Now, I know I'm on this blog as an indie author, but my deep-seeded love of cinematic adventures always seems to butt it's big ol'head in the way of things and distracts me! With all the trailers I watch, movie news I read, and on-set photos I gape at, movies and all that wonder that comes with are always on the forefront of my mind.
Given that movies are kind of my forte, my husband, AJ, is usually gentleman enough to allow me to chose the movie for our viewing when we have the opportunity to have a date night. However, this past weekend, I was trumped due to the fact that the box office was harboring a movie right up AJ's alley, 'Olympus Has Fallen' (aka OHF).
Let me take this back a step. A few months before the first trailers of OHF surfaced, I had seen production photos for a movie called 'White House Down', starring Jamie Foxx as the president and Channing Tatum as the nearly shirtless secret service agent who is left to defend the White House and POTUS after an invasion by some unknown group of terrorists. So imagine my surprise when I see the studly Scottish action hero, Gerard Butler, center stage when the first OHF trailer is released. Something sounded vaguely familiar about that story line.
I have to shake my head at trailers anymore. You learn SO much about the movie by the trailer, especially the theatrical ones. I had a great feeling for OHF just by the trailer. To me, it just looked like a big action blockbuster, lacking the substance I crave from the cinematic adventures I set out on. Needless to say, I wasn't overly excited to see this movie, but knew eventually I would. I like to give every movie a shot (and sometimes I end up going against my better judgement when I see movies like 'Driver' and 'Fear Island').
AJ, on the other hand, had gotten raving reviews from one of his co-workers, Michael, who is also a movie buff like me (even though he is a Nicholas Cage fan; I cannot stand Nicholas Cage). Michael told AJ how much he enjoyed OHF so the spark had been lit and AJ declared his desire for a viewing.
So there we were, wasting our date night movie on OHF, when I would have much rather gone to see 'Evil Dead' (gore and horror, you can't go wrong with that). AJ could tell I wasn't very excited to see the movie, but I assured him I'd give my honest opinion of the movie once we've seen it, whether I liked it or not, because let's face it, I've been pleasantly surprised by a movie I hadn't had much hope for before. I had to go into it optimistically.
The movie starts and, thanks to the trailer, I knew exactly what was going to happen in the opening scene. I think sometimes AJ thinks I'm some sort of wizard when I lean over in movies and predict the next couple of minutes of footage...I'm not a wizard, AJ. I just read between the lines and do my research. The only thing saving this movie for me at this point is Mr. Butler. Hey, a girl can dream.
Anywho, the story shifts after an 18 month jump in time and we're in Washington DC. My first complaint with the film. I've never been to Washington DC and I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the geographical layout of the metropolis, but I've seen enough on TV and on the internet to know the general idea of how things look in our nation's capitol. I was completely taken out of the film when they showed the 'white house', the title character of the movie. It was not at all accurate from what I'd seen before. Sure, the terrorists didn't enter from the iconic front gate of the white house, which would be the most recognizable view of the structure, but it was still so fake it was distracting.
On the subject of fake, let's move on to the excessive usage of CGI. I could write an entire blog on the uses and misuses of CGI in movies, but that would be a never ending project. For time sake, let's just stick to OHF. Aerial views of Washington DC in the movie were also distractingly fake and unrealistic. It looked like something out of the game Sim City. I had a hard time focusing on the large bomber flying very low over the city and the destruction it was causing thanks to the horrible graphics.
Now, on to the better aspects of the movie. Mr. Butler was definitely the highlight of the film. This 'ghost' of an antecedent moved about the white house with ease, eliminating all terrorists in his path like a true patriot. He was cocky, sarcastic, and stone-faced, enough to get the adrenaline flowing. On top of that, he had the skills required to face the job at hand. I was thoroughly impressed with his skills of hand-to-hand combat and disarming enemies, which my father later informed me was a SEALS training technique called SCARS or Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary Systems. That was the kind of action stuff I like to see in movies.
The best part, in my opinion, was the showdown between our hero and the villain. A lot of the time in action movies, you find the villain to be an aging man who surrounded himself with thugs to compensate for his lack of self-defense and combative skills, but then ends up nearly destroying the good guy with his miraculous badass-ness. Though the villain did look a tad bit wimpy, he seemed spry enough to hold his own and the OHF showdown between him and Butler was pretty epic and worth waiting for.
All in all, the story line flowed nicely enough, the explosions and fights were entertaining, and the trip wasn't a complete waste of my time. I could have waited to see it when it came out on DVD, but who am I to turn down a trip to the theater?!
Until next time,