Movie Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing along Blog

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this movie and I have to say, it was rather interesting. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a film from 2008, released as a mini-series on TV and online. It follows the story of Dr. Horrible, an aspiring villain, Captain Hammer, a superhero/douchebag and Penny, their shared love interest.

The plot is centered around Dr. Horrible as he wants to rule the world through autocratic authority. He feels that the world is a mess and he needs to rule it. As he tries to do so, he is constantly stopped by his arch nemesis, Captain Hammer. Dr. Horrible falls in love with a character named Penny who ends up with Captain Hammer. The Doctor slowly recedes into madness and his evil personality as his relationship with Penny weakens as she falls in love with Captain Hammer, who rubs his “victory” in the doctor’s face.

The plot is very likable as they choose to deviate from the cliched superhero perspective but decides to go at it from the villain’s point of view.

I know. Not a first

Also, the fact that they made the ending seem like a greek tragedy made it very interesting. Spoiler alert but there are no “Happily-ever-afters” in this flick. Penny is killed by shrapnel from Dr. Horrible’s “death” ray (just a stun gun with the words “DEATH” taped on top of “STUN”). The supposed hero, Captain Hammer, runs away in fear after feeling pain for the first time. The Doctor gets everything he ever wanted but it all cost a Penny. (Did you see what I did there?)

Let’s move on to the characters. The titular character, Dr. Horrible, is a very likable character, played by Neil Patrick Harris (who has the cutest of faces). His costume is a white lab coat with a red mark on his left breast-area. He wears goggles on his head. The white apparel is reflecting how he is not truly evil but is just confused and strayed from the path (The lingering evil that resided with him is the red mark). It contrasts towards the ending of the film where he changes into a red costume with black gloves, he shifts to goggles over his eyes to emphasise that he had truly turned evil and began to hide behind his evilness.

The colour palette present on Dr. Horrible contrasts well to his nemesis, Captain Hammer, who wears a black shirt and pants with black gloves. It creates the simple implication that he is the true antagonist in the film. The Captain is a very good to dislike character, I hate him so much as he is the embodiment of all high school douchebags that are stereotypically always getting the girl just because he is strong and good looking.

Penny is a pretty boring character as she is bland and as white as white bread. I think that it was intentional that she was made this way, at least I hope so.

As a musical, the music has got to be the most important part of this movie and I have to say, the music was really good and well put together. “Brand New Day” is my personal favourite. It has some sort of rap (I like it when people jam a lot of words in a song) and then it has this really epic rock part.

Another of my favourites is “Slipping”. It stars off as very sinister, then goes to a very aggressive emotion then it reverts to an innocent and scared feeling. The contrasts in this song are done very well.

In conclusion, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along blog is a must watch. It is readily available for everyone on the internet to see on Youtube. It also won an Emmy!

Plot: 8/10

Characters: 9/10

Music: 10/10

General Enjoyability: 9/10

Movie Review: Calendar Girls

 

Calendar Girls is a film from 2003 that was directed by Nigel Cole, produced by Buena Vista and Touchstone Pictures. It is based on the true story of a bunch of Yorkshire ladies who decide to do a nude photoshoot for a calendar to raise funds for Leukemia. It stars Helen Mirren. Although it was based on a true story, I will be reviewing this movie as a film on its own merits, only drawing on reality in one particular scene.

The plot is very simple but humorous. The story centers around the fact that Chris (Helen Mirren’s character) decides to do a nude photoshoot with some old ladies after one of their friends dies from Leukemia. If I were to play the devil’s advocate here, I would say that many of the plot points are actually pointless. One such plot thread is that Chris becomes a bit overzealous with the fame that she was receiving, neglecting her son, husband and friends while she celebrates the glory that is her, leading to Chris to have a mild argument with Annie, another main character.

It creates unnecessary tension between the characters and is an age-old cliche. I was able to predict this event  exactly when Chris managed to get many sales of the calendar. Even the real person the story is based on, Tricia Stewart, has said that there were no such tensions in their real-life counterpart.

There is also an unresolved plot line which was the relationship between Mirren’s character and her son. They seemed to establish a subplot involving him as he smokes oregano (thinking it was weed), drinks and is unhappy with his mother. They did not really seem to patch it up between them which is either to create an ambiguous relationship with the two characters allowing people to figure it out on their own or it is just lazy writing.

However, I cannot complain about the amount of subplots as it would make the movie extremely short should they be removed.

Cliches are also ever present in this film. The unnecessary tension as stated above, the head of  WI not approving (Yes, the crummy white piece of authority not supporting an unorthodox cause. How original!) and the speech that follows. It Reminded me of Patch Adams, I may review that sinful movie in the future.

However, I liked the movie. Helen Mirren’s character, before the unnecessary fame high, was a very likable character. Helen Mirren is very well capable of pulling such a role in such a casual fashion. You do not see her as Helen Mirren, you see her as Chris, a British lady looking for some fun. Unlike certain other actors (Nicholas Cage, I am looking at you).

The head of the Local WI was a very fun to dislike character. My dislike for her character shows that she succeeded in her role as the pseudo-antagonist. She decides to pass off the idea as her own when it was successful while trying to stop it when it was considered unorthodox, making her a really bitchy character.

I really liked the concept of the film as it was a bit unorthodox in its premise and I was rather impressed by the female cast. It also teaches people very important morals. Even in the withering of age, one can find beauty. It teaches, through a redundant plot thread, to not let fame get ahead of your friends and family. The movie also teaches people to follow through with things that you want to do even if people do not approve of it first (Good things, okay? Do not have a YOLO attitude, be smart).

When I initially watched this movie, I expected a run-of-the-mill film about some elderly British women doing something silly and hilarity ensues. I was definitely proven wrong. The characters are extremely likable, the plot is funny and interesting despite its minor flaws (I tend to nitpick) and the message of the movie is quite interesting.

It is a must watch.
Plot: 7/10

Characters: 9/10

General enjoyability: 8/10