Zootopia – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review


Disney did it again, and Zootopia took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but I wasn’t overly impressed by it.  Sure the animation was flawless, the characters were good, as was the story, but when I watch cartoons, I want to laugh, and I didn’t laugh as much as I thought I should have for a Disney cartoon.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a bunny, who has wanted to become a police officer since she was a child.  But bunnies are small, weak and timid, so there has never been a bunny police officer in Zootoipa, the land where animals all live together in harmony.  Yes, in Zootoipa prey animals like sheep or bunnies no longer have to fear the predatory animals like jaguars or foxes.  Judy fights against prejudice and works hard to become the first bunny officer of the ZPD (Zootopia Police Department), but a case of missing animals comes up that she must solve within 24 hours or else she must quit the force.  To solve the case she turns to a street hustler fox (Jason Bateman) for help, and the two set off reluctantly together discover how and why several predator animals have apparently gone savage.  Their search leads them through all the habitats of Zootopia and brings them deeper into a web of crime and corruption than they ever expected…

The film naturally has a message as it deals with prejudice and also explores the role of implicit bias in policing, which is good, but I think might have been a bit heavy for the expected target audience.  It may be something that the older kids and parents in the audience will pickup on, but would be completely lost on someone like my five year old nephew.  Judy does solve the case and does get predator and prey animals to once again get along and live peacefully together but not before realizing her own prejudices.  Did Zootopia really need to be Serpico with animals though?  When I watch cartoons (and yes, I watch them fairly regularly and by choice as an adult), I want to go back to my childhood and be amazed and entertained and laugh and maybe even shed a tear.  Zootopia was entertaining, but to me it didn’t have that magic touch.

Bottom Line: Okay, the Shakira song from the film is still kind of stuck in my head….as is the Rock’s “You’re Welcome” song from Moana…. curse you Disney.

Loving – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review


In 1950s Virginia mixed race marriages were illegal. To get around this, Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving ( Ruth Negga) drove to Washington D.C. to get married, and then came back home to their small Virginia town.  The thing about small towns is that news travels fast, and word of the Loving’s marriage reaches the police who come and arrest them.  They plead down a sentence from jail time to exile, meaning that they must leave the state for twenty-five years, or divorce.  Rather than going to jail they leave the state, but Mildred writes a letter to Robert Kennedy who recommends their case to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) who appoints them a lawyer (Nick Kroll) who takes up their cause and eventually gets their case heard before the Supreme Court.  Their basic defence was that they were in love.

This was a very good film, and very interesting.  The performances were very good (Ruth Negga was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar), and I really loved the look of the film.  It looked incredibly authentically 50s and 60s.  Loving was beautiful in it’s silence.  There were moments where nothing happens, just Richard and Mildred Loving quietly living their lives.  The film really focuses on the relationship, not the courtroom which I really appreciated.  While this was a historical film, based on true events, it wasn’t a history lesson.  The southern US at the time was a tense place, but in this film the menace was slow burning and it didn’t focus on the violence as you might expect, just two people who were involved at the heart of the matters.

Bottom Line: Even though this sounds kind of silly, and is not what the film is about at all, I really liked the cars in Loving.  The film took place over ten or so years, and I found it really cool to see the cars change with the time periods, from the early fifties to the mid sixties, from big chrome and finned monsters to sleek muscle cars.  I love it when filmmakers include these little details.

Paradox – ★ ★ DVD Review


Ugh, I wish I could create a temporal paradox and not have watched this movie.  It was pretty bad, but I still stuck it out all the way to the end…  A group of “scientists” have created a time machine and send one of their own an hour into the future to test it.  He arrives and finds the lab littered with the dead bodies of his friends, a killer on the loose and a self destruct timer counting down.  Immediately he hops back in the machine to go back and warn his team to get out, bringing with him a video camera which will show them what happened in the hour he skipped, and the hour that will be the “future” for his friends.  From there the team try various things to escape their situation, but destiny seems to be playing a heavy hand, stopping that every turn, even when they try to use their time machine to stop themselves despite the paradoxes it would create.

Okay, first off the acting for the most part was pretty bad.  Most of the dialogue was atrociously written.  Zoë Bell tried her best to salvage what she could, but I feel sorry for her that she was stuck in this mess.  One performance was so cringe worthy I was glad to see them shuffle him off to the future so he wouldn’t be seen for another fifty minutes.

Their “time machine” was pretty cheap, which isn’t a make or break for me, but I would have liked it to have had a little more science or engineering put into it.  I don’t normally try to pick apart a movie for small details like this, but when the movie is bad, it just angers me sometimes and I can’t help but look for faults.  The time machine was a platform with standard stage rigging looped with wires that creates some sort of time field, blah blah blah.  Powering it up used so much electricity it created a power failure for the surrounding forty blocks.  You’d think something that creates that powerful of a field and consumes that much power you’d keep the computer system that controls it all more than five feet away from it….maybe some shielding…or a “stay behind line” line on the floor…

The film did have a somewhat original idea and I do have to credit the filmmakers (writer/director Michael Hurst) for actually managing to keep everything straight and block and prep each scene so it maintained the proper continuity.  The problem was that it seemed to be trying too hard to be clever and most of the cast could not really handle that responsibility.  What could have been clever became over complicated and unengaging.  I honestly would say, that even the most hardcore of sci-fi and time travel fans shouldn’t waste their time with this one.

Bottom Line: It’s been done before and done much better.  If you’re looking for a good sci-fi or time travel film, give Predestination or Project Almanac a watch.

Logan – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review


Be warned.  There will be spoilers in this review.  I think it’s the only way I can talk about what I feel about Logan.

It’s common knowledge that Hugh Jackman (who will be 49 years old this year) has said he would be “hanging up the claws”, putting an end to his portrayal of the character known as Logan, James Howlett or Wolverine that he has played nine times since 2000.  Patrick Stewart has also announced that Logan would be the last time he would portray Charles Xavier or Professor X as he’s also been playing the character since 2000.  With that knowledge and with a few hints from the trailers, you can guess what will happen to the characters.  Logan gives us an aged, weakened, sick, and non-healing Logan, not the Wolverine who could recover from beatings and attacks in moments, and whose ferocity allowed him to dominate in fights.  When he is presented with a young mutant child who has similar powers and claws to his own, he and the very old and ailing Xavier have to try and get her safely to the Canadian border while being chased by the same people whose experiments created the girl.

Watching the movie, I fully expected Logan to die at the end, and watching the trailers I fully expected Xavier to die too (as he states in one of the trailers, he is F-ing 90!) but there were things that made me doubt this and that’s what makes for good storytelling in my mind.  I went in fully prepared for something but there were enough hints dropped along the way that made me doubt, or made me hope that something else could happen.  I suppose I like to think of myself as a “smart” comic book fan.  I like to think that I’m fairly knowledgeable in the history of the characters and things like that.  I also think I’m pretty “movie smart”, as I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years and it takes something pretty substantial to surprise me, the fact that Logan did surprise me at several turns was something special and added to my enjoyment of the film.

When the bad guys gave their X-24 experiment a serum to heal faster, my heart jumped.  If Logan got some of this would it cure him of the adamantium poisoning?  Would he heal like he used to? Would he be the Wolverine again?  Could this mean that Logan wouldn’t die and I was wrong about my “predictions”?  Would he lead the mutant children to Canada and lead the next generation of X-Men?  In the comics he did lead the school after one of Professor X’s many deaths, so it was plausible. Also: could there be enough of the juice left in him that he’s not really dead, but will just take a long time to heal?

I saw the film in theatres with some friends.  After an enjoyable dinner and some excellent conversation, we were off to the show.  Logan was a lot of “wish fulfillment” for me.  This movie was really made for the fans and my friends and I looked at each other in surprise after many of  the “wow” moments.  Everything you wanted to see in the other X-Men movies you got in the R-Rated Logan.  There were violent, violent fights and deaths.  The claws were popped (by both Logan and Laura a.k.a. X-23) in gruesome and creative ways; ways that hadn’t seen on film but had only been imagined.  Bad guys got claws through the head, through the eyes, through the throat, through the gut.  Arms were cut off, legs were removed, hands, heads, you name it, there was comic book evisceration like never before.  If you were excited by Wolverine’s attacks in X-Men 2 or in The Wolverine, they dial the intensity right up in Logan. The only thing we didn’t get in Logan was Hugh Jackman ever actually wearing a Wolverine costume.  While I guess it isn’t necessary, it would have been kind of cool to see the costume that was teased at the end of The Wolverine (though only in an “alternate ending”) even if it had only been in a brief flashback.

They also dial up the language throughout the film.  We had a few “f-bombs” in the red band trailers (and even a few in the trailers before the film (more on that below)), so it wasn’t really a surprise that the language was also quite “colourful” in the film.  I think that “The Girl Who Whispered” was a little surprised by that but for the most part I think that the language used did fit the tone of the film and the situations.  That being said, it could have been toned down a bit and the desired mood would still have been achieved.  I usually think that if you always need to use swearing to convey the emotions of your story, you should work on your storytelling, but Logan didn’t really use the language that way.  At one point Logan and Laura (Dafne Keen) are stuck on the side of the road with a broken truck and Logan swears and shouts and beats up the truck.  To me that’s very real, and something that we can all relate to.  Okay, maybe we can’t relate to being mutants with unbreakable bones who are being chased by Reavers (cyborg mutant hunters), but we can probably relate to having a car or computer or battery or some other piece of technology give out on you when you most needed it…

Both Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman gave excellent performances, and there has been talk about both being nominated for Oscars, as well as the film itself.  I think that it may be a bit early for Oscar talk, but you never know.  Clearly both actors really do love the characters they play and you can see that in their performances.  Strong, emotional, heroic, and touching; they wanted to send the fans home with a lasting memory.

So, a few other things you may want to know about Logan: wisely it was set in the future, so there is the possibility (and high probability) that Wolverine will be able to appear in future X-Men (or dare we dream MCU) films.  There was no Stan Lee cameo in the film, but in several versions of the Deadpool 2 Teaser Trailer that aired before the feature there is.  For some reason the theatre I went to didn’t air that version of the trailer, apparently there are two, one with Stan and one without, and I believe they each have different music for some reason (though both have the John Williams Superman theme for obvious reasons).  Lastly there was no “after the credits” scene in Logan so if you have a full bladder you don’t have to wait around.

Bottom Line: Loved it.  I hear that they’re making a black and white version of the film as a special feature for the Blu Ray release, which I think would be pretty cool.  Black and white seems to intensify everything.  I seem to remember seeing one of the first trailers being released in black and white with the Johnny Cash song in it….but I could also be imagining that now that I’ve heard this.

The Take – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

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Idris Elba stars as Sean Briar, a CIA agent in Paris who pushes the limits and doesn’t “play well with others”.  Michael Mason (Richard Madden) is a professional pickpocket who steals a bag belonging to Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon) and drops it with the garbage in front of a small apartment building after taking anything of value from it only to have the bag blow up moments later.  Now on the run as a suspected terrorist bomber, Mason finds himself being hunted by Briar.  Briar does capture Mason and eventually believes him to be innocent of the bombing, but he uses the thief to help him track down Zoe and the bomb makers who are threatening to detonate more bombs.  As the Mason and Briar inch closer to Zoe and the truth, they discover cover-ups and corruption and the real reasons the French people have been antagonized to riot in their own streets.

I was in the mood for a good action film, and Idris Elba impressed me so much in the BBC’s Luther, that I gave The Take a chance.  The plot takes place on the days leading up to Bastille Day, which was the film’s European title, I assume they switched it to The Take for North American audiences because they assumed the majority of audiences wouldn’t know what Bastille Day was, kind of like they assumed American Harry Potter audiences wouldn’t know what a Philosopher’s Stone was…  The Take was a fairly low budget and relatively unknown film but I rather liked it.  It started off a little slow and I thought it was going to be quite predictable, but they threw a few original twists and ideas in that I wasn’t expecting.  Those things really paid off in my mind, and allowed me to enjoy what could have been a very formulaic and hum-drum action flick.  The action kept me entertained throughout, and the performances were solid.  The cast had good chemistry together, and the cinematography was top notch.  An enjoyable film that avoided many of the clichés of the genre.

Bottom Line:  Idris Elba wrote and performed (with Fatboy Slim) the song The Road Less Travelled which plays over the closing credits.

Girl On The Train – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

Girl On The Train35

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) did not take her divorce very well.  She turned to alcohol during her marriage when it was determined that she and her husband Tom (Justin Theroux) could not have children.  Her alcoholism got the best of her on many occasions with her husband left having to explain her behaviour to everyone, including Rachel who would often wake up the next morning unable to remember what had happened the night before.  Rachel’s drinking led to her husband having an affair and leaving her for Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who reside happily in the house she lived in with Tom.  A house she passes every day as she rides the train to New York to a job she lost months ago.  She pretends to go to work so that her roommate (Laura Prepon), effectively the only friend she has left, won’t find out she was fired.  As she rides the train, to distract herself from Tom and Anna she watches the beautiful couple who live a few houses down the road, Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans) Hipwell.  Fantasizing about how perfect their lives are and building up a story for them each day she is stunned when one day she sees the woman on her deck with a man who is not her husband.  The next day she wakes up with another hangover, but also bloody and bruised and with no memory of the night before, but she knows something horrible has happened.  The news reports that Megan Hipwell has gone missing, and Rachel is sure she was in the area when it happened.  Did she have something to do with the case?  Inserting herself into the lives of complete strangers, she passes herself off as an old friend of Megan’s to her husband to try and find out what happened to Megan, and to herself that night.  If only she could remember what she saw…

The Girl On The Train was an excellent read.  I read the book in anticipation of seeing the movie, both because I heard it was a good story, and because I really enjoy Emily Blunt’s work.  I borrowed the book from someone at work before Christmas and read about a third of it before becoming too busy with life, the universe, and everything else.  Just before the film came to DVD I finished the remainder of the book in two days, two days later I watched the film.  I will say that watching the movie so soon after reading the book did effectively kill any suspense they were building because it was so fresh in my mind, but that’s my fault, not the filmmaker’s.  The book uses a lot of inner monologue and that isn’t easy to translate to the screen, but the performances were strong which helped fill in those gaps.    As I said, I’m a fan of Emily Blunt, and she was fantastic in this one, playing the alcoholic Rachel perfectly.  The rest of the cast was very good as well, and I enjoyed the movie quite a bit.  I’d say the movie was a bit more of a thriller-suspense tale and that the book was a bit more of a mystery-suspense tale, and offered a bit more into the characters, as it’s told from the perspectives of each of the three main women.

Bottom Line:  If you’re looking for a good, and original mystery type story, I’d recommend both the movie and the book, just don’t do them as close together as I did.  This was one instance I think where I’d have enjoyed the movie more if I watched it before reading the book.  I might have rated it higher if I had waited some time, but the score also suffered a little due to how difficult the book was to translate to film.

Kubo and the Two Strings – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

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Wow.  What an incredible piece of animation, and an incredible story too.

As an infant, Kubo (Art Parkinson) had one of his eyes plucked out by his grandfather, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes).  His mother takes the boy and flees with him from her father and her two evil twin sisters (Rooney Mara) who seek the boy’s other eye.  Not really knowing his past, Kubo grows up in a cave near a seaside Japanese village.  Taking care of his ailing mother by night, by day he visits the town earning money as a street musician telling stories with origami figures.  He tells the same story everyday, but never gets to finish the tale of the brave samurai warrior who battles the Moon King because he has to return home when the evening bell sounds so his witch aunts and grandfather don’t find Kubo and his mother.  One night however, as Kubo had made a lantern for his father at a festival celebrating the deceased he misses the bell, stays out after dark, and is chased by the daughters of the Moon King.  Summoning up the last of her own magic, Kubo’s mother appears and saves him, sacrificing her own life in the process but also imbuing one of Kubo’s toys, a small wooden monkey charm with life to help protect him.  Monkey (Charlize Theron) tells Kubo about three pieces of mystical armour that, if found, would allow Kubo to defeat the Moon King.  Along the way, Kubo and Monkey encounter Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), a forgetful former samurai who thinks he served Kubo’s father and was turned into the beetle by the Moon King for doing so.  Kubo’s own magic grows, as his origami comes to life and saves him several times by creating boats, wings and even creating a miniature samurai who Kubo believes has a link to his father.

This was very much the story of the hero’s quest.  The quest for magical items is a common theme throughout the history of film and literature, as they allow the hero to take a journey and discover himself, and in the case of Kubo and the Two Strings, to discover his family as well.  There were a few surprises along the way, as well as a suitable amount of humour.  I think that sometimes we tend to forget that animated features are primarily aimed at a younger audience.  I enjoyed how when Kubo was selling his stories on the streets at the beginning of the film you didn’t really know if his origami was magical or real and just looked like “magic” for the sake of telling the story to the us as the audience.  I  really enjoyed how everything unfolded (no pun intended)…

Setting aside the story, LAIKA really outdid themselves this time.  The animation was absolutely gorgeous and the scale of the film was incredible.  The animation at times was so perfect that it could have passed for CGI.  Now, don’t forget that there is extensive use of CGI in these films, but the sets are all built, the characters are all “puppets” and physical creations.  The clothing is all sewn, the backgrounds are all hand painted.  The computer work comes in for the lighting and some of the other environmental effects; you can’t stop motion in a snowstorm or rain.  The artwork at the finale was just mind blowing when you consider that it was all physical figures, subtly moved one frame at a time.  On top of the animation, and given the title, music had to be used effectively throughout.  As Kubo summoned his origami creations with his magical shamisen, the sound really became powerful.  Also, I really enjoyed Regina Spektor’s rendition of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps that played over the closing credits. I really fell in love with the scope and spectacle of Kubo, which made this one of my favourite movies of the past year.

Bottom Line: Kubo has definitely got my vote for Best Animated Picture at this year’s Oscars.  Disney wins waaaay too often in this category, though I suspect if Kubo doesn’t win Best Animated Feature, it will grab Best Visual Effects, but that’s the award I want Doctor Strange to win!

Mechanic Resurrection – ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

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I have to admit that I didn’t realize the first Statham Mechanic movie was released in 2011, I also have to admit that I don’t really remember all the details of how it ended.  I assume Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) killed his back stabbing protégé and then went into hiding allowing the world of assassins to think he was dead too.  That seems to jive with how Mechanic Resurrection opens up, so I’m going with that assumption.

Living a life of relative ease we find Bishop in South America where he’s suddenly attacked by a gang of assassins who have figured out that he’s still alive.  Bishop wants to stay in retirement so he heads to Asia and one of the safe houses he has set up across the globe.  There he sticks his neck out for a girl named Gina (Jessica Alba) who is apparently in an abusive relationship.  After rescuing her he soon discovers that everything has been a trap and Gina is taken prisoner by one of Bishop’s old assassin acquaintances. He threatens to kill Gina (who Bishop has quickly fallen in love with) unless Bishop carries out three hits for him.  Each hit has a time limit and each is more difficult than the last.  Killing a warlord in an island prison, an arms dealer in Australia and another arms dealer (Tommy Lee Jones) who lives in an underground bunker, armed with his own nuclear submarine pen.  Of course, once the hits are complete, he still has to rescue the girl, and knowing action movies like we all know action movies, he’ll have to get revenge on the guy who put him in the situation to begin with.

The stunts and fights were top notch as they are in just about every Jason Statham movie I’ve ever seen.  The plot was rather simple and didn’t really offer too many surprises.  Sorry, I take that back, the surprises were how creative they got with the assassinations and the stunt work, but there weren’t a whole lot of plot twists.  You’re probably not watching a movie like this for plot twists though, you’re watching it for the action.  While Statham carried most of the action, Jessica Alba had a few decent action sequences as well.  While a lot of the fights and kills and stunts were a little unbelievable, I could suspend my disbelief for them, surprisingly I had a harder time believing in the speed of Bishop and Gina’s blossoming romance.  Still it was a good movie overall.

Bottom Line: The ending was left open enough that there could be another entry in this series…

Sausage Party – ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

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I had high hopes for Sausage Party, I really did.  I saw the red band trailer, and laughed out loud.  It looked hilarious, food that doesn’t know it’s purpose is to be eaten by humans, and then I watched the movie.  Could the religious and political veil be any thinner?  Could they have sworn any more in the movie?  Could they make up their mind as to what they wanted this movie to be?  Was it supposed to be a political commentary? a religious commentary? an atheist commentary? a teenage sex comedy?  a hippie/druggie comedy?  Watching the bonus features on the disc gave me pretty much all the I needed to answer “what happened to Sausage Party“. 

The “plot” of the movie is fairly simple, a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen) and a bun named Brenda (Kristen Wiig) have fallen in love and dream of being together in paradise when they’re purchased and taken from the store, but along the way they fall out of their packages in a grocery cart accident and have to find their way back to each other and to their food friends so they can enjoy the paradise that is the Great Beyond.  Along the way they meet up with a broken douche who blames them for getting him thrown in the garbage, and a host of other foods that play up just about every stereotype you can imagine.  They end up travelling with a Jewish bagel (Edward Norton) and a Muslim lavash who are constantly arguing about having to share an aisle, meet a lesbian taco (Selma Hayek) and a Native American liquor bottle named Firewater, legions of sauerkraut looking to exterminate the juice (say that one out loud….).  Along the way they learn that the myth of the Great Beyond was just made up by one of the foods (who found out what really happens when they’re bought) so that the food would be happy and have something to believe in.  Of course there is a food fight in the movie, and lots of swearing, bad jokes and sexual innuendos, plus a giant food orgy at the end….

So, what went wrong with Sausage Party, when it could have been really clever and funny?  Well, in my opinion, it tried to be too over the top, and it tried to do that on purpose.  There was a great cast of actors involved, but there was also Seth Rogen involved.  Now, hear me out, I’m not just out to bash Seth Rogen.  Rogen was one of the lead writers (along with Jonah Hill), and he was present when the cast recorded their lines.  Usually when a cartoon is filmed, the voice actors are on their own and don’t have the other cast members around.  In this case, the writer, who was also a cast member, was there for everyone’s lines, and he encouraged everyone to improv.  As they showed in the bonus features Seth Rogen was laughing hysterically when people were recording their lines, and he (as well as the friends he brought over) was egging them on.  I think that environment caused the actors to push the envelope even more and curse away, trying to get their “audience” of peers and writers to laugh, and I think that really sunk the story.  This is basically the same problem I had with Ghostbusters, they couldn’t stick to a script. It seemed like Sausage Party was playing to the cast and the writers, and not playing to the audience.  If they could have, it might have been better, but this was very low brow humour to begin with.  As I said earlier, it could have been brilliant, instead it was a letdown.  I laughed at some of the food puns, I laughed when we got to see the scenes from the trailer where the terrified food is prepared for dinner, but really that was about it.  Very vulgar, very rude, definitely not for everyone.  Sensitive viewers will be offended easily as they don’t really pull any punches and look for ways that could offend.

Bottom Line: It was too adult for children, yet too childish for adults.

Ghostbusters (2016) – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

Ghostbusters (2016)3.0 Stars

If you didn’t hear last year, someone thought it would be a good idea to reboot Ghostbusters…. but they did it with all girls!  Oh no!  Okay, I have no problem with female leads, strong female characters, or any of the stuff that seemed to get people all up in arms about this movie, but I do have a few problems with reboots in general, and Ghostbusters is no exception to that.  Being someone who loved the original Ghostbusters I don’t know why they couldn’t have just made this more like a sequel than a reboot.  They could have had pretty much the same story if they made it exist in the same “film universe” as the original film.  Say that the original Ghostbusters have retired, and franchised out the name or something.  By rebooting it the way that they did, which kind of “erased” the original film, Ghostbusters (2016) had dug a deep hole from frame one.

Overall I enjoyed parts of the film but still found it a little disappointing.  It was funny, but at times it failed to deliver the humour too, and I think that was both the fault of the director and caused by having too many “comedians” involved.  Watching the bonus features kind of confirmed this to me, they didn’t really seem to have a hard script to stick to.  There was a lot of improv with the lines and the jokes, which causes some scenes to go on for too long, and actually ended up losing the humour they were trying for.  There was one scene in the actual film that was really just a “line-o-rama” bit where the characters just bantered back and forth making more and more one liners, and that kind of killed it for me.  Leave that stuff for the bonus features, trim your script down, keep your story moving, and stick to your script.  (Now, I watched the extended cut on Blu Ray, so I don’t know if all that I saw was included in the theatrical edition or not.)  If they had stuck more to a script, I don’ think the film would have felt as disjointed as it did to me.  There was one scene towards the end, where the team is in trouble and shocked when Erin (Kristen Wiig) comes back and saves them.  The team is amazed and thankful she is back, and seem to be acting like she quit the team, but the night before when she was last on screen she just said she was going home and she’d “see you tomorrow”, so what was going on here?  Is this a prime example of where the soft script failed the movie that made it to the screen?  Again, if that played out differently in the theatrical cut let me know!

My other problem with this “reboot” was that they still used a lot of ideas and jokes from the original, which certainly didn’t help it to escape the shadow of the 1984 classic.  Having the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appear (even it was as a parade balloon) was a little weak, as was a scene in a restaurant that reminded me of both Rick Moranis’ from the original and of Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver’s date in Ghostbusters II.  And having them resolve the final crisis in a very similar way by crossing the streams of their proton packs was very weak in my opinion.  If I wanted to see that, I’d just watch the original movie again.  I did enjoy the cameos from the original cast  (which once again, may or may not have helped the film escape that original film’s shadow), and there was even a subtle nod to the late Harold Ramis.

To me, Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann character and Chris Hemsworth as Kevin really stole the show.  I’ve really come to appreciate the talents of Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live lately and Hemsworth made me laugh more than the comics did.  Every time he was on screen was gold and hilarious.   Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones were funny at times as well, but they weren’t as funny as the action star was.  Maybe this will open more doors for Hemsworth, who knows, his Thor’s Vacation video was pretty funny.

Bottom Line: Decent attempt, but had some flaws that it shouldn’t have had, given the incredible amount of talent and skill involved with the film.  Don’t mess with the classics, I guess?  Also, decided to change my stars to moustaches for my ratings.  Why not?

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