One is the first chapter in an epic trilogy based on the first of three massive novels set in Middle-earth, the fictional world created by author J.R.R. Tolkien. The other is the first chapter in an epic trilogy based on a 100-page children’s book set in that same world (with additional material plundered from Tolkien’s appendices to his work, and from the screenwriters’ imaginations). Ultimately, they are epic films about high adventure, fantastical creatures, magic, swordplay, camaraderie, and magnificent New Zealand landscapes. Eleven years separate their theatrical releases; did that time allow Peter Jackson to craft a superior new adventure, or just continue to prove that the first movie in a franchise is often the best? Step into the Reel Rumbles ring and find out as we pit The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring vs. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
In recent years, there’s been a number of once-dormant franchises – particularly franchises that began in the 1980s – being resurrected with a third sequel. Not every franchise warrants a fourth movie, but we’ve recently seen Rambo, Live Free or Die Hard, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…to varying degrees of success. (Surely, it will not be too much longer before some genius decides to make Back to the Future Part IV.)
There are two science fiction franchises, however, that share a very similar pattern of quality in their four movies. The first two films in both series are widely considered classics (and, in fact, all four films rank in the Top 100 of Flickchart’s list of the Best Films of All Time). Both had their reputations tarnished by a lackluster third film (yet even those movies have their defenders). And both had pretty definitive trilogy conclusions blown open by the arrival of a fourth film.
These “fourquels” might be considered unwarranted, even unwanted. One promises “resurrection”, the other “salvation”, but the results may be somewhat less than heavenly. Yet, some people may find them better than the disappointing third movies. And when you are presented with them on Flickchart – and you admit that you’ve seen them – the question is, “Which is better?” Care to find out? Step in to the Reel Rumbles ring as we pit Terminator Salvation vs. Alien Resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1997, space was a quirky place. Paul Verhoeven went bug-squishing in Starship Troopers. A pre-Resident Evil Paul W.S. Anderson and a pre-Hellboy Guillermo Del Toro gave us very different sci-fi/horror flicks in Event Horizon and Mimic. And Alien Resurrection made the venerable franchise a little weirder under the pen of Joss Whedon and the direction of French indie favorite Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Arguably, the two most successful offerings, however, gave us very unique takes on science fiction (at least from a visual standpoint). One was the surreal and visually unique pet project of a French writer/director who nowadays is better known for writing and producing more generic action fare such as Taken and the Transporter franchise. The other was based on a comic book (back when such things were a little less common), was a bona fide box office smash (coming only behind the then-highest-grossing-movie-of-all-time in the year’s earnings) and cemented Will Smith‘s reputation as a box-office king (fresh as he was off the previous year’s Independence Day). Both films packed plenty of chuckles–intentional and, perhaps, otherwise.
To twist a tagline from that Alien franchise: In space, no one can hear you laugh. But back in ’97, the laughter was heard in multiplexes everywhere. Come enter the Reel Rumbles ring as we take a stroll thirteen years down memory lane and bust heads with some freaky aliens in The Fifth Element vs. Men in Black.
The year is 1979, and film audiences are about to discover that in space, no one can hear you scream. Seven years later, the terror returns, and this time – it’s war.
The two films – Alien and Aliens – were unlike anything audiences had seen before, or were likely to again. Each was groundbreaking to its specific genres – the first to horror, and second to action. While most have been able to agree the two are terrific, the real conflict comes when asked to pick the superior film.
Now in this, the inaugural edition of Flickchart’s newest blog feature, Reel Rumbles, it’s time these titans stepped into the ring and finally decided, once and for all, which is the better film.