Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Movies of 2013, Apocalypses, pt1

Apocalypse Films (or "What is the Dumbest Thing I have seen all Year?")

            Strangely, the end of the world was its own genre this year with a half dozen examples I managed to see.  Most having to do with some kind of giant monster, alien invasion, or zombies taking over... I guess the alien invasion of bland unfeeling robots could be a form of zombie too... Regardless it was its own thing outside of Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, or Action and so I will review the 6 I saw.  This is the first 3.

Pacific Rim, or "I can't Really Complain, I knew what the Premise of the Movie Was."
Overall: 6/10
I also find it funny that the main robot's name is Gypsy Danger, initials are GD, or "God Damn".
            There is nothing really surprising about this movie.  It is Power Rangers for grown ups with giant robots and giant monsters, a distant alien threat, a wise mentor figure, goofy comic relief, and martial arts sequences.  It is stone stupid.  However, it is extremely sincere in its stupidity, it is about fun, teamwork, and action, it is not, by any measure, a bad movie, and as a special effects triumph it is definitely worth watching.
            There are parts when they talk about how the giant monsters have the same DNA and are mass produced clones sent to attack Earth, this makes no sense because each monster looks totally different from one another, giant Crawfish, ape like, acid spitting, winged, tentacles, or able to fire off EMP blasts.  These are not clones.  There is also a heavy handed environmental message, and a tie into dinosaurs that is insulting to the audience.
            See if you were to create a defense against giant monsters that always appeared from the same area the answer is pretty obvious.  Turrets.  You set them up around the portal and whenever something emerges it is immediately bombarded into fish food.  Their poisonous bio mass gets washed away into the ocean, so I guess we could also set up some sort of filtering mechanism... Point is, robots are a preposterous idea.  But since the movie is about giant robots fighting giant monsters you just swallow that part of the stupid equation for the sake of fun.
            Additional problems: The characters are very stock, but that is to be expected because they want the audience to focus on the Giant Monsters aspect of things and having complex political social dynamics would just eat up time without really adding.
            Additional blessing: the movie ends with a literal Jaeger-Bomb.  I found that funnier than I should have.

This is the End, or "Surprisingly effective set-up and pay off."
Overall: 5/10
It also continues the trend of advertising comedies by just advertising the stars rather than the content.
            I can't really say that I hate this movie, it has a lot of real problems with scenes dragging on too long as, what I am assuming is improv, goes on and on well past the point in which it was funny.  And to some people that is hilarious just watching good comedic entities bounce off one another but really it just needs to be a little sharper.
            The movie does a good job with set up and pay off, having little lines of dialogue referencing people and then having them show up later in a surprisingly twisted way, or saying that a plot point should happen in a movie the characters are working on, and then having it happen in reality like some meta eternal recurrence type thing.  The effects are often amazing, with demons, heavenly light, death and destruction, and possession.
            Strangely the biggest issue I have with the movie is that I was having more fun just at some stoner-celebrity party than I did watching them in the apocalypse, the humor takes a step down once the plot gets going, and I ended up missing the interaction with all the other stars that were in the movie like Jason Segel and Mindy Kaling.  It is fine enough.

Warm Bodies, or "That's the Power of Love?"
Overall: 5/10
I guess it can be a little difficult to have banter between the leads when one can't speak... Parody?
            My seeing this movie was subsidized by a friend.  I wanted t wait till it hit the bargain theater in a week and save $3, and they wanted to see it that day, so they gave me the difference in ticket price.  Which is nice.
            In a universe which has been over run by zombies... you know, say what you will about Superhero movies all being the same, but compared to the monotone zombie films that are everywhere Hulk and Thor might as well be different genres... in a world destroyed by zombies one zombie clings to the idea of being human, and when he ingests the brains (and with the the memories) of a living girl's boyfriend he falls in love and slowly starts to transform into a human again.
            I like the actors, I even like the premise, but let me be clear, the movie is not funny or fast paced enough for me to have been swept up in it.  It is just okay.  It is stupid and takes its metaphor to such a Nth degree that nobody is left confused or frustrated by it.  But ultimately it is not comedic, romantic, horrific, or action packed enough to really hit me.  It gets a solid, "meh".

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