It’s difficult to put into words how excited THN is about Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman Film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. The wait is nearly over, and the anticipation has got me thinking about ‘threequels’ from years gone by and their varying degrees of success. Much has been said about the greatness of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and the failings of THE GODFATHER: PART III and such the like, but I’ve given some other threequels a turn. AND I watched HOME ALONE 3 for the first time especially. The things I do for THN… Here’s three of the best and three of the worst…
Three is the magic number…
ARMY OF DARKNESS (AKA EVIL DEAD III)
We’ll forget about the fact Sam Raimi narrowly avoided my shit-list with the shambolic SPIDERMAN 3, and celebrate his wonderfully ridiculous final installment of the EVIL DEAD trilogy.
The first two EVIL DEAD films were tough to follow – once your hero has replaced his possessed hand with a chainsaw and a girl has been raped by a tree, it’s difficult to see where the franchise can go next. Raimi’s answer? Medieval! With the comedy amped up, ARMY OF DARKNESS sees Ash saw down hordes of plasticine skeletons while back-chatting medieval kings with unforgettable lines like –
‘You ain’t leadin’ but two things right now: Jack and shit… and Jack left town.’
TOY STORY 3
In exploring what happened to Andy’s toys after he’s donated them to a daycare centre, TOY STORY 3 takes its audience on a familiarly hilarious but altogether more emotional journey than the previous two films. All the old favourite characters are present with some ingenious additions; the hilarious Ken, and seemingly loveable villain Lotso, whose eventual demise is just fantastic.
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE
It must have been a tough decision to free John McClane from the confines of his plaza after a less successful outing in an airport for DIE HARDER, but letting him loose on New York adds new vitality to the franchise. Jeremy Irons’ riddling ‘Simon says’ routine is lots of fun and Samuel. L. Jackson does a great job as McClane’s reluctant buddy. A great shoot up in a lift shows McClain can still slay dastardly Europeans on a hangover, and while the final act loses its way a little, all is forgiven when Willis gives us a yippe-ka-ay motherf***** before the credits roll.
But sometimes three’s a crowd…
HOME ALONE 3
With Macaulay Culkin replaced by a less cute and more annoying little twerp, the franchise was always going to take a nose dive. John Hughes’ script is devoid of imagination and falls into several traps. The burglars are ridiculously cartoonish, the kid’s parents only leave him alone for an hour at a time, the traps are over-explosive and under-clever, and for God’s sake, it doesn’t even feel like Christmas! Way to take a dump on my childhood, guys.
THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS
The problem with THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS is the fact the series continues to forget what was so great about the original film. Confused philosophies and a robot mega-battle dilute what was originally a deceptively simple human story. Admittedly the fate of the third movie was plotted by the failure of the second, which disappeared so far down the rabbit hole it caught myxomatosis. REVOLUTIONS is left with a mess to unravel, which ultimately leads to main characters being sidelined in favour of a big, long battle for Zion, which is quite impressive, but does little to lift the kind of apathy that by this point is pretty deep-set.
JAWS 3 (3D)
If you can forgive the wooden acting and the terrible yarn about a mummy shark breaching the barriers of a sea life centre to avenge the death of her deceased son, you’re still faced with the reality of a floating severed arm that looks like it’s been cut out of a cereal box by children.
With a higher budget than the brilliant original, and arguably the best suspense music of the genre at its disposal, you could be forgiven for expecting more from this drab offering. I also wager that a big screen viewing with 1980s 3D glasses would do little to raise this stinker from the murky depths.
All involved (including you, Dennis Quaid) should be basted in fish blood and dipped slowly in a shark tank. Or, at the very least, give Spielberg a fish to slap them all about the face.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is released in UK cinemas 20th July.