Welcome To The Rapid Fire Movie Review

I have 7 films to discuss so here are the rules: I will give you my thoughts on these films with an introductory tag line, approximately 200 words of thoughts and analysis, and one final sentence for my overall thoughts of the film.  Here we go:

il_570xN.1689671608_coozFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald – Just a prequel to the sequels

The first Fantastic Beasts is a film I could watch repeatedly.  This one, not so much.  The story felt a little too basic – it was essentially a bridge between the first film and any other films that will develop out of this franchise.  I got the feeling that it was simply laying the groundwork: here are the new characters and why they’ll be important later, here is how we are tying the franchise into the first film, etc. You would never be able to watch this movie as a stand-alone film.  And what’s frustrating is that this is a Fantastic Beasts film that really doesn’t dwell too long on the fantastic beats – my favourite part of the first film.  The titular element of the film is only included peripherally and I personally would have preferred if the new magical creatures introduced into this film were explored more thoroughly.  In some cases, like those unexplained magical dragon-like beings Grindlewald conjured up at the end, it felt as if the creatures were included in the film simply because the creators felt the need to insert some sort of fantastic beast in order to tie it into the first film and create an excuse for Newt to be an active part of the action.

Overall Opinion: Not enough plot and not enough Fantastic Beasts; although I did absolutely adore the Zouwu.

MV5BMTY1ODE0Mzg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjc1ODIyNjM@._V1_SY1000_SX640_AL_Overlord – Horror movie or war movie?

The trailers for this film were impressively captivating and gave me the impression that I was going to be watching a horror movie that just happened to take place during WWII.  But what I got was the exact opposite.  This film is first and foremost a war movie, even if it is handled from the point of view of the horror genre.  It is not the kind of film that glorifies war and shows the noble soldiers valiantly defeating the enemy; these are scared men and boys who are trying to survive a hellish situation.  As a war movie it is unique and well executed, but I spent most of the film waiting for the kind of horrors I had seen in the trailer to make an appearance.  When the true horrors do start to surface it is done in a fairly plausible manner.  Hitler and the Nazis were obsessed with the occult, so this story was set up as if one of the occult experiments actually succeeded.  So I didn’t necessarily get the zombie Nazis that I was expecting, but the existence of these super soldiers was well integrated into the plot and made sense for the kind of film this turned out to be.

Overall Opinion: Excellent war movie that really made me feel uncomfortable about the dirtier side of war, but it could have benefited from more zombie Nazis.

wreck-it-ralph-2-691x1024Wreck it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet – That was darker than expected… And I’m not just talking about the Dark Web

Compared to the first film and its sugary settings, Wreck it Ralph 2 ended up being a lot darker than I was expecting.  And since the adventure takes place in the internet – a land that is anything but innocent – this increases the need for a more grown up interpretation of the setting, as opposed to the arcade of the first film which exudes an air of childhood nostalgia.  Even the friendship between Ralph and Vanelope focuses on the darker aspects of relationship.  Rather than combating their loneliness or becoming protective of one another like in the first film, this sequel exposes the jealous and possessive side of friendship.  The result is that unsettling swarm of Ralph-viruses; I think the fact that it made me so uncomfortable to look at speaks to the animation work that went into it, and demonstrates the effectiveness of the overall message of the film. The change in tone in this sequel also served as a way to poke fun at common Disney tropes – what specifically comes to mind is the re-imagining of the Disney princesses.  And it was a bonus that the customary Disney princess song about hopes and dreams actually ended up being about a violent video game.  I am pleased that Pixar decided to embrace the dark side for this one.

Overall Opinion: My favourite part was the fantastic mid-credits scene that acknowledged the fact that what we see in trailers doesn’t always end up in the film – that was brilliant.

BumblebeeBumblebee – Finally, a good live action Transformers film

Given that the previous live action Transformers movies were awful, I was really worried about what would happen when Bumblebee got his own movie.  Thankfully, it is obvious that director Travis Knight is a fan of the 80s and a fan of Transformers. There were no unnecessary explosions over saturating the fight scenes, the female lead was not overly sexualized – there was just awesome music and kick-ass robots in disguise.  Between the music, the cinematography, the directorial choices, etc, this entire film was a love letter to the 80s.  But most importantly, the Transformers looked like they were supposed to.  One of the most frustrating things for me in the Michael Bay films was that characters I loved became ugly and/or unrecognizable thanks to their new character designs.  Bumblebee, on the other hand, gave me exactly what I wanted – Transformers that looked exactly like they did in the original cartoon.  In the opening fight on Cybertron, they didn’t have to give the names of the characters for me to know who was present in the battle. This movie was a ton of fun and I really hope that any future Transformers films are approached in a similar way.

Overall Opinion: I was so happy with just the first five minutes of the film that I cried.

610Xm4d9vKL._SY679_Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse – No surprise that this won an Oscar

I do not like Spider-Man.  Any time I have watched or read anything relating to Spider-Man I have enjoyed the villains, but I find Peter Parker annoying.  That being said, the beautiful animation I had seen in the trailers enticed me enough to want to see this film.  Obviously, I don’t need to go into detail on the animation; I think anyone who saw this movie knows that it absolutely deserved that Oscar win. But not only was the animation well executed, so was everything else.  This was a fresh new take on Spider-Man in more ways than one.  Most importantly for me is that Peter Parker was not the only Spider-Man.  Especially in today’s sociopolitical climate it is important to see that the hero doesn’t always have to be the stereotypical white male.  The plot of the film was also an interesting take on the overused concept of the origin story. Audiences were essentially bombarded with different origin stories throughout the film and we were given a quick glimpse into everyone’s origins and then watched as Miles’ experience mirrored their own. Miles’ origin story wasn’t just about him and I think that’s what made it more interesting for me.

Overall Opinion: Miles is my new favourite Spider-Man but I still prefer the villains, especially after seeing the alternate universe Dr. Octopus.

aquaman_poster_-_screengrab_-_p_2018Aquaman – I only went for the battle sharks

Despite my love of all things aquatic, I was not looking forward to this film. I knew that a film which would take place largely underwater would be oozing in CG (not something I particularly enjoy). I was also unsure about the portrayal of Aquaman as one of the trailers made him look as if he was all muscle and no brain. But there were battle sharks in the trailer so I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist seeing it. Thankfully, this film surpassed my expectations. Given that I was expecting so much CG I found that it was not as annoying as I expected; compared to the disastrous CG in Justice League I thought that this underwater CG was much better executed. The film as a whole was actually really beautiful to look at. Especially the costumes. And Aquaman, although still primarily the brawn of the adventure, came across as much more intelligent than the trailers had suggested. The music for this film was surprisingly unique and I particularly loved the synth/techno music that was used for fight/chase scenes. I just wished that music could have been used more throughout the film as it complemented the fact that the Atlanteans are technologically superior.

Overall Opinion: I got my battle sharks and was not disappointed.

71PCt2W7KiL._SY606_Alita: Battle Angel – DBox Delight

Honestly, I was hooked from the first time I saw the trailer and it only got better from there. I was expecting an action packed adventure and I got it – and then some. There was certainly a lot covered in this film, and with a bit of padding the studio probably could have squeezed 2 to 3 films out of this one! And yet nothing in this movie felt too much like filler. I was also pleased that we got too see a gritty version of this cinematic universe. A story like this could have easily been censored to appeal to younger audiences, but luckily we got to see all the gore and violence that this film needed. And continuing the discussion about CG: I was a little worried from the trailers that Alita’s face would stick out for all the wrong reasons, as it does appear cartoonish at a first glance. Thankfully, the work done on Alita’s appearance was very well executed and she truly looked like she was a cohesive part of this world. Out of all 7 films on this list, this was the only one I saw in DBox and this is definitely one of those films that benefits from this addition. The movements were appropriately timed and perfectly suited to the action, and there were enough breaks that the experience wasn’t over saturated in unnecessary DBox vibrations.

Overall Opinion: I needed to see a sequel the moment the credits started rolling on this one – I want more!

And which of these movies was my favourite?

Because of the music, the plot, the overall look, and the fact that it made me geek out:

BUMBLEBEE

 

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