Monday, September 06, 2004

Big Dumb Movie Weekend

The Chronicles of Riddick: ho hum. A Big Dumb Movie which takes itself way too seriously.

A bit of a jarring shift from Pitch Black, which was an okay little self-contained low-budget sci-fi film; Riddick is an ambitious mega-budget epic with ambitions of starting a mythology. Very post-Lord of The Rings.

And let's face it, the man can't act. Look big and fight, yes. Act, no. 2/5.

Hellboy: love it. It's Big and Dumb but unashamed of it, and it never forgets that it's a Movie. Stylish, exciting, well-acted, and obviously made by a director who both knows his craft and is passionate about it.

It's enormously derivative of other movies, but does it with such panache that you don't really mind that much. References I spotted: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Men In Black, X-Men, Ghostbusters, Alien, Star Wars, The Mummy, Lord of the Rings.

Much better than Riddick. Better than Spiderman 2: Hellboy is gritty, grimy, and heart-felt; Spidey is glitzy CGI glimmer and ultimately vacuous.

Maybe the best comparison is with Van Helsing, which had similar monster-mash ambitions but which got it so spectacularly wrong. Van Helsing's borrowings from other movies feel cheap and lazy; its characters are cartoon charicatures and barely there amongst the reams of expensive (but dodgy) CGI; its action is non-stop but you never actually care much about the outcome.

Hellboy gets all this right and delivers a much, much better movie. (And for much less: Van Helsing cost $180M, Spiderman 2 $200M; Hellboy cost only $66M, but made it go a hella long way...)

Recommended. 4/5.

Categories: Movies


FreakyTrigger's Do You See? blog identifies a fundamental problem with Riddick's scale: "planets which are really big towns".