The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Movies

October 4, 2012

Heather Bremer: Liam Neeson: From dramatic actor to action star

Pinterest is a fantastical place. A land of possibilities and dreams.

Think of the social media site, one of the fastest growing platforms on the Web, as the front door of your mom’s refrigerator or the corkboard on the wall of your childhood room. But instead of crayon drawings and posters of sports heroes, you can “pin” ideas, dreams and aspirations for your adult life.

Recipes you’re salivating to try. Room décor you can’t wait to recreate, if only you can find a cheaper alternative. Homes you’ll need someone else’s bank account to live in. Beautiful people you’d love to be friends with.

Pinterest is a place for inspiration. It’s a place for sharing. And it’s a place for laughs.

One of the best laughs comes from a meme featuring actor Liam Neeson. Fortunately, the words are more important in this meme than the images. So here’s what it says (you’ll have to conjure the images up in your mind):

“Liam Neeson …

Trained Batman, Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

He is both Zeus and Aslan.

Making him a god in at least TWO religions.

He also punches wolves.

Why would you try to kidnap his family?”

The stanza, of course, refers to Neeson’s recent film career. He portrayed Henri Ducard aka Ra’s al Ghul in “Batman Begins,” the man who turned Bruce Wayne into a one-man, crime-fighting machine. Before that he was Qui-Gon Jinn in the Star Wars prequels, teaching apprentices Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Force. He took on the role of Zeus in the “Clash of the Titans” remake and was the voice of the Aslan, the lion that is symbolic of Jesus Christ in the Narnia Chronicles movies. And, as the meme points out, he punched out some wolves as Ottway in “The Grey.”

When did Liam Neeson become such a bad (bleep)?

This is a guy who crashed the movie scene in 1993 as Oskar Schindler in “Schindler’s List.” He was nominated for an Oscar for the role in the black-and-white masterpiece. From there, he went on to more artful or dramatic films like “Nell,” “Les Miserables,” “Gangs of New York,” “Kinsey” and “Love Actually.”

Not exactly the makings of an action star.

But, after his role as Qui-Gon Jinn, something changed. Or maybe’s Hollywood’s view of the talented actor did.

His quiet confidence became menacing. His build, with a few added pounds of muscle, became intimidating. And his voice sent shivers down your spine for whole new reasons.

Neeson returns this weekend to the role that firmly cemented him as an action star. Qui-Gon and Ra’s al Ghul were great roles but they were part of established franchises. “Taken,” in which Neeson portrays retired-but-still-scary spy Bryan Mills, gave him a franchise all his own and was a surprising success at the box office.

The sequel, “Taken 2,” opens today. The thugs after his family this time obviously have no idea who they’re dealing with.

Heather Bremer, a former Herald Bulletin reporter/designer, writes a weekly column on movies, television and pop culture. Contact her at heatherebremer@yahoo.com.

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