I capped the year 2014 with two films – The Hobbit and Exodus. The former I enjoyed, the latter I was disappointed. I liked the Hobbit particularly when Smaug the dragon spewed its flames and destroyed Laketown. I also find very human the change of heart of Thorin, first in keeping for himself the riches of Erebor and later the decision to join the battle against the Orcs. The fight to save Gandalf was also awesome. Maybe the main lesson to be remembered can be derived from the fight between Azog the Orc lord and Thorin. Never stop until you are sure that the enemy is dead, or it will haunt you. The ending weaves well as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings series.
Exodus disappointed me because I expected something like a remake of Cecil B. DeMilles’s Ten Commandments with all the latest cinematic effects. I expected to be entertained but I viewed a “humanize” or as some say scientific rendering of the Dead Sea crossing. Moses was not portrayed as a leader who brought the Israelites out of Egypt but an ex-prince who cannot let go of his sword!
The first film for the year was TAKEN 3. The first two Taken films were entertaining with almost the same plot. Somebody was taken, in the first it was the daughter and in the second it was the wife. An experienced tracker, Bryan hunted down the taker and got back his loved ones, in the process killing or disabling his nemesis with effortless Steven Seagal precision.
The third was different because nobody was taken. The plot was frame-up and that is where I was a sort of disoriented. The focal character was the husband of Bryan’s former wife. In the first two films, he was a wily businessman with money as the main tool for keeping his family. In the Taken 3 film, it turned out he was smart who can devise a complex plan of getting insurance money by killing his wife in a manner that the crime will be pointed to Bryan. The money will be used to pay a Russian partner who provided businesses for him in the past but he has double-crossed. It was a happy ending, of course. And it all ended there.
My other disappointment was that I viewed the film at Siam Paragon’s 4DX digital cinema. Expensive, but the movement of the chair has nothing to do with the scene being viewed. I felt like I was inside a bottle being shaken vigorously. Yes, taken for a ride.