Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Movie Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (PG-13, 95 mins)

Those who know me will not be the least bit surprised by the following statement.  I love 'bad' movies.  By 'bad' I mean the movies that are traditionally referred to as "B" movies - which are cheesy, average-ly acted, over-the-top movies generally in the action, science-fiction, or fantasy genre.  The ones I adore the most are the ones in which the actors seem to understand the movie is ridiculous, but they are having a really good time anyway.  The best example of this is the terrible Kull the Conqueror:  it's terrible, but really really fun.  If you haven't seen it, and you enjoy this type of nonsense - check it out.  Another prime example of this phenomenon is the Saturday night movies on the SyFy channel.  These original movies all fit into this category. 
Ghost Rider, the character, was originally a character in some of the early Western comic produced by Marvel Comics.  His current incarnation first appeared in 1972 in Marvel comics.  The short version is that Johnny Blaze was a motorcycle stunt rider in a traveling circus.  He sold his soul to a devil in order to save his stepfather, "Crash" Simpson, from cancer. Crash later dies in a motorcycle accident and the dealmaker, Mephisto, attempts to take Blaze's soul, only to be thwarted by Crash's daughter Roxanne, who had learned of the deal and had prepared a counter-spell based on selfless love. Since Roxanne interrupted in the middle of the pact, Mephisto could only bind half the soul of a demon with Blaze, making him transform into the flame-headed Ghost Rider and giving him powers to fight evil.

The original Ghost Rider movie, which came out in 2007, was terrible - but I loved it anyway.  The problem with it was that no one in the movie seemed to enjoy how terrible it was, they were all taking it far too seriously.  That does not seem to be an issue this time around.  Everyone - Nicolas Cage in particular - seems to really be having a good time.  Nicolas Cage is a self-professed comic geek.  His real last name is Coppola, he changed it to avoid constant comparison to his famous family.  He went with Cage as an homage to Luke Cage - another Marvel Comic hero.  He named his son Kal-El, after superman. There is a scene in the original Ghost Rider movie in which Cage is shirtless, and in order to do that scene, he had to have a large tattoo of Ghost Rider on his back covered.  He spends the majority of this movie going crazy - and loving every minute of it. 
Plot:  Blaze, a man who made a deal with the Devil (ho called himself Roarke at the time) is on the run trying to make sure noone is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. He is approached by a Monk named Moreau who tells him that he can help be him free of the Rider, but first, he needs Johnny's help to protect a boy, whom Roarke has plans for.  He wants to put his spirit in the boy - to take human form...you know, like he's always trying to do...
Pretty simple right?  Now coat that in flashy special effects, cheesy acting, big 'splosions, and some music-video style directing and editing and you have a fun popcorn filled movie.  Cage - as mentioned before is pure cheesy goodness ("that's high praise!").  The ever-beautiful Idris Elba pops in as the french monk Moreau and does a decent job of a french accent.  Christopher Lambert (original Highlander and original movie Raiden, or Rayden?) comes back from whereever he has been hiding to breifly show up as another monk - leading a mysterious cult who say they can help the child and remove the Rider from Blaze.  Violante Placido is the girl.  Ciaran Hinds plays Roarke - or the devil depending on your interpretation and is really creepy and evil.  The big surprise is Johnny Whitworth - who is that one guy from that one thing? you know, with the stuff?  He's been in a ton of things and you've seen him many many times and I find that's always how I have described him in the past.  He steals a big part of this movie as the Henchman - the big villian in these movies always has a main Henchman.  He starts out as human, then gets the gift of decay, which is creepy - but kind of awesome at the same time. 
The movie is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who together directed Gamer, Crank and Crank2.  If you have seen any of those other movies you will completely understand what I mean when I say the style of this film is similar:  frenetic, slick, video-gamey, and music-videoy.  Like those others it is fast, colorful with lots of action and fun to watch.  Ghost Rider 2 is available in 3D - and was shot in 3D, as opposed to being converted to 3D after being shot.  It is worth it so see it in the 3D - the action and effects play well in the 3D.  I was impressed with all the fight sequences, but even more so with the detail work of the effects.  For example, every time the Rider's head is on fire, his leather coat bubbles and blisters around his neck - a very thought-out detail that provides that extra bit of cool.
So - in summary - as long as you are prepared ahead of time that this will not be a cinematic masterpiece, but you want to just have some fun in the theater with a non-serious,crazy movie - go see this...and see if you can get extra cheese on your popcorn.
8 out of 10.  Extra point for Christopher Lambert and whoever took the time to do his makeup, it was a lot of writing.  Extra point for Idris Elba - beautiful.  Points lost for not using Anthony Head enough.  We all miss our Giles.
As a bonus:  Here's the link for Nicolas Cage vs. Nicolas Cage on SNL.  Genius:  http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-get-in-the-cage/1384659

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