Spielberg Sunday- 1941

John Belushi in 1941 (Universal/Columbia)

Owing to the fact that I have decided to honor Steven Spielberg this year with my version of a Lifetime Achievement Award I figured it was an appropriate time to dust off some old reviews I wrote when I took a course on his work. The remarks still hold true, he is an amazing filmmaker.

Here is concrete proof that comedy is unquestionably the hardest genre to succeed in. Without trying to get inside Spielberg’s head and trying to determine exactly what it was that he was trying to do with this film, one can look at it as is and be left scratching their head. It is at best funny in small patches and most definitely a humongous waste of talent both on and off camera. I applaud Spielberg for not only making a huge departure from his big successes (Close Encounters and Jaws) but also for poking fun at the latter in the opening sequence of the latter film. This stands out as one of the few truly comic sequences throughout a film that is plagued by many difficulties. This film especially pales in retrospect considering that I’ve laughed much more during his action/adventure and sci-fi films and this film doesn’t seem to make any sincere satirical jabs at the paranoia in the United States following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, nor does it really succeed at being a farce. In its better moments, which were few and far between, 1941 is hysterical. More often than not, however, 1941 is poorly executed slapstick, ham-handed, off-the-wall nonsense that follows the wrong characters and actors.

So that this isn’t a complete diatribe there are some wonderful performances to be found here but as I’ve mentioned above these people make their exit from the film much too early. Probably the best performance in this all-star cast is that of Slim Pickens. He delivers not only some of the best lines of the film but delivers them only as he could with that imitable voice of his. Elisha Cook is also there but that’s about all what strikes me as really being odd is how ill-utilized these actors were. Most of the cast was a mish-mash of SCTV and Saturday Night Live stars who really didn’t do anything noteworthy. Dan Aykroyd got to do some of his shtick but his performance was undermined by some stupid writing, when towards the end for no reason known to man he went bonkers and exclaimed, “I’m a bug,” while he had wrapped oranges over his eyes with pantyhose. It got worse though John Candy, one of the funniest people who ever lived was just there for seemingly no reason, it was as if the casting director went amuck knowing that Spielberg could get any actors he wanted and got big names to do meaningless roles. Another under used player was Joseph P. Flaherty who provided the film with one of its best lines following the USO riot (“Maybe in the future we could have some Negroes come in and we’ll have a race riot.”) was also hardly there. Then there was Belushi, who I’ve always found overrated, doing an annoying version of the Penguin from Batman. He was occasionally funny in this and in other roles but overall I was unimpressed.

The big problem this film had was that it was more likely to lose its audience before tying all the storylines together. The additional factor of having the last 45 minutes of the film being one explosion, crash or pratfall after another didn’t help much at all.

Another factor that didn’t help this film was that on home video (apparently this version is somewhat different than the theatrical release) it is 2 hours long, it’s very difficult to do a comedy that lasts more than 90 minutes long.

About the only thing that made me realize that this was a Spielberg film was the inclusion of the Dumbo screening, which was both fitting to the story and helped me make it through that part of that performance because it is one of Disney’s finer works. The score was also a non-entity that I didn’t even think Spielberg worked with John Williams. The writing was also schizophrenic, spotty and unusually unfunny most of the time and I was almost shocked to find that Robert Zemeckis had a hand in writing it. It’s as if everyone was embarrassed with the end result so that there were no opening credits only closing ones.

3/10

10 Keys To A Better Life As A Fanboy- 3. You’re Not The Director, Screenwriter, Etc.

Rupert Grint in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner Bros.)

This series of articles is designed to help you, the fan, try and divorce yourself from your attachment to source material and judge a film on its own merits and not in comparison to another work. These tips come from my own experience. I hope they are helpful.

While this does connect somewhat to number one, as many ultimately will, trust me this is somewhat different and is very important to remember. It is also key to keep in mind ultimately the decisions that are shaping a series based on a work you love are not yours to make. Now you may be a creative type who makes it and someday you could be in charge of a remake, as film is becoming more like theatre and remakes (read “revivals”) are becoming an accepted practice, of your pet project and if that’s the case more power to you but then you’ll be the one facing the angry postings not writing them. However, as you sit in wait for one of the year’s biggest releases you’re not going to shift opinion and if your opinion stands for several consecutive installments of a series do one of two things: one, get over it or two, stop watching them.

An example of this would be a friend of mine who told me four movies or so into the Harry Potter series that she hates how Rupert Grint plays Ron Weasley. There is obviously a difference of opinion between the makers and actor and this audience member as to who Ron is, however, the producers wanted nothing more from the early-going than to secure the young triad for the duration. If the interpretation bothers you that much stop subjecting yourself to it or knock it off and just take it with a grain of salt.

I do fully realize there are remakes or sequels that make money simply because you want to “see how stupid it is” but eventually if a series dissatisfies you for several consecutive installments you should pull the plug. Aside from that you really have no sway. Online petitions may have gotten people on SNL but they have yet to change film casting or rewrite plot points so it is an exercise in futility.

Thankful for World Cinema- Night & Fog

When looking for a theme in which to select films from the start of November until Thanksgiving being literal is not the best option. Films centered around Thanksgiving tend to be overly obsessed with dysfunctional families. So in thinking about the nature of the day which was initially a celebration of survival in the New World, I thought why not focus on foreign films.

Night & Fog

Night & Fog (Argos Films)

It is virtually impossible to ever come close to fully grasping the totality of the horror of the holocaust. If anything were to ever come close it’s Night & Fog. Never has the greatest calamity of the 20th Century been handled so precisely.

Many people are down on voice over narration but it’s part of the nature of the beast in a documentary and here, in this film, you have some of the greatest narration ever written by Jean Cayrol, a man who was himself a concentration camp survivor.

Not only does this film uniquely, at the time, mix color and black and white images but also uses the abandoned structures of the camps to haunt the film.

There is no question that this film is the apex of documentary filmmaking. It tried to take a massive subject and condense into something easy to understand. It allows you to reflect on things you see and learn but tries to bring as much of what transpired out as it can.

It also in turn becomes an important historical document. It is a masterpiece in as much as it achieves perfection in its form. If it was a feature length documentary it may not have this kind of impact.
 
It is an eye-opening and jarring account of the atrocities of the second World War that should be required viewing for all.

10/10

61 Days of Halloween- Masters of Horror: The V Word

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Masters of Horror: The V Word

Arjay Smith and Branden Nadon in Masters of Horror: The V Word (Starz Productions)

Now all that was previously said about this series is true. Even when you get one of these films that don’t quite work there is something to latch on to and take with you which isn’t always the case with other films. This film is inconsistent at best with regard to the tale it tells. While it does manipulate time well extending sequences for dramatic effect overall, however, when you take into consideration this film has less time than a traditional feature to work with it ends up being a detriment because it helps make for an anticlimactic end to the tale.

What you can hold onto in this film is that it is a rare kind in a horror film, which allows the characters to fully absorb the reality of their plight and to react to it emotionally.

The cinematography much of the time is uninspired, for example, at the start there is a tiresome series of rack focuses between hands of one friend playing a video game and the other texting.

Where this film falls into the realm of mediocre at best is what happens after the two friends leave the morgue. There is a very hard to swallow sequence with a series of attempted 911 calls all of which are disbelieved. It falls short both because of how it is written and because of the performance which is believable and makes the operator’s disbelief harder to swallow. There is also a mom who is far too slow on the uptake that something is seriously wrong with her son. The scene plays out for too long before its addressed. Not to mention the bloodstain which is explained away as something else and not investigated.
 
This is also a film, as is typically the case, with pretty good effects when they decided to do things practically and not so great results when it comes to CG.

If you’re a completist and make it a point to watch this whole series, which I highly recommend, then this film shouldn’t be high up on your list. If you’re just looking for really good horror look elsewhere.

3/10

61 Days of Halloween- Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

David Carradine in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (Dimension)

Here we are again in Gatlin, mind you that’s not a complaint. As you have seen and will see later on in the series keeping the geographical ties in this tale are quite difficult. The fact that Urban Harvest works so well in Chicago is nothing short of astonishing. No, this series didn’t have the affinity for Gatlin, Nebraska that Friday the 13th had for Camp Crystal Lake but both those series had a successful airing outs. Here though despite the many possibilities that still existed the returns to nearby towns and Gatlin itself almost always have a bit of staleness to them.

Perhaps no film in this series does more to distance you at the beginning of the film than this one does with the intro it has. Not only do you have the stereotypical college kids on a road trip but to not put too fine a point on it they’re douche college kids. Fantastic. And these are the people I’m supposed to want to see escape the grasp of smarter, more organized albeit crazed zealot children, to quote the great philosopher Ed from Good Burger “Uh, no?”

As if their intro with blow-up doll road markers and typical over-the-top fratboy-jerk-loserness isn’t bad enough we’re supposed to then think that these broad, over-the-top types have dimensions, heart and a conscience and want to save some of the of the children of Gatlin from the fate that’s befallen them. Even if the performances to this point had ridiculously exceeded what was on the written page, the script had already doomed the notion would pass the suspension of disbelief test.

It’s a ludicrous notion to want to save the children because the one thing that has always been somewhat a strength and a detriment to this series, depending on how it’s handled, is that the kids aren’t subtle. Basically, because kids just aren’t usually. They hate b.s. and subterfuge. So in an insular setting with a mob rule/cult mentality they’ll yell “Outlander!” at you and chase you with a scythe no problem. This film is not that different. The children don’t waste a lot of their time telling the students they’re trespassing on private property and that they best be on their way. They proceed to get lost and then trapped there by the children yet there’s still some trust there, some you’re willing to try and save?

Now as mentioned the acting here again is not stellar which you could almost come to expect but what makes it more difficult to take is that there were some weird casting choices. One of the students is played by Ahmet Zappa, now I can’t argue he doesn’t fit the type of character he plays but why Ahmet Zappa would be cast in anything is beyond me.

A bit more unfortunate I feel is the casting of Adam Wylie in the role of the preacher boy, Ezeekial, now I stress that it’s the casting I question here. Adam Wylie in this era was a child actor who’d pop-up in almost anything you can think of, rather akin to Nathan Gamble in as much as you saw him in many things but just likely never placed a name to the face and minus a breakout role now but talented nontheless. Wylie in the realm of a horror film was suited more to be the scared kid you’d be rooting for rather than the flip the switch type: seeming all sweet and innocent until you get on his bad side. A polar opposite of Daniel Cerny in III film.

This film also has a stellar bit of casting that sadly does little to nothing to help the film at all. David Carradine plays the role of an elder guide here. Despite the fact that he gets some decent dialogue that he’s allowed to work brilliantly with his susurrous delivery it adds a weird wrinkle to the story. In the original run of the series The Age of Reason, meaning the age at which children reach adulthood and must sacrifice themselves to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, changes clumsily. In the short story and remake it’s clear why, however, never is it adequately explained why a group with such a rigid dogma would not just allow this man to live among them but act as counselor.

This is one of the cases in this series where the film lost their religion. At certain points it seemed to vanish entirely other times fundamental precepts were change regardless of consequence or lack of sensibility. Clearly installments of this nature suffer more than most.

This film also changes the ritual of sacrifice, which is one that I can forgive so long as one character is the interpreter of the will of He Who Walks Behind the Rows things like that may shift. However, on top of everything else in this film there was a lack of explication.

The very least I can say for the film is that they did create other avenues for leaving town once a car is taken out of the equation but it very predictably goes wrong. However, it does beg the question why is a bus stopping in a ghost town? Other locals may have a handshake agreement to leave the children alone and keep their lives but a bus? Why?

Everywhere you look in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror there are head-scratching decisions. Such that my initial reaction was after this installment no wonder they felt it necessary to re-hash Isaac for the next one.

2/10

61 Days of Halloween- Mother’s Day

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Mother’s Day

Rose Ross in Mother's Day (Troma)

Mother’s Day is a film with many problems. Firstly, it tries to introduce its three protagonists in two different time periods. First, you meet the characters very briefly in college and then separately ten years later.

A lot of screen time in this film is wasted. For example these friends waste a lot of time goofing and being drunk when they reunite and there is also an unnecessary very extensive prank scene from their college days which halts whatever forward momentum the film had built up.

Furthermore this comes after we are introduced to our villains and their M.O. so we are just sitting about waiting for them to strike anew so it becomes doubly painful.

As if you didn’t know going in that you’d get a lot of overacting in this film it goes beyond even what is expected. There’s also terrible example of the 80s work montage, bad scoring and introduced-to-the-mix-real-late ghost character, ghost in the literary sense not supernatural.

As if that wasn’t enough there is a grainy, poorly-focused twist-ending shot that adds insult to injury. Skip this one.

1/10

61 Days of Halloween: Children of the Corn II- The Final Sacrifice

Ryan Bollman in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (Dimension Films)

When dealing with a series, like I am currently or have in the past, I will tend to lean towards something akin to Franchise Criticism. I will focus on the continuous narrative thread and other things pertaining to the franchise. My opinion of each individual film I will try and compartmentalize but there will be commentary along the lines mentioned above because it is necessary to gauge the franchise as a whole which I will do later on.

One thing to note with the Children of the Corn films is that there is a very distinct aspect about them which acts as a double-edged sword; it is that many times in the sequels you will see a new wrinkle, fact or other bit of information added to the mythos and you’ll think to yourself “God, I hope they don’t continue this strain.” The double-edged sword part is that they usually don’t. The good of that is that stupid subplot never rears their head anew, however, that does hurt the continuity of the series. With each installment you need really only know the basics and can walk in cold, which by my definition makes it a bad series. While there are a few occasional highlights be it a moment, performance or a whole film I cannot contradict myself there. Most of these films will receive failing grades yet it was oddly enjoyable to watch them all for two reasons: one, the basic premise is one I love and I am addicted to series. I can’t help it.

As for Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice not only does it hold the distinction of being the most premature false ending to a horror franchise but it’s also pretty darn lousy. It’s not the worse but but perhaps runner-up in the franchise pecking order.

Firstly, the film lets the cat out of the bag so to speak; the massacre in Gatlin has been discovered and it’s now on the news. This in and of itself isn’t an issue, however, the way it’s handled is. The focus of the narrative is bifurcated between reporter John Garrett (Terence Knox) and his annoyingly dysfunctional relationship with his equally annoying and whiny son Danny (Paul Scherrer) and his relationship with Lacey (Christie Clark).

Oh yeah, there’s also Micah (Ryan Bollman). He’s the new preacher and how Danny nearly gets lured into the cult is one of the few things that comes close to working in this film. The acting is terrible all around in this film it is without doubt the worst in the series. Micah is good for some random evil glares and when he gets a chance to finally be mean it’s fine but many sequels in the series put the antagonist (read the Preacher Boy) too far away from the center of it all.

The film plays at love story for quite a while and despite the fact that Lacey is in with the cult the tension surrounding their relationship is never really elevated. Michah’s involvement only increases when he’s actively trying to get Danny involved. It’s also one of the sequels that seemed to feel uncomfortable in its own skin meaning that instead of trying to lay a good foundation of drama there were times it tries too hard to be something it’s not, in this case, a star-crossed romance.

This also marks the beginning of the shifting of location of this series. The horrors in Gatlin were discovered. Many children, presumed innocent, are now orphaned and in need of foster care. Many people in Hemingford, the closest town up the road, offer to take them in. Here’s where bad writing and acting combine to really take the film down another notch: several times they refer to the orphans as a whole as “the sweet, innocent children of Gatlin, (or some such rot) there is not a time this line is uttered where it doesn’t sound insincere. I’m not speaking about audience omniscience, meaning we know they’re really evil so we chuckle, I mean the line reading itself sounds like the actor is being sarcastic or comedic so suspension of disbelief is most difficult.

One thread that does develop hear that dies hard is the notion of disease, mental or physical, is brought into the equation as a possibility, which is unforgivable because it changes the nature of the films. Essentially the film is in not so many words is trying to play the psychotic, cultist, religious zealot children off as victims. However, one thing I do appreciate later on is that it is treated as a white elephant, meaning it’s a concept so big it can’t just be dropped from the series but needs to be gradually written out. Franchises would benefit from story editors because not many changes were handled that smoothly.

Then you have the characters, yeah, those guys. Despite the efforts to develop them I don’t like them. If the audience is going to identify with anyone it’s the kids trying to run away not the father, not the way he’s written. So here you have it again the most annoying permutation of horror film you don’t really like anyone and you know that in all likelihood they’re gonna walk away at the end and you’d rather they be dead.

Few horror films, as a franchise, really survive in their most earnest form: if the villain wasn’t the protagonist to start eventually they become them because they’re who the movie is named after and the characters seem to get dumber, more disposable less identifiable, therefore what do you want to happen to them in a horror film, a piece of entertainment designed to feed on your baser instincts? Kill them. All I’m saying is few far between are the effective, affable protagonists later on in horror series. The constant gives you comfort and a twisted ending gives you pleasure from time to time.

There’s none of that here. After I saw this film I lamented on Twitter about deciding to place the original film last in my viewing order thinking it’d be all downhill until got there. This series like so many has its peaks and valleys. This is a chasm, not quite an abyss, we will get their but its rather painful to endure.

2/10

Review- Creature

Serinda Swan and Mehcad Brooks in Creature (The Bubble Factory)

Creature. What does Creature do right? What is Creature? Why does Creature exist and why was it released to 1,507 screens? Why did I watch Creature? These are all questions I asked myself while watching this film.

To answer the first question there’s not much this film does right at all. It’s the kind of film that thinks character development is giving someone a piece of dialogue in which they say something weird and it never gets explained or an inside joke is shared and we never get let in. A film can overcome the shortcomings of its cast with its narrative, technical proficiency and artistry. There is very little of that so I’m left watching a cast that might have been rejected for Final Destination 5.

So it ends up being the worst permutation of all horror films: one wherein you actually want all the characters dead but know they likely will survive. The characters are for the most part as annoying as the actors. To be fair there are but two positive developments: one is a twist and the other is that Niles played by Mehcad Brooks emerges as someone watchable and that you can almost pull for. In the end he’s like a poor-man’s Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) but this movie is nowhere near a classic.

The edit of this film is painful. At a climactic moment there are so many cutaways that it goes beyond foreshadowing to bludgeoning you with obviousness. The film is also riddled with nonsensical dissolves and cuts and worse yet cutaways were you know they’re not showing an entry wound to save money.

Despite the fact that I did manage to find some good things to say about it about I was tempted to walk out of this film due to its sheer crappiness. This was right before the aforementioned twist. A twist which does not absolve most of the characters of their stupidity and is therefore wasted.

Stupidity rears its ugly head in a big way at least twice in this film and it’s truly insufferable. In Fright Night I discuss one of the paradigms of modern horror being about disbelief, well stupidity is another. Any horror fan cut their teeth on films where screaming girls run upstairs and trap themselves when a killer is chasing them. It was fine for a time but we’ve grown tired of it. These kids willingly seek out the local lore to mock it and become endangered. It doesn’t engender sympathy.

Then there’s the Phantom Menace, I mean, The Creature. It may be the best thing going for it but it’s consistently, purposefully under-exposed like they’re giving it the Jaws treatment sans theme song through most of it. It doesn’t make it scarier, when it’s revealed it’s laughable.

As if the creature’s lack of ferocity isn’t bad enough the film is like softcore porn at times.

To address one of my initial questions about how wide the release was my only guess is that it’s a kind of reverse psychology. Now it’s the biggest bomb of all-time and everyone with a morbid streak will want to see it on video.

1/10

Review- Fright Night (2011)

Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin in Fright Night (DreamWorks/Disney)

Here’s another case of full disclosure is necessary, there are two things that bear mentioning with regards to Fright Night: first, I am in no way a fan of the original Fright Night, it has some strong elements but overall I was not entertained in the least. Therefore, I walked into this version with an open mind as it with this remake I actually felt there was a need for it.

This incarnation of Fright Night does absolutely wonderful things with the aspect of disbelief in the horror genre. Typically and you get very weary of this if you’re a fan of the genre. You are therefore used a long struggle were characters doubt the supernatural elements of the story. The modern notion respects the audience enough and is just reflexive enough that this part of the story is quickly addressed but sped through. Never has it been so quickly and intelligently handled as in this film.

This, of course, lends itself to much comedy. Comedy in a horror film can be a precarious thing. Many people do need that release valve for their nervous energy but many horror films veer too heavily towards comedy. This one does something odd in as much as it keeps the horror subsumed and allows it to bubble to to the surface and take over when necessary.

Not to say that those who like their horror in a more classical style will necessarily walk away disappointed from this film. You get in this film very well-done gore and perhaps what I was most grateful for good, old fashioned scary vampires. The horror elements are there in spades.

Another way in which this film is a kind of throwback is that its a horror property that was able to attract talent to it. First, you have your protagonist in Anton Yelchin, who may not be a household name yet but has certainly done his fair share of films and should be recognizable to most. You also have the ever-versatile Toni Collette as his mother. Then there’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse as his friend. Then perhaps the most important duo is the vampire (Colin Farrell) and the vampire hunter (David Tennant).

It’s truly a shame that the 3D backlash came at a time when good films with effective 3D work was released. This is one of them. Yes, there is an over-saturation of 3D but this film should not have fallen victim to our general malaise with it.

The pace of this film as intimated earlier is fantastic. Due to the fact that it deals with the niceties quickly, effectively with great dialogue it allows the film to move quite quickly and still manages to build suspense while doing so. There are quite a few memorable sequences in this film.

It’s quite easy to look at Fright Night and say “Oh, look, another remake and another vampire movie at the same time,” however, this one gives both a good name and is worth seeing.

9/10

Review: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

Mason Cook, Joel McHale, Jessica Alba and Rowan Blanchard in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (Dimension Films)

Here’s another case where compartmentalization is key. In My Rating Scale I try and stress that I am grading each and every film on what it is and not against every other film in the world. Meaning, I will not downgrade a film simply because I cannot live in a world where both See no Evil, Hear No Evil and Touch of Evil have the same score. In fact, I live in world where they do. I think they’re both brilliant in their own way. Which is just another way to introduce the fact that I will rate a Spy Kids film (or a Rodriguez family film) as such and not against El Mariachi or other films in this genre.

Having said that I do like this film. It’s not better than the first but it’s better than the third at the very least. There is in its circularity a cohesion to the narrative that one might not necessarily appreciate through the CG and 3D. Not to say that there’s any subtlety here but the theme seems more unified and more parallel than it has in most other installments it just doesn’t always seem like it is.

Reboots can be a tricky thing. Whether you’re just restarting a story with new characters or re-casting those characters you’re finding new actors to fit the archetypes that have made the franchise work. The most resoundingly successful aspect of this Spy Kids film is the new kids in the persons of Mason Cook and Rowan Blanchard. While they each show some echoes of their predecessors they have characters and abilities uniquely their own. Cook has a quiet depth and Blanchard an unpretentious spunkiness that make this new tandem a worthy rival of Vega and Sabara who themselves have very humorous and effective supporting roles in the film. Also, very entertaining in this film is Jeremy Piven whose interpretation is as funny as it is wild and he becomes a rather memorable villain in the series because of it.

One note of warning to send out there those that are not fans of potty humor best stay away from this film as it is most definitely the more pronounced in this film than ever. As a whole the story is enjoyable and moves quickly except for those parts where it circles around the drain, so to speak, before making that final connection. One piece of that puzzle is kind of apparent at the very beginning but I think even if you do get ahead of it it’s not likely to ruin it.

The effects work is somewhat stepped up here and holds up better to the 3D than the previous edition did. This is where most of the creativity in the film shines through.

While I will defend Robert Rodriguez in principle as it is his right, much as William Castle saw it as his duty, to create a fun gimmick to promote his film, the fact of the matter is the Aroma-Scope just does not work. I saw the movie twice at two completely separate theatres. The cards all have a unified odor and it’s hard to get those squares to smell like something different and when they do they rarely smell like what they’re supposed to be. However, that only detracts from the film minutely. Even if the smells were brilliantly accurate it’s still distracting you from the film (you look down, find the number, scratch and sniff). So no real damage done there.

Overall, I think that this film will definitely win over fans of the series, myself being one of them I was more than a bit skeptical when I first heard about it and I think that it will also create many new fans in its target audience. Moreover, I think that it ends on a note where growth of the story and the franchise is yearned for and not a place where you think potential has been maximized. Should the new generation continue it will do so in stronger films.

7/10