The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Review

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Review

Directed by Mike Mitchell

Based on Lego Construction Toys

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: Lego Duplo invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.

My Opinion:

Damn. What a massive letdown after The Lego Movie, which I thought was one of the best and most original animated family films of these past several years. I think they need to stop with all the freaking sequels for EVERY animated family movie that’s EVER been made. Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, whatever the hell studio made this (Warner?), etc etc etc. STOP! Just stop it, dammit! Surely they now know they’ve gone too far after the huge negative reaction to the atrocious-looking Will Smith Aladdin Genie?!?! Stop it with the sequels and the reboots and the remakes and especially the pointless live-action versions of animated classics! Latest rumor I saw online was a live-action version of A Nightmare Before Christmas. OMG. Don’t touch that! It’s perfect as is! I’ll boycott! I’ll march! I’ll go on a hunger strike! (Okay, maybe not a hunger strike)


Oh. Yeah. Back to The Lego Movie 2. After all my ranting & raving, I can’t quite put my finger on why this one was so bad compared to the first. It just lacked the heart of the original. It felt stale and unoriginal. It felt soulless. It felt like a cash-grab (as do the majority of these animated sequels). The story felt forced to fit in with the ending of the original & the sort of values that movie was promoting. The jokes weren’t as funny and there weren’t as many fun surprises & cameos. It wasn’t clever in the same way the first one was with things like the Kragle and the “Piece of Resistance”; the script for the first film was smart & truly funny. And Tiffany Haddish has quite a big voice role in the sequel, which is not fun to listen to if you find her as obnoxiously annoying and unfunny as I do (If you love her, you’re in luck!). Also, Emmet’s naive & charming cluelessness got less and less charming as this movie went on, but I’m wondering if that’s just me finding the real life Chris Pratt less and less charming lately as well. Man I’m a bitch! I think I need “unknown” celebs to be in movies since there are far too many that get on my nerves. I have to say that I appreciate Ralph Breaks The Internet a bit more now, which I found very disappointing at first. What I realised is that I still loved the characters in that sequel just as much as in the first film, which made up a bit for the story being weak. I found I didn’t care about the characters in The Lego Movie 2, although it was nice getting to know a little more about Wyldstyle (I still like her).


Okay, this movie wasn’t all bad. It just had a lot to live up to. What did I like? I loved the adorable kiddie voices of the Duplo toys. Those smiley stars and hearts with the sweet little voices were cute as shit. There were still plenty of funny jokes – I guess I’m comparing this to the first movie, which was hilarious, but this sequel was still a lot better than most of stuff made by other studios such as DreamWorks (Sorry – I’m not a DreamWorks fan). My daughter and I still got some giggles out of this one, which I always love to see. There’s also a song that’s almost as good/catchy/annoying as Everything Is Awesome so it’s great that they were almost able to match the joy of that song (it’s called, of course, Catchy Song). In the end, though, this sequel was all just a bit forgettable and disposable, which I’d never say about the first film. Oh well. They can’t all be the Citizen Kane of family-friendly animation.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Not sure if I’ll have time this week but I’ll try to review a film I went to just after this one and did really enjoy – Alita: Battle Angel. It was a pleasant surprise.

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Hotel Artemis (2018) Review

Hotel Artemis (2018)

Directed & Written by Drew Pearce

Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista

Plot Synopsis:(via Wikipedia)
The plot follows Jean Thomas, a nurse who runs a secret hospital for criminals in futuristic Los Angeles.

My Opinion:

I found this film to be a pleasant surprise. Maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting much after seeing the trailer. Despite liking the concept, it just looked a bit too much like John Wick to me. Actually, I liked it more than John Wick (Sorry, John Wick fans!). Hotel Artemis is one of very few movies these days that I felt was telling a fairly unique & original story. I really enjoyed it and the characters were pretty great. I’d love a sequel (or perhaps a prequel, which would be very interesting in this case – especially for Jodie Foster’s backstory).


First of all, Jodie Foster was really good in this. She’s the nurse running this secret hotel for criminals and has been for many years. She has a loyal assistant (played by Dave Bautista, also a great character) and several interesting criminal “guests”. There’s a lot of history to her character, unlike the characters in John Wick. The main criminal the movie focuses on is a guy who has just robbed a bank & whose brother has been badly injured in the robbery. This main dude was played by Sterling K. Brown and I liked him a lot as well. He’s very suave. I don’t think I’ve seen him in much before… I also thought Sofia Boutella, another criminal hotel guest, kicked ass. She had great chemistry with Brown.


This movie has a rating on IMDB which I think is far too low. I’m not sure what people were expecting. Maybe far more action (again, like John Wick)? It has surprisingly little action, which may be what people found disappointing but which I appreciated. As always, I prefer a good story & decent character development. The “baddies” (er, the REALLY bad baddies – not the kind-of-good baddies!) were very one-dimensional but our main characters were so good that it didn’t really matter. That’s not to say there isn’t any action, especially toward the end (mainly thanks to Boutella kicking ass while in a sexy dress). Oh, and I also loved that this is set “sometime in the near future” as they had some pretty advanced technology in this dim, dystopian setting. If you go into this not expecting wall-to-wall action and if you like a crime thriller with some good characters, you may enjoy this one. Also, don’t expect it to be quite as straightforward as a mainstream blockbuster. This movie feels like something a little bit different. In a good way…

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Lego Movie (2014) Review

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(I had to use this amazing Mondo poster by artist Tom Whalen. Link here: GeekTyrant)

**SPOILER-FREE REVIEW**

The Lego Movie (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller

Starring:
Chris Pratt
Will Ferrell
Elizabeth Banks
Will Arnett
Nick Offerman
Alison Brie
Charlie Day
Liam Neeson
Morgan Freeman

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh (Yo Gabba Gabba! Yes! And Devo, of course)

Running time: 100 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect the “Kragle”, a superweapon, from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but warns Lord Business of a prophecy where a person called the “Special” will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

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My Opinion:

I don’t know how many of you will have read it but when I reviewed Mr Peabody & Sherman recently, I was pretty mean. My main problem (besides one terrible character) was that the movie didn’t seem to know what sort of an audience it was aiming for and ended up making something I think only those between the ages of 6 and 10 will enjoy. I moaned, as I always do, that only Disney and, especially, Pixar seem capable of making kids’ movies that people of all ages love. Well, I’m very happy to report that The Lego Movie achieves this perfect balance as well. And, although aimed more at boys, it’s one that girls will also love thanks to the characters of Wyldstyle and, my personal favorite, Uni-Kitty. Hooray for The Lego Movie! πŸ™‚

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I’m actually going to say nothing whatsoever about anything in this film. My ONLY complaint about this is that I think the trailers showed too many of the funniest scenes, meaning I didn’t get as many surprises as I’d have liked (although there were still some great ones). I absolutely LOVED a few of the surprises but think I’d spoil it for anyone who’s not seen this yet so, unfortunately, I can’t discuss those things! I can be vague and say that I loved loved loved the ending, though – especially the very final thing. It’s so satisfying when a movie gets the ending so right!

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The characters are strong and there are a lot of them & they’re so varied that everyone will have a favorite (go Uni-Kitty!). The “hero”, Emmet Brickowski, is completely ordinary & totally loveable. Wyldstyle is cool & a strong female character great for the young girls watching, Morgan Freeman is of course perfect as the Gandalf-like Vitruvius as he has the coolest voice EVER (well, maybe after James Earl Jones), and there are several superheroes which will make a lot of geeks happy (I say “geeks” in a nice way because we’re all geeks here. And we rule!). One lesser character really cracked me up and, oh my god, the cameo(s) I didn’t know about…. LOVE! (Everyone probably knows by now but, hey – I don’t want to be the person who ruins it for the few people who maybe don’t know everything about this movie by now).

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Summary:

I know I’ve not said a lot about this movie but that’s the whole point. If you’ve not watched every single trailer by now and if you’ve not read much about this film yet – DON’T. I think you’ll enjoy being surprised by just how funny and, quite frankly, epic The Lego Movie is. A lot of talk online says this is the perfect little kids’ introduction to the teachings of Joseph Campbell. It is. It’s an epic adventure with a really great message told in a very unique & un-preachy way. It’s been seen plenty of times but not quite in this fashion and not often in a “kids’ film”. Awesome.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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Pacific Rim (2013) Review

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Pacific Rim

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring:
Charlie Hunnam
Idris Elba
Rinko Kikuchi
Charlie Day
Robert Kazinsky
Max Martini
Ron Perlman
Burn Gorman
Clifton Collins Jr

Running time: 132 minutes

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

The film is set in the 2020s, when Earth is under attack by Kaiju, colossal monsters which have emerged from a portal on the ocean floor. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers: gigantic humanoid mecha, each controlled by two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge.

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My Opinion:

THIS is what I expect of a summer blockbuster. There are cool monsters (they even GLOW!), big funky robots, lots & lots of action, characters who are clichΓ© as hell including generically attractive leads, and a story that’s totally predictable every step of the way. Turn off your brain, munch your popcorn, and just have fun. I really enjoyed this film as I got exactly what I was expecting.

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This movie is all about the action so I’m not going to go into any of that. All of that is really good and thoroughly entertaining. Instead, I’ll discuss the characters in the film a little bit.

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There aren’t going to be any Oscars handed out to anyone in this. But who cares? The main guy, Charlie Hunnam, really can’t get any more generically attractive. The good news is that he takes his shirt off a couple of times. The bad news is that those couple of shirtless moments are fairly brief and he’s otherwise always fully clothed. His storyline starts out OH SO PREDICTABLE and ends that way as well. As does the storyline of, well, absolutely everyone in this. Again, though – who cares? We’re all going to this to see monsters & robots! πŸ™‚

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The other characters of note are:

– Idris Elba as the dude in charge of the Jaegers & their pilots. He was just right for the role and probably put in the most effort acting-wise.

– Rinko Kikuchi as “the girl”. Another very predictable storyline here but it was a decent enough story. And we see her as a little girl too and she’s adorable.

– The scientists (Charlie Day & Burn Gorman). You’ll probably love these guys or you’ll hate them. Predictably quirky & nerdy – they’re always competing with each other in trying to figure out the best way to save the world from the Kaiju. They’re the “comic relief” but you’ll probably be rolling your eyes at some of their antics.

– The other Jaeger pilots. There are a few other “teams” but the one focused on the most is a father & son (the son is the generically attractive “prick” these types of blockbusters call for). Again – their storyline is predictable but I liked it fine.

– Ron Perlman as the “lunatic”. I think his role is meant to be a bit of a surprise so I won’t say exactly who he is but he’ll be a favorite character, I would think, for anyone who is a Ron Perlman fan. He’s also in it to provide a bit of comic relief but I really couldn’t decide if I liked his character or not. It felt a bit too silly to me.

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Summary:

I know I’ve not said much about this film but there’s really no point. You won’t exactly increase your IQ by watching it but you WILL enjoy yourself. This movie does exactly what it sets out to do: keeps you entertained without requiring you to put much effort into “thinking”. And that’s fine when you’re expecting it – I have no issue with the braindead action in this whereas in something like Man Of Steel it annoyed me as I expected a film like that to be a little “smarter” and not have SUCH excessive action for such a large chunk of the film. And while I didn’t expect anything other than the clichΓ© characters and predictable storylines, it does keep Pacific Rim from becoming something MORE than just “this year’s” big summer blockbuster. Plenty of other past summer blockbusters are now what I’d consider all-time favorites and, unfortunately, I don’t think Pacific Rim quite manages to make itself an all-time classic in this category. But I do recommend it, especially on a nice big cinema screen.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Scene after credits?: Yes, there is a scene partway through the credits that you’ll probably want to stay for. There’s not a scene after the credits but there is a dedication to Ray Harryhausen & Ishiro Honda and the sound of a Kaiju roar.

Also, there has been talk of a Pacific Rim sequel! SPOILER if you haven’t yet seen the film:

The sequel, Pacific Rim 2: Electric Boogaloo, will focus on the Kaiju and the dance show they organize in an attempt to raise enough money for a new portal.