District 9 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

District 9 is one of those films that really did not live up to expectations. It’s not a big alien invasion film or a cool thriller with a lot of action scenes and explosions. Instead it’s going for a more “realistic” kind of vibe as humanity lets the aliens live in one district while running inhumane experiments on them the whole time. This movie is all about the grit and extra details while never allowing any of the characters to look all that heroic. It’s not a great look for humanity.

The movie starts with an alien ship appearing but for a while nothing happens. So the humans eventually cut themselves in and we see that the aliens are all very sick and can’t really fight at this point. So they are moved to Earth in a rather poor district and the humans who lived around there are not happy at all. The aliens have their own language which is translated in the subs and the humans can try to learn it to an extent. Wikus is one of the main guys going around handing out the eviction notices to some of these aliens so that they can be transported somewhere else. One of these operations goes wrong though as he it contaminated by a tube that one of the aliens was using and now Wikus is slowly turning into an alien. Humanity can’t allow an alien to be alive without advanced study so now everyone is hunting Wikus down to experiment with him until he dies from it all. Can Wikus escape?

The idea is that Wikus is effectively a fugitive on his own planet now. There is no real escape to be had so he has to try and fend for himself. At least for a while, eventually he meets up with Christopher again, one of the aliens. Christopher can cure Wikus if they can get off of the planet somehow in the spaceship and to do that they’re going to need a lot of fuel. At this point the humans can’t be reasoned with so Wikus is really on his own.

From the jump the movie doesn’t really give you any real likable characters to root for. Wikus is not the nicest guy to say the least and until he’s turned into an alien, he’s only marginally better than the other humans with how he interacts with the aliens. He grins gleefully as he destroys their babies and is having a lot of fun while this is serious business for the aliens. It’s all too late to feel sorry for him once he’s an alien and the film could have used a bit more nuance with the human characters. Make some of them a little nicer at least right?

Likewise I can’t say that the alien designs are all that good. Part of the point of the movie is that they’re all banged up and not exactly in fighting shape but that doesn’t make for an effective design. If anything you just feel like this is another aspect where the film dropped the ball because some nice visuals would have gone a long way. There is just nothing very nice to look at, the slums are breaking down and everything is rather desolate.

You have characters puking, you see cannibals eating aliens, and there is always a moment of shock value right around the corner. The movie paints a rather grim picture on the current state of affairs for everything and did I mention that this is documentary style? So you don’t even have great camera work because it’s always using the shaky cam style. I use the word shaky loosely as it’s filmed like a real documentary so they’re holding onto the camera tightly but a more traditional style would have greatly benefited the film.

A cynical film about how the government will always be messing with aliens behind the scenes can work well enough if you have one of the aliens as the main character and he is determined to save his comrades or something like that or it’s a big action movie where there’s a lot of fighting but otherwise the movie will just come across as rather mean spirited. The whole film is filled with extra details that you don’t need to know while also making sure that there is never any hope for the characters at any point in time. Certainly a big miss.

There’s just nothing particularly good to say about the movie. It doesn’t have good visuals, an impressive soundtrack, good characters, a solid story, or any fun moments that would make you cheer or laugh. It’s just a film that is determined to be as somber and depressing as possible. Now I do have some ways to fix it even while keeping to the same approach. If you want a film with a dialogue about how humans would treat aliens then you have to ditch the documentary style. We need a character who works for the news, someone in the resistance, and then the army characters from this title.

Give us some debates, some back and forth and different perspectives. The only way a film like this works is if there can be some meaningful dialogue and also a scenery shift so we can at least have some scenes with a happier touch. That would absolutely be the best way to handle this and it would really do wonders for the movie. You can also remove a lot of the grim dark scenes like the tortures and just blowing up aliens for no reason. Lets not make this so over the top.

Overall, Alas, this is not a winning film either way. I’d recommend just about any other alien film over this one. It’s certainly trying to do something new and different which can be applauded but ultimately it didn’t work. Sometimes being experimental doesn’t pay off even if that doesn’t mean that you should abandon being unique all together. It’s all about trial and error and eventually it could pay off. That said, I’d rather we not do a sequel to this film and focus on a reboot that is quite different instead.

Overall 1/10

Smokey and the Bandit II Review

Now it’s time for the big sequel. Smokey and the Bandit II retreads a lot of ground from the first film but tends to do it in a weaker way on all fronts. Right off the bat I can say that this is still a good movie but it’s a step below the first. In no way does it surpass the original and that’s a shame because a sequel should always strive to do better…to be better! This one doesn’t quite accomplish that in the end.

The story starts with Snowman being recruited once again to help with some smuggling. He’s forced to call in his pal Bandit, but the guy has let himself go ever since Frog broke up with him. He’s gained a ton of weight and just doesn’t have any energy anymore so Snowman calls her back in too which causes her to walk out on her wedding to Junior. Once again that sets off Smokey who decides to take Bandit down. Frog and Bandit will have to put aside their personal feelings to get the job done as there is a lot of money at stake here. Will they be able to pull it off or is this game over?

Right off the bat it’s a rather odd decision to have Frog and Bandit be broken up only to reunite them right away as she runs out of the wedding. Immediately you know how the film is going to spin this but now the romance works even less than it did the first time. Bandit now knows that she was absolutely going to marry someone else just a few minutes ago so how much does she actually love him? Then she reveals that he was cheating on her even while they were together which makes sense with how he is acting all the time. They have so much dirt on each other that the romance can’t possibly start up again and yet it does. This is a complete rebound which is a bad idea.

In general the script isn’t quite as tight this time either. The characters are a bit more exaggerated this time. For example Smokey is now shown as being completely incompetent. He’s scared of other truck drivers and no longer intimidates anyone. While he would usually watch the other cops crash and burn in the first film, he’s the one crashing in this one. It’s just way too much of a role reversal the whole time. The film is trying to have him be the funny character without building up his talents without it. It completely missed the point of the original which is a shame.

Smokey is still fun of course but he’s just not nearly as imposing or effective. The characters don’t fear him at all and that’s a shame because it’s part of what made him such a good character. Instead the gag of him constantly insulting Junior is played up even more here and Junior is even less intelligent than usual. You can’t see how Frog was even close to marrying him unless he is just really rich or something. That wouldn’t be a good look for Frog regardless.

As for Bandit, man he has really fallen off since the first film. He’s not the big leader that he used to be now as he got all depressed so quickly. It takes a lot for him to finally get back in shape and ready for action. Then even after that he seems a little more petty than usual like how he blows up at someone for not being a big fan of his. You just didn’t think that something like that would bother him nearly as much as it does. Bandit wasn’t out for the fame, but the thrill of the hunt right?

Snowman also doesn’t get to do a whole lot even though he’s the lead. It’s a little hard to even say what his personality is here. I guess he’s just a nice guy who is ready for some action but for the most part he’s going through the motions. Now you may be wondering at this point, how is this still a good movie? Well, to a large part I’m comparing it to the first movie a lot and of course it doesn’t compare favorably but if you look at the movie on its own then it’s still good.

For one thing, the soundtrack is still solid here. Smokey still has his big moments with his iconic theme song playing. That’s always fun to hear and the chase scenes are still good. They may not be as dynamic as the first film’s but they’re good enough. The comedy is still solid even if less of the jokes land. I feel like the film was also trying to be more family friendly which explains why the humor was a lot goofier. Not sure if that was the intent but that makes sense to me at least.

The movie still has good pacing and you won’t get bored. The slowest part has to be the opening as you just want Bandit to be ready for action already. Once he is then the race is on. The film doesn’t focus as much on the dangers of smuggling this time as it’s all easy for the leads now but I guess in the back of your mind you can assume that it’s still a tough bet for them. I think we should have gotten to see more of the big race for governor since the petty squabbles there had some potential. Unfortunately that pretty much vanishes after the opening scene instead of being a whole big deal.

While the movie doesn’t excel, I also wouldn’t say it has any seriously bad points. Reusing so many plots from the original is certainly something that it shouldn’t be doing but that is what limits it from being better as opposed to striking it down. Ultimately I would recommend checking this film out to anyone who likes a good comedy. In a way it might work better to start with this one and then go back so you end with the higher note and then treat it like a prequel.

Overall, Smokey and the Bandit II didn’t really know what it wanted to do. The film was less focused and borrowed a lot from the original. Still, it wasn’t bad and I would say it worked well enough on its own merits. It may have less replay value than the first but you’ll still have a good time here. Expect to have less laughs but you’ll be engaged all the way through. We’ll see how the third film is able to compete with the first two, or even if it can compete with them at all. It may end up just being a sound loss for the movie but hopefully it can surpass its limits and even be the best one.

Overall 6/10

Smokey and the Bandit Review

Now this is one of those films that has a classic feel to it. It’s all aged well from the humor to the plot itself. It may be fairly basic but the execution is on point and it doesn’t drag on. This is a good example of a solid all around comedy movie with memorable characters and music choices. Definitely a solid flick that you can check out at any time.

The movie starts with a trucker getting pulled over for trying to smuggle beer across state lines. This is a rather serious offense and it’s been going on for quite a while now as two guys in particular are really trying to make this happen for their big celebration coming up. Finally the rich duo are forced to ask for the help of Bandit, the most notorious truck driver in town. Everybody loves this guy, he’s effectively a local hero. Bandit agrees to help once the price is driven up enough. He contacts his friend Snowman who decides to bring his dog along. They must now get ready to drive an extremely long distance to get these beers what feels like halfway across the country in 48 hours.

There are two hitches to the initial plan though. One is that Bandit meets up with a girl who they later give the handle Frog, who has just ran off from her wedding. At the last second she decided to call it off and will be hitching a ride for now. Due to that there is a second hitch in that they’ve attracted the attention of Smokey, a very influential sheriff from Texas. His son Junior is the one who was going to marry Frog so the guy is extremely steamed and will get even more upset once he finds out what they are up to. This guy will do whatever it takes to stop them, even if it means tangling with other state law enforcement agencies. Can Bandit really pull this one off?

There’s a lot to like about this movie. The simple set up of a car chase across various state lines is really solid because then you have time to try and make the chase memorable. The movie pulls this off with its solid character cast which is rather small but as a result they all have strong character personalities at all times which can lead to a lot of good dialogue. The script here is consistently solid with all of the dynamics.

Bandit and Smokey have a very antagonistic relationship going here as Bandit will always talk very sarcastically or throw out plain insults while Smokey is yelling the whole time. Bandit and Frog also have a lot of good banter going on the whole time as they hurl insults. Now you know this will eventually turn into a romance so you will probably shake your head at that, but before that point there’s a lot of good dialogue going around. I’d say the same is true of all the characters, you’ll have a lot of fun here with how quickly they throw out all the lines.

Bandit is a very entertaining main character. He’s up for any challenge and always knows how to lose the cops. He may not be a hero as the guy is illegally smuggling and it sounds like this isn’t the first time, but at least his crimes are not violent ones. He’s not attacking anyone or anything like that, which doesn’t suddenly make him a hero or anything but he has his own honor code. I don’t see any romance with him lasting for long though as he likes to flirt with everyone and doesn’t seem like a very loyal guy. He just goes where the wind takes him.

Then you have Frog who is a rather fiery character as well. She goes with her gut even if her instincts kick in halfway down the wedding aisle. Frog can keep up with the fast paced banter as well as everyone else and takes everything in stride. That’s part of what makes the dynamic with her and Bandit work. She’s not out of her element at all and is just a very grounded character. Frog even gets to drive the car herself at times.

Snowman is a solid partner to Bandit. He plays the part of the more reasonable member who isn’t necessarily jumping on these challenges but won’t back away from it. His dog was a nice member of the crew as well. Part of what makes the scheme Snowman and Bandit are running have a much better shot of working than all the other truck drivers is because there are two of them. Basically the set up is that Bandit drives ahead in the car and if he sees any cops then he will lure them away as Snowman goes through in the big truck. Likewise if Snowman sees them then he can give Bandit a heads up. It’s not a full proof system or anything but it’s better than going it alone.

A lot of the time the heroes end up getting bailed out by their friends though. Bandit has a ton of fans on the airways so you constantly have people intentionally getting in Smokey’s way and helping out. Without them the main characters would have lost a lot of times. You can see why Smokey gets so heated because everything seems to be against him. What he doesn’t realize is…everyone is against him!

Smokey is a very entertaining character and definitely one of the highlights here. Part of what makes him really work is how exaggerated he is. The guy is extremely full of himself and believes that he represents the law 100%. Nobody else can get any say here because he knows that he’s always right. I respect his determination at least. You can tell that he’s someone who takes advantage of his power and gets set off too quickly but that’s what makes him such an intense antagonist. You may even find yourself rooting for him at times.

He sure takes a lot of shots at his son Junior though. Junior isn’t very smart and seems to lose intelligence the more he appears but at least he means well. Things just never work out for him and so he digs a hole for himself that’s deeper and deeper with each line. Sometimes the best thing to do is to not say anything at all and that’s what he will have to try and learn at some point.

As I mentioned earlier, the soundtrack here is solid. Smokey has his own theme which is always good. It definitely lets you know that something’s about to go down. What this film also got right was having Smokey still be a competent officer. We see that he does better than the other cops and is also intense enough where the teen delinquents fear him. This is a hard but important thing to balance. If Smokey was totally comic relief then the whole dynamic wouldn’t work as well because you need that fear to show how good Bandit is. It’s only impressive to see Bandit beating Smokey because we know that nobody’s ever bested him before.

The only weak part here is the obligatory romance and the film doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on it. You can just tell that it’s here because it has to be when Frog and Bandit’s banter was much better as reluctant allies. Once you go the romance route then you can’t really recapture that and so the film loses out on a lot of potential for the sequels and for the final act of the movie. Changing the dynamic like that is always risky and it didn’t pay off here.

Overall, Smokey and the Bandit is a very fun film. It’s got a lot of really solid dialogue moments which is important for a film like this and the humor is really good. It’s a very balanced movie from start to finish which is important. It never drags on and you’ll have a solid time with a very satisfying ending. So there’s no point in the movie where it loses steam and that means I can easily recommend this to just about anyone.

Overall 7/10

The Stepfather Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

This film plays out just like you would expect it to. It’s a dime a dozen horror/slasher kind of film where everyone is too oblivious for their own good. There was one scene which was an interesting subversion but on the other hand the whole scene felt really annoying and stretched my disbelief to the max so I’m not sure it was a great tradeoff. This film doesn’t do much right tbh, I suppose at least it reminds you on the dangers of rebounding. It can always get a little dangerous.

So the movie starts off with Jerry murdering a family and then running off to his next disguise. Basically his gimmick is that he will take on a new identity and marry a widow who has a kid. They’ll then live a normal life until he gets bored or upset and then he takes them out before repeating the process. What you have to understand is that for him to do this so often, a lot of people are just marrying him real quick. We don’t know how many times he’s pulled this off but it’s heavily implied that the scene we saw in the beginning of the film wasn’t the first time.

With the current family he is able to quickly get on Susan’s good side but her daughter Stephanie is a harder sell. She doesn’t like Jerry and isn’t happy about having to get used to him. Jerry needs to win her over quickly because he wants a perfect family and so if that doesn’t happen then she will have to go. Stephanie didn’t like Jerry from the start so unfortunately nobody takes her too seriously when she starts to say that he might be shady. After all that may just be sour bananas right?

It’s just a little hard to buy into the fact that all these widows are so desperate that they’d marry Jerry right away. During the film there’s a quick scene where he’s already starting to get his next life all set up and immediately after a few seconds of flirting it semes like he’s got his next victim all picked out. Cmon now, the film’s going to have to work a little harder to make that seem even slightly realistic. It’s an interesting gimmick for the main villain to have but it’s not too practical.

Now the whole film there is a guy named Jim who is on the case. This paragraph and the next 4 will have big spoilers so skip them if you haven’t seen the movie yet. I just have to dive in here because this character was just so bad. Whew……this guy was really bad. SO here’s what happens, he’s the brother of the last girl that Jerry took down for the count. He has follows the guy across the state and has narrowed his search down to a few people left. Finally he gets a definitive lead and knows exactly who he is looking for. So Jim goes to the house and yes he brought his gun with him. Jim sees that the door is open and everything is awful quiet. Okay that means Jim is ready right? He takes out his gun and just starts popping off??

No, Jim walks in and starts to look around. That’s when Jerry tries to sneak up on him but the door is so old that it makes a noise so Jim sees him. “Is that you sir???” Jim basically asks and Jerry just grins. “Long time no see Jim”…..and you figure Jerry is out of ideas and options because there’s nothing he can do. Jim has the gun and there is no element of surprise. There is absolutely nothing that Jerry can even hope to do in this situation. It’s all curtains, roll credits. Except…..that’s actually not what happens here.

See….Jim…..forgot to take his gun out of his pocket. Why…..I can’t even….what’s even worse is that Jim’s pocket is closed with a zipper and it gets jammed. Noooooooo

This is one of the most contrived moments I’ve seen in cinematic history. So Jim starts fumbling with the zipper while Jerry walks over and murders him. That’s just embarrassing. That’s not only awful writing in what was already a terrible movie but it makes no sense. Clearly the idea here was to subvert your expectations since the entire film has Jim running around looking for Jerry so you’re expecting the big payoff. No instead he gets neg diffed (Defeated with negative difficulty) and wastes his gun.

You need the full context here. Jim already knew what the guy looked like, he knew his address, and he knew that the guy just quit his job in the current alias which means he is about to murder his family. Jim’s the one who connected all of these dots earlier and even warned the cops. So he knows exactly what to expect and the door was open plus the house was eerily quiet. Why didn’t he already have his gun out? Why use a pocket with a zipper so you can’t take the gun out at a moment’s notice? Man………

Okay that’s it for spoilers. So back to the film, Jim’s a pretty awful character and I don’t need to talk about him much. Jerry’s bad which is pretty much automatic as one of those random serial killers. It’s not like there is any interesting motivations to his actions or anything like that. He’s just one of those lunatics so you’re waiting for him to get his at some point. He just tends to get lucky that his opponents are either not very smart, have 0 IQ, come in with no plan, or forget their own stories. He gets a lot of breaks here.

You’ve got the therapist Dr. Bondurant who seems decent at times but then tends to fumble. I appreciate that he’s proactive and tries to meet with Jerry but then he quickly starts making easy mistakes. Being obvious about his questions, forgetting his lies even though he just needs to bluff his way through 10 minutes, etc. This guy should have done way better and the way he goes out is just awful. Look, if you’re going to die anyway then at least try fighting back, jump out the window (They’re on the ground floor), tackle, do something. Instead he’s still trying to say that he’s not lying while he’s being stabbed. At that point nobody cares, certainly not the murderer. You need to fight back instead of hoping that he’ll stop.

As one of those films where you know Jerry is evil from the jump, it does always make for an interesting perspective. You get to really backseat drive the main characters here and their decisions feel even worse this way. I like the idea though even if it doesn’t do anything to save the film here. Stephanie is okay but unfortunately she did make it tough for anyone to believe her with how she never even gave Jerry a chance. I think she should have made a bigger deal about Jerry’s random episode in the basement but realistically almost anything she did would have had her get murdered anyway so I’m not sure it would have done much. At the end of the day when you’re a kid there’s not a whole lot you can do.

The film can be quite violent so you’ll want to give this one a pass if you’re not up for that. It definitely limits the film’s potential from the jump but in this case you also had to factor in the writing. Jerry also gets the family a dog and right away there were a lot of red flags. Now, the dog does escape initially when Stephanie gets home but I don’t recall the dog appearing after that in the ending. Did it survive or not? It’s hard to tell and at least from my recollection it didn’t feel definitive. I like to imagine that he did live for that result but the film was treading on very murky water there.

Overall, The Stepfather is a movie where the plot is hard to buy right from the start. Nobody is ever helpful in trying to take him down and if anything they’re just getting in each other’s way. There are no true standout characters and the film just doesn’t have much of a soul to it. If any of the characters were even remotely tough then you expect that they would have been able to do more here. It’s also why you probably want to really take your time in a relationship before you get serious. Not sure how much it would have helped in this case but to an extent I like to think the cracks in Jerry’s façade would have started to appear. It’s not like he’s the best actor with how he forgets who he is once in a while and even uses the wrong names in random conversations. He’s not all there so it’s not like he’s some kind of genius mastermind.

Overall 2/10

Father’s Little Dividend Review

It’s time for the sequel to the last film in this series which means that Stanley is going to have to deal with another trial. You definitely have to feel bad for the guy because he just got done spending a fortune on the wedding and now there is a kid on the way. Granted there is a time skip of course as kids don’t just come out of the blue but it looks like the burden will be on him again. This is one dividend that he may not want to accept.

The plot starts with Stanley being in a good mood though. He is in a great point in his life where everything is working. His life is clicking like a well oiled machine which is just perfect. The problem occurs when his daughter Kay announces that she and Buckley are having a baby. This was not the good news that Stanley was hoping for and naturally a lot of issues start to come up. Kay and Buckley are fighting again and Ellie is hoping that they can move back in to the main house. Stanley will have to think of something quickly or his life is basically going to be gone yet again.

As with the last film I sympathized a lot with him here. You figure at least that after the marriage there would be peace as Stanley can visit and all but they’re still in separate houses and he doesn’t have to worry about anything. Asking them over to come and live at home is really a bit much. Ellie doesn’t take it well as she guilt trips Stanley but I feel like she could have been a whole lot more understanding on the matter. Certainly she can see how it would end up being a lot of trouble on his side here since a baby is really a full time commitment. It doesn’t help that the baby doesn’t even like Stanley and is always throwing a fit.

Of course Stanley’s no saint here either. He has one scene where he really messes up in leaving the kid alone for 30 minutes. Ultimately he is able to sweep this under the rug after the cops find the baby and he convinces them to stay quiet. It’s all well and good for him and his reputation but that was such a bad look for him. Beyond that he looks good here and ultimately he is as supportive as possible even when he’s not thrilled about the whole thing.

Both sides of the family fight a bit about what the baby’s name should be and if they want it to be a boy or a girl. I always thought that kind of conversation puts a whole lot of pressure on the parents because it’s not like you can really control that. As for the name, I personally think the parents should have that all settled before even talking to family so that there are no issues there. Imagine allowing peer pressure to dictate what the name of your kid would be. There’s no way that would end up being even a remotely positive experience for anyone involved.

I didn’t really care for Kay in the first film and that continues here. She still has a bad habit of dashing out of a situation where anyone starts to question her. She tends to panic at the drop of a hat and doesn’t handle her disagreements with Buckley very well at all. We don’t see the whole scene but the movie never portrays it as Buckley being super out of line but rather Kay just seems to be a little overly sensitive. Considering how long they’ve been together now you would figure that their relationship would be a little stronger so that it wouldn’t crumble at the drop of a hat like this.

As for Buckley, what happened to the guy? He was some kind of fancy young CEO in the first film but now he’s hard up for cash?? Does not compute. It felt like the movie needed some excuse for them to be on tough times financially but I think this could have been handled a little better. I can’t say I really liked Buckley by the end either. It’s really up to Stanley to hold the film together as per usual.

Ellie and Buckley’s parents are all reasonably good even if they don’t always seem to get along a whole lot. There’s definitely a lot of competitiveness going on between the two sides. Ultimately things always turn out well for Stanley and Ellie so I wonder how the other two feel about that. At the end of the day though it’s not like the characters are awful or anything so they still do a good job of keeping the movie going.

Where this film shines is that it’s just a fun rom-com. The movie has good pacing so it never drags on and I would say the script and writing are both good. You’re always sure to be entertained which is absolutely the important thing here. There’s a lot of fun little events you can have with a kid coming into the picture, especially when the kid himself doesn’t have a big role for most of it.

It’s the kind of film that does still feel long but more in the sense that a lot is going on as opposed to you feeling like they’re overplaying a part. In general that can be a strength of a rom-com. You can fit in a whole lot of scenes and development because the more low key the film, the more you have to rely on talking scenes and a lot can happen there. A single conversation in a movie can completely change the plot after all.

Personally I would say that the first film has the slight advantage though. It’s always hard to beat the first encounters and that’s when all of the characters really got to meet up. Additionally, the whole thing was a lot more personal with Stanley trying to stop Buckley as opposed to the kid who is coming whether he likes it or not. There is much less that he can actually do about the situation here and so the stakes aren’t nearly as high.

Overall, You should have a good time here. This is a film with quality writing throughout and is just fun. It’s got a good amount of replay value and I wouldn’t say that I had any serious issues with it. The series would probably need to change up the formula a bit if it got more movies but this works very well as a follow up. This kind of film rarely gets a sequel either so it’s fairly neat to see how the characters are doing after the events of the first movie.

Overall 7/10

Father of the Bride Review

When you’ve got a movie with a very laidback premise like this you know that it’s going to feel like a very long movie. Whether this is a good or bad thing will definitely depend on the writing and the characters. If this is handled poorly then that’s really game over but if handled right then you’re in for a fun time. Fortunately I can say that this was a fun film. While it was hard to get behind the actual romance, I did like the main guy’s reaction to all of this.

The film starts off with Stanley in a fair good mood. It’s been a nice day and he’s enjoying dinner with his family. That’s when his daughter Kay drops the bombshell that she likes a boy named Buckley and intends to marry him. This sends Stanley into hysterics while Ellie is thrilled with the idea because she wants to be a grandmother. The next bombshell drops which is that according to standard customs, the parents of the bride must pay for everything and spend their whole life savings on the wedding. Stanley’s life has now been turned upside down…can he make a comeback here?

So in a lot of ways I sympathize with Stanley because I do think the whole wedding gig has been absolutely taken over by corporate and nobody realizes it. It all starts with the Wedding Ring that you have to spend a ton of money on as a symbolic gesture of love all the while not realizing that you are just tossing money into the tank. Why do you think so many people believe they have to spend a fortune on the wedding and make it a big event where they hire planners and such?

Big Business came up with that and have been laughing all the way to the bank for years. I’m telling you it’s just not worth it. If you ever end up getting married, make it a very small affair where you just get it official and don’t even worry about the ring. Once that’s done you can have a fun house party where everyone brings a dish of food and you all celebrate. Now you’ve taken the middle man out of the equation and just made it a really fun time like a Christmas party or something like that. You’ll have also saved on thousands of dollars minimum which is a really big deal.

You can then put that money to far better use. In the film we also see that Stanley has to pay for every person that attends. Forget that. I’m calling up my friends and telling them that they’re paying to attend if we’re doing some kind of formal gathering. Everyone pays for themselves and that keeps it even stevens. Definitely makes it all a whole lot better if you think about it that way. Of course you don’t even run into that problem if you do my suggested way. There are a ton of ways to save money on this while still having a great time with the wedding if you think it through. Naturally you should be thinking that through with your partner well before the actual date so it doesn’t become a surprise.

Throughout the film Stanley runs into the issue of having to lose money at every corner and that’s why you feel bad for him. He had been saving up for so long and to see it all go in an instant like this has to be rather rough. It’s hard to just get that money back when you’re already later in life like this. Ultimately he’s still a good sport for Kay’s sake and that’s definitely appreciated. He could have been harsh about it but didn’t want to guilt trip her about the whole thing.

Stanley also has a good sense of humor and helps give the film a lot of life. His inner monologues are really solid and the film has great writing in general. He’s definitely thinking things through all the while and he also stands up for his school when Buckley’s father gets a little ahead of himself. Ultimately you can always count on Stanley and he’s the standout character in the film.

Ellie is solid as well. She’s his contrast for most of the film as she is thrilled about all of this right from the jump. Ellie also wants a really big wedding and is eager to help out with it. At times Stanley gets so nervous that he ends up getting her nervous as well but in the end she always bounces back.

Then we have Kay but she would be my least favorite character in the film. She’s constantly bursting into tears and running off whenever she is confronted in even the smallest way. This even leads to her nearly cutting all ties with Buckley after we’re super deep into the film. He calls her spoiled at one point and you definitely see it. It’s to the point where she’s super irresponsible about the whole thing. Imagine if they hadn’t talked her out of it and she did cancel the wedding? A lot of the expenses can’t be taken back so the parents would have been out of a ton of money with nothing to show about it.

Even then Kay seems more upset about herself than the money. She barely ever lets Stanley get a word in edgewise before panicking or getting super defensive. Even when the characters are being very pragmatic like discussing which invites to cancel since they were over budget she runs off and starts yelling. It just ended up being impossible to like her and she made the whole situation a lot tougher on Stanley and the crew than it needed to be. The first red flag was not even telling her parents that she was in a relationship so serious that she was ready to get married.

Finally we’ve got Buckley and he seems okay I guess. The guy is constantly nervous but seems successful in his business. It raises some questions for the sequel but here he is really well off to the point where Stanley is rather surprised about it. Buckley’s got his priorities in order and will ultimately be going places. At least they know Kay will be in good hands. I think Buckley does try to make an attempt to do the right things an get a good bond with Stanley even if that tends to be tough.

As the whole film is building up to the wedding that is why it can feel long if you aren’t engaged. To me the film does a great job of staying interesting but I will say that it still does feel long. Because the plot doesn’t change much you can really see how it takes a while to get to the end. It’s a good movie though so that just means there is more time to enjoy the characters squirming and wondering what to do.

Overall, Father of the Bride is a pretty good movie. It doesn’t overstay its welcome even if the length gets a little close to that point. You’ll probably sympathize with Stanley a lot on all of the wedding traditions that have to be kept because they’re historic even when they aren’t particularly practical. I can’t imagine tossing so much money up for an event like that but I know that it’s still the popular thing to do. The movie got a sequel so you can expect a review on that pretty soon as well.

Overall 7/10

Punisher: War Zone Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time for the return of the Punisher but this one isn’t quite able to match the first one. It goes all in with making the Punisher a rather imposing figure who takes down everyone in his way but along the way it forgot the charm of the series and doesn’t focus as much on how he helps people on a local level. This film is one you’ll ultimately want to end up skipping.

The movie starts with Punisher taking down a group of villains as he always does but this time he ends up taking out an FBI agent as well. The guy was undercover so Punisher figured that he was one of the villains but that was not the case. Now he feels like he should retire out of guilt but his partner Microchip convinces him not to do that. At the very least he tells the Punisher that he needs to finish the job by taking out Jigsaw first since that villain ended up surviving. Punisher agrees so he’s back on the streets to murder the villains but will he really be able to take out Jigsaw and his brother Jim?

The interesting part about the movie is that it would be over before it began if this version of the Punisher wasn’t so sadistic. Usually the Punisher goes around just shooting everyone as a quick death. He dishes out the punishment which is lethal for these villains and that’s the end of it. Only this time instead of doing that he tossed Jigsaw into a machine that crushes glass so it would slowly shred the guy to bits. Usually that would work but not in this case. The Punisher just seemed to be enjoying the show a bit too much here as he was even watching until some other villains attacked and he had to deal with them.

It’s clear that in this version the Punisher really enjoys his work to the point where he goes all in on this. You’d almost think he was a super villain as well with some of the scenes here. There’s another moment where he beats one guy up, then tosses him to the ground where he is impaled by spikes, then he breaks the guy’s neck/slashes it with a final fall. It’s all so extra and unnecessary that when the Punisher lands you could easily photoshop him with Michael Myers or someone like that and nobody would bat an eye. That would absolutely be a villain’s intro.

Now, I would always argue that the Punisher is a villain in all continuities. He murders all of his opponents and while they are villains, it’s still murder. Characters like the Punisher are always interesting as a what if since you can imagine this to be how things would go if Batman or another hero would murder their opponents. Ultimately it may result in safer streets and probably does but the cost is too high. So while it’s an interesting idea, we’ve still got to keep in perspective that if the heroes were here they would have a duty to take him down.

At least what still makes Punisher a decent character is he does have an honor code and doesn’t go after innocents or anything like that. When you see him just taking out the villains it’s fun enough but anytime you have to resort to torture or really taking it to the villains then it can be a bit too extreme. For that reason I much preferred the Punisher as portrayed in the earlier film. He seemed to have a lot more of his humanity and he was still punishing his opponents but very somberly and without getting into it.

Now if the Punisher’s scenes are that violent, you’re probably wondering what the villains do. Well, they don’t hold back either and you have people being eaten and ripped apart. The film’s absolutely as edgy as you would expect and it’s all really over the top. It’s the level of violence that would doom any film right out of the gate. You’ve got to have some restraint with scenes like this. Establish that the villains are evil and we don’t really need to see the rest. It would have made the film a whole lot better.

There’s no real reason to like Jigsaw as a villain. The guy is your classic mobster who wants a shot at greatness and will do anything for it. He betrays allies and just keeps on moving up. The guy is rather insane although you would expect most villains at his level to be insane since they probably crack on the way up. His design after getting torn up is certainly gruesome.

Then his brother Jim is even worse. That guy is completely off the walls and even talks like he’s looney. The scene of him being a cannibal is disturbing and you know that ultimately he won’t be taking the Punisher down. This guy is good against people who won’t fight back but a gun will take him down like all the rest. It’s not like any of these villains are bullet timers after all.

Paul is the main FBI agent trying to take the Punisher down. You can see why he’s so frustrated since the local cops all seem to support the Punisher and even the guy at the head of the taskforce isn’t particularly cooperative. The reason for this is fairly clear as everyone is rooting for the villains to be taken down. The city seems extremely corrupt so they’re probably tired of every villain just getting in and out of jail. This makes Paul’s job of avenging his comrade a lot tougher.

Paul’s a good character though and one of the few that you can root for all the way through. He does tend to get in the Punisher’s way but it’s very understandable from his perspective. Then you have Microchip who is a good partner to the Punisher. He knows exactly how to make that guy tick and what sets him off. You need someone like that to have your back and get the ammo ready. Punisher wouldn’t be able to function nearly as efficiently without him. The guy should probably carry more guns with him though so that he isn’t picked off.

While the movie is mainly devoid of humor, there is one scene that was pretty fun. You’ve got 3 athletic villains who are running and jumping across the roof while a really fast paced happy song is playing in the background. You can see how it’s all going very well for the villains but suddenly one of them explodes and we cut to Punisher with his cannon. That was the best scene in the movie by far. It works in showing that the Punisher is absolutely not playing around here and also in how fast the tone changes. It instantly goes from being a happy moment to a really intense one. The scene also helped to enhance the film’s overall soundtrack since the music there was really good.

Overall, Punisher: War Zone will definitely remain in the shadow of the first one. It just doesn’t really improve on much while falling below on a lot of areas. I would say the only area where this one wins is in showing the Punisher off as more of an unstoppable force. You can see why the whole city fears him and one scene shows how he has already taken down hundreds and hundreds of opponents. That was a great moment without a doubt. The film just can’t get away from its tendencies to make every scene as violent as possible. Show don’t tell is a rule that it takes too literally and that can often be what takes a film down for the count.

Overall 2/10

Dredd Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Judge Dredd has returned for another film outing. The first film was rather solid and had a good blend of action and excitement. This one doubles down on how corrupt the city is which makes sense on why the Dredds are around. It unfortunately focuses a little too much on the tragedies as opposed to Dredd making the world a better place and ultimately falters due to its own violence but at least you do get a hype soundtrack here and some memorable action scenes.

The film starts off with Dredd taking out some more delinquents and then his boss says that he will have to evaluate a new cadet. Dredd isn’t thrilled about that because historically he’s been a solo act but this is how it has to be this time. The new recruit is Cassandra and she is a telepath which is definitely handy to have in the field but Dredd still feels like she might not be ready for the level of danger in this job. He intends to be a harsh but fair mentor but what should have been a routine bust ends up being a whole situation as Ma-Ma takes over the building and locks it down. She is the head of the ultimate gang that runs this show and says that Dredd must die. He and Cassandra must try to stay alive while also keeping their prisoner Kay alive so he can be tried and brought to justice.

With the heroes locked in that does make for a rather tense setting in the building. I also thought there was a good amount of variety as the heroes go through the floors so it never felt confined. This is a really big building after all so that never became an issue. The visuals are solid here with a lot to look at and Dredd’s uniform definitely appears to be very faithful to the comic. I wouldn’t have any complaints there. It also ties in well with the really good rock music that plays throughout the film. It helps to get you in the zone and it makes the film as a whole a lot more exciting too. A good soundtrack goes a long way.

Dredd also makes for a very solid main character. He doesn’t let his emotions get in the way and tends to be a very pragmatic character who wants to take in his opponents alive but if they shoot first then he has to respond. Often times they are dealing with hardened murderers here so Dredd and Cassandra just have to open fire when they’re being attacked. Given the context of the world at large and the situation they’re in, it makes sense why they can’t all be jailed. In this world attacking a Judge is also a really serious offense.

The criminal system here is definitely interesting and I’d like to see that go into more depth someday. Regardless, Dredd lives up to his hype of being the most dangerous Dredd around. He overcomes a significant disadvantage in numbers and makes it all look easy. Not to say that he’s unbeatable though and he has to deal with real issues like running out of ammo but he always chooses the optimal path in tough situations.

Then we have Cassandra who does really well too. Her mind reading ability comes in handy several times. I was glad it helped her dodge a pretty big trick by the villains in pretending to be an ally at one point and it also gave her the edge over Kay. When you’re a telepath you should absolutely be able to crush anyone trying to beat you in the mind space and that’s exactly what happened here. If it had been close at all then that would have been disappointing. An expert just shouldn’t lose to a novice.

Cassandra’s abilities also put her in a unique position to really know who is a victim and who is an attacker. She’s more emotional and lenient than Dredd as well which can be an asset or a liability depending on the circumstance. Either way she would definitely make for a very good judge and they would be lucky to have her on the team. There aren’t any other heroes in the film with a notable role so Dredd and Cassandra have to be able to rely on each other when the going gets tough. If either one of them was not prepared for this then it would not have gone over well.

The main villain Ma-Ma was not all that good though. I appreciate that she had a plan for everything at least. No matter what the heroes did she would reveal another tactic or technique to even the field. Right up to the end it felt like she had everything under control and it took a really crafty idea to take her down. I can appreciate the grit it took to rise to the top and all but ultimately she’s quite psychotic and her grand goals don’t amount to much more than wanting to be at the top. If she could fight more personally that would have helped her.

She’s considerably better than Kay though. They’re both rather demented and I don’t think for a second that she would hesitate to do any of the stuff that Kay did, but he was around more so in a way we got to really see how depraved he was. The guy was annoying throughout the film and in a way he’s lucky that he wasn’t shot dead with a lot of the other villains. If Cassandra could have said she was 100% positive he may have been axed out near the very beginning.

So the Dredd movie has a lot of nonstop action and I love the premise of being stuck in a building filled with enemies and no way out. That part’s good but the film just ends up suffering due to how over the top violent it is. In a lot of ways I think the movie was trying to really show that it was different than the original. The original was more comedic and had a lot of light hearted moments so this one probably wanted to show how dark the city of Dredd’s is. It does make sense that it would be bad out there since the point is that the world’s really gotten as bad as possible but even then you can do that without all of the details.

The people who die are basically cut up and die in really vicious ways. You have the whole mental battle with Kay and Cassandra which immediately goes for the gritty/nasty kind of visions for them. They both play dirty in order to get the win at the audience’s expense. Then even the gun fights could be handled in more of a stylized way. You definitely don’t need the full explosion for every shot. There are plenty of action films with gun fights where you know the hit connected and the guy goes down but it’s not a huge splatter. It’s not as big a deal as the other elements since they are at least combatants but you could tell it’s the film trying hard.

I also thought the slow-mo was way overdone here. I went in a full circle with that because at first I was rolling my eyes at this, then they showed that it was a part of the plot. So I thought, all right…they showed this so we could understand the drug. But then it kept on happening over and over again so it went all the way around the world back into being excessive again. At that point it just became a negative. Slow motion shots can be cool, a lot of action films use this to great effect but there needs to be a purpose. A cool background effect, a nice scene, a great pose, etc. Not just someone smoking their drugs as we see it in slow-mo. It was just annoying more than anything. At least it did nullify one scene that I thought was going to be a fanservice moment but it turned out that this was not the case. Slow-mo has its use there at least although you could just say that the scene was filmed well because slow-mo could also backfire in that kind of way.

Overall, Dredd is a very intense action film. I can see the appeal as it’s basically the Punisher in a really rough environment who doesn’t need to take any prisoners. In this case he’s even government sanctioned so it’s not like he is defying the law to do it. I’d say you can do this without making the film be so over the top though. It takes away from the scenes that are pretty cool like when the other Judges showed up. That was really interesting. This film in a lot of ways is like Resident Evil. It’s a very interesting film but also tragic in the sense that you can see how this could have been great if it could have just held back a lot.

Overall 2/10

Overlord Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

I had a bad feeling about this film from the start. It’s a dark and gritty zombie movie with world war II elements. None of those things sounds very appealing so when you mix it all together then you’re probably gonna be in for a rough time. Unfortunately I was right on the money with this one. It’s a film that never really lets up so you can have any fun scenes in there. Instead it just keeps on going but without any real hook to get to you.

The main character here is Boyce and he’s riding with a team that is being sent out to take out a tower so that aerial support can come in to help the troops take over one of the beaches. This is a significant battle for the allied nations so it is imperative that the tower goes down. If it does not then everyone’s doomed. The plane that Boyce is travelling in gets shot down so there are only a few survivors. They are now the last hope and must try to make it in time. This will be tougher than expected though as the Nazi have more troops here than expected. Clearly something else is going on that’s bigger than just the tower.

Right from the jump you can tell that this is the kind of film that’s going to be giving you the extra details that you don’t need. One character pukes after seeing someone get blown up and it sets the tone for the very gritty realistic vibe that the film is gunning for. Even the zombies in this film are handled in a way where it can be seen as a realistic byproduct of a serum that has been developed. I dare say if you’re going to do this plot then you should be as fantastical as possible but that’s just me.

The film is incredibly violent as you see dismembered people lying around and all sorts of shock imagery for the zombies. The heroes even go and torture one of the villains to show that they will fight as dirty as possible in order to win this. It makes the heroes seem rather unstable from the jump as well. Boyce is shown to be the only one that’s completely against stooping down to this level and he tries to get the others to calm down. Quite unsuccessfully I must say but at least the attempt was made. Nobody else really seemed to have a problem with this.

To get edgy in the other way, the film also has the main heroine getting blackmailed by a Nazi commander so they can have an affair in exchange for her safety. Evidently this has been going on for a while and while it’s finally stopped now that Boyce is here (While his teammate was quite willing to just let it all go down) it’s just another super dark plot that should have been excluded. We know that the Nazis are depraved and psychos, there is no reason to go super into depth with this and show every possible angle that this can be explored in. Ultimately it’s not like it adds to the story in any meaningful way. Everyone watching this film already knows that the Nazis are evil.

The fights are all made to be graphic and so there just isn’t any moment where you get to lighten up here. It’s just a really intensely dark film with a lot of casualties. The only really likable character here is Boyce. He keeps his humanity throughout the adventure and never crosses the line. I would say he did as much as humanly possible in trying to defy his teammates from crossing the line too. I think the rest of the characters would not have even made the attempt so that’s something that’s at least worth acknowledging there.

Now I will give the film this, it did have a good track or two during the movie. That was at least a good positive I could give to it. That’s really the only one though. The cast is not a good one and it’s hard to enjoy any scene because every second something violent or dark is going to happen. If you want to have a film about a group of troops behind enemy lines trying to do good, then you have to do something a little lighter and with more time to see the team bond and infiltrate. It needs to be done without making the heroes too unlikable either. One of them’s even a jerk to a kid the whole time for no good reason. He’s stressed out but don’t take it out on a kid.

Ford is the most unlikable out of all the heroes. He’s the one who tortures Wafner and keeps on telling Boyce that they have to ignore what’s happening in front of them and focus on the mission. He’s not the guy you want to have at your back. Following the mission is good and all but you still can’t let someone get attacked or die in front of you. The torture scene also wasn’t a good look for him. Heroes should definitely never resort to that kind of tactic. It eventually ends up with Ford and Wafner fighting to see who can dish out the most damage and make the film as gritty as possible. Their battle is probably the most violent one in the film.

Of course Wafner is an awful character. What more can be said about him, he’s a Nazi commander who abuses his power and gladly agrees with the administration. He’s a terrible person through and through. The main heroine Chloe did her best in the tough situation she was in and looked good during the movie at least. The only scene with her that was iffy was nearly getting tricked by a random soldier into entering a cell with a monster in it. Surely you would have the soldier go in first right or at least keep your gun trained on him?

Tibet is the guy who was mean to the kid for a while. By the end of the film he sees the error in his ways at least. He was the most entertaining of the group as he was always joking around and trying to have a good time but I still wouldn’t call him a great character in the end. He’s super jumpy and just doesn’t carry himself like a proper soldier. Finally you have Chase and he did well once he stopped worrying about the camera all the time. There are definitely bigger things to think about here than getting the right shots. That’s for sure.

Overall, Overlord is definitely a film that you’ll want to pass on. It’s really just nonstop grit as they fight off the enemy soldiers and occasional zombies here. The extra details are what really get you though as you have to see every action to remind us how tough the war is and how intense the villains are. Zombie films are typically a thumbs down all the way though so it’s not particularly surprising. If you really like this kind of film then by all means it’s time to jump in but otherwise you’ll want to give this one a really quick pass. It just doesn’t have anything to really salvage it and so the film feels like it’s extremely long.

Overall 1/10

Jurassic World: Dominion Review

It’s time to bring the Jurassic World series to a close. It’s been quite the run and while I have yet to find any of these titles to be good movies yet, it’s always neat seeing dinosaurs. You could just say that the films are usually doomed from the start because it’s hard to have a dinosaur film without the dinosaurs themselves eventually running into peril. The animal violence sabotages the film right from the jump and this one is no exception with several hunting scenes. I’m afraid the franchise has overstayed its welcome and needs a new premise like robotic dinosaurs to get to the next level.

The film starts off by giving us a massive info dump about the dinosaurs having taken refuge in all parts of the planet. There is no escape from these dinosaurs and so Biosyn has taken this chance to quickly become one of the biggest companies in the world. Yes, it’s time to rake in those profits like nobody’s business! They were granted exclusive rights to grab the dinosaurs and so everyone else needs to stay back. Naturally they aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart though and seem to be doing something nefarious with the insects in their company. If they aren’t stopped quickly then the entire planet could be in danger.

There are two main plots here. First, you’ve got Owen and Claire who are still trying to raise Maisie as best they can, but they seem to have gotten lost in the sauce as in trying to protect her from everything around them, they’ve effectively trapped her in a house. Maisie quickly started to resent this and so she ran off and gets captured along with Blue’s kid. The heroes are in a race against time to find her and so we get a good amount of action here as they get to relive their action hero days.

In the B plot, the 3 main characters from the original trilogy have to try and get proof of Biosyn’s wrongdoings by infiltrating their headquarters. This plot has less action by comparison as they do their best to find out the facts but it’s all a bit more low key. I feel like this is intentional as the old characters do things by the book and it’s a very old fashioned type approach while the new characters are having fancy gun fights and hand to hand combat scenes. Naturally the main plot was typically more interesting. Then eventually the plots converge.

Lets get the obvious issue out of the way first and that’s the animal violence. Within 20 minutes of the film starting you have a rabbit eaten and a wolf murdered. Later on you’ve also got birds taken out and a fox hunted down. Of course eventually this also goes to the dinosaurs as they attack each other and one gets stabbed. It’s inevitable that this would happen with so many dinosaurs around and that’s the real issue here with dinosaur films in general. They are cool to see but of course they won’t stand a chance against properly armed fighters or bigger dinosaurs so someone’s going to get hurt. Each time that happens, the film ends up losing some momentum.

The other biggest issue I’d say is just that the film feels very long. The pacing isn’t air tight and it actually does drag on a bit. The plot with the old main characters can almost get boring at times. There are a lot of chase scenes and everything but when the film slows down, man does it slow down. You don’t care too much about the conversations on the dinos because we’ve heard it all a million times before. You just want to get to the good stuff and the film peaks early in that regard.

The best part of the film is when Owen and Claire confront two of the villains. Owen has an excellent close quarters fight against the knife wielder and it’s the best action scene in the movie. It reminds me of how his fight in the last film was also the best scene. I think it’s time for these films to transition into being more about the hand to hand combat because that’s clearly the best part of these films. I did think Claire was not intense enough in the moment which felt out of character though.

Keep in mind that they are trying to save the kid and it’s a matter of life and death. Owen certainly acted like it with how he was going at the guy and not taking prisoners but Claire’s battle had a lot more comedy mixed in and she was still trying to ask questions and all. I would have liked her to have tackled her villain and got right into the action. It all works out in the end but the villainess really got off easy the whole time.

Owen and Claire do make for solid main characters though. They get the job done and get a lot of good scenes. I do think they made the wrong choice in isolating Maisie as much as they did though. Yeah you’ve got to be careful but wouldn’t it still be better to be in a city environment than in the middle of the woods? Seems to me like being isolated is a bad idea when everyone around the world wants to get you because eventually they would. Just get some fake IDs and a decent disguise and you should be good.

I do think they could have played up the fugitive angle for these two characters a bit more though. In general there’s also more the movie could have done with the whole dynamic of having the dinosaurs on the go too. Having them just randomly running around the world seems like it should have had more of an effect on the planet than what we’re shown. Only around 30 deaths due to dinosaurs?? I find that extremely hard to believe.

These two are joined by Kayla later on in the plot as she gets roped into the adventure. Initially she’s here just for the money but gradually gets a conscience about the whole thing. She’s a decent fighter and helps them out when they’re in a pinch. Without a plane the heroes definitely would not have gotten very far here. As for Maisie, she is quite the rebel in this film and gets everyone into trouble. I’ll give the parents more of the blame here though because she did try to talk things out first several times and it felt like they weren’t giving her any great options.

For the other plot, well Ian definitely steals the show from the 3. He’s just way more of an interesting character than the other two. Ian always tries to find the bright side of things and remains calm even under pressure. His character is always a blast and while he isn’t as much of a field agent as the others, he does come in clutch on many occasions. Without him getting into the company first the others would have had a much tougher time of it.

Ellie and Allen are held back a bit by the inevitable romance which feels like it’s way too late. You can see the romance a mile away but cmon now, they’ve only just gotten reunited after how long? There’s no time for all of that and these two feel like they’ve been out of the game for so long that they’re a bit out of their depth. Their plot just never comes close to being as interesting as the main one.

On their plot you’ve also got Ramsay who gets quite a lot to do. The guy ends up being rather helpful the whole time so that’s good. The B plot has its share of danger and everything but 9 times out of 10 you’re ready to go back to Owen and team. Finally there’s the main villain Lewis and I’m not sure exactly what they were going for with him. He can be rather serious at times and then almost incompetent at other moments. He’s always very hyper/manic so he doesn’t always have time to finish his sentences. He works well as a funny villain in that degree even if I’m not sure how intentional that was which is a bit of an issue.

If he was meant to be more of a serious villain then the film failed but if you’re supposed to laugh at him a bit then that works well enough. He had some of the funniest scenes in the film although I would say Ian was still the most humorous character in the grand scheme of things.

While the movie is fairly lighthearted the whole time, it does have some grim moments like when two kids are attacked by a bunch of locusts. I was actually a little shocked at that because it just comes out of the blue and man, they were not expecting that. Of course you could try to say that they escaped but it was probably all over for them. I would still not call the film particularly violent or anything compared to older ones though. It’s certainly not touching the original films in that regard. Even the dinosaur fights usually happen when it’s really dark so you can’t actually see too much of what’s going on. I like to think that was to hide the violence and not because they’re afraid of how the CG looks.

The movie uses the classic Park theme at one point but for the most part it feels rather quiet. There aren’t any standout tunes at all which is a shame. Good music can really help take you to the next level and it could also have been used to make some of the slower scenes a little more exciting. In fact, that really might be what the film was missing. Throwing in some more good music could have really helped take the film to the next level or at least get a 1 star boost or something.

There’s certainly more to dislike here than to like. There’s also virtually no replay value because of how long the film is and how it ends up dragging instead of really utilizing that length. There are quite a few portions of the film that it feels like you could almost cut out so that it goes along a bit quicker. Now this may not sound good for fans of the original trilogy, but I think a strong case could be made that Ellie and Allen should have been cut out. All you need is Ian for their plot and when Maisie shows up she can take care of the rest. The two characters are almost filler if you think about it.

In a way the biggest way I can tell that the film wasn’t super interesting is I’m already running out of stuff to talk about and usually reviews for films in theaters tend to be on the longer side. There’s usually a bunch more to talk about but I guess that’s it here. At least the T Rex does get to show up and I will give the film props for the dinosaur models. I still think they look cool at least. I liked the one with the claws, that was nice. The film definitely could have used more day-time scenes with the dinosaurs so we could really appreciate how they looked though. A dark climax makes sense for the scary vibes but c’mon, this film isn’t really scary like that.

Overall, Jurassic World ends on a bit of an eh note. I would say this beats Fallen Kingdom for me but it loses to the original Jurassic World. I’m inclined to say Jurassic Park III beats this one as well. This one probably beats the first two though so all in all…that means this one’s roughly in the middle or slightly above the middle. That’s not bad. It’s not a particularly high bar for me though but it’s a start. If you really like dinosaurs then you should still get a lot out of this movie but it really should have been more exciting than how it turned out to be.

Overall 3/10