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Eastwood And Freeman Get On-Set Doctor

3 Mar

NEW YORK : Producers of Clint Eastwood’s new movie “The Human Factor” have hired a private doctor to look after the director and the film’s veteran star Morgan Freeman on the set of their latest movie.

A doctor has been flown out to the African set to monitor Freeman who plays Nelson Mandela alongside Matt Damon in the upcoming drama. Movie bosses also want to make sure 78-year-old Eastwood is looked after during filming.

Producers are especially concerned about the health of Freeman due to his serious car accident last August that left him with a broken arm and shoulder and a paralysed hand. The passenger travelling with Freeman when his car left the road in Mississippi last August recently revealed that she is suing the actor for negligence following the crash.

“There’s a huge budget for the film at stake,” a source told the New York Daily News newspaper. “These guys are getting up there in age. Sure, they had physicals before leaving; everyone has to. But the private doctor was just an agreed upon decision on all sides of the table.”

Eastwood recently acknowledged he is getting old, but said his passion for films keeps him young at heart.

“I like taking it easy, I like golf and I like Budweiser. All that stuff is fine, but the main thing is I still like working, I think working keeps you young, I think it keeps your mind active. It’s like exercising your body – exercising your brain. Both of them are synonymous.”

– CNA/ap

Channel News Asia

Morgan Freeman Sued Over Car Crash

26 Feb

LOS ANGELES : A female passenger who was seated beside Morgan Freeman when his car crashed last August has sued the Oscar-winning actor for negligence and wants to clear her name from claims that she was his mistress.

Demaris Meyer stated that she was not in a romantic relationship with Freeman and had met the actor at a country club where they dined with mutual friends on the night of the accident.

Meyer explained that she was riding with Freeman because they were going to his ranch, since it was closer to her work than a friend’s home where she originally planned to stay. She added that the actor assured her she would not only have her own bedroom at the ranch, but “her own house”

“I have been labelled as the ‘other woman’ and have been accused of having caused the breakup of Mr Freeman’s marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Meyer said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

The crash happened on the night of August 3 in Charleston Mississippi when the actor lost control of his Nissan Maxima and struck a ditch and rolled over.

The lawsuit which Meyer filed also accuses Freeman of driving under the influence but he has not been charged him by Mississippi authorities.

Freeman suffered from a broken arm and elbow from the crash while Meyer, who was airlifted to a hospital, suffered numerous injuries, including a blow to the head resulting in cognitive difficulties and short-term memory loss.

In the lawsuit, she is seeking compensation to cover medical expenses and her permanent disability.

“We are confident this will all be resolved. We have no further comment on the current litigation,” said Freeman’s spokesman Ken Sunshine.

The 71-year-old actor who won an Oscar in 2005 for his supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” was separated from his wife of 24 years and was in the midst of a divorce at the time of crash.

– CNA/km

Channel News Asia

Redford, Crowe Join Stars Against Actors' Strike

19 Dec

LOS ANGELES: Hollywood icon Robert Redford and Oscar-winner Russell Crowe have joined the growing ranks of stars opposed to a possible strike by the top actors union, it was reported on Thursday.

Redford and Crowe and other stars including Julianne Moore and Hilary Duff have added their names to a petition urging the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) board not to hold a strike ballot, Daily Variety reported.

The petition calls for SAG leaders to quickly accept a deal tabled by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), suggesting the union regroup and hammer out a stronger contract in three years’ time.

“As hard as it may be to wait those three years under an imperfect agreement, we believe this is what we must do,” the letter from petition organisers to SAG chiefs said.

“We think that a public statement should be made by SAG recognising that although this is not a deal we want, it is simply not a time when our union wants to have any part in creating more economic hardship while so many people are already suffering.”

On Monday, more than 130 stars including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks called on SAG union not to authorise a walkout.

SAG leaders announced last week they would hold a ballot of the union’s 120,000 members on January 2 to obtain authorisation required to call a strike following failed negotiations with Hollywood studios.

Although union leaders have said they want to avoid a stoppage, they said a vote giving them authorisation to call a strike will give them greater leverage at the bargaining table.

The actors union has been in a stand-off with AMPTP since a previous contract expired in June. Fresh attempts to broker a deal foundered in November.

The actors’ union is holding out for a greater share of royalties from sales and showings of work screened on the Internet.

The AMPTP said the actors’ demands are unreasonable and have refused to improve a final offer made in June, similar to other agreements reached with writers, directors and a smaller actors union.

– AFP/so

Channel News Asia

More Than 130 A-List Actors Oppose Strike Vote

17 Dec

LOS ANGELES: Dozens of film industry’s biggest stars including Oscar winners George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks have joined a last-ditch attempt to prevent an actors’ strike from crippling the Hollywood awards season for the second consecutive year.

The A-list performers registered their opposition in a letter that circulated on the Internet as union leaders, including Screen Actors Guild (SAG) President Alan Rosenberg met in New York City to seek support for a strike authorization.

The letter, sent to guild board members and staff is the latest sign of unhappiness with the leadership of the 120,000-strong union.

“We support our union and we support the issues we’re fighting for, but we do not believe now is the time to be putting people out of work,” said the letter, adding that a strike would create “economic hardship” for workers at every level of the movie business.

“We don’t think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool,” said the letter, signed by “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria Parker, “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire, among others. “It must be looked at as what it is – an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.”

Negotiations between SAG and the studios stalled earlier this year, and the actors have been working without a contract since the previous one expired June 30.

A federal mediator intervened last month, but broke off talks after two days, triggering SAG’s recent move to call for a strike-authorization vote.

The guild wants terms that are better than the deals accepted by directors, writers, stagehands and another actors union earlier in the year.

It is seeking union coverage for all Internet-only productions regardless of budget, residual payments for Internet productions replayed in ad-supported platforms online, and continued actor benefits during work stoppages, including those caused by strikes by other unions.

Any strike would plunge the entertainment industry into chaos, and could threaten award shows such as the Oscars, which takes place on February 22.

Last year, a 100-day walkout by screenwriters created havoc and up to US$2 billion in losses, according to some estimates.

– CNA/jk

Channel News Asia

Clint Eastwood Hangs Up His Acting Hat

24 Nov

LOS ANGELES : Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood is retiring from acting after a career that has spanned over 50 years. But fans will still be able to enjoy his work as he has no plans to stop directing.

Eastwood’s last film “Gran Torino” in which he stars and directs, has already been tipped as worthy of an Oscar. It is set to hit Singapore next year.

“That will probably do it for me as far as acting is concerned,” said the 78-year-old.

“You always want to quit while you are ahead,” he said. “You don’t want to be like a fighter who stays too long in the ring until you’re not performing at your best.”

However a friend of Eastwood said he would never rule out an acting comeback for the veteran star.

“If something comes along that attracts his attention or demands his involvement and he is still able to consider acting in a picture then who knows? Gran Torino was such a movie,” the friend said.

Eastwood worked as a petrol pump attendant, a bar-room piano player and a lumberjack before becoming an actor in the 1950s. His 1959 western TV series “Rawhide” turned him into a household name and is best known for his role in the 1971 classic “Dirty Harry” in which he played hard-edged police inspector Harry Callahan.

Eastwood extended his career to directing and has even earned himself two Academy Awards for this work in “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby”.

In the year ahead, he will direct “The Human Factor”, a movie about the 1955 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa, with actor Morgan Freeman starring as Nelson Mandela.

– CNA/km

Channel News Asia

Cinema: Only If You Dig Myers

28 Aug

Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!
Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!


Directed by Marco Schnabel
Starring Mike Myers, Ben Kingsley, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili

Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.
Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.

THE biggest joke in this movie is not that Mike Myers makes fun of the New Age self-help field but that Ben Kingsley stars as his crossed-eye Guru Tugginmypuddha who encourages his ashram students in India to fight using urine-soaked mops!

Kingsley, of course, is well-known for his Academy Award-winning performance as India’s greatest spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie.

I thought playing Gandhi and spoofing a spiritual teacher borders on being insulting. Maybe that’s because I have always revered Kingsley in Gandhi. But elsewhere, people seem to accept Myers’s brand of crude comedy.

The movie has Val Kilmer and Jessica Simpson attending one of the Guru’s talks. Even Deepak Chopra makes an appearance as himself.
Morgan Freeman lends his voice on the voice-over machine and Canadian ice hockey player Rob Blake appears as himself.

Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) has her name turned into a greeting.

In less than two hours, the movie packs jokes that are mostly crass, vulgar and are, in most parts, about private parts.

The humour doesn’t deviate from that of Austin Powers, in which Myers also starred in, making his latest outing just like watching the groovy secret agent in a different uniform and location. The jokes are the same.

Vulgar jokes aside, Myers antics are at times rib-tickling. I love the mobile cushion that Pitka (Myers) moves on, with a control on its side and a reverse parking alarm. It’s absolutely silly and it’s hilarious.

In The Love Guru, Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), who owns the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, hires Pitka to help her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) get back his wife Prudence (Megan Good) and his concentration in the game.

Prudence is now dating L.A King’s legendary goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake).

There is even a Bollywood dance routine between Myers and Alba and while we may not find it very funny, having been exposed to Bollywood films that seem to have endless dancing, the Western market might just find the dancing routine new.

The two even sing in Hindi with English subtitles crawling on the screen.

Myers, like Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy, may have fallen into that deep comedy trap of creating and re-creating films of the same flavour, hoping for an audience who would watch them once.

I guess one watch is fine, if you have time to burn and if you have had a very bad day and desperately need a laugh. The jokes won’t be so funny the second time around.

New Straits Times

See: Dreadful Ride

8 Aug



Directed by John Dahl
Starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone and Basil Wallace.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

This is not even a ride but a slow and stale movie about a joke gone wrong. It’s a thriller, one that is supposed to glue you to your seat and make you breathless whenever the villain appears. But I nearly fell asleep.

The story is about two siblings who take a road trip and play a practical joke on an anonymous trucker. Expectedly, the trucker doesn’t find the joke funny and decides to track down the boys and make them pay for the humiliation he suffered.

The villain, known only as Rusty Nail, didn’t appear terrifying enough. The other characters are flat too. The brothers argue most of the time. And the side plot which has Fuller (Zahn) liking his brother’s girlfriend Venna (Sobieski) is so stunted it might as well not be there.

In a nutshell, it’s a two-dimensional movie that is more tedious than fun. The DVD sleeve mentions that there are “special features”. How misleading. There is nothing special about interactive menus, scene access and multiple language subtitles as they are basic DVD features. – SL

Rating: H


Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman and Rowena King.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

IT’S a difficult lesson to master, but dying can teach us how to live. Morris Schwartz taught us that, in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. Randy Pausch’s uplifting The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University also spoke in the same tone.

The Bucket List is a more hilarious, yet profound take on dying, as seen from the eyes of two cancer wardmates who came up with a list of things to do before cancer gets the best of them.

So billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and scholarly mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) set out to do what they haven’t done – skydiving, car racing, viewing the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids.

Nicholson and Freeman have an amazing on-screen chemistry as two strangers who share the last months of their lives together and the story they weave out of that is just superb and humbling.

Not many actors can bring out that level of madness and sadness hand-in-hand but these seasoned and talented actors do it with complete ease.

Too bad that the special feature is only a music video by John Mayer. If there are commentaries and even examples of others who wring out the most of their lives in their last few months, it would have given the story added impact.

This is a fantastic movie not about dying and leaving, but about living and loving. A drama/comedy that will one day be a classic. – SL

Rating: HHHH


Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jim Broadbent
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Puzzling title? “Fuzz” is actually a slang word for police in England. And this is a very British film – it is set in an apparently idyllic, pastoral English country town and possesses that quirky, offbeat British humour.

In this cop thriller/black comedy for lack of a better way to describe it, the humour comes at several different levels, in your face, very dry, sometimes almost subliminal and sometimes in questionable taste.

It is the story of a dedicated, brilliant, highly-decorated and completely humourless London cop, who after being wounded in action, is posted from London to a quiet country town; actually because his success in London makes his colleagues look bad.

However, mysterious “accidental” deaths which the police and civic leaders of the town dismiss lightly, trouble the “super cop”. All is not as it appears in this rural paradise. The town harbours dark secrets, nothing is quite as it appears, and soon blood is flowing freely.

Our hero with his partner and admirer, set to restore law and order.

This is a bloodthirsty comedy thriller, which you will either love or not be too amused with. There’s an excellent cast of quality British TV actors and even a guest appearance by Cate Blanchett in disguise (I only discovered this when listening to the excellent commentary in the Bonus Features section). – JH

Rating: HHHH


Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Very much an American film. It’s the summer holidays and the kids from the famous high school are all off to the Lava Springs Country Club. Most of them take on a summer job whilst a few rich kids are there to lounge around.

And so the song and dance routines begin in this somewhat vacuous feel-good musical movie which I assume will appeal to middle class American teenagers.

The plot will not tax the intellect. A rich girl (a Paris Hilton look alike) wants a talented boy to perform with her to win the “midsummer night talent show”. Will the boy sell out his buddies and girlfriend working in the club kitchen, to join the rich set?

You can guess the answer. The movie is really about the song and dance routines, which are competent but not exactly inspiring. One set piece where the hero danced and sang his way across a verdant green golf fairway, with lofty mountains in the background was pure Bollywood!

The special features section offers Karaoke versions of all the songs with some music videos using materials from the film but featuring international artistes. Look out for one song performed by Malaysia’s Vince Chong and Jaclyn Victor.

A movie for those who are into wholesome, American high school pop song and dance, but not much for the rest of us though. – JH

Rating: HH


New Straits Times

Morgan Freeman Recovering After Surgery: Publicist

6 Aug

LOS ANGELES: Morgan Freeman was on Tuesday recovering from surgery to repair injuries sustained in a serious car crash and looking forward to leaving hospital, a spokeswoman for the actor said.

Freeman, 71, cheated death on Sunday when a car he was driving left the road and rolled over, leaving the Oscar-winning star of “The Dark Knight” with a broken arm, elbow and minor shoulder damage.

A female passenger traveling in Freeman’s car needed to be cut from the wreckage of the single-vehicle accident in Mississippi.

However Freeman was in “good spirits” on Tuesday after undergoing surgery to mend his injuries at Memphis’ Regional Medical Center, Los Angeles-based spokeswoman Donna Lee said.

“Morgan is doing well after surgery last night to reconnect nerves and to repair damage to his left arm and hand,” Lee said in a statement.

“The surgery lasted approximately four-and-a-half hours including recovery and he is in good spirits and was visiting with family members this morning.

“He was walking … and is looking forward to his release as soon as possible,” Lee added.

Freeman won an Academy Award for his role in 2004’s Clint Eastwood boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby” and is famous for his authoritative voice that has been used to narrate documentaries and commercials as well as film roles.

He has been nominated for an Oscar a total of four times.

Freeman is currently working on another collaboration with Eastwood, “The Human Factor,” a film based on the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Freeman is due to play former South African president Nelson Mandela. – AFP/sh

Channel News Asia

Misi Berat Christian Bale

21 Jul


MESKIPUN dia memulakan karier seninya seawal umur 13 tahun menerusi filem Empire of the Sun arahan sutradara tersohor dunia, Steven Spielberg, nama Christian Bale tidak begitu melekat di bibir penonton mahupun peminat.

Barangkali, semua itu disebabkan sikap low profile aktor itu yang lebih selesa muncul di media seandainya ada filem terbaru lakonannya menjengah pawagam.

Sudah menjadi prinsip anak kelahiran Wales, United Kingdom ini yang lebih selesa untuk berdiam diri daripada memukul canang pada dunia pada cerita yang tiada isinya.

Malah, pemilik nama penuh Christian Charles Philip Bale ini lebih selesa menghabiskan waktu bersama isteri tercinta, Sandra Blazic dan anaknya, Emmeline untuk mengisi waktu senggang seandainya tiada apa yang perlu dibicarakan kepada media.

Walaupun namanya, tidak sepopular pelakon yang lain namun, karisma dan bakat lakonan Bale berada di kelasnya yang tersendiri.

Lihatlah sahaja lakonannya dalam filem-filem seperti American Psycho, Reign of Fire, I’m Not There., 3:10 To Yuma, The Prestige dan The Machinist yang semuanya mendapat perhatian dan pujian daripada pengkritik filem.

Bukan itu sahaja, Bale juga dianggap sebagai seorang pelakon yang bijak dan mampu melakukan apa sahaja untuk menghidupkan watak yang diberikan kepadanya.

Sebagai contoh, dalam menjayakan watak Trevor Reznik dalam filem The Machinist, dia sanggup menurunkan berat badannya dari 180 paun kepada 63 paun sehingga meletakkan dirinya sebagai satu-satunya aktor yang sanggup melakukan transformasi sehebat itu.

Tetapi, tiada filem selain daripada filem Batman Begins yang ditayangkan pada tahun 2005 yang telah meletakkan nama Bale di puncak populariti.

Malah, karisma Bale membawakan watak Batman dan alter egonya, Bruce Wayne telah menjadikan Bale sebagai aktor yang terbaik memegang watak itu.

Bale merupakan aktor keempat selepas Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer dan George Clooney memegang watak adi hero tersebut menerusi francais filem Batman.

Batman Begins yang diterbitkan oleh Warner Bros. itu berjaya mencatatkan kutipan tiket sebanyak RM1.2 bilion dan juga berjaya menjadikan nama pengarahnya, Christopher Nolan antara yang terbaik yang pernah menghasilkan francais filem Batman.

Setelah tiga tahun berlalu, sekuel Batman Begins iaitu The Dark Knight sudah pun mula menemui penonton tempatan sejak ditayangkan pada 17 Julai lalu.

Masih lagi mengekalkan Bale mendokong watak utama dan disokong pula oleh barisan pelakon pembantu yang hebat dan mantap terutama sekali mendiang Heath Ledger yang membawakan watak antagonis, The Joker dalam filem yang paling ditunggu-tunggu untuk tahun ini.

Ternyata Bale sendiri begitu teruja untuk kembali sekali lagi sebagai Batman dan Bruce Wayne.

Bahkan, tiada sekelumit rasa ragu untuk kembali membawakan watak hero komik popular itu.

“Jujurnya, memang saya rasa saya dilahirkan untuk memegang watak ini tetapi ingin saya jelasnya, saya tidak akan memegang watak ini seandainya Nolan (pengarah) tidak membentuk watak itu dengan sebaiknya.

“Dia berjaya menjadikan filem Batman ini sesuatu yang baru dan saya berani mengatakan The Dark Knight adalah yang terbaik dan mampu menandingi Batman Begins,” cerita Bale mengenai wataknya dalam filem berkenaan.

Bukan itu sahaja, luah Bale, dia menerima watak Batman untuk kali kedua bagi memastikan anak perempuannya berbangga dengannya.

“Mungkin orang akan mempertikaikan mengapa saya sanggup berlakon kali kedua sebagai Batman tetapi saya mahu anak saya melihat saya melakukan perkara ‘gila’ seperti ini.

“Saya juga pernah melihat ayah saya melakukan pelbagai perkara yang tidak masuk akal. Jadi, saya tidak peduli apa yang orang mahu kata tentang saya,” katanya penuh jujur.

Bercerita tentang pengalamannya menerusi The Dark Knight, Bale menjelaskan, tugas itu tidak terlalu sukar kerana padanya, kali ini lebih kepada permainan psikologi minda berbanding mempamerkan adegan lasak seperti mana dalam filem Batman Begins.

“Pengalaman lalu banyak membantu saya untuk melengkapkan karakter Batman ini apatah lagi apabila mengenakan kostum Batman kali ini yang lebih ringan untuk memudahkan pergerakan saya melakukan adegan lasak dan pergaduhan.

“Tetapi perkara yang sukar dan mencabar buat saya adalah untuk menukar suara saya kepada lebih garau dan dalam semata-mata untuk menepati imej suara Batman itu. Tetapi kali ini, saya boleh melakukannya dengan begitu lancar sekali,” katanya ketawa.

Tambahnya lagi, Batman Begins merupakan permulaan segalanya tetapi untuk The Dark Knight, ia adalah kesinambungan daripada apa yang telah berlaku sebelumnya.

“Filem terdahulu adalah pengenalan untuk memperkenalkan Batman dan setelah keyakinan dirinya dibina, barulah watak-watak antagonis diperkenalkan dalam menguji keupayaan dan kekuatannya sebagai seorang wira,” jelasnya lagi.

Apabila diminta untuk memberikan komen tentang Ledger yang telah memberikan persembahan yang dianggap terbaik sehingga dikatakan layak untuk mendapat pencalonan Oscar tahun depan, Bale ternyata tidak mampu menyembunyikan kesedihannya.

“Saya begitu sedih dengan kehilangannya kerana jalinan persahabatan kami mula mekar dan berkembang dengan begitu baik. Ledger seorang yang cukup baik dan pelakon yang hebat pada saya.

“Bayangkan, di luar set dia adalah Heath Ledger yang begitu peramah dan begitu mudah didekati. Sebaik sahaja watak Joker meresapi jiwanya, dia menjadi begitu hebat dan dia adalah The Joker dan bukannya Heath Ledger yang kita kenali,” ceritanya tentang Ledger yang mati akibat penggunaan dadah berlebihan Januari lalu.

Pastinya penonton dan peminat Batman menanti kemunculan watak Robin iaitu pembantu Batman dan apabila ditanya kepada Bale tentang kemungkinan itu, ini jawapan Bale.

“Katalah apa sahaja tetapi saya tidak akan lagi membawakan watak Batman seandainya wujud watak Robin kelak. Saya akan berhenti dari melakonkan watak Batman. Itu sebagai tanda protes dari saya,” katanya penuh makna.

Selain Bale dan Ledger, The Dark Knight turut dibintangi oleh Aaron Eckhart sebagai Harvey Dent dan Two-Face, Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes), Gary Oldman (Leftenan James Gordon) dan Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox).

Utusan Malaysia

Sebuah Lagi Retorik Hollywood

13 Jul

SEKIRANYA anda peminat filem, sila abaikan filem ini. Kalau anda seorang pengagum nilai-nilai artistik yang digaul dan diolah dalam semua filem, abaikan juga filem ini. Apa yang anda cari daripada sebuah karya filem tidak ada dalam filem ini. Penonton hanya akan bosan dan marah apabila diperemehkan oleh sebuah filem Hollywood yang bertaraf picisan. Ini sebuah filem murahan dan tidak memperlihatkan ketinggian sebuah karya filem yang membina tamadunnya yang tersendiri. Filem ini adalah keghairahan yang tidak terkawal menggunakan teknologi hingga mengabaikan asas penting sesebuah filem iaitu nilai pemikirannya.

Wanted seolah-olah tidak ada manusia di dalamnya. Yang bergerak ke sana ke sini adalah mesin yang tidak diperlengkapkan dengan elemen manusia. Pelakon-pelakon filem ini sebenarnya tidak perlu mengisi watak kerana Wanted bukan sebuah naratif yang berteraskan manusia sebaliknya sekadar permainan visual dan terlalu dikuasai oleh campur tangan teknologi. Tetapi teknologi setinggi mana sekalipun ternyata tidak dapat menyelamatkan sebuah filem yang kosong. Ia akan terus menjadi kosong dan memualkan.

Kalau ada yang terpesona dan percaya bahawa teknologi satu-satunya kuasa ajaib yang boleh menyelamatkan filem seterusnya mengangkat nilai sesebuah filem, ternyata ia sangat tidak berasas. Wanted membuktikan teknologi yang boleh mencipta visual yang luar biasa tidak mampu mengubah menjadi sebuah filem yang boleh dihormati. Filem ini mengabaikan sepenuhnya tuntutan psikologi. Watak dan suasana terbiar tanpa sokongan naratif yang baik. Banyak persoalan tentang psikologi watak tidak terjawab. Asas tindakan tidak bertolak daripada sebab dan akibat yang menyakinkan.

Wanted tidak lebih satu percubaan menjadi sebuah dongeng moden tetapi tidak berteraskan keperluan yang dituntut bagi membangunkan sebuah filem yang baik. Filem ini diadaptasikan dari komik dan tentu saja fantasinya dibentuk sedemikian rupa bagi membolehkan teknologi visual menonjolkan peranannya. Banyak filem yang bercorak fantasi dan tidak kurang juga yang diangkat daripada komik yang begitu imaginatif. Tetapi yang berlaku kepada Wanted adalah terabainya keperluan pemikiran dalam sebuah filem. Wanted tidak ada pemikiran atau idealisme kerana sejak awal lagi sudah hilang elemen manusianya.

Wanted tidak ada emosi untuk dikongsi dengan penonton. Ini kerana watak-watak dibangunkan secara mekanikal, dan mereka tidak lebih sebuah mesin yang bergerak tanpa rasa. Wanted sebuah filem tentang kumpulan pembunuh Fraternity yang prinsipnya membunuh satu nyawa untuk kesejahteraan seribu nyawa yang lain. Tetapi prinsip ini hanya topeng kerana sebuah kumpulan pembunuh kerjanya hanya membunuh dan tidak lebih daripada itu. Kumpulan ini diketuai oleh Sloan (lakonan Morgan Freeman) dan dia mempunyai pembunuh-pembunuh handalan yang digambarkan boleh mengirimkan peluru ke sasaran tanpa halangan. Tetapi keunggulan kumpulan ini masih belum boleh mengatasi seorang anggotanya yang belot (menjadi baik) iaitu Cross (lakonan Thomas Kretschmann). Sloan memperalatkan anak Cross, Wesley Gibson (lakonan James McAvoy) yang tidak pernah kenal ayahnya.

Bersama kumpulan ini Wesley hanya diberitahu, tugas murninya ialah membunuh Cross demi menyelamatkan beribu manusia lain. Helahnya Sloan tahu hanya Wesley yang tidak akan menjadi mangsa Cross kerana Cross tahu itu adalah anaknya tetapi Wesley tidak sedar helah yang membawa kepada dia membunuh ayahnya sendiri. Wesley seorang anak muda mangsa buli di pejabatnya. Dia dibuli oleh boss wanitanya yang garang, dipermainkan oleh rakan-rakan dan teman wanitanya sendiri dirampas oleh rakan baiknya. Dia tidak berani melawan kerana digambarkan sebagai seorang yang antisosial.

Watak Wesley berubah apabila secara tidak sengaja terseret dalam kumpulan pembunuh itu. Dia mempunyai ciri-ciri kesaktian kerana ada daya pengamatan yang sangat tinggi dan pantas. Bagaimana pun watak ini tidak dibina sebaik-baiknya. James McAvoy sebenarnya tidak “berlakon” tetapi sekadar bergerak tanpa sebarang emosi Wesley yang dibawanya. Tambahan pula filem ini tidak memerlukan pelakonnya berlakon, kehadiran mereka hanya objek tanya rasa dan nyawa. Begitu juga dengan Angelina Jolie yang menjadi pembunuh bernama Fox, berpasangan dengan James McAvoy. Ini antara lakonan Angelina Jolie yang paling buruk.

Filem ini mengadunkan banyak adegan yang dihasilkan oleh imej penjanaan komputer (CGI) dengan adegan biasa. Adunan yang teliti itu menjadikan sukar untuk membezakan adegan yang dicipta oleh CGI dengan adegan yang dibuat secara konvensional. Tetapi ternyata adegan yang mencemaskan seperti berlari di atas kereta api laju, visual peluru yang menembusi sasaran dan darah memercik dari kepala dihasilkan dengan realistik. CGI juga menghasilkan imej peluru keluar dari muncung pistol dan terbang mencari sasaran yang kelihatan sangat artifisial.

Struktur plotnya tidak mencipta kesan dramatik. Ini kerana momentum Wanted dari awal hingga akhir begitu mendatar. Elemen drama sangat terabai dan menonton Wanted tidak ubah menonton permainan video. Penonton hanya dikejutkan dari awal hingga akhir dengan pembunuhan dan adegan cemas yang banyak antaranya tidak diperlukan sama sekali. Ini menunjukkan kemampuan mencipta adegan hebat menerusi CGI bukan bermakna mampu menghasilkan filem yang baik. Akhirnya Wanted hanyalah sebuah lagi retorik Hollywood yang memperkayakan visual-visual yang luar biasa tetapi tidak memperkasakan keperluan sebuah filem.

Filem ini sebenarnya bukanlah sekelas dengan Batman, Superman atau Spiderman. Ini kerana fantasi dari komik-komik ini lebih terarah kemudian dibina semula mengikut keperluan sinematik. Fantasi bukan musuh kepada pemikiran manusia dengan syarat ia dibina dengan penuh sedar. Wanted menjadi murahan kerana tidak membawa sebarang pemikiran, jauh sekali idealisme kecuali menunjukkan manusia pada abad ini semakin hilang rasa kemanusiaan. Adakah ini yang dimaksudkan oleh Wanted? Kesimpulannya Wanted tetap memerlukan suntikan nilai sosial biarpun ia hanya fantasi tentang manusia yang tiada perikemanusiaan.

Utusan Malaysia