Hi there! It's Movie Goer Grim and welcome to this issue's Movie
Reviews. This month we are going to look at some of the hottest releases
on DVD, so let's get to it.
The first movie we are going to grade is M. Night Shyamalan's "The
Village". This film seemed a bit off track, as far as a story basis
goes. It had two plots that didn't really tie into each other, at least
as far as I was able to see. Okay, let me try to explain myself.
In the first part of the movie, the focus was set on a small puritan
village, located out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thick
forest. The villagers were trapped within their village, but if anyone
were brave enough to go into and through the forest, they would come face
to face with the monstrous creators, known only as, "Them we do not speak
Then, right in the middle of the film, the whole bleedin' plot changes.
Now, the heroine must travel through the woods to find the closest town
to get medication to save her lover's life.
As an M. Night fan, I was truly disappointed in this effort! It was not
one of his best films and I think he tried too hard to make another
"Sixth Sense" movie. So, for "The Village", I only give a weak, half a
howl of pleasure.
Next, we examine Jim Carey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".
This film comes to us from Focus Films (which I believe will be the next
big production studio in Hollywood). With films like "Lost in
Translation" and now this movie, Focus is making the 'Artistic Movie'
once again enjoyable to watch.
The plot line of "Spotless Mind" is simple enough to follow. Joel
(Carey) tries to have his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased
from his mind, but he finds that no matter what he does, he just can't
get her out of his heart. With this movie, the underlying theme is very
powerful, even though some people I have talked to said that is was
somewhat 'long and drawn out'. I agree with that statement, to a certain
extent, but nonetheless it was a very good movie and from it we are all
once again reminded that even if we had the power to do so, we can never
change the 'Hands of Fate'. So, for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind", I give three very loud and strong howls of pleasure.
With all that being said, I remind you not to take my word for it, but go
see these movies and judge for yourself.
Hey, don't stop reading just yet--we're only at the halfway point. To
finish out the duties for this month's review, I'll hand it over to
Reaper Rick. Welcome back, dude! And as always, I remain...
Movie Goer Grim. Take it away, Rick!
Yeah, thanks, Grim. Hey gang, it's Reaper Rick, out on a two day pass
from the Sanatorium, so I thought we'd give you a double dose this
month--so that's two great movie reviews for the price of...well,
Anyway, since this is, after all, the "World of Myth", I want to review a
couple of recent DVD releases that are both based on famous 'myths'.
These movies have been out for a while, but may not have been widely seen
in theatres. I myself didn't bother to watch them until they came out on
DVD, because I didn't feel any film could really do justice to these
myths. But I was wrong, so if you haven't seen them yet, do it now!
The first spectacular movie is "Troy", starring Brad Pitt. For those of
you not up on your Greek mythology, this film is based on Homer's "Iliad"
(no, not Homer 'Simpson'--the other famous one) and recreates the Greek
attack and sacking of the great city of Troy, around 1190 BC. (While
legend has it that the Greeks laid siege to Troy for 10 years before
finally crushing the Trojans, the movie condensed this battle into a mere
Pitt plays the brooding, moody and arrogant Greek hero, Achilles, the
greatest warrior of the period. According to legend, Achilles was born
of a human father, but had a wood nymph for a mother. Since only half
his genes came from the gods, his mother worried that he might be injured
or killed as he grew older (not an unfounded fear, since the Greeks were
always at war with someone). To protect her baby son, she dipped him in
the River Styx, to make him immortal (the River Styx being the Greek
boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead).
This dunking did indeed make Achilles invincible in battle, but since his
mother held him by his heel (or ankle, depending on who tells the story)
as she dipped him in the river, his heel was not immersed and was
therefore the only vulnerable spot on his body.
But, back to the movie. Aside from telling the story of the fall of Troy
fairly well and bringing the legend of Achilles to life, the special
effects were terrific! Over 10,000 warriors battled on the plains before
Troy and the Greeks sent some 500 ships across the sea to wage their war
and all of this was recreated with amazing realism in the film.
And the battle scenes were extraordinary--both the huge army battles, as
well as the single combat scenes. I had heard that the main weapon of
both the Greeks and Trojans was a 3-5 meter long spear, but I had never
seen actual 'spear fighting' demonstrated until I watched this movie.
Totally Awesome! If you like that sort of thing.
Historically speaking, they did pretty well matching (legendary) facts to
the film, with a few exceptions. Like, a ten year war only lasting a few
days. In reality, the Trojans probably could have held out indefinitely
if the Greeks hadn't used that big horse to sneak a group of warriors
inside the city, where they opened the gates, allowing the Greeks to
Another slight discrepancy in the film was that Patroclus was not
Achilles' cousin, but was his 'good friend', which no doubt meant that
they were lovers in the 'real world'. Then there was Achilles' warrior
companion, Ajax, who was killed off in the movie, but in reality outlived
Achilles, but went mad after Paris killed Achilles by shooting him in the
ankle with an arrow (as well as in a number of other places) and Ajax
then committed suicide.
Today, Achilles is remembered as our 'Achilles tendon', which runs from
the ankle, up the back of our legs. Ajax didn't fare quite so well, but
has been immortalized as a kitchen and bathroom cleanser, while the
Trojans are remembered as a world famous prophylactic. Ah, such is fame.
All things considered, I give the movie, "Troy", four rousing howls of
pleasure, for a job well done! See it for the special effects and battle
scenes if you have no interest in the historical attributes of the movie.
Okay, so the other Myth turned Movie I want to discuss is the recent DVD
release, "King Arthur". Now, I know what you're thinking--'Not another
King Arthur movie!' How could they possibly come up with anything 'new'
to intrigue audience goers, when this legend has been done to death?
Well, that's what I thought, too and that is exactly why I didn't bother
to see this movie while it was in theatres. I mean, in films from
"Knights of the Round Table", to "Excalibur", to "Monty Python and the
Holy Grail", to "The Mists of Avalon", to Sean Connery portraying an aged
King Arthur in "First Knight" (all of which were very good to excellent
films, in their own way), how could this writer and director bring
anything new to such a well known story?
Surprisingly, they managed to do just that. Whereas all of the
aforementioned movies told and retold the 'Legend' of King Arthur and his
knights, the film, "King Arthur" went beyond the known legend and
explored where the actual character came from. And, they did it with
surprising historical accuracy and turned it into a great story and an
The main character in the movie, Clive Owen (yeah, I never heard of him,
either), played Centurion Lucius Artorius (Arthur) Castus, a Sarmatian
Knight, who, like thousands of other peoples conquered by Rome, spent
some 15 years of his life in the Roman Army, attempting to subjugate the
people of Briton.
Artorius Castus was a person who really existed in the early 5th century
and may possibly have stayed on the island after his 15 years of
servitude in the Imperial Army, as Rome slowly pulled out of Briton in
the early 400s. It was about this time in history when the people of
Southern Briton finally joined forces under a unifying leader and
defeated the Saxons, pushing them back into the northern part of the
island. For some 50 years thereafter, Briton had its first taste of
peace and prosperity known for generations. The general consensus is
that 'Arthur' had a strong hand in uniting the rival factions in Briton
and led them to victory over the invaders from the north.
"King Arthur" examines Arthur in the 5th century and explores the
possible events that led Artorius Castus to become the stuff that legends
are made of. This period in history is where the 'Legend' of King Arthur
is derived, although the legend, as we know it, was actually invented in
1138, by Geoffrey of Monmouth and places Arthur in the early middle ages,
when his knights wore shiny armor and rode around participating more in
jousting than in warfare.
Sure, this movie stretched the truth (or legend) just a bit. I'm sure
that the companions Artorius rode with in 410 were not Lancelot, Sir
was Lancelot's son, by the way) and Sir Gawain, nor did Artorius marry
the fair Guinevere (although he no doubt did marry a local maiden, after
things settled down, somewhat). They even threw in a crusty old renegade
with questionable 'magical' powers, who more or less led the 'Woads' (a
possible combination of the Picts and Celts, who lived in Briton before
the Saxons invaded). This character was Merlin, who was initially
opposed to the Romans and Artorius, but eventually brought their future
king into the fold and with the Woads, defeated the Saxons after the
Romans left the area.
The final amazing and really, really 'long' battle took place at
Hadrian's Wall and was a masterpiece of film making. If you see the
movie for no other reason, you must see it for this battle, which
essentially won back the island for the Briton's.
Overall, it was an excellent film. If you think you know the story of
King Arthur, you must see this 'How the legend was born' movie, to get
some information that has not been readily available, until now. And,
since last month Brother Grim 'upped' the number of 'Howls of Pleasure'
we are allowed to give a movie, I'm going to bestow upon "King Arthur"
four and a half howls, for bringing us a look at the Arthur legend many
people were unaware of and for doing it extremely well.
Oops. It seems the men in white coats are pounding on the door, wanting
me to give up the computer. Apparently, I've overstayed my welcome, so,
I gotta go. I'll see ya all next time. Enjoy!