Theatrical Releases This Week
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Director: Peter Jackson
PG-13; 170 mins
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths ofguile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” …a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Let’s face it – we’re all going to see this. It could be equal parts soaring and tedious compared to what we’ve come to expect from the earlier movies, but it’s still an adequate prequel and stand-alone movie.
DVD Releases This Week
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Director: Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier
PG; 94 mins
Scrat’s nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he’s been after since the dawn of time, has world-changing consequences – a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny, Diego and Sid. In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny, and the herd encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates determined to stop them from returning home. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Just good enough to be considered “good.” The writers seem to be stuck in neutral, rehashing old material and jumping from one silly event to the next. The best parts involve Scrat, but are too few and far between.
The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
PG-13; 135 mins
The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles. (Synopsis by Universal)
Gilroy desperately needed someone to rein in his writing, which would have made this a smarter film. Too much time is spent explaining things and falling into generic plot devices, leaving a weak continuation of a strong series that makes you wonder how long they’re going to keep trying without Bourne himself.
Director: Seth MacFarlane
R; 115 mins
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since. (Synopsis by Universal)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.