Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jurassic World (2015)

So they actually did make a fourth movie after all. I start off saying that because I remember years ago when there was talk about making a fourth Jurassic Park movie and then I roll my eyes over it. But they did. So let's take a look at Jurassic World.

Plot: Years after the events of the first movie, another park has been made, this time called Jurassic World. Tons of people come to see all these new attractions and see different kinds of dinosaurs and  it's just coming up better than the original park. But with these new dinosaurs, the company, InGen, also creates their own genetically-modified dinosaur called the Indominus rex, which eventually (big shock) escapes and is a danger to everyone in the park. So the armed security goes out to try to take it down, while the park's operations manager, Claire, goes out there to try to find her two nephews who are out in the jungle where the Indominus rex is with the help of the Velociraptor trainer, Owen.

Now obviously, this movie doesn't hold a candle to the first movie no matter how much it tries. But for a fourth movie that tries a lot harder to do that compared to the second and third movies, it gives such a darn good try that it pays off to be a rather enjoyable, fun flick. Granted, it does take a little while before the entertainment really starts. The first half hour or so of the film does a lot of building up until we get to the obvious point in the movie where the big dinosaur is on the lose and stuff starts going down and everything. In fact there where parts where I felt like I was kind of watching Prometheus in how there's so much that you easily know what's going to happen. There's going to be a couple of people that you know are going to die, so when things go sour, and that person's on screen, you wave that person goodbye before the inevitable happens. But after that, we get an entertaining movie with a smarter story than what I personally expected. The Indominus Rex for example has a goal that, as an antagonist, is unique to the point where it isn't even a force of nature unlike the other dinosaurs trying to get the main characters. I won't give away what it is, but I do think it's really clever. There's also the fact that Owen is a Velociraptor trainer. That in itself makes him stand out from what human characters from past movies do. But it is also backed up with the fact that he has this bond with the four raptors that he trains, and yet he knows that he is still in danger of getting eaten. And I enjoy how we get new dinosaurs that we haven't seen before - particularly the Mosasaurus. That thing was awesome to watch every time it was on screen. Now granted, I originally thought it was a Liopleurodon based on the trailers, which got me really excited to see it. It's sad to learn that it was actually a Mosasaurus, but you know what? Screw it. I'll call it a Liopleurodon anyway. But what really makes this movie stand out is the third act. I won't DARE give away what happens for those of you who have not seen the film, but it has a really big climax with lots of action, suspense, and probably one of the most epic fights you'll see. Speaking of suspense, this film really does keep you on the edge of your seat. There are a lot moments in the film where the horror of what is happening does get to you. Though there is a part where the horror goes a little too far when a women get's eaten. It's not that it's real bloody or anything, but what keeps happening to her before she dies is actually really brutal in its own way. The comedy was enjoyable for the most part. Not every joke hit its mark of coarse, but there are a couple that my family and I got a good laugh at. If there's one real problem with the movie, it would have to be the characters. Now when I say that, I don't mean they weren't entertaining. Because they were. Chris Pratt was of coarse a lot of fun, Bryce Dallas Howard had some good moments,  the two brothers has a decent relationship and I would argue that the youngest brother acted pretty well. But as characters themselves, they were pretty stereotypical. The hero who knows what is happening better than anyone else. The female lead who kind of uptight. The freaking human antagonist that is doing what he does for military purposes? Ugh, I should be surprised that I didn't roll my eyes when that guy first popped up.

And that's my review for Jurassic World. The characters are stereotypical, and the first act is a drag because you know what's going to happen. But other than that, we have a surprisingly fun movie with good horror moments, decent comedy, a much more original story compared to the last two films, and a really exciting third act. It is unsurprisingly no Jurassic Park, but for a sequel, you're probably going to have a good time.

Rating: 75%

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Notebook (2004)

So a  couple of months ago, I was at my church's adult group, when my friends Lindsay and Margaret started talking about The Notebook. They were making it abundantly clear how much they hate the movie and how millions of other women go crazy over it. As they were telling me all of this, I started thinking: "you know what? I've heard about this movie many times but haven't seen it for myself." So I decided to watch the movie and give my two cents, which they both supported. Well I kind of took longer than I planned to get to it (sorry about that guys), but I have just recently watched it, so here is the long delayed review for The Notebook.

Plot: The film centers around a local country boy named Noah and a rich girl named Allie who fall in love when Allie's family are visiting Noah's town over the summer. But when Allie's parents find out, her mother forbids her from seeing him again because he's poor. This leads to the two of them getting separated from each other for several years, during which, Allie gets engaged to a wealthy man. But when she learns about him finally building his dream job in the newspaper, she comes back and they take another chance at their love, leaving for Allie to figure out what to do about her engagement.

Now based on how Lindsay and Margaret attacked the movie, it sounded like I was going to really hate this movie. And even if neither of them talked about it, other people have gone on and on how it's this big chick flick that girlfriends/wives drag their boyfriends/husbands to watch. As for me, I'm siding with Lindsay and Margaret that it's bad. But at the same time it's a little better than I thought it would be, but not by much. It doesn't really bring a lot of new things as a chick flick. A lot of that centers around how generic the characters and the story are. I mean come on, just from reading the plot paragraph to this review, how could you not feel like you've heard this story before? The boy is poor but he has a free spirit, the girl is rich and she becomes more active like the boy, it isn't too long before they eventually decide to have sex (or sort of try to in this case), the girls parent(s) disapproves of their realtionship and wants her to marry a rich guy, at some point they kiss in the rain, on and on and on. And of coarse, women view this movie as how love is suppose to be, and they wish their boyfriends/husbands are more like Ryan Gosling. If you enjoy seeing this in so many chick flicks, more power to you. But for the rest of us, we have seen this dozens of times in other chick flicks or just romance in general, and we can't really look past all these cliches. True, some things are done a little differently, such as how again, they don't end up having sex early on and the rich fiancee is actually a really nice guy, but in the long run, it's completely the same thing. If there's anything that is particularly good about this movie, it would be the performances and the ending. While the characters are generic, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams do give it their all in their acting, and they do show a good amount of chemistry... at least when they are not constantly fighting. Seriously, it's surprising how much they bicker and sometimes even hit reach other during this movie. I think they were trying to make their relationship more like real life relationships which is a good intention, but it doesn't always work they way they're displaying it. And the very end of the movie is very touching. I wouldn't call it a real tear dropper, at least for me personally, but it does have a very nice heart to it.

And that's my review for The Notebook. It has some good performances and a touching ending, but aside from that, it's just another chick flick with many of the melodramatic cliches that go with it. If you like movies with this kind of story, you'll get your fill here. Otherwise, I would take it from me, Margaret and Lindsay and skip this movie.

Rating: 50%

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Golden Film's Beauty and the Beast (1999)

Well, we have the Good Times Entertainment version out of the way, so let's dive right into the Golden Films' take on Beauty and the Beast.

Plot: The story is mostly the same as with the last film, except Beauty has three greedy sisters and no brothers, her father leaves because of a storm that hit both his ships and her home, Beauty has had dreams about the human form of The Beast before she ever meets him, and three ghosts have taken part of the story by going inside the book of Beauty and The Beast, which is read by The Beast.   ...Yeah.

So if you guys have read my review for the Good Times film, I talked about how they could've just thrown whatever they wanted from beginning to end without any real thought put into it, as opposed to the somewhat considerable effort that was put into that movie. The Golden Films version of Beauty and the Beast however, did just that. It's so bad that when my siblings and I were watching this, my brother Tommy would keep ridiculing me for pointing out a major problem with the movie, since I was clearly putting much more thought than the filmmakers. The Good Times film was laughable at best despite some little form of effort, but here, the only good things about this film that I can think of is that the animation is much better, and with that, Beauty at least looks pretty. I can barely keep track of what's wrong with this movie, partly because there's too many bad things, but mostly because the music drowned out the story and characters. I don't think I've ever imagined that to be possible, but this movie proved it. There's so much music needlessly played in this film that it became nothing but noise. A good sum of that comes from how they keep reusing musical tracks over and over again. Usually tracks of music from The Nutcracker Prince or Swan Lake. Anything else is their own music that are either set up poorly, or just come out of nowhere. For example, there's a scene where Beauty's sisters sing about how they want more of whatever they had back when they were wealthy. Now the scene starts with Beauty asking a question...and then as soon as one sisters talks, the song pops up, and at the end, Beauty is kicked out of the house. So she says something, the sisters sing, and then she's kicked out of the house. Just like that. There's another song that just starts just out of nowhere with no build up whatsoever. It's just Beauty singing with this imaginary man that turns out to be the human form of The Beast with footage of the ocean in the moonlight, fish swimming, and a Unicorn that is all of the sudden a Pegasus in the next scene. Don't ask me how the last part happened, it's just one of those things where Tommy would ridicule you for putting more thought into it than the filmmakers. Anyway, the real problem with this particular song is that it's really unclear what they are even singing about. I guess it's some sort of love song, but it really doesn't express it as such aside from just the tone of the music. In fact it drags so much because of it, that, that it felt longer than it really is to my siblings and me. Like, you know when you're having a brief conversation about something annoying, and by the time you're done, you take a moment before you realize that it's still going? Yeah, that pretty much happened to us with this song. My brothers and I were talking about everything that was wrong with the song as it went on, and then a few moments after we talked, I think it was my brother Johnathan who said, "Is this still going?" I later found out that it's actually about 4 minutes long, but it dragged on so much that we couldn't tell. And then you have the song of the three ghosts. Oh my gosh, is this song annoying. I could go on as to why I hate this song, but let's just say I've been pinching between my eyes as I type about it. And then we get to the final problem with the movie; the characters. First we have the characters that get the most attention out of all of the other characters, including Beauty and The Beast; the ghosts. They are so unbearably annoying. All they do is talk about the story and how Beauty is definitely the one to fall in love with The Beast or how much of a grump The Beast is, and of coarse, sing. It just is so irritating to watch these guys. The Beast and Beauty don't even have anything to go on as a relationship. I mentioned in my review to the Good Times film about how The Beast in that version at least showed that he had both a monstrous side and a caring side to him. So in that movie, we at least see that there's more to him than just a mean old monster. Here, we don't really see squat of there being any good in him at all. The most of what we see is him throwing a tantrum every time Beauty tries to reach out to him. She will say one little nice thing to say about him, and then he just yells at her, going on and on how there is nothing nice about him and that he's a monster. We at least see both Beauty and The Beast try to form a relationship between them in the last film, but here, we have little to nothing to go off of. Heck, in the end when she says she loves him (yeah I don't think I'm giving anything away there), not only is it a surprise to all the people who are trying to kill him, but even he is surprised to hear her say that. Yeah. It's that kind of poorly made relationship. I'll also briefly add that The Beast isn't even all that beastly looking. If anything, he looks more like a giant ape.

And that's my review for Golden Film's Beauty and the Beast. It's filled with countless plot holes, much less character development then the first film, and so much music that it drowns out the characters and story. While the Good Times film is bad, it was a so bad that it's good kind of bad. This is just annoying. If you want to see any of this, just watch Phelous' review. Otherwise, this is a major skip.

Rating: 5%