Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's All the Smurf's Fault.

I'm so confused, and it's all the Smurf's fault.

I have always had something against the Smurfs. I don't know why, I just have. I can't explain it. They just looked kind of stupid. I know this is a dumb reason to dislike anything, but this is an irrational dislike. Reason does not apply.

But now... I'm so confused!!!! You know how easy it is to get lost in a YouTube wormhole right? You watch one video, which leads to another, which leads to another, and soon three days have gone by and you realize that your eyeballs have dried out? Well that happened to me the other day, and now I don't know how to feel about the Smurfs.

It started with Zendaya's new single. I literally had it on "Replay". (This has nothing to do with the Smurfs, I just love the song, and I wanted an excuse to post it here.)

While I was listening to the song, I saw a song by Britney Spears on the sidebar. I hadn't seen her for years. I thought she had gone crazy and run off to live under a bridge somewhere. The song was called Ooh La La, and it was from the Smurfs 2. I figured it was going to be a trainwreck, so don't ask me why I clicked it.

I was wrong. Wrong about everything. Apparently Britney Spears has cleaned herself up, had kids, and her song was... Fun? I had a strong urge to buy it, but I couldn't. I mean... Its the smurfs! Those stupid blue things! I know nothing about them. But I still hate them. I have problems. I know this.

Anyway, one thing led to another as so often happens on YouTube, and suddenly I found out that Owl City wrote a song for the Smurfs 2. Owl City!

How can I hate anything the Owl City contributed to? I can't! But how can I like the smurfs? I can't! They have such dumb looking, fat fingers, and their hats! Good grief, their hats are almost as dumb as those Touques with the fluffy ball on the top. (Touque is the Canadian word for stocking cap. My dad's Canadian.) These are legitimate reason for me to dislike them, and I cant give them up easily!

I started looking into the rest of the songs on the album. Why? Why did they have to be so catchy?

However, there is one GLARING exception. This. Just... This...

SRSLY, I think I'm going to puke my pants. (Homestar Runner Reference)

Now I have a huge moral crisis. Do I continue to hold onto an unfounded hatred for a cartoon that never gave me a good reason to dislike it, and therefore miss out on adding a song by my favorite artist to my collection, or do I overlook one heinously awful song, give up my irrational prejudice, and actually give the Smurfs a chance?

I think I might have to watch the movie. That way if it really is bad I can have a good reason for thinking so. I didn't figure that anything was going to change my mind, so I looked up the movie to read about it. Apparently both Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays star in it. What? Why?

This gives me two MORE reasons to stop hating it! But it's just so hard! For some reason, the Smurfs have been stored in the part of my brain where Barney the purple dinosaur lives, and I'm having a serious problem getting them out.

I don't know. I think I'm probably going to have rethink my life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacific Rim

6-year-old me would have loved this movie. 27-year-old me did too. :)
This movie is about giant monsters who come through a portal on the ocean floor and attack cities, Godzilla-Style, while humanity fights back using giant robots called Jeagers. (Pronounced Yay-Ger) Plot-wise, it wasn't all that complicated. :)

Aside from the basic plot synopsis, there is a lot more to the story, and the writing made it so much better than it could have been. It still would have been completely awesome, but the writing just took it up a level.

The plot follows a Jeager pilot with a tragic back-story named Raleigh, who comes out of retirement in a last bid to defeat the monsters once and for all. He is paired with a woman with her own tragic back-story named Mako, and the two bond while trying to save humanity from annihilation.

I loved the monsters, I loved the robots, I loved the characters. I'm not sure what more I need to say. :) This movie was action eye-candy. I loved it.

The Jeagers all had unique names, the main one, piloted by Raleigh and Mako, was named Gipsy Danger. Other Jeagers were named Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoon, and Striker Eureka. Yesterday on Twitter I noticed the hashtag #RejectedJeagerNames was trending, so I clicked on it, and I found comedy gold. Two of my favorite that I found were Hitler Delicious, and Hernia Sunshine. You know me, lover of all things random, so of course I had to get in on this.

That was probably more fun than it should have been. :p

Anyway, Pacific Rim was awesome. If you love robots, giant monsters, and loud, explosive action, then you need to see this movie. If you don't like any of those things... Well, I'm sure there's a Barney and Friends marathon somewhere you could go see.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Man Of Steel: A Very Late Review

It's a good thing I'm not a professional blogger. I'd have to fire myself for neglect. I started this review a long time ago, and I kept forgetting about it. This isn't the first time I've done that. I actually have quite a few posts that I need to work on finishing. Or even starting... I have a bunch of movies I intended to review, but never got around to it, and I STILL haven't actually written my review of The Hunger Games movie. I probably should watch it again to refresh my memory.


Man of Steel was very good. It definitely wasn't perfect, but it was the best live action Superman movie anyone has made so far.

I have always had mixed feelings about all the other Superman movies. Christopher Reeve was a great actor, but his movies were very lacking. They were good for what they were I suppose, but they were pretty badly written. I have always hated the resolution of the first movie, where Superman flies around the earth so fast that the entire planet reverses rotation and somehow this causes time to flow backwards bring Lois back to life and repairing all the destruction. Aside from how stupid that is in and of itself, it begs the question, why didn't all the destruction just happen again? All he did was turn time backwards. Why did that fix everything? It just made absolutely no sense.

I do like the movies (Sort of, most of them) but there's just moments of absurdity that make me dislike them too. Though don't get me started on 3 & 4. I remember liking 3 as a kid but when I got older I realized it was garbage, and 4, gag. I've only seen 4 once. It was so stupid I don't remember much of it. I think I'm subconsciously blocking the bad memories.

Superman Returns was also not horrible, but I didn't like it either. The special effects were great, the beginning was one of the best movie openings ever, (From the point of view of a huge Superman fan anyway) and I really liked Brandon Routh as Superman, but the writing was subpar, and it was not nearly as exciting as it should have been. And making him have a kid with Lois that he didn't even know about just kind of ruined it for me. So the whole movie is probably near the top, if not at the top of my biggest cinematic disappointments ever. Not worst movies ever, just biggest disappointments ever, because going into the movie, I had extraordinarily high hopes.

But anyway, this review is supposed to be about Man Of Steel, not the last five movies.

To begin with, I will just get out of the way what I didn't like about the movie. My main gripe was with the character of Jonathan Kent. This version was a really weak, fearful man in my opinion. In other versions of the story (My favorites being Smallville and Lois and Clark) he has been a strong, brave role model for Clark, but in this one he's so scared that Clark will be taken away by the government that he even muses that maybe Clark should not have saved a school bus full of children from drowning, because he was seen doing it. Then to top it all off, instead of dying from a heart attack like most versions of the story, Jonathan gets killed saving someone because he won't let Clark save them and expose his powers. And even though Clark could have saved him, he refuses to let him. If I were Clark, I wouldn't have listened and saved him anyway, because that was just so stupid.

Martha Kent was a completely different story. I really liked her, and I'm very glad they didn't do anything to her character that would make me dislike her at all.

As for the other characters, they were all great too. Clark was slightly moodier in this version, but that goes back to my gripe against Jonathan. The fault of Clark's outlook on life goes back to him. Aside from his lack of "Good Cheer" Clark was still a great character. They did not change his character so much that it didn't feel like Superman. Plus, Henry Cavill made a great Superman. He had the look, the build, and the character just perfect to play the part.

Zod made for a great adversary. He was perfectly evil, with a good reason for being that way. I don't like it when a character is just evil for the sake of being evil. (Except for comedy purposes, Dr. Doofenshmirtz) It makes the characters so much more interesting when it is explained why they are the way they are. That being said, I think I still prefer Terrence Stamp's portrayal of Zod in Superman II. As much as I can find fault with the old movies, my complaints are never against the characters, and Terrence Stamp was the perfect Zod.

As usual, aside from Superman, Lois was my favorite character. This probably has a lot to do with who played her. Amy Adams. I think the fact that she was going to play Lois was one of the things that got me most excited for the movie. I've liked Amy Adams ever since she appeared in one of the first episodes of Smallville as a "Fat Sucking Vampire". Yes, I am aware of how incredibly stupid and terrible that sounds, and I know I am in a very, very, very small minority of people who actually liked that episode. It's always mentioned as one of the worst Smallville episodes ever, and I really don't care. :p

One thing I thought I would hate, but ended up not caring about, was how they changed the characters of Perry White and Jimmy Olson. They made Perry black, and they made Jimmy, Jenny. I was against the idea at first, since those are pretty huge changes, but I ended up liking them anyway. Perry, was still Perry, and Jenny just seemed like a new character. So even though I liked Jenny, I'm still holding onto the hope that they might introduce her twin brother in a future sequel. I still want there to be a Jimmy Olson, just as a friend for Clark.

Aside from the cast and characters, the rest of the movie was amazing. It was very extreme. Epically extreme. It was almost non-stop action. One of the main criticisms leveled at the movie is that it was all violence and no humor. And I can understand that. I do like there to be some comic relief in action movies, but it didn't bother me as much as it did some. I do hope that there will be more "Fun" in any future Superman movies they make, but the lack of it in this one did not make me dislike it as it did for some people.

The design of everything in the movie was great. I loved the look of Krypton. It was completely different than all other interpretations of the planet that I've ever seen. The landscape was very bleak, but it still looked cool and unique. And I loved the fact that they even showed some of the Kryptonian animals. I was not expecting that, so it was a very nice bonus.

The Kryptonian droids were awesome. They were some of the coolest, if not THE coolest droids I have ever seen. C3PO has nothing on them. :) the way they moved, the way they sounded, and the morphing effect was just amazing. I was hoping that one might somehow be saved with Clark and become his sidekick at the Fortress of Solitude or something. :p

In conclusion, if you are a Superman fan you should definitely see this movie. Oh, who am I kidding. If you are a Superman fan you'd better have already seen it, because this review is almost a month late! As a whole, this movie was awesome, and I can't wait for the sequel. And the sequel to that, and the sequel to that, and the eventual spin off Justice League franchise. Hey, a guy can dream can't he?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monsters University

Pixar has done it again. This movie is every bit as good as I'd hoped. Yes, critics still dumped on it for being another sequel (prequel) but they're just stuffy film critics who wouldn't know a good film if it fell out of the sky and landed on their head, splattering all over their clothes. I'm writing this review in the middle of the night. I'm probably going to be a little weirder than normal.

Yeah, I'm sure you're wondering why I'm writing this now, Monsters University came out last month, it's old news. Yeah, I am late, but I still wanted to write something, because this was a really good movie. Though I am still on the fence as to whether or not it was better than The Croods, but I've decided not to pick a favorite.


I don't know. The Croods was SO good! Maybe it WAS better than a Pixar film? Can that happen two years in a row? A non-Pixar film being better than the Pixar film? I KNOW it won't happen next year. The movie is called "The Good Dinosaur." There is NO WAY any other movie is gonna beat that.

Anyway, this sounds too much like I'm ragging on MU for not being good enough, but I'm really not! It was so good! It's just that I really loved The Croods.

Monsters University was a great movie. It was unusual in that it kind of had the opposite message of most feel-good family films. Most films seem to tell you "Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and eventually all your dreams will come true!" This film's message was "Follow your dreams, but be prepared, because they may not come true at all, and that's ok." That's a rather wordy message, and I'm sure that I could probably try to come up with a more concise way of saying that, but as I said before, it's the middle of the night, and my thinking parts aren't cogitating rightly.

The movie follows Mike (The green eyeball from Monsters Inc.) as he attends Monsters University to become a scarer. As we all know from watching Monsters Inc, Mike never became a scarer. The movie is all about Mike getting his dreams crushed. Sort of. It's about Mike's journey of self discovery, as he realizes that his life-long dream is unattainable, and how he comes to grips with that. But this movie is a lot more fun and funny than I am making it sound.

I won't give away any of the movie for those who still haven't seen it, but I do want to just highlight a few of my favorite things about the movie.

#1 The pigeon. If you have seen the movie you know exactly what I'm talking about. SQURAAAAAAAWWW!!!!

#2 Dean Hardscrabble. Best monster design ever. I hate centipedes, but dragon/centipede hybrids? Awesome! 

#3 Squishy's dance. It rivals Napoleon Dynamite's dance scene, as the best dance scene in cinematic history. Also, the music from that scene? I bought the song, and I've lost count of how many times I've played it. Here, listen for yourself. :)

#4 Squishy's mother. Listening to her tunes, and dancing while doing the laundry. Too funny.

#5 "I can't go back to jail!" Funniest line ever.

So there you have it. My better-late-than-never review of Pixar's latest masterpiece. If you haven't seen it yet, your need to. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish for a mutant pigeon of your very own.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In Defense of The Lone Ranger

I have a couple of other movie reviews coming that I probably should have finished sooner, but I felt the need to speed through this one and get it up, because there has been a TON of negativity surrounding this film.

I read multiple reviews totally trashing The Lone Ranger and because of that, going into the movie, my expectations were rather low. The reviews bashed Johnny Depp, bashed the story, bashed the filmmakers, bashed Helena Bonham Carter and her ivory gun-leg and basically just hated every possible thing they could about the movie.

One of their claims was that it was not true to the original show. I can't argue with that, since I've never seen it, but even if it is true, my response would be to just enjoy the film for what it is. The film makers were not trying to make an exact replica of an old show, they were trying to make their own version of a classic story. Coincidentally, that's the same response I have for super-nerds who hate on The Lord of the Rings because they didn't follow the books EXACTLY how they were written. 

One of the worst accusations leveled against the movie was that casting Johnny Depp to play Tonto was just the same as if someone made a movie wearing blackface. That's a completely ridiculous claim. Blackface was used to ridicule African Americans, and there was nothing about this movie in any way that tried to make fun of Native Americans. Frankly, Johnny Depp was great in the role, and I can't see anyone else playing Tonto. Johnny Depp made this film what it was, and without him it would not have been the same.

So, if you cant tell from how strongly I am defending it, I loved this movie. I loved it so much more than I expected to. Having read all the terrible reviews, I went in with such low expectations, that I was completely blown away with how much I enjoyed it. It was just plain fun. There was plenty to pick on if you wanted a "Realistic" movie, but I wasn't looking for realism. There was a woman with a prosthetic leg that doubled as a gun. I don't think realism is an option at that point. The whole movie was so over the top that no rational person should legitimately criticize it for being unrealistic. That's not the kind of movie it was trying to be. The last half hour alone was so completely insane and ridiculous (In the best possible way, of course) that if you still find fault with it for its lack of realism, then you completely missed the point of the movie.

The Lone Ranger is exciting, hilarious, and just plain fun. I loved it, and if you aren't a snooty movie critic who wants to shred the film to pieces, you will too. Watch it, you won't regret it.