April 7th, 2005



Filmmakers seem to take great joy in demolishing famous world cities and their iconic landmarks onscreen. Independence Day, The Core...hell, even Lilo and Stitch all feature the demolition of cities like New York, Washington DC, Rome and San Francisco.

Evidently, this isn't solely an American tradition, for the main event of the Japanese animated film Steamboy features the demolition of 1880's London by Weapons of Mass Destruction. Steam powered Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It's made by the creative minds behind Akira, and it's beautifully realised. There's just one little problem. It's boring. Like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow the pretty pictures can't distract from the leaden screenplay. It's the tale of young Ray Steam of Manchester, England whose mad-scientist father and grandfather battle each other for the incredible power of the Steamball. Granddad wants to use the ball for Good, while dad (I don't know his name in Japanese, but in the English version, he's called Eddie. Or is it Oeddie?) sees a darker application.

But by the end of the film you don't care which side wins, just so long as one does, so the movie can end.
  • Current Music
    King of the Hill


Don't you hate movies that start out with so much excitement and promise, and then halfway through just sort of degrade into ridiculous nonsense? If you do, then don't see Hostage.

It starts out with opening credits that are disconcertingly evocotive of the Sin City trailer that was shown moments before, and then Bruce Willis (looking eerily like George Carlin) failing astoundingly at his job as hostage negotiator in Los Angeles. As in all these sorts of movies (cf, Hide and Seek), to escape his failure and be redeemed, he moves to the suburbs. There's a silent alarm at an extremely paranoid mansion...

And then it just gets all stupid. Guns. Torture. Troubled teens. Innocent victims. A convoluted double plot. Many, many cellphones. I think almost everyone gets shot at some point. Half of the main characters die...and the movie keeps going. Bruce Willis seems to be trying to compete with something beyond what's onscreen here (cough*Ashton*cough), and it's not pretty.

But it starts out pretty well. At least it does something right. Too bad it stops before the movie does.
  • Current Music
    King of the Hill