Browse Category: Adventure

RECAP: Congo

Congo (1995): Frank Marshall

Diamonds, we are told, are a girl’s best friend. But what if they were also a murderous sub-species of gorilla’s best friend? What if those gorillas were bred by humans to protect central African diamond mines known to an Israelite king thousands of years ago? And what if there was a movie about them, and it also had famed cinematic ham Bruce Campbell in it? Well, you’d have Congo.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Two scientists search the depths of the Congolese jungle, one to find a source of diamonds and the other to return home a talking gorilla, while everyone involved meets the world’s most aggressive gorillas. Continue Reading

RECAP: Jurassic Park III

Jurassic Park III (2001): Joe Johnston

Only eight years after one of the most successful movies of all time, most of its stars seemed as if they didn’t want to appear in the series again. Sam Neill is the lone star of Jurassic Park to reprise a large role in the third movie (although Laura Dern makes a cameo).

Perhaps everyone expected Jurassic Park III to be a stinker. While not on Spielberg’s level, the third Park movie strips away the fat for a thrill-a-minute dinosaur hunt with bigger, badder, and bigger and badder dinosaurs.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A boy crashes onto a dinosaur island and his parents trick a famous paleontologist into helping find him.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989): Steven Spielberg

Five years after the slight letdown of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford return to their franchise’s roots: Nazis, Christian artifacts, and lusting co-eds. We have ’em all.

The Nazis still haven’t started their war, but are only months out. Indy manages to travel to Berlin, and even meets Hitler, in case you didn’t believe he was running things.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Indiana Jones teams up with his father to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis do.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): Steven Spielberg

Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones movie, busted the block in one of the biggest hits of the 1980s. Of course there’d be a sequel. And of course there’d be more Nazis–oh. No Nazis? Indians, instead? Sure, I’ll watch that.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: After crashing in the Himalayas, Indiana Jones searches for a missing Shankara stone belonging to an Indian village, and uncovers a sinister priest enslaving children and removing hearts.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): Steven Spielberg

Coming at number two on the AFI list of all-time best heroes, Indiana Jones, since 1981, has filled the role of modern American cowboy. Carrying a whip and a fedora, Jones has a signature look that surpasses even Harrison Ford’s other iconic character, Han Solo.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An American archeology professor fights Nazis to unearth the Ark of the Covenant before it lands in Hitler’s hands.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001): Simon West

After five successful video games, Hollywood thought it was time for a Tomb Raider movie. Luckily, no better actor in the world could play Lara Croft than Angelina Jolie. And she’s available.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Lara Croft, sad about her missing dad, finds a device that could bring him back, and the Illuminati is there, too. Continue Reading

RECAP: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003): Gore Verbinski

Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me.

So begins the out-of-nowhere leviathan that became the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. From its start as a fun, water-based ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, this movie, the original, spawned four sequels (and counting?), grossed more than $4.5 billion worldwide, and remade Johnny Depp into a Keith Richards clone. Quite the success.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A loopy pirate recruits a reluctant blacksmith and a governor’s daughter to help him capture a cursed pirate ship roaming the British-era Caribbean.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004): Kerry Conran

In the pre-Superman era, popular culture was dominated by pulp fictions, stories printed on the cheapest paper made and consumer by children. When they weren’t reading about the exploits of Dick Tracy or The Shadow, they were listening to them on the radio.

Kerry Conran loved those pulp serials growing up, and he worked hard to make his own. Nearly all of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was filmed on a green screen. Unlike many CGI spectacles, Sky Captain eschewed realism in its sets and backgrounds.

Many locations appear like mattes on canvas, adding terrific style. Also adding to style are the art deco pastiche. These are the biggest draws of the film. Come for the style, stay for the action.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Joe Sullivan, Sky Captain, and Polly Perkins, intrepid reporter, chase a mad scientist across the globe to foil his world-beating plans.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Outcast

Outcast (2014): Nick Powell

Nicolas Cage is one of America’s most prolific actors. About two times a year we are lucky enough to get a Cage movie, only to ask, “How can I see it?” Some movies hit theaters. Some go straight to DVD. Some are on demand. No one knows. I think Cage movie producers flip a coin. Heads=theatrical release, tails=not theatrical release. Who cares, as long as Cage gets to shoot in New Orleans?

Outcast continues a long tradition of terribly named Cage movies. Titles are important, and when they don’t tell you much about the movie, sales numbers will drop. Do you think Saving Private Ryan would have been as successful were it named War? I don’t, but if Cage had starred in it I bet that’s the title he’d get. Cage’s two movies prior were called Rage and Joe. The former of those two is a pretty good title in that it evokes emotion, but you still won’t know a thing about it.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An English crusader knight heads east to China, where he hooks up with the rightful child-king of a Chinese kingdom and his sister. Continue Reading