Rewatching My Shelf: Volume One

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I’m starting a new feature called Rewatching My Shelf. I own quite a few DVDs and have started rewatching some of them. In doing so, I’ve found myself either disliking films I previously loved, or enjoying, yet again, those classics that made me clamber to buy them on DVD in the first place. So here is the first batch:

The Mothman Prophecies (Richard Gere)
A Washington D.C. journalist mysteriously ends up in a small town where people have reported seeing a bizarre mothman creature…the same creature his wife drew before dying of a brain tumor…
Pros: I’ve always loved this movie. It’s not a horror movie; it’s just damn creepy. The acting is decent, the story is good enough, and overall I just find this one enjoyable. I think it’s the creepy-factor that gets me; every time I see it I am overcome by creepiness.
Cons: It’s not a perfect movie. You never find out what the heck the mothman really is, and a lot of strange stuff happens, but only a few people seem to take notice of what lies underneath. Still, it’s a good one, I think.
Rating: 3.5/5
Value: $7.50

The 13th Warrior (Antonio Banderas)
Antonio Banderas plays an emissary on a mission to open communication with the barbarian peoples of the north. But strange things are happening in the far north and an unexpected roll of fate calls thirteen warriors (one of them the emissary) into action to battle an ancient foe. Based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton.
Pros: Probably my favorite Banderas film next to Assassins. A lot of fantastic action, a decent enough story, and a lot of clever dialogue.
Cons: The ending is incomplete and I am not entirely sure how accurate the film in regards to its Viking-like northmen.
Rating: 4/5
Value: $8.50

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, and Geoffrey Rush)
Honestly, I have no idea how to describe this movie in a short an succinct way. The best I can do is use the blurb on my DVD case: The roguish, yet charming, Captain Jack Sparrow’s idyllic pirate life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa, steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal, kidnapping the governor’s beautiful daughter Elizabeth. In a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl, Elizabeth’s childhood friend, Will Turner, joins forces with Jack. What will doesn’t know is that a cursed treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead.
Pros: Everything about this film is brilliant. Wonderful effects, wonderful characters (I mean, come on, we all know Captain Jack Sparrow by now, right?), and a downright awesome story. This is a classic. Period. End of story. If you haven’t seen it, or disliked it, then I disown you forever!
Cons: If you hate pirates or fantasy, then don’t see this movie. That’s the only con…
Rating: 4.75/5
Value: $11.00 (or whatever IMAX charges now)

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Harrison Ford)
Archaeologist Indiana Jones sets out to find the legendary Ark of the Covenant when a duo of government operatives question him about a series of strange Nazi messages that indicate that Hitler has been searching for all kinds of ancient relics. Filled with Nazis, a Frenchman, Marian (Indy’s female accomplice), and the forces of good and evil, this Lucas/Spielberg classic is not one to be missed or forgotten.
Pros: I’m actually surprised how well this one has aged. Unlike a lot of films, this one still stands up to the tests of time. The action is wonderful, the dialogue is witty and fun, and Harrison Ford is simply delightful. Toss in a fun story, beautiful scenery and special effects, and you’ve got one hell of an action adventure film!
Cons: The only problem I have with this film is that it suffers from being too stereotypical about its enemies. Then again, they’re Nazis and I think any director or writer would have a hard time turning them into gray characters.
Rating: 4/5
Value: $9.50

Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, and Samuel L. Jackson)
When the Trade Federation sets up a blockade around the small planet of Naboo, two Jedi set out to negotiate the cessation of hostilities. But the Trade Federation is not acting alone: the Sith, long thought extinct, have re-emerged in an attempt to reclaim power. When negotiations fail the two jedi (Qui-gon Jin and Obi-won Kenobi) set out to save the Queen, and in the process discover a small boy on the familiar planet Tattooine…a boy who may very well be the Chosen One to bring balance to the Force. (Does that sum it up well?)
Pros: Beautiful graphics, a decent enough story, and freaking amazing lightsaber battles. Probably the best of the prequels, to be honest.
Cons: Some questionable acting from the younger cast and too much reliance on CGI. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s enjoyable. I agree with everyone else that Darth Maul should not have died in this particular movie.
Rating: 3.5/5
Value: $10.00 (Star Wars is totally worth seeing on the big screen.)

And there you have it!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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