Friday, January 7, 2011
Unstoppable - A Runaway Hit or A Train Wreck?
So a few days ago I learned about this movie through a YouTube ad. A runaway freight train that could end up destroying an entire town, based on a true story? "Sounds cool," I thought to myself. When I was a child, most boys my age loved cars. I did play with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, but Thomas the Tank Engine was definitely my thing. It was what I was obsessed with before Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog came along. I loved trains as a kid so I'll always have a soft spot for them which was what initially drew me to Unstoppable. Then I looked to see how critics received the movie and the majority spoke highly of it which was encouraging too. That's when I decided to see Unstoppable and I have no regrets.
Is that James and Gordon? Nope. The Island of Sodor it ain't.
This movie is absolutely intense, easily one of the most intense I've ever seen. The opening shots are just of trains standing still in a train yard and even THAT is intense. I'm not kidding. I was imagining how the Double Rainbow guy would react. You'll know right from the beginning you're in for one heck of a ride. Throughout the entire movie there's a lot of intense zooming in and shaking of the camera. Some critics gave the movie flak for this, but personally I think it was done perfectly because it makes sense that there will be a bit of shaking as an unmanned train roars by you at 120 km/h. As the ending credits started rolling I was surprised when I realized my legs were actually shaking a bit when I started to get up.
I'm kind of glad Michael Bay did not direct this movie. It probably would have been a montage of crashes until the two main characters (played by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (Yeah, the main guy from the Star Trek remake)) stopped the train. Thankfully there was only one major crash which holds a lot of meaning towards how selfish corporations can be to save money. The characters all have the right amount of depth for a movie like this. Not too shallow, yet not too deep as to detract from the dire situation at hand. It was just enough to make me care about what their life is like outside of their jobs. I did NOT expect Unstoppable to have as much depth as it did. I didn't expect it to be as thought provoking as Inception, and it isn't. But it didn't need to be. I walked into the cinema expecting a thrilling adrenaline rush, and I got that and more. The ending is predictable, but the journey leading up to it was not easy on the characters by any stretch of the imagination.
The acting and dialogue was top notch. It was not cheesy in any way and perfectly believable. It kept me engaged - it made me facepalm at the idiot who let the train get away in the first place, it made me annoyed at the corporate monkeys who wanted to take the easy way out, and it even made me laugh at times. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine had great on-screen chemistry in their respective veteran and newbie roles.
Ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Retirement Home, and Mr. Daycare.
There are not many bad points to this movie. The part involving the danger of the Triple 7 locomotive butting heads with a passenger train full of kids was over and done with a bit too quickly. The trailer may convince you otherwise, but there's actually much more focus on stopping the train before it reaches the S curve in Stanton. The music isn't good nor bad. I didn't care either way as I was paying more attention to the plot.
The DVD comes out in North America on March 8th, and here in Australia it just opened in theaters this Friday. I highly suggest watching this on the big screen or at least with a great surround sound system. The movie is about a train that's basically "A missile the size of a Chrysler building" as Rosario Dawson's character puts it, and hearing the whooshing of the Triple 7 train in the cinema sounded very true to life.
All in all, if you enjoy action movies you will love this movie. I doubt Unstoppable will win any awards, but it's very good at what it is meant to accomplish. I personally enjoyed every second of it and I will definitely watch it again. You don't even have to love trains to enjoy it. Think of it as what should have been the sequel to Speed.
My Rating: 9.0/10. Fantastic!
This is the first time I can say I was convinced by a YouTube ad to see a movie, and it was one that I had to sit through before seeing the video I wanted to see (I think it was one of the recent =3 videos but I'm not 100% sure). That's a noteworthy thing in of itself. A great movie to start the year off with. This is also the first movie review I've done so feedback would be appreciated. Don't expect me to do a lot of these. I'm still focusing on doing my Aussie Life vlogs and the LOLZ, Sims videos I recently started doing.