Death Wish VS Death Wish VS Death Wish

Since I just recently read Death Wish after having watched the reboot with Bruce Willis and then the original movie with Charles Bronson, I figured I’d do a VERSUS post much like I did for the Bourne Identity.   I’ll be doing them in the order I imbibed them. I don’t think I need to say this, BUT, spoilers? I mean, you won’t “need’ to watch or read after this. You know my style 😀

And this is going to be like 3 reviews all packed into one post, plus commentary, so I expect this will be lengthier than normal.

 

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First up is the 2018 reboot starring Bruce Willis. I’d avoided the original movie because Charles Bronson’s level of violence disturbed even me, from the bits and pieces I’d seen over the years. However, I really like Bruce Willis as an actor, all the way from Die Hard to RED. It was on Prime for free so I figured I’d watch it.

Paul Kersey is a doctor in Chicago. He gets into an altercation with another parent at a soccer game but refuses to get physical with the other guy. This shows how “pacifistic and liberal” he is.  Then one day when he gets his car valeted at an expensive restaurant the valet steals his address and later that week breaks into the house with 2 other men. Only the wife and teen daughter are home. I didn’t know what level of violence or what type of violence was going to be here so I was a bit cringey. Thankfully, while there is some innuendo from one of the creeps, the whole focus was the burglary. The daughter, who has been taking krav maga (the Israeli Defense Force’s official martial art) fights back and it ends with the daughter and mother getting shot. The wife dies and the daughter is in a coma in the hospital. The rest of the movie is about Willis finding a gun and suddenly being willing to use it. He tracks down the 3 killers, executes them and then goes after some drug dealers. He is also going after the boss of the 3 killers. The boss man ends up sending a hit squad to Willis’ house and everything goes down. The police were on the track of the “vigilante” and with this attack Willis pins that on the mob boss guy.  He then gives up on his vigilante attack since the boss man is dead and his daughter is awake and ok.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting. Willis as the Everyman turned Vigilante was decent but I had to roll my eyes in several places. First was the “I won’t fight you so I’m a liberal” scene. That wasn’t being a pussy liberal, just showing self control. I actually found Willis’s willingness to call the other guy out but not to make it physical to be very manly.  The housebreaking scene was cringey, like I said, because I didn’t know where it was going to go. This is a rated R movie and I knew that was for violence. It was almost a relief to me when burglary goes awry and the guns came out. They also did a pull away and only showed bullet flashes through curtains through a window, so nothing graphic. Then the movie went full on action film. John Wick, errr, I mean Paul Kirsey finds a gun from a drug patient who dies and magically finds out one of the guys who killed his wife. He shoots at a signpost at night and over the course of a week or a month magically becomes Mr Marksman. Then he tracks down and kills scumbags. He gets hurt, the police are after him, his brother-in-law thinks he might be the vigilante. There is a lot of tv talk show chatter and the movie gives full reign to the brain dead fluff heads who talk without thinking. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the tip of the hat to the psychological aspect so prevalent in the book. Everything is wrapped up pretty good as Paul gives up being the vigilante and takes his daughter to college. The movie ends with some jerk doing a purse snatch right in front of Willis and Willis making eye  contact with the guy and pointing his hand and finger at him like a gun.

A decent action flick if you like amateurs doing violent things. Willis has presence and is competent without being a Gary Stu. His brother-in-law, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, does a great job of showing just how messed up Paul Kersey becomes during the movie. Glad I watched it for free on Prime but probably won’t ever re-watch it.

 

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Next we have the 1974 movie starring Charles Bronson. Bronson was a 70’s and early 80’s staple actor in a lot of violent movies. He was a tough guy and his craggy, creased face showed a tired, careworn visage that went well with most of his characters.

In this movie Paul Kersey is an architect in New York City. He works for a big firm that specializes in high price, low rent tenement buildings. Paul has vocally stated he’s against such projects and wants to build affordable, decent buildings, thus establishing his liberal credentials. His wife and married daughter are out grocery shopping and have the groceries delivered. Some drug addicts pretend to be the delivery guy and break in, looking for money for drugs. When they don’t find anything, the prepare to take payment in other ways. The mother fights back and one of the thugs shoves her away. She hits her head on a table and dies. The thugs get scared and run away. Paul is called by his son-in-law and meets him at the hospital. His wife is pronounced dead on arrival and his daughter, while alive and unhurt is experiencing shock. She eventually goes to therapy, where she doesn’t respond and ends up in a sanatorium for the insane. Paul is distraught but eventually goes back to work to get back “to normal”. One of the clients is from Arizona and Paul has to talk a trip out west to go over their books. He becomes friendly with the client and the client gives him a pistol which he takes back to New York City. He ends up killing a druggy who tries to rob him and two young men on a subway. He gets wounded and the cops are on his trail.  Eventually the cops make him a deal, to leave New York City and they’ll make sure his run as a vigilante never becomes public. He goes to work in Chicago and the movie ends with him helping a young woman who was being harassed by some thugs. Paul points his fingers at the thugs like a gun and the movie ends.

After the 2018 movie, I was expecting a Charles Bronson version. The home breaking scene was a bit more violent than the 2018 version and the sexual assault, while not concluded or graphic, was definitely there. I was a bit more prepared for it so I wasn’t feeling cringey like I was with the first movie. Definitely something to be aware of though if you do watch it.

This was not an action/adventure movie. It was a lot more psychological than the reboot and Charles Bronson was great as the tortured husband and father realizing how blindly he’d been going through life. Of course, being Charles Bronson, he really brings the anger and the rage to the screen. He’s really good at showing an amateur doing his best to go against his very own nature.  The ending with him relocating to Chicago and finger gunning the punks was great. I can see why the reboot copied that to a tee.

Where Bruce Willis was a man on a mission of revenge, in this Charles Bronson is just lashing out against the helplessness that a man in a city like New York is destined to feel. Several of the side characters do a lot of talking and it’s all about the rights and responsibility that a man must take hold of in a free country. I felt like I was watching a movie on The Rights of Man. And not some social justice warrior crap but just what those rights actually require of someone to take a hold of them.  Now I was ready to read the book.

 

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Then we had this little masterpiece. My review, with all of it’s attendant thoughts can be found HERE.

Basically, this was a psychological book. It was at one end of the spectrum, the 2018 movie was on the action/adventure side and the 1974 bridged the gap. I’m glad to have seen and read all 3 different versions. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses but I found the book to be the most solid and the only one I’d re-visit in several years. The movies I don’t ever plan on re-watching, that is for sure.

 

 

 

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John Hobo (2020 Movie)

 

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John Hobo: : They Stole His Lunch, Now He’s Stealing Their Lives

 

Synopsis:

John Hobo was a man of the streets. Brought up rough and tough, he was hungry for success. And breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. And elevensies.  And afternoon tea. One day he hit the jackpot.

 

 

 

 

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3 roasted “rat on a stick”,  good as new, only been in the trash bin 30 minutes. But then tragedy struck. They stole his rats, called it “unsanitary”. John Hobo knew The Man had gone after him. So he’s returning the favor, one dead useless civil servant at a time. Detroit will never be the same!

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I’m beginning to think that Hollywood REALLY HAS run out of ideas.

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Almost like there are no brains left and all the zombie who pretend to be alive are just regurgitating the brains they ate last year. Yeah, pretty gross.  That’s how I’d class this movie.  The whole revenge thing is really getting old.

The language? My goodness, I never knew there was a whole hobo sub-culture of profanity. Who knew that “ultra fresh” meant THAT! I was rather shocked. And when the Swiss hobos, who I would have thought would be the most refined and peaceful of the hobos just turned into toilet mouths, well, nothing could shock me after that. Or so I thought.

Everyone in this movie gets shanked. With a shiv. You thought a pencil was bad ass. I almost threw up when John Hobo killed that dude with a banana!

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I found John Hobo to be a very dirty character. And the people he was offing were even worse. I mean, who doesn’t want to off the officious DMV lady who tells you that you “X”‘d the wrong box and makes you go fill out a new form and stand in line all over again? Or that shyster lawyer hired by the city to tell everyone that the city is taking over the whole block and is tearing it down and they have to move, in 2 weeks?

Honestly though, I think my biggest issue was how disconnected John Hobo was. He had no place to call home and it really showed.

Final verdict: Don’t waste your time with this piece of trash.

 

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Elektra (2005 Movie)

elektra (Small)Ok, this was just as bad as I remembered. I actually watched this with Mrs B as she had seen years ago and remembered liking it. I think that is why I actually own it, it was in the bargain bin at Walmart for $5 and she wanted it.

Our consensus was that this was the “Poor, Sad Puppy” movie.

Audiences were introduced to Elektra in the movie Daredevil in 2003. She was a romantic interest to DD but apparently died at the end of the movie.

This movie starts out with a lot of BS about an eternal war between the forces of good and evil and that each generation a Chosen One arises and whoever gains control of said Chosen One helps their side get ahead. We then get a 2minute crash course in the good guys and the bad guys and that the good guys can see the future and raise the dead. Cue Elektra being raised by Stick, the blind cranky man who gives Daredevil such a hard time. Elektra trains under the good guys but is too filled with anger, etc so Stick kicks her out. She becomes an assassin of Legend and hunts down the Hand (the bad guys) whenever she is on a job. Why, I have no idea.

Her assassin agent gets her a gig and she has to go to some remote island where she supposed to wait further instructions. There she meets a 13 year old girl who has broken into her house and stolen some items and has a MAJOR attitude. She meets the father and they all have dinner together and “bond”. Then Elektra gets the package outlining her newest target. I wonder who that could be? Probably the butcher on the next island over? Nope! It is the father and daughter, surprise! She refuses and then the Hand try to kill the father and daughter and Elektra defends them and takes them to Stick. Stick, for no apparent reason, tosses them all out on their asses where they become the target of the Super Hand, ie, super lame villains with “powers”.  It is revealed that the brat is the Chosen One and so then Stick gives them all sanctuary. Elektra contacts the head of the Super Hand to have a one on one duel for the fate of the Chosen One, even though she is already safe with Stick.

Elektra heads back to her house where her mother died and starts fighting lot of badguys. The Brat shows up and she and Elektra take down the Super Hand and it turns out it was all planned out by Stick to show Elektra that she really was a good person on the inside with a heart of gold. *cue hugs and “awwwwws”*

The movie ends with Elektra going off to be a “Good Assassin”.

There were a lot of flashbacks to Elektra’s childhood and how she sees her mother die and how the head of the Super Hand was the one to do it. You could tell that the intent of the director was to humanize Elektra and make the audience sympathize with her. Unfortunately, it just made Elektra look like a sad puppy for 3/4 of the movie, a puppy that got beat with a stick. Instead of a kickass assassin who could hold her own against someone like Daredevil, we get a hurt little girl with mommy issues.

There were so many things that didn’t make sense with this movie. At the final fight, how did the Chosen One get from Stick’s compound to Elektra’s abandoned mansion? She’s 13, can’t drive and I highly doubt the city bus runs by the abandoned country mansion.  One of the badguys is called “Stone” and takes a shotgun blast to the chest from 5feet away but when a tree falls on him he collapses into green dust (all the Hand did this, why?).  Why isn’t Daredevil kicking the ass of the Chosen One’s father since he’s putting the moves on Elektra? WHERE is Daredevil period? He should have had at least a cameo.  Elektra is only dressed in her red suit for about 20minutes out of the whole 100+ minutes. She wears boring black for most of it. Garner was a beautiful woman and they should have kept her in her signature red suit. I also think they botoxed her lips as they looked big enough to eat an elephant! One of the villains reveals that she used to be a Chosen One. How did that happen since the Hand talks about losing the last couple of Chosen Ones to the good guys?

This wasn’t a superhero movie, per se. The villains dealt more in the supernatural (stone, poison, tattooes coming to life, etc) but Elektra just struts around killing things with her little sai’s. Except when she’s helplessly weeping and making pouty faces because she remembers how mean her daddy was to her and how upset she is about her mommy’s death.

This was not the Elektra I was introduced to in Daredevil. THAT Elektra was badass.  This movie needed a badass Elektra and didn’t get it.  So sad puppy faces for everyone. Boohooohoooo….

At the end of me writing this Mrs B said “In Elektra’s first life she was badass. In her second life she was a sad puppy.  “Martha!“”    hahahahahahahaa!

Next month I’m taking  a break from most of my regular non-review posts to write some silly stuff that’s been percolating through my head. So no choices for you!

 

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Penelope (2006 Movie)

penelope I have to admit, I enjoyed this a LOT more than I thought I would.

Here’s the IMDB Page.  Does anyone actually use that site? Not being a filmhead, I don’t know what movie aficionados actually use. Is it a sellout site like Devilreads is for books? I don’t actually care, it’s just a question that sprang to mind when I was linking.

 

An old money family was cursed several generations ago that the first born daughter would have the ears and nose of a pig. So they had all boys for quite some time. Then along came Penelope, snout and all. Her mother faked her death and has had her hidden away for years. The curse can only be broken when someone like her (ie, a rich blueblood) accepts her for who she is and marries her. Throughout the years Penelope’s mother has used a discreet matching service to try to find Penelope a husband. All to no avail. Then a journalist, who saw Penelope as a baby and was laughed out of a job, finds a down and out Blueblood who he pays to spy.  Max, the blueblood ends up really liking Penelope but when she reveals herself declines her request for marriage. Penelope runs away into the big bad world, meets Reese Witherspoon on a vespa, has a boat load of adventures and then finds out that Max was actually a janitor and not a blueblood at all. She accepts herself and turns into Christina Ricci and she and Max get together happily ever after.

Mrs B went through about 10 movies that the local library had that she was interested in. This was the only one I was willing to watch. Thankfully, we both enjoyed it. I was expecting a lot more YA drama angst but instead it took the Fairytale route, which while having some of the same things, is completely different in tone. The only whiner was a rich brat who hates Penelope but is trying to marry her for her money.  Thankfully she leaves him at the altar! (bravo!!!)

This was light and fun and cute. I actually ended up watching it twice. Once on my own and then again with Mrs B. She tends to be a talker during movies so I have learned to watch things on my own if I want to get all the little details. The whole thing with Max being a fake the whole time was great and the producer did a great job of deliberately misrepresenting things. In some ways it reminded me of “A Beautiful Mind”, that kind of directorial misdirection.  I couldn’t handle a steady diet of movies like this, but it is really nice to get a bit of a change up.

Now comes the tough part. What do I watch next? I just looked through my collection and have picked out three.These are of the “So bad they are just Bad” variety.  Comic book movies before the MCU really got rolling and kicked the quality up a notch. Let me know what you want, if any. No matter which, it isn’t going to be pretty…

 

 

 

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RED (2010 Movie)

redWhat a blast of an action film!  Thanks to everyone who voted for it, it turned out fantastic.

If you care about details, here’s the IMDB page:

RED on IMDB

Basic synopsis is that Frank Moses is a Retired, Extremely Dangerous, blackops operative. The highlight of his life is tearing up his social security check each month so he can call and talk to Sarah, the bored, attractive woman who wants more than her cubicle job. Moses is attacked one night by a whole team of commandos and goes on the run. He ends up kidnapping Sara to keep her safe, as he knows his calls have been monitored and whoever his enemy is will come after her to get to him. Obviously, Sarah isn’t very happy about this, nor does she believe that Moses is anything more than a delusional nutjob stalker, until he rescues her from a fake police officer who tries to drug and kidnap her. Moses hooks up with various other RED operatives to figure out what is going on. It all comes down to the Vice President of the United States and a village being massacred many years ago.  Sarah gets captured and during the exchange, the real villain is revealed and the CIA agent who has been legally tracking Moses down realizes what is going on, switches sides and the good guys win (well, except for the VP. That bugger still dies).

 

I have been a Bruce Willis fan ever since I first saw Diehard on tv many years ago so any movie that stars him at least gets a “hmmm, maybe I’ll watch that someday” instead of outright dismissal like most of the movies today.  The rest of the cast is pretty great too.  Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren all fit their roles and one never overshadowed the other.  Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah the young woman (well, I say “young” but she’s gotta be in her early 30’s in the movie) seemed to be there to propel Moses onward and to show off her cleavage. Thankfully, after she gets onboard and realizes that Frank Moses is serious she becomes a good lense of “ordinary” while the others are all trained assassins.

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I also really enjoyed Karl Urban as the up and coming Specialist who is tracking down Moses without knowing the full story.  He is ruthless and completely competent but right from the get go we know he’s not a villain, as he’s talking to his wife on the phone about their son being bullied at school WHILE hanging a guy and making it look like a suicide. That was just awesome! Also, he was a bit more chiseled in his face than when I saw him in Thor: Ragnarok, where he looked like a fat little dumpling. Once he knows the full story at the end he does the right thing. He and Willis do a brutal fight scene inside the CIA and it captures the essence of this movie. Hard, brutal, awesome and totally unrealistic.

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Make no mistake, if things being “real” is something you need in a movie, don’t bother with this. In the first scene where Urban and Willis meet each other, Willis steps out of a moving at 30mph, spinning car and times things so he can step out of the car, miss the backend hitting him and starts walking towards Urban and shooting at him.  It is physically impossible to go from a moving car to a walk, as your body is moving 30mph as well. But my goodness, it looked so cool!

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At the same time, this was not a grim movie, not by any means. John Malkovich provides enough lunacy as a lsd experiment by the CIA to make anyone laugh and the little subplot with Helen Mirren and her old flame, a Russian operative, is gold. Freeman, as an operative with cancer, brings some poignancy to the movie and Brian Cox, as Mirren’s old flame, almost makes me not want to kill communists (but only “almost”).

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I immediately went on and watched RED 2 and enjoyed it too. Not quite so cool, but still fun. However, a 3rd movie was never made and I don’t know why.  I suspect that the 25% drop in revenue between the two movies might have had something to do with it however. This was actually based on a series of comics published by DC but while I enjoyed the movies tremendously, I doubt I’ll ever check them out.

Overall, this was a fantastic movie that scratched that over the top action machoman guy itch I occasionally get.

 

Next month I’m letting Mrs B pick the movie and I think she’s already settled on one called Penelope. I guess I’ll find out what it is about when I watch it with her 🙂 I just LOVE surprises!

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Despicable Me (2010 Movie)

despicableme (small)Yeah, you probably thought I was going to talk about MYSELF didn’t you? Don’t try to deny it, I can see into your mind and I know your naughty thoughts!  Since I lied to you all in my 2018 in Review post and promised more movies in 2019, I figured I’d start the year off right with a movie that I absolutely love. Thanks to Orangutan Librarian for doing a post on Minions and reminding me to get this ball rolling.

I was late to this party (as is the case with almost all the movies I watch, excepting John Wick) but my goodness, I’m solidly in now.

Basic premise is that Gru is a villain who keeps getting upstaged by another younger villain. Gru decides he’s going to steal the moon but needs the prototype of the Shrink Ray to do so. Of course, Young Villain has already stolen the Shrink Ray. Gru adopts 3 girls who are selling girl scout cookies so he can slip robot cookies into the Fortress and steal the Shrink Ray. Gru ends up fully taking on the roll of the girls’ father and it begins to affect his performance as a villain. His resident mad scientist, Dr Nefario, gets the girls put back in the orphanage so Gru will concentrate on stealing the moon. Gru does steal the moon only to have Young Villain steal it from him. Young Villain also kidnaps the 3 girls to have leverage over Gru. Turns out the Shrink Ray isn’t permanent so Gru has to rescue the girls AND return the Moon so it doesn’t destroy the city. In the end Gru adopts the girls and everyone starts disco dancing at the girls’ performance of Swan Lake. Sigh, those silly minions!

 

The first thing that hooked me was the Minions:

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Boatloads of semi-stupid, nearly indestructible minions who talk in indecipherable french and love bananas. They are funny and got enough laughs to get their own movie later on.

They also are the window into who Gru truly is. He cares about his minions and knows all their names and their families. He’s not evil, just a villain. Gru starts off as a real bad ass and I loved him in that role.  How can you not love somebody who walks into a coffee shop, hollers out “FREEZE RAY!” and proceeds to walk up the line freezing everyone, grabbing the coffee and pastry for the first customer and then walking out the door?

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Freeze Ray!

 

Then the girls come onto the scene and you know that Gru is going to turn into the man with a heart of gold.  Each of the girls is very unique and heartwarming in their own way.

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Vector and his Father, who runs the Bank of Evil,  make for great “real” villains and are so ham handed and over the top and silly that there isn’t a shred of doubt that Gru will prevail. Kind of nice to have the Good vs Evil be so clear cut. Of course, for the target audience of 10 year olds, I’m sure it’s breathtakingly tantalizing if Gru will be The Good Guy or not!

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The ending is the perfect blend of silly, sappy and funny all rolled into one. Gru disco dancing with the girls is just priceless and is worth almost the whole movie just for that.

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Overall, this was so much fun. There were a lot of clever ideas and humorous gags and  I’ve been re-watching this regularly several times a year. Not tired of it yet! It also has heart in just the right amount to make me all manly blurry eyed. Completely recommend this. If you have watched Despicable Me, what did you think of it?

Next month I’m thinking of going over either The Transporter with Jason Statham or RED with Bruce Willis. Feel free to let me know your preference if you have one.

 

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Hogfather (2006 Movie)

240px-H_DVDWell, I did manage to squeeze in a movie before the end of the year. So here goes.

 

Part one of this movie deal with Teatime, successfully I might add, getting hold of the Tooth Fairy’s castle and all the teeth involved. He manages to destroy all belief in the Hogfather and the Hogfather’s Castle of Bone disintegrates into nothingness. Death has done all he can to keep the Belief alive by pretending to BE the Hogsfather but against voodoo, it isn’t enough. He knows it won’t be enough and so forbades his granddaughter Susan from interfering in any way.  She is human enough that he knows she won’t be able to stop from interfering. Susan learns that if the Hogfather ceases to exist, then the Sun won’t come up.

Part 2 reveals that Teatime has much bigger plans that just getting rid of the Hogfather. It appears that he has his eye (the one that’s not glass anyway) on World Domination. If Teatime can control the tooth-fairy, he can control the belief and hence existence, of anything. The storyline proceeds by the book, as it were, hahahahaaa.   Teatime comes back from defeat at the hands of Susan, forces a confrontation with Death and loses. Banjo, one of Teatime’s former associates ends up as the new Toothfairy.

The movie does a really good job of following the book’s story. In some ways I thought it did a better job actually. It smoothed out some of those leaps of intuition that Pratchett required of his readers.  Certain issues were plainly spelled out. I also thought the chronology was presented better too.

And Teatime? Oh my goodness, what a complete FREAKAZOID! He scared me.  His voice was spot on and his casual dismissal of everything except himself was exactly as I imagined it when reading the book.

With those improvements, did I like the movie even more?

HA, NOT EVEN CLOSE!

The couple of Discworld movies I have seen all suffer from the exact same problem. Pratchett’s humor does not translate from the written word onto the screen very well at all.

While I wasn’t laughing out loud the whole time reading the book, I didn’t even crack a grin while watching the movie.  It felt too long and all I could think of was “when is this going to be over”? That is the death blow thought for any movie for me.  Also, why is Albert front and center of the dvd cover? He’s Death’s lackey,  a minor side character.  And he looks like some dirty monkey on the cover. He’d be better served as a villain in some Dickens book.  I wouldn’t buy that dvd if you paid me!

A complete, utter and abysmal failure of a movie. I would not even recommend this to a hardcore fan because the humor just doesn’t translate. And Pratchett without humor is like vegan icecream.

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And I’m doubly disappointed because the book was so good. Well, there’s always next year to find a decent movie.

 

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