Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

I went to see this sequel this afternoon. It was actually my wife who wanted to see it. I enjoyed the first movie and had a good idea what to expect. What I got exceeded my expectations.
This movie was a lot of fun. The pace of the movie was incredible. It starts off fast like a James Bond movie (and we’re not talking your Timothy Daltry-Bond here either) and never slows down. The plot makes some good twists without becoming too distracting. Who wants the plot to get in the way. The plot is simple: bad guy wants to do something really bad and Angels thom him or in this case her.

Bill Murray is only seen in a picture in this one, replace by Bernie Mac. They explain this casting change in passing and make fun of the racial difference. You see, Bernie Mac plays Bosley’s brother.

The opening credits play with the columbia logo again. After the initial opening action sequence, you have an introduction a la John Forsythe reminiscent of the TV Show. This featured some action sequences from other “missions”. There’s even a clip from the first movie.

In the story Matt LeBlanc’s character is an actor and is making a sequel so there are lots of little comments about the “Sequel” and how it compares to the first movie. There are Tom Cruise Mission Impossible 2 references galore. It may be interesting to note that the movie in the movie is the only sequel carrying a number. This movie’s title is “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”. It is clear to see that this movie is not a #2 but rather a whole movie unto itself. It is more like Thunderball to Dr. No. Since Drew Barrymore is producing the series, you can look forward to more movies.

This movie could not be made without the special effects. There are tons of Matrix-esk camera shots. They have evolved beyond bullet-time. Imagine a dirty bike racer jumping up into the air, pulling out his guns, shooting, and then holstering the guns before he lands.

The movie earns its PG-13 rating with a healty dose of inuendo and sexual references. John Cleese has a “Three’s Company” moment with Matt LeBanc as Lucy Lui’s father. Most of the references will go over most kids’ heads. The language is mild as well.

Demi Moore plays an ex-Angel. She gets to shoot Bruce Willis in one seen. How ironic. If you are a fan of the TV show, you’ll recognize Jackie Bisset in one seen as another ex-Angel. I had to ask who she was as I’ve never seen an episode of the TV show.

Excellent movie. It was superior in action to XXX and the last James Bond movie and had more girl-power than a Reese Witherspoon movie. This is a good matinee selection. It could also be a good date movie.

The Hulk (2003)

I went to see this movie as a favor to a friend. I was not too keen on enduring the excessive computer graphics, but was actually impressed with the quality. Aside from providing the much needed background as to who the hulk is or how he became the hulk (for those of us who may not know), the movie was well done. The computer graphics will not be confused with the live action, but it blends nicely and doesn’t distract from the story.
When the first teaser trailer for the Hulk showed last summer, it did not show the Hulk at all. When I saw it I did not know that the hulk would be a CG character. The only movie that I have seen with realistic CG people was Final Fantasy (and now Final Flight of the Osirus by the same company). When I heard later that the Hulk would be CG I was skeptical. Lou Ferigno would be out of a job.

Then the second trailer wad released a couple months ago, it did feature the Hulk. Rather than go for the ultra-realism of Final Fantasy, the Hulk remained more stylized like a cartoon character running around in a live action movie. The commercials make it look more like Roger Rabbit and Spiderman.

The second trailer showed the Hulk swinging a tank around and being chased by helicopters. This is out of context and looked really bad to me. They of course play this commerical over and over. I was a fan of the Friday night episodes of The Incredible Hulk TV show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno. I never saw Lou Ferigno swing a tank around like a toy.

At this point, it am laughing at his movie. I’m thinking the CG will be really bad. The CG will make or break this movie. I’m not really interested in seeing the Hulk. My expectations are only slightly raise by a TV interview clip that I see. Sam Elliot is being interviewed on a Morning new show and he is raving about the movie. Ok, so maybe it could be good. I’ll give it a chance.

With school out, I get invited to go see it with the kids for a matinee. First thing I notice is the it is rated PG-13. Why is a comic book movie rated PG-13. This movie is being marketed to kids from the wall of Hulk toys at Wal-Mart to the Green Slurpee at 7-Eleven. Before taking my kids to see it, I am scouring the Internet looking for a review to help me decide if it is ok for the kids. X-Men 2 was a bit too rough to take the kids for example even though X-Men was acceptable. Both were PG-13. It turns out that the PG-13 was deserved. There are a could of particularly violent scenes that I felt could have been trimmed out a bit or toned down. The scene is dark and much is inferred from the sound. The rating also came from seeing a naked post-Hulk butt. Ok, deal with it. The guy is 15′ tall and still wearing 32″ underwear — no wonder he’s angry.

Back to the green guy. The Hulk does not appear for the first half of this 2-1/2 hour movie. When he does appear on the big screen, he does look more believeable than he did on my little 32″ TV. He still has that Stretch Armstrong look but you start to get used to that. As the Hulk gets more angry, he gets bigger. At one point he’s over 15 foot tall and there’s an omage to King Kong or Mighty Joe Young.

The movie progresses along and you learn all you ever wanted to learn about the Hulk’s genesis and his family life. You get to see Nick Nolte dressed up like his mug shot. Towards the end of the movie you are actually interested in seeing how this green plastic guy will escape (or die). The at the last possible moment, the movie turns stupid. They introduce a new super bad guy and really don’t explay what’s going on. Then boom the movies over. I’m left with a real case of let down.

Can I recommend this movie? If you like comic books, then you probably already see this one. This is not a super hero movie. The Hulk is not Spider Man or Superman trying to save the world. It is not even the X-Men with good versus evil. This movie has more in common with King Kong and that other green guy Godzilla. If you do want to see this, you cannot wait for video. I think you need the big screen to appreciate the CG animation.

Life on the Ranch

Well I’ve spent the last couple of days at my mom”s aunt and uncle’s home in Twin Falls and finally got regular access to a computer, and a scanner! So I’ve added a picture or two of me below.

Anyhoo, I’ve been having a blast working at this dude ranch in Ovando, Montana. I get to ride horses all day, go fishing and canoeing in the evenings, and have made some really good friends. The weather has been kind of crazy. On Saturday I took some people out on a trail ride, and the whole ride alternated between sunny, raining, and hail. We had ponchos, so we were fine. I’ve been working on my fly fishing cast, and it’s gotten quite a bit better. I’ve hooked several fish, but have yet to reel in anything. That’s ok, I’m perfecting my art. I’ve gotten a lot better at working with horses as well, since I’m around them all day every day. I’ve included a picture of me on a horse I like to ride a lot, El Dorado. I also stuck in a picture of me gutting a fish from a fishing trip my friend Angie and I took a few weeks back.

Montana has been gorgeous. All the wild flowers are in full bloom, and I keep trying to learn their names, but there’s too many of them! Augh! As soon as I learn their names, their blooming season is over and a whole new slew of them pop up. I keep trying though. It’s finally gotten pretty warm, at least it was until that hail storm came through. It’s been pretty nice and sunny though. My boss, Greg, is very nice, and so is his wife Julie. They have two small kids, Paige and Alan. Paige loves horses, and we take her out riding a lot. She loves hanging out with the girls, Sara and I. Sara is the other wrangler, and we get along so well. She goes to Baylor and is originally from Oklahoma. She’s a strong christian, as is one of the fishing guides. Since we can’t get off work for church we’ve been holding a bible study with just the three of us. It’s just awesome how God placed us all there together.
Well I’m about to start the long drive back to the ranch. Sorry I’ve had trouble keeping in touch! Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!