them for kicking off a run of awful shark movies.

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Bomb Droppers Rise! Let’s Talk ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The Dark Knight Rises is obviously one of the, if not the most, anticipated movies to come out this summer. Everyone is talking about their thoughts on it, and similar to what we did with the group Avengers review, we here at Grizzly Bomb wanted to give this movie the same justice and have a bunch of us review it. Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie, *SPOILER ALERT* so don’t say we did not warn you. You should have watched it anyways so shame on you. If you have not read my review, you can of course click here to check it out, but let’s see what the other authors of the site think of this flick:

Dr. Kronner:

Upon initial viewing I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. As it turns out though, it’s only because The Dark Knight Rises was not the single greatest film of all time like I expected, but simply just ‘great’. Upon my second viewing I found myself amazed at how much more enjoyable it seemed. It was the same movie I’d seen just 2 nights prior, but without the weight of my lofty expectations heaped on it, the film just seemed more fluid. The issues I had the first time though (Alfred coming off cheesy, Gordon being underused, an unnatural progression between Selina and Bruce) all melted away as I was able to simply enjoy the film.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was just how much I liked JGL and how they handled the boy wonder. He seemed an amalgam of all the Robins. Tim Drake’s detective work, Jason Todd’s aggressiveness, and the wisecracking wisdom of a Dick Grayson. And while he never traveled with the circus, he was an orphan, and he proved us all wrong – Robin, when done correctly, can exist in Nolan’s Gotham. The other thing I really enjoyed that most people disagree with me on is Bane’s voice. I thought it added to his inherent creepiness and really cemented him as a great villain.

The movie on a whole, while still not as strong as The Dark Knight, ultimately did not disappoint, and I have a third trip to the theater planned tomorrow. In hindsight, I’d say this probably edges out The Avengers as my favorite movie of the summer.

SupaScoot:

The Dark Knight Rises was good. But it wasn’t great. Let me rephrase that. TDKR wasn’t the best Batman movie, but it was a hell of great Christopher Nolan film. While I have a few complaints and feel like there were just a few too many leaps of the imagination intended for the audience to take, it was a beautifully filmed and epic undertaking that Nolan pulled off.

Weaving in a ton of different plot points from not only the previous movies but TDKR itself was a monstrous task that required a keen eye and an open mind, but it didn’t pan out fully at the conclusion. However, the one thing I can say about the film without any doubt is that it IS a definite conclusion. A conclusion to the trilogy, to Nolan’s bat-verse, and to Bale’s Bruce Wayne.

Are there things I would change? Absolutely. Are there things I didn’t quite get after my first viewing that were more evident after the second? Absolutely. Is The Dark Knight still the better Batman movie? ABSOLUTELY. Walking out of the theater after both movies were two entirely different feelings of awe. TDK was an excited and passionate victory dance for any Batman fan, while TDKR was a contemplative and cerebral appreciation for a great filmmaker.

Watch TDKR twice. That is my ultimate advice/review. Because everything changes that second time when you realize just exactly what the movie is about, who it’s about, and what The Dark Knight Rises really means.

The Wozz:

Christopher Nolan stepped away from 2008’s insurmountable The Dark Knight for the finale of his Batman saga, and in doing so The Dark Knight Rises feels a lot more like a sequel to Batman Begins than anything else. It’s a wise move because while much focus will be laid on Bane and a handful of contentious twists and plot points, this shift is the necessary fulcrum that bridges two very disparate films into a fluid trilogy. It also brings the story around full circle – The Joker nearly dismantled the idea of ‘the batman’ when he terrorized Gotham eight years ago, and Rises is all about reaffirming the ideals that led to Bruce Wayne’s creation of the batman.

In short, The Dark Knight Rises serves a very precise, mechanical function for Nolan’s Batman legend. It’s just all the more impressive that Nolan layers such a thrilling finale on top of it.

joey123mo:

It all started with Batman Begins, a film that, while not an instant classic, was the beginning of what is now the most significant comic book trilogy in film history. Begins was followed by the now legendary The Dark Knight, which featured a life-altering performance by the late, great Heath Ledger.

What started in 2005 is now finishing in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises, a film that improves on both of its predecessors that ends up being director Christopher Nolan’s true epic masterpiece. The entire cast returns with an entirely new set of faces including the fantastic Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (Catwoman), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, one of the last wholly pure cops in Gotham City.

The villain here is Bane, played perfectly by Tom Hardy, utilizing his eyes and his voice as strengths. The constricting facial mask may be a problem for some, but I thought he was as menacing and terrific as he was in the previews. On top of all that, The Dark Knight Rises is an emotionally resonating story that ends up being the most perfect conclusion to an already near perfect trilogy. There will probably be no superhero trilogy as absolutely amazing as this one. The Dark Knight Rises is the high-point in a trilogy that defied expectations in every way possible.

Tim the Film Guy:

Christopher Nolan really doesn’t make bad films. The Dark Knight Rises was a great film to end the epic trilogy Nolan started with Batman Begins and then made better with The Dark Knight. This film really brings the old school epics such as Ben-Hur with thousands of extras running around on giant sets to the modern era of films. But sadly it was the last of this superhero trilogy and possibly the best adaptation of a comic hero we will ever see.

What I liked about the way Nolan made this film was that it felt like he created a great new story but then merged the tone and feel of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight so that it would feel very much connected with those films which worked as the finale to a great trilogy (If you didn’t get that I liked the Nolan trilogy yet). I will like to see how Nolan’s involvement in the new superman film Man of Steel will impact its realism and more modern retelling of the superman story. Might just go on about Bane’s amazing ability to take control of a room just with the way he stands with confidence, nah you’ll just have to see the film. Finally I would like to say that even though I am sure we will miss Nolan’s Batman I think that it’s great that a superhero franchise can start off as strong as it finishes where so many have failed before and for that I thank Christopher Nolan for his dedication to making all the films himself with such detailed film making.

Woman Friday:

My brain is still trying to wrap around the story, as usual with most of Nolan’s films. I’m either less intelligent than I thought, or he really is that good at weaving together multiple peoples’ stories in one film. On the whole, I quite enjoyed it, but I cannot say it was my favorite out of his trilogy. It didn’t seem quite Batman-y like before. However, I will say this was the first time in quite a while that a film actually caught me off guard (SPOILER!); Miranda Tate’s character development blew my mind, and when I looked at my husband during the final scenes, I realized the same thing was happening in his (and he is a hard one to surprise). Overall, cheers again to Nolan and the ENTIRE film crew and cast for a valid and appreciated interpretation of the Batman legacy.

Cheesebadger:

Christopher Nolan has permanently changed the face of Superhero films forever. While Batman Begins was the start of a trend of reboots, it has more or less been beneficial to the superhero movie genre, reaching it’s apex with 2008’s The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight was the first time we got to see a beloved comic character in a movie that was GREAT on its own merit, without any added buffer or forgiveness for its comic book pedigree.

This theme is continued with The Dark Knight Rises, however trying to follow such a dramatic change in quality from The Dark Knight’s prequel to sequel jump, inevitably will lead some to find Dark Knight Rises to be disappointing. That being said, DKR is a very good wrap up of the themes from all the other Nolan Batman movies. By no means as mindblowing as Dark Knight, mostly because of some pacing issues, and the lack of a seminal, game changing character interpretation such as Ledger’s Joker, DKR is nonetheless, a very fitting end for the Nolanverse Batman character.

How anyone will attempt to replicate the fascinating, consistently entertaining, and most of all cerebral and intriguing story told throughout this trilogy of movies is baffling. Whoever reboots the new Batman best find a wholly new direction to go in, because the bar is set impossibly high. This is how you end a trilogy, all other Threequels take notice.

Jason.Da.Psycho:

I ain’t no film critic. I don’t judge cinema techniques or shit like that. All I care about is whether if I’m entertained by a movie, and I can gladly report that I was thoroughly entertained.

For TDKR, you get a few action sequences and absolutely phenomenal character developments. Some lines are indeed corny, but 99% of them are great. The twists are there and they can be shocking (though not uncalled for). If there’s any complaint, the story isn’t so “Batman-ish”. Rather, it feels like a conclusion to Nolan’s trilogy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fantastic, and since I am not a comic book fan in the first place, I don’t really care for that flaw.

It’s not better than the second one, but TDKR is undoubtedly one of the best threequels out there. (Note to Bioware: That’s how you setup a potentially depressing and ambiguous ending.)

93 Grizzly Bombs explode out of the 100 possible.

So there you have it. It seems like we all really enjoyed this movie and have a consensus that it was an excellent end. Granted, most, if not all, thought that The Dark Knight was the best of the trilogy, but that should not take away how great this film truly was. Of course we want to know what you guys thought so feel free to comment below your thoughts on whether this film cements this trilogy as one of the best ever or not.

Grizzly Review: The Dark Knight Rises

There is a moment that caught me off guard in The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne and his loyal butler Alfred share a moment where a breaking point has been reached. We get a touching speech or plea from Alfred asking Bruce about burying members of the Wayne family, and that he refuses to bury yet another under his watch. I shed a tear. Normally, this might be a normal reaction to an emotional moment in the movie (or if you’re a sissy apparently), but my friends and family have come to know me as one thing: an emotionally dead robot. For a movie to have that impact on someone like me means there is a connection to these characters, to this story, to this trilogy. that resonates deeply to garner such a reaction. I think shows how terrific the storytelling and direction under Christopher Nolan was and is. By the end of this movie, the journey is over and I am relieved that it is over. Not because of how overwhelmed I am after 165 minutes of this roller coaster ride, but because it had to end. There was nowhere else to go. In that, we have both the strength and the flaw of the movie.

It has been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent and the disappearance of “The Batman”. He has taken the fall for the crimes committed by the horribly disfigured Dent/Two-Face and in the common theme of the movies is symbolism. Batman was supposed to be the symbol of justice, the right overshadowing the wrong, the hero that emerges from the dark shadows to bring stability in bad times. However the question that plagues the minds of Commissioner Gordon and Batman is that they have perpetuated this lie, that the peace time that has occupied Gotham City is based on an ideal that should not exist, and how does that make it right? Does the end justify the means? The movie investigates this idea and its effect on the citizens of this (seemingly) thriving city. There are obvious political and social overtones, but for now, let’s finish this synopsis just to set the table. We get introduced to Bane right off the bat (yes, went there, deal with it) as you can tell that he is the man with the plan in an awesome sequence involving a new take on hijacking airplanes. You also see the blind faith that his minions put into the man with the mask, not unlike those that put their faith into Batman when he first emerged. He obviously has his sights set on Batman and Gotham City. Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, is a broken man, a Howard Hughes recluse that no one has seen in years, merely a symbol himself like his alter ego. Only when he meets Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) does his suit beckon him once again. It is then that he realizes the danger yet to come.

I will say it is hard to write a review on a movie that people need to witness themselves, because I think everyone will have a different reaction to it, so I will not go into further details of the plot. That way you can jump into it and draw your own conclusions. Lets talk about the cast. Bale is always good, consistent in his quest for a purpose, especially in trying fight for his city and rising (Boom) to the challenge throughout the movie. Michael Caine is in a smaller role, but is still equally powerful as Wayne’s confident/father figure. The exchanges the two of them have will be sorely missed once the final reel rolls off the projector. Gary Oldman is always good, but really comes off great as man struggling with the lie. In trying to find the justice in his actions, in a city of legacy built by deception. Morgan Freeman is good as well, but you probably want to find out how the newbies did. Let us start with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, as the idealistic cop who gets an audience with Commissioner Gordon. He did a fine job in playing understated, if not determined police officer trying to hold on to hope in a city of despair and confusion.

The girl duo of Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway also did a great job in providing characters for both Bruce Wayne and Batman respectively to play off of. Hathaway (who, thankfully, is never referred to as Catwoman at all in the entire movie), brings a certain sass in a woman trying to run from her past and the determination to make sure she always gets her way. That and that suit on that bike. Holy crap.

Of course now we get to Bane. Tom Hardy does an admirable job as the most effin’ evil friggin’ villain I have seen dominate the screen in a long time. He just resonates pure evil and man, I wanted to see Batman kick his ass back into 1993. While not as good as Ledger as the Joker (who would be?), Hardy does terrifically in being the ‘voice’ of the oppressed, yet bringing an insane vibe in that muffled delivery of his (which is not as big of an issue understanding him as everyone made it out to be). This is a man on a mission, where no one can get in his way and that look in his eyes, pretty much the only other thing we can see Hardy emote with, is terrifying. It also comes off as purposeless, however because you want to know why he gets to be such a dick but it never really gets explained in a meaningful manner. I got Bane being the unbeatable villain, but what I really wanted was why he turned into such a monster. If Bruce Wayne could get to the point where he sees nothing but vengeance, why not see the reason why Bane followed that path of refusing to be beatable? A minor quibble but one that bugged me throughout the movie.

The movie itself is a clinic in why Christopher Nolan is one of the best storytellers out there. Visually, the picture is beautiful, and does not need 3D or any of that garbage that Nolan refused to do. The pacing is a bit slow in the first hour, but let us face it, eight years have passed, there must a slow burn to the process in catching up with our favorite Gothamites. Every sequence carries a purpose in the movie, and nothing is wasted. The music by Hans Zimmer also is beautiful yet demanding. It takes a hold of you and carries you from scene to scene, and provides the best mood setting in the trilogy in my opinion. It also tends to overpower the dialogue but that might be a result of the theater as opposed to sound editing. It is still friggin’ epic as all hell.

Obviously we all know this is the last of the trilogy so there was a set plan for this to end. While it is good that Nolan and Co. have decided to have a distinct end to their take on the Bats, I feel that it suffered in the same regard. We all see it coming and I felt no shock value of the path of Batman and his journey to ‘rise’. In fact, I felt rushed along towards the end in order to wrap up certain storylines. As product of the hype machine, I understand having the most anticipated movie come into town that we all have been guessing what the proper ending should be. We were all probably looking for the conclusion to be foreshadowed in the movie and unfortunately, I felt became formulaic during the whole movie. After all, it is a superhero movie so there are certain rules the film must follow. However, it is only minor distraction because it does the formula justice. The movie felt predictable and somewhat pretentious at some points. It wanted to throw us off the path by slipping in random events or characters that seemed to dissolve as the movie went on. Granted, it was not so blatant that I felt Nolan was trying to ‘Shyamalan’ us (the act of throwing in crap to throw people off the scent despite having to do with the twists and turns the movie may offer up), but it did not help with the aforementioned slow pacing. However, this movie still ranks better than 95% of the movies out there this year and these minor problems in my mind, but so comes with the territory of following the best movie of the trilogy (Obviously now determined to be The Dark Knight).

Again, I want to offer up that this is one of the top 3 movies I have seen this year. It is a great movie and proves that the trilogy idea of having a beginning, middle, and concise ending to a set of stories is the way to go. Nolan and Bale have made their mark in not only comic book movie history, but in the cinema world on how to tackle a character and setting in the modern world. The expectations were extremely high and they have met them. I do wish it was exceeded, but it did its job. It did not overwhelm and did not (thank the lord) underwhelm. Go see the movie, go love the movie, and see what it does for you. Go shed a tear too while you are at it, you might not see another trilogy tackled as masterfully as this one.

And please don’t go check out This Is Not The Dark Knight Rises Review. You’ll be glad you didn’t.

Grizzly Review: Journey 2 – The Mysterious Island

What can I say about Journey 2: The Mysterious Island? It was a little better than I expected and had some great visuals. Also, even though it seems like the Rock is just put into movies to lure the mindless masses into the movie theater, he actually kind of made the movie better than it would have been. The plot seems to be loosely based off of the first movie which I only saw bits and pieces of, but Josh Hutcherson (Soon to be in The Hunger Games.) returns as Sean Anderson who is an adventurer/scientist on a mission to find his grandfather Alexander Anderson who has gone missing and has apparently been looking for Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island for about half of his life. Really, it seems like they just cobbled together the pretense for them to head out and find the grandfather and mysterious island in about thirty seconds…. Which they probably actually did. Anyways, the Rock, who plays Sean’s gigantic, ex-Navy, stepfather decides to help Sean break a code sent from his grandfather in an attempt to be closer to him family wise. What Mr. The Rock didn’t count on was Sean being right that there is indeed a Mysterious Island. A Mysterious Island they have no way of getting off of before impending disaster strikes.

Really, the movie was never meant to be an Academy Award winner and it definitely wasn’t. With the acting talents of Vanessa Hudgens and Luis Guzman (As the father-daughter helicopter team that brought them to the island) intermingled with those of Josh Hutcherson and The Rock, they don’t measure up anything near to Michael Caine. What Rock doesn’t have in acting ability he more than makes up for in hilarity. There is a scene in the movie where he “pops” his pectoral muscles for about three minutes as he urges Josh Hutcherson and Guzman to bounce berries off of them. This as you know, is a sure fire way to win over any woman. The scene had me laughing my ass off, the Rock urging Hutcherson to “Feed them. They’re not going to stop until you do.” As funny as I found the scene, I can only imagine that young kids and their parents were probably left puzzled as to what in the shit they brought their kids to. But oh well, it made me laugh.

Continue reading Grizzly Review: Journey 2 – The Mysterious Island

Hero Express: Dark Knight Station – The New Trailer is Officially Here!

Welcome to Dark Knight Station, the Hero Express‘s main stop for all the news on The Dark Knight Rises.We’ll keep you up to date on all the biggest bat-news coming straight from Gotham City.

Mind the gap and avoid the shadows; This stop is the Dark Knight Station for December 19th, 2011.

Batman, and such. Christopher Nolan! Grappling Hook! Other Bat-words! None of what I’m typing matters, because here’s the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. If you treated yourself to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows this weekend or caught one of the cammed versions before it was taken offline, you’ve already seen this beast of a trailer, but either way you’ll want to see it again. Enough text, here it is!

It’s a beautiful thing. Seeing this in theaters actually managed to get me as excited as the full prologue did the night before. That’s all for this edition, look forward to more traditional Dark Knight Station stuff next week!

#16 – Countdown to Christmas: THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL

“Old Henson was dead as a doornail. This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.”

I might have just committed blasphemy in multiple ways with that mixing of the first two sentences from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843) and the fact that Jim Henson had passed away before The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) was created. However, I find it only appropriate considering that was the first Muppet movie made after Jim Henson’s death in 1990. It was the first movie in which the infamous Kermit the Frog was voiced by someone other than Jim. A fact that still slows my mind.

It is with this in mind that I recount the Muppets’ version of the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old money-lender with a certain disdain for the Christmas Spirit.

Narrated by the unflappable Gonzo the Great, with the help of Rizzo the Rat, the tale begins in the hub-bub of 19th century London, where, amongst a mixed choir of people and Muppets, we are introduced to old E. Scrooge. This version of Scrooge is played by the living legend Michael Caine.  Caine’s Scrooge is as grumpy and unlikeable as George C. Scott’s 1984 television version, but here you don’t think that Scrooge would do well in North Africa.(Sidenote: George Carlin was at one point considered for the role of Scrooge. That would have been different).

The musical continues with the introduction of the Muppet mainstay, Kermit the Frog. This is the first feature length film in which Jim Henson has not performed the voice of Kermit. Henson is replaced (though there is no replacing him) by Steve Whitmire.  While geeks like me may get caught up in the change, the reality is that the spirit of Jim Henson still flows through the character.

The plot of “A Christmas Carol” stays fairly true to the Dickens’ work, thanks to the addition of Gonzo as the narrator. Brian Henson (Jim’s son), a director, made the decision to use Gonzo as the narrator to pay homage to the brilliance of Dickens’ descriptions and phrasings. The other option, according to the bonus features on the DVD, were to use Gonzo as the Ghost of Christmases yet to come. His nose would have stuck out from the hooded cloak. I’m glad they went with the narrator idea. Good job folks.

While the story is unfolded before us, the audience is given the classic mix of heart-felt family values, silly physical comedy, and witty (and often adult content) dialogue that is expected from the Muppets. Also we are treated to the fact that Michael Caine can’t sing, which is hilarious to me.

I give this movie 4 out of 5.

I leave you with this tid-bit:

‘Robert Marley’ is a character added to the Muppets version along with Jacob Marley. This is to accommodate Statler and Waldorff  (the old guys on the balcony). Robert Marley….Bob Marley. Bob Marley surrounded by ‘wailing’ cash boxes. Oh, I get it.

Muppet Christmas Carol

Hero Express – ‘Powers’ and ‘100 Bullets’ on TV, Wonder Woman on Film, and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Teaser?

Welcome to Hero Express, your one-stop shop through the news filled world of superhero’s in Film, TV, Video Games and whatever else floats your boat.

This is the Hero Express for June 22, 2011:

Continue reading Hero Express – ‘Powers’ and ‘100 Bullets’ on TV, Wonder Woman on Film, and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Teaser?