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Movies This Week (6/1)

Posted 1 June, 2007 at 10:59pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Movies)

This week I watched Casino Royale (4.5/5), Tristan and Isolde (2.5/5), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (Pirates 3) (2/5). Here's what I thought…

Casino Royale (DVD) - This is the second time I've seen Casino Royale and it stands up well to the repeated viewing. The first time I saw the movie, in the theaters on opening weekend, I felt that, after only half an hour, Daniel Craig was James Bond. This re-imagining of Bond as a "blunt instrument" of her Majesty's Secret Service resets the increasingly ludicrous Bond series for the better. The new Bond feels smarter (in a street-smarts sort of way, not in intelligence), grittier, and more real. Even in this second viewing, the plot captivates and additional nuances were revealed that I missed the first time around. (4.5/5)

Tristan and Isolde (HD Cable) - The story of Tristan and Isolde is an old tale involving a Briton, Tristan, who travels to Ireland to fetch a bride, Isolde, for his uncle, the king to seal an alliance between Britain and Ireland. Tristan and Isolde, during the journey back from Ireland, accidentally imbibe a love potion (that lasts three years) and cannot resist each other, even after Isolde is married to the king. Although the king suspects and wishes to entrap Tristan and Isolde, Tristan is able to outwit and out maneuver the king, for the most part. In some variations on the legend, they are caught and killed. In others, Tristan is killed and Isolde lives, or Tristan escapes and marries another Isolde (of Britain), or Tristan marries the other Isolde but falls ill and Isolde (of Ireland) saves him, or not, or Tristan is tricked by his wife that Isolde (not his wife) isn't coming (by lying about white sails and black sails) and he dies before she arrives with antidote. In any case, this is not what happens in the movie Tristan and Isolde. Many violent battle scenes as well as a decently crafted story of forbidden love can be found in this movie, but the key elements of the legend (love that is not of their own making and later the decisions Tristan and Isolde have to make once the potion wears off) are completely missing. Without any expectation of the movie following the legend, the movie is actually fairly decent. The acting is adequate, writing is not overly cliche, and the political intrigue and plotting are more than interesting. Since the legend itself has so many possible endings, it's not possible to tell where the movie will lead (although it's not too hard to guess). Overall, a reasonable effort and worth the time especially for those enjoying medieval drama. (2.5/5)

Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End (Theater) - Pirates 3 has followed in the footsteps of the other third sequel movies this year… that is, it hasn't lived up to its predecessors. While Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2 were excellent (as good as Shrek and Spider-Man), the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was not as good as the first and I was truly hoping that the third movie would redeem the series. Instead, Pirates 3 is even sillier than Pirates 2. The first hour of the film felt disjointed with random series that felt like they are made for a independent film festival's short film category instead of a well designed beginning to a feature length film. The humorous aspects of the first movie were heavily sprinkled through the second movie and was liberally splashed all over the third movie. Unfortunately, much of the humor is very childish - as if the movie was only going to be watched by ten year olds. Most of the movie is very watchable, and even enjoyable, but it is by no means a good movie. As in the previous Pirates installments, there is a brief scene after the credits you'll want to stay for that helps redeem the movie. (2/5)

1 comment to Movies This Week (6/1)

Debra, June 4th, 2007 at 2:36 pm:

  • As someone who thought the first Pirates movie was an hour too long and absolutely hated the second (almost walked out), I actually enjoyed the third movie. It was still overly long, but didn't feel that way. Lots of action, great special effects and I actually had some idea what was going on (unlike Pirates 2 — what a mess that script was). There's a lot less Johnny Depp which is good because he's a total charicature in this movie — not very interesting. Geoffrey Rush is hamming it up and great doing it. The Keith Richards cameo was disappointing. Some stuff is just stupid — the multiplicity scenes with Depp and the 50 foot woman nonsense. I agree, not a great movie, but better than the abysmal Pirates 2.