Author Topic: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar  (Read 73944 times)

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #495 on: December 30, 2014, 07:28:21 PM »
Yes, Slater was good in Broken Arrow. I barely remember Hard Rain (don't have it on DVD). And I am not familiar with Breaking In.

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #496 on: December 31, 2014, 01:20:36 AM »
Hard Rain also stars everybody's favorite Morgan Freeman.  Pick it up if you get a chance, it's a fun good guy/bad guy action film.  You can get it with Drop Zone (another guilty pleasure) for .85 on amazon used .. (of course your country might vary :) ).
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #497 on: December 31, 2014, 10:21:12 AM »
Doctor Who: The Invasion (5-014503-182922)
United Kingdom 1968 | Released 2006-11-06 on DVD from 2 entertain Video
194 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.33:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Steve Maher, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield, Steve Maher, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield, Douglas Camfield and starring Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Sally Faulkner, Kevin Stoney

Investigating the disappearance of an eminent scientist, the Doctor and his companions follow his trail to the London headquarters of International Electromatics, a global supplier of electronic equipment run by the formidable Tobias Vaughan. Teaming up with the newly-formed United Nations Intelligence Taskforce - UNIT - under the command of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, it soon becomes apparent that Vaughan is working to his own sinister agenda. As Cybermen invade in cities all over the world, can the Doctor convince Vaughan to help him defeat their plan for global domination?

This story was originally broadcast on BBC1 between 2nd November - 21st December 1968

My thoughts about Doctor Who: The Invasion:
I only watched a couple of episodes of the "new" Doctor Who on TV, so I decided to watch some on Netflix. I had watched a couple of episodes of the second season - the one with David Tennant as the Doctor - when I saw that the next episode was Rise of the Cybermen. And I realized that I had one of the old Cybermen stories on DVD in my unwatched pile. So I figured I ought to watch that first. And I did.

The Invasion is from Season Six of the old series, in B&W, with Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. The thing about The Invasion is that 2 of the 8 parts are missing video. Only the audio track (and the shooting script) remains. But rather than shelving the story, BBC decided to recreate the missing parts as animation. It makes for a slightly odd experience, but I am glad that they did it. It's quite a fun story. Of course the invasion of "hundreds of Cybermen" looks a bit tame when the budget only allows for six of them. But they are well used, so it doesn't hurt the story too much.

I'm no Who expert, but I think this is only the second time that UNIT is mentioned in the series, and the first time it played a major part. I believe that the good Doctor had encountered the Cybermen several times before, though.

The image quality is a bit rough, but since this was shot on video back in 1968, that's not really surprising. These old TV shows are really quite fun, as long as you can accept the technical (and budget) limitations of the time, and let your imagination do the rest.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #498 on: December 31, 2014, 10:40:15 AM »
Everything or Nothing (5-039036-058704)
United Kingdom 2012 | Released 2013-01-28 on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
94 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.78:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Directed by Stevan Riley

A new feature documentary from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Passion Pictures and Red Box Films, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007. Directed by Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon) and produced by Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) and John Battsek (Searching for Sugar Man, The Imposter), Everything or Nothing focuses on three men with a shared dream – Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. It's the thrilling and inspiring narrative behind the longest-running film franchise in cinema history which began in 1962.

My thoughts about Everything or Nothing:
James Bond is a phenomenon. I'm old enough to have experienced this phenomenon from its start. In its cinematic form, that is. I had not read any James Bond books before I saw the first Bond films. But I soon rectified that. I have seen the Bond films many times over, but I have not re-read any of the books since the 1960's, so I'm really much more familiar with the movie Bonds.

By its name, you'd think that Everything or Nothing was all about the movie Bonds. After all, that is what the "EON" in EON Productions stands for. But fortunately this documentary details a lot more than that. We get a lot of info about Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, and also about Kevin McClory who collaborated on the story on which Fleming based Thunderball. McClory subsequently got the remake rights to the story, and remade it as Never Say Never Again.

The documentary may not uncover any earth-shattering scoops, but it does delivery many interesting tidbits of information in its many interviews. This is certainly a worth-while watch for any Bond fan.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #499 on: January 02, 2015, 10:01:06 AM »
Attack on the Iron Coast (5-037899-056394)
United Kingdom 1968 | Released 2014-11-10 on DVD from 101 Films
90 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.85:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Paul Wendkos and starring Lloyd Bridges, Andrew Kier, Sue Lloyd, Mark Eden, Maurice Denham

Commando Major Jamie Wilson plans an audacious Combined Operations raid on the Axis held French port of Le Clare; if destroyed the Germans would be stripped of their only dry dock capable of servicing their large battleships. Wilson's plan, code named Operation Mad Dog, is to ram a destroyer packed with tons of explosives into the outer gate of the dock. Opposed to Wilson is Royal Navy Captain Owen Franklin, whose own son was killed on Wilson s disastrous last raid on the French coast.

Under pressure from Winston Churchill, Wilson's plan is given the go-ahead even though the naval craft requested for the mission are reduced to a minesweeper replacing the destroyer, no escort craft and only four motor launches.

My thoughts about Attack on the Iron Coast:
Objectively Attack on the Iron Coast is probably a rather mediocre film. But I'm rather partial to these type of "war adventure" films. And after watching Sea Hunt, I'm a fan of Lloyd Bridges.

From what I gather, this film is loosely based on a real event. That makes it a little bit more interesting than if it was all fictional. The script does leave something to be desired, though. The portrayal of the German officers is rather stereotypical. Walter Gotell and George Mikell are both fine actors, but they don't get a chance to show it. They are given much better roles in The Guns of Navarone, which is, by the way, a much better film.

The special effects, courtesy of Les Bowie, vary quite a bit. The shots of the ships at sea suffer from poor depth of focus, which immediately makes them look like the miniature setups that they are. But Les probably did the best he could with the budget he was given. The explosions in the German docks looked better.

This is probably not a film that would suit everybody. It was just right for me, though, so I'll give it 3 1/2 stars. Be aware that this is a highly subjective rating, though.

Oh yeah, the DVD is 1.85:1, non-anamorphic! On a DVD that was released 2014! WTF 101 Films?
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« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 10:03:29 AM by GSyren »

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #500 on: January 03, 2015, 02:29:45 PM »
Return of the Killer Shrews (802993-214804)
United States 2012 | Released 2013-10-22 on DVD from Retromedia Entertainment
84 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.78:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Steve Latshaw and starring James Best, John Schneider, Jennifer Lyons, Jason Shane Scott, Rick Hurst

When Captain Thorne Sherman (James Best) returns to the island of Killer Shrews after many years he discovers that the Killer Shrews haven't just survived, they absolutely thrived under the care of mad doctor, Bruce Davison. The stars of the original DUKES OF HAZZARD, James Best, John Schneider and Rick Hurst go monster hunting in this shocking tale of nature gone wild!

My thoughts about Return of the Killer Shrews:
Apparently a sequel to The Killer Shrews has been a running joke between James Best and Steve Latshaw for many years. They should have kept it running. I don't know exactly what they were aiming for; horror, parody or comedy, but I do know they failed miserably, whatever their goal was. Was the bad CGI shrews supposed to be a reference to the original bad dogs masquerading as shrews? Well, fail! The dogs were much better.

I thought everyone in Hollywood knew that you cannot make a "so bad it's good" movie on purpose. I just doesn''t work. It has to be a genuine, but very flawed, effort. And there is no way that they thought they were making an actual horror movie.

The only reason I don't give this half a star is that I really like James Best, and he is pretty much the only thing worth watching in this mess. There are a few Dukes of Hazzard references that are amusing, but that's pretty much it. I used to like John Schneider in Dukes, and in a few other movies, but he's totally wasted here. And God knows what possesed Bruce Davison to take this horrible role. Is he really that hard up?

It says something when the song over the end credits is the best thing in the movie.  As for the DVD, the best thing about it was that it had the original Killer Shrews as an extra, in it's proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Small comfort...
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #501 on: January 05, 2015, 04:16:07 PM »
Kid Galahad (Disc ID: 2C6C-1ABB-CC74-FC92)
United States 1962 | Released 2007-07-24 on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
100 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.85:1 | Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono
Directed by Phil Karlson and starring Lola Albright, Joan Blackman, Charles Bronson, Elvis Presley, Gig Young

Immortal heartthrob Elvis Presley stars as Walter Gulick, an ex-G.I. who returns to his rustic hometown in upstate New York looking for work as an auto mechanic. Ambitious but naïve, he's reluctantly roped into becoming a boxer by dubious manager-turned-innkeeper Willy Grogan (Oscar®-winner Gig Young, 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They,' Actor in a Supporting Role, 1969). With his loyal trainer Lew Nyack (screen legend Charles Bronson) at his side, the iron-jawed, anvil-fisted Elvis quickly becomes the top-drawing champion "Kid Galahad." But when the mob tries to muscle in on the action, the cool-headed fighter is forced to pull no punches in the ultimate bout to protect his honor and his dreams. The mesmerizing voice of Elvis, a romantic soundtrack, and breathtaking scenery makes this popular musical remake a knockout hit for the entire family.

My thoughts about Kid Galahad:
What's wrong with Kid Galahad? Well, for a start it's a musical remake of a much better old non-musical movie. And it's the kind of musical where people (in this case Elvis) bursts out in song ever so often with absolutely no good reason. I'm pretty sure that Pete wouldn't like this movie. And Elvis isn't really a very good actor. And the story is rather predictable. And it is, to a large part, about boxing (which isn't a sport that I like).

However — it is Elvis in the early sixties, when he was still good looking and not fat and bloated like he was in the middle seventies. That's my Elvis, the Elvis that I grew up with. And furthermore the film has several other actors that actually are great, like Charles Bronson, Gig Young and Robert Emhardt. And Ned Glass, who always reminds me of Charade.

So this is another example of films that work for me if I'm in the right mood, and I was today. No great art, but pleasant enough.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #502 on: January 17, 2015, 10:59:53 AM »
River of Death - Fluss des Grauens (4-260261-437694)
United States 1989 | Released 2013-03-11 on DVD from KSM Klassiker, Hollywood Classics, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
97 minutes | Aspect ratio Anamorphic 1.85:1 | Audio: German Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, English Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Steve Carver and starring Michael Dudikoff, Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence, Herbert Lom, L. Q. Jones

This jungle adventure features an extremely complicated plot that involves a megalomaniacal Nazi doctor who continues to perform inhuman experiments in the Amazon jungle and helms the Lost City of the Nazis, a mecca for war criminals and new followers. He is pursued by three vengeful people: a former colleague whom he double-crossed near the end of the war, a young woman who saw him murder her father, and an angry American physician, whose daughter the doctor kidnapped after they came to the jungle to help the ailing Indians who are dying from a mysterious disease. In addition to coping with each other, the searchers must also deal with the usual Amazon dangers, including ferocious cannibals, before they can make it to the hidden city and get their revenge. The plot is an adaptation of an Alistair McLean novel. ...River of Death ( Alistair MacLean's River of Death )

My thoughts about River of Death - Fluss des Grauens:
First they filmed Alistair MacLean's great books, like The Guns of Navarone. Then they filmed MacLean's good books, like Force 10 From Navarone. Then they filmed his OK books, like Puppet on a Chain. And when little else was left, they filmed River of Death.

Maybe they thought "Hey, we've got Donald Pleasence. We've got Robert Vaughn. We've got Herbert Lom. We've got a great script. Now all we need is a great leading man — let's get ... Michael Dudikoff!" Well, three out of five ain't bad. Pleasence, Vaghn and Lom are great actors. Unfortunately, the script is not great. It's not even good. It's not... well, you get the idea. And let's face it, if those three cannot save the script, do you really think "Dudi" is going to do it? Well, he doesn't.

One sure fire warning sign: Voice-over narration. Nine times out of ten that signifies a bad script. It works in old noir films, but outside of that it usually means that they just failed to tell the story cinematically.

It's not that the film is really terrible, it's just boring most of the time. Occasional pyrotechnics isn't enough to lift it out of the mire. Steve Carver may not be a great director, but he has certainly made a lot better films than this one. I'm still hoping that his Steel from 1979 shall be released on DVD (or blu-ray).

Bottom line, unless you are a MacLean, Carver, Pleasence, Vaughn, Lom or Dudikoff completist, there is no real reason to waste an hour and a half of your life on this film.
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Offline Achim

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #503 on: January 19, 2015, 06:06:13 AM »
Maybe they thought "Hey, we've got Donald Pleasence. We've got Robert Vaughn. We've got Herbert Lom. We've got a great script. Now all we need is a great leading man — let's get ... Michael Dudikoff!" Well, three out of five ain't bad. Pleasence, Vaghn and Lom are great actors. Unfortunately, the script is not great. It's not even good. It's not... well, you get the idea. And let's face it, if those three cannot save the script, do you really think "Dudi" is going to do it? Well, he doesn't.
In the late eighties Dudikoff had been some level of action star; nothing like Schwarzenegger or Stallone, of course, but for the direct to video type of films. The other three were available cheap, as their stars had waned and they probably needed cash to pay the bills. I mean, Pleasance did those Halloween sequels as well... So they made another Dudikoff film (I have never seen one, but assume they are all of similar quality as this one) and added the other three guys to broaden the audience...? Many old stars went this route in those days, like Christopher Lee and I-am-running-out-of-examples-already...

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #504 on: January 20, 2015, 11:47:16 AM »
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (5-051368-257433)
United States 2014 | Released 2014-06-02 on Bluray from Paramount Home Entertainment
106 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 2.40:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Lenn Kudrjawizki

"Look out Bond and Bourne... Ryan's back" in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the origin story of Tom Clancy's most iconic character. The thrills are non-stop as CIA recruit Ryan (Chris Pine) is caught in a dangerous web of intrigue spun between his unsuspecting fiancée (Keira Knightley), a shadowy government agent (Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner*), and a ruthless Russian criminal (Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh**). Ryan must quickly evolve from analyst to fully-fledged operative to stop a devastating terrorist plot against the United States. The stakes have never been higher in this "clever, super-suspenseful" thrill ride.

*Director; Best Picture, Dances with Wolves, 1990 **Actor in a Supporting Role, My Week with Marilyn, 2011; Adapted Screenplay, Hamlet, 1996; Short Film, Swan Song, 1992; Actor; Director, Henry V, 1989.

My thoughts about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:
Well, here's another case of a movie that I didn't have any high expectations for. In fact I had very low expectations. Chris Pine as a young Harrison Ford character? No way!

Well, it turns out that Chris Pine isn't the problem with this film. It's the script. It's definitely below par.  And Keira Knightley trying to pass for an American. If they wanted an American, why didn't they cast one. It's not that there is a shortage of US actresses that could play that part. I wonder if that was Kenneth's idea?

If you turn your brain off, this film can be moderately entertaining. But I wouldn't really recommend it. If you're looking for brainless action movies there are far more entertaining stuff to be had.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #505 on: February 05, 2015, 11:23:43 AM »
The Boxtrolls (5-053083-022105)
United Kingdom 2014 | Released 2015-01-26 on Bluray from Universal Pictures
96 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 1.78:1 | Audio: English DTS ES 6.1 (Discrete), French DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1, Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1, Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Dutch DTS 5.1, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo, Commentary Dolby Digital 2-Channel Stereo
Directed by Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi and starring Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker, Max Mitchell, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris

From the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman comes a magical family adventure about heroes in all shapes and sizes: The Boxtrolls. Quirky, mischievous and good-hearted, these box-wearing creatures have lovingly raised a human boy named "Eggs" (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright) in a charming cavern below the bustling streets of Cheesebridge. But when evil Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley) decides to capture the lovable misfits, it's up to Eggs and his feisty young friend, Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning,) to save the Boxtrolls. Also featuring the voice talents of Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Toni Collette and Tracy Morgan, critics are calling The Boxtrolls "a delectable treat!" (Brian Truitt, USA Today)

My thoughts about The Boxtrolls:
I was really excited to see The Boxtrolls. I loved Coraline and ParaNorman, so I had very high hopes for the next film from Laika. And technically it is absolutely brilliant. I love the stop-motion. In fact, I love almost everything about this movie — except the story. It just didn't grab me the way that their previous stories have done. And that's kind of a big thing.

If I hadn't seen Coraline and ParaNorman, I might have given this four stars. But now that I know that Laika can do better storywise, I don't feel that it's worth more than three and a half.
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Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #506 on: February 07, 2015, 04:31:47 PM »
Lost Horizon (851789-003375)
United States 1973 | Released 2012-12-04 on Bluray from Twilight Time
149 minutes | Aspect ratio Non-anamorphic 2.40:1 | Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Music Only DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Directed by Charles Jarrott and starring Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, Sally Kellerman, George Kennedy, Michael York

Uber-producer Ross Hunter's sumptuous 1973 musical version of James Hilton's best-selling novella, Lost Horizon, spotlights a charming Burt Bacharach/Hal David score and an all-star cast, including Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, Sally Kellerman, George Kennedy, Michael York, Olivia Hussey, Bobby Van, James Shigeta, Charles Boyer, and John Gielgud. When their plane crash-lands in the Himalayas, a disparate group of travellers is rescued by residents of the Utopian valley of Shangri-La; gradually, they discover that the community's inhabitants enjoy perfect health and harmony and the possibility of living well beyond the normal human life span—but only if they remain within Shangri-La's narrow confines. Stunningly photographed by Robert Surtees, with extravagant costume design by Jean Louis.

My thoughts about Lost Horizon:
For a very long time I did not know that there was a remake of Lost Horizon. It was only when I checked someone's films (it may have been Liv Ullman) on IMDb that I learned of it. I also learned that it had quite a bad reputation, but it still intrigued me. So when Twilight Time released it on blu-ray, I could not resist. Now, watching it was an interesting experience. It's not the worst film I have ever seen. I have seen some truly awful films. But it is probably the worst musical I have ever seen. The late, great, Roger Ebert put it so well that I feel I have to quote him:

I don’t know how much Ross Hunter paid Burt Bacharach and Hal David to write the music for “Lost Horizon,” but whatever it was, it was a too much. Not that the movie would have been better if the music were better; no, the movie is awful on its own.

How true! With one or two exceptions, the song and dance numbers are truly awful and excruciatingly boring. Actually, the only number that I liked was Bobby Van doing a song and dance with a group of small kids. And I liked the kids better than Van. This was Hermes Pan's penultimate job as a choreographer in the movies (and his last in the US). It's obvious that he had lost the touch, and one would have wished that this once great choreographer would have ended his career on a higher note.

The best thing I can say about Lost Horizon is that it looks great. Twilight Time has done a very good job with the blu-ray. So if you happen to be one of those masochists who actually like the movie, then you'll want this. The rest of you, beware. And Pete, if anyone tries to talk you into watching this — just say NO.
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Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #507 on: February 09, 2015, 05:29:28 PM »
Don't know if you have seen it but you're a Ray Harryhausen fan I believe.  I was just watching War of the Worlds (if you have to aske which one .. :) ) and watched 'The Making' short.  I didn't realize that Harryhausen tried to make War of the Worlds and actually had a work-up of the creatures.  There was a short 10-15 second clip of his monster .. would have been much better than the creature in the film.  Though not sure he could have done a better job of the rest of the film.
Thank you
David

Offline GSyren

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #508 on: February 09, 2015, 05:53:39 PM »
You believe right, Sir. It's been over nine years since I watched the DVD. I might have to dig it out to rewatch it, and the featurette. It would certainly have been interesting if George Pal had asked Harryhausen to do the martians. Oh well, it's still a great film. Almost as good as the Tom Cruise remake!
Just kidding  :surrender:

Offline DSig

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Re: Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar
« Reply #509 on: February 09, 2015, 11:05:58 PM »
Watching the remake right now (after watching Jack Reacher .. and I don't like Cruise .. REALLY) and have to wonder what Spielberg was thinking.  Then script is only so so .. but why so many changes.  Did he think it made it more relevant?  I like Dakota but the movie didn't need a screaming banshee (which she plays so well).  <shrug> but then there are some good bits.  And I like that they went back to the 'spider legged' traveling machines.  At least they didn't have a 3lens color camera for eyes :)
Thank you
David