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Double Review: The Karate Kid and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

My friend Will and I have this thing that we do called Movie Madness. Every once in a while when there’s a lot of movies we want to see we get together, go out to the theatre and see as many movies as we can in the course of a single day. In this case we saw four. We saw Toy Story 3 (5/5), for which I have already posted my review, The A-Team (3.5/5), which I wanted to write a review for, except I just ended up posting an apology instead for not being able to hear the screen, but watching it again it wasn’t quite as perfect and it asks you to suspend your disbelief a lot, but it’s still a heck of a lot of fun and worth the price of admission. Then I saw two new movies, for which I will now write two short reviews, which hopefully you will enjoy and if you don’t well then *&#%^@ you!

Jaden Smith as Dre

The first new movie I saw was The Karate Kid, so let’s review it first. I really had no expectations going to see this movie. I had heard good things about it though, so I figured I’d give it a chance, but I wasn’t expecting it to be good or bad. I didn’t know what to think. I think I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem however.

First off, you have to remember that this movie was more or less a birthday present from Will and Jada Pinkett Smith to their son, Jaden. I guarantee you on his eleventh Birthday they rolled out a big box and inside was the script for the new Karate Kid movie. “Happy Birthday son, I’m giving you your own movie! Plus it’ll be a remake of a movie you like and you’ll get to work with Jackie Chan and learn kung fu! In West Philadelphia, born and raised …” So, thus is the story behind the new Karate Kid. However, does this make the movie bad? Not really, in fact the worst part of the movie was the end credits, filled with production photographs to remind the world how awesome of a time little Jaden had making this movie and why his parents are cooler than yours! The rest of the movie however, and I’ll only say this once, so please don’t hate me, was actually better than the original Karate Kid. OK, seriously, who’s throwing things at me? Please stop.

Anyways, let’s start with the premise. A small black kid, whose Dad died somehow (I can’t remember if they say how or not) has to move to China with his mother when she gets a job at a car factory there. There he gets picked on by some bullies who happen to know kung-fu (because what Asian kid doesn’t) and Jackie Chan, who plays the maintenance man at the building where Jaden lives, helps him out by beating up the kids who torment him, but accidentally enrols him in a tournament when he decides to confront the evil teacher of the aforementioned bullies. Now he must train the newcomer to becoming a kung-fu master. Along the way little Jaden finds himself a father and Jackie Chan finds himself a friend and the two really grow together. I’d use their character names, but what’s the point? They’re just Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan to me.

The big problem with this movie is at 2 hours and 20 minute it was unnecessarily long. Some major cuts could have been made and subplots dropped to make the movie a little more bearable for the children going to go see it. Now, that being said, there are some great lessons to be learned from this film, much like the lessons learned from the original it’s based on. Not to mention Jackie Chan probably turns in the best performance of his entire career here. The part where he talks about what happened to his family actually made me cry and that’s no easy feat (I have no soul), so I have to say this movie has a lot of heart to it and its overblown budget did add some good things, like some beautiful cinematography of the Chinese landscape and some very well choreographed fight scenes

So, overall this movie stood up quite decently, I’m gonna have to give it a 3.5/5.

Next up we’ve got what everyone’s been waiting for! That’s right, I’m talking about the newest chapter in the Twilight Saga (can you really get away with calling it a saga?), Eclipse. Let me start by saying that I am not a Twi-Hard and that’s not the reason why I went to see this movie. I make it a habit of seeing the Twilight movies each year because they are a big part of our modern culture, whether we want to admit it or not and I like to make judgements about everything big based on informed opinions, not here-say. So thus I went and witnessed the latest chapter in the Twilight series. So, what did I think?

This movie didnt suck!
First off, let’s start with the pros of this movie. David Slade is probably the best director they’ve got for the series so far. He adds a new level of intensity to the film that the first two were lacking with more suspense and some genuinely scary moments. He also demands more out of his actors, who probably turn in the best performances of the series here, which isn’t saying much, but still. Even Mr. Pattinson is showing a little emotion here for once, which is nice. Also, the cinematography and special effects of this movie are above anything the first two delivered and the soundtrack isn’t bad either. That’s always been one of the few strengths that this series has had right from the beginning. Not to mention some of the vampire fight scenes are nothing short of fantastic. Slade really knows how to ramp up the action. It also had a much better sense of humour than the first two films and even pokes a little fun at itself at times without getting too ridiculous. This is a nice reprieve from the first film, which took itself so seriously as to be laughable.

Now for the cons. First of all, the script. Secondly, the script. Somebody needs to fire Melissa Rosenberg, but somebody else apparently thinks she’s doing a good job, when obviously she isn’t. The build up for the final fight takes way too long, there are a bit too many flashbacks and although I do love a good love triangle, the one in this movie just gets repetitious after a while. You want to tell Bella to make up her damn mind already. It’s a little frustrating when a script goes in so many circles it’ll leave you feeling nauseous. Now, this does mean we get some great character moments between Edward, Jacob and Bella, but it got kind of tiresome after a while. I was more interested in the battle that took an hour and a half just to set up and is then barely shown. A few of the scenes drag on a bit long as well, especially right at the end, when you know the movie’s going to end, but it just keeps going for a few minutes longer than it needs to as Bella and Edward talk in a field of flowers. Where is this field anyways? It also has the problems that every Twilight movie has of Edward being overprotective and his relationship with Bella being extremely unhealthy as her self-worth hinges on his adoration, but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post of its own. Or just go listen to the Twilight show I did for This Week in Geek.

Overall though, Eclipse was the best Twilight film so far and definitely worth it for fans of the series, since there’s plenty of Edward and Jacob here to chew on. Even non-fans might find it a little harder to hate than the first two films, though I’m sure they’ll find a way. Let’s face it, this is Twilight. My opinions mean little here anyways. Most people reading this have either already seen it or never will. But hey, I might as well say what I think anyways, because why not? I give The Twilight Saga: Eclipse a 3/5.

So, stay tuned for more reviews and rantings from The Double D, only at thisweekingeek.net!

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