Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Stormbreaker is an adaptation of the first book (of the same name) in Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series.
The films follows Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer), a 14-year-old orphan. After his uncle (Ewan McGregor) is killed while on a mission for MI6 Alex is roped in by the Head of Special Operations (Bill Nighy) into going to Cornwall under the alias Kevin Blake to investigate American multi-billionaire Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke), who has made a new brand of interactive computer called the Stormbreaker, and who seems too good to be true to MI6.
I, personally, am a huge fan of the Alex Rider books, having read all eight several times, and am greatly anticipating the last two, which are currently being worked on by Horowitz. However, this film is a major disappointment to me, as both a critic and an Alex Rider fan.
As a critic the film disappoints with a very cheesy screenplay where what Horowitz (who ruined his reputation for a while by writing the screenplay) writes doesn't keep you on the edge of your seat as expected but just makes you want to yell "Get on with it" at the screen. One would hope that the screenplay would be redeemed slightly by the list of big names that star in the film but, unsupported by the poor direction, most of the cast churn out wooden, irritating performances. The best examples of this are Alex Pettyfer (who tries acting like a stereotypical cocky teen a bit too much), Bill Nighy (who just doesn't keep his character consistently cold-hearted as Blunt is written) and Mickey Rourke (who camps up Sayle so much that there is nothing threatening about him, and even a kid's film needs a villain who can be threatening). However, the opening scene where Ewan McGregor is first on a motorbike, then in a BMW sports car, being chased by machine gun carrying henchmen on motorbikes, is quite exciting. It's just a shame the rest of the film is just a major anti-climax from that point on, as there is nothing even half that exciting after that.
As a fan of the books it disappoints as what is a suspenseful spy novel in written form becomes an overly cheesy movie that even little kids wouldn't find scary, which is expected as the film is filled with guns, explosions and near-fatal and fatal situations. Plus there are way too many changes that drag the whole story down. For example, the fact that Sayle is camped up way too much, there is nothing particularly threatening about his mute henchman Mr Grin (Andy Serkis) and Alex's two weeks training is just a great big low ropes assault course as opposed to the proper training that took over a chapter in the book. It's just a good thing that the books remains as brilliant as ever, and that the film's major lack of success meant a franchise isn't spawning, otherwise Alex Rider would end up dying a tragic death for such a great series of books.
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Mickey Rourke, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Damian Lewis, Missi Pyle, Andy Serkis, Alicia Silverstone, Sarah Bolger, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry, Ashley Walters, Jimmy Carr, Robbie Coltrane.
Empire Awards nomination: Best Male Newcomer (Alex Pettyfer).