and I feel…well, disappointed, really. Both of these recent films, particularly the former, showed flashes of potential, but in the end they both bog down in been-there, done-that.
28 Days Later: Between Danny Boyle and Alex Garland, I had high hopes for this Romero revision at first. But, while I was entertained throughout, the movie ultimately fails to deliver on the dread of the first few scenes, when Jim (played by Cillian Murphy, an actor whom I suspect will play hell with my keeping up with Gill‘s reviews on Google) wanders around a hastily vacated London (“The End is Extremely F**king Nigh” was a nice touch.) Unfortunately, entirely too much of the plot from then on revolves around terrible decision-making by the uninfected — Why exactly does Jim enter the gas station? Why not take the long way out of London?, etc. etc. And the final act, involving Christopher Eccleston’s turn as Col. Kurtz, seemed like it was taken out from a different, much less interesting film. By the time the good guys and bad guys square off in the long, badly executed fight at the close of the film, I was strangely reminded of the equally haphazard and ponderous duel at the end of Order of the Phoenix. To my mind, this movie should have stuck with its original premise and dropped pretty much everything that happens outside Manchester. Too bad, because, like I said, it started off as quite a creepy film.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: I went into T3 with extremely low expectations, and I’d say they were almost satisfied. Arnold is Arnold, Kristanna Loken does a surprisingly good job as the T-X, and the end of the film takes a few nice twists and turns that almost redeem the whole two hours. But, frankly, T3 doesn’t live up to either of its predecessors, and – while it’s not an embarrassment to the franchise – it does end up seeming rather unnecessary. Part of the problem is simply bad timing. The crane-firetruck chase near the beginning of the film has a more visceral crunch to it than anything in Reloaded, but still, I thought the whole sequence paled in comparison to the highway sequence of Matrix 2.0. Then, we have Screamin’ Claire Danes, who, when not shrieking at the top of her lungs, basically plays Betty Ross from The Hulk, right down to the military dad and the secret desert hideouts (Moreover, both Connelly and Danes seem to have recently sacrificed their youthful attractiveness upon the altar of Atkins. Eat something, y’all.) I enjoyed this film more than The Hulk, because I was expecting so much less from it. And, to be fair, I suppose T3 works as two hours of mindless summer mayhem. But – in the context of the other two Terminators – I can’t say I really recommend it.