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I was surprised at how much I didn't like this
I went into this reboot totally ready for a new take, and then... by the end of episode 3 it was clear to me that "the return" was not enjoyable, to the extent that I found it odd that nobody in the relatively large creative team came forward to say, "hey,this isn't working."
I think maybe the biggest problem with this reboot is that it tries too hard in every respect. The jokes are too many, the script too deliberate, and the editing just rams it all together. There is very little, if anything, about this reboot that has an off-the-cuff feel, and this self-awareness is actually annoying. This might sound strange, but it's like a Broadway play where the actors aren't actually funny, they are ACTING at being funny. The same goes for the scripts... it all lacks a sense of authenticity in the humor and feels contrived, even when the jokes work.
The next problem is the dynamics of the group. It's often hard to tell who is saying what. And where the jokes are often piled on top of each other, there is no sense of unique characterization, let alone chemistry.
The writing isn't terrible, but it seems to be written by people who might be funny in other situations, yet are not cut out for this type of observational snarky-ness.
I was truly ready for a new MST3k adventure, but this felt like a misfire. In hindsight, I think the best option would have been to either use a different creative team altogether, with people who have been shown to thrive at impromptu observations, or just bring back the original cast and crew. All in all, I really think this turned out to be an inorganic and unmemorable recipe.
Wonder Woman (2017)
So this is what a 92% rating on RT is these days? No IQ required.
I don't think I've ever seen a movie so highly praised by professional critics for its good intentions and important PC issues, yet unconcerned with the standard aspects of quality movies such as plot, pacing, internal logic, originality and all those other complicated things that get in the way good ratings. Oddly enough, there are lots of movies like Wonder Woman. For example, The Care Bears movies. Both Wonder Woman and the Care Bears movies are brimming with good moral lessons on important topics such as equality, love, and overcoming adversity, but for some reason Wonder Woman gets 92% on RT whereas the average Care Bears movie hovers around the 70% mark. So why does Care Bears only get 70%? Easy answer: these movies are dumb and conveniently simplistic. They are made for the IQ of small children where story logic and common sense aren't that important. But here is the surprise. Wonder Woman isn't concerned with these aspects either!
So I could really go into this if I wanted to. I could talk about how Wonder Woman unsuccessfully copies Captain America: First Avenger as a template. I could talk about how there are roughly a dozen convenient moments where things just show up at the perfect moment in the most obvious of circumstances. How all the villains are morons and all the allies fill pointless roles for the sake of PC whatnot... I could do this, but I'm not going to, because it would be the entire movie. Now, I will say that Wonder Woman is mostly entertaining if you are willing to not think about it with even the tiniest drop of scrutiny. Otherwise it poofs into the air like powdered sugar. I actually wanted Wonder Woman to be a great movie, but its just so obviously dumb that you can't ignore its moronic script. At the same time, Wonder Woman is relatively entertaining thanks mostly to Gal Gadot if you have to sit through it, but it is a silly movie.
Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016)
Inspired and fun. The best super robot reboot I've seen.
I get bored by the bulk of anime and action based cartoons within about five minutes. I might not have tried this if it didn't have Dreamworks behind it, as we've seen something like three or four Voltron reboots on a variety of scales and none of them have accomplished anything beyond what we saw in the original show. They were just sort of standard formula, not a whole lot of heart or character development. They just didn't manage to take the core elements of the original show and make something that really felt worth watching. Not that Dreamworks necessarily means anything, but at least it means having a good sized budget. So I gave it a whirl and I'm quite happy with it.
What I liked right out of the gate is the characterization. Sure it is still the typical anime team recipe, just like the original, but written with good dialogue accompanied by decent voice acting so that everyone feels substantial and fleshed out. The humor isn't too bad either. It's not on the level of, say, Avatar Airbender, but still pretty good.
Second, it's got that beating heart. This is actually key in making something like this endure. It's not like the old days where you can just have the monster of the week and your done. Legendary Defender presents a fairly heightened sense of character dynamic with feelings of accomplishment and responsibility as we see the team members fulfill their essential roles. It's fun yet we get a sense of altruistic purpose motivating the team as a whole.
Third, it looks and sounds great. The aesthetics are all quite excellent. The music is interesting, the voice acting is top notch, good backgrounds, good animation, and the Lion's just look fabulous.
If nothing else it is a genuinely entertaining show. It's probably as close to a slam dunk as we will ever see from a classic super robot reboot, and for how much fighting robot cartoons have been lacking in the last ten or so years, this is a breath of fresh air. Go Voltron!
Solid story, and characters that aren't predictable. The best of superhero TV right now.
With the first episode of Powers I wasn't really sure what to think. It was good, but it seemed fairly obvious that the budget probably wasn't all that big and it has a different direction than the other superhero TV shows, yet I couldn't put my finger on it until about the third episode when it really take offs into being one of the best, if not the best of the superhero shows. First is that it's a real ongoing story, and it's solid, where everything that happens actually matters. People die, characters have both good and evil aspects, and everyone has a real back story that affects the big picture. BUT what probably works better than anything else in Powers is that the characters have complex relationships with each other that seem fairly realistic, or at least genuine in their motivations towards each other with invested interests so that the action carries a lot of weight. Show like Gotham, Arrow, and even Daredevil don't reach this level of effectiveness in their characterization.
One thing I would note is that this probably isn't for kids. There are a lot of F bombs, and though it doesn't really have sex, there are a few discussion about people using sex as a way to get what they want. Just FYI.
Not a story, but a humorous and terrifically strange movie
There is no actual story here, so if you need a movie to have a standard plot to legitimize it, this isn't your movie. This movie is almost entirely made up of dialogue between dozens of different and often bizarre characters, and most of the dialogue is quite quirky and humorous, especially if you live in a college town like I do where so much of this felt familiar.
A lot of people are going to hate this movie, and it's easy to understand why, but it's going to depend on your personality and what preconceived notions you have about watching a film, because there is so little structure to Slacker.
If you can take this movie on its own terms, it's actually fairly amusing, as it paints a quirky kind of perspective on people and life in a college town. I personally loved it, but it's not for everyone.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
All politics aside...
Visually this movie looks beautiful, but unfortunately it was a little boring, which is kind of odd for a Disney film. I can look past almost every other hangup I might have with a movie if I am genuinely entertained, but not boredom. Not to say that the entire movie was boring, but enough that I did notice it, and when you get to point in a movie where you don't really care what is going on, well... that pretty much ends it. After seeing it I knew I had no desire to ever see it again even though some aspects were quite good. I know that most Disney movies have their predictable elements, but this movie seemed so by- the-numbers that it never surprised me and never moved outside the box.
The style is gimmicky, and the content is unrealistic and contrived
It's hard to watch most didactic fictional movies that infer we should give personal importance to its message, and nothing is more unimpressive than contrived and superficial didactic movies. Great movies containing themes of social injustice and prejudice are usually great stories first that innately hold within them a potent message. So when you get a pretentious movie like this that uses two dimensional PC characters combined with the worst of contrived situations to try and artificially generate a powerful message, it ends up feeling silly and fake. That is what Crash really is; a plastic diamond. And once you realize that you just watched a forgery of social truth, it's value immediately evaporates as being just another dumb movie.
World War Z (2013)
Yawn... expensive, utterly boring, and ten years too late.
Why was this movie made? Here we have yet another zombie action remix of half a dozen movies that everyone has seen, only this time it's got Brad Pitt and an odd emphasis on Israel and the Middle East. I'm not kidding when I say that it's even more boring and predictable than the most stereotypical of zombie movies. The action scenes feel like something from a textbook, and the plot is, yes, textbook. It was hard for me to sit through this because I really did feel like I was watching a movie made from a checklist.
It was oddly surprising to watch a large budget movie that isn't even as good as it's cheaper counterparts. If you compare this to such movies as Cloverfield, I Am Legend, Walking Dead, War of the Worlds and Thirty Days of Night, this movie doesn't even come close to any of them, yet borrows scenes from all of them. So again I ask, why would you waste time and money on such a snooze fest?
90% filler material doesn't make a "surprise" film.. it makes a boring film
The key attribute that fan reviews seem to point out with this movie is that "it isn't what you would expect", as if this alone is what makes it worth watching. It's true that Lo isn't what you would expect, and on so many levels. But the core of "the unexpected surprise" seems to stem from comparing the cover image to your actual movie watching experience. So here's my comparison. If you look at the cover image it has the appearance of a well crafted production, scary yet contemplative, nicely designed and mysterious. The cover really looks like Lo would be something provocative. So it's a big surprise to find out the movie is actually silly and superficial, not contemplative, not provocative, cheaply made with sub par acting and entirely filmed on a stage, but the biggest unexpected surprise is that it's a "comedy". And this is where the real problem lies, because yes Lo is a comedy, but the number of humorous moments is.. well I counted less than two. So unless you construe actors trying to be funny and monumentally failing as being "funny", well, it's a surprise within a surprise I guess. Most viewers would probably agree that Lo is a one trick pony. It doesn't have enough substance to hold up for a second viewing, and it's certainly not going to have something you missed the first time around. I have to admit that I had my hopes up for about the first ten minutes, but by the end of the waiter's musical number (mmm hmm) it was clear that Lo didn't even have enough material to make an actual movie, but they did it anyway. Even with all other inadequacies aside, the one unforgivable complaint I have with Lo is that most of it serves no purpose in regards to the plot. The whole story is contained in the first ten and last ten minutes. The rest is a random collection of talentless exhibition, as in awful musical numbers and long bouts of inane dialogue. It's not that a movie like this couldn't work, but every scene has to be more than just an expose of silliness. In fact Lo has a good premise and a good surprise ending, but the other 90% is about as entertaining as wood paneling. For some this might be "not what you would expect, but everything you need".. but for most it's just an awful movie.
Iron Chef America sucks..
Sorry guys, but it sucks. Here's the straight dope: The Chefs are not as versatile or as good as the truly awesome Japanese Iron Chefs (Bobby Flay most especially is a not an Iron Chef. He really isn't good enough). The critics aren't that critical. They all seem happy just to be getting free food and being on TV. The chairman knows nothing about what he is doing or food. The special ingredients are more often than not, not that special. The narration is kind of annoying. The narrators comments aren't that great and often really corny.
Some board of executives over at Food Network obviously recognized the potential of the original Iron Chef, but the idea was then passed down to a team and the end result is a poor, washed out version of a truly great show, being the original Japanese Iron Chef. Iron Chef Japan was the "Iron Chef". Iron Chef America is kind of like fast food.