Browse Category: Fantasy

RECAP: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999): George Lucas

We should have known how The Phantom Menace would turn out when the opening crawl came on, and in the first line was the phrase “taxation of trade routes.” If you want your space blockbusters to discuss senate procedure when it could be having a space fight, take a seat!

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Trade Federations, Senate squabbling, the Republic, and other bureaucratic entities bog down rights protections across the galaxy, but also there’s Jedi and light sabers and the Force and stuff.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003): Gore Verbinski

Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me.

So begins the out-of-nowhere leviathan that became the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. From its start as a fun, water-based ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, this movie, the original, spawned four sequels (and counting?), grossed more than $4.5 billion worldwide, and remade Johnny Depp into a Keith Richards clone. Quite the success.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A loopy pirate recruits a reluctant blacksmith and a governor’s daughter to help him capture a cursed pirate ship roaming the British-era Caribbean.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Thor

Thor (2011): Kenneth Branagh

What happens when you mix Norse mythology, Marvel, and and Shakespearean fanboy director?

Thor. Sam Raimi and Matthew Vaughn nearly made a Thor movie, but that’s the biz; it doesn’t always work out. They sound weird for this film. But who wouldn’t? Norse gods living in the same world as the Incredible Hulk and Tony Stark.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Heir to the throne of Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth to learn some humility before he is worthy to rule.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017): Patty Jenkins

It took 76 years, but in June of 2017 Wonder Woman, a canon comic book character, finally got a feature film to call her own.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Formed from clay, on an island of immortal women, Diana Prince leaves her world to fight the last war against Ares, the last god.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Maleficent

Maleficent (2014): Robert Stromberg

Angelina Jolie fell in love with Sleeping Beauty from a young age, especially Maleficent. How convenient, then, that a movie about the evil queen was in development starting in 2010. And how even more convenient that Jolie was one of the world’s biggest movie stars. A match made in (Disney) heaven.

Despite middling expectations, Maleficent cruised to nearly a quarter billion dollars at the US box office, beating an X-Men and Spider-Man sequel. Jolie’s cheekbones must have accounted for 40 or 50 million of that.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A powerful fairy falls in love with a man, is betrayed, takes revenge, and falls for his child.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Valhalla Rising

Valhalla Rising (2009): Nicolas Winding Refn

Norse mythology is ascendant in recent years in the culture. Thor and American Gods are the chief examples, of course, but Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising addresses the mythos in a distant, forgotten (or perhaps never known) past.

Released in only two theaters in North America, Valhalla Rising grossed $30,638. Inception, opening the same day (2010, Stateside), probably earned that in 20 minutes.

So what? Valhalla Rising is a terrific movie full of great visuals, moody music, mind-bending pacing, gory violence, and a silent warrior.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Silent but deadly, a mute warrior named One Eye leads Christian Norsemen to the New World.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt (2016): Alex Proyas

Hot off the world’s biggest TV show, the man who plays Jaime Lannister earned a chance to head an action movie. The Danish man received the lead role as an Egyptian god.

Gerard Butler, long known as a cad and maybe a pill, played the villain’s role, also an Egyptian god. Eye rolls all around.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Horus, a Egyptian god, teams with Bek, a mortal, and other gods to overthrow Set, the gods who rules Egypt.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Rogue One

Rogue One (2016): Gareth Edwards

The first of eight Star Wars films without a title crawl, Rogue One changed the series in other ways. Gone are long Jedi fights and light saber duels. Missing is interfamilial drama.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A band of rebels breaks into an Imperial planet to steal plans to a gray orb the Empire is calling the Death Star.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016): Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Following the 2012 release of Snow White and the Huntsman, Universal chose to expand on this fairy tale. They cut out Snow White and kept The Huntsman.

Like the 2012 source material, Chris Hemsworth plays the titular huntsman, and like the 2012 source material, he supports a cast of warrior queens and princesses. Charlize Theron is back, joined by Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, making Winter’s War one of 2016’s sexiest casts.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A queen betrayed by a lover turns her entire world to ice, kidnaps its children, and raises them into an army  Continue Reading

Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans (2010): Louis Leterrier

World-class effects spawned the career of Harry Hamlin and capped Ray Harryhausen’s, effects master–oh, wait, this is not that movie. This the is the remake. The one from 2010. You remember it. released in 3D, it made a modest splash at the box office, enough to garner a sequel.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Release the Kraken! Continue Reading

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