Superman Returns (2006) – Film Review

This attempt by director Bryan Singer to revive the Man of Steel for a new generation is honorable and often entertaining, but it falls short of BATMAN BEGINS, not to mention Singer’s own previous comic book adaptations, X-MEN and X-MEN UNITED. SUPERMAN RETURNS feels eager to please, and it frequently succeeds, but despite its best intentions, it seldom soars to the height of 1978’s SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Perhaps the new film is too slavish to its predecessor; instead of standing on its own, it is the cinematic equivalent of a cover band, faithfully recreating the hits of yesteryear while adding little original of its own.
The set-up is that Superman (Brandon Routh) has been gone for years, on an interplanetary quest to find his dead home world, the planet Krypton. He returns to find Earth has moved on without him, particularly Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), who is now a single mom in a relationship with Richard White (James Marsden), son of Daily Planet editor Perry White (Frank Langella). Superman’s embarks on a dual quest: to prove he is still relevant and to rekindle his relationship with Lois. The former proves relatively easy when Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), paroled from prison, embarks on a new scheme of villainy that involves trying to rob Superman of his powers. The later proves more difficult: What good are superpowers when it turns out that the new man in Lois’ life is a decent guy who treats her well and can be there for her in a way that Superman cannot? Continue reading “Superman Returns (2006) – Film Review”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – Film & DVD Review

The concept hardly sounds auspicious – making a feature film based upon a ride at Disneyland – but PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN turns out to be a Hollywood blockbuster in the best sense of the word: a glorious piece of large-scale entertainment that uses its budget to grand effect, filling the screen with action, stunts, swordplay, costumes, sets and special effects, without ever losing sight of the story and characters.
Working from a clever script by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, director Gore Verbinski does a fine job of navigating a perilous journey that jumps from one tone to the other, incorporating comedy, romance, melodrama, fantasy, and even some outright horror, creating that often touted but seldom achieved commodity, a “film for the whole family.”
The rousing score by Klaus Badelt captures the wind-swept vigor of old-fashioned pirate movies without ever feeling embalmed in nostalgia. The same can be said for the cannon fire and swordplay, which is handled with all the visual excellence that modern technology can achieve. The result is a film that lives up to its cinematic forebears without ever being a slave to their established formulae. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – Film & DVD Review”