Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Well, the original was better. It's fine, and ultimately impressive. Really, there is a lot to admire about the movie, but still it can't escape the shadow of the original. The weird thing is despite being longer a lot of times it feels like it's rushing through the beats of the original. Most notably, Mufasa's death scene (spoiler's I guess) feels weirdly rushed. I remember in the original there was time dwelling on Simba looking at the body and begging for Mufasa to get up. Here, he just kinda looks at it, sniffles a bit, and the scene moves on. Look I'm not saying it needs to be a shot for shot remake, but if you are going to go through the effort of doing the exact same scenes, either do them better, or do them at least as good, don't just rush through them to check off a box. That's this films biggest flaw, and it really did bother me. It lives under the shadow of the original often doing things because "the original did it" without really seeming to have an understanding of why that worked in the original. It was different artists with different visions. However, when it's doing it's own thing, it actually kinda' works. A lots been made of Timon and Pumbaa in this movie, and rightfully so, they're one of the few things that is expanded and made to live on their own. They're essentially the same sort of characters, but Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen bring their own personality to them. They were allowed to improvise and give their own spin with new lines and humor. They even have a new philosophy and debate on Hakuna Matata versus Circle of Life that's actually genuinely interesting. I also liked how their home is inhabited by other animals and it shows how Simba became part of that community in his exile. It's expansions like this where the film does its own thing where it really shines. Yes the visuals are nice, but the animals don't show the personality like they did in the animation because Lions can't cry/smile/laugh in real life so what were left with is a really pretty Disney Nature CGI-fest. It's these narrative moments that make the film work. I ultimately give it a moderately positive review because…damnit it's still The Lion King, and yeah there were enough things it did right. But at the end of the day, if I ever want to see The Lion King again, I'm going to watch the original.
It's Disney doing the Emoji Movie. That's really what this is when it comes down to it. And honestly…it's not bad. I mean yeah it's still riddled with product placement and an egregious amount of Disney marketing, but it's still charming and funny enough that it kinda' works. While we've seen other movies and TV shows tackle this "internet as a city" concept before, seeing it with Disney talent is actually pretty cool. I liked eBay as a store, I liked pop up ads as annoying guys on the street, hell as ridiculously filtered as it was I even kinda' liked how they showed the Dark Web! Seriously, the Dark Web in a Disney movie! I mean they Nerfed the hell out of it but still, pretty crazy. However I do miss the video game elements that were such a big part of the original film, that really feel missing here. One of my favorite parts of this film is the online game Slaughter Race, and it's really cool to see how they handle online gaming, and handle a game that's basically Twisted Metal through a Disney filter which is pretty fun. However, it's just one game. I also found the handling of Ralph's character really clumsy here. He made mistakes in the first movie, but he had a good heart. Here, he makes some choices that make it really hard to root for him. Yeah he learns his lesson, but it makes his development in the original feel forgotten and he comes off really selfish. In the end it's a flawed but still really fun movie.
I love Godzilla movies. The Japanese original is one of the greatest movies ever made, the rest are consistently at least entertaining. This one, yeah, it's fun. It's not great, but it's Godzilla, and it's fun. They go much bigger with the number of fan monsters, and I enjoyed that, and even throw in some new ones. There isn't anything cinematically notable like there was in the last American film this time around though. That one had such a sense of scale to it, and this one it's really just a monster movie. But as far as monster movies go, it's a pretty good one. I wish there was more light during the monster fights, and for that matter I just wish there were more monster fights (despite what people are saying I don't think this is the non-stop monster brawl that's been advertised), but for what we got I enjoyed it. Look, I'm a simple man, you give me two giant creatures punching each other, I'm happy. This movie did that.
The first Happy Death Day was a refreshing new take on the slasher genre with an enjoyable lead actress and a fun dark humor. Not perfect, but fun, and I was actually looking forward to the sequel. What I can give this sequel is it's not a rehash, well, not in the traditional sense. While it does tread over familiar scenes, it does so with the time travel mechanic in sort of a Back to the Future 2 way that's actually quite fun. The plot itself, is brand new. However, it pretty much drops the slasher element for this weird overexplained sci-fi story that we didn't really need and a convoluted plot that even it can't seem to keep track of. I'm not even joking, besides kicking Tree back into the loop, the entirety of the first 20 minutes are completely inconsequential to the rest of the movie. There's even a few weird twists in the first act that seems to be completely forgotten about by end. The movie is ultimately kinda' forgettable. Literally, it's been a couple days since I saw it and honestly I can't even remember who the killer (killers?) actually ended up being this time around. Jessica Rothe as Tree is still a standout performance in this, managing to be really funny and actually pulling off some heartfelt moments too. It's passably entertaining, worth watching once if you liked the first, but it's nothing special.
Maybe my expectations were too high, hell I even loved The LEGO Ninjago Movie, the one in this franchise most people seem to agree is pretty mediocre. But this one just didn't do it for me as much. Is LEGO Movie 2 bad? No, not by a long shot. I still give a positive ranking, but only marginally, and I'm a bit harsher on it than usual just because of the precedent this franchise has set and just how far the ball has been dropped here. If this was where the franchise had started, I'd say it was better than expected for LEGO, but still not great if I'm being totally honest. It falls into a lot of that sequel fatigue of the same, but not as good. They explore different worlds, but only a couple, and they aren't as crazy or interesting as the first one. There's more about the connection between the Lego world and the human world, but after the mindf*** ending of the first this time it just doesn't feel as organic. Yeah there's a nice bit about sibling relationships, but overall the human element just comes out a little weird this time around and raises some bizarre questions. The biggest downer though is the comedy, in that it's just not as funny. The first Lego movie was outright hilarious. This one, at best, is chuckle-worthy. There were 2 or 3 decent laughs, but for the most part it just got small smiles out of me. Having said that, it's still charming and the animation is still absolutely gorgeous. The characters are all likeable, new and old, and kids will definitely love it. It's a shame that it's such a massive step down from the first one, but with the bar set so high even a step down is still a decent movie.