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VaderFan at the Movies – The Wolf of Wall Street

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Martin Scorsese is back with an all new movie about the rise and fall of a criminal. This time the story is about a criminal stock broker named Jordan Belfort, who must be the biggest douche in all of American history. The amount of crime, antics, and drugs this guy does are in such an extreme level, it’s hard to believe that this movie is based on a true story. What’s even more surprising is how funny the movie is. Scorsese is known for making his gritty and serious movie, all which should be watched and studied for they’re great as looking at an art exhibit while reading a great book at the same time. It does have its flaws, but hey, it’s Scorsese, the guy practically gets a pass on everything.

The film stars the someday Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, who started out as a good man, and slowly ended up being, as mentioned before, a great big douche. Now, this film is very interesting since it seems more like a character study of this guy. He firsts thought that the best way to make it up wall street is to make his clients happy. This was disproven by Mark Hanna, played the enigmatic Matthew McConaughey who is still thin from his role in Dallas Buyer’s Club. This guy showed him the truth, and the douchevolution began. He started swindling people’s money, hiring the worst kind of people to start his company, taking pounds of drugs, and even cheating on his wives multiple times. As usual in criminal movie fashion, some government agent shows up to bring the man to justice. This time it’s Agent Patrick Denham played by Kyle Chandler. With mistakes done by him, he ends up falling, and crashing down. Put all that in a three hour movie, with multiple comedy bits, and you get The Wolf of Wall Street.

The main thing that stands out about this film are the actors. Everyone acted in a phenomenal level, one being Jonah Hill. The chemistry he had with DiCaprio is just great to watch, adding more to the comedy bits. Speaking of comedy, Leonardo DiCaprio really shows that he can be a comedic actor. Being a serious actor for his entire career, it was surprising how funny he can be from his movements to the way he presents his dialogue. Not to mention Naomi Lapaglia, another actor who swam from the shores of Australia, who does that weird Jersey accent very well, and just acted great in the movie. Then there are multiple cameos from every actor you can think of. It feels like Scorsese was just walking down the streets of Hollywood and just pulled these guys to do bit parts in the movie. We have appearances from Jon Favreau, Cristin Millioti,  Jon Bernthal, Henry Zebowski, and Jean Dujardin just to name a few. All of them just made a small appearance, including McConaughey, which we could’ve used some more.

The direction is of course great, and the writing is witty as it is jam packed with great comedy and dialogue. However, there can be at least thirty minutes taken off of it. It’s hard to laugh for three hours straight, and at one point the laughs just stop, despite the amount of humor that keeps on coming in. Despite the length, though, it’s still worth another watch, especially as a character study. Mark Hanna became such an influence to Jordan Belfort that he starts to dress like him, start to act like him, and even brought back this cheesy chest thump music Hanna taught him in the very beginning of the film. But overall, it’s Scorsese. He’s the most consistently good director we have of our time. Nothing he made is bad, so everyone should go see that movie just because his name is attached.

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VaderFan on the Couch – Firefly

69153So, just recently I finished the entire series of the legendary cult series, Firefly. My friends talk highly about this series, and I never got the chance to get around watching it. I remember I saw the commercials that were shown on Fox when it first came out, and it made it look like a rip off of Outlaw Star and Trigun, so the appeal just never came to me, despite the fact that it’s from Joss Whedon. I’ve always wanted to watch the movie, Serenity, but after hearing that it’s a direct sequel to the series from my friends, I listened to their recommendations to watch the series first. So, I finally sat down and started watching it, and I have to say, it was an ok series.

I started watching the first two episodes, and couldn’t really get into it. The series were shot like a basic low budget series that would’ve been shown on the Sci-Fi channel. It had basic character plot and development, and the uniqueness of the world that combines the Wild West and Chinese culture is interesting. However, I couldn’t really get into it because of Nathan Fillion’s acting. He was a robot on the set, just speeding through his lines, and not showing much emotion at all. This bothered me a ton since I know Fillion is a really good actor, and great even when he’s doing stuff with Whedon. His character is Captain Mal Reynolds of the ship, Serenety, which would make him the main character for the entire series, the one that the audience supposes to relate. So if I, as an audience member, can’t really relate to him, the whole series falls down. Another thing that bothered me was Summer Glau’s character, River, whose mystery just kept dragging on, and I just wanted to see her stop being a weird child. Also the random Chinese cursing just threw me off.

I told my friends about my opinion of the first couple episodes, they were quite upset, and I got in a heated discussion with one of them who likes to keep things “kosher” with his “fists of fury”. They convinced me to watch a couple more episodes with them, and I still couldn’t seem to get into it. They told me the series does get better, so I buckled down, and continued to watch. Fillion’s acting did get better as the series progressed, so it got more bearable, but it wasn’t until episode 10 that I thought the series was actually good. We get to see more dimensions from each character, seeing them do things that we wouldn’t think they would do, and seeing more human sides to them through their tragic pasts. However, that’s the main problem. It didn’t catch me from the beginning, and I have to wait until later to actually get into the series. The fact that the episodes are 45 minutes long didn’t help either. Normally this is a series that I would like, but I just couldn’t seem to get into it. Maybe the plot and direction seemed way too basic, maybe I cared more about that than the world it’s based, and maybe that’s why everyone liked it because of the world it’s based in. Maybe everyone overhyped it too much for me.

Watching the series I can see how much they based the idea off of the legendary Western movie, Stagecoach. For those of you who don’t know, Stagecoach is what made westerns very popular, and it was the premiere of legendary John Ford and John Wayne. It made B movies great and fun to watch since it has good characters, action scenes, and a very basic plot. I could write more on the movie, but I should make the comparison. The movies and the series have a group of travelers heading to some destination, and both involved a gun for hire, prostitute, doctor, preacher, and a stagecoach driver/pilot. Both involved similar character arcs and conflicts, so in some ways, Firefly is a fan made series that pays homage to Stagecoach. Some of the episodes’ plots also pay tribute to other western classics such as A Fistful of Dollars and Magnificent Seven. However, despite seeing all this, I still had a hard time to get into the series until the last few episodes of the first and only season.

Now, with a series that I just can’t seem to get into, I’d normally be done by episode five, despite what other people recommend me. For me, there’s no reason to continue since I gave the series five opportunities to grab me, but I kept watching for one guy, Jayne played by Adam Baldwin. Whenever this guy does something, whether it’s shooting someone or talking, I just laugh in enjoyment. I keep watching just to see him do something, despite the annoyance or dislike I keep having throughout the series. He brings a sort of balance for me when watching the entire series. I guess I relate more to Jayne than anyone else in the series, more so that I believe he should get his own spinoff called Jayne’s Adventures. It has a nice ring to it. For me, he’s the saving grace of the series, and he’s the reason I think the series is an ok series, not a good or great one. So right now, I’ll finally get to see Serenity, and hopefully I’ll like it more than the series.

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VaderFan at the Movies – Pain & Gain

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We get so many Hollywood movies that are based on a true story, and a majority of them have been changed to make the movie more dramatic or entertaining. Well, it’s the opposite for this movie. The very highly, over the top, unbelievable scenes are actually true, and the more believable scenes aren’t actually true. I’ve read the journal story in The New Miami Times, and I am in shocked with how much the movie got it right. But, I’m going to talk more about the movie and not to make a comparison with what actually happen.

The movie stars Mark-E-Mark as the body-builder trainer, Daniel Lugo, who believes he deserves more in life. After a seminar to teach him how to be rich, he decides to steal money from his very rich client, Victor Kershaw, played by Tony Shalhoub. He enlists the help of coke addict turned Christian, Paul Doyle, played by The Rock, and the steroid obsessed small penis friend Adrian Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie, or The Falcon. Of course, once you get a bunch of dumb bodybuilders together to come up with a heist, funny chaos ensues. Things always wrong in a heist movie, but this movie takes it to another level. Unlike normal heist movies where it involves a bunch of smart characters, calmly calculating their next move, this movie has just a bunch of idiots winging it as they go on. They fail to capture Victor a couple times by trying to sneak into his house, but abort after they found out he was doing the Shabbat; then try to capture him by trapping him in his BMW, but got the wrong car; and finally they just directly confront him in ninja outfits, and taser him. I didn’t spoil much, since it’s in the trailer, but just the example of the hilarity that is in this movie. And even funnier is that all that actually happen in real life. I’m not going to go into much detail on how they got all his money, but they eventually did and got caught because of stupid mistakes these guys make. One of them being is accidentally killing a guy from ‘roid rage, and leaving a toe with a dog at some guy’s mansion.

I can’t help but see this movie as some sort of dark comedy character piece, despite the fact it’s directed by Michael Bay. Daniel Lugo starts off as a charismatic character, some guy that anyone can get along with, but he has a very short temper, especially when it comes to fitness. He also has this delusion of grandeur, where he thinks it’s up to him to ruin a jerk that has a ton of money because it’s un-American to let a guy like that to be rich. Lugo also gets mad when someone just talks shit about fitness, or his pecks. Then we get Anthony Doorbal who can be viewed as a tragic character for having such a small penis, but he is unlikable because of his idiotic use of steroids and just being an all-round jerk. Then we get Paul Doyle, who is probably the most likable character of the bunch. He is trying to do good after getting out of jail, since he found Jesus, and is the most nice and friendly guy out of the bunch. He was the only guy who treated Kershaw right during his captivity. However, he is so dumb that he can be convinced to do some heinous acts, such as killing a man. Surprisingly, the actors did a really good job in playing these characters. Normally in a Michael Bay movie, actors never really gave a grade A performance, hell not even a grade B, but these actors really performed well.

This movie really works for Michael Bay. It is set in a very wacky world that is his style. His other movies tend to over fictionalize all the action segments, and he kinda over sexualize the women in his movies also. It is hard to find any sort of believability in his movies, but since this movie is based on a true story, we just got to accept everything that happens. It is a fun watch, especially when watching with friends with a great sense of humor.

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VaderFan at the Movies – Oblivion

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I’ll tell you right now, this movie is hard to talk about without spoiling anything at all. I’m going to try my best to talk about it, but I’m not going to promise that it will be spoiler free. This movie is another great example of a pure sci-fi film. It’s smart, beautifully shot, and tends to be vague in so many ways, that it makes the audience think. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast and plan to watch the movie, then stop reading and go watch it. It’s really that good. This is your last warning before I ruin anything for you.

The movie stars Tom Cruise as Jack, not Reacher, who is a drone repairman in a post-apocalyptic ruined Earth. He is accompanied by Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, who is his communications officer/lover. The movie starts off with Jack narrating the background of the world, which is that a bunch of aliens invaded Earth, we used nukes to wipe them out, thus destroying the planet, and moving all of humanity to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack has to repair these drones that are being destroyed by the alien remnants, since they defend these giant rigs that suck up the Earth’s water supply, and at the same time, fight the alien remnants, called Scavs. Soon, Jack finds a crashed pod that relates to a Scav beacon, where he discovers some humans, and the drones start killing them. He manages to rescue one human Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, who seems to be in Jack’s dreams. He is then captured by the Scavs, where the Morpheus character Beech, played by the enigmatic Morgan Freeman, reveals to be the leader of these remnants, and told Jack that nothing is what it seems. From there, plot twists are revealed, and cool action scenes ensue.

I felt like the twist was a bit too predictable, since I had a feeling it was something like that just by watching the trailers. However, the journey up to it is what made it enjoyable. Jack has some sort of relation to Julia, and he tries to fight against everything he knows to find out what that connection really is. The movie also hints that there is something wrong with the situation, since the headquarters called the Tet floats around in space like some sort of emotionless angel, watching over the Earth. Then the drones give off a very scary monster aura, which made me question if man really made these machines or not. Then we get the subtle appearances of the Scavs, where they first look like robotic dogs, then turned into a Tusken Raider and Predator infusion. However, the Scavs look a lot less scary than the drones. The film messes with the audience mind by telling us that the drones are good, but the way they are shot along with the sound effects tells us something different. In a way, it asks us what you should really believe: what people tell you, or what you really see and feel. We also get the theme of the film from Stanza XXVII of “Horatius” from “Lay of Rome”, which is “To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.” This is the theme of the whole film, which came in full circle at the end in such a genius and brilliant way, it puts a tear into my eye.

The best way to describe the way the film is shot is beauty. Despite how ruined the Earth is, with every monument that showcase the civilization of humanity ruined and buried, there is a sense of beauty built into it. It’s like a painting that one can stare at, and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the planet. In many ways, it’s like the aliens became the second god of the earth, recreating it in a way that is similar to the beauty of nature. Another deep symbol built into the movie. The action sequences are also cool to watch, since they’re not really super fast paced or confusing. It shows everything that is going on, and it starts off slow, and eventually builds up to giant explosions. We even get a mini-video game sequence on the ship Jack pilots. Jack also runs a lot, which seems to be in Tom Cruise’s contract, since every movie that guy has been in involves him running.

The acting is a bit subpar, since each actor didn’t go all the way with it. Tom Cruise did a good job in having the audience relate to him a bit, but some of the emotional seem to fall short with him. Andrea Riseborough does a good job in making me hate her since her character is a stickler for rules, but one scene of her crying is a bit laughable. Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, not much to argue there. Then there’s Olga Kurylenko, whose only job is to look worry and be a dramatic push to the main plot. Oh yeah, Jamie Lanaster made a short appearance as a sniper expert/scruffy-looking-man-who-hates-the-main-character guy. He even gets a cheesy 80’s action movie moment near the end, which is always something I love to see.

I have to give a lot of credit to the director, Joseph Kosinski. Not only did he co-write this movie, he also wrote the graphic novel the movie is based off of. He knew how this movie was going to be like before it even started, and he really pulls it off. The beautiful artful sceneries, the great stories, and a great direction really made this movie a pure sci-fi film. If you’re still not convinced in watching this movie, it pays great homage to many sci-fi films in the past such as Moon, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and some of Phillip K. Dick’s stories.

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VaderFan at the Movies – The Summer of Nerds Part II

It’s that time again, and it’s bigger than ever. Anyone who’s been keeping up with movies knows that nerd movies are taking over! I thought it was going to be a one time thing, since I wrote a blog last year about it, but after seeing some of the summer releases this year, it is going to be better than last year. A lot more movies that are based on some sort of comic, sci-fi series, or some old series that only nerds know are coming out this year, and here I am writing about it. So, here we are:

 

Evil Dead – The remake of the campy, cult classic comes in April. I know, it’s actually a spring month, but it’s something that every nerd will have to see. The trailers sell it as an actual hardcore horror movie, so it’ll miss some of the campiness the fans grew to love of the original, which might prevent from watching it, but it has some of the same elements such as the necronomicon, the girl in the attic, and the rape tree. Now, what I’m hoping for is that the trailer just wants to sell it as a horror flick to bring in a bigger audience, and it’ll still be a cheesy movie. Either way, it might still be a good horror flick.

 

Oblivion – The epic sci-fi, post-apocolyptic original starring Tom Cruise is also an April release, but by this time it’ll be so hot it’s summer. This film looks interesting, and I wonder where it goes. We got the cool effects in it, but then there’s the plot of “nothing seems what it seems, and you’ve been lied to”. Hopefully we get a crazy twist, and some hidden symbol built into it.

 

Iron Man 3 – Robert Downing Jr. returns as Tony Stark in another adventure, only this time the stakes are higher. Not really, it’s hard to beat a bunch of aliens invading New York, but this time, we finally get Iron Man’s comic book number one nemesis, The Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley. The trailers show how great Kingsley can play as a media terrorist that has a confident, cool persona, making him a great threat to the tech genius of Stark. Not only that, it seems we get a combination of story arcs of Armored Wars and Extremis from the comics, which are some of the best Iron Man stories. Then we get all the armors teased in the trailer, which includes the Silver Centurion, Hulkbuster, and Iron Patriot. The plot is definitely darker, with a ton of action, and I’m pretty sure it’ll please both comic fans and just plain moviegoers. It comes out in May, so it’ll be the official start of summer, and the start of Marvel’s Phase Two.

 

Star Trek: Into Darkness – The sequel to J.J. Abrams successful reboot of the series. I never liked Star Trek until I saw the last movie, and now I’m a fan. This movie will bring more of the relationship between Capt. Kirk and Spock, and some dramatic action that might result the end of the Earth. The trailers are pretty vague in what the whole movie is about, but Abrams never really made a bad movie. He’ll make this film better than the last, and at the end we’ll all be yelling KHAN!!!!!! Once again.

 

After Earth – M. Night Shyamalan returns as a director in this other sci-fi post-apocalyptic movie. He also has Will Smith starring with his son, Jaden. The movie seems to focus on the relationship between father and son, since Will Smith is a cold soldier, commanding his son who is a cadet, training to be a soldier. The trailer revealed the twist already that the planet they land in is Earth, and now they have to escape it. It looks cool in some ways, but Shyamalan has been losing his skills in the past few movies he made. I’m willing to give him the doubt by watching this movie, but what will make this movie awesome if Will Smith just yells, “Welcome to Earth!”

 

Man of Steel – Superman returns in a reboot helmed by Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan. I’ve never been excited about a Superman movie until I saw the latest trailer. From what I can judge, the story is roughly based on the comic Superman: Earth One, which is written by one of my favorite writers, J. Michael Stracynski. The story is about Clark finding his place in Metropolis, going to places to use his skills until an alien invasion put him to wear the red and blue tights, and reveal himself to save Metropolis. This movie roughly follows the same plot, but it may be deeper since there was a scene in the trailer where Pa Kent told Clark that he shouldn’t have saved the bus, where Clark said, “Should I have just left them,” and Pa replied, “Maybe.” It’s a really dark moment between father and son, and it also sets the tone of the movie. This will be an excellent reboot, and if it does well, it might set up for a Justice League movie. I’m going to like the movie anyways, since I’m a sucker for Zack Snyder.

 

World War Z – The hit novel gets its movie adaptation with Brad Pitt as the lead role. The plot is about the start of the zombie infestation, the chaos that it ensues, and it’s up to Brad Pitt to find the cause of the outbreak to find the cure. The trailer shows a ton of action, with fast zombies leaping high above to capture its prey, and climbing on top of each other to reach a helicopter. From what I understand, the novel doesn’t really have much action in it, so maybe this is another way to sell the movie to a larger audience, but I doubt it. It may be fun to watch, but I’m pretty sure it’ll never be as good as the book.

 

Lone Ranger – The radio drama gets its movie adaptation this summer starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp. The Lone Ranger wears a mask, and is revived from the dead, giving it a combination of superhero and mystical elements, some stuff that nerds would be into. The movie looks fun, since Depp seems to provide his quirky comedy along with some great action sequences. It’ll probably play out like Pirates of the Caribbean since they’re both produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I might be neutral about this movie, mainly because of Bruckheimer.

 

Pacific Rim – It’s been five years since Guillermo del Toro last directed a film (Hellboy II), but now he’s making a return that makes all nerds cream their pants. He’s doing the impossible and is making a giant mecha movie! It’s about giant robots fighting against giant monsters, an homage to the early mecha animes. Del Toro has yet made a bad movie, so there will be no upset in this one. I mean, giant robots, where can you go wrong?

 

Red 2 – The sequel to the last comic book movie with the entire original cast returning. I can’t say much about this film, other than it looks funny, but at the same time, uninteresting. The last movie wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t in need of a sequel. I might forget about this movie when it actually comes out.

 

The Wolverine – Hugh Jackman is back as the legendary X-Man, only this time… It looks good. The last wolverine movie wasn’t that great with a stale plot, and not so awesome action sequences. However, this movie is taken right after the abysmal X-Men 3, where Logan travels the land of Japan, and is offered the chance to be mortal. The stakes will grow if he does take the offer, becoming a man, realizing he needs his healing powers, and fight a ton of ninjas on top of a bullet train. This movie brings much more excitement than the first one, and a much better plot. I think Fox will get this one right.

 

Kick-Ass 2 – The sequel to the hit comic book movie, and this time it’ll definitely kick ass. Get it? Because the movie is called… Forget it. If anyone like the first one, they won’t be disappointed with the second. We get Hit Girl’s cursing mouth, Kick Ass’ clumsy comedy, a new batch of heroes led by the man himself, Jim Carey, and much more comedic hero awesomeness. This is definitely a great way to end the summer of nerds.

 

So, there it is, a much bigger summer than last time. The ones I’m most excited about are Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. I would put in Iron Man 3, but I already know that movie is going to be good. We have a reboot, which might set the precedence for all DC movies, and an original that hasn’t been done before. I could go more in depth about these films, but my fingers are getting tired from all the typing. This summer is big, but maybe the next one will be bigger. It’s finally happening my fellow nerds, we are taking over, and in a good way.

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VaderFan at the Movies – The Croods

the-croods-launch-1-sheetDreamworks has returned with another family comedy that predates the age of the Flintstones. Like Dreamworks fashion, they bring some stellar stars into their animated films in this case we get Nicholas Cage as the father, Grug, Emma Stone as the elder daughter, Eep, and Ryan Reynolds as Guy. Then we have other notable roles such as Catherine Keener as Ugga, Cloris Leachman as Gran, and Clark Duke as Thunk. You got to love these names since they’re the most caveman names you can think of. Also like Dreamworks fashion, they bring in great animation with comedy, and a story that fits for the kids and the adults. One of the directors, Chris Sanders, also directed How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo & Stitch, where he played Stitch, and voiced the sloth in this movie, Belt.

To sum up the movie short, the film is about the cave family, The Croods, where they must leave their cave after it’s destroyed, enlisting the help of Guy to survive the unknowns of the outside world. Watching this movie, I can’t help but notice all the basics of screenwriting, and how it is executed well in this movie. We see the family in the world they know of, which is staying in the cave, hunting for food, and never go to the outside world. Of course Eep, just like all teenage girls, does not want the lifestyle her father bestows upon her, and wishes to just travel outside the cave to be adventurous. She travels out of the cave, where she meets Guy, who is a human that evolved into less of a brute, and more of using his mind kind of guy, a more modern human if you will. He then showed Eep fire, a horn, and warning he world will end. Once the cave is destroyed, we get into the first act. We see how the world the family knows get turned upside down, and they’ll have to evolve from there.

Then we get some of the character interactions. My favorite is the relationship between Grug and Guy. Grug lived his whole life in fear, following the rules, despite how strong this man really is. Guy is the opposite, going out in finding about new things, and using his mind to develop ways to adapt to situations. The family likes Guy, listening to what he says, while ignoring Grug. Grug gets jealous and angry, so comedy ensues around the situations, such as putting Guy in a log, and Grug trying to act all cool coming up with ideas. Then, of course, Grug gets all fatherly defensive when Eep starts to fall in love with Guy. Eep shows the typical teenage girl characteristics when they see the cute guy. They get all jumble, and girl shy, trying to get the guy to notice her. She also always listens to Guy over Grug, since she likes the guy over her father. Typical teenagers, no respect for their elders. It took awhile since she’s a hundred times stronger than Guy, but they do fall in love with each other eventually. Then we get Gran and Grug, which is the whole mother-in-law, son-in-law relationship where they hate each other, and the running joke in this movie that Grug always gets his hope up when he think she’s dead, in which she replies, “still alive.”

Now, let’s get to some of the animals in the movie. This is a unique world that is created since all the animals are some sorts of mixed hybrid. We got som frilled lizard hyenas, giraffe elephants, a tiger owl, a dog gator, and a saber tooth parrot, which chased the family through a majority of the film. The only normal animal is Belt, which is a purple sloth, sidekick to Guy, keeps his pants up, and provides comedic relief with his high pitch sounds. Some of the animals provide a lot of the comedy in the movie, since their goofiness are made for the kids, but their deaths are also done in a comedic way for the grown ups to enjoy. One death involved a dog gator rolling over a cliff on top of the tree. It really made me laugh since it is a scene that came out of nowhere.

The animation is great. The action set pieces that are put in are always exciting to watch, along with the characters’ animation and face movement. It’s atypical 3D animated film where all the expressions are over exaggerated, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. Not many things that I can really critique about the movie other than the plot is quite predictable, but I enjoyed watching it so much that I didn’t even bother trying to predict what’s going to happen. The actors also gave a good performance in their separate roles. So this is definitely a great animation film to watch with some friends or family.

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VaderFan at the Movies – GI Joe: Retaliation

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GI Joe is back to kick some Cobra ass. I was really excited about this movie after watching some of the trailers, since Cobra Commander is in his full glory with his classic helmet, taking over the white house, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Roadblock, also Bruce Willis is in it, and some pretty cool action scenes. However, actually watching the movie, it didn’t really meet any of my expectations at all, and in fact, it’s pretty dull. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of GI Joe, I didn’t even watch the original growing up, just the 90’s reboot where Cobra Commander wears a burette and a skull mask, but I do know the awesome sauce that the series poured over the nerd culture, and I do know how good it tastes. The sauce in this movie is a bit mild.

There are a lot of things I’m going to talk about this movie, so here’s your spoiler warning. The movie starts off explaining that Duke, reprised by the handsome Channing Tatum, taking over a new group of GI Joes: Roadblock, played by The Rock; Lady Jaye, played by Adrianne Palicki; and Flint, played by DJ Cotrona. We get to see the Joes in action, and some relationship history between Duke and Roadblock, which wasn’t executed well since their jokes were pretty lame. We get some feeling that they’ve been friends for years, however it seems to undermine everything that happened in the last movie. We’re missing other characters such as Scarlet, Heavy Duty, and General Hawk, some of whom are my personal favorites from the cartoon. Then, out of nowhere, the Joes are under attack, which results the least tragic death for a main character ever, the death of Duke. We just see his face, cut to a vehicle explosion, and the emotionless expression of The Rock. We couldn’t tell if he actually died. The Rock didn’t even seem to care that his best friend died so horribly, it’s pointless. So, at this point the villain Zartan, posing as the president (Jonathan Pryce), states that the GI Joes has became evil, and Cobra has defeated them, thus making them the good guys. So, now it’s up to the remaining Joes to stop Cobra.

Meanwhile, Storm Shadow, played by Byung-hun Lee, and Firefly, played by Ray Stevenson, broke into a high security prison to rescue Cobra Commander. It was a cool breakout, with Firefly’s motorcycle breaking apart into rockets to destroy the facility, and Storm Shadow using his awesome ninja skills cutting through bullets and a bunch of guards. Now, here’s the problem with this scene. Destro is in the prison also, and all we get to see is his eyes squinting once in awhile and looking angry. Then, out of nowhere Cobra Commander said, “You’re out of the band,” and left the fool to die in the prison. It does not make sense at all, since Destro is one of the key villains in the GI Joe universe, and just to write him off like that is almost a kick in the balls. I have a feeling they did this because they couldn’t get the original actor from the first movie to play him in the second, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt played Cobra Commander in the first one, and they replace him in the second, so it does not make sense at all.

Then we get to Japan where Snake Eyes spars against Jynx, where the RZA plays the blind master, narrating what they should do to bring Storm Shadow to justice. Here is where I find the movie to be enjoyable is how Asian the RZA acts. He really got the accent down, even the pronunciation sounds so Asian it made me laugh. The guy really wants to be Asian; I mean he is part of the Wu-Tang Clan. Now, Snake Eyes and Jynx goes to some mountain to capture Storm Shadow, and the action sequence here is really cool. They use zip lines and fight a ton of ninjas on the side of the mountain, and the way it’s done looks like a realistic portrayal of a ninja anime. The ninjas they fight have to be the worst ninjas in the world since they keep falling, tripping over each other, and can’t hit anything for the life of them. It’s like they graduated from the storm trooper ninja school or something. After all this, Storm Shadow all the sudden changed sides, and decides to help the Joes. Here is where the movie starts to lose me. One thing I always looked forward to when I was younger was the fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. We barely get that in the movie, and at this point, I never will. Then Bruce Willis shows up, and his character was a waste, it was pointless to have him here.

Now, I’ve been focusing so much on the plot on this movie, and I’ll be the first to tell you that when it comes to action movies, plot don’t matter it’s the action. However, when the action scenes are really dull, you just can’t help but notice everything about the plot. The action scenes suffer the problem of being shot way too close with a shaking camera, so it’s hard to tell what’s happening, and the explosions aren’t even impressive. A lot of it is stuff that I’ve really seen. Eventually Cobra Commander recruits all the world leaders into a war room, where he then reveals that he has a doomsday device that will destroy each of the major cities. Guess what, the Joes manage to stop him from destroying the world. He did escape, but he never did a cheesy “I’ll get you next time,” line. I was really expecting it when he climbed atop his helicopter to fly off. The plot may seem enjoyable to watch, but a lot of it fell flat. Many characters are wasted, everything is all over the place, Cobra Commander barely makes an appearance, and all the action scenes except the ninja fight aren’t that great. If you’re with the right people who like to make fun of movies as they watch it, this one is good for you, but other than that, it really isn’t worth watching in my opinion.

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