Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Three Musketeers: Orlando Bloom Successfully Acts

A Stabbingly Good Time!

For the second time in my life, I went to a movie alone. For some reason that I could not possibly fathom, not a single one of my so-called friends wanted to go see a poorly reviewed action-adventure comedy that was a remake of about a dozen films before it and starred nobody important.

I arrived and purchased my single, loneliness-implying ticket, and the cashier says “just one?” voice filled with such pity that my confidence shriveled up inside itself. I eked out some half-hearted reply, walked inside, and made my way to the middle seat of the best row in the entire place. Apparently going to the movies by yourself means living like a king!

I then proceeded to watch the most enjoyably movie of the fall season so far. This was crap so spectacular that it sprayed my eyes with constant, unabashéd, gooey glee, never ceasing its barrage for long enough to take itself remotely seriously. I barely know how to review this piece of utter joy, so I’m mostly going to list all the things that make The Three Musketeers the most awesome piece of haberdashery-infused, swordplay-ridden cinema in recent memory. Step aside pirates, both Depp and triple X, because there’s a new kid in town, and it doesn’t matter if he’s just a cocky pretty-boy who’ll never succeed at the box office, because he’s won Russ Nickel’s heart.

The movie starts off with lazy and ridiculous introductions that set the tone for the rest of the film to come. Each character gets a tongue-in-cheek bit right at the beginning, showing off how cool they are, and then the screen flashes their name. It’s much easier than having any sort of subtle introduction or characterization, and it leads to such beautiful things as having Aramis land on a ship, beat up a bunch of people, then turn to the prostitute in the back who asks who he is. “I’m not a priest,” he says, to which she replies “I’m not a real lady.” Then, Aaramis, in all his chivalrous, musketeer glory, says “I’ve got ten minutes.” Screen freeze. Aramis.

While the introductions, dialogue, and acting really help bring the movie together, the sword fights are what make it worth your five dollar matinee price. In the first fight, the musketeers face off against dozens and dozens of the evil Cardinal’s guardsmen, and at one point, musketeer Athos stabs this dude and determines that it would be too much effort to simply pull the sword from his belly, so instead, he freakin’ headbutts the guy with such fury that he flies off the sword, freeing it to be immediately placed in another unsuspecting enemy.

In the middle of the battle, D’Artagnan, the young musketeer hopeful, hits on this super hot blonde girl with a few charming lines, initially asking her for her name. She says “Constance,” and he replies, “sounds very…steadfast.” At the end of the fight when he tries to woo her to completion, she rejects him with “I suggest you stick to swordplay. In the battle of wits, you, sir, are unarmed.” That’s a lot of lip coming from someone whose character name is literally “blonde.” It’s pretty cute I guess, except for the fact that it’s in no way applicable. D’Artagnan is nothing but witty throughout the film. It’s totally apparent that the writers had to come up with some reason for the girl not to fall for the sexy swordsman immediately, but if wit were really the deciding factor, her shirt would’ve been off after a couple of sentences.

He just witted the hell out of her.

I guess it’s only PG-13 though, so, as much as I might have desired that outcome, I knew it could never happen. But we do get the next best thing. When the hot love interest undergoes her requisite capture, she is tied to the front of an airship, and the ropes are wound tightly just below her bosom, serving as a medieval pushup bra that works splendidly with her +3 Corset of Extreme Cleavage. The fact that she’s in the clutches of a giant skeleton that serves as the figurehead at the prow of the ship only makes it that much better. Ah, The Three Musketeers, you know me so well.

I had to illegally watch this video online to get that blurry screen capture, but I think it was worth it.

Remember that Cardinal I mentioned earlier? Well he serves as villain number one for the film, and most of the plot circles around his dastardly scheme to plant the queen’s diamonds on villain number two, the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom), in order to incite a war that would require the public to give the Cardinal power since the boy king isn’t old enough to rule in a time of battle. The king is a ridiculous character who cares more for fashion than strategy, and in order to assure us, the audience, of the Cardinal’s unmatched, vicious intellect, they give us a scene of him playing the king in a game of chess. The Cardinal puts the king in check, and when the flustered king doesn’t know what to do, the Cardinal wisely says, “The king is the most important piece, but he is vulnerable. He needs protection. May I suggest you castle him?”

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. I was the only one in the theater who cracked up, gaining me a slew of angry looks, but I know that if any of you chess players out there had been watching with me, you’d get just as much of a kick out of it as I did because…

You can’t castle out of check.

It’s a pretty important rule. So much for the Cardinal being frighteningly intelligent.

That book obviously isn't the rules of chess.

Before this review draws to a close, I simply must say that Orlando Bloom is better here than he ever has been in his life. He was born to be a sneering, mustached, over-the-top villain. I’ve never thought he could act, but that’s just the point here. Subtlety is tossed out the window and completely ridiculous pure evil climbs the tied bed sheets of melodrama into the bedroom of entertainment. I cannot wait for Bloom to be cast in more villainous roles. I’ll finally be able to unshield my eyes and enjoy his performances.

Bad guy number three was great too, because he had an eye-patch. And anybody with an eye-patch is so totally evil.

Because evil scoffs at depth perception.

The only bad thing about this movie is that the score was pretty standard. With everything else being so out-of-this-world, I figured the film would have a score to match, but it was so bland that I was actually aware of its blandness, and that’s never good. Even still, I can’t wait to see it again, so I give this film


Another amusing aspect of the movie is when Aramis says something confusing and D’Artagnan says “French,” the way we say “English” when we want someone to dumb it down for us. It’s a little weird to have French characters speaking English to begin with, but altering their idioms to draw attention to the fact simply seems unnecessary.


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Real Steel: Atom the Sparring Bot Is The New Rocky

Steel Yourself Against the Unrealistic

In this highly original film, Hugh Jackman plays Charlie, a young, down-on-his luck boxer who is forced to fight in illegal underground leagues since the professional circuit won’t give him any matches, but he doesn’t understand the true danger that lies in these viscous boxing circles. In his first fight, he is maimed and beaten beyond recognition, and as he lies dying, a programmer surgeon boy genius from the audience comes to his rescue. With the boy’s newly invented technology, they can rebuild him, better than he was before, and Hugh Jackman becomes the first Robot Boxer.

Flash forward fifteen years. Jackman’s given birth to a part-cyborg son, Max, but he hasn’t spent any time with the boy because he can’t face explaining his robot origins and doesn’t want to tell Max that he’ll never be able to live a normal life. But when Max’s mom dies, Jackson is forced to take custody of the bio-robo-child, and while Charlie trains Max to be the best boxer the world’s ever seen, the two of them slowly learn what it means to feel semi-organic machine love.

No wait, sorry. That’s not the plot at all. The plot is actually Rocky…WITH ROBOTS. I just didn’t want to write about something so generic, so I made up my own storyline. It’s literally exactly the same as Rocky, only Rocky is named Atom, and instead of rooting for him, you’re rooting for the estranged father-son team who controls him with a joystick. It might be the most cliché thing since sliced bread, but who cares? It’s ridiculously fun to watch, maybe because robot boxing is literally the best sport of all time.

For example, there was this one part when this robot fought this other robot. Holy crap. It was awesome. And then the robots were jumping all around, and one of their heads came off this one time, and another time one of them exploded, and there was this sick Japanese one, and this really badass undefeated one named Zeus. Whoa.

Zeus serves as the main villain sort of. He’s Rocky’s Apollo Creed, but you know that he’s even more hardcore because Zeus is higher up in the chain of command than Apollo. Since Zeus is just a robot, he can’t really be a villain though. The actual bad guy is probably this hardcore Asian dude who programmed Zeus to be INVINCIBLE!! Asian guy looks super badass and is always glaring and snarling and he has the best lines in the movie, like “He has been programmed for every possible contingency!” and “The outcome of any match is inevitable!”

One of the best parts of this movie is Atom’s storyline. In Rocky, it makes sense to see him training and improving, and you can really root for him. Here, the writers need to go out of their way to make the tug-at-your-heartstrings Atom a likable character, and one of the main ways they do it is by giving him a “shadow function,” meaning that when you flip a switch he turns into a mimic, copying exactly what you do. That way, instead of training looking like a scene from Hackers, with Hugh Jackman inputting a ton of lines of code into a computer, you get to see Jackman literally teach the robot boxing moves.

Atom’s got a cute face and these big blue eyes, so he seems almost alive. In fact, pretty early on, the movie hints at him being sentient. The fact that he has a shadow function and can constantly learn from his surroundings lends credence to this theory, and maybe that’s why this amazing bot was found discarded in a junkyard…because he was becoming dangerously self-aware! I was excited for that plotline, but it was just a big mislead. In fact, it was so big of a mislead that I don’t think it was supposed to be there at all and I just read really heavily into things for no reason. I wonder if anyone else felt the same way.

Atom’s a sparring bot, which means he was built for other bots to practice on and he can take a lot of hits, but that’s pretty much all we know about him. When he gets knocked down, he gets back up, cause, you know, it wouldn’t be good sparring practice if he just stayed on the ground. It’s actually surprisingly emotional to see this robot constantly struggle to his feet, but when you think about, without the whole sentience thing, it’s not particularly impressive. Ooh, his wiring didn’t short circuit. Ahh, he’s not out of energy. Wow, he’s still got all his limbs.

Throughout the film, Max keeps talking about how Atom can do things no bot has ever done before, and that’s why he’s so amazing, but the movie makes very sure not to ever mention or show any of these so-called “things.” Walking out of that theater, I was totally unaware of how in the world Atom had succeeded at anything. It’s not like he had heart, or drive, or even any particular skill. I think there was probably some witchcraft involved in a deleted scene. Eye of newt, tongue of shrike, make this robot Rocky-like.

I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear yet, but this movie is AWESOME. I absolutely loved it. The complete absurdity of it all was fun and never once got on my nerves, and the robot battles were almost sweeter than in Transformers. The kid was actually a good actor, and the movie was surprisingly emotional. Oh, and Evangeline Lily of Lost fame managed to land an another acting role, so that makes me relatively happy. If you like fun, nonsensical Hollywood movies with a heart, go check this out.



Shadow boxing is the coolest sounding climax gimmick in the history of film.


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