Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The Phantom. B
I loved this film-at least insofar as it can be loved. The movie has the tone of an ancient blockbuster, but it has 90s CGI, which is actually pretty good. It's gloriously brief, 100 minutes including credits, it's got two dames instead of one (Catherine Zeta-Jones, back when she was the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, plays a bad girl with shifting loyalties), and it has one of the best villains for this type of film: one who is actually as stupid as he sounds. The hero himself doesn't have any superpowers, but in combat he wears a purple suit, often rides a horse, and has a wolf for a sidekick. Played by Billy Zane, he's a shallow hero, but his simplicity is a good thing in a film like this. His job is to stop an evil businessman from obtaining three skulls, which combined will bring unstoppable power. It's standard stuff, but a great deal of fun the whole way through. The movie has two chief locations, one in New York and the other on a jungle island. It's clearly trying to merge Batman and Indiana Jones (the opening scene here almost seems to parody sequences from Raiders and Temple of Doom) into one ultra-fun package, and it manages to do so even if the final product isn't near as good as either of those two were. So while The Phantom doesn't offer anything new, it performs its duty well and makes for an entertaining diversion with one of the world's lesser known superheroes.