A kind and bold example of how no career is sacred, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is both an exploration of how dull Jake Gyllenhaal is as a lead and how unintrusive the work of director Mike Newell is. The pair have had success separately, but it appears that, like most hoping to take on video game projects, they were doomed to failure. Rightly so. Who cares for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? It’s like holding out hopes on an emotional connection with an egg timer. The House of Mouse tanks another adventure-themed feature and shamefully so. The scope and finesse of the larger scenes and the genuine awe Newell can create here is a sad and irredeemable waste.
With a grand ensemble like this, it is clear to see that director Jon Watts is acting on the orders of Marvel. Cram the well-refined characters of the Sam Raimi universe and the not-so intensified versions of the Andrew Garfield features into the Marvel meat grinder. Chow down on a big bowl of nostalgia, where once defined characters come together for a big, boring blowout. The Multiverse was hyped up long before Spider-Man: No Way Home was ever announced, yet it is still, in the words of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) something we know “frighteningly little” about.
Mad scientists mark a stream of bad luck for Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). As if the steroid popping alter ego of Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) was bad enough, Spider-Man 2 has the web-slinging wunderkind square off against Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a man inevitably tied to octopus-like villainy considering both his surname and forename start with an “O”. But the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is burnt out. Smart scientists are here to blow up the city, but the twenty-nine-year-old teenager has other issues at hand. He has lost his job, no longer providing people with any form of pizza time, and his relationship with everyone around him is fraught with grief and an inability to focus.
Finally, a film that captures the joys of consuming corporate products. Who’d have thought we would need such a feature? With Herculean strength, a young arcade gamer tears the metallic steering wheel from the welded shackles. This would be my living hell, and I am so glad Ralph Breaks the Internet gives me and you the chance to experience what would happen if the spaceship from Wall-E lived inside your router. Two bumbling idiots go on a quest to save the day, and with no variation between them, they soon blur together as a charmless clump, far removed from what they were in Wreck-It Ralph. A sad downgrade as these protagonists wanders the new world of upgrades and the internet.
An iconic, whip-swinging hero was born when Harrison Ford, fresh off the set of Empire Strikes Back, signed on for one of his many iconic roles. Raiders of the Lost Ark is an iconic classic of the blissful 1980s period. Generations above me hold nostalgia for the days they shared together, watching this on the big screen. No doubt my generation and those that will follow are waiting with bated breath to see how much of an impact the first of the Indiana Jones will have on their minds. Representing the Hollywood dream, a time when creatives could power through and offer up something truly incredible, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a milestone achievement. But there is something deeper, beyond its quips and catchphrases lies the real meaning and a presence of genuine danger.
With such a promising ensemble, it’s hard to see how Magnolia could be anything other than a superbly layered character study of intertwining lives. Like Desperate Housewives, but over the course of two and a half hours, rather than an aeon. Paul Thomas Anderson’s dramatic titan sees a collection of stories, the highs and lows of a rough handful of individuals connected by chance, flimsy narratives or shady dealings. Whether it works or not, it’s hard not to appreciate how big of an ask Anderson proposes to his cast, a project that has to have the right amount of connection between roles, enough to engage an audience, but not enough to incite obvious cliché.