Ex-balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen is fed up with everyone and conforming to their rules. So one day he decides to leave them...in the most spectacular way he knows how, by tying thousands upon thousands of balloons to his chimney and sailing to South American on an adventure he and his deceased wife had always planned but never quite executed. Once there, Carl soon realizes he is in for more adventure and excitement than he had originally bargained for.
In the relative wasteland of May summer releases (excepting Star Trek), Pixar has tied its candy colored balloons to the movie industry in hopes of lifting it up, both financially and critically. But instead of delivering this summer's salvation with Up, they have just given us something to tide ourselves over until our next Star Trek.
Up is by no means a bad movie, it's just one of Pixar's lesser works. Which still isn't a knock to the movie very much, when you consider that with each successive Pixar releases, one has to re-order their favorite animated movie list. For me this one ranked above Cars and below A Bug's Life near the bottom of my Pixar favorites list. And while I still enjoyed both of those films, they just weren't in the same league with films like Ratatouille or The Incredibles.
I think I managed to put my finger on it after thinking for some time why I didn't respond the way I thought I would. I feel like the people at Pixar are absolute master geniuses at melding adult themes and humor while delivering it in a kid's meal for everyone to enjoy. You could sit next to anyone, no matter what age, during The Incredibles and you'd find yourself both reacting in a similar fashion because those films were so universal. Up, while still cute, funny, sad, and sweet, has some separation of the layers that end up dividing the audience.
The opening of the film is so wonderfully told that many understanding adults aren't likely to have dry eyes by the end of the first act. Kids, however, might be bored out of their minds. But the same goes for some of the humor in the film--some jokes are just universally funny, while others were clearly thrown in to cater to only children while adults were left to roll their eyes. I feel it's partly to blame on some of Pixar's inventiveness being gone. Maybe it's because our hero Carl isn't a fish, a monster, or a superhero, or maybe it's just hard to always be on the top of your game, but Pixar has always impressed me with their offbeat and original ideas, and the only time I saw that with Up was during the final fight scene between Carl and his nemesis.
With that being said I did enjoy the movie. It has many fun moments and will make you laugh while pulling on your heartstrings at the same time. The direction is pretty superb, and Michael Giacchino has delivered another fantastic score. The 3D is pretty throw away as nothing ever really pops off the screen at you. But the voice acting is all top notch, and the computer animated geniuses are sure to have another financial--but for me, not a critical--home run under their belts.
Pixar hasn't let me down by any mean; they just failed to blow me away, and I feel everyone desperately needs that in such an unspectacular start to the summer season.
This review has some spoilers...Remember I warned you.
Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor(Christian Bale), is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to prepare for isn't quite what it seems. Connor still has yet to meet his father and has encountered something his mother never warned him about, Marcus Wright, a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
Let's get right to it then, Terminator Salvation is bad...real bad. McG has promised us brownies and delivered us a warm plate of fecal matter. He has taken everything you have known and loved about the Terminator franchise and he violated it like a drunken college kid at a frat party. To be fair maybe McG isn't fully to blame--they did get the guys who wrote Catwoman and Terminator 3 to write this thing, so the only thing MCG is guilty of is not knowing a good script. But really all it would have really taken is ANYONE speaking up at ANY POINT through production and going, "Umm...McG? Doesn't that totally not make any sense at all?" To which McG would have responded, "Put some more blow on your chest honey, I got a long shooting day."
Seriously, even the presence of Marcus Wright is a violation. The trailers have made no point to conceal this, so I don't know why I will, Marcus Wright is a human Terminator hybrid. He gave his body up for science in 2003 and, in 2018, he wakes up completely oblivious to everything. So while Skynet has been fully capable of producing something this advanced, it has relegated itself to simply making T-600 and T-800. Oh, and apparently in the 2018 future, which is the past from the future in the Terminator movies we know, everything is way more advanced. Robots have other robots in them, and Skynet has a human interface, because I remember when the last computer system became self aware it thought, "maybe I should put some doors in and keyboards...you know...just in case I have company over." But these are all just tips of the iceberg problems.
The visual effects are really awesome, and some of the action scenes are really fun to watch, but the problem is that, in addition to a non-sensical script, McG went ahead and took every character development moment out of the film. And because of this, you get no sense of importance, no weight to any of the action scenes. You never see John Connor dumbfounded he actually meets his dad after 35 years of hearing about him on audio tapes. When John is confronted with the T-800 for the first time, there's no sense of, "Oh man, we use to be friends way back in the day." There's nothing. You don't even get a sense that John Connor really cares about his wife or the resistance. But that could also be Christian Bale's failing, as he and his character are pretty much reduced to tough guy eyes and screaming. Newcomer Sam Worthington seems like he's capable of more, but he's given little to work with and his charms can only take him so far into a clunky script. Common is downright awful, and Moon Youngblood is pretty silly.
In the end, McG tries to erase your memory of his terrible movie by tying parts of his franchise to the first two, by having John Connor get his scar, and having him team up with Kyle Reese. But even that can't salvage this emotional void of a picture.
"Forget everything." That's what the marketing has been telling you hasn't it? Or "This isn't your father's Star Trek." Well gang, I got news for you, J.J. Abrams has crafted a Star Trek for everyone. Never seen a Star Trek before? No problem, this movie puts it all together. Regular Trekkie? You're going to enjoy this too, at least if the big moosie sitting next to me was any indication (Please Note: It is NOT necessary to giggle like a girl really audibly at pitch perfect portrayals by actors or inside Trek jokes just to let the rest of us know how knowledgeable you are.)
The film hits the ground running, much like Abrams previous big screen endeavor Mission Impossible III, and takes you on a white knuckled adrenaline ride from start to finish. But there is so much more here, folks. Abrams is a guy whose movies I will now see without any hesitation. He can orchestrate one of the most awesome action set pieces while developing a character completely AND having a real sense of gravitas to each and every moment on film. Need an example? Check your tear ducts at approximately the 15 minute mark into Star Trek, the man is a screen economy mastermind.
But it would all be for not without the incredible script from writing team Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The movie is smart, so smart that when you try and see where the movie is going, it takes a turn in the opposite direction and impresses you even more. There are so many moments within this film that the writers could have done the easy thing and wrapped the whole package up with a bow, but they fight that urge, and the newest Trek film is the better for it. Kurtzman and Orci have laid the groundwork for however many Star Treks J.J. Abrams wants to make with their reboot. And guess what? It all makes sense within the Trek universe.
But did they ruin your favorite character? I think the general consensus is a resounding: no...they did not. Chris Pine takes his moment in the spotlight and shines just as bright as he can as the cocksure, lady-killing James Tiberius Kirk. Zachary Quinto has a more layered performance as he tempers his internal feelings to remain true to his Vulcan roots as Spock. Bruce Greenwood and Eric Bana are the other real standouts as the captain of the Enterprise and head baddie Romulan, Nero. The rest of the supporting cast are all strong, but aren't given too terribly much to do beyond showing up and looking and sounding like their characters, with a particular tip of the hat to Karl Urban and his spot-on Bones.
So forget everything, or remember everything. This is certainly not your Dad's Star Trek, but it is however the best Star Trek I can remember seeing. J.J. Abrams has officially launched summer, because let's face it, Wolverine didn't really feel like it, did it?
After having his heart broken at a high school dance, Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is taken to a bar by his Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), where he convinces the young whippersnapper that marriage is for the birds. The best piece of advice Uncle Wayne gives to Connor is: “The power lies with the one who cares the least.”
When watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, that advice could not be truer. Those who care the least about cinematography, character development, realistic dialogue, or basically anything that makes for a good film, will enjoy this movie the most. For example, the women sitting next to me who were gushing over the women in wedding dresses probably loved the shit out of this movie. The girls in front of me who gasped every time McConaughey almost took his shirt off probably can’t wait to buy the DVD. The guy behind me laughing uproariously obviously enjoyed it even though he will never tell his friends. Ghosts is a romantic comedy, through and through, no ifs ands or buts about it. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love this.
The filmis essentially a retooling of A Christmas Carol only without all the Christmas-y stuff. Connor is photographer who has earned a reputation for being loose with the ladies. When he arrives at his kid brother’s wedding its only a matter of time before he has hit on the bride’s mother and made plans with the bridesmaid. It also just so happens that the girl who broke his heart at the dance, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), is also the maid of honor.
Before Connor can follow through with his bridesmaid, he is visited by three ghosts — the ghosts of girlfriends past, future, and present. Connor goes through the predictable series of emotions that one would expect when looking at the past before ultimately realizing he does believe in love and that his high school crush is for him. There is no spoiler warning because everybody knew that was going to happen before they even sat down in the seats.
The movie isn’t all that bad. It’s light and fun-spirited and even had me sheepishly laughing out loud a few times. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t take this Christmas Carol thing and run with it. Why not release this in November as a Christmas movie and make a killing? The juxtaposition is actually quite clever and carried out very well, so just take it the next step--throw some Christmas trees in there and take the sappiness to a whole new level. Regardless, the ladies will enjoy this movie for obvious reasons, and guys should enjoy this movie because it will probably get them laid.