Friday, May 30, 2003

Let’s go clear out some backlog… a lot of backlog, actually, as I will now review two movies long overdue: The Core, and Johnny English. Plus, the long-delayed Top Five! Wow, I’m so industrious lately… heh. Because of this, then I just have to remind you: SPOILERS AHEAD!


The Core:

Whatcha gonna do when the Earth’s core runs wild on you?

Let me state for the record that while I loved this movie, I, for the life of me, cannot remember most of the actors in the film. Thus, just bear with me as I try to reconstruct it with some help from an outside source,

For reasons unknown, the earth's inner core has stopped rotating, causing the planet's electromagnetic field to rapidly deteriorate. Instantly, life around the globe begins to change dramatically. In Boston, 32 people with pacemakers, all within a 10-block radius, suddenly drop dead. In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge collapses, sending hundreds of people plunging to their deaths. In London's Trafalgar Square, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate, flying into panicked crowds. And in Rome, as thousands of tourists watch helplessly, an electrical superstorm reduces the ancient Colosseum to rubble.

Scrambling to resolve the crisis, government and military officials call upon geophysicist Dr. Josh Keyes and a team of the world's most gifted scientists to travel into the earth's core in a subterranean craft piloted by terranauts Major Rebecca "Beck" Childs and Commander Robert Iverson. Their mission: detonate a nuclear device that will reacativate the core and save the world from sure destruction. They also team up with Dr. Zibsky, a brilliant but egotistical scientist, and his rival, Dr. Brazzelton, the man who constructed Virgil, the ship that will take them all the way into the Earth’s core. Watching over them is someone who can give Sacha a run for her money as far as geeky geniuses go, Rat. He’s in charge of hacking the entire Internet to keep people from knowing about this mission.

One by one, the crew of six die as they attempt to go to the Earth’s core. Lots of issues are addressed, especially since Zibsky seems to know more than he’s willing to let on. It turns out that he was part of a government project to use remote-controlled earthquakes to wage war on other countries with ease, and this appears to be the likely cause of the cataclysm. It is likewise being touted as the last resort solution, which could prove disastrous. The race is on, until only two of them are left, and they find some time to fall in love with each other in spite of everything. And yes, they save the world after all that trouble…

Okay. I liked the movie, and Sach was right: it’s a geeky film. Special effects were actually impressive, especially since Virgil really looked good. The dialogue was also well-written, and even if you weren’t well-versed in the stuff they were talking about, you’re not bound to get lost in the technobabble. I especially liked the argument between Rat and Zibsky…

Rat: How many languages do you know?

Zibsky: Five.

Rat: I know only one- zero, zero, one, one, zero, zero, one, one. With that language, I can know everything there is to know about you. What you like. What you know. What your deepest sexual desires are. With that language, I can destroy your life.

Strong words, eh?

This movie was good, but it was preposterous. Exactly how far underwater can dolphins go? It sure seemed like they were deeper than possible in the movie, as it must’ve been at least 800 KM underwater already, yet there were still dolphins around. I also find it hard to suspend my disbelief that they managed to construct a material that is capable of withstanding the pressure and heat of travelling into the core, though I’ll let that one slide. What I can’t allow to slip past me, however, is the inexplicable need for them to incorporate a love angle in the story, which was ridiculous.

Rat was the true saving grace for me in that film, though I have to say Zibsky and Brazzelton were immensely interesting as well. This movie had its moments, but they could’ve trimmed some fat. Still, the movie was worth watching, and it was rather exciting for most of its run.

Marcelle’s Rating: B+


Johnny English:

The best spies in the world practice in front of the mirror…

First things first: I’m a Mr. Bean fan, so I know what I want when I see Rowan Atkinson performing on the screen. This movie was really entertaining, and it didn’t exactly need an elaborate plot to get its point across.

Rowan Atkinson plays Johnny English (Obviously.), the last resort among a supergroup of spies. He is little more than a gopher that they really didn’t ever intend to send on a mission. Unfortunately, the top spies in the secret service have been killed through his own bungling, and this pushes him straight into the spotlight. He then starts putting on his airs, pretending to be a super spy who can’t go wrong, and has an answer for any question imaginable. Beneath it all, he’s still as clumsy and inept as he always was, and this did not go unnoticed. All throughout, his compatriot, Bough was following him blindly.

Like any spy movie, he has to have a girl, and the girl is none other than a ravishing Lorna Campbell played by Natalie Imbruglia, who is also a secret agent. The both of them are assigned to watch over England’s crown jewels, which has been restored by French benefactor Pascal Sauvage played by John Malkovich. Being the expert that he is, English fail to stop the robbery of the jewels, which is actually part of Savage’s plan to assume the throne of England. Somehow, Johnny discovers the plot, which includes a fake Archbishop, and acts accordingly (Stupidly, that is.). Little does he know that Savage knows that he knows, and likewise changes plans, forcing the Queen to abdicate, since he knows his lineage makes him the next in line for the throne.

Through it all, English and his partner, along with Imbruglia, attempt to uncover this hideous plot behind their boss’ back, who refuses to allow an investigation into Savage’s activities. While a love affair is transpiring between Atkinson and Imbruglia, they still have to stop a coronation. And what happens there is pure mayhem, as English is still unaware that the plan to make an impostor double for the Archbishop of Canterbury was completely dropped, and his so-called evidence against Sauvage was not exactly what he had in mind...

This is a somewhat spoiler-free description of the plot, but I guess I was laughing so hard it was pretty hard to go into every nook and cranny of the story. Yes, it was a rather no-brainer movie, but the comedy was a good combination of traditional slapstick and droll British/French wit, characterized by Atkinson’s over-the-top spy dialogue and Malkovich’s amazing deadpan delivery. Imbruglia wasn’t so bad herself, but I still remember the time she refused to do movies for fear of “spreading herself too thin”. Lots of people have been eating their words lately… *cough*rowdypiper*cough*jetli*cough*. My, I have a bad throat. Heh.

Anyways, I liked the movie, but I recognize the fact that this kind of a theme has been done over and over again already, but no matter how many spy spoofs we have out there, it never seems to grow old. Nonetheless, the film has its share of problems, especially with casting Rowan Atkinson who is probably the most typecast actor to ever walk this planet. He managed to pull off the act well, but shades of Mr. Bean will always materialize no matter how hard he tries to avoid them. Some jokes were also played out too long, especially the one where they played the wrong DVD during the coronation. But you just had to love that point where they ended up crowning English King when he kicked Savage aside from the throne and the crown landed on his head.

Overall, this film could’ve actually been so great, but I guess a lot of people find it wanting. But then, you can’t expect all your films to make you meditate upon the facts of life. And as a movie, Johnny English made me laugh a lot, and being a comedy film, it has achieved its intent. That’s more than enough merit for me to give it a rather generous grade of…

Marcelle’s Rating: A-


Next week’s Top Five: The Top Five Funniest Album Titles

But this week… surprise, surprise! Not exactly the best effort, but I didn’t have much help for this one… :laughs:

The Top Five Alternate Careers For Celebrities

5. Steve Austin: Live action Mr. Clean!
4. Monica Lewinsky: Ornithologist.
3. Jolina Magdangal: Clothes hanger.
2. Ja Rule: Voice actor for Cookie Monster.
1. The Pokemon: Exotic pulutan.

See ya next time, jabronis!

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