Oskar Schindler was a complicated man. He was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi party. He was not exactly loyal to his wife. But he was also responsible for saving the lives of 1200 Jewish prisoners during The Holocaust.
If there ever was a Holocaust film, Schindler’s List is that film. Liam Neeson played the title role. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the supporting cast includes Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. Filmed in stark black and white for 99% of the film, the movie pulls no punches. It forces the audience to keep their eyes on the screen and screams out that this is what hate and prejudice leads to.
This film is hard to watch, but it is hard to watch for a reason. It is still relevant 25 years later not only because hatred, prejudice and genocide are still happening, but also because there are some who continue to deny that The Holocaust is anything but historical fact.
May this film live on for eternity, as a reminder of what human beings can do to each other and why we must find a way to accept one another, even if one is different.
In 1998, the big screen adaptation of The Avengers was introduced to movie audiences. Taking the places of Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg as John Steed and Emma Peel were Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. They have to stop Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery) a villain who plans to use the power of nature to destroy the world.
Before I continue with the review, I have to warn that I have not seen the original television series, so my knowledge of the narrative and the characters is strictly based on the movie and the general pop culture references from the series. Based on what little information I have, the problem I see with this film is that it is a superficial reboot without the substance or style of its predecessor. I have a feeling that fans of the original series would like to forget that this reboot was ever made.
Perseus (Sam Worthington) is a son of Zeus and a demi-g-d (half human and half g-d). Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) is the daughter of the King Cepheus. Her father has won a major victory against the g-ds. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) want’s his revenge. Hades demands Andromeda as a sacrifice, otherwise he will unleash the Kraken, a monster who will destroy Cepheus’s kingdom. Desperate to save his daughter and his kingdom, Cepheus turns to Perseus. Can Perseus save the day?
I have never seen the original 1981 film, so I can only speak of it’s reboot. As far as I know, the script does not stray too far from either the original film or the original tale. It’s not a bad film and like any good movie with special effects, they help to tell the story instead of overtaking it.
We all know the story of Moses. He is the infant son of Hebrew slaves living in Egypt. A rumor is spreading that among this new generation of sons born to the Hebrew slaves, one will grow up and free the slaves. Pharaoh sends his soldiers to kill all of the male infants. Yochoved is one of many women who has just brought another son into the world. Willing to do anything to save her son, she puts him in a basket and puts the basket in the Nile. The basket stops at the watery doorstep of the Egyptian princess, who raises the infant as her own. Years later, Moses experiences a crisis of faith and must discover who he is meant to be.
In 1998, The Prince Of Egypt premiered. The actors who lent their voices included Val Kilmer (G-d/Moses), Ralph Fiennes (Rameses) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Tzipporah).
This was a biblical movie done right, for several reasons.
First is that it reflected the rainbow of skin colors that exist in the Middle East, unlike the upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings or the 1956 The Ten Commandments movie. Second is that there was a spiritual aspect to this movie. It was respectful of the biblical and religious aspect without becoming a spectacle or becoming a romanticized, Hollywoodized story that the 1956 movie is.
Biblical stories are tricky to transfer from the page to the screen. But this was done right.
Cast: Cathy/Catherine (Juliette Binoche), Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) and Ellen (Janet McTeer)
Pro’s: This is a beautiful adaptation. Filmed on location in Yorkshire, this movie has the perfect cast. The plot of the book remains unaltered. I love the fact that instead hiring another actress to play Cathy, Juliette Binoche, plays both mother and daughter. Ralph Fiennes has this rabid, animal like sexuality that comes through the screen.
Cast: Cathy (Charlotte Riley), Heathcliff (Tom Hardy) and Ellen (Sarah Lacashire)
Pro’s: Again, the producers choose to film on location in Yorkshire. Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley have this enigmatic, powerful chemistry as the doomed lovers. (Does it also help that, according to IMDB, they are together off screen as well as on screen?) All in all, this is just a well done adaptation.
Cons: The screenwriters did some re-arranging of some parts of the novel. But other than that, I cannot think of any cons.
And the winner is….I’ll put it this way. I prefer the 1992 movie, but someone else may prefer the 2009 mini series.
Oskar Schindler was many things. A womanizer, a sometimes less than honest business man and a Nazi. But he was still responsible for saving the lives of Jews who were headed to the crematorium of Auschwitz.
The 1993 Oscar winning movie, Schindler’s List, starring Liam Neeson in the title role is stark, black and white and unflinching. It dares the movie going audience to not look away, to see what unchecked prejudice, hatred and murder looks like.
If there was ever a Holocaust movie, this is it. I have seen many Holocaust movies, but this one consistently ranks at the top of the list. With an incredible supporting cast that includes Ben Kingsley (Itzhak Stern), Ralph Fiennes (Amon Goeth) and Embethz Davidtz (Helen Hirsch), this movie leaves a mark on the audience. Steven Spielberg, as the director, leaves no stone un-turned.
This movie should be required viewing, not just for school children, but for adults all over the world.
After the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” became a battle cry to remember the victims. “Never Again” has happened again. This movie is a reminder of what becomes of us when we let hatred and prejudice take over.