Thursday, June 23, 2016
There are some people who have waited a long time for a sequel to Independence Day. Twenty years. I remember being a kid and walking into see Independence Day, with my friend Tim, and being blown away. It redefined the idea of a summer blockbuster. The look, the emotion, and the cast were all spot on. So here we are twenty years later. Houston we have a sequel...or more like a problem.
On the twenty year anniversary of the War Of 1996, the world is very different. We reverse engineered the alien technology to build what we thought is a safer world. David Levinson, the former satellite engineer the saved the planet, is now the Director of Defense. President Whitmore is long retired and his daughter is grown up. So is Dillon Hiller. He is the son of the late Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and has become a pilot too. We have better planes, bigger weapons, and a world at peace. Levinson discovers an even bigger threat and humanity must once again stand against extinction.
The old cast is mixed with the new and something is just off. The original players, aside from Levinson and Whitmore, serve little purpose. The new cast seems to lack chemistry. These two things are not the movie's biggest problems. I am not really sure what is? It tries to do too much. It's too cheesy. It lacks heart. It suffers from a weak plot. There is too much CGI. Pick one and they all work to define this debacle.
The first movie broke ground. We have better CGI now, but the original some how looks better. The first film had heart. The first cast had chemistry. The cast here is just awful. The original cast is almost over the top on purpose. I hate to say it, but the film reminds me of Sharknado with a massive budget. It really feels loaded with that much cheese.
One of the best moments from the original was the Whitmore Speech. They attempt to recreate it and rather than be one of the best moments in the film, It bombs. The entire film just feels off. The story lacks depth. It has been awhile since I have been this disappointed in a film.
Will Smith declined to participate and he clearly knew something that we didn't. They had twenty years to make a sequel to a great film. They through together the same story with more CGI and a lackluster cast. It's a sequel that is just bad. Forget the popcorn and big explosions. This one won't even help you forget about life for awhile, In fact, after this you will want those two hours of your life back. Instead of resurgence, just save your money and watch the original again. You'll probably thank me for it.
Friday, June 10, 2016
The first installment in the Now You See Me series was a lot of fun. I did say series. They have already begun planning a third. The story is a simple one. A group of illusionists expose corrupt individuals for the world to see. The story is simple. The magic tricks are again mind blowing, but does the sequel suffer from a case of, "been there done that?" Yes and no.
After the first film, the horsemen find themselves with big trouble in China. Evil Harry Potter wants them to steal a chip that can control the world's computers. Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) again becomes entangled with Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), who he blames for the death of his magician father. They must all foil the villain, clear their names, and discover the truth about the mysterious eye.
Personally I thought casting Daniel Radcliffe as a villain with no magical powers in a film about magicians was brilliant. Considering he will always be Harry Potter to most people, it was fun to see him in this type of role. The fun with these films is seeing how they pull off the stunts. It can be confusing at times and I really only had one problem with the movie. Mark Ruffalo's character was more fun when you didn't know he was a horseman.
That being said, the movie is still fun. Morgan Freeman is great, but he always is. They bring back Michael Caine and while it is still the same old villain, it's not the same old story. Isla Fisher couldn't do the film because she was pregnant so they replace her with Lizy Kaplan. Personally I liked Isla better, but Kaplan doesn't hurt the film.
While the tricks in the first film played a little better, they still work the second time around. The water sequence and card sequences are really fun to watch. I would also watch Jessie Eisenberg play Daniel Atlas a hundred times over before I would ever want to watch him destroy Lex Luthor again. It feels a little like something that you have already seen, but it is still a good time. In my opinion, it's worth the watch. Grab some popcorn and just go have some fun.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
The Ninja Turtles are back in a sequel that no one really asked for. Michael Bay brought another childhood cartoon to life and will no doubt receive the typical amount of backlash for it. People hate the guy for the sake of hating. The Transformer's franchise is not as horrible as you think. Make no mistake, this is not even close to Captain America: Civil War or X-Men: Apocalypse. It is not supposed to be. The biggest complaint from movies based off of cartoons is the fact that they are nowhere close to the cartoon. If you need proof, I offer you Jem and The Holograms. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows is the cartoon you remember brought to life. That is why you will probably hate it.
The TMNT are trying to find their place in a city that would fear and persecute them. April O'Neil stumbles on a plot from the Foot Clan to free Shredder from prison with the help of evil genius Baxter Stockman. Krang, a bad guy from another dimension, comes to town and helps create bad mutants to fight the heroes in a half shell. Things get dire and with the help of Casey Jones, the turtles are called upon once again to save New York City.
This movie is the cartoon you remember. It has pizza, skateboards, the Turtle Van, and a bunch of other things pulled straight out of animation. Krang is over the top and the design is cool for what it is. A villain like Krang should be over the top. Consider the source material. X-Men and The Avengers have villains that work in comic form, but wouldn't translate to their movie universes. Turtles clear doesn't share that burden.
When you take a cartoon and bring it to life, you can recreate some fan favorite characters. Bee Bop and Rocksteady are the comic relief of the movie. It's hard to take a mutated rhino and wart hog seriously. You don't have to. They are simply hear to be enjoyed for what they are.
Stephen Amell seems to draw mixed reviews as Green Arrow. Personally, I think he plays a fine super hero and is great with his fans. His take on Casey Jones is different than what most will remember, but he does have the hero quality on stage. I did miss the bag of sports weapons that the character is famous for, but we do get the hockey mask. I am not sure why they can give him a wig for Arrow flashbacks, but not here. I am not dwelling on it though. He is one of the bright spots of the film.
Shredder is unfortunately not a bright spot. He is the turtles greatest enemy and is once again not done any justice. It's a shame. If you have ever read one of my reviews, you know that I appreciate a good villain. In a movie where everything is larger than life, Shredder is too small.
The movie is the cartoon brought to life and why people will hate it. You can tell the cast was having fun making it. They didn't take themselves too seriously and so we shouldn't take the film seriously. Walk into a theater with XD, grab popcorn, and enjoy the show. It is the TMNT you remember from the cartoon and that is the problem. You were not thirty something when you used to sit in front of the T.V. before or after school watching TMNT. The things we loved as a kid sometimes are considered annoying when we are adulting. So for anyone who wanted to see the cartoons they remember brought to life, be careful what you wish for.