Thursday, March 21, 2013

Movie Reviews~ Dorian Gray, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Young Frankenstein

I spent far too much time trying to think of a creative title for this. And in the end I went ahead and just flat out said what it was, as usual. I mean really. How creative can you get with movie reviews? I need to work on this...

Anyhoo, I recently bought some movies on clearance and I figured I might as well do some short reviews (Which turned into a long post as I got carried away) and put them on here. They've all got enough Victorian or spooky elements to possibly attract all of you ;)

I'm going to start with one I really advise against watching. I hadn't seen this one yet because my English teacher had warned me away from it, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Now, I adore The Picture of Dorian Gray as a book. In fact, it's hands down my favorite book of all time. I even used it as a basis for my FCAT Writes essay this year because I know it inside and out and could quote it in my sleep. Actually, some of the only quotes I have memorized are by Oscar Wilde, because I love his way with words and in all reality, he was brilliant. All of this is exactly why I personally can't recommend this movie to anyone.

 The characterization is weak for starters. The movie focuses on Dorian's corruption, that's for certain, but I noticed they focused primarily on the sexual aspect of it and didn't portray some of the other crucial ways his mind warps. Or if they did, they did it badly. You don't get the same sense of detached depravity that evolves in the book. Dorian is shallow and uncaring, but you still get a sense of complexity in the novel. Ben Barnes certainly isn't a bad actor. I think he does a marvelous job with what he was given. I just don't think the Dorian they created was true to bookverse Dorian and that's what the whole movie depends on. The evolution of his personality. (Which was also far too rushed in the movie. It's much more subtle than how they portrayed it) On the other hand, I did rather like Lord Henry and Basil. Sybil was a bit vapid, but she was like that in the book too so I can't complain.

Then there's the way they deviate from the plot. And oh boy, do they change quite a few things. They even add a completely new character in order to provide Dorian with a love interest (as per usual) and she didn't really manage to hold my interest. (Though that might be because I was too offended they had messed with my continuity) Her appearance in the movie allowed them to alter the ending in order to make it more dramatic, which I thought was unnecessary. The strained, lurking tension at the end of the book had it's own quiet drama that was much more effective. There also seemed to be a lot of superfluous filler where time could have gone into enhancing the storyline.

So was it a bad movie? ...No. I'm rather indifferent to it. It just wasn't possible for me to enjoy it, being so dedicated to the book. (Though Ben Barnes is extremely pretty. I'll give you that. And even though Dorian is blond I've always pictured him looking like that, complete with dark hair) However, if you want to watch a Dorian Gray adaption I'd recommend you go check out the BBC adaptions. I've seen quite a few of them and can't remember which is best, but they tend to use whole passages from the book which is delightful.

The second movie is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Well, I can't say I've ever read the comics, but I can certainly say I wouldn't choose to watch this movie again. It was....flat. That's really all there is to it. I loved most of the characters individually, but when they tried to pull everything together with a plot (Or lack of) it all just sort of fell apart.

In theory, a group of literary characters actually existing in real life and banding together to fight yet another notorious literary character should be right up my alley. I mean there was The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyl, Captain Nemo, Mina... It could have been a really good comic movie, but instead it fell short of average. This movie just couldn't hold my interest. It was convoluted and the CGI was sub par (I don't even like CGI so that made it worse) and the humor was just bad. Funny thing is, Dorian Gray appears yet again in this movie and he saved it as far as I'm concerned, namely because he added a level of snark (And extreme attractiveness. I mean really.) that kept me watching it to the end. All in all, it's definitely not a movie I'd recommend watching unless you've got absolutely no other options.

But well, there's always Dorian

 Finally, I picked up a copy of Young Frankenstein. I just about squealed when I found this because this movie is fantastic. Everything about it makes me laugh, I guarantee you that after watching this my ribs are guaranteed to scream abuse at me. The cast is perfect in their respective roles and the humor is so tongue in cheek, parodying monster movie tropes left and right. I especially love Igor *ahem* sorry I meant Eyegor. The black and white film really adds to the atmosphere, making it feel even more like an old monster movie, and they add to the wonderful cheesiness with well-timed lightning strikes and the occasional howling wolf or bout of maniacal laughter.

I'm fairly certain most people have seen it. It's older so it's been out long enough. But just in case here's the plot, which is fairly straightforward. Frankenstein dies and his grandson inherits all of his possessions. Of course, said grandson has been trying to cast off the legacy of his mad relative, but he decides to travel down to the castle anyway. He swears he's nothing like his grandfather, that he wouldn't be so ridiculously insane as to think you could reanimate the dead. And from there the movie catapults headfirst into a giant parody of Frankenstein and other assorted monster movies, as the Doctor finds out it's much harder to keep up his convictions than he originally thought.

This movie is corny and ridiculous, but I love it to death. They've taken all the things about the 1930s era Hollywood horror movies, the good and the bad, and turned it into something just plain hilarious. And again, just seeing Marty Feldman play Eyegor is enough incentive to watch this movie.

Isn't he charming?


  1. xxxx little darkling xxxxMarch 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I decided to read Dorian Gray.
    It was amazing.
    Best book I've read, I think!

    1. It's fantastic! :D And I love Dorian so much~
      I'm glad you liked it :)
      Also, I really love you because you comment on everything, and it makes me ridiculously happy ^^ Thank you XD