Somehow the thing I disliked most about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the trite, simple plot and characters, felt correct this time around. Perhaps it kept what could’ve been convoluted and silly from becoming so. It also helped that it was full of small, smart details constantly reinforcing the symbolism and easing the audience’s understanding. And the efforts of Serkis and his fellow mo-cap actors delivered fantastic results. Finally, some great camera work solidified its place as one of the many reasons the summer of 2014 has been such a good one.
While the Lord of the Rings trilogy is epic and awesome, The Hobbit is fun and energetic. I was surprised to find myself more impressed with the visuals than I was with LOTR. The exposition flashbacks were especially amazing, each dwarf and orc looking fantastic. The only time I felt it dragging was when they departed from the primary source material to further establish its position as a prequel (and no doubt pad the length enough to account for 3 three-hour films.) As Peter Jackson had done before, everything lived up to, or exceeded, what I had envisioned.
I’d originally avoided the movie as part of the lamentable franchise, but gave it a chance after all the Oscar hoopla Andy Serkis was getting. (Though he still didn’t get the nomination.) There were certainly no surprises and it seemed to drag several times. It picked up once the apes really became the focus, culminating in a fantastic action sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge. All the humans were terribly trite though, especially the pointless girlfriend character.
Though most have concluded that Tintin is an animated version of Spielberg’s own Indiana Jones, for me it felt more like a close mimicry of all the other Indiana Jones clones than the source itself. Most notably, the complicated yet flowing action scenes, where the landscape is literally falling apart, reminded me of the Uncharted video games. There was certainly enough adventure and wit to make the movie good, but not quite enough to make it notable.