MatthewSean Reviews

Book reviews, movie reviews, and other writing

Movie Review – National Treasure (2004) — December 27, 2014

Movie Review – National Treasure (2004)

Movie Review – National Treasure (2004)

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Movie Synopsis:

Maligned historian Ben Gates is continuing a search for the a long lost treasure that requires careful code breaking in the same spirit as the Freemasons and Knights Templar of ages past. However when he realizes one of the clues is on the back of the Declaration of Independence, and that a rival code breaker will stop at nothing to claim the treasure for himself, he realizes he needs to steal the Declaration to protect it.

Movie Review:

Similar to The Da Vinci Code, this film focused on action as well as allowing us to follow the characters in the road of discovery as they move from clue to clue, attempting to solve a large puzzle that has global historical significance.  The film was fairly fast paced and action packed which was a good fit for the movie as we moved along from clue to clue. Although the characters were slightly one dimensional (funny sidekick, angry father, etc) the overall movie itself was enjoyable and had some nice character development and growth throughout. And although the action sequences were slightly predictable at times, overall it was an enjoyable film to watch and had some exciting references to history and modern times and locations as well.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.

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Movie Review – Jurassic Park (1993) —

Movie Review – Jurassic Park (1993)

Movie Review – Jurassic Park (1993)

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Movie Synopsis:

Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, this action adventure sees several scientists arriving on an island off the coast of Costa Rica to check out a new amusement park being developed. However they are shocked to discover the park has found a way to clone dinosaurs. The amazement of this turns to shock however, when power outages and a corrupt IT staffer lead to dangerous situations for all on the remote island.

Movie Review:

This was a fantastic movie based on a fantastic novel from the 1990s. This film really showcased some leading advances in special effects for the time, which were well executed here. I recall first seeing this film in theatres in 1993 and crowds being so excited and overwhelmed with the special effects and the realism of the dinosaurs that a viewer actually through popcorn in the air when the first t-rex popped into view. In addition to advances in effects for the time, there were also fantastic acting performances by the large cast, including Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson and Wayne Knight.  The storyline was also fabulous, with excellent character development, a good focus on the action and suspense, and some excellent complex themes being explored including the dangers in genetics and cloning, themes which remain relevant today as well.  Director Steven Spielberg has done a great job balancing a variety of ideas and themes while keeping the action and suspense moving.  Overall, this movie continues to hold value over 20 years later, and remains a true classic to watch. Well done!

Overall: 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Movie Review – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) — December 26, 2014

Movie Review – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Movie Review – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

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Movie Synopsis:

In the final instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Bilbo and the company of dwarves continue to battle the dragon Smaug, who at the conclusion of the last film was heading to nearby Lake Town to destroy  it and all its innocent inhabitants. Meanwhile, the dwarves and Bilbo must also consider building up and fortifying the area from an incoming invasion of orcs who are intent on taking back the mountain for the building dark forces that are beginning to come over the land. Bilbo also works with Gandalf to try and find a lasting truce and alliance between the humans, elves, and dwarves armies, so they can align against the true enemies rather than fight each other. Meanwhile, Gandalf also continues his search to uncover the extent of the dark forces that are at work in the land.

Movie Review:

Overall, this film was very well executed by Peter Jackson and company. Jackson did a great job keeping the film to a reasonable length, not overextending it given the short novel had already been extended to three films. The length for this final showing felt right. There was a strong mix of action and battle scenes that were very impressive on the screen, yet there was also a nice amount of characters development and dialogue for a wide array of characters here. As in the novel, things didn’t go perfectly for the dwarves, and we saw some character deaths in the battle which made the story poignant and real. Acting in the film was fantastic, with Martin Freeman as star character Bilbo really carrying the day with his wit, charm, and humour. Freeman is exceptional in this role. Although there were some story lines and plot points not found in the book that some may not enjoy, Jackson and the writing team did a good job pulling material from the Hobbit novel and other Tolkien novels, and some additional material they threw in did add value and help round out the story and the film. Overall, Jackson did a great job bringing the story of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit to film.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.