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Movie Review: Frankenweenie (2012)

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Source: Wikipedia

Plot Summary (Taken from IMDB): Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended  consequences.

My Review: One of the best things about this movie is the creative plot. It fuses Frankenstein and other types of monsters together. Seeing them come to life in this movie is entertaining and a good homage to certain film genres.

Another aspect of the movie deserving praise is the film’s score. Danny Elfman has done well scoring previous Tim Burton films and this one is just as good as the others. It makes certain moments in the film more emotionally palpable.  Like the film’s plot, the music is reminiscent of classic black and white horror films.

When it comes to the flaws, one of them is the human characters. Other than having some of them being influenced by characters from Frankenstein, they are flat. While the animals in the film make up for the slack, it makes one wish they were the main characters instead.

The worse flaw in the film is the ending. Even if it is a Disney film, it could have a good lesson for kids about death. In fact, Tim Burton could have paid homage to one or two of his own films if he had thought about it more.

All in all, this is not one of Burton’s best films, but it is also not his worst.  It is a cute film perfect for families.

Written by Serena Zola

October 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim VS The World (DVD)

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 In this film adaptation of the Bryan Lee O’ Malley graphic novel series, twenty-two year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has literally found the girl of his dreams: the mysterious pink-haired Ramona Flowers. However, Scott soon finds out that in order to date Ramona, he will have to fight and defeat her seven evil exes.

One surprisingly good aspect of this movie is the characters. The movie trailer does not do them justice. Scott isn’t just a guy with girl problems; he is also a guy in a rock band. Even Ramona has an awesome hidden skill. With the supporting characters, most of them are either kick-ass, funny, or witty. As for the exes, some were better than others. However, whatever faults they have are compensated with the fight scenes.

Speaking of the fight scenes, they are the best aspect of this movie. There are four reasons for this: animation, music, sound effects, and the action. All of these are influenced by comics and video games. Once a fight starts, you see the vs. abbreviation appear in block letters. Then, fast-paced music from various styles (e.g. rock, techno) sets up tension and engage the viewer. When Scott gets hit hard, his cries of pain echo like a video game death cry and you see words like Pow!, Fwp!, and Zum! appear. Sometimes, you hear a loud voice shout K.O.! when Scott makes the final hit.

As for the action, the fighting style is similar to video games such as Soulcalibur  and Street Fighter. Some opponents have powers, while others have weapons. Scott himself fights with a variety of weapons which improve as he progresses. Both Scott’s physical weapons and his opponents physical weapons have realistic, almost 3-D graphics that are dazzling.

The next-to-last good feature in the movie is the music. Not only does it make a good soundtrack for the film, it also plays a role in the film’s main plot and its subplots. Some of the songs are a part of a few characters too. Anyone who likes rock music will definitely enjoy it.

Finally, the last good feature in this movie is the geek culture references. Some are obvious, while others are more subtle. However, all of them made the movie fun.

Overall, this was a great film. I recommend it to any-action adventure fan or anyone who is a nerd at heart.

Here is a battle scene from the film:

Written by Serena Zola

July 16, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Movie Review: RENT (DVD)

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 Rating: PG-13


RENT is a film that is based on the broadway musical of the same time and  features six members of the original broadway cast. Set in New York city, the film follows several bohemian young people as they struggle to pay their rent and live under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Director Chris Columbus and the cast have done a fantastic job, but the film has some flaws.

One of the best things about this film is the music. Without the broadway show tune sound, it sounds a little like something you could listen to on the radio. There are many genres that the songs incorporate such as rock, gospel, and pop, so there is something for everyone. Also, some of the songs help to create themes for some of the characters. For instance, the scene for the song “Today 4 You” does a good job of capturing the character of Angel and her unselfish and friendly nature.

Another thing about the film that was well done was the characters. They are very diverse because they come from different ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations. Despite these differences, they have a few things that unite them together. One of the most prominent things is their passion and pride in their art, which is best seen through the scenes for the song “La Vie Bohéme”.

A more tragic thing that binds them together is the threat of HIV/AIDS. Half of the main characters have the disease and so suffer physically and emotionally. Since the film is set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the disease is treated as a threat and so those who have the disease are faced with prejudice and made to feel that no one cares about them and that they are alone. A touching thing in the film that shows the emotional vulnerability of those with HIV/AIDS is the support group Life Support and the song “Will I”?

At the same time, those who do not have the disease are also suffering, because they are aware of the fact their friends are slowly dying. While this isn’t shown very well in the film,  there is a good show of grief that makes up for it a little bit, especially with the song, “I’ll Cover You Reprise”. Another flaw that ruins the film a little is the story duration, i.e. the length of the storyline. Toward the end of the film, it becomes rushed. There were moments that could have been drawn out more.

Overall, the film was very good. I was impressed with the singing talent of the cast and have a few favorite songs and characters from the film. I recommend this film to any young people, particularly those who struggle with coming to terms with who they are. Also, I recommend this film to anyone who needs comfort coping with any disease or loss.

Here is the scene “Will I?” from the film:

Written by Serena Zola

April 28, 2012 at 1:34 PM

The Beauty of Music Scores

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When you go see a movie, watch a television show, or play a video game, do you ever notice the music playing in the background throughout? Especially during a special scene or moment?

It is this music that makes up a score.

Some people notice scores easily if they are really into what they are watching. They are enjoying it so much, that they end up remembering the exact moment a certain piece of music is played.  The first time this occurred for me was when I was playing Kingdom Hearts II and heard this music:


Afterwards, a friend of mine introduced me to music from an old Japanese animated show I loved called Sailor Moon:


At the time, I wasn’t into American television shows and movies much. It wasn’t until many years later that I became open-minded and started to enjoy them, starting with this piece from the television show Heroes:


The rest is history. Not only do I have scores from television shows and video games, but I also have scores from movies such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Each score represents each visual work with a unique and awe-inspiring sound. Each song in a score represents a character or moment in a way that captivates more than just the eyes.  They can move your heart and soul.

Written by Serena Zola

November 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

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