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In-Flight Entertainment 10 October 8, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Up and Away.
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Alas, it would seem that the planes used by Singapore Airlines to service their MNL-SG route (and back again) have terribly outdated and poorly maintained video entertainment systems. The screen contrast for the ones I had the (dis)pleasure of using were so out of whack it’s a wonder I got to see anything at all. Somehow, I did, so here’s the rundown of movies I missed in theaters but caught on the way to and from Singapore:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I’d file this one under “almost…but not quite”. Off the bat, there are a whole lot of things going for it. That Harrison Ford reprises the title role so effortlessly is already half the battle, and the fact that it’s written for a much older Indy gives the movie plenty of charm. Yet it loses a lot of the luster compared to the original trilogy. My take is that chemistry was ultimately lacking between the cast, who individually deliver otherwise great performances. Overall it’s an admirable attempt by the Lucas and Spielberg machine to rekindle some of the magic for a great franchise, albeit one that falls ever so slightly flat.

Speed Racer. Ah, this one I liked. I was prepared to write it off, but I think the Wachiowski brothers pushed enough of the right buttons to make it a decent homage to the original and a fun spectacle to behold all at the same time. Frankly, the way the Speed Racer backstory was condensed into the opening sequence (great use of the video game-y ghost car, by the way) already had me hooked. After that, there were significant stretches of snooze-worthy storyline that were thankfully balanced out by the awesome rendition of the hyper-futuristic battle car-racing concept. The cast was also absolutely superb. In particular, props have to go to Matthew Fox: if there was ever a man born to play Racer X, it just had to be him.

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