Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" MOVIE REVIEW


The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

The Review

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit considered to be a timeless tale and its success a pinnacle to the fantasy genre. Successful enough for the author to work on it's sequel, Lord Of The Rings considered to be THE greatest among them. Less than a century later, Hollywood's live-action adaptation of Lord Of The Rings astounds the entire world, becoming one of the best trilogies of all time. But what of The Hobbit?

At this point, it is obvious that the book will be separated into three films; first act (An Unexpected Journey), second act (The Desolation of Smaug) and the third act (There And Back Again). The separation has it's advantages and sadly some disadvantages as well. Like the first installment, their's no doubt An Unexpected Journey and this film dragged at times. Their also seems to very little character development as the movie takes its time to fill in enough for the one you're watching but would leaving sufficient material for the next one. But Director Peter Jeckson has a few answers for the gaps that includes additional characters, plot points and over-exaggerating a scene or two, actually quite a few of them. 

One of the best things about the film is the cast. Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) was surprisingly one of the highlights of the movie, expanded with her growing romance with Kili (Aidan Turner). Also, Legolas is back. Yeah? remember that guy Hanna Montana (or Miley Cyrus before she turned into a Bizarro-version of herself) used to really crush on? Yeah, Orlando Bloom! He's back as Legolas. Younger, more agressive and surprisingly a jackass just like his old man, Thranduil (Lee Pace). Also, Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) the skin-changer had very little screen time in this film. Then there's Bard (Luke Eavns, Orlando Bloom v.2) who did a pretty good job in his role, but surprisingly had more to do in the film than in the book. Lastly, we have the undeniably (one of, if not the) best dragon in a live-action film; Smaug, brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch. Even if only being present in the third act of the film, Smaug has given enough suspense of being malevolent not only to Bilbo and the pack, but also to the audience as well. You think it's funny how a CG dragon is the best character of the movie, wait till you see the movie itself. 

Even if the certain aspect was received with mixed reviews, I would personally say that the 480 fps worked perfectly for this film. The film looking brighter than ever, thus reminding us the tonal difference of this film from The Lord Of The Rings. The film has also spectacular set pieces and landscape shots of New Zealand just looks gorgeous as you could remember it. Gladly, the movie had more action sequences in it. The filmmakers though has decided to over-exaggerate these scenes. Which in the viewer's perspective, could either add up the entertainment value or just seem to over the top and a bit out of proportion. Also, the movie has top-notch CG but no need to elaborate that, we already knew it since the first film. 

Final Verdict

With the second act of the booked stretched to have its own first, second and third act, Desolation of Smaug still feels hauled yet satisfying enough as a filler between the first film and the third film. There is enough goodies to entertain Tolkien fans, but casual viewers might feel that unlike The Lord Of The Rings films, there isn't enough material three films. Honestly, there could have been just two films. 

Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt and Stephen Hunter. "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" is directed by Peter Jackson. The film is produced by Peter Jackson, Carolyne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug opens in theaters on December 13, 2013. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Linkin Park- RECHARGED" Album REVIEW

If you think "A Thousand Suns" was polarizing, wait 'till you hear "Recharged"...

NU METAL IS DYING, OR IT IS ALREADY  DEAD. BUT NOT LINKIN PARK. Through out the years Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda and the crew has explored different types of music, experimented with different sounds, resulting to three records that has since been dimmed "different" from their previous works; "Minutes to Midnight" explored a more traditional sound of rock n' roll with a dash of hip-hop balanced with heavy and melodic songs you kinda didn't expect from the band, the band then went hard rock on "A Thousand Suns" but instead of using basic instruments the band decided to bombard the record with much more electronic sounds and much more aggressive and preachy lyrics resulting the creation of an electronic rock music adventure of our terrors and fears of Armageddon, then their latest effort "Living Things" which recipes included the sound of their previous records using the same utensils resulting an average, generic, half baked record you'd expect from the band if they didn't put much effort to it. This experimentation has been proven effective as the band and their music stayed relevant through out their career and manages to maintain a strong fan base. Truth be told, with "Reanimation" (a remix record of their debut masterpiece "Hybrid Theory") remixes are nothing new for the band, but "reinterpretations" are, whatever that means. As a filler for their upcoming 6th studio album, the band has released "Recharged", a remix record for their previous release Living Things. Both Reanimation and Recharged represented the modern sound of electronic music of it's time. Reanimation on one hand still retains it's identity as an alternative Hybrid Theory, in spite of all the electronic sound, the beefy influences of underground hip hop music, the record at least can still be considered "nu metal". But what about Recharged? is it still identical as a Linkin Park record?

The Review

The album kicks off with the lead single and the only original composition for the record "A Light That Never Comes", the result of a collaboration between the band and music producer Steve Aoki. Regarding the song, Mike Shinoda quoted "...right off the bat you get a taste of every thing, it's sounds like you but it sounds like us..." and the song does its job really well. This song represents what the band wants the record to sound like, an extravagant EDM adventure mixed with the modern Linkin Park sound. Unfortunately, the song isn't perfect. With the outrageous fusion of sounds electronic, rock and rap alike that is quite deafening. Nothing was ever ground breaking about this song, pretty much the same thing we've heard from both Steve Aoki and Linkin Park just deconstructed and pieced together to form just another song. Regardless of how generic the song sounds, the song is a sure party banger that could drive the crowd nuts. Expect this song to stay on their setlist for a period of time. 

The problem arises with the rest of the songs. Given the fact that Living Things isn't as momentous as Hybrid Theory, the songs could be either improved or degraded. Sadly most of them are degraded. Mike Shinoda's remixes of "Castle of Glass" and "Victimized" (under the name M. Shinoda) felt awkward as these are heavy and striking songs and you get the feeling Mike just wanted to show off his skills as a producer as he harassed them with good electronic dance beats resulting to a second-rate dance songs with their melodic powers from their original incarnations taken away from them. Mike Shinoda isn't the only one who has committed this crime as artist like KillSonik, Dirtyphonics, Rad Omen, Enferno, Toon Swoon and Dastik had their fair share of middling "reinterpretations" of the already middling songs of Linkin Park. The album also had two versions of both "I'll Be Gone" and "Until It Breaks", one is exceptionally good the other was completely unnecessary. But enough of the bad stuff, time to move on with the good material. Gladly, we get to have remixes that are as good as their original versions. Both Vice remix of "I'll Be Gone" with Pusha T and Money Mark's version of "Until It Breaks" gives you a taste of what this remix record should sound like; a group of musicians and artist a like doing their own rendition of the songs without taking away the identity of these songs that was given to us by Linkin Park. The album also closes with Rick Rubin's more conventional and stripped down mix of "A Light That Never Comes" which drifts apart from the electronic/dance singularity of the album.

Final Verdict

What should have been a record about Linkin Park gathering artist of the electronic/dance/hip-hop medium have their songs remixed under the band's supervision so that the personality of the songs stays intact inspite of the changes made. Instead, we got a record about different artist reinterpret Linkin Park's song into their own song without any boundaries having the bands sound stripped down to minimal samples resulting to a record about these artist killing off Living Things. This should have been Linkin Park feat. Steve Aoki, KillSonik, Dastik etc. not Steve Aoki, KillSonik, Dastik etc. featuring Linkin Park. Maybe "A Light That Never Comes" could have worked better as an EP, or a non-album single. 

More News Around The Net