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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Holy crap have I been a lazy blogger or what?

Well this is the movie that gave me the kick in the pants to get back over here.  I am such a huge Marvel movie fan that I just HAD to see it opening night!  Rest assured, there are no real big spoilers, but if you want to see the movie for yourself without having any tinted glasses, then perhaps you should move along now…

GOTG

Still with me?  Ok, here’s my opinion of GOTG:  IT SUCKED AND I’M HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTED ABOUT IT.

Sadly, few other critics – professional and regular moviegoers – seem to agree with me, and I have to say I am really surprised by that.  For me, the negative aspects of the film were just so glaring, I could only overlook them for so long for the sake of trying to enjoy the film.  But let me list my problems and then you can decide for yourself…

1. The indestructible, self-charging Walkman… Film opens with the kid version of main character Peter Quill on earth, listening to a Walkman.  Stuff happens and you suddenly remember this is supposed to be a sci-fi movie when he is abducted by aliens (which should be a separate point, but I will just say now that the alien abduction was so jarring from the opening scene, I liken it to a Monty Python bit).  Fast forward 26 years and the kid is now an adult.  Amazingly he is still listening to the same cassette tape on the same Walkman, same headphones.  I immediately turned to my husband and asked where the hell he got replacement batteries for that thing.  And apparently he also obtained the only indestructible Walkman in existence, and this particular cassette tape NEVER wears out after being the ONLY one listened to for 26 years.  Ok, moving on from the Walkman issue.

2. The soundtrack… dear god the soundtrack.  So many more 70s/80s songs that had kickass vibes and they chose the exact opposite.  Of the songs they used, only Cherry Bomb by the Runaways seemed to fit the actual movie.

3. The dialogue is goddamn painful to listen to.  Most of the time it’s hammy, melodramatic, forced, or something equal to prompt an eye roll.  There are a few funny lines, which help, but more often than not I thought the dialogue was almost cringeworthy.  Also, I get that the kid was abducted from Earth in 1988, but the sheer volume of 80s references was irritating and clearly designed to wink at the 40 years olds in the audience.

4. The environment NEVER felt realistic.  The actors looked like they simply walked in front of a green screen to perform.  EVERYTHING looked and felt computer generated, and of course there is going to be a lot of that when you’re making a space movie, but there has to be enough to make it feel real.

5. The characters I barely cared anything about.  Of the 5 main characters, the CGI raccoon was probably the best, and – sadly – the most emotive.  Bradley Cooper did a great job voicing Rocket, applause to him.  I also liked Zoe Saldana’s character, but found her development lacking, would have liked to know even more than they revealed about her.  Groot, the tree guy, was also sweet and funny, but they wasted Vin Diesel’s talent there…  Groot says 4 words the entire movie, you couldn’t even recognize Diesel’s voice, nor his features to justify using him.  Peter Quill acts like a 23 year old frat boy playing Indiana Jones meets Han Solo (and not pulling it off), and I never grow to like him much.  I thought Drax was a completely unnecessary character, not even sure why he was there.

6. That little trinket… As another critic pointed out, the object of desire that the bad guys want and the good guys try and keep the bad guys from amounts to a stone inside a softball-sized metal orb, or The One Ring inside the Hellraiser box.  Been there, done that.

7. The bad guys never really felt all that BAD.  Karen Gillan’s character was great to watch, when she was on screen, but we saw far too little of her and I dearly would have loved to know more since she and Zoe Saldana were “sisters”.  Ronin… Thanos… meh, yawn.

8. The ocean is in jeopardy, so let’s make sure this puddle is safe! They are billed as the “Guardians of the GALAXY” – at best, they saved what looked like San Francisco from the Star Trek universe.  At least with Superman, Metropolis got wasted but it was clearly in the process of saving the rest of the Earth.  This doesn’t feel like such a grand scale save, but good job, guys!

9. Ummmm, wha…?  The hidden scene at the end left me with mix feelings.  No spoilers, but I was equally laughing and astounded by the ridiculousness of it since it seemed so WAY out of place.

Overall I really felt the movie was far from fitting in with the established Marvel movie universe.  These guys were a bumbling comedy troupe rather than serious heroes.  I don’t know why so many people think this is so awesome, I just thought it was a complete letdown.

1.5 out of 5.  And that’s being generous.

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

FF6mpIt’s all empty calories, but yeah, I find the Fast & Furious series to be very entertaining.  For a movie or two there it looked like they were just going to crank out vaguely similar movies based on overclocked cars and skinny, barely-clothed women, but over time they’ve woven a bit of an interlocking story together, which continues in Fast & Furious 6.

They’ve brought the majority of the cast from Fast 5 back, and began the story watching how the characters each were spending their share of a $100 million heist they pulled off.  Here’s where the story comes right out and begins with the ridiculous.  You assume that each character was given about $11 million, and yet, a couple characters are acting like they got all $100 million.  Spending as quickly as they were, they should have run out of money about a month and a half in.  BUT this is F&F, so let’s put a pin in that one and move on…

In walks Dwayne Johnson’s muscles, followed a week later by Dwayne Johnson, reprising his role of CIA Hulk imitator Luke Hobbs, who delivers the news that a former member of the group, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) long though dead is actually still alive.  He tempts these former criminals into helping him take down a criminal mastermind (Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans) who appears to have taken Letty under his wing.  Dom (Vin Diesel) is more than eager to get to Letty, and of course Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) are there to help him, provided they are all given full pardons for prior crimes.

My daughter thinks it's hilarious how Han always has to be eating something.

My daughter thinks it’s hilarious how Han always has to be eating something.

So they reassemble the team, bringing in Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), and Tej (Ludacris).  They left out a couple of previous players, but for this installment, we’ll just assume they are sipping drinks somewhere warm and sunny.  Gibson’s chemistry with Kang, Ludacris and Johnson all bring a perfect amount of humor to the film, while Gadot and Kang continue to drop hints as to the story behind F&F3: Tokyo Drift (which is supposed to take place sometime AFTER this movie… yes, a little confusing).  And the party starts.

flying

WHEEEEEE! And there’s no way I will be killed doing this! Seriously!

From completely unrealistic chases, crashes, mid air 90MPH catches, and fist-fights, this movie is full of all kinds of ridiculousness, but you really don’t care.  As long as you put your brain on MST3K mode and just accept the ridiculousness, it’s a bunch of fun.  The villain is so stereotypical that he even has a pencil-thin mustache I was waiting for him to try twirling.

The one thing, oddly enough, that I just COULD NOT get past…  The final action scene.  I had accepted people flying through the air and receiving naught but perhaps a scrape or bruise.  I had accepted a totally hellacious girlfight that should have resulted in several broken ribs as best, broken backs and death from blunt force trauma at worst but again resulted in perhaps a scrape and bruise.  I had totally accepted complete decimation of hundreds of vehicles, many of which our heroes were in when they were decimated and SHOULD have resulted in mangling them to bloody pulps, but again produced only a scrape or bruise.  But the end scene involved a very large cargo plane attempting to take off and of course our team is chasing it down with their awesome cars, using crazy weapons and whatnot.  FOREVER.  I said at one point… HOW LONG IS THIS FREAKIN RUNWAY???

Apparently someone else had the same question I did.  And created this:

runway

Yes, after everything I saw in those two hours.  THAT is what bothered me the most.

But it’s all in fun.  Can’t wait until #7!

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