Darke Reviews | Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Do you realize it has nearly been 20 years since the first Mission Impossible film with Tom Cruise? How about this – 50 years since the original Mission: Impossible first hit the air? (side note: I had the opportunity a few years ago to meet Peter Lupus at a convention. The stories he told were incredible!) That one lasted 7 seasons, the 1988 reboot, sadly only lasted 2 and yet somehow Peter Graves looked no different. What we have established here is that Mission: Impossible has truly become a cultural touchstone across many generations and we should be thankful for that at least. While it may not have the impact Bond did to the spy genre, it certainly hasn’t gone away. This is one of those times Hollywood going back to the well was a good thing.

The question is did the well run dry with a Rogue Nation?

Some think it should have. It’s hard to run a franchise into 5 films successfully. Those not based on a book series are rare. So let’s start with the writing a moment. The story is by Drew Pearce and Christopher McQuarrie. Pearce somehow avoided my ire and righteous wrath for his screenplay work on detestable Iron Man 3. McQuarrie on the other hand has a masters hand with screenplays such as the perfection that is The Usual Suspects, the very serviceable Jack Reacher, and the criminally studio mismanaged Edge of Tomorrow; he also directs this film.

There are some odd pacing issues through this very traditional MI style spy thriller. It is a bit formulaic, but it should be. Just improve the formula a bit and keep us guessing a bit more and you’ve done your work to make a Mission Impossible film. The pacing, as I said, is a bit off where it drags for a moment here and there, but then brings you back in with a laugh or an “oh damn” moment. The theatre was laughing, wincing, and one guy even cried out in joy at a moment in the film (which got a laugh) – so pacing aside it knew what to do right to bring a reaction from the audience when it was needed and it was. Everything plays to type here from a story perspective and if there is any particular failing it is the villains. They just don’t carry the weight of Kaiser Soze or even what little Christoph Waltz has given us in the Spectre teaser. This isn’t to say they aren’t threatening or don’t have weight, because they do; however most of that weight comes from Ethan Hunt having to tell us rather than allowing us to truly witness it.

The US has a love/hate relationship with Cruise. I for one love him. He may be a wackadoodle in real life (I swear folks will never forgive him for the Oprah thing or Scientology), but on set all reports are he is a class act. Film wise, he has not disappointed me since 2001’s Vanilla Sky. Everything else I have seen him in he has been at the top of his game or at least the best thing involved in the films (I’m looking at you War of the Worlds). According to several video shorts, the airplane sequence is actually him, not a stuntman and not green screen. The driving sequence that closes out Act II is also him behind the wheel of the car. Does he have tropes in this film that he goes to? Of course he does. Once again it is clear he did not skip leg day. Tom Cruise loves to run on screen, when he can’t get a motorcycle – which he also gets. If that’s really the worst we can pick on then he is doing good. The rest of the performance is spot on and I want to say a few things I noted, but they verge to spoiler territory – talk to me about it after you see it.

Simon Pegg gets more to do this time and we should love the movie for it. He returns for his 3rd outing as Benji Dunn; I know most of us forgot he was in 3 along with the fact that 3 exists. I am not shy about saying I love Simon Pegg as a performer and he is further proof of how a great comedic actor can be the best in dramatic moments due to their understanding of timing. Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner reprise their roles from the previous films, with Rhames not getting nearly enough screen time but making every moment count and delivering one of the funnier lines in the film. All others are serviceable in their roles, neither memorable nor horrible; save one who deserves special mention. Rebecca Ferguson. She effortlessly plays against Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. She is fun, conflicted, memorable, and also most importantly – bad ass. I would happily pay to see the sequel with her story as she is easily Ethan’s equal in the film 100%; and wisely the film does not pull what they did with Paula Patton in Ghost Protocol and overly sexualize her. She is female, she is pretty, but these are secondary to the camera shots for the vast majority of the film. Please Hollywood – take note? K. Thanks.

From a plot and technical perspective? Well honestly the film is exactly what it should be – Hyper-reality. It is our world, our issues, but with a twist to make it and the characters bigger than life. While Ghost Protocol brought things down a notch closer to real and this one continues the trend; Mission Impossible was never meant to really be in our world any more than James Bond is. The movie understands very clearly where that line is and keeps a comfortable enough distance that we can all enjoy it. Well mostly anyway. Some of the fight sequence camera work moves a bit too quick and cuts away just a hair too much. The car, plane, motorcycle, and so many other sequences are both beautiful and energetic. I will give credit to the Cinematographer, Robert Elswit, whose credits have some truly inspired camera work (Salt, The Town, There Will Be Blood).

TL;DR?

Very well – your mission should you choose to accept is to see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and tell me if you enjoyed it as much as I did. This post will self-destruct in…

Do I think this is the best of them? I think this one is close with Ghost Protocol, it might edge it out if I rewatch GP and then this again. It is truly a fun, popcorn and soda film (or beer if you have it). I remember looking to my partner for the movie tonight and going “this movie brings me joy.” It really did. I smiled. I relaxed and I was able to enjoy the film, which while not flawless, was still just plain entertaining.

There’s no 3D on this one, so no warnings there. XD isn’t needed, but if you like the sound then the first sequence will be your payoff.

There is mostly August dump slot coming from the studios over the next few weeks. Things they don’t know what to do with and hope makes a little money before everyone goes back to school. Things I will see because I keep being told ya’ll love the reviews, such as Fantastic Four (why do you hate me?), Man from U.N.C.L.E., American Ultra and Hitman: Agent 47. If however, you need something we know to be good to close your summer out then accept the mission and don’t get disavowed.

 

 

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Darke Reviews | Pixels (2015)

I suppose that title is off isn’t it? Apologies for that. This is not a review so much as an ask and a notice given to my good readers.

Do not see this movie.
Do not see *any* Adam Sandler movie.

Much as I did with Exodus: Gods and Kings, I am boycotting this film and all future Adam Sandler films. It is not because I do not like comedy, for while I am not a fan I do actually enjoy some comedy. Point in fact I have enjoyed several of his previous films, such as Hotel Transylvania, The Waterboy, and 50  First Dates. The problem is Sandler now. I do not know what has happened. I do not know precisely when humor turned to racist, misogynistic, mean spirited caricature.  Allow me to give specific examples as I prefer to give details when I have them:

Native Americans walk off Adam Sandler movie

“The script called for native women’s names such as “Beaver’s Breath” and “No Bra” and an actress portraying an Apache woman to squat and urinate while smoking a peace pipe, ICTMN reported.

“When I began doing this film, I had an uneasy feeling inside of me and I felt so conflicted. … We talked to the producers about our concerns. They just told us, ‘If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave,’ ” said Allison Young, a Navajo and one of the actors who left the set.”

Now it could be argued he is trying to do a send up similar to Blazing Saddles, a great comedy from 1974. A true satire of the western film and its tropes. The problem is, it has been done and it was done better in 1974. Westerns by and large do not exist now with most millennials probably having never seen one. Blazing Saddles is a classic. It could not, and should not, be made today. The deeply racist tones of the movie were needed then as we were still as a nation coming to grips with these topics. In fact, watching the film it more picks on the Caucasians for being racist (and stupid). Granted now, we are *still* dealing with these things, but such a film now would come across both bitter and political.

This, based on the reports from the set by the Native Americans was actually showing a large degree of disrespect to the culture and the people who were being portrayed – making them the butt of the joke rather than the ones who get to poke at the idiocy.

Someone might say – well he is just producing? Nope. He’s a writer on this. So he knows. Of course, it gets worse.

If you are familiar with the term black face – you know how god awful it is. The idea of using make up to make a Caucasian (most often) black. The recent issue with Rachel Dolezal as a prime example, it is in no way by any rational individual to consider black face socially acceptable.  So is red face acceptable? Making an individual “look native american”…

If you think the answer is yes. You are part of the problem.

“According to an on-set pro, members of the makeup team have been darkening actors of various ethnicities (including black and Asian talent) to make them appear Native American.

One of the actors, Allison Young, confirmed to MSNBC that makeup was used on talent. “I’m full-blooded Navajo and they bronzed me. I was quite confused,” Young told the network. “That says something when the cultural advisor for the film quits because he’s offended.”

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/adam-sandlers-ridiculous-six-makeup-792582

Ok he is racist, got that covered; so why is he sexist?

Well assuming some of the comments above didn’t illustrate this, lets go to a more recent story from just last month

Rose McGowan fired by agent calling out Adam Sandlers sexism

The casting note was very specific. “Please make sure to read the attached script before coming in so you understand the context of the scenes,” it read. “Wardrobe note: Black (or dark) form-fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged). And formfitting leggings or jeans. Nothing white.”

In hindsight, McGowan says, “It was just so dumb. I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up. It’s institutionally OK.”

 

I’m sorry? I thought auditions were you know about acting and how well you could do the job, not how good you look in a push up bra. Now while some roles may call for specific body types, this to me does not seem needed when you need an actress first and a pair of boobs second? But then again apparently Sandler wants the T&A over acting.

TL:DR

Ultimately he and the Hollywood machine that continues to allow him is problematic. He continues to churn out horrible movie after horrible movie because people pay money to see them. If you think the above behavior is not a problem, then go ahead and see the movie. If you do think it is a problem – please see something else. Please stop giving him money.
My predictions for you who do see the movie:

  • Women who are nothing but sex objects to be lusted after
  • Women who are seen as little more than a prize or a trophy
  • Women who are considered nags and need to but “cut down” by the humourous men
  • Women with no agency
  • Bitter, sophomoric comedy from Sandler and James
  • Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad trying their best and likely being the only bright spots in the movie.

I understand the drive to see this movie for the 80’s video game nostalgia. I was torn on this simply because of that. I just cannot in good conscience see this film or support Sandler in any way. I ask that you join me in this as he needs to be stopped in a meaningful way.

If you really, really want to see Pixels this weekend – watch the original short. It has more heart than I think this movie will.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUnyUrA34bQ

Darke Reviews | Ant-Man (2015)

Are you excited for Marvel Phase 3? Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, Doctor Strange? Oh yeah and Ant-man is the kick off for this one. Haven’t heard of him? That’s fair. I am only barely familiar with the character before this, and specifically the Hank Pym version not the Scott Lang. So along with no spoilers, you will get no comparison to the comic character, story arc, etc as I have no basis. Ok, I am aware of one thing – a very controversial topic involving Pym that the movie wisely saw fit to act if it never happened and within it’s verse…maybe it didn’t.

(Editors Note: I received information that Ant-Man is actually the close to Phase 2.)

So how is the movie?

Let me start with the acting first and foremost. I, who has never seen, nor ever expected to see a Paul Rudd movie was incredibly dubious about the comic actor taking on the role of a Marvel hero. Granted I had the same reservations about Chris Pratt last year in Guardians of the Galaxy. He didn’t do bad. He was likeable, he was mostly an everyman, but at the same time I didn’t care about him. I think he was too much an everyman, so much so that he is forgettable. If you take Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, or even Bruce Banner, you will remember their personalities and just something more about them. Scott Lang, I can’t tell you much about him or his personality. I don’t know that I can blame Rudd there, but he doesn’t force more to the table through his own devices that maybe someone else could have.

Michael Douglas masterminds the plot as Dr. Hank Pym. Douglas does what he can here and the movie is absolutely better for him, though I would have paid extra for an interaction with him and Redford in some sort of flashback, just on principle. Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit), plays Hope van Dyne and is a bright light in the film. She was hungry to do more with the movie and her role and brings it all to the table, even though a horrific haircut that was needed for her character. She plays with all the complexity of her character and lets the right emotions through in a way that most of the others don’t quite achieve. I knew she could act, but this just solidifies it. Corey Stoll (The Strain, House of Cards) plays Darren Cross, yet another scientific genius in the ‘verse. Slight tangent: with all of these geniuses how the heck is the world in the shape it is? Stoll, I know has some chops from his role in the Strain, so I have to wonder what the director was thinking. He reads every single scene as if he is in a late 90s early 2000’s Hero movie. I can’t help but try to compare him to Jeff Bridges Obadiah Stane. Stane, even at his most ridiculous held weight on screen. This is almost comical. So since I know the man can act, I must blame the script or director. The rest of the cast is largely just ok or making me wish they weren’t there. I love Michael Pena to death but he was channeling his early John Leguizamo for this one and it wasn’t good. Since again I know the actor has capabilities beyond what I saw, I must blame the script or director.

Let’s talk story for a moment, as there are two writing credits here. This means two people worked out the overall beats and structure for the movie together. Those two people are Joe Cornish and Edgar  Wright. Cornish, delivered fantastically on previous works, such as Adventures of Tin Tin and Attack the Block. He was also in Hot Fuzz, a creation of Edgar Wright. Wrights legacy, barring anything in the future, will be  his Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Sadly he will also be remembered for the flop Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – which I personally enjoyed far more than I should. In an 11th hour decision Wright left this project. Yes, this one. He was also slated to direct. Marvel was not pleased with some aspect of his script and gave it to someone else to work on and do touch ups to. The returning product was something that had him so dissatisfied he left Ant-Man behind.

That’s where screenplay credits come in. Cornish and Wright both are obligated to get theirs, but the additional credits go to Paul Rudd himself, and Adam McKay. McKay’s writing history includes Saturday Night Live, Anchorman, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. These are all movies I will never see and a show I haven’t watched since the 80’s.  This does not give me confidence. Now, as I have seen and enjoyed the Cornetto’s and laughed at them far harder than is reasonable, I think I have a good grasp on his humor and sense of dialogue. So that means the fact that nearly every single joke in this movie falls flat is not on Wright, but McKay. Seriously, there were only a few times I felt the barest urge to laugh vs. throat punching someone. That urge showed up more.

Part of that blame also goes to the incoming director Peyton Reed. Reed previously directed Yes Man, The Break-Up, and Bring it On. Clearly he is right to carry on the vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Fiege and the other heads at Marvel seem to think so, so maybe they see something I don’t. I know I didn’t see anything stellar in this movie from a directorial standpoint. The movie was so emotionally flat I was thinking *it* had used a Pym Particle and was too small for me to see the part where I was supposed to care.

Ok…not entirely fair. I cared about the animals. Seriously, they made me care about the ants. Part of what made the movie work was the visual effects. They were actually really well done and while the CG work and overall look was near unavoidable they did a solid enough job that I didn’t care. In that vein, they are successful, they made me forget or not care that the entirety of what was seeing was computer generated. A few of the fights were just messy blurs but overall the work was really well done. This is one of the few movies to benefit from 3D.

TL:DR?

I think the movie is better than Iron Man 3, for what faint praise that is. It was a bit more enjoyable than Thor 2, which upon reading my review I may have been too kind to. It is a highly flawed film that has moments of entertainment in it that kept me from actually hating it. Rudd, who I was dismissive of above, is good as the hero. Some of the more annoying beats from the trailer are missing from the film and we are all better for it.

Overall, the movie generates a solid….bleh. I don’t hate it. I don’t really like it, it’s just there. Ultimately I think that’s where it lands. On a solid, emotionless, take it or leave it and I won’t notice. Marvel’s star is dimming for me and things I would have forgiven before are quickly becoming more noticable and less likeable. I think they have forgotten what made the original films as successful as they were with the fans.

  • If you are a completionist – See it matinee and 3D. The 3D does alright by the film. Stay for the end credits – there are two scenes.
  • Anyone else – that’s a negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full. You can wait til Netflix as this will likely be out before the next movie is.

Sorry folks this was a bit of a downer, and we don’t have too much hope the rest of summer. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation has the best shot so far.

Darke Reviews – Minions (2015)

It is well established that I do not get comedy as a general rule. There are always exceptions, but for the most part comedy and I are at a disconnect that I just can’t quite grasp. I frequently ask people ‘why was this so funny’ (in a non ironic/non-trolling way) and still just don’t get it. I tend to be almost equally picky with my animation and animation styles as well as to what I want to watch and what attracts my eye. I had no desire to see Inside Out from animation to voice, to well everything. Saw it, refuse to review it as I think I am artificially biased against it from some things during the movie.

Much can be the same for Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. Two films I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did and did not see immediately. So when I heard they were making a movie about the Minions I was cautiously optimistic as it was a clear and present money grab yet I had been surprisingly pleased by the first two films.

Did I enjoy myself tonight seeing this? Am I upset at the people who requested that I see this instead of something else tonight?

Well…

The reality is – this is a cash grab. It is a well made cash grab. The script by Brian Lynch (Hop, Puss in Boots) is irrelevant. You can’t understand the characters. DM/DM2 director Pierre Coffin returns with a partner this time in Kyle Balda (The Lorax, and layout supervisor from DM) so they have some credentials to them. I can’t go into too many details here without hitting spoiler land, but what you see in the trailers is more or less what is delivered for the rest of the movie too. It is one of the few times that the trailer is 100% honest on what you see is what you get.

The producers pulled together an amazing voice cast to fill in the humans speaking roles, with Michael Keaton, Allison Janney,  Geoffrey Rush, and friggin Hiroyuki Sanada (I will make you look him up. Suffice to say he is awesome). Of course there is Jon Hamm and Sandra Bullock who steal the show with their characters, Herb and Scarlett Overkill. It is amazing to think that Don Draper is Herb. They are just the right amount of over the top to make it work for a movie in this universe. Just ridiculous enough that you appreciate them and enjoy them but don’t roll your eyes. Coffin himself does the voice of the titular minions as he has in previous films.

You have to admit something here. This movie proves a few psychological studies true. You don’t need to understand someone to understand them. Body language, tone, everything else can tell a story as successfully as dialogue. Coffins voice acting, such as it is, does a rather good job of letting you know what is going through those little yellow freaks heads.

The other half of that equation is the animation. It is top notch. For a money grab they didn’t go the Disney route and give us a half-baked sequel with less quality in the animation. In fact I would argue that some of it has gotten better. The texture mapping is spot on for many materials to the point where I was truly impressed by the details as I have seen movies with the real thing that didn’t look as good. The artistic style hasn’t changed, which is good, but the animations have gotten much better. There’s a smoothness to them that is actually improving. Points there.

Before I hit the TL;DR on this rather short review I will say this – the movie is kinda well flat. I heard some of the kids getting restless, some of the adults too. There were times they laughed as there are jokes for adults in this project and it’s mostly bright colours and familiar characters for the kids. Let me get to it then…

TL:DR?

I didn’t hate it. My movie going partner tonight, and I, knew that walking out; but we were scratching our heads wondering what we had just watched. It was enjoyable, but hollow. It’s pacing was quick, yet empty? I think we just see the quick production and the flaws become apparent, but not enough to detract from the beats that worked and worked really well. The movie *is* cotton candy. Light. Fun. Mildly Satisfying. Leaves an odd, but not unpleasant taste. Instantly forgettable.

That said, there is absolutely a lot of material for adults and children alike here. It is still fun.

  • If you were looking forward to it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Though, unless the kids really want it, save the money from the 3D. 2D is good enough here.
  • If you haven’t seen the other films, give this one a flyby ghost rider.

This is good alternative fare for those who need something they can take the kids to, which has really been in short supply this summer.

If however…you need to make a financial choice between this and Ant Man – you might want to hold off a week and see how my review comes back on the next Marvel piece.

 

 

 

Darke Reviews | Terminator Genisys (2015)

31 years. It has been 31 years since the line “Come with me if you want to live” was first uttered on the silver screen. Sadly, I was too young to see the original on the big screen, but have watched it dozens upon dozens of times since. Terminator 2 came while I had one of my best summers ever, living in Virginia, and I had the joy of watching it 5 times in the theatre. Watched dozens of times since then. One of my best friends and I planned a judgement day party for August 29, 1997. I even made labels to put on sunblock labeled SPF 2,000,000 – you know so we didn’t have a bad day. I think you can safely assume I am a fan of the mythology and first two movies. I didn’t even hate Edward Furlong.

Then Judgement Day came and went. The party didn’t happen as we had all moved away. Then 2003 came with a promise to give us the Rise of the Machines and it lied to us. It lied so badly. If I thought Furlong was bad, then Nick Stahl was a walking abomination. Then they tried 6 years after with Terminator Salvation, trying to apologize for how bad 3 was…but I fell asleep from boredom through the apology. I couldn’t tell who was more machine the T-800’s or Sam Worthington and Christian Bale. So

6 years after that, what do we get?

Let’s start with a two writer script, though obvious credits are given to Gale Anne Hurd and James Cameron for the characters themselves. Laeta Kalogridis, who gave us screenplays for NightWatch (Timur Bembekov’s supernatural thriller) and Shutter Island.  Patrick Lussier, he who gave us Dracula 2000 and Drive Angry. Both of these individuals, while having western films under their belt, also lean towards lower budget European films designed for international audiences. I don’t know that I would have picked them to try to reboot and reinvigorate this franchise considering their previous works; which, while I enjoy, are mostly low end popcorn fare or weak on the script but high on atmosphere. Much of these traits can be found here, the script is kinda weak and some of the dialogue is down right painful.

Sarah is fine, the Terminator is fine, John is fine, Kyle is a walking travesty. Part of that goes to the casting director, Ronna Kress who needs a smack upside the head. I have no idea how a person who could cast Mad Max: Fury Road so perfectly could so screw up here. I have to assume studio interference. It is the only logical choice. The other part goes to the studio and director, Alan Taylor (who is best known for his season 2 Game of Thrones episodes).  A better director may have gotten a better performance, but I doubt it; but perhaps he could have argued to have a better Kyle Reese.

There is no reason to cast Jai Courtney. I recently commented that he needs to find the tree he was carved from, no one is buying him as a real boy. He is without any charm or charisma in Divergent, Die Hard, Jack Reacher, and gives me less hope as Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad. Hollywood STOP TRYING TO FORCE HIM DOWN OUR THROAT. Please. Stop. Aside from being a terrible actor he is horrifically miscast as Kyle. Michael Biehn created the role and despite not being the prettiest belle at the ball had a charm and handsomeness to him that lead us to like him. He was so damn earnest and believable  that I cared that he served in the 132nd under Perry from 21 to 27. When he said, “I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you; I always have…” it is the most romantic thing ever. Courtney and this script can’t pull any of this off. He is positively the worst thing about this film. Every line he uttered comes from a place where I wanted to throat punch him. Aside from being unable to make me care, and in fact look forward to his demise, he just looks bad. He is too damn handsome. Too full. I blame that on the director and casting again. Beihn, and even Anton Yelchin in T4, looked thin, looked worn, and looked like they grew up in a wasteland after Judgement Day. They were lean, he is cut. His physique makes no sense in a world where humans are scrambling to get by like little more than cockroaches in the ruins of the world. He’s just too pretty. You want someone who looks like he could be Kyle? Try this image:

Yes. I am Guy Pearce. You are welcome.

Yes. I am Guy Pearce. You are welcome.

At least we had Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke – no relation. While Jason Clarke doesn’t quite carry the beat to hell, hardened military commander that Michael Edwards did in T2 (his stare is bloody iconic). He does a good job at least making me believe he is Connor, a boy who knows the future to a certain point. I like Clarke as an actor with excellent performances in Zero Dark Thirty,  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and even The Great Gatsby.

John_Connor_T2

My stare can kill a terminator at 1000 yards.

John_Connor_T5

I at least wear the scars better than Christian Bale.

 

Emilia has probably the toughest role to play of all the cast. Going from the mother of Dragons to the Mother of the Resistance. She has to fill shoes left by the epic Linda Hamilton who gave us two startlingly amazing performances of a character at two different times in her life. Now, having just watched Terminator (1984), just now while writing this she clearly paid attention to Hamilton and her performance. She hit enunciation, body language, and even lip motions from the first film. While there are moments she over reacts and hits too much emotion for someone who is raised the way she is, overall I buy it. I know other reviewers are having trouble with her, but to be honest I think she did well. She didn’t have an easy job or good script, but did very well with what she did. While the writers clearly didn’t get Kyle, they did get Sarah and some of her reactions were spot on.

I can’t finish talking about the cast without talking about Arnie. The role is like an old glove that he slipped into. He was on the mark 100%. He also could tell this film wasn’t great, but makes sure to let you know HE is enjoying himself. Honestly, this is the Arnie I miss. Even as a bloody cyborg he overshadowed almost everyone on screen with the weight and charisma of his performance.

From a technicals standpoint? It suffers as so many movies do these days. It is too clean. Too polished. Their post-apocalypse is all shiny and chrome, with beautiful body armor and fashion models for soldiers.  Even the current timeline they give us has the same problem. There’s no grit, no weight, and no atmosphere to this. Ultimately a  lot of movies in the past decade suffer from this, where there is no atmospheric heart to help sell the movie and the world. It is just meh and you don’t care. The CG work on the Terminators has not improved since 1991. Thats right 24 years later and not only has it not improved – it got worse. The computer effects are just down right awful. Nothing is redeeming about them. Not a thing. There’s also not enough practical effects in the future scenes to make me buy it. Both Terminator and Terminator 2 had just the right amount of practical to let me believe there was an HK rolling into position to kill Kyle. That a flying HK was moving overhead chasing our heroes was there. The only technical effect that works is the de-aged Arnie for the 1984 T-800. I liked it. I looked for flaws and nothing screamed at me, even as the reproduced the original shot from 1984.

TL;DR?

I want to hate this film. I really want to hate it. I can’t. I almost feel like I owe them an apology for lambasting them so badly before the film. It isn’t great. It doesn’t redeem the franchise in any way shape or form, but it is better than the last two laughable attempts at a movie with the Terminator name attached. I did laugh and enjoy all the callbacks to the original two movies, there’s plenty of lines there that will bring out the nostalgia factor, which did make me look more favorably on it. It felt like they were at least trying – even if they failed. I did care about Sarah at least.

  • If you were curious – go in with low expectations. You will probably be entertained.
  • If you need MST3k bait, it’s there if you need it.
  • If you hate that it’s PG13 – you should. It doesn’t have any real power due to the MPAA.

I will say that the 3D is pointless and even the XD sound system was wasted without the original theme playing at epic levels of volume.

All in all – if you don’t want to see Jurassic World again this weekend and aren’t saving up for Ant-Man – go ahead. You probably will find yourself enjoying the nostalgia factor at least. It is at least fun.


 

The movie schedule for July is looking pretty good with such films as

  • Minions
  • Self/Less
  • Ant-Man
  • Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

Pixels is also coming out, but I am debating this…will probably boycott to avoid giving Adam Sandler and his problematic productions money.