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Friday, April 3, 2015

9 Mini Thoughts & Reactions to Movies

Under normal circumstances, I would have done a Thoughts & Reactions post for the two movies I saw in theaters over Christmas break, plus the ones I watched on the airplane going to and from Rome.  However, as you can tell, this never happened, and since then, I've accumulated a list of movies I'd like to talk about (even briefly).  I thought some reaction was better than no reaction, and I haven't done one of these posts in awhile.  Instead of full reaction posts for each of these, I'm going to list 5 thoughts for each.

Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
  1. I'm not sure why this movie was necessary, but I'm glad it happened.
  2. Jedidiah and Octavian make these movies a thousand times better.
  3. Rami Malek (Ahkmenrah) is actually fantastic.
  4. I didn't know I needed that much closure from this series, but apparently I did.
  5. It's Night at the Museum, so it would've been fun no matter what.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

  1. Some of the special effects look fakey, like Legolas running up a crumbling cliff.
  2. Me during half of this movie: THORIN, NO.
  3. I will never forgive New Line Cinema for not naming this There and Back Again.
  4. But that final scene, where it loops back to The Fellowship of the Ring, almost makes up for that.  Almost.
  5. It has some lovely moments.  It has epic moments.  It has eye-rolling moments.  I'm left with a general feeling for this series that's somewhere between lukewarm and warm, but never more.

The Maze Runner (2014)

  1. The story is interesting, but the main character (Thomas) isn't.  This flaw has more to do with how he's written in the book than the movie itself.
  2. Some pieces of lackluster dialogue might also be the problem.
  3. The Maze looks exactly like I pictured it.
  4. I love how the thing that confuses the boys more than anything else is Teresa.  "It's a girl."  "What do we do with that?"
  5. For me, it lacked the intensity of the novel.  I'm not sure why.

Pacific Rim (2013) 

  1. The male lead and the female lead don't end up together.  I thought it was going to happen, but then they just hugged at the end.  (Actually, it's bad that this is so rare, but that's a different story.)  Their relationship is adorable.
  2. It focuses more on the action than the character development, but it has several quiet, tender moments that really get to you.
  3. It's refreshing to watch a movie that isn't a sequel, adaptation, or remake.
  4. Alright, fine.  It's no masterpiece.  It feels a little rushed, and it'll never win an Oscar.  But...

Snowpiercer (2014)

  1. I can't possibly cover everything about this movie in only five points, but I can sum up a lot with this: This is one of the most intense, suspenseful, and absolutely gripping things I've seen in a long time.  (Also, I highly recommend watching it on a train.  That only adds to the experience.)
  2. The pacing feels oddly episodic, since they move one train car at a time.  It has this simultaneous slow-fast feeling.
  3. The worldbuilding of this=WOW.
  4. I did not see that ending coming.  It changes everything.  It's harsh, but it works so, so well.
  5. Dystopian ice age.  Revolution that takes place entirely on a train that never stops.  Chris Evans.  What more can I say?
Lucy (2014) 

  1. this a thriller or a nature documentary?  Sometimes, it's hard to tell.
  2. I wish this at least tried to make some vague scientific sense.  Or any sense at all.
  3. There is no character development other than Lucy's growing powers.  She's punching things, blowing things up, and creating mayhem, but we're never given a reason to care.
  4. The ending special effects are cool.  I'll give it that.  But Lucy...becomes the universe?  Um, okay.
  5. That's how I felt about the entire thing.  "Um, okay."

The Great Gatsby (2013)
  1. Visually, it's fantastic.  It's colorful, vibrant, and exciting.
  2. The dialogue feels awkward and over-the-top, as does some of the acting.  (Leonardo DiCaprio, I'm looking at you.)
  3. Then again, maybe any adaptation of The Great Gatsby has to be excessive.
  4. The overall movie doesn't seem to take itself seriously.  I don't think that's the right tone for this story.
  5. It's pretty, but something about it felt off.  I can't pin down exactly what.

Avatar (2009) 

  1. The special effects budget for this movie would be enough to run a small country, but it paid off.  The visuals are utterly fantastic.  It creates a gorgeous, detailed world that's just plain fun to see.
  2. The romantic subplot comes out of nowhere.  There's no chemistry between Jake and Neytiri; the only reason it didn't surprise me was because you almost never see a movie without romantic/sexual tension between the male and female leads.
  3. In 2009, I kept hearing how anti-Christian this movie is.  Um, what?  Yes, I suppose it's anti-Christian if your definition includes the portrayal of any non-Christian religions.*  
  4. I had also heard about its hard-hitting environmental messages--this, on the other hand, is absolutely true.  It's basically a high-budget Fern Gully with some Pocahontas thrown into the mix.
  5. If you can look beyond the in-your-face subtext, it's an exciting, game-changing science fiction film.  It's not the highest-grossing movie of all time for nothing.
Shutter Island (2010)

  1. Much of this movie's brilliance is in its atmosphere.  The eerie cinematography, the pacing, the often-frightening flashbacks...
  2. The intensity is on par with Snowpiercer, but in a completely different way.
  3. That ending.  I...what...hold up...  I'm so impressed.  This is fantastic writing.  
  4. It messes with you.  You think you have it figured out, then it throws a bombshell at you.  Then it subverts itself again, and you're left not knowing whose words to trust.
  5. It's a psychological thriller with heavy emphasis on the psychological.  It's a smart movie that requires you to pay close attention--exactly my type of story.

What good (or bad) movies have you seen lately?

*Actually, if that's the case, then you might as well call The Passion of the Christ and The Ten Commandments anti-Christian.  I don't think that's what those critics were going for.  But that's beside the point.
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