Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Movies - Just Plain Disappointment

These movies were just plain disappointing. There's lots to like in them. I would probably like to watch individual scenes of them someday. Eventually. I don't think I have a lot of new things to say about them. Most of what I'm going to say I've seen repeated online.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was an advertisement for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and all of the spinoffs. The thing is, that works with comic books because you have a new one every month. It works with TV shows (Mork on Happy Days) because you have a new episode every week. But with a movie? You get one every other year at the most. So it has to be a REALLY good movie in order to include all of that. It wasn't.

As a teacher, I think I have a good idea of how Electro's origin was written. The people who were supposed to do it forgot that it was due. So they got drunk and/or high instead. So someone came up with idea of him being bitten by a radioactive electric eel. They thought that was hilarious, wrote in down in a joke email that they pretended to send. They then were all awoken the next morning by a call from the person in charge wanting to know what their idea was, seeing how it should have been finished. They panicked and sent the email. The douches in charge didn't notice how stupid it was, so they accepted it. I'm pretty sure I've received essays written the same way, though they were probably smarter.

I think I've figured out part of what I don't like about the Amazing Spider-Man movies. On one hand, they finally captured the humor and banter of the character. But they haven't figured out the heroism. In the comic books, every once in a while (quite often these days), someone from the future comes back and mentions what a great hero Spidey turned out to be. Most of the characters do a double take, thinking or even saying, "This guy? The creepy guy who hangs from the ceiling, covers his whole face, and makes stupid jokes? I doubt it." That's the attitude these movie makers have. But for a few of the heroes - the ones who know him best, such as the Fantastic Four and Captain America - will nod and understand that he is a great hero. And the audience knows. We nod along with them. We don't in these movies.

I loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I loved each movie more than the last. I liked The Hobbit movies less and less. Things that worked in the first three - Legolas defies the laws of physics - didn't work in these.

I'm definitely not the first person to state that these three movies could have been cut down into one great movie. Perhaps, if we're lucky, Topher Grace will do that for us someday. If it were me, though? I would probably cut almost all of third movie. I would cut the entire Battle of the Five Armies. The problem with this movie is that it's called The Battle of the Five Armies. I think I would only include the first and last few minutes. Maybe you could but the battle down into a quick five minute montage of important plot points, though I don't think that's even necessary.

I made small plans to reread The Hobbit when the movies were officially announced. None of the three really pushed me to finally go ahead and do so. Maybe I'll get around to it after I watch a super-edit of the three movies.

There's at least one good thing that came out of Rosewater. John Oliver got to host The Daily Show while Jon Stewart was making it, and that led to his HBO gig.

We had been hearing about this movie since even before then, and it sounded like a great idea for a movie. I wonder if directing Rosewater was too "serious" of a job for Stewart. It felt like he wanted to get his comedic side out of the way.

The thing that really made this movie disappointing was the last act, not because it was bad but because it was good. Once we start to find out what else was going on while Bahari was in prison, the movie takes on a new life. It felt like that's where the movie should have really begun.

Ready for the surprise about Wish I Was Here? Kate Hudson isn't the bad part about it.

I really liked Garden State and I still enjoy sitting through episodes of Scrubs. I'll plug that into Netflix while I'm doing other things and let it play in the background. So I really wanted to like Wish I Was Here. The problem is that it wanted to take the quirk from Garden State that often felt natural, but it felt forced. I guess it's much like how Legolas get to slay the Oliphaunt and ride down its trunk, but he doesn't get to climb a falling bridge. Natalie Portman gets to make silly sounds, but Josh Gad doesn't get to wear a space suit.

Next - the in-betweener movies.

1 comment:

Andrew Nolan said...

As someone who has taught The Hobbit to freshmen when I'm feeling mean, I don't think you're missing much by not reading the book. You're dead on about what's going to be bloated about the third movie: To the best of my recollection, the titular battle lasts like two pages. Bilbo gets knocked out in the beginning and wakes up when it's all over. The battle's hardly described at all.