The Morning After: Sept. 2, 2013

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.

So, here is what I watched this past week:


Last year, Spain submitted a little black-and-white silent film for consideration as Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards. The film didn’t make it to the final nine and thus missed out on a potential nomination, but every sign indicates that Blancanieves should have been among the year’s nominated productions.

One of three features based on the Grimm fairy tale of Snow White produced last year, Blancanieves didn’t see its U.S. release until 2013 and didn’t manage to make nearly the money it could have. A far better film than either Mirror, Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsman, this Spanish feature adapts the legendary story and puts it into the midst of Spain’s bullfighting past where a young girl’s mother dies in childbirth, her father becomes a quadriplegic after a near-fatal bull fight and her vicious step-mother worms her way into her father’s massive financial estate and makes life miserable for the young woman.

A passel of strong performances, making the film black-and-white was a brave choice, but providing a necessary framework that a few intertitles would have to suffice to progress the storyline and you have an endlessly fascinating and well crafted work. The story departs from Grimm’s fairy tale in a number of ways, but remains faithful to the concept of innocence, wickedness and determination.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

After watching the original Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, I consumed the books greedily, fascinated by the adaptations of Greek mythology into a modern environment. The film wasn’t a huge box office success in the U.S., but apparently was rather popular overseas making it ripe for sequel consideration. Three years later, Sea of Monsters carries on in the fine tradition of the original, departing from the novel where needed and ultimately entertaining a younger audience.

Those who are intrigued by Greek mythology may struggle to find a home in the juvenile environment of a camp of half-bloods, children whose mortal parents were seduced by the gods in human form. The story centers on one of the only known descendants of the great three deities, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Poseidon’s offspring, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is an awkward, but determined teen who learns that he plays a part in a prophecy that could dictate the outcome of the future.

Lerman continues to prove he’s an affable presence and the franchise is perfectly suited to his natural charm and boy-next-door qualities. While his co-stars aren’t the best actors, they give the necessary gravitas to their roles and while the movie may not appeal to adults as easily as it will to teenagers and young adults, there are interesting comments on acceptance, determination and compassion. This outing doesn’t give enough emphasis to these, but it’s still a compelling world I would love to visit again on the big screen.

The Captains: Close-Up

After his successful documentary The Captains, William Shatner adds a few bits of new footage to a quintet of interviews with the captains of the various incarnations of the television world of Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry.

Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula are given equal treatment, each nabbing five half-hour specials that seem more fitting to a television miniseries format than a theatrical feature. While it might have been interesting to get someone else to conduct the interviews, Shatner does a fine job when speaking with the four captains who proceeded him.

Before I give the film a more detailed analysis, I feel I need to see the preceding film as it’s referenced multiple times and I’m convinced some of this footage may be duplicated. As a Trek fan, it’s always interesting to learn more about the people who’ve populated my favorite programs and I did manage to learn a few things about each of the five individuals that headline those landmark series.

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