Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Imax

To celebrate the release of the Indiana Jones films on Blu-Ray, Raiders of the Lost Ark is being released in selected Imax cinemas for a one-week engagement. I was lucky enough to watch the film this evening, and it was a really enjoyable experience. Considering it is over thirty years old, Raiders holds up very well. A few of the effects look a little dated, but that is only to be expected given the leaps in special effects technology since the film was made.

Raiders of the Lost Ark functions as a timely reminder of what an action adventure movie should be. There is barely a let up in its pacing, and the action is frenetic. Raiders offers a healthy dose of suspense, and has a real universal appeal that makes it perfect family viewing. It is certainly worth seeing on the big screen (especially when that screen is Imax-sized); for many it will be the first opportunity to do so.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is being screened at selected Imax cinemas for one week from 21st September 2012. Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures is available on Blu-Ray from 8th October 2012.

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a fantastic adventure film that ticks all the boxes. It is superbly crafted and will entertain audiences of all ages.

Reporter Tintin and his canine companion Snowy are well known for solving mysteries and breaking big stories. When a model boat catches Tintin’s eye at the market, he decides he must have it. Tintin is warned against keeping it by a mysterious stranger. It is later stolen from Tintin’s home, but not before a clue is left in the young reporter’s possession…

The Adventures of Tintin is an adventure film of the highest order. Spielberg’s film combines everything you would want from an adventure: mystery, action, suspense, comedy and exotic locales. In this way it recalls some of Spielberg’s earlier work, such as the Indiana Jones films. There is also a very amusing nod to Jaws.

Spielberg directs the film deftly. The chase scene in Morocco in particular is spectacular, with the panning shots and overall fluid movement. There are some wonderful edits between scenes, with one scene seamlessly enveloping the previous one.

The screenplay by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat is great. Good deal of humour, which should appeal to both adults and children. The chemistry between Tintin and Haddock is most believable, and Thompson and Thompson do a good job of providing the comic relief. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis do a great job of bringing Tintin and Captain Haddock to life, respectively. Smowy the dog also plays a pivotal role in proceedings. It is nice to see he is always given something to do while the focus is on Tintin; sniffing round the camel while his master speaks to someone, for example.

The animation is superb in The Adventures of Tintin. Unlike some of the other films that have used motion capture, there is a warmth to the characters. The detail is excellent; the strands of Tintin’s hair are incredibly lifelike. The film should give other filmmakers using this technology something to aim for. 3D also works very well in Tintin. It is a film with paying the uplift for to see in 3d on the big screen.

Fans of the books should be satisfied with this adaptation. It references it source material with a few nods, including the cute portrait scene at the beginning. Moreover, this film should bring new fans into the fold as previous knowledge of the stories is not required. From the great opening credits scene to the very last moments, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is immensely entertaining. Highly recommended viewing.

Film Review: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a joyous movie that offers whimsical charm. The film sets just the right tone and is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

In the early 20th century, writer Adèle Blanc-Sec travels to Egypt to find a mummified doctor to take back to Paris with her. She hopes her friend Professor Espérandieu can bring him back from the dead in order to help her ailing sister. Espèrandieu has other things on his mind however, as a pterodactyl stalks the streets of Paris…

Based on the comic books by Jacques Tardi, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a very entertaining movie. Luc Besson’s film combines the right amount of adventure, mystery, humour and action. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet at the same time allows the audience to become absorbed by the action. There is a definite sense of mystery, and tension at times, but the film retains a lightness which is refreshing.

Part of the film’s charm is undoubtedly due to its period setting. Adèle Blanc-Sec is set in early twentieth-century Paris, although some scenes take place in other locales. There is a propensity for the fantastic that is allowed by this setting. The exoticness transports viewers into another world, one where fantasy is met with less disbelief.

Adèle herself is an amiable protagonist. In a male-dominated environment, she has a commanding presence. It is a nice change to see a heroine with intelligence, energy and beauty. Moreover, like the film, Adèle offers a tongue-in-cheek approach to her mission, despite the severity of it. Her individual manner is central to the film, and the character brings a great deal of heart.

The special effects used in Adèle Blanc-Sec work well within the confines of the film. They are not the most state of the art seen in recent cinema, but they are employed effectively. They add to the sense of charm, particularly in the later museum scenes. Those expecting Hollywood blockbuster production values may be disappointed, but the film stands out with its visual style. Costumes are wonderful, as are the set design and art direction.

Louise Bourgoin is excellently cast as Adèle. She conveys just the right attitude, as is entirely convincing in the role. Jacky Nercessian also looks the part as Professor Espérandieu, while Gilles Lellouche brings humour as Inspecteur Caponi.

Adèle Blanc-Sec is reminiscent of the Indiana Jones films in its style of adventure, but offers uniqueness with its setting and visual style. Highly recommended.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 15th August 2011.