Today I saw the one film I have been waiting to see longer than any other:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!
Being a child of the Eighties, the Indiana Jones films mean a great deal to me. Indy was my favourite hero, even above Batman and Spiderman, and for a while his name became my nickname at school and with the various coaches I had for the sports I was playing.
Anyway, I saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull today and I loved it. I could see it's flaws, most of them being special effects flaws along the lines of how obvious the melting face sequences are in Raiders and the rapid aging of Walter Donovan in Last Crusade, but ultimately I loved it. If you're an Indy fan, you can't not like it. Harrison Ford does a great job of advancing Indy as a character with age, and it really does reach the point where you forget how old he is. He does a great job, and Shia LaBeouf and Karen Allen are both really great in this film.
For me, it's on the same level as Last Crusade. To put them in order of favourites, it'd go Raiders, Last Crusade and Temple of Doom. Now it's Raiders, Kingdom/Last Crusade and Temple. For some reason Temple never really did it for me as much as the others. I love it, but I'd watch the others first given the choice. Anyway, Kingdom had the same feel and aesthetic as Last Crusade, but it was a tale more in line with Temple of Doom in terms of suspension of disbelief. The first half of the film feels like Crusade and the latter feels like Temple. It's certainly not Raiders, but it is a very worthy Indy film. There are plenty of signiature Indiana Jones action sequences, and I think fans of the games (particularly Fate of Atlantis) will get a big kick out of this one too.
Bring on Indy 5!
Over the other side of the genre spectrum, I watched Diary of the Dead last night after working inventory for five arduous, tedious hours at the local supermarket. I'm a big fan of George A. Romero's Dead films (encompassing Night of the Living Dead, it's near-verbatim remake, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead). The classic Dead trilogy took me years to see because of how hard Dawn and Day were to find in the video stores (to watch Dawn, I had to drive to a video store about an hour away and sign up for the one rental - so worth it!), but nowadays, with the advent of DVD, the classics are all around the corner. Night is a horror classic that pretty much created zombie horror as we now know it, and Dawn, while a little hokey by today's standards did everything all good sequels should do AND carried a very clever commentary on society at the time (and one that is still very relevant today). Day is easily the weakest of the three originals, and while Land was fun, it felt as though it was being made so the companies behind it could cash in on the zombie horror craze and so that George could get some money to fund his next film. Thankfully, that money has been put to good use...
Diary of the Dead acts as though Night of the Living Dead were happening right now, and starts at the same time. Essentially, a group of film students are making a horror film in the woods when word starts coming in over the radio and news about the dead coming back to life. As tends to be the case, the shit hits the fan in a major way, and our film students become desperate to get back home to their loved ones. The film is going to be likened to the Blair Witch Project, due to it's handi-cam point of view, but it has more in common with the fantastic Cloverfield than Blair Witch. Our point of view comes from the director of the student film at the start, who decides to document the events unfolding for anyone who might find it after the chaos.
George is back on top of his game, giving us a film that delivers a very poignant social commentary on the state of the global media today, along with the breakdown of society, and he manages to give us some fantastic zombie horror! There are the odd moments where "one-line" characters totally overdo it, but all the leads are fantastic -- especially, and almost surprisingly, the two lead girls.
Being a media/journalism student, it's interesting watching the film and certain things it touches on, even things that will probably be totally misread by the unknowing viewer (like the young cameraman not putting the camera down in particular moments to help others). The onyl major problem I have with it, is that the film probably won't age well. While the message will be the same, just as it was with Dawn, people will undoubtedly look back on this film and laugh at how archaic the technology and/or methods being used are.
Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze
I actually always like Rahzar more than Tokka. I'm probably the only one. The action figure of Rahzar was one of my favourites back in the day.