6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Tomorrowland Review

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I saw Tomorrowland a while back and braced myself for the experience. I had heard many tales of woe about how this film can bore a person to tears. One senior couple actually exited the theater midway…the first time that they ever did that in their lives! The stories were quite impressive, but in a way…they destroyed that chance of happening. At the very least, the film would be entertaining because I would be chuckling at how everyone spent 10-15 dollars to see it in the theater! Granted, the film was actually decently good and I’d upgrade that to a pretty good if not for an unfortunate moment. It’s true that the film starts to go off the rails in the second half, but the first chunk is enough to qualify it as a good movie. Is it boring? Not really, but you can make a case for the second half.

It should be mentioned that everything about this film is pretty misleading about what the true plot is. Why is David Nix listed above Athena and Casey when they both have far more important roles in this film? Look at the poster that I chose…the main character isn’t even on it. In fact, I was shocked when we got a fight scene in this film because I feel like the trailers never even hinted at that, but maybe I just forgot to rewatch the trailer. It has been a while to be honest….time to talk about the actual plot.

The film starts out with an ominous scene of a timer counting down. It’s full of tension and epicness…until it’s ruined by a voice that keeps interrupting the main character over and over again. I’ll admit that I got tired of this joke the very instant that the first interruption happened. I’m sorry…but is this a comedy film or an end of the world thriller? Better pick the first option folks since most would not call this a thriller. We then get a flashback for the main character (Most of the film is a flashback by the way) who is called Frank. His dreams are crushed when his broken invention is turned down (With an epic burn I might add) but a girl gives him the keys to the underground city where the world’s top inventors are building a Utopia. Frank likes this concept. We then skip a few decades to where a girl by the name of Casey finds a little button.

When she grabs the button, she is “warped” to that highly advanced planet. The only problem is that her mind feels like she is gone, but she’s really still in the real world so this leads to a lot of shenanigans like tripping. (And plot hax) An android girl named Athena shows up and basically tells Casey to come with her if Casey wants to live. A group of human hunters are after them as they want the button and want to foil Athena’s plans. Athena has given pins to many people to help keep the inventions going, but the villains can’t have that.

Again, I was shocked to see the androids because I was expecting more of a down to Earth story about environmental change and that kind of thing. The big fight scene in the toy store was a lot of fun with the Androids shooting up the place before being reduced to scrap metal by Athena’s gravity gun. We then got another big action scene as Frank, now much older and more experienced had his hype team up with Casey. The booby traps took out a bunch of the villains and the heroes escaped with their lives. Sadly…this basically ends the action segment and also ends the first half of the film. That’s where things go downhill a little.

So…this Utopia can only be entered from France and the heroes can basically teleport/move at incredible rocket speeds that haven’t been invented yet…and they accomplished this decades ago. Nooooooo. You really have to throw logic out of the window here and the problem is that the whole plot doesn’t make sense. Nobody noticed all of these famous inventors disappearing now and again to help out the tech world? Nobody has ever found this place since it is a tangible location? Building it under an amusement park in the 60’s (Something like that) is one thing, but that just doesn’t fly in the modern world. We’ve got cameras for that kind of thing. Let’s not even get into the fact that the world basically runs on hope. If people stop hoping and just accept their fate…then they’re basically toast. Luckily, Casey is an optimist so she saves the world by believing in it. I can’t even…..

It’d be emotional if it wasn’t so nonsensical. Yeah, these plot holes and logic shenanigans aren’t the kind of thing that would impact the film’s score in any way for me, but it does take you out of the adventure to an extent. There’s also a villain in there somewhere, but the film didn’t even need one if you think about it. I suppose that it adds more wrinkles to the film though and we can always use those. As you watch the film, you’ll notice many moments where the badge should have basically destroyed Casey, but she uses the power of plot to survive.

Casey’s not a bad character though and she’s actually pretty decent. It’s always good to be an optimist even if she’s doomed in her classes as a result. It is a fact that the environment is being destroyed and that humanity continues to spiral lower and lower into the moral ground. It’s noble to try and resist such things by keeping a positive light…but then we’re reminded that she goes around sabotaging government facilities to try and keep her father’s job stable, but costing other people untold amounts of money. Whoops…. Anyway, she’s not bad, I did have a bit of a problem with Athena though.

Can you say overhyped? Athena is the definition of a hype character and she gets it every second of her appearance. She’s pretty rude to Frank and Casey the entire time and expects them to follow her orders without any context. She’s simply too overbearing and annoying when on screen. She can fight so at least the hype isn’t hollow, but more explanations and less bossy moments would have done her wonders. She even goes as far as to pretend to fall asleep instead of giving Casey some answers. Why couldn’t Athena answer them? No reason at all, she just didn’t feel like it.

Frank’s a great character though. He represents the cynical side of the world, which means that he gets dozens and dozens of good one liners to keep everyone in check. Frank’s always sarcastic until character development destroys his likable personality. He easily steals the show in the film as far as the characters are concerned. Then again…that’s not too hard.

There is one random scene where the Terminators destroy a group of policemen that could and should have led to a bunch of epic moments, but the cops never got their revenge. It was just sad because the cops were treated as a plot device rather than as actual characters. There should be some ramifications for shooting them down, but the film glosses over this point and moves on. It just felt so random…like most of the second half of the film. Seriously, once the main characters get on the rocket and enter Tomorrow Land, the film could have ended.

The ending involves a big power of friendship moment as a lot of annoying kid androids appear. The heroes have to explain hope and kindness to them and it’s not as emotional as the film would lead you to believe. Now, I’ve sounded decently harsh on this film and it made a lot of mistakes. This will be the final time that I say this, but the second half dropped the ball. If the film had kept up the first half’s momentum the whole time, we’d be looking at a possible 8…wellllll…probably a 7, but that’s still good. As it stands, the film would have gotten a 7, but that one scene hurts it.

In another random moment, the androids shoot a pigeon. Game Over. I had to dock a whole star from the film. It probably would have been more if it had been a dog or if the scene had been any more graphic or time consuming, but in this case, it was a good thing that the scene was still glossed over. I deduct a star on principle, but at least the animal violence was fairly mild. It’s insulting that the scene is meant to be comic relief though. The writers clearly had no idea what they were doing here.

Overall, Tomorrowland is certainly not as bad as you may have been led to believe. It can be pretty boring once the set up and introduction to the characters is complete, but the first half of the film is pretty interesting. Casey being a thief does hurt her whole character arc a bit, but I’ll assume that she doesn’t do those things anymore. If you turn your brain off and ignore the dozens of plot/logic holes here, you should have a good time. I’d recommend this film anyway and the action scenes should surprise you in a good way as they were unexpected. That being said, this is certainly no thriller and if you thought that Clooney’s character was the lead…prepare to be disappointed.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ocean’s Thirteen Review

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Ocean’s 11 is a classic film that has been remade and even gotten sequels over the years. Ocean’s 13 is the second sequel in this continuity and it is a fun adventure. I was used to the characters a little more than I had been for the first two installments, which could be why I ended up enjoying it more than I thought that I would. It is hard to say whether it beats the original or not. I am inclined to say that it is not as good, but it is very close. Take away one unfortunate subplot and this one has a real chance at 1st.

The film starts off with the heroes working small jobs while one of their members makes a legitimate deal with a new character on a new gambling casino. The heroes warned him that the casino owner tend to double cross everyone, but the warnings do not stop the inevitable from happening. Now that he is in a coma, the heroes decide to band together one last time to avenge their comrade by bankrupting the casino. It will be tough, but they do have some money to burn!

The premise is very good and watching the heroes band together once more should be nostalgic. It should definitely be noted that these guys still aren’t very heroic. One of them is robbing a vault as the film starts and judging by how rich all of the members are, they can’t be on the up and up. It’s intense to see them constantly throwing millions around. It’s actually a good thing in the sense that it makes the film more realistic even if it means that they can’t be completely heroic. There would be no way for them to use their plan if they didn’t have such a large amount of money on their end. By the end, they’re all essentially broke, but the ending probably means that they will have a lot of spending money once more. So, you could say that they’ve practically been reset to the beginning of the film.

Let’s get the unfortunate subplot out of the way first. One of the components of the plan revolves around tricking the villain’s right hand woman into taking one of the heroes into the vault room so that he could steal the diamonds. They use a strong cologne that messes with her mind and acts as a cupid type of weapon. Ignoring that the plot hax was downright unbelievable in those scenes and that they had no trouble getting into the vault room (Guards must have been panicking or something) there were better ways that they could have handled this. Just rushing into the room would have been my personal favorite. It may have been a little less believable, but it would have taken out the romance aspect that hurt this film so it would definitely be worth it. The heroes are basically just taking advantage of the lady and that’s definitely not cool.

The heroes mention from the start that their plan will have collateral damage and they weren’t kidding. By causing the company to lose billions of dollars (Not quite bankrupt, but it’s hard to see the casino ultimately staying alive) they probably costs dozens of workers their jobs. One reviewer had a pretty awful day and people almost got hurt from the tremors. I do give the heroes props for making things all right between them and the reviewer. The review guy was pretty sympathetic during the film and his plight was rather depressing and painful. The ending definitely makes things better and I was glad that the film did that since the ending would have been pretty sad otherwise. It was the ending that we needed.

We get some guest stars in this film, which was pretty neat as well. The main villain of the second film randomly shows up to try and steal the diamonds from the heroes, but they dismiss him rather quickly. One of their big rivals/antagonists also gets a decently large role as the heroes are forced to ask for his help when they are running out of money. He warns them that their lives will be over if they double cross him and he also forces them to steal the jewels from the casino in addition to their normal plans. The main characters manage to get back at him during the ending. It made for a pretty fun dynamic.

The main thing to consider here is if you enjoy dialogue a lot. The film is really centered around that as there are no actual fights in this film. It’s all about outsmarting the opponents and winning in a peaceful way. The dialogue is engaging though so that shouldn’t be a problem. Watching them make the plans is cool and the heroes already have a good idea of how to start at the beginning of the film. They’ve just run into 2 problems that they spend most of the film trying to correct. Again, it’s an extremely detailed plan that runs on so much luck that it would never work in real life, but it’s still cool to see them give it a whirl. I appreciate the fact that the writers still made the effort of creating such a thorough plan.

As for the actual cast, most of the main characters are likable, but certainly not all of them. Ocean makes for a good commander and Rusty is pretty dependable. I don’t care for the guy in the Mexico plot (That one had a happy ending as well, which is good since it would have been pretty annoying otherwise) or the one who never bothers to speak in English even though he understands it rather well. Lenny is easily one of my least favorite members. I liked the guy who managed to get a table in the casino. Now he could act (in film) as he tricked the owner into realizing his greatness. He’s the kind of guy who’s just so charismatic that it’s hard to stop him. Unfortunately, he has his less impressive moments, which ends up hurting his overall rating. Most of the other members are just there so they don’t really impact the plot all that much.

Overall, Ocean’s Thirteen is a pretty good film, but it does suffer from the unnecessary romance plot. The writing is still pretty good on the whole and the film is enjoyable so I would still recommend it. It may not beat the original, but as far as sequels go, it is definitely not bad. It holds true to what the series is all about and watching the heroes try to perform such a tricky heist is always amusing. Perhaps not all that realistic, but amusing nonetheless. It’s one of those films where a reboot/remake would probably be a lot of fun, but it’s hard to see it being quite as good. The twists in this film were all done really well and that’s where the new film would have a tough time topping it without going overboard.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ocean’s Twelve Review

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It has been a while since I saw Ocean’s Eleven. It was a good film, but would this one be able to match up? History hasn’t been kind to sequels for a very long time. Also, throwing in a 12th member could be stretching it since most films are not ready for a huge cast. This film seemed to face a lot of problems with the cast and the budget, but it was still a decently good film. Nowhere near as good as the first one of course.

The Ocean’s 11 gang has been living their lives in luxury since their big heist in the first film. They’ve put it all behind them, but they should have known that their past would find them someday! The head honcho of the casino has been tipped off to who the members were and he pays each of them a visit. He informs them that they have two weeks to earn around 200 million dollars or they shall be destroyed. The heroes will need to pull a really big job to even dream of getting such an amount!

The first thing that I would mention is the size of the cast. Managing so many big players is tricky for a film and this one didn’t pull it off. From the original Ocean’s 11 group, not all of them get big roles. One of them basically leaves to enjoy his riches in the beginning and another one is stuck in jail for the majority of the film. 2-4 other members are there, but they barely get any lines and they’re just there for the effect. They could have called it something like the Ocean’s 6 and it may have made more sense. It’s still fun to have a large cast though and it can give a film potential as long as most of the characters are likable.

The next issue would likely be the budget. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a budget problem and it could be a stylistic choice by the director. Nevertheless, the film felt really low budget at times. The camera angles looked as if someone grabbed their handheld camera and recorded everything. We got a lot of scenes where the picture would just stop and quickly start again. It was to show how the time was passing of course, but it could have been done in a better way. The most noticeable part was definitely when the camera angles kept shifting. Over and over again until you would get dizzy in the theater. It especially happened during the stalker scenes where the camera color turned into a red background. Intriguing to be sure…but it didn’t really work. I also felt like we got cheated out of the operations. We would typically only see parts of their plan and others would be filled in through flashbacks, but as an afterthought.

Luckily, the budget and large cast don’t take away from any of the film’s pros. The opening (Not the unnecessary opening scene) where the villains goes to each hero one by one was pretty epic. I like how one of the characters mentioned Jim Crow as he was taken out of a book or something. (Likely referring to the Jim Crow laws) and one character mentioned how he always did play the race card. It was only notable because I got the Jim Crow reference and it is true that someone’s always ready to use the race card online. The character had a good comeback for that as well. It’s too bad that he got the shaft in this film. The solid opening was definitely one of the best parts of the film.

I’m always up for a good competition between secret agents so the final part of the film had a pretty cool plot. I believe that it could have been handled a little better, but the whole point is that the main characters aren’t very smart so I suppose that some parts were excusable. The scene where the rival gets through the lasers was definitely pretty good. I would have been rooting for him if not for the constant cheating.

Danny is essentially the main character of the film. He doesn’t get to eat up a majority of the screentime, but he still acts like the leader. He takes the situation in stride and the name is based on his last name. He’s a pretty good character for the most part, but the romance angle can definitely be dicey. At least he puts more effort into the whole spying operation than the others. He’s probably the most likable member of the group. He knows the stakes and he’s ready to take the win.

Terry is easily the best character in the film. Easily. This guy meant business and he’s an epic villain. He really just tells it like it is and he doesn’t use any cheap tricks. His wager may not have been very fair, but he’s the first to admit to that. 2 weeks is still a decent amount of time and if Ocean’s 11 is as good as they say…it shouldn’t be a problem. It would have been cool if Terry got to appear more, but that’ll do for now. Epic Name + Epic Character = Win. This guy seriously couldn’t get any better at this point!

Isabel is one of the main antagonists of the film. She’s pretty smart and the only scene where she doesn’t look very good is at the beginning. She’s probably not as cunning as the main characters, but she has picked up many tricks in her line of work. Stealing one of the main characters’ phones was pretty good work on her part. I don’t really blame her for going under the radar at the end of the film since the consequences for the 1077 would be pretty severe, but hopefully she keeps her moral compass on. Stealing from someone and going back to the old ways would not help her character progression.

I didn’t really care for Yen’s character. It’s really for the same reasons that I don’t care for Groot or Chewy at times. He doesn’t speak English and he is always bouncing around. He just didn’t really work in this film. At least provide us with subtitles so we can follow what he’s saying. The characters can understand what he is saying somehow, but it doesn’t make his scenes any more enjoyable. He got a bigger role than most of the other characters, which is too bad. Maybe he’ll be better in the next film.

Reuben is a pretty solid character and he’s one of the more experienced members of the Ocean’s 11. He definitely takes the whole charade a little more seriously than the others. He defeated the stock market and he has more money than all of the other members. This is definitely a guy that you don’t want to underestimate. His disguise was also more thought out than the others. (Most of them didn’t even bother with one….) I wouldn’t have minded if he got more of a role.

Rusty probably gets the largest role from the main characters aside from Danny. (And that is arguable) He used to hang out with Isabel and he jeopardizes the team’s goals more than once. He typically doesn’t regret anything because it’s all worth it to him. I did not like him though and he’s one of the more unlikable members. He let romance get in the way of the team’s glory and that’s one of the things that you are not supposed to let happen. He let his skills degrade over the years and the team may have done better without him.

Tess is with Danny and she ends up coming to help for the final case. She was all right I suppose, but I believe that her character could have been a lot better. I definitely expected her to beat up Danny at the end and she didn’t disappoint. She was just a little too generic in the film and she didn’t get any moments that really helped to separate her from the pack. Her opening scene was decent since she talked back to the villains, but that was about it. Isabel was definitely more impressive.

Linus is basically the rookie of the group. He doesn’t really understand all of the lingo involved and he fells bad about stealing from those who are not in an equal position to fight back. The other don’t harbor any doubts since their morals have already been thrown out the window. Linus decides to throw his out as well as he joins in on the fun. He was a decent character although it’s too bad that he joined the group in the first place. From a character standpoint anyway, he was basically corrupted. His ending is pretty good though and at least he got to have a short turn as the leader.

Toulour is the big rival in the film. He doesn’t really get much of a role until we’re nearing the end of the film, but he quickly makes up for this with his scenes. He really does earn his title as the greatest thief out there. It was a little too easy for the heroes to find out what his true identity was, but I guess he wasn’t really hiding it. At the end, we really have to accept that he is a better thief than the Ocean’s 11. (Especially when you consider that there is 1 of him and 11 of the other guys) His laser scene was just intense! He does cheat though so he’s not as likable as he could be. I guess anything goes in such a battle, but I would have liked to see him go for the gold on his own. He didn’t even need to cheat at that point.

Notice that I didn’t mention all 11 of the members. That’s because the rest of them didn’t really get a role in the film. They were really just there to be there and that’s not the best role to have. The old man did make the right move in leaving, but he had a pretty bad attitude about it so I can’t say that he was likable. One member was only there to complain about the team’s name and the Jim Crow one was taken out before he could really do anything. So, the film really cheated on the large cast since most of them didn’t really do a whole lot. We’ll see if they have better luck with Ocean’s 13!

The soundtrack was decently good for this film. It’s not going to win any awards, but at least I remembered a tune or two by the time the film had ended. That’s more than the average movie and the film deserves some credit for that. Now, it just needs to try to add more tunes to the sequel.

One thing that bogs the film down a little is the romance. I definitely would have been happy if they could have reduced it a little. It takes away from the story and we just want the plot to start up again. It’s all we could want in the end to be honest. The film also drags on just a little by the end, but it’s good that they made the 2 hour attempt.

Overall, This was a decent heist film. I definitely preferred the first one, but it wasn’t a bad sequel. I think it could have been better if we had gotten to see their operations all the way through and if they had cut out some scenes. We get many shots of the characters just walking around or talking to each other where the plot has to come to a halt. Seeing more of Terry would have been nice as well. Still, the writing is pretty solid in the film and the characters are decently good. There were a lot of missed opportunities, but the film did a decent job with the cards that it had. I recommend this film to those that want to see a retro thief against thief mission. If that’s not your style, I recommend checking out Justice League Unlimited for some pretty deep plots.

Overall 6/10