The calendar has changed, there's snow in the forecast and I haven't seen a movie in several weeks, which means it's time for the Summer Movie Report Card!
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The action sequences and cameos made this enjoyable, but the story was pretty stupid and non-nonsensical in parts. Not as good as "X-Men" or "X2", but still better than "X3" (which isn't saying much). Plus, Cyclops, as an untrained teenager, had more of a presence in Wolverine's movie than he did in X3. Which is both a knock against X3 and a plus for this film.
Probably my favorite film of the summer. The plot was thin in places, the chase sequence on Hoth completely unnecessary and Eric Bana's Nero continued the proud tradition of unimpressive Trek villains not named Khan, but bottom line, this movie was a hell of a lot of fun. The cast deserves a lot of that credit, and everyone was given at least one moment to shine. In the end, I was left with an even greater appreciation for the original series characters. In fact, for the first time, I can see why everybody likes Kirk so much.
If Trek was my favorite film of the summer, than this was the most disappointing. Ever since the first Terminator movie, I've longed for a movie set in the future, featuring the ragtag human resistance fighting killer robots with high tech future weaponry. When that very film, was finally announced, with Christian Bale of all people as the lead robot fighter and the franchise's central character, I was extremely excited.
Sadly, Christian Bale was only in about a third of the movie. The remaining two thirds were spent on Sam Worthington's character who wasn't, you know, fighting homicidal robots. Instead, the majority of the movie was spent on exploring the humanity of Worthington's character and questions regarding what it means to be human. Look, that's all well and good, but the first three Terminator movies managed to do all that and still have a fair amount of robot ass kicking going on at the same time. The fact remains, if you're going to cast Christian Bale in a Terminator movie set in the future, then I expect a fair amount of scenes in which BATMAN FIGHTS KILLER ROBOTS!
Is it fair to judge a movie for not being what I wanted it to be, instead of on the merits of the film itself? Probably not, but I'm doing it anyway. Also, throwing a bone to us few "Sarah Connor Chronicle" fans wouldn't have hurt.
Robots? Transforming. Megan Fox? Hot. Optimus Prime? Awesome.
Sure, I could have done without all the testicle jokes (did I really just say that?), the racist Autobot Twins caricatures and the annoying roommate sidekick, but the fact remains: unlike the preceding summer blockbuster, this movie delivered on what it promised: giant transforming robots wailing on each. Along with Shia LeBouf and a hot chick.
No, it's not the smartest or most original movie, but I got what I expected from it and had a good time. Also, I'm pretty sure I'd listen to Optimus Prime read the phone book at this point.
Easily the best movie of the summer. Ten minutes in and I was crying like a baby. The film really made the most of its format, telling a story that would have seemed preposterous in a live action film but felt realistic within the confines of an animated world. Also, Doug was freakin' hilarious. Definitely an animated film that should break out of the "Best Animated Feature" ghetto at the Oscars and make a run for "Best Picture".
Generally speaking, changes made when adapting a book into film don't bother me much. There are relative merits between film and books as well as limitations, and the differences between the mediums will create deviations from the source material. Heck, the previous Harry Potter film left huge swaths of the book's story on the cutting room floor and it's still probably my favorite of all the HP movies.
That said, many of the things left out of this movie or changed from the book had a detrimental effect on the plot of the film, such that parts of it really made no sense. It's not a case of the story in the film being slightly different from that in the book, but that by leaving certain things out, the story in the film doesn't make sense. And that's never good.
It's a shame, too, because otherwise, the movie was quite good: it was both the darkest and most humorous of the Potter films thus far (with some truly laugh out loud moments), it had great visuals, cinematography and a phenomenal score, and a few better-than-average performances (Broadbent's Slughorn, and Felton's Malfoy, despite his plot being neutered by the deletion of key plot elements).
Like "Transformers", but with an extra hot chick, one romantic subplot too many, and lacking giant transforming robots. The movie was campy fun, striking a tone somewhere between the goofiness of the cartoon and the more (relatively) realistic elements of the comic book. The film would have been better without the last-act revelation regarding the Baroness, and Cobra Commander, such as he was, didn't work (especially in a film subtitled "The Rise of Cobra"), which was a shame. Enjoyable, but the lack of transforming robots made it harder to overlook some poor plot and character choices.
Julie and Julia
Amy Adams was adorable, as always, and Meryl Streep was fantastic, as always. More from their respective husbands, who seemed to do little more than follow along in the wake of their spouses, would have been appreciated.