Aquaman: A Fun Blender Of Stupid

Beefcake.

What a trip! Aquaman is like the best movie that is a 6/10 movie. Like the best 6/10 that ever 6/10’d. Warner Brother’s DC’s Aquaman is what happens when you mix the following elements into one movie:

  • Power Rangers
  • Thor
  • The 1980’s action stereotypes
  • The Fast and Furious franchise
  • A 2018 blockbuster budget

There’s no bones about it. This movie is Dumb! Capital ‘D’ Dumb. But it’s also fun.

It has some laugh out loud moments that are intentional. Then some I’m pretty sure weren’t intentional but they’re great anyway, like when ‘Africa’ by Pitbull plays. Or the green screen-CGI looks funny. The gratuitous slow-mo for 80’s style action glamour shots of abs and pecs and super hero landings, plus one scene that looked slow-mo’d through a free iPhone app.

It’s campy. They know it and they take it seriously enough that you believe it, but it’s still campy. I like how silly everything looks. People riding seahorses and sharks with saddles. That’s great!

Shark horses!

Embarrassing looking costumes but they own them. I can really appreciate that. Some of these outfits are stupid. These are some Power Rangers/Super Sentai level costumes. But they take them seriously. There are no winks to the audience. So you roll with it and smile. Amber Heard wearing a jellyfish dress? Sure!

One thing I really did find myself enjoying was the number of different “cultures” they dipped into and explored. The Atlanteans are clearly Greek inspired, with the Amber Heard ones are sort the Rohan to their Gondor, the seahorse people being a “tech” culture, the horrible demon sea creatures (where it felt like James Wan’s horror background really came through) and then the Crab People. That was fun. The Crab People were my favourite. And setting all these cultures up should make for a really fun sequel.

Jason Mamoa is fine. He does his thing. He is buff and large and dopey. Amber Heard is okay. Nicole Kidman needed more screen time. Seeing Dolph Lundgren go from direct to DVD trash to big budget trash warms my soul. It’s cool to see Patrick Wilson get a sizeable role.

The plot is by the numbers. Checkmarks and rubber stamps. Boilerplate. Whatever. No real twists. The romance is bland. It’s enough to keep you moving and get you through the world they want to show. It could have been tightened up but it wasn’t, and it gets by.

It’s a very Thor on earth story. He’s a fish out of water but reversed as he doesn’t really know much about the world underwater. So it’s a fish in water story. He’s unsure of culture, doesn’t care, fight, punch, ignorant, etc. There’s definite Conan The Barbarian vibes. That cheesy level of 80s hero buff-man saves everyone story.

Action and dialogue are often sequestered and it feels strange to have what feels like a 10 minute fight scene have no dialogue beyond grunts and CGI fight moves. If you’re trying to simulate a real serious fight, that’s one thing. But we know they aren’t. The tone of the movie isn’t that kind of tone, so you almost drift when you’re looking at the 14th CGI water attack in a row.

This really felt like DC’s first kick to the nuts of the Snyder-verse. Wonder Woman and Justice League were steps away, but they were still grim and washed out with speed-up/slow-down action scenes.

The look of Aquaman doesn’t “fit” that.

Gone:

  • Five-pronged trident.
  • Edgelord armour.
  • Everything being grey and brown.
  • Everyone frowning.
  • Everyone’s life sucks.
  • Not being able to talk without air.

In:

  • An actual trident with three prongs.
  • The 1960’s orange and green armour.
  • Colours.
  • People smile and make intentional jokes.
  • Characters are allowed to be happy.
  • There is daytime and sunshine.
  • Able to talk under water.

And it should be that way. This is Aquaman. He isn’t Batman. He isn’t part of the Watchmen. He isn’t that serious, and audiences won’t take him that seriously. He talks to fish and pals around with seahorse people and crab people and is a bit of a knucklehead.

The only two real drawbacks to the movie to me come down to two things: run time and cinematography.

This movie could have been 45 minutes shorter and I’m sure if I re-watch it I’ll find myself using fast-forward through a good chunk of the middle 90 minutes. The entire B-Plot villain doesn’t need to be there. A fan edit that cuts that stuff down could really tighten this movie up.

As for cinematography it comes down to two issues. The first, I think they were trying to go for a “free-flowing” camera like it was in water. However, the camera spinning and zipping like crazy has times where you are looking at the screen unsure of what you’re looking at. I really hate looking at a movie and trying to “pause” it in my head so I can figure out who is who and what is what.

The second issue with the cinematography is the number of times they do the “one take” camera shot that is clearly like 1729 camera shots composited together. I can live without this ever happening again in any movie. If it is to happen, it needs to have a style and a trick to it. But there’s no substance to that kind of shot when it’s just zooming through windows and across rooftops then back to the street when everything is clearly a green screen in a sound stage.

However, they deserve huge props for the look of the movie. It could have been super distracting with the underwater effect but they found a way to make it blend in and you don’t notice it. The hair floats a little, the movements are floaty and swimmy, everything is blue and green without being grey, the costume and architecture is distinct and well done.

The movie is fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously. I don’t know if its “run to your nearest theatre” good, but it might be worth a free evening. If not, find a lazy evening once it is on Netflix and stuff yourself with popcorn.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Sucks.

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Getting through the work week thinking “paycheque” the whole time.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a dreadfully boring movie. It plain sucks.

Like, It took me 3 tries to sit through it. At one point I threw an empty bottle across the room when I saw that I still had 55 minutes left in it.

The love stories are terrible. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are kinda lame. Johnny Depp’s shtick is wearing thin. I can’t not see Tommy Wiseau all over Johnny Depp’s continually sloppier and slurrier Jack Sparrow.

The missionary and the mermaid romance was literally the worst romance I have ever seen on screen. Like, he got his first boner ever seeing her boobs and now they’re in love.

The mermaid attack was kind of cool, but then the rest of this whole mermaid people curse plot thing is just boring.

I saw everything in the plot coming about 20-40 minutes early.

Like, this movie was even too boring to be background nonsense while I played Roller Coaster Tycoon on my phone and ate mini donuts.

One of the biggest issues is how Jack Sparrow has just the most insane plot armour. Nothing hurts him. Not jumping off a cliff. Not jumping off a tower. Not any of that ridiculous chase scene. Not any of the moronic escape scene.

It was endearing when like some minor level of absurd hijinks worked in his favour, but its too many bananas when Jack is Assassin’s Creed-ing across the landscape where every action creates a cascade of other actions that perfectly create the exact calamity and circumstances for the wacky outcome to happen flawlessly. And then to follow it with a joke thats basically Jim Halpert staring into the camera.

There is a lot of fun ideas, but a bit of simple grounding would have gone a long way to make this more interesting. It isn’t the subject matter that needs to be realistic. The Fast and Furious movies get bigger and dumber each time and its great.

But but but like maybe a bit more realism when Jack Sparrow is bounding across palm trees and swinging from them like he’s Spider-man. It sucks the tension from tense moments when you know he’s going to slip on a banana, somersault into a cow that kicks a pig who runs into windmill that falls over with the sails doing skateboard tricks that launch a coconut into space hitting the moon that changes the tides so Jack’s tumbling body lands perfectly behind the wheel of a ship before anyone can catch him. Or whatever.

Sometimes the human kickstarted rube goldberg machine is fun. But not in almost every chase/escape/action sequence. Less is more. Ant-Man doesn’t have Michael Pena doing his story telling gag 2, 3, 5, 69 times a film.

The generic Spaniards were possibly the most interesting part of the movie. And they were generic nerds.

Sword fights are cool.

How can you drink from chalices that are shattered? Like the metal lip edge of the cup have giant gaps between the stone cup portion. But the characters just shoved them towards their faces. You wouldn’t have drank squat with that cup. Like eating soup with a fork.

This movie just sucks. It isn’t worth the commitment unless you’re really a big Pirates of the Caribbean fan.

But honestly, singing water demon creature. Name: Syrena. Like serene beauty but also a siren. Seriously, that subplot was an instant “don’t care” and it never made me care.

Deadpool 2 Doesn’t Care About Anything

Deadpool 2

If you can forgive me for a hot minute here, Deadpool 2 gives no fucks.

I apologise so much. Please forgive me for using one bad word in this review of a movie that drops a bad word per minute.

Do you know if this movie is better than the first one? I don’t, and I don’t think the movie cares to be better or worse. It just wants to be the new Deadpool movie. This is a Guardians 1 vs Guardians 2 thing. So its good but I don’t know if its better but it could be but it could not be but it totally could be.

One thing that is important to remember is that this is an R rated comedy first and an R rated action movie second with super “hero” syrup all over and inside its crevices.

If you liked Deadpool then you’ll like Deadpool 2. Simple. If you weren’t a fan of the first one, well I guess it depends why but DP2 probably won’t tickle your jimmies. There is all the swearing, brutal violence, blood, dismemberment, jokes, irreverence and meta-references that you would expect. Every scene with a serious tone is completely cut out by jokes, but this is still a bit more of a movie with plot and characters and motivation and all that sort of jazz. Definitely tried a little harder to make more of a narrative than “guy kills dude to save girlfriend”.

After seeing so many super hero movies that were massive in scale with save the world/change the world/save the universe level plots across X-Men, the MCU and the DCEU, its nice change to get a self contained, small, this-only-matters-to-these-characters level stories. The stakes are really only relevant to those on-screen. Sure, there might be some larger implications if you really think about it, but they’re never stated. The implications that are stated are small time, but that makes the stakes personal and better for a plot involving a bunch of selfish characters.

Its also nice to have a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously in a time where most blockbusters with ridiculous premises are also trying to be like “BUT THIS IS REAL LIFE!”

Deadpool and Ant-Man is a team up I want to see.

They made a great creative use of Deadpool’s powers in the first film, and with an expanded cast they really find more ways to do it again. Domino is a lot of fun. Thanos Josh Brolin Cable is a nice piece of seriousness in a film that dances with the absurd. The kiddos, Colossus and SPOILER all do their thing. TJ Miller disappears frequently which I don’t think will have anyone shedding tears.

I feel like the stuff that they were like “oh yeah this’ll be funny” didn’t land quite as hard as they wanted. There are jokes that are really like “THIS IS A JOKE JOKE” but some of the more mundane jokes and moments were some of the best. The cameos were fun.

I’m curious how much of a movie like this is subtly satire or if they lucked into a few things working themselves out between wrapping the film and then world/cinema/AVENGERS stuff happening. Or maybe I’m totally overthinking some parts.

Some of the funniest parts of the movie were technically after the movie in the after-credits. Make sure you catch those. There isn’t a post-credits so just stick around like 3 minutes.

The soundtrack to the movie is a lot of fun and adds to the overall tone and atmosphere they’re going for. This song is fire.

Ranking rating: One and a half thumbs up out of two thumbs up. If you can still catch it in theatre, aim for a Friday/Saturday/Tuesday crowd as it’ll be more fun with a crowd. If not then have a brownie and enjoy it on demand or Blu-Ray.

Ass Ass Ins Creed: Kinda Ass, and Why Video Game Movies Are Bad

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Before the review, I wanted to let my followers here in on an update. I’m probably moving my work more permanently over to https://creators.co/@AdamPyde

I got recruited to the site and they offered to pay me.

Nothing is really changing, I’m just moving platforms.

Secondly, thanks. Because of everyone that is here and followed me to help promote my posts so they showed up in the algorithm and I’ve gotten this chance.

I really appreciate the people that have bothered to click follow on a random guy in northern Canada’s quickly written and poorly edited movie ramblings.

I’ll post here still, but largely just an anecdote and hyper-link to the Creators platform, where I hope you come follow me.

Assassin’s Creed: I don’t know/5

I don’t even know if I liked this movie. It started off choppy, slow and kinda boring. Got quite good, especially right before the climax, but then ended anticlimactically. A real sequel fisher of an ending.

The more I think of it, the more I’m not surprised that this comes to us from Fox as I can just feel bits of X-Men: Apocalypse and Fantastic Four in the way its put together.

I haven’t paid close attention to the Assassin’s Creed games since the end of Ezio’s time. I own AC3, its in the plastic. I own AC4, its part of my un-downloaded library on Steam.

But I was still a really big fan of the games. Annual releases drained me a bit, and I’ve kinda tuned out of video games in general outside of a few titles. But something that really put me off keeping Assassin’s Creed in my circle of attention was that they stopped having focus on the present day storyline and Desmond. I liked the past, but I liked how it tied to the present just as much. I liked the end goal it presented.

If the reason they started to pare that away from the games was so that it could all go into the movie I just watched, well… maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. It hits at parts, but it definitely misses too.

Continue reading on Creators.co

2016 Movie Catch Up: Lazer Team, Thadland, Deadpool, Egypt, and Henry

Lazer Team 3/5

It is what it is so your mileage may vary. It’s campy and the acting isn’t terrific, it isn’t bad mind you, but its nothing special. The jokes hit and miss but its a streaming movie worth 90 minutes for some silly sci-fi, by the numbers stuff. Alexandra DeBerry is gorgeous.

Blue Mountain State: Rise of Thadland 3.5/5

It is everything you would expect if you were a fan of the show. If you haven’t seen the show, then think American Pie with some football sprinkled in there. It’s ridiculous, excessive, dumb, hilarious, fun and plain easy to watch. Netflix it right away if you’re into that kind of thing. Its like one of the party episodes of the show cranked up to 10. It’s nice to see all the characters you enjoyed come back together. Similar to the Entourage movie in that sense but way better. Lindsey Sporrer is gorgeous.

Deadpool 4.5/5

It is absurd at points and that is why it works. I was so worried for this movie because I find Deadpool so hit and miss in the comics. I’m glad that the fourth wall breaking was merely himself and other characters weren’t like “Derp, who you talking to?” Everything is taken serious enough that it isn’t a farce, but it swerves against what you have come to expect in superhero movies and then plays it straight other times. I think I’m most please that they made a bunch of “dumb” jokes without it devolving into some fart poop humour style movie. It’s just so different. Morena Baccarin is gorgeous.

Gods of Egypt 1.5/5

Is it stupid? Yes. Does it suck? Yes. Does it suck in a good way? Yes. Why? Because its a dumb PS2 game from like 2004. The CG quality comes and goes, but whatever. If you want a dumb movie to enjoy because its dumb then watch it. Only issue is 3D giving you a headache if you don’t have prime seats. But its long gone from theaters so Netflix it. Courtney Eaton is gorgeous.

Hardcore Henry 3/5

Another film where your mileage may vary. I’m into the goofy dumb action style, if you haven’t noticed, and this does it in a new way. There is a twist at the end. The story is there to get you from action scene to action scene. Seeing action scenes and sequences from first person is new and exciting. Wasn’t a huge fan of CG blood squibs as they are a bit jarring in a movie with so many practical effects, but oh well. Haley Bennett is gorgeous.

To Come:
– Keanu (April 29)
– Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (June 3)
– Popstar: Never Stop Singing (June 3)
– Warcraft (June 10)
– Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
– The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
– Star Trek Beyond (July 15)
– Jason Bourne (July 29)
– Suicide Squad (August 5)
– Sausage Party (August 12)

Maybe’s of the Summer
– Money Master (May 13)
– Neighbours 2 (May 20)
– The Nice Guys (May 20)
– Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
– The Legend of Tarzan (July 1)
– Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (July 8)
– Ghostbusters (July 15)