I’ve been prowling around my local theater again, fueled by popcorn and misguided trust in the summer blockbuster. Honestly readers, I was only excited for one of the following films. Another my husband wanted to see and pounced on some tickets. The last I saw out of superhero/blockbuster obligation. Is this summer just full of lackluster movies, or is it just me?
Man of Steel
I try to avoid spoilers and reviews until I have seen it myself, but I did hear muffled praise and grumblings alike for Man of Steel. Generally, I enjoy superhero films and Zach Snyder films (I love Watchmen), so I figured I was in for a good time. I left the theater with a headache and more than a grumble.
When it comes to superheroes, Superman is close to the bottom of my favorites, but I do find his origin story fascinating. Here, we get a lot of that, including time on Krypton, until it implodes. Clark’s growing up on Earth is washed over in a few flashbacks, however, that is where the heart of the film lies. Seeing him as a conflicted boy in Kansas is where we can most identify with him, and all of those scenes are great, I just wish there had been more. Then there is the present, with Clark (Henry Cavill) as a wandering man trying to discover who he is and where he comes from. And Lois Lane (Amy Adams) gets all up in his business. Then the bad guys come and take over the action and the film goes downhill in a hurry.
I have never been so bored during a film’s climactic action scenes. It was nothing but SMASH, POW and CRUSH over and over. All the loud, repetitive cracking and smashing gave me the worst headache. When I thought it was all over I sighed, physically relieved, only to see that Zod (main villain played by Michael Shannon) was still around. And…let me put up a massive ***SPOILER ALERT*** while I rant. All it took to kill Zod was a quick snap of the neck? We waited all that time for that? Yes, I understand Clark didn’t want to kill, but I’m pretty sure lots of people were killed or at least seriously injured in all those building they destroyed in their final battle. It doesn’t make sense to me and left me very unsatisfied.
The story is the best part of Man of Steel (thank you Christopher Nolan), the effects are top notch, the acting is fine, but action carries on for way too long and the cinematography bugged me. I don’t want to feel like I need sunglasses in a movie theater.
This was the one film I have been excited for all summer. I love all Mike and Sully and all that Pixar does! While I didn’t expect it to be great, it was still pretty good. It was a fun way to bring back some fun characters and bring in some new ones.
Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters Inc., which makes sense for interests sake, we want to see our monsters scare. And that’s something they go to college for, scaring. It seems to be the toughest major at Monsters University and Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) has dreamed of doing nothing else his whole life (the opening scene shows this perfectly!) While Mike is the smartest student, Sully (voiced by John Goodman) is a natural scarer, a classic example of those students who may know everything but can’t put it into practice and vice versa. After an accident during finals, Mike and Sully are both kicked out of the school of scaring, but find a way to win their way back in, if their fraternity can win The Scaring Games.
While this isn’t a perfect Pixar film, it is still very good. Monsters U isn’t the cartoon answer to an eighties college movie, like the trailers and commercials may suggest. It’s the origin of Mike and Sully’s friendship. There are plenty of laughs for both kids and adults. Best of all, this college world invites the kids in, rather than excluding them like I was afraid would happen. Anyone remember An Extremely Goofy Movie? I was so afraid Monsters U would make the same mistakes.
World War Z
I have read both World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I’m plenty prepared against any classic slow zombies, but those fast ones scare the hell out of me. Well, they all do, but that’s not the point. While WWZ doesn’t really stick to the book at all, it’s mostly a fun, scary thriller.
That being said, sometimes the whole film feel bogged down in all these military operations. Gerry Lane’s (Brad Pitt) old job is obscured, but it had something to do with going into hostile places and figuring out the problems. Therefore, he’s the perfect candidate to be flown all over the world trying to figure out how to stop the zombie disease. In exchange, his family is safe aboard an aircraft carrier. Israel’s situation is particularly interesting, and becomes one of the best scenes in the film. Then there is a scene where Lane is trapped in a laboratory that just isn’t as suspenseful as it’s supposed to be. But it all evens out to an enjoyable zombie thriller.
I would highly, highly recommend seeing World War Z with that friend who jumps at everything. I got lucky and sat next to a woman who jumped and screamed at nearly every gag. It made the movie so much more enjoyable! Thank you for the fun evening, but lady, you are not part of my zombie plan.