Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Update on the 2013 Big Summer Movies

I had expected to be posting a review of either The Lone Ranger or Pacific Rim today, but I found that neither movie was good enough for me to recommend it to others.  I decided to do an update on which of the 2013 big summer movies I have and have not recommended so far, for those of you who have not been referring to my parent post that contains all of these.

Here are the films that appeared to be the biggest ones coming at the start of May:

Iron Man 3 – May 3rd
Fast & Furious 6 – May 24th
The Hangover Part III – May 24th
After Earth – May 31st
Man of Steel – June 14th
Monsters University – June 21st
World War Z – June 21st
Despicable Me 2 – July 3rd
The Lone Ranger – July 3rd
Pacific Rim – July 12th
The Wolverine – July 26th
Elysium – August 9th
Kick-Ass 2 – August 16th

(=Not yet released)

The ones I have recommended so far have links in the names that will take you to my full reviews of them.  For the rest I have shorter comments that you can find below.

Title:  The Hangover Part III

I thought the first one was hilarious and the second one okay.  I literally did not laugh once during this entire third movie.  There are some attempts at humor, but they fall flat.  Instead they try to focus more on the adventures the guys get into, but those really don't hold much entertainment or suspense in them.  This is just an all around not very good movie.  Of all the ones I have seen so far, this is the worst movie of the summer.

Title:  After Earth

This movie is not as horrible as you may have heard.  Much of that is backlash against M. Night Shyamalan in general, and against Will Smith trying to push his son on the movie-going public in particular.  People expecting to see a "Will Smith movie" instead get a "Jaden Smith movie".  The son is the star and Will just speaks instructions to him. 

Unfortunately, Will Smith seems to see his fearless military leader character as someone who would speak and act like a robot and Jaden just doesn't have the acting skills yet to carry a movie as the lead.  This isn't a bad movie plot-wise, but there's just not enough there to recommend it.

Title:  World War Z

The plot was okay up until it reaches the point where they apparently decided to completely change things and head to Wales. From that point on it was completely nonsensical. Combine this with the fact that another director has been infected with the shakycam virus and most of the action scenes were impossible to follow. Making matters worse is that three major action scenes are shot in very low light, combined with shakycam, just to make sure you can't see what is happening.  

There is an unintentional laugh out loud moment when Pitt, right in the midst of dodging zombies, stops to get a can of cold refreshing Pepsi out of a vending machine – perhaps the single most blatant product placement in a movie where the filmmakers were not winking about the product placement.

This film is trying really, really hard to be 28 Days Later, but it ends up being 28 Weeks Later.

Title: The Lone Ranger

There is a very good action sequence involving two trains at the climax of the movie. Unfortunately, it takes two hours to get to that point and it's about the only thing positive I can say about the film.

Most of the attempts at humor do not work and pretty much every single white man in the film is evil, for no other apparent reason than that they are white men. The one that isn't (the title character) is an idiot. A few other white men who have not yet had a chance to show how they are evil are quickly killed. Every single Indian, Chinese, and black man, however, is noble, brave, and good, all while being betrayed, beaten, and killed by white men. Gee, I wonder why this movie failed at the box office in a country whose large majority of the population is white?

Oh, and Depp simply plays Capt. Jack Sparrow again, just with a "me big heap Indian" accent.

Title:  Pacific Rim

This movie is really silly. In fact, it actually moves into the "so bad it's good" territory for large stretches. I was laughing at several scenes in this film (and not the few that were supposed to be funny.)

A bunch of giant monsters come out of a trench in the ocean so mankind's response is to build 300 foot tall robots to punch them really, really hard? I knew this going in, of course, but I was hoping it would entertain my inner 8 year old boy. Even an 8 year old was rolling his eyes at this.

They say at the beginning that planes, tanks, AND MISSILES (my emphasis) took six days to stop the first monster. As the movie shows, though, pretty much anything can stop them - except being punched by a giant robot. After eventually giving up on the punching, the robots kill them by electrocution, swords, bombs, and...wait for it...missiles launched from the robots.

Another solution is to build massive walls around tens of thousands of miles of Pacific coastline to keep the monsters out...instead of building a thousand feet of wall cap over the trench they are coming out of?  And mankind waits for the monsters to approach shore and destroy cities before trying to stop them instead of just positioning defenses right outside the trench the monsters are coming out of?

But maybe there's a good human angle to the film? Nope. Every character is either bland or an asshole, except for the Japanese pilot played by Rinko Kikuchi, who was also the best thing about 2006's Babel.  The CGI is good, but you don't get to enjoy it much since almost all of the major action scenes take place at night and/or in the rain/water so you can't see much of what is going on.

Pacific Rim is this summer's Battleship - big, loud, incredibly stupid...and unintentionally funny in so many places that you may still enjoy yourself. If you must see it I'd wait and rent it for a buck when it comes to DVD.


  1. Thanks for the refreshingly alternate take on Pacific Rim. Although I have no plans to see it because I have no plans to see most movies this summer, friends and friends of friends are currently losing their shit about how it's the most AMAZING UNBELIEVABLE BESTEST MOVIE OF EVER AND ALL TIME AND MAKES ALL OTHER MOVIES LOOK LIKE POOPIE!

    While I obviously understand opening weekend furor over a new flick, this seemed a touch extreme and it got me wondering if it was really all that and a bag of chips, and would I be missing out on humanity's next big leap forward if I didn't see it even though I have less than zero interest in seeing it. Your thoughts on it assuage my fears; I will not, in fact, be a horrible person if I choose not to see Pacific Rim in theaters.

    1. There was a tremendous amount of anticipation for it because it was coming from director Guillermo del Toro, who while not in Christopher Nolan territory, certainly has thousands of fanboys who feel he can do no wrong. They are all of the ones who would go see this the first weekend, so it is their feedback that flooded the internet the first weekend. The fact that it couldn't even finish in second place at the box office, let alone first, after the colossal amounts of marketing done for it shows that the general public isn't that intrigued by the concept.

    2. And I see it has already fallen out of the top 5 films in only its second week - a sign that the internet fanboy word of mouth has not had any impact on ticket sales.

  2. Oh, also, saw this today on facebook and thought you'd appreciate it as well.

    1. Thanks. I smiled at some of them, but some have things I've never even heard of, let alone experienced. Combine that with the ones about aggressive drivers, pedestrians, and unfriendly people and I believe the list started out as a "you're from Boston" list and someone changed the title along the way. In Maine the phrase "Massachusetts driver" is synonymous with "bad/aggressive driver". Also, a frappe is made with ice cream, not milk like a milkshake, so there is more of a difference than just the name (unlike sprinkles and jimmies). I've been places in Massachusetts where they had "frappe" on the menu, but they served a milkshake. Order a frappe in Maine at an ice cream place (not a chain) and they include a spoon with it because it's so thick. You've got to have some serious suction to get it started up through the straw.