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Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I won't be reviewing "The Fellowship Of The Ring" on DVD just yet, because I only recieved my copy this morning and haven't quite had time to check out anything on the extras disc at all - I wanted to watch the movie again and work out whether it was as good as I remembered it.

Unusually enough for me, I only saw it once, just before Christmas, last year and the quality of the THX presentation that I was lucky enough to see, meant that viewing it at my local cinema would be slightly akin to seeing it in black-and-white, and in full-screen, on a 14" portable telly. So, it's been a long wait to see the film again, but the DVD viewing that I've taken in this morning reaffirms that Peter Jackson's opening salvo in his cinematic magnum opus is pretty much the real deal: You really do need this movie in your collection.

Surround sound freaks out there will very much dig the reference quality Dolby Digital Surround Ex audio mix that's been transfered alongside an near-as-dammit impeccable 2:35:1 Anamorphic widescreen picture - If you own a fairly hardcore REL subwoofer, my guess is that the opening battle prologue will be doing some serious structural damage to your home and those of any neighbours unfortunate enough to live next door, if not actually knock pots and pans off the walls. The only bad thing to say about "Fellowship.."'s sound design is that it is so darn involving and aurally awe-inspiring that it makes you want to sit and watch the movie again, all the way through, each time that you cue the DVD up.

Which is a bad idea if you have to get up for work at 3:45 in the AM, as I do, and quite fancy taking a peak at the Mondo Cool sequence set in the Mines of Moria, just before you head off on your trusty five-speed Raleigh hybrid to face another day....

But then, I'm not reviewing the movie just yet, so I must curb my enthusiasm and not do a Numfar of Pylea-esque Dance Of Joy over just how good this DVD is, and how much I can't wait for November's four-disc, extras-laden, extended director's cut.

It's a geek thing, y'all....you wouldn't understand.


Sunday, July 28, 2002

It's official, dear Super-Friends: Your humble Evil Overlord Hiroprota is far too tired to post the previously-trailed "Austin Powers in 'Goldmember'" review. You see, as I skillfully touch-type these unnecessary words, the day outside is almost too lovely to be convincing.

The sun is high in a picturebook sky, with only the barest minimum of clouds to rudely interrupt the vast blue vista above. A light breeze occasionally sneaks through an open door and cheekily kisses my bare legs, letting me know that the warmth won't get too oppressive and threaten to fry my brains (Such as they are).

Things? They are good. And I find myself curiously unable to tell you any more about Mike Myers latest, save that it should make you laugh out loud at least a few times and that after seeing it, you shouldn't feel that you've been taken in by A.N. Other summer blockbuster with slick marketing and no substance to back up the razzle-dazzle. Of course, "Goldmember" doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of substance to boast about - It's an "Austin Powers" flick, for crying out loud - but it did make me double-up with the chuckles more than a few times (If you've seen it, the bit with the medical exam behind the screen and Dr. Evil's thwarted attempts to present his latest world-domination scheme were, for me, reason enough to justify this sequel's existance).

Oh, and that Beyonce from Destiny's Child is more than acceptable as Austin's capable, can-do sidekick, Foxxy Cleopatra - She's obviously aware that attempting to poach scenes from Myers, Verne Troyer and Michael Caine is a true Fool's Errand and wisely doesn't try, concentrating instead on an exhuberant delivery of her "Shazam!" catchphrase and sporting the kind of extravagantly over-the-top wardrobe last seen on Pam Grier circa 1975. I wouldn't be in a rush to nominate her for an Oscar just yet, but she makes a fairly respectable thesping debut that doesn't embarass her.

On the debit side, new villain and titular character, Dutch metallurgist mentallist Goldmember, is fairly pointless and has so little to do in the flick that you have to figure that Myers and director Jay Roach realised just how inessential he was to the plot and that we really only need the inspired, ineffectual scheming of Dr. Evil to drive the movie forward. As with the truly gross and inanely vulgar Fat Bastard in "The Spy Who Shagged Me" , this installment's unwelcome, party-crashing buffoonish, Goldmember is an ill-realised and ill-concieved one-note afterthought who should be swiftly retired before any fourth movie in the series. He's marginalised almost he soon as he arrives on screen, reduced to a supporting player and non-essential, proverbial third-wheel. Goldmember's oh-so-hilarious schtick is A) That he loves Gold above all things, B)Has an accent that might sound quite Dutch if you have no idea what a Dutch person might sound like and C)Is ever so slightly pervy. Comic dynamite he most certainly isn't.

Hiroprota's First Rule Of Comedy - "There is no such thing as too much Dr. Evil"....



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