Profile for weirdo_87 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by weirdo_87
Top Reviewer Ranking: 488,071
Helpful Votes: 22

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
"weirdo_87" (Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12
pixel
Armageddon
Armageddon
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by PaperbackshopCA
Price: CDN$ 15.58
26 used & new from CDN$ 6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A new opinion on "Armageddon", June 12 2002
This review is from: Armageddon (DVD)
I am walking a thin line here. Contrary to my previous review, "Armageddon" has been a personal favorite action movie of mine for some years. But even I admit that it has as much intelligence as a pop-up book. However, I will try to avoid being a serious critic in my review and I will also avoid patronizing.
The story is set in the present day (Or in Summer 1998. You decide). A giant asteroid the size of Texas has been spotted coming towards Earth. NASA, led by Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) is totally unprepared for such a thing. Worse, they have only 18 days to stop it. The only hope for Earth is to send the world's best deep core oil driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) and a team of his drillers to combat the threat. If you don't spend too much time laughing at the improbabilities, you might find some of the dialogue (Intentionally) hilarious. Steve Buscemi is particularly likable as "Rockhound", a horny geologist ("Do you think we'll hazard pay out of this"). However, General Kimsey (Keith David) is pretty much correct when he states "The fate of the planet is in the hands of a bunch of retards I wouldn't trust with a potato gun".
The problem with "Armageddon" is lack of focus. Apparently, the screenwriters think that by putting a romance story into the plot that a larger audience will be attracted to the film. So, a subplot between Stamper's daughter Grace (Liv Tyler) and one of his top drillers A.J (Ben Affleck) is put into place. This only drags the film's length and, to add insult to injury, variations of Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" are played during these scenes. I also never felt much for the A.J and Grace characters, since the only signs that they ever love one another are shown by using pretty close ups.
I, for one, try to relax when I watch popcorn flicks like this. However, even I noticed how phony this film is. And I am not talking about the plot either. I mean, if you thought "2001" was unrealistic in it's space travel depiction, check this film out. The sets look like that; Wood and cement, rather than rock and iron. So where did that budget of $100 million or so go? Must have been the bill given to McDonald's for all that merchandising.
In my previous review, I mentioned that the military is shown negatively in this film. While the depiction isn't always positive towards them (The higher ranking leaders attempt to detonate the nuclear device on the asteroid's surface and they don't put much faith in NASA's plan to use drillers), the producers had to have military cooperation in this movie. Thus, most of the scenes showing the training have expensive, high tech military gear and planes as props or in the background shots. Come on, your going to have a briefing in the same hanger that is also occupied by a B-2 stealth bomber and two SR-71 Blackbirds? These civilians (Both on and off the screen) have more opportunity to admire these advanced warplanes than do many of the same military servicemen training them.
But, like I said earlier, it would be moronic to take this movie seriously. Like "North by Northwest", "Star Wars" and The James Bond Series, this is one movie not to be treated in the same class as "The Godfather". It's a disaster flick, like "The Poseidon Adventure" or "The Towering Inferno" and if you take it as fun, pointless and overall escapist entertainment, you will do fine and probably even get a kick out of it.
Now as to whether this film deserved treatment from the Criterion Collection. No doubt, this is a great special edition set, with two audio commentary tracks, a special director's cut and various documentaries on the movie's making. I am just surprised that it is preserved by such a brand name company. But it's satisfying and worth shelling out the dough for.

Lost Weekend, the
Lost Weekend, the
VHS
7 used & new from CDN$ 14.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Weekend, May 15 2002
This review is from: Lost Weekend, the (VHS Tape)
Alcoholism has been seen on movies for a very long time. Many people just haven't realized it because it was never something to care much for. Drinking was often the stuff of comedy. This was because most of what we saw about it was the effects while someone was drunk and making fools of themselves. In 1945, director Billy Wilder made a film called "The Lost Weekend", that dealt with the subject in a different light. The movie was not expected to be a hit, having been a controversial project and being poorly received by preview audiences. But it turned out to be a surprise hit with critics and won academy awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor. Here are some reasons as to why this movie is great, along with some of its cons.
"You know, the circle is the perfect geometric figure. No end, no beginning." The figure of a circle is used often in the movie, primarily in the plot. The story revolves around that of a failed writer (Ray Milland, who I discuss in detail later) and his trouble with alcohol. The usage of a circular plot structure suggests that the life of a drunk is followed by one binge after another, with no start and no finish. It is also used when Don is under alcohol's spell. An example is the usage of rings from the shot glasses to show passage of time.
The lead performance: After years of acting, Milland hit it big as Don Birnam, the unsuccessful, alcoholic writer who goes on a drinking binge ("I'm not a drinker, I'm a drunk"). Milland's character is a tortured one, who claims that there are, figuratively, two of him: Don the writer and Don drunk. Milland can be melodramatic in his performance, but what do you expect from a film like this? One has to congratulate Milland for having the guts to take this role, for his character is a liar and thief who only cares about and will do anything for one more drink. It is amazing how he is able to be despicable and still allow us to sympathize with his character. Like many male leads in Wilder's films, Don Brinam is flawed in how he is weak and, though he tries not to, easily succumbs to the bottle ("The reason is me- what I am, or rather what I'm not). Though other great male performances were done in 1945, Milland was deserving of his Oscar.
Supporting Cast: Jane Wyman, as Don's girl Helen, is not as involved, in my humble opinion, as Milland is, but is still able to turn out well. The problem is that her character doesn't get to do much, except try to talk to Don when he is hungover. The supporting cast does better, starting with Wick (Phillip Terry), Don's caring and dedicated brother, who is annoyed by his drinking yet allows him to stay at his apartment ("I went over the apartment with a fine-tooth comb - the places he can figure out"). A scene-stealer is Nat (Howard da Silva), a bartender who is friendly to Don but is also irritated by his unkindness to women and his alcoholism ("One's too many and a hundred's not enough!"). There is also Gloria (Doris Dowling), a slim, attractive woman who visits Nat's place to wait for other men. (She is most likely a female escort). She uses a lot of word abbreviations, such as "ridick" for ridiculous or "natch" for naturally. My favorite appearance was by an uncredited Frank Faylen as "Bim", a [seemingly] homosexual male nurse at an alcoholic ward called "Hangover Plaza". He sets the stage for Don by telling him "...you're just a freshman. Wait'll you're a sophomore. That's when you start seeing the little animals."
Feel: The movie's black and white cinematography is shot in a way that it presents the feeling of a nightmare. This way is difficult to explain, except that this illusion is presented most effectively in black and white and would be lost in a color film. This is probably because B & W, I think, is more moody. It's also interesting how several scenes are shot through whiskey bottles or shot glasses.
Music Score: It seems odd to talk about the music, but it is important. It was the first to use a theremin, an instrument that produces a strange wailing sound. Used in the nightmare scenes, it would later be familiar with fans of '50's sci-fi films. However, the non-thermin score is also one of the few downsides. Sometimes, especially during the opening credits, it feels too upbeat, too much like a film noir.
"The Lost Weekend" is by no means a cheerful movie. It does have some great dialogue (A trademark of Wilder films), but overall it's as entertaining and upbeat as a brain tumor. In addition to being depressing, it's also melodramatic, but that's a minor problem. I rather have a movie that tries to go for realism and honesty in this subject. Also, being a nearly 60 year-old movie and a groundbreaker in this subject, it is bound to have dated in some respects.
(Major plot spoilers ahead) But wait, am I a hypocrite? After all, it can be said that the ending feels too upbeat and optimistic. Many complain about this and it does indeed seem to be like this. But is it? A person who is a heavy drinker, I think, can't stop in the blink of an eye. However, this time he has a cause and an idea for writing and that will definitely help him.
A mixed bag, no doubt. But there is more good than bad. This is one that grows with repeated viewing. Wilder was certainly a great director, one who could make you as easily affected as he could make you laugh. He will be missed very much.

No Title Available
2 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Cruz-Grossly underrated, May 14 2002
When lists of the best westerns are drawn up, rarely is "Vera Cruz" included. This is most unfortunate, for this 1954 Robert Aldrich adventure features Hollywood legends Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster at their peaks and is rousing good fun. It is also able to tell a story in less than two hours.
The story is set in Mexico, following the end of the American Civil War. Two men, Joe Erin, a wanted criminal (Lancaster) and Benjamin Trane, a civil war veteran, (Cooper) decide to work for the Emperor Maximillian in a job that involves escorting a woman of the court, Countess Marie Duvarre, to the port of Vera Cruz along with other soldiers. But they are unknowingly escorting something else: A large cache of gold. Everyone involved seems to want that gold for themselves and the journey is full of double crosses and attempts at theft. Lancaster and Cooper's characters get along through most of the film, but it is clear that Joe wants all he can get (As he states, "I'm a pig"). His greediness and double crossing culminates in a climatic shoot-out.
Ben, on the other hand, is a southern gentleman. He is more to himself and is more dignified, treating people with respect by saying "sir" or "mam". Another good example is when Joe, Ben and Emperor Maximillian practice target shooting. All three have excellent aim, yet Joe shoots it seems without aiming, while Ben and the emperor take their time. Cooper's character also is not seemingly too social or outgoing and seems to take his time thinking, while Lancaster blurts things out.
If you have yet to see "Vera Cruz", you are in for a big treat at your local video store. Enjoy!

No Title Available
2 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated western with two top Hollywood stars!, May 10 2002
When lists of the best westerns are drawn up, rarely is "Vera Cruz" included. This is most unfortunate, for this 1954 Robert Aldrich adventure features Hollywood legends Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster at their peaks and is rousing good fun. It is also able to tell a story in less than two hours.
The story is set in Mexico, following the end of the American Civil War. Two men, Joe Erin, a wanted criminal (Lancaster) and Benjamin Trane, a civil war veteran, (Cooper) decide to work for the Emperor Maximillian in a job that involves escorting a woman of the court, Countess Marie Duvarre, to the port of Vera Cruz along with other soldiers. But they are unknowingly escorting something else: A large cache of gold. Everyone involved seems to want that gold for themselves and the journey is full of double crosses and attempts at theft. Lancaster and Cooper's characters get along through most of the film, but it is clear that Joe wants all he can get (As he states, "I'm a pig"). His greediness and double crossing culminates in a climatic shoot-out.
Ben, on the other hand, is a southern gentleman. He is more to himself and is more dignified, treating people with respect by saying "sir" or "mam". Another good example is when Joe, Ben and Emperor Maximillian practice target shooting. All three have excellent aim, yet Joe shoots it seems without aiming, while Ben and the emperor take their time. Cooper's character also is not seemingly too social or outgoing and seems to take his time thinking, while Lancaster blurts things out. This kind of regular guy character was what made actors like Cooper, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda popular with audiences.
If you have yet to see "Vera Cruz", you are in for a big treat at your local video store. Enjoy!

No Title Available
2 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're the first friend I ever had", May 6 2002
When lists of the best westerns are drawn up, rarely is "Vera Cruz" included. This is most unfortunate, for this 1954 Robert Aldrich adventure features Hollywood legends Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster at their peaks and is rousing good fun. It is also able to tell a story in less than two hours.
The story is set in Mexico, following the end of the American Civil War. Two men, Joe Erin, a wanted criminal (Lancaster) and Benjamin Trane, a civil war veteran, (Cooper) decide to work for the Emperor Maximillian in a job that involves escorting a woman of the court, Countess Marie Duvarre, to the port of Vera Cruz along with other soldiers. But they are unknowingly escorting something else: A large cache of gold. Everyone involved seems to want that gold for themselves and the journey is full of double crosses and attempts at theft. Lancaster and Cooper's characters get along through most of the film, but it is clear that Joe wants all he can get (As he states, "I'm a pig"). His greediness and double crossing culminates in a climatic shoot-out.
Ben, on the other hand, is a southern gentleman. He is more to himself and is more dignified, treating people with respect by saying "sir" or "mam". Another good example is when Joe, Ben and Emperor Maximillian practice target shooting. All three have excellent aim, yet Joe shoots it seems without aiming, while Ben and the emperor take their time. Cooper's character also is not seemingly too social or outgoing and seems to take his time thinking, while Lancaster blurts things out. This kind of regular guy character was what made actors like Cooper, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda popular with audiences.
If you have yet to see "Vera Cruz", you are in for a big treat at your local video store. Enjoy!

NEW Casablanca (DVD)
NEW Casablanca (DVD)
DVD ~ Humphrey Bogart
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 35.52
19 used & new from CDN$ 1.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Just another positive opinion., April 26 2002
This review is from: NEW Casablanca (DVD) (DVD)
A vast majority of filmgoers have acclaimed "Casablanca" as a classic. The small minority usually dislikes it for the black and white photography, the long since deceased stars, the lack of car chases and the characters bad habits (Drinking and smoking were very common in the 1940's). Many of the scenes in this film have also become so paroided that people have probably seen the spoof before they see the actual scene (Don't get this film's ending confused with the 'alternate version' used on the "The Simpsons"). I do agree with the majority vote, but I do so for a reason as well. Here is a list on "What makes 'Casablanca' a classic".
Values. This film shows that there are causes worth fighting for and that are worth sacrificing for. You have to take a stand on what you know is right and wrong, even if it means giving up something valuable to you or giving up your life
Patriotism. Though not all of us think of "La Marseilles" as our national anthem, that scene in the movie reminded us that pride in one's country could be a most powerful weapon. If I were in the same room with Osama Bin Laden, I would torture him by singing "The Star Spangled Banner".
Characters. Many words have already been written about Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund. What about Paul Heinreid as Victor Lazlo, Claude Rains as Captain Renault or Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser? What about Sydney Greenstreet as Senior Ferrari, Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Dooley Wilson as Sam and S.Z Sazkall as Carl? Each of these characters has an important part and-Along with the ones discussed in the next paragraph-only add to the film.
Authenticity. The actors and extras in this movie are able to create a convincing environment that resembles French Morocco, unlike some films at the time which made up white actors to unconvincingly look like foreigners. This can be attributed to the large number of refugees that fled to America at the time. Many of the people in this film went through the same experience of running away from their homelands as their characters in this film do, further adding depth to the film. Some people in the audience can also relate to the events and experience these persons go through, like running away from home and having to stay on your feet or watch your back every minute.
The screenwriters on this film (Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch) were responsible for the great dialogue and scenes that are affecting, hilarious and dramatic, sometimes all at once. But it was the director (Michael Curtiz) and actors who avoided making them throwaway lines. For example, after Rick shoots Major Strasser, Captain Renault states "Major Strasser has been shot", than takes a glance at Rick as he decides what to do. Than he says "Round up the usual suspects" to the guards. The line would have still been good if he had said it immediately afterward, but it wouldn't have been so emphasized.
Another thought I had was in the feelings Rick and Ilsa have for one another. Though, when they were in Casablanca, they still had something for each other, the fire wasn't as intense as seen during the Paris flashback. It's also possible that Rick and Ilsa might have only slept together in Casablanca so Ilsa could get Rick to help her and Victor. Certainly a far cry from the way it was in Paris. If the film had ended with Ilsa leaving Victor for Rick, Ilsa would not only be in danger but she and Rick might not have been as happy with one another (Not to forget that the film would be regarded today as a message to leave your spouse for someone you had a one night stand with).
Finally, this movie is just so darn fun to watch. But while it works at straightforward value, many people have nevertheless come up with unusual interpretations. One has the film being a political allegory of the time, with Rick as FDR ('Casa Blanca' is Spanish for 'White House'). Another idea has the ending being a gay fantasy, with Rick dumping Ilsa to have an affair with another man, that being Captain Renault (Bogart does have more screentime with Rains and there is the line "Rick is the kind of man that, if I were a woman, I shall be in love with Rick"). The best thing that can be said about both theories is that they are creative.
No movie, in my opinion, is absolutely perfect. There is also no 'Greatest movie of all time' in my view.
However, "Casablanca" does come close to being both. This film also achieves something that few movies do: It improves with age. Indeed, as time goes by, I will enjoy returning to Rick's more and more.

Out of the Past [Import]
Out of the Past [Import]
4 used & new from CDN$ 19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars "Build my gallows high, baby", April 21 2002
Film Noir. It is an odd, misunderstood, somewhat underappreciated genre. The genre is also widespread, with dramas and even some comedies having elements of the genre. Which films are the best examples of this group? "The Maltese Falcon", "Double Indemnity" and "Chinatown" are certainly good choices, but what about "Out of the Past"? For one thing, it has everything that defines this dark, unorthodox genre. A private detective (Robert Mitchum's Jeff Markam, who goes under the alias Bailey), a female fatale (Jane Greer's Kathie Moffett), a dangerous yet charismatic bad guy (Kirk Douglas's Whit Sterling), memorable dialogue ("Baby, I don't care") and amazing cinematography, which combined with the direction can produce many stunning moments. My favorite is the scene where Jeff first goes to Whit's residence. He is actually outside the gate entrance, yet with the way shadows and lighting are used, it seems he could be standing inside. Another example is during the opening credits, when those of Producer Warren Duff and Director Jacques Tourneur are framed as though they are sitting next to the driver of a car.
The film has two other trademarks of film noirs. First the flashback. Here Jeff, who is now a gas station owner, tells his current girlfriend Anne about a business deal he made a few years back with Whit Sterling. Sterling was looking for his wife Kathie, who had recently tried to kill him and stole from him $40,000. Whit wants her back, yet says he doesn't want the money. He is obviously lying. He wants to see if he can use her, though he never states so. He also, as Jeff learned, knows that the forty grand is nothing compared with her. Jeff finds the girl in Mexico and trouble begins. She kills a man named Fisher, who works for Sterling, while he was fighting Jeff (Another great visual image, for during the brawl the shadows across the room were lit up and looked like giants). As a result, she has to leave. Then the story goes back to the present, where Jeff meets Sterling and his apparent wife: Kathie. This is where the second trademark begins: Plot changing. I was able to keep up with the story for awhile, but I was eventually lost in a barrage of murders, double crosses and other twists and turns. But this is part of the fun of this and other film noirs. I dare anybody to logically be able to tell me the entire plot of "The Big Sleep".
I mentioned that this movie is full of great dialogue. Here are some of my favorites.
Jeff: My Name is Jeff Markam, and I haven't talked to anybody who hasn't tried to sell me something for ten days.
Jeff: I sell gasoline, I make a small profit. With that I buy groceries. The grocer makes a profit. We call it earning a living.
Whit: My feelings? About ten years ago, I hid them somewhere and haven't been able to find them.
Whit: I fire people but nobody quits me. You started this and you'll end it.
Jeff: That's one way to be clever. Look like an idiot.
"Out of the Past" is an overall great movie. For one thing, where else could you see Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas, two top Hollywood stars of the late '40s-'50s? (And two of my favorite actors) Add in a beautiful Jane Greer, some style and wit and you'll want to add this to your collection. No film buff's library is complete without it.

The Great Movies
The Great Movies
by Roger Ebert
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 19.71

5.0 out of 5 stars What makes a movie great?, April 20 2002
This review is from: The Great Movies (Hardcover)
As I was reading some of Roger Ebert's essays in this book, a thought occurred to me: All the movies in this book could have been failures for one reason or another. "Apocalypse Now" was very costly and troubled and could have been easily ruined. "2001" might have been too different for audiences to handle. "Psycho" might have been too much for them to stomach. And some of these movies in the book were not as renowned upon their original release and seemed doomed for obscurity. And so on. Yet, after years of research and analyze by critics, all of these are now acclaimed films.
The reason is not due to a memorable scene or a witty catchphrase (Which all the above-mentioned films have). It is because of the passion involved in making them. Many of the people working on these movies became so involved in them that they would die just to finish the film, and would drive others mad in the process. Many of them were also willing to try something new or not give in to peer pressure or criticism. And some, like the late Billy Wilder, said they only made films that they wanted to see. The involvement in the film extends beyond the director and into the actors. The actors have fun with their roles, trying out new techniques and becoming so involved with the character that they become him. Let's take for example a catchphrase, such as "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse". The line has entered largely into our lives so much that we take it for granted. Yet I am still moved whenever I hear it said by Marlon Brando. Yet, had it not been for the correct timing, tone of voice, rate of speech and pronunciation (All due to acting and direction), it could have been easily wasted.
Ebert never really states this in his book, but he seems to be making that point across just by glancing at any review. He shows that same involvement in his writing. Some critics when they write reviews only outline the film's plot and say things like "Good acting" or "Great music" and that's it. Many also have that star rating system. Ebert does away with that ridiculous system, thus leaving the films open to balanced reviews, and tells about more than the events. In some of his reviews, he points out about a certain method an actor is using on screen or about how this scene is lit or filmed or what the director is doing to us in here or how sound and music are used. It may seem like overkill, but it sure shows that he was really paying attention.
The Great Movies does have two problems though, both of which have ups and downs.
1. Naturally, one would have disagreement with the selections. Ebert not only makes predictable and defined choices (Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather) but also unexpected ones (Gates of Heaven, Night of the Hunter, My Life to Live). I must also say that I hadn't heard of many of these movies before getting this book. However, this also shows how more balanced the list is than say the AFI's Top 100 (Though I would have included films like "Touch of Evil" or "King Kong"). As explained above, the fact Ebert writes with enthusiasm would make people want to see them more.
2. The reviews are very well written and accessible to the public and are arguably the best of Ebert's career. But they are not brand new. In fact, they can be obtained free off the Internet at the Ebert Page of the Chicago Time website, along with dozens of other reviews for the "Great Movies" series. Many of them have been available in this capacity for years. Certainly, Ebert could have written at least some reviews exclusive to the book to compensate for this. However, one must admit that it's easier to bring a book to the video store to look for movies than to haul your computer or laptop. Ebert also somewhat makes up for this by having a film still from each movie in his essays. There are also two introductions: One by Mr. Ebert and the other by Mary Corliss (Operator of the Film Stills Archive of the Department of Film and Media at the Museum of Modern Art in New York).
Overall, with its wide variety of film genres, balance of contemporary and vintage films and the well written and easy to read reviews, this is a very good book. ...

National Geographic Collector's Edition: Secrets of the Titanic [VHS]
National Geographic Collector's Edition: Secrets of the Titanic [VHS]
Offered by FaithfulServantInc.
Price: CDN$ 36.47
11 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Did you expect less from National Geographic?, April 14 2002
Before I start this review, I would like to say that today marks the ninetieth anniversary of the Titanic disaster (But, since it sank in the morning of April 15th, the real anniversary of the sinking is tomorrow. However, the ship hit the berg at 11:40 PM and many people would rather say one date than April 14-15).
This story is the ultimate tragedy and could have been avoided. Since the sinking, historians have been asking various what ifs: What if the ship had enough lifeboats? What if Captain Smith and the wireless operators had obeyed iceberg warnings? What if the ship had not tried to steer away from the ice (Ramming the berg head on would have only folded one or two compartments)? And what if other ships had gotten there in time to rescue passengers (The Californian was only about ten or twenty miles away)? The sinking of the Titanic also brought an end to what Mark Twain called "The Gilded Age". Before the Titanic's voyage, the focus was on larger, faster and higher. Man believed that it could do anything, including conquering the sea with an unsinkable ship. This disaster, however, was a reality check. People were never again as confident in technology and began focusing more on safety than speed, size and luxury.
This video documentary was made in 1986, a year after Dr. Robert Ballard and his Woods Hole Institute found the ship, and follows their subsequent expedition of the wreck. The footage is not as spectacular as say the IMAX-quality footage found in "Titanica" or on some Discovery and History Channel specials, but this was back when the wreck was first being explored. The major goal was to examine and map out the site. Then, after the footage and results were examined, they would come back to get some pretty pictures. This also shows how far we have advanced in the field of underwater research. And that shot of the ship's bow coming out of the darkness still gets me every time.
Ballard hopes at the end of the video that the world would treat the site with respect. Sadly, the events that have occurred since the discovery of this wreck have been far different. Instead of respecting the wreck and increasing our knowledge of the tragedy and of the people aboard, savalgers have scavenged it. Thousands of items have been raised and placed on exhibit at museums. The people who do this claim that it is to protect these items from decaying, but this is unnecessary. It is very much like going to a graveyard, prying open the coffins and stealing the clothing and other possessions of the dead. We already know about the time period and about life back then. Raising artifacts won't help archeologically and they won't add to the context. If anything, every artifact recovered takes away from the context.
I am also glad that many more people are now aware of the Titanic's story and the tragedy. But when did many learn this? After seeing the 1997 movie, of course. While I admit that James Cameron's film is very accurate to the history and events of that night (At least according to historians) and is very entertaining at the same time, whenever someone watches a special like this documentary now, they relate it to the movie. They say things such as "Oh that's where Jack and Rose were when they met" or "That's where this person got killed" or where "That person met that person". I also dislike those people who claim to know everything about the Titanic because they saw the movie five times. I saw this documentary many times long before I saw the feature length film. And I will tell you that nothing beats the factual history. In here, you get the straight facts, not mixed in with a romance.
My opinions, however, should stick to the documentary. This documentary, though its hopes for the wreck site have been somewhat dated by time, is still incredible and is one of National Geographic's top specials on shipwrecks and oceanography.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Widescreen Limited Edition) (2 Discs)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (Widescreen Limited Edition) (2 Discs)
DVD ~ William Holden
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 23.59
18 used & new from CDN$ 13.87

5.0 out of 5 stars "Be happy in your work", April 5 2002
In 1957, a movie was premiered that was the most awe-inspiring of its time. It was a massive project, involving a collaboration of several countries and the building of a bridge. It was the film that put director David Lean on the map and brought home Best Picture and six other Oscars at the Academy Awards. Although Lean and producer Sam Spiegel later topped themselves with "Lawrence of Arabia" and their first film's flaws have since become apparent, "The Bridge on the River Kwai is still a landmark of motion pictures and still awes people (Major spoilers ahead).
"Madness! Madness!" The last words said in the film by Colonel Clipton can be used to sum up the film. Most of the major characters were mad in a way, but some more so than the others. Let's take Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson, one of his most renowned performances. Nicholson is a stiff upper lip officer, who believes that by building a 'proper' bridge, he is helping the future and providing the prisoners with better work and self-esteem. He doesn't seem to take into account that this bridge will be used by the Japanese in Burma against the allies and that men are dying on the River Kwai. There are three other main characters in the story. Shears, played by William Holden, Colonel Saito, played by Sessue Hayakawa and Major Warden, played by Jack Hawkins. Shears, from what we can tell, doesn't want anything to do with the war or the P.O.W camp. He bribes officers and, when he escapes, tries to weasel his way out of going back. As an actor, Holden has always been underrated, yet this movie will have you asking why. Hayakawa was 68 years old when he was cast as Saito, yet he doesn't look or act like it. Unlike Nicholson, he only builds the bridge because he has to. Like Shears, he does his duty because of what would happen if he did otherwise. The third character, Warden, is different on the other hand. He sees the war as a game, playing with his plastic explosives as if he's a kid with firecrackers. He also believes only in the mission, carrying around suicide pills should anyone have to be killed.
Speaking of the River Kwai, the actual story was worse than it is here and this is one of only two problems I have with the story. Hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners of war died along this railway from causes such as malnutrition, dysentery, malaria, gangrene, beatings, exhaustion and torture. And some just wanted to die. This sugarcoating of the actual story is one of the most controversial parts of the movie, but what did you expect? This is a Hollywood Epic. The other problem with the film is lack of focus. We leave the Nicholson-Saito story just when we are to decide whether to cheer or boo Guinness so events involving the commandos can be fitted. Both are major stories, yet the producers can't decide which is more important.
The Colonel Bogey March has become one of the most renowned scenes in film history. Originally, however, the song was almost not used because it had some rude lyrics. So, it was decided to whistle it. The scenes where the march is first used seem to foreshadow other coming events. The P.O.Ws march past "the graveyard" and the hospital where the sick are kept. They are like new recruits marching past battle hardened veterans as they go to war. Shears remarks to Corporal Weaver, "We're going to be a busy pair of gravediggers". The second time the march is used is near the end, as the gang marches across the bridge just before the commandos strike. The march, as happy as it is, is an omen of what is to come next and what happens is not always that good.
"There's always the unexpected". Filmmaker John Milius (Who is interviewed on the Limited Edition DVD) once said that the commando mission in this movie is the best he has ever seen on film. Why? This movie follows "Murphy's Law" or everything that can go wrong will go wrong. The team parachutes off course and one of them gets killed. Then they have to take an alternate route because of Japanese Patrols. Then Warden gets shot because the youngest member hesitated at killing a soldier, delaying them further. However, they continue on and on. They finally reach the bridge, marveling at the quality of the structure and the apparent comradeship of the prisoners with the Japanese. They think that, from there, it's easy sailing. However, here's Murphy's Law again, for nature has some tricks up her sleeve. Also, the same officer who got Warden injured is still unprepared for killing when the moment comes.
Ironically, the person who destroys the bridge is the same man who advocated its construction. Nicholson's actions, however, still spark debate to this day. Many believe that he would never do such a thing and that he must have been knocked unconscious we he did what he did. However, what about his last line "What have I done?" In my view,
though he loved the bridge like it was his own child, he realizes the enormity of what he has been doing and that he must murder his child.
In the end, the bridge is destroyed, but for what cost? Everyone involved is either dead or doomed to die. Their fates have been sealed. On the other hand, life has survived. The first shot we see in the movie is of a bird floating around in the sky. This represents nature's tranquillity, before it is disrupted by the machines of war. The last shot we see is of the same bird and once again is tranquillity. Only this time, it is a return to peace. Men may have kicked aside life in their quest to build and destroy the bridge, but they are just temporary visitors. Nature is a permanent resident.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-12