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In light of how well the Hulk was done in The Avengers, I watched The Hulk (with Eric Bana) the other day.

Yeah, that one…

 

What’s the Story?

Dr David Banner was working on tissue regeneration in the sixties. He was unsuccessful, but passed something on to his son (because he was a good ethical scientist and tested experimental procedures on himself). As the result of an accident, whenever Bruce gets angry he turns into an invincible green giant. Also, his ex-girlfriemd’s dad was the one who arrested his dad.

 

What’s the Problem?

Daddy issues

The biggest problem with Hulk is that the whole film is about daddy issues. Its all about the repressed memories from Bruce’s childhood. His whole relationship with Betty was ruined because Bruce couldn’t open up to her. And yet Bruce refuses to admit he has a problem.

Worse, it falls into the trap of having repressed memories. There’s the big traumatic event that Bruce has locked out and it’s causing him so much internal pain that the nanomeds assume it’s physical pain and turn him into the hulk to help heal him.

To be fair, his dad is kind of a dick. But it still makes for a tedious film.

Yep. They made the hill’s whole purpose to be Bruce’s big Teddy bear, saving him from the nasty memories. Sigh.

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What’s the Story?

Thor’s adopted brother, Loki, has broken through the dimensions onto earth. To stop him, Nick Fury assembles a group of superheroes – Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America – most of whom have already been the stars of their own major films. Together they try to stop Loki before he manages to open a portal spewing forth an army ready to destroy the earth. Well, when they can resist getting into fights with each other.

 

What’s the Problem?

Joss Whedon wrote and directed a film combining a series of well-made superhero films into one megafilm… and you think I have a problem with it?

You must be new here...

To nitpick, though…

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What’s the Story?

In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard chased down a rogue government agent and discovered he was working for The Reapers – a race of robots that hide out beyond the galaxy. 50,000 years ago they wiped out the super-intelligent Protheans and all life and now they’re planning to come back. Shepard stops them from returning, but no one seems to believe him that Reapers are real.

In Mass Effect 2, Shepard battles a race called the Collectors, who have been abducting whole human colonies. Eventually, Shepard discovers that the Collectors are the Protheans, effectively brainwashed into being the Reapers’ slaves. They’re stealing people and turning them into goo to make a new, human Reaper. Shepard kills it. Still no one believes the Reapers are real.

In the opening of Mass Effect 3, the Reapers attack Earth. Also, the rest of the galaxy. Also, they’re nearly indestructable. Shepard leaves Earth and finds designs for an ancient Prothean weapon to destroy the Reapers: the Crucible. He must now unite all the disparate alien races so they can retake Earth and use the Crucible to destroy the Reapers.

 

What’s the Problem?

First, let me say this is an amazing game. Every choice you make over the last two games comes back into play. And some of those choices are whether your friends live or die. If they died in the last game, they’re absent from this. So any two playthroughs of ME3 are unlikely to be the same. I’ve finished it twice. Once I managed to unite two alien races by making a risky decision and then making a rousing speech. In the other, one of my friends had died in the previous game. She wasn’t there to talk sense to her people, so I didn’t get to make my rousing speech and her entire species was wiped out. My character accidentally committed genocide.

To be fair, you guys were kind of being dicks.

That’s the kind of thing that happens in ME3. Constantly. Little decisions have huge consequences…

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What’s the Story?

A group of British oldies retire to the newly-opened Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. Which turns out to be a dungheap. But they learn valuable life lessons about other cultures, etc etc…

 

What’s the Problem?

Nothing, really. It’s an old story, not stunningly original, but it doesn’t fall into cliche and it has fun. It seems mostly to be an excuse to get all of the best British actors together and make a film with them before they, themselves, head off to retirement homes.

If you don't see the film in widescreen, the cast is half the size...

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What’s the Story?

In a distopian future, each of the twelve districts of Panem (America) must give up one male and one female “tribute” to fight to the death for the amusement of all. Twenty-four kids enter, only one leaves. From the shitty District Twelve, Katniss and Peeta get to go to the Capitol, train, and fight in the Hunger Games.

 

What’s the Problem?

Quite little. This is an adaptation of the book (which I’ve read, which will colour this review), and on the whole it did an excellent job of conveying what was in the book: the crappy districts, the opulence of the Capitol, the bullshit reality TV interviews, the brutality of the Games, etc.

Setting up District Twelve

That said, they spend a long time in both book and film setting up Katniss in the forest at the start when, really, we want to get to the arena already. As it turns out, there’s a bunch of stuff before the arena that’s important and worthwhile; it’s just that none of it is in District Twelve. All we need to know is: this place mines coal. It’s shit to live there. You could do that with a couple of establishing shots.

This shot does it all, for instance.

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