The Hangover: Part 2
The sequel to the highly profitable comedy had the hurdle of making a movie as funny and successful as the original. To which their approach was “Fuck it. Let’s just make the exact same goddamn movie, beat for beat…just with more cock and annoying shit and less funny.”
The original is a “hilarious” comedy in the sense that it made me chuckle a few times and not want to gauge my eyes out. Thus is the state of humor these days. So naturally I found Part 1 to be a bit overrated and my will towards Part 2 was significantly ill. Even the trailer raised a red flag when it followed the exact same beats as the previous one’s trailer.
As it turns out, my reactions watching the movie were remarkably similar to watching Schindler’s List: stone cold somber, deep in reflection on humanity and ending in tears.
Christy Lemire of the Associated Press had it dead on by saying it was either lazy, arrogant or a combination of the two when referring to how it is a carbon copy of the original. How are we expected to laugh when we already know exactly when the jokes come and what they’ll be similar to? The only time I exited Stonehenge mode and a smile clawed through was when Alan had the flashback where they all appeared as kids. Otherwise, pretty worthless.
Ah, but audiences couldn’t resist its allure and helped it break all sorts of records concerning highest grossing R-rated movies (midnight opening, opening weekend, all time R-rated). BAD AUDIENCE!! You should be swatted on the nose with a newspaper or beaten with a stick or something! To be fair, Part 2 was received far less favorably than its predecessor, but its still their fault we’re getting a Hangover Part 3. Audience, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.
|Yeah, this whole thing…|
The movie had a lot of resistance before-hand because of the involvement of director McG, and the PG-13 rating (all the previous movies had the ever-popular R). And yes, those are in fact two big detractors for Salvation. McG is not great with actors and there were certain spots where the material would have benefited from darker material. The movie also ruins one of its potentially biggest surprises in the trailers, which ultimately ends up being one of few plot twists.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The definitive criticism to lob at the movie outside of the tomfoolery is that Crystal Skull is just a stream-lined, watered down version of all the other Indiana Jones movies. It follows the same basic plot structure as the other three, but the violence is largely avoided and the winks and nods to the previous three are omnipresent. But all this pales in comparison to the question “Why should this movie be made?” Outside of the obvious answer, it just seemed ill-conceived to do another Indiana Jones movie this late in the game.
But since the original Indiana Jones trilogy was great, the watered down version of that, logically, would be good, mostly good or fun, which is still mostly what I thought of it. Besides some hideous CGI saturation in some scenes, the movie had some exciting action set pieces, a few good one-liners, and Steven Spielberg, his composer, and his cinematographer are still in top form.
Most of what I said about Terminator can be translated to this one, as well as the next highlighted movie. I didn’t grow up with either Terminator or Indiana Jones, therefore there was no childhood to rape. All I was looking for was a fun studio action adventure movie and that’s what I got. But if you were expecting something more, hey, more power to you.
Crystal Skull was projected at the beginning of the summer to be the top earning movie of the year. Had more people been enthusiastic about it, it probably would have been. By the end of the year, it sat at third domestically and second globally.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
God this movie is a mess. 20 different plot-lines going on, some of which don’t lead anywhere, and each character looking to double cross someone else or get out of debt. Act two is a test of patience with how long and drawn out it becomes. Usually when a movie starts shooting without a script there’s a deficiency of material instead of a surplus.
Yet, what can I say. The last 45 minutes won me back. There were a few impressive set pieces beforehand, but the maelstrom sequence is still one of those moments that makes me say “This is why I go to movies”. More relieving is that the characters never get lost and all have some nice moments to remind us why we like them. Hans Zimmer also turns in a surprisingly emotional and memorable score. Maybe it was being under the gun or the thought that this would be the last time, but there’s an energy from those involved that was missing from Dead Man’s Chest and most certainly On Stranger Tides. And it does, in fact, make for a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that shouldn’t have been.
Highest grossing film of 2007, globally, yadda yadda yadda, came in third domestically.
X-Men: The Last Stand
The Last Stand focuses on the development of a cure for mutants and the conflict that it brings. Meanwhile an old ally makes an unexpected return, but is it for the better?
In an effort to raise the stakes for this final chapter, the screenwriters and director Brett “rehearsal is for f@*s” Ratner resort to killing off or curing half the characters. Character removals at the end of a trilogy are fine and usually end up being dramatically powerful, but if they overdo it or just brush over them without a satisfying ending, it becomes the cheapest thing they could possibly do.
And after being teased at the end of X2, the Jean Grey story plays a lackluster second fiddle to the main cure storyline.
Add in the tried and true tradition for third movies of adding too many characters and you’ve got yourself a nice cocktail of disappointment. Nostalgia, for me, is the strongest thing it has going for it.
But the world is crazy, of course, and this is still the highest grossing X-Men film. Sad, considering another entry that will be covered next week.