Sunday, July 8, 2012

Two cool films: Ironclad & The Eagle

So I watched these 2 movies this last week, both were historical action/drama movies from 2011 (with the same budget! $25 mil) with lots of sword fighting that I was looking forward to! :) Two different eras in Britain but similar movies enough that I hadn’t planned to watch them so close together but (awesome DVD mail order rental service!) sent them at the same time so watch them I did.

I expected Ironclad to be better, coz had read some interviews with James Purefoy (who I think is awesome ever since I saw him in the Rome TV series!!) about how gritty and real the fighting was. And the movie was awesome and had fantastic cinematography and I loved Purefoy, but right now after having watched The Eagle I realize it was awesome too! And I would say I enjoyed it more! I think because it was more involving coz it had a great character story going on as well as a tale of adventure! :) My favourite scene between them is near the beginning where Esca has to hold down Marcus while his leg is being cut open to clean up a festering wound. And the look between them was so great. Antagonism to each other but mixed with other stuff and filled with such intensity!!! It just foreshadowed all the shit they were going to go through together, the conflicts that were going to happen between them, the respect and probable friendship. The Eagle also had such beautiful scenery shots of northern Scotland! *sigh* :) Kevin Macdonald directed it and one of his previous movies was Last King of Scotland which was sooooo heavy, depressing, and heart-wrenching, but soooo damn good too. He wanted to make this movie coz he grew up loving the book it’s based on called The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. I was thinking about reading it but it was written in 1954 and I just find books have such a distinct style, feel, and language reflecting the era they were written in that I don’t find older ones as much fun to read. And the other awesome thing about The Eagle was the music!!! Really great theme-inspired score that truly added to the story like so many good soundtracks too. (ps. I still keep wanting to do a blog post about my favourite epic movie scores!! So many great ones!! :D)

So both have awesome fight scenes and great characters but I think The Eagle had a more engaging story, but Ironclad had fights with cool long/broadswords!! The movie Centurion (2010) is also about the disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion like The Eagle is but that one soooo wasn’t exciting to me. Meh.

Game of Thrones tv series

Just watched The Eagle (see post above) set in Roman Britain. And I was reminded that “The Wall” from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is really Hadrian’s Wall. A massive wall separating the “civilized” south from the “barbarian” north. (even the shape of the map is similar!) Currently I’m in the middle of watching season 2 of Game of Thrones. And coz it’s well done I’m LOVING seeing the characters I know come to life!! Great casting!! I love that since they are casting accurately and realistically you see real people and not the pretty but bland types that are usually on American television. For example they have Peter Dinklage, but also Gemma Whelan and Gwendoline Christie who have strong faces that aren’t traditional pretty. Although I do gotta say... even though I love Lena Headey coz she was super awesome in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles she soooooooooo isn’t right to play Cersei in my opinion. Her smirky strength was good in the Terminator tv show, but doesn’t suit Cersei I think. Cersei is tough, vicious and beautiful but in a different way then Lena can do. (and couldn’t they have matched her eyebrows and hair better?!) And I’m also loving the title sequence to Game of Thrones!! Love the theme music, the look, and the exploration of the map!!

So I’m mostly loving watching the show but getting annoyed at all the asshole characters and the bullshit that I know is going to happen in the future since I’ve read the books. See my previous posts (why he sucks, why Erikson's better) for more about why I don’t like the book series. So my friend doesn’t get this, but I’m always much more tolerant of crap in my movies and tv shows than my books. So although I’ve vowed never to read another George R.R. Martin book after finishing Feast of Crows, I will happily continue watching the show! Primarily coz there’s a ton of good fantasy books out there, but a huge lack of good fantasy tv or movies. There’s been really just 2 good adult fantasy productions in recent years, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Tons of other shows and movies but with shitty production value. There’s a lot of good productions of kids fantasy (ie. Harry Potter, Golden Compass, Eragon) but that’s so not good enough to me. I’m just not as excited about kids' stories.