CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
CHICAGO – Is there any better metaphor in the history of film for technology taking over nature than the planes that shoot down King Kong at the end of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s 1933 classic? At the height of the depression, when 25% of the workforce was unemployed, the two adventure-seekers and his team took that metaphor and spun it around an amazingly slice of entertainment that would become one of the most influential and enjoyable films ever made, now available on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – When a movie named “Clash of the Titans” elicits little more than a shrug and a yawn, it’s clear that something went wrong. There’s nothing in this picture that mainstream audiences haven’t seen last year, last month, or in the theater next door. It is assembled entirely out of recycled parts, lurching from one familiar set-piece to the next, as the heroes repeatedly encounter, in the words of one character, “just another beast to kill.”
CHICAGO – The Winter Olympics coverage on NBC made it impossible for viewers to ignore the fact that there is indeed a “Clash of the Titans” remake coming out in April. This may seem redundant, since the vast majority of modern fantasy has in some way ripped off Greek mythology. Both “Harry Potter” and “Percy Jackson” include a variation on Medusa, the reptilian villain with snake hair and a stoney stare.