War Of The Worlds

Name: War Of The Worlds
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 116
Description: Ray Ferrier is a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father. When his ex-wife and her new husband drop off his teenage son Robbie and young daughter Rachel for a rare weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm suddenly touches down. What follows is the extraordinary battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it in this contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells’ seminal classic sci-fi thriller.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning and Tim Robbins
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Okay-ish, but I had expected it to be much better. The only character I liked in this film was the woman trying to take Rachel with her. Don’t know who I dislike more, Rachel or the boy.

The score was mostly appropriate and I especially loved the ethereal choir when that woman wanted to protect Rachel. The finale is totally misscored, though, unless a family reunion needs to be a gloomy affair.

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Name: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 157
Description: Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts is about to start and he is enjoying the summer vacation with his friends. They get tickets to the Quidditch World Cup final, but after the match is over, people dressed like Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters set fire to all the visitors’ tents, coupled with the appearance of Voldemort’s symbol, the Dark Mark in the sky, which causes a frenzy across the magical community. That same year, Hogwarts is hosting the Triwizard Tournament, a magical tournament between three well-known schools of magic: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. The contestants have to be above the age of 17 and are chosen by a magical object called the Goblet of Fire. On the night of selection, however, the Goblet spews out four names instead of the usual three, with Harry unwittingly being selected as the fourth Champion. Since the magic cannot be reversed, Harry is forced to go with it and brave three exceedingly difficult tasks.
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

It was difficult to really enjoy it as I know it inside out (having watched it way too often when I was young), but anyway… Newell did his own thing with the characters, which mostly resulted in welcome changes. I loved Moaning Myrtle (she likes Harry, so she can’t possibly be morose all the time), but especially during the first part of the movie, EVERYONE SHOUTS AND I DON’T REALLY LIKE THAT!!! Daniel Radcliffe didn’t always convince me when he was crying either and the way Moody was always helping him, giving him hard stares and long looks, was really over the top too, but I must say that this film contains one special thing that all the following ones don’t: raw emotion. Even now, the graveyard scene and its aftermath made me shiver. It’s amazing how many things Newell managed to squeeze into these two and a half hours, though they messed up the Crouch Jr plotline: what happens to him now and does nobody in this world regularly check their prisoners?

It’s hard to say something objective about the score that made me pay attention to to film music for the first time in my life. I still remember being enchanted by it as a 12-year-old and buying the CD in the cinema right after seeing the film. I don’t think Doyle emulated John Williams at all and he shouldn’t have done so either. He did drop lots of Williams’ themes, though, which I find unnecessary, but then again, Williams did that as well in the previous film and Doyle’s own thematic material is as memorable as Williams’. For me, it’s still magical, symphonic bliss and it’s crystal-clear that, unlike Nicholas Hooper, Doyle had a very clear plan from beginning to end.

I wrote part of my thesis on this audio description track, so I remembered much more about it than any normal person should. It’s good, but some pivotal actions are announced way too soon.

Pride & Prejudice

Name: Pride & Prejudice
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 127
Description: The story is based on Jane Austen’s novel about five sisters – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet – in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when a wealthy young man (Mr Bingley) and his best friend (Mr Darcy) arrive in their neighbourhood.
Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen and Brenda Blethyn
Genres: Drama, Romance

LOVED IT. As usual, it took me a few moments to get into the 18th-century politics and multitude of characters (quite confusing at first), but other than that, everything was just perfect. It was amazing how fluent all the actors made Austen’s rather stilted language sound, especially Keira Knightley was absolutely brilliant there (and in all other aspects of her role as well, of course).

A great score, too. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been so touched by a piano performance (Georgiana) and the ball music was lovely too, though it was rather stupid that two characters both played the film’s main theme and the end credits suite lacks passion, energy and exuberance: everyone got married after all.

The surround sound mix could have been more dynamic as well, the rear channels were hardly used.

Bewitched

Name: Bewitched
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 102
Description: Out in California’s San Fernando Valley, Isabel is trying to reinvent herself. A na├»ve, good-natured witch, she is determined to disavow her supernatural powers and lead a normal life. At the same time, across town, Jack Wyatt, a tall, charming actor, is trying to get his career back on track. He sets his sights on an updated version of the beloved 1960s situation comedy Bewitched, re-conceived as a starring vehicle for himself in the role of the mere-mortal Darrin. Fate steps in when Jack accidentally runs into Isabel. He is immediately attracted to her and her nose, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the nose of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in the original TV version of Bewitched. He becomes convinced she could play the witch Samantha in his new series. Isabel is also taken with Jack, seeing him as the quintessential mortal man with whom she can settle down and lead the normal life she so desires…
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell and Shirley MacLaine
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Well, that was fun. Ridiculous, of course, but I had a good laugh. Nicole Kidman was kind of cute, Will Ferrell was hilarious at times and Michael Caine is, well, Michael Caine. I had a rather exhausting day today and just wanted to empty the brain. This film did the job, though the scriptwriters could have used some grammar lessons: men cannot be witches.

The songs were nice and the score was at times very playful and appropriate, but I missed celesta and more magic.

The volume of the original film audio wasn’t modified at all, which made understanding the audio description rather difficult during loud moments.

Madagascar

Name: Madagascar
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 86
Description: At New York’s Central Park Zoo, a lion, a zebra, a giraffe, and a hippo are best friends and stars of the show. But when one of the animals goes missing from their cage, the other three break free to look for him, only to find themselves reunited on a ship en route to Africa. When their vessel is hijacked, however, the friends, who have all been raised in captivity, learn first-hand what life can be like in the wild.
Stars: Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

At first, I didn’t think I’d be able to watch this one as my speakers are giving up the ghost, but earphones came to the rescue. Obviously, this is a simple film, but I enjoyed it nevertheless except for the stupid Alex ‘subplot’ at the end.

Hans Zimmer’s cheerful score was a really pleasant surprise after all his superhero trash.

The narrator was clearly having a great time recording all the descriptions, but it would have been nice had he said a little more from time to time.

The Family Stone

Name: The Family Stone
Year: 2005
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 103
Description: The Stone family unites in common cause when their favourite son brings his uptight girlfriend home for the Christmas holiday, with plans of proposing. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications.
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

I think there’s something wrong with the title of this film. It’s about the Stone family, not about a secret heirloom. Also don’t really understand why they broadcast a Christmas film in July.

I really liked Diane Keaton and Craig T Nelson, who said very little, but when he did speak, the emotion was always palpable. The ending was rather good (except for the fact that Meredith wasn’t stabbed to death). I only wish the rest had been just as good.

Giacchino’s score was surprisingly pleasant, but someone needs to tell the guy about reverb, fast.

The audio description was ineffective at times. I had to consult Wikipedia twice before I understood who was who.