Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First PoP review

From Ain't It Cool:

Generally positive, though the reviewer himself was ambivalent. Solid acting and design. Nice action and effects. Pacing needs work. Issues with the story. But thumbs up for Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast:

The problem with this movie isn't the actors (who all speak in a quasi-british accent, but since everyone is doing it, it was fine), the pacing, the macguffin (dagger of time), or the action. The main problem lies with the script. Everything that happens in this movie is very predictable, and it being a Disney movie, you can guess the plot points well before they happen. But the problem really lies with the middle, ultimate conclusion, and the tone of the movie. Without spoiling anything, the middle is very repetitious and introduces us to some characters that really serve no purpose to the story whatsoever (Alfred Molina and crew, Hassasins).

As mentioned above, they did get many things right. The actors are all fine in their roles and there is a nice camaraderie with Dastan and his two brothers, as well as good chemistry between Dastan and Tamina. The movie was a little over two hours and it moved at a very good pace with only a couple of slow spots, but nothing really needs to be cut or added to this movie. The cinematography was good as well with some pretty epic shots that will come together nicely when the cgi is done. The action is very parkour-esque with a lot of running and jumping off of walls, etc. There is quite a lot of action, but some of it is action for action sake and doesn't serve the story, but is interesting and entertaining nonetheless. Finally, we get to the coolest part of the movie, the dagger of time. Every time the dagger is used (about three or four times throughout the film) it becomes the next bright spot of the film. It is a very cool effect and creates some very good scenes. I really wished that they had used it more in the film because it really brought the quality and creativeness up a notch.

After the film, the group was asked to raise their hands to see how many liked it, and of the 35, 30 or so raised their hands. I realize I am in the minority, but there were many families there who really enjoyed this movie. This is a movie with mass appeal, and if edited right could possibly be rated PG (there really is no violence and no swearing whatsoever). Most agreed that an 8 year old could see this film and not be troubled. Some 14 year old said it blew his mind. I just felt that I had seen this movie done better before other times and that they messed up the ending.

So a similar complaint to the earlier tweeter, but a 6/10, up from a five. And good news on the general audience response.

I imagine my reaction will match the 14 year-old's :)

Many thanks to Beaks from Ain't It Cool for the honest review.


Anonymous said...

Wow that was quick UV, just posted the link on the other thread.

UltraViolet said...

I saw a tweet shortly after it was posted and rushed to get the post up :)

I was glad to read the review, which I think is fair. Sounds like the movie will be a hit, especially if they work on the pacing.

I don't think most people will be too concerned with a resemblance to the Pirates movies.

Very relieved to hear good things about Jake's performance and his chemistry with co-stars. More details would be welcome, but this is good for now.

Of course, we'd have preferred a rave, but this reviewer is probably looking at things more closely than most.

Of course, some things, we will all be looking VERY closely at :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds good! The ain't it cool man has unrealstic standards maybe. 30 of 35 is a pretty good grading. Thanks for posting.

Tweety said...

I take back my comment from the previous post, we will be getting reviews from the screening!

I agree that the review was fair, he said that 30 of the 35 people at the screening liked what they saw. Great to hear that Jake has chemistry with the other actors, especially Gemma!

Not too concerend with the POTC comparisons. I did like the 1st one, didn't care too much for the 2nd and I didn't see the 3rd.

Thanks for posting this so quickly UV!

This is OT but I cam across this twicpic. They say it's Reese in Bushwick, I assume NJ. It could be her, can't tell. The hair is a bit long but they could be extentions. There was a tweeter yesterday that swore Reese drove past her, the tweeter profile was from Philly/Jersey.

I think she is due back on set and NJ ain't far from Philly:

bobbyanna said...

I'm relieved to read this review, too,UV! It seems balanced. Pacing can be fixed, chemistry can't, so I'm happy to know the chemistry between Jake and his co-stars works.(As how could it not!). The special effects, the action, all signature Bruckheimer, so you know they got it right. :)

These must be the screenings preliminary to assembling focus groups to fine tune their marketing plan. I confess, I was hoping for a PG-13 rating. Nothing against eight year olds, but still.

Monica said...

The actors are all fine in their roles and there is a nice camaraderie with Dastan and his two brothers, as well as good chemistry between Dastan and Tamina.

Very good!!

Most of these films are predictable. What did he expect? A future candidate for best screenplay?
It's a Disney movie. A film by Jerry Bruckheimer.

Chica said...

A very cautious and fair review. It's still a "work in progress", there is enough time to fix what's not working.

The most important thing as you pointed out Bobbyanna is the chemistry, and that got a thumbs up which is great.

From this review it sounds famiy-friendly, which is ok but I was hoping for something with a bit more edge. We will find out what rating Pop will get after it's fine-tuned.

bobbyanna said...

"...I was hoping for something with a bit more edge..."


Even Disney likes to tease a little...

suvee said...

Thanks for the PoP review! I'm also relieved to hear that the acting is good, and the accents are apparently not silly or distracting. If the acting, chemistry, cinematography and pacing are fine, the rest can be fine tuned it seems to me.

I wasn't surprised to hear that many families liked it and thought it perfectly appropriate for an 8 year old. I know that in the PoP style guide, Disney identified the primary target audience as 10-12 year old boys..... older teen boys and gamers were secondary targets. Of course, that marketing strategy might just be specific to PoP product. I imagine they know the movie will attract a broader audience. I'm positive J. Bruckeheimer is aware of his leading man's charisma and plain old hotness. :)

Anonymous said...

Right - a test screening - which means they see what works the best with the audience and can do some fine tuning. Of course not everyone is going to like it or anything else but 30 of 35 sounds like a good majority to me and when it is finally finished am sure they will like it even more.
The thing about AICN are the industry people who see it and just regular fanboys (usually) who if they see a negative review from the very first comments they go with that.

bobbyanna said...

I sure hope there were a lot of moms and older sisters of eight year old boys in the test audience.

And that they filled out those card things.

OK. I'm fine. (!) That one picture shows chest hair and he's wet. I can live with that.

UltraViolet said...

I do find the 30/35 encouraging, but upon rereading, I also realize the screening was at Jerry Bruckheimer's private screening room. I hope folks didn't feel like they "had" to be positive.

Even with that caveat, the actual content of the review is pretty positive. Good acting, design, effects. The one thing that really bothered me was the stuff about the humor. I was really hoping the movie would be funny. So that will be disappointing if it turns out to be true.

Glad he liked the banter between Dastan and Tamina, at least. And they have lots of time to tinker. Of course, you don't want them messing up what works, either!

What did he expect? A future candidate for best screenplay?

Hee, Monica. Exactly. I mean, I would have liked some originality, but it's not surprising that it might be derivative.

Interesting info on the style guide, suvee. That does make sense for marketing toys. I hope the film is aimed at a broader age range!

Anonymous said...

POP takes place in the desert. Any movie that takes place in the desert will kind of seem similiar to others. They've been making movies that use the desert for years and years.
The majority of people who see it will just be going to be entertained. They're not going to go through nit-pickey things about it.
Jake and everyone are going to be getting good reviews. Even tho he isn't "Persian"..ha.

Monica said...

This text has many contradictions.

UltraViolet said...

Some vague sighting info:

The Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway sightings have begun.

They are in town filming "Love and Other Drugs," and even actors have to eat when they're on location, right? Some lucky restaurant and bar patrons spotted Gyllenhaal, who plays a pharmaceutical sales rep, and Hathaway, cast as an ailing woman who becomes his love interest.

The cast also includes Josh Gad (also seen at a popular breakfast place), Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht, Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt. ...

Some info about a guy whose vehicles were used in filming. No Jake, but interesting nonetheless.

Finally, I'd love to see Jake as Jack Ryan.

agent_krycek said...

I have a slight rant, what on earth is a 'quasi-british accent' - firstly, the vast majority of the cast is British, so any accent is hardly 'quasi' - and I've no idea what a 'British' accent is - I live in London and don't speak anything like someone from Newcastle/Liverpool/Manchester/Glasgow/Belfast/Cardiff etc - the 'British' accent varies hugely, even from cities right next to each other, e.g. Liverpudlians speak differently to people from Manchester - Mancunians tend to have much flatter vowels and a slower talking speed, I presume the reviewer means a Standard Home Counties accent (think Gwennie in Sliding Doors)*gets down off high horse*

Other than that, a fairly positive and balanced review.

Office of Nancy Pelosi said...

I was a bit worried about the fanboy reaction to Pop, ut this review from AICN makes me feel better.
A review!!

He likes the actors in their roles, the chemistry between Jake, Gemma and the actors who play his brothers but has problems with the pacing and the script, especially the middle. The problems can be tinkered with, that's the point of the screening.

The dagger effects sound really cool! The 14 year old reaction to the screening and the comments that an 8 year old can see this means that Disney is going for a broader audience.

Overall I feel positive about the film.

Those sightings are vauge UV, they usually name the places of the sightings!

Sag actor said...

AICN, I used to post on that site all the time! A 6/10 rating ain't bad cosidering that the film isn't 100% finished yet.

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a good rating so far too - as you all say, a lot can be changed, but the basics cannot. I'm happy that it's "blowing minds" of some kids. I'd say it's basically a good review. Gah, I couldn't stand all the stress. :)

We love the character of Jack Ryan as well - it's been too long without seeing him. I think Jake would be great as a young Jack. Patriot Games was my favorite Tom Clancy book/film.

Anonymous said...

He wasn't gung-ho over the film, but he didn't hate it either. A fair review. It's not finished yet and this was a test screening.

X17 is at it again wih the engagement rumors. They are right when they say she has worn the ring before. I have seen it, early last year. She wore it on her right hand I think and then it vanished. She is wearing it on her left hand/finger. It's not an engagement ring but a sparkly gold band with 3 small diamonds:

Monica said...

UV, would be great to see Jake as Jack Ryan!

Philly News:
Though Reese Witherspoon was spotted in L.A. last weekend, she's still very much working on the untitled James L. Brooks comedy that will be shooting here till late October. She's due back in Philly late this week, and is expected to remain in town for the duration.

bobbyanna said...

Wow. That's an excellent shot of the ring. Don't think I've ever seen that one before, but I wouldn't take it for an engagement ring. Maybe an anniversary ring?I'd agree it's probably a gift from Jake. Reese likes jewelry.

Jack Ryan? I like it.

Chica said...

I can definately see Jake as Jack Ryan!!

Pretty ring probably a gift from Jake, but not an engagement ring though.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Reese is going back to Philly. Jake and Reese have been apart for too long. With Jake working in Pittsburgh,at least it'll be easier to see one another when they get a chance.

UltraViolet said...

Those X17 folks are funny.

People has a close up of Jake's Pop Lego figure.

Sheba baby said...

I take the review as a positive, the film isn't completed. The negatives pointed out can be fixed hopefully. Was a bit concerend about the accents, glad to hear that wasn't a problem

Good response from the other screeners which is great!

Jake as Jack Ryan: I can see him playing the role.

More ring speculation, only thei time she is wearing it on her ring finger!

IMHO... said...

Those reviews of the test screening of PoP aren't all that good. I think they're rather ambivalent.

If PoP was really going to blow people away, they'd know it by now. Sorry. But the "Wow!" factor is missing from the reviews.

If it was a private Bruckheimer screening, these are basically polite reviews for something that sounds pretty boring. It appears they had all the elements for a good movie, picking a great cast, but ended up with a mediocre result.

I doubt it can be fixed. Jake should stick to smaller, more contemporary films. This was a huge risk. At least it doesn't sound as if he is a laughing stock. It sounds as if he is well-received.

UltraViolet said...

First off, there was only one real review. And everyone agrees that the review is ambivalent. The twitter review wasn't ambivalent - it was negative.

It's true that the rave is no wow - and that's disappointing. But I'm focusing on the positive rather than the negative aspects for now. Who knows how the finished product will turn out.

Finally, it wouldn't be a very exciting life if we didn't take risks. I can totally understand people not appreciating this choice of Jake's. It's not my kind of movie, really, either. But if it works, it could give him career choices similar to the ones Johnny Depp has. If it doesn't, I think he'll still be able to do the smaller films some folks prefer.

Ideally, he'll do both.

So glad you're relieved he won't be a laughing stock.

UltraViolet said...

New post :) Please feel free to conitune the PoP review discussion there.

Anonymous said...

Jake has already done different types of movies and will probably do whatever touches him and gives him room to stretch as an actor and the experiences that go with that. Some actors like to just stay in their own "comfort zone" which is fine for them but others want to take risk. It's something worthwhile to them and Jake is one of those. That means he might pick a style of movie some may not like but that is o.k.
He's not going to do something he doesn't want to do.
For a number of years it was the thing for an actor to be in swashbuckling movies and westerns and contempory and it didn't seem unusual and don't think people thought they were going to fail, etc. because of it. Not that sometimes someone wasn't suited for a role.
But haven't found that to be Jake's case yet. He's athletic and seems perfect for this type of thing.