Wonder Park or Blunder Park?

Wonder Park Poster

 

Fan of Roller coaster Tycoon, or Simulation coasters?  Were you one of those people who had an imagination that could take you to anywhere you wanted to think of?  Have you wanted to go to a place of wonder where girls didn’t blow up to blueberries?  Well tonight’s movie attempts to bring all of this to you in a package that looks to people overwhelmingly cute.  Robbie K back with his thought on yet another movie to hit the silver screen in hopes of not getting lost to the reruns of the theater.  Let’s get started!

 

Movie: Wonder Park (2019)

 

Writers:

Josh Appelbaum (screenplay by), André Nemec(screenplay by)

Stars:

Sofia MaliJennifer GarnerKen Hudson Campbell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute

  • Voice Work
  • Special Effects
  • Animation
  • Energy
  • Jokes
  • Imagination
  • Message

 

Summary: Disney movies make it difficult to try to bring animated features out because of the not so big budget or army of animators/ideas.  Nickelodeon is able to still work some charming magic into this piece though, managing once more to bring the cute factor into their film and get the feelings going.  It’s got some surprising emotional work, with voice acting and story coming together to sell the feelings lying deep in the fun, cute charm that the trailers show. Much like the opening scene of Up, Wonder Park has some surprisingly deep messages that will hopefully motivate the young and refresh the older generations on the importance of imagination and wonder.

Sap fest aside though, the movie accomplishes the goal of still being fun, managing to inject the wonder of imagination in terms of visuals and adventures.  Nickelodeon’s team injects a lot of kid friendly energy into the mix, making an infectious, thrill seeking ride that is perfect for the intended audience.  The smooth animation, with high paced speed keeps in time with the nature of the animals and imaginative girl, while the design manages to bring in the magic that theme parks and kids movies have.  All the unlimited potential of a child’s imagination is unleashed in this film and it is certain to bring you back into the world of pure imagination.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Too Simple
  • Lacking Intense Suspense
  • Short

 

Summary: As we have talked about, animation movies require a story to be very dynamic, fun, and have a sense of adventure that takes us out of our world.  While Wonder Park does semi-accomplish this, it doesn’t quite do it as well as some of the other bigger studios have done.  For one thing the movie is predictable, all the symbolism, mystery, and potential twists are easily discernible and lacking the finesse and mind-blowing moments that the sister studio is famous for. In addition, despite all the fun that Wonder Park did in helping you relive your childhood, it was a little too simplistic in the adventure department, not quite having the drive or dive that Pixar and DreamWorks is able to concoct.  This means for me that there was not too many suspenseful parts in the mix, most of the chases reduced to quick bouts of falling, or lost in another joke.  All the dark challenges and impasses are very diluted avenues, that act as symbolic psyche components of humans rather than true antagonists.  Yet the main thing that is semi disappointing, is how short the movie is. Clocking in at just around 80 minutes, this film certainly moves fast, but not so much in the good way as the content feels a little lacking to be honest.  Oh well, it got me out a little early, but the length may not be the most bang for your buck in terms of the expensive movie ticket price.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Wonder park is certainly an important illustration about the important components of life, including the importance of maintaining your imagination and wonder.  It makes great use of the kid friendly energy, yet has a few things for adults to latch onto, especially those touching, pull at your heart string moments. Yet despite all the fun I had in this movie, the film still feels like a Nickelodeon tv special that could have been left to the network.  It needed some more adventure, it needed more suspense for me, and more importantly it needed more of that magic they talked about.  Wonder Park certainly has the makings for a fun merchandising series, it just needs a little more finesse to finish the deal.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Hmmm kind of, but this one is probably waiting for streaming for most.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

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“Wonder”full Message And Acting:

Wonder

 

When people with differences come into our world, most treat them differently often in ways that hurt their feelings.  As often represented in films though, it’s these different individuals who often change the world and make it better.  This is the theme of yet another book turned movie, entitled Wonder, centering on a boy named Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) who after numerous surgeries looks a little different from the physical scoring. Upon his debut in high school, Auggie is introduced to the world he has hidden from, impacting it more than he ever imagined. Robbie K back with another review on Wonder!

 

LIKES:

 

Casting: Another example that a great cast can pull out some awesome work, Wonder’s assortment of actors and actresses bring this tale to life.  Tremblay himself has the victimized role down well, controlling his emotions and unleashing them in a realistic manner of a kid tortured by cruelty of others. His energy is infective and bleeds not only into the other kids, but into the audience on his journey of growth. The central role of the movie, Tremblay manages to connect well with his co-actors, and further strengthening their chemistry. Julia Roberts, no surprise, brings her magic to the screen, charging the movie with that intensity and control that the maternal role requires. Izabela Vidovic has some emotional charge to her role, a balance of anger, confusion, and excitement that breaks some of the tension this movie has.  And Owen Wilson, though not as involved as you expect, nailed his role with well-delivered comedy that again breaks the tension.

 

Pace is good:  For a movie all about drama, this movie moves at a good pace to keep the adventure entertaining and meaningful.  Wonder has to cover a lot of stories and perspectives established by the book, which meant potential convoluted storytelling and drawn out plot dynamics.  With the exception of a few plots, the team did a great job addressing each character’s story, moving them together at a speed that felt complete, yet didn’t feel like molasses flowing down a hill.  Mix this with all the great comedic devices and challenges, and I felt fully entertained and emotionally fulfilled by the tale at hand.

 

The message: Of course, the biggest thing Wonder has is the message that Auggie and the gang bring in regards to a lot of life qualities.  The importance of family, not judging a book by its cover, and lessons about friendship will ring loud at the presentation this movie brings.  While some of the dialogue is cheesy, with a little over/under playing involved, much of this movie hits you with a strong, hammer blow to crack the stone casing our hearts may dwell in.  The end scene in particular really speaks volumes and had me believe that not everyone is a carbon copy of the rude nature this world breeds.  Wonder’s message is simple, see people for the inside not the outside, and learn how to accept people for their differences.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Sadness:  A good sad scene can really draw a movie together and solidify the emotional punch of the movie.  Unfortunately, Wonder is chock full of depressing moments that can really bum you out in the long run. The bullying aspect is only the start of things, as other family turmoil reveals itself, one will find their mood further going downhill, bumming them out as you wait for something good to happen to this family. If you have a lot of depression on your mind, then do me a solid and steer clear of this movie, or you may find yourself further depressed at the end of the movie.

 

The Loose ends: Wonder’s storytelling is unique in that it tries to culminate a number of the characters and get into their heads.  Sadly, despite getting a nice underlining motif to their behaviors… many of these stories are a little shallower than I expected.  Like a wading pool, a lot of the characters give you a mere 1-2 sentences of their backstory before turning attention back to Auggie.  Others, don’t even get that shot to elaborate their story.  Such one layered storytelling was not only disappointing due to laziness, but also unnecessary for me, when much of their problems were again explained in their interactions with Auggie.  So perhaps not rushed ends, but another example of poor editing choices.

 

The character interruptions:  The group took a gamble mirroring the book and trying to break things into chapters.  However, as mentioned above, these little excerpts weren’t really needed and took away from the momentum of the movie for me. Why did I need to see so many flashbacks in this movie, when a simple dialogue or editing tip could have done this without interrupting the flow of the film?  The answer is… I didn’t, and no matter how unique this shout out to the book is, for a cinema presentation though… this film needed to rethink this option and tie them all together in the more formulaic manner.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Wonder is a beautiful, soulful movie that is all about teaching you important qualities that we should already know.  It feels much like a book in much of its delivery, keeping in time with the novel it is based on, which will most likely please many of the fans.  In addition to the great moral lesson, the pace and casting are the selling points of this movie that will charm your way into your hearts.  The real limitations to this movie are more in the presentation and how much it tried to copy the book, interrupting the momentum of the movie to try to give you a complete picture, but didn’t make it feel necessary to me.  But despite these limitations and sadness, Wonder works on many levels and is the heartwarming family movie of the weekend. 

 

Drama:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Femme Fatales of Film

With all the movies coming out in this modern day, there certainly are a lot of heroes that have emerged from literature and onto the silver screen.  Over the decades, we know that many movies do tend to have a male superhero (Iron Man, Captain America, John Wayne and the various cowboy flicks) to save the day.  In this modern era though, things are changing and with it comes a new wave of heroes, or should I say heroines who are stepping up to the plate to battle evil.  With Wonder Woman tearing her way through theaters in all her majestic glory, a friend of mine asked to comment on some of the leading ladies that have shown up on the big screen. In this comparison, we’ll talk about what they represent, some limitations, and compare the movies they have been in.  Note: This is meant to be more constructive conversation about the MOVIE counterparts and no insults, just me doing my normal reviews.

 

 

Wonder Woman:

 

Wonder woman 2

 

Let’s start with the champion herself.  The Amazonian princess is the heroine that many femme fatales are compared to.  Diana is the representation of strength, justice, discipline, and standing up for all who are in need.  Such qualities are sure to motivate the masses to take action and fight for what is right in their lives, yielding to almost no one.  Wonder Woman’s skills are incredible starting with her combat skills and the mastery of the art of weaponry.  Her skills during Batman vs. Superman gave us a taste of super abilities as she leapt into the fray between Doomsday, the man of steel, and the dark knight.  Fending off the two warriors with her shield and mystical sword, Diana’s martial arts were impressive.  Yet her solo film only further amplified her abilities, throwing the lasso, gauntlets, and fists as she pounds the German army into dust.  Wonder Woman’s abilities are certainly empowering to any woman of any age, having them cheer and perhaps motivating them to stand up to the bullies in their lives.

 

Yet Wonder Woman’s butt kicking abilities aren’t the only thing that speaks to the audience.  “With great power, comes great responsibility” to quote Uncle Ben, and no hero in the cinematic universe portrays this more than Diana.  She doesn’t boast her strength and destroy anybody she sees, but rather finds the areas to where her abilities are needs and put them into the mix.  Much of the movie involves utilizing her powers to protect than to destroy, preferring to focus her strength into only those she seeks to dethrone. What’s fortunate for her, is a sense of justice that many heroes fail to have, reading situations to determine whom she can help.  No scene is a better portrayal of this than her stepping out into no man’s land, treading the wasteland of doom to face an onslaught an entire army could not even distract let alone defeat.  Diana’s goals of understanding humans, showing empathy for her fellow warriors, and goal of bringing peace are all qualities to admire in a heroine.  And even better is her ability to use the love of humans and peace to fuel her motivation even more. 

 

Yet there is a weakness to her.  As no hero is perfect, Wonder Woman’s main flaw is letting her pride get in the way of logical thinking…sometimes.  In the film, you see that her determination, while noble, sometimes leaves her single minded, unable to deter from her goal and analyze the strategy at hand.  She wants to get things done fast and efficiently, but her initial plan to achieve that goal is often not the appropriate means to accomplish it.  This is evidenced by her wanting to go to the frontline immediately instead of working with a group who knew the world better.  Such blinded devotion allowed her pride to get in the way, not allowing others to assist her and potentially teach her the tricks of the trade.  I guess if it wasn’t an amazon, it wasn’t a proper teacher, and there were times in the movie she failed to understand the qualms her fellow soldiers had to face, (see the scene with Charlie not shooting).  And as we saw, there were a few times this led to some mistakes happening, leading her to suffer under the weight of being wrong.

 

Character aside, let’s talk about the movie.  For more info read my review, but Wonder Woman is certainly one of the best DC movies to hit the silver screen.  Action wise it’s impressive, with two of three fights beautifully choreographed to show off the might of the amazons.  While the slow slashing effect is a little over done, the scenes are incredible displays of CGI meeting live action and an impressive dance of the “wonder’ful woman paving the way to victory.  Throughout the entire movie, you grow with Wonder Woman, feeling the emotional turmoil and curiosity building as war unveils more of the splendid things life has to offer.  To have such strong character development, with a moving pace and action to match up with it, is a skill many directors fail to accomplish.  And with a few fun jokes thrown into the mix, one can’t help but feel enjoyment with this movie. 

 

In regards to the weaknesses of the film, a band of soldiers who didn’t have much to contribute outside a few spiritual discoveries was my main flaw with this movie.  Why even try to build up a team of heroes if you aren’t going to do much with them?  That was the question I still have.  An additional qualm is again some of the overdramatic special effect use and some loose ends that were left unanswered, or at least left for the sequel.  Despite these qualms though, Wonder Woman is certainly one of the stronger superhero movies to be seen in a while.

 

 

Rey (Star Wars Episode VII)

star-wars-rey-bb-8-sixth-scale-set-hot-toys-silo-902612

With the release of the new Star Wars franchise, one can’t help but think of the leading lady Rey! The definition of woman facing the elements, Rey had to face undesirable conditions in the deserts of Jakku and the unruly bunch who dwell there.  Yet unlike others who choose to hide from the challenge, Rey takes to all obstacles with a dedication to survive and prove herself.  That only becomes more evident when the First Order attempts to destroy she and her friends and she takes the Falcon by the control stick and heads face first into laser infused battles at hand.  Soon the mystical abilities of the Force awaken and Rey’s skills grow exponentially to shape her into the makings of a great warrior.  Rey is strong, smart, and fearless, qualities we all know make for an entertaining heroine.  And her crafty skills of engineering and piloting are something often missed in many of the heroes today.

 

Her main weakness is her rash abilities to rush into things.  Many times, Rey chooses to act first and contemplate later, often getting herself into situations she didn’t quite want to be in.  While this certainly brings entertainment in regards to the movie, this personality quark is not something to leave untampered for fear of what it might lead to.  Her stubbornness can also be considered a weakness, for her sheer will to stay on her “home” planet Jakku and not receive help because she can do it better are not qualities one would like in a heroine.  This control level is not my favorite component of her, but hey we all have our weaknesses.  Regardless of the limitations, Rey is a great opener to the Disney franchise and one that a few of my friends have tagged on to as the leader of the new series.

 

In regards to the movie, well Force Awakens was a great opener in the Star Wars Renaissance that accomplished the goal of roping us back into the series.  With decent action, nostalgia, and some decent storytelling, the stage has been set for what will hopefully be a dynamite second installment to the franchise.  While I like Rey a lot, one character/story limitation is how powerful she is at the beginning.  Placing girl power aside, we’ve not seen any Jedi at the start (with no training) be able to accomplish the things she was able to do.  To unleash this massive control of the force as well as fight a person trained years ahead of her and win was a bit of a stretch for me.  Even more frustrating is the lack of explanation as to purpose, which will hopefully (and with class) be explained in the coming installment.  Still, to start so powerful sets the bar high, to which they may not be able to deliver.

 

 

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss

Whew sacred ground when talking about this one, but let’s go ahead and talk about the champion of district 12.  Katniss is perhaps one of the most respectable and ragingly annoying heroes in a series.  She’s a survivor that is for sure, taking care of her family by hunting and trading with the on-edge frontier town.  Her self-sacrificing nature is admirable and her skills with a bow even more so, as she fights the odds thrown at her in the Hunger Games.  As her rebellious side grows and she starts defying the Capital with more angst leading to a rebellion that begins to strike back. The girl’s bravery and courage is incredible, fueling her to do the things we only dream of doing.  I mean had it not been for her…that rebellion would barely have gotten off the ground.

 

Katniss weaknesses’ start with her reluctance to be helped by most people.  The independence thing is awesome, but once she starts to get allies who have proven themselves to her, her reluctance to let them help is frustrating.  So much unnecessary conflict arose from this ability to admit help was needed became annoying as it dragged it out.  Sure, it’s okay she was untrusting, I mean look at her entire life journey, but come on… how much do we have to put up with when we know she will break down.  Yet her even bigger weakness is her unrelenting anger towards well almost everyone.  Like a burning fire, Katniss has rage deep within that is caged and ready to burst out.  While it certainly fuels her desire to survive, it also blinds her to many things that are actually beneficial.  Such uncontrolled anger more than once dropped her into traps, and left her vulnerable to the political manipulations of the egotistical politicians using her as a pawn.  Unlike the Hulk who becomes indestructible, Katniss’ anger only leads her to screaming more and firing more arrows.  Not the best quality in my book.

 

In regards to the movie, Jennifer Lawrence has many personalities that match the protagonist of the series. In all honesty, she models the very character that I read about in the books all those years ago.  The cinematography in particular brings Katniss out in the epic light we always pictured, and the action scenes to boot mirror much of excitement in the book.  In regards to the movies themselves… they are pretty good for the most part.  Movie one captured the essence of the film, albeit really gipped us on some of the cooler aspects Suzanne Collins lavished on in the first book.  Once the second movie came in though, the studio had gotten their act together and crafted a film that was a perfect match to the book across all accounts, including clearing up that confusion at the end.  Movie three did a nice job of spicing up a rather boring part of the book trilogy and added some finesse to what was a rather long drawl. Unfortunately, movie four couldn’t keep up with that magic for me, and left me disappointed at what was supposed to be the most intense moment of the movie.  They got a few parts well, but shaky cinematography, a rushed budget, and trying to cram too much into one movie diluted some of the more graceful and admirable parts of Katniss’ legacy. 

 

Consistently across the board, is how Katniss’ anger sometimes comes off bratty and arrogant.  That anger is well placed, don’t get me wrong, but the constant bitter sting, scowl and hate with every line got old for me.  It diluted her awesomeness, and what she stood for, leaving me feeling somewhat sorry for the people who had to put up with her juvenile behavior and constant complaining.  Still, the movies did get a lot of what we love about Katniss and allows her to flex her proverbial muscles as she fights a corrupt regime.

 

Alice (Resident Evil)

Alice

Perhaps the most dynamic of our group is the fiery agent known as Alice from Resident Evil. Starting out as merely a special ops soldier, Alice it transformed into a genetically augmented weapon capable of fighting hordes of infected zombie extras and government agents.  Her martial arts prowess marries well with her military mind to culminate in a heroine you can’t help but root for as her traps unfold and decimate Umbrella Corporation.  Skills aside, Alice represents the quality of loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice. Alice’s journey involves lots of teamwork and protection of innocent life, fighting that primordial destruction buried in the coding of the virus that plagues the world.  Seeing the decisions, she has had to make for the benefit of others is certainly tough, but continues to illustrate just how epic a heroine she is.  Most of the people I mention on this list haven’t had to make quite the life altering decisions that Alice has, and may not have the guts this video game turned cinema could.

 

But despite that vigor, Alice does have a weakness herself and that is her gullible/naivety. Despite all the skepticism of new people and all the times she has been backstabbed, Alice somehow always has a naïve component that leads her to be deceived by her known enemies repetitively.  She always underestimates the abilities of the Corporation, and as a result suffers some major blows that often costs her dearly. Perhaps her reliance on those abilities of hers leads to some overconfidence that thinks she can punch, shoot, and fight her way out of any situation.  While this is true most times, there are a few accounts to show that a little more paranoia behind the operation could have made things a little easier in this complex universe of Resident Evil.

 

In regards to the movies, well they are certainly popcorn munching action flicks that are full of that adrenaline pumping special effects.  Resident Evil’s opening number did a nice job of bringing video games to real life (with better graphics than the PS One) and keep to the horror element of the movies. Even the second film did a nice job of bringing that horror aspect again, just with less intensity and finesse.  After words, the movie took a dramatic turn towards the action and stunts, gearing towards special effects and stunts than actual plot.  Resident Evil’s story quickly plunged into the crappy zone and became mindless killing up until the final chapter that actually worked to fill in the numerous gaps left behind by the previous installments.  And while they don’t bring the most intelligence to her sometimes, they certainly paint her to be the model warrior for many to root for.

 

 

Selene (Underworld)

Selen

Mercenary of the vampires, slayer of werewolves, and lover of…humans?  Yeah confusing as it sounds, Selene of the Underworld series is a definition of femme fatale in this list.  In her skin-tight jumpsuit, Selene blends sex appeal with lethality using the various weapons at her disposal to defeat her enemies.  Like many of our heroines, she is certainly trained to fight, but her victims are the demons lurking in the shadows of the dark. The difference for her though, is that her enemies are often much more vicious, evil, or bulkier than most of our other cast. As such, Selene has a strong sense of courage that many heroes cannot mimic.  Facing off against strong Lycans and the merciless aristocrats of the vampires requires one to have some guts, and Selene stands up to the various warriors with that cold edge steel needed for such a purpose. What requires even more courage is dropping her aristocratic privileges for love.  Selene’s superiors wield some pretty high power and they aren’t afraid to make immoral choices to destroy any who get in their way.  For our protagonist to know this and still stand up to them… I think you can agree with me that she has to have proverbial male genitalia.  As the stories continue to progress, Selene continues to fight to maintain order not so much for killing vampires, but more so for protecting the humans and though she loves from their war.

 

In terms of weakness, ironically it is love that her enemies use against her. Selene’s desire to protect those she loves (which she makes for public display) gives her enemies leverage to use against her.  The aristocrats prove themselves merciless in their approach to get what they desire and are not shy of using others as pawns.  Selene’s love of the human Michael, among other people, results in numerous hostage situations, torturous beatings, and even massacres all for the sake of love.  Love is certainly a strength, but for all of Selene’s skills, planning, and fortitude…you would think she would be more prepared or secretive to not have that used against her.  And for much of the last film, that love resulted in her getting owned a number of times, until some weird ritual magic thing occurred that gave her super powers beyond compare.  Once this happen she became cooler, yet less believable, which is saying something in this horror occult thriller.

In regards to movies, Underworld has had its up and downs in terms of quality.  The first two were incredible for me as I was introduced into Selene’s war against both races.  It was exciting, dark, and filled with that edge and story classic of the early 2000s, that actually made sense.  An action focused plot filled with exciting scenes made for an entertaining tale, but also focused on Selene’s growth and compassion towards the human race.  While not my favorite, Rise of the Lycans still catered towards a character development side that helped set up the relationships of other supporting characters.  Too bad they could not hold the action together, but it was still entertaining.

 

Then came the modernization of the series, and new directors took over.  Gone was the art of storytelling, and instead it was all about cheesy stunts and visuals to boast the special effects of the studio.  Awakening and Blood Wars became a hastily done plot that tried to introduce new concepts and relationships that were shallow and lacking the magic of the first films.  Even more, they started evolving their foes to ridiculous proportions that either didn’t work for me or they did little with.  And in regards to the last film, the plot was so hashed together and rushed it felt like reading the initial draft of a script or a Wikipedia summary.  Selene’s new power is awesome, but perhaps a little too powerful and unexplained, robbing the suspense of the movie due to her mortality.

 

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Hermione

Ahh the loveable Hermione Granger, there is so much to say about this little wizard to be.  She wields the most powerful tool available to all heroes, the mind.  Hermione is perhaps the smartest heroine of this group as she learns the art of mastering multiple types of magic and subject matter of her world.  Fighting monsters, transportation magic, and the responsible use of magical trinkets are just some of the things she is capable of understanding and applying.  Hermione proves that you can learn anything and be able to apply it better than any male hero can, given enough time, patience and practice.  In addition, she displays discipline, inner strength, and classiness that we all only hope to have should we become as competent in our trades as she was.  Such great qualities are all wrapped in a beautiful package of visual loveliness, once again proving that you can be beautiful and talented at the same time. Hermione’s determination to save her friends and family is a consistent throughout the series, and her desire to do the right thing is displayed numerous times through the series by speaking out against her classmates’ rambunctious antics.  A symbol of following the rules that make sense and changing the rules that don’t, she certainly gets my vote for a role model.

 

In regards to her weaknesses, Hermione has several to talk about. Her biggest vulnerability for much of the series is her pride.  The young wizard likes being the best and goes to great extremes to secure her place at the top of the class.  At first this pride leads her to be arrogant, snobbishly correcting her classmates and taking her down the know it all pathway.  As her friends prove to be loyal to her, that arrogance begins to temper, but her obsessions to be the best remain as strong as ever.  Hermione’s goals lead her to stress herself to sickness in the third book when she literally has to bend time to allow her to take extra classes, some of which she fails.  That obsession leads her to be reckless sometimes and lose track of the qualities I admire, and leaves her prone to snubbing her friends.  Once the new dark age begins though, Hermione’s weakness turns to love, in particular for a small band of people who travel the dangerous road.  Fans know that fear tends to paralyze her from acting, and sometimes results in her losing her abilities due to panic.

 

When discussing the movies, I dare not insult the films because of the fan base that follows this series.  The movies are good on many levels, bringing J.K. Rowling’s world to life in beautiful graphics, sets, and costumes.  Seeing all the magic in the movie is something we can only dream about, and the emotions of the journey are all contained within.  The first few movies are all about the set up and wonder of the magical universe and the second half is all about casting the dark cloud over the light and challenging the heroes at hand.  Unfortunately, where the movies start to go wrong is when they deviate from the books at hand.  Harry Potter books are sacred tomes that you don’t want to adulterate and for the most part the movies respect that ground.  Unfortunately, key aspects were left out of the book and the studios made their own decisions that grossly resulted in some shortcomings and lack of bite the books have.  The burning of the Weasley cottage, the battle at the ministry, and much of the second half of book 7 were not impressive to me.  Had they realized that most would sit through a five-hour film (LOTR anyone) they could have made the movies exponentially better in these regards. 

 

Whatever movie you watch though, you can be sure that Hermione is well-represented.  Emma Watson’s portrayal is fantastic on any account as she grows alongside the character and brings the maturity with it.  Hermione’s character remains a little too pretty (according to one of my friends) in regards to the fashion component, but hey who doesn’t like a little sprucing up via Hollywood makeup.  Makeup aside, Hermione’s aptitude for magic and knowledge is captured in the movies, as are the morals, honor and love contained within.  Nice job my friends. Nice job.

 

Jenn Orso (Star War Rogue One)

Jenn

Last on our list is the latest Star Wars maiden to grace the universe.  Rogue One’s protagonist is all about the edge, a loner with the goal of survival and making a living, she was forced into a rough life at the young age of 9. Jenn’s parents were forcefully taken from her, resulting in her being raised by a mercenary in the prime of life.  Fortunately, the mercenary parted a wicked set of skills that raise her odds for surviving in the vast galaxy.  The tyrannical rule of the empire pulls her into the developing rebellion and leads to a journey where that strength to live carries on in full force.  Jenn’s strengths are determination, rationality, hope, and leadership as evidenced by her numerous actions during the 2.5 hours of the film.  She is able to unite a ragtag group of rebels together to attempt a mission best described as suicide to many.  And in doing so, she was able to accomplish goals that would set the stage for ages to come.  Jenn has many qualities and skills to which we hope to inspire others to mimic and she is also quite the warrior to fight for people everywhere.

 

As for her weaknesses, Jenn’s first is her lack of trust and teamwork.  In the beginning of the movie she tries to do everything by herself, resulting in her getting into trouble and often failing miserably.  While it is certainly important to have the confidence to accomplish a goal, it’s also important to recognize when a team is needed, which involves trust.  Jenn will not give her team the trust to begin with and as such limits her mission considerably in the beginning.  In addition, Jenn is a little reckless at times, tending to rush into things rather than coordinate.  I don’t know if it’s the skeptical component or if she doesn’t have strategy making 101 down, but Jenn surprisingly has little in terms of planning under her belt (rewatch the movie again and you will see it is her male counterpart who comes up with the plans).  Her ability to hold a grudge is quite a limiting step as well.  That opening act shows a lot of bitterness towards, well everyone in the galaxy at the hurt she has within.  Much of her hatred is cast towards her father and the abandonment she felt.  By doing this, she brought about ignorance to her life and added extra complications to delay her mission that had she accepted ma have resulted in better outcomes.  Still when all is said and done, that ending at the end shows she can overcome these limitations and become quite the champion to say the least.

 

Movie wise, Rogue One is one my favorite of the Star Wars Universe.  It’s different, it’s gritty, it shows the horrors of war instead of just the glamorous side we got in the first seven installments.  At first the opening is choppy and a little hodge-podge in terms of editing, but that set up serves it purpose of getting us to the grand finale of the movie.  That exciting ending is more than epic conclusion, filled with the nostalgia and action we waited for so long with the Star Wars revival.  A great cast of characters, a very gut wrenching story, and a new female protagonist to leave a legacy are all wonderful qualities of this movie.  Rogue One does need some improvements itself though including better balance of characters, a tighter opening that doesn’t feel as discombobulated and remembering to actually use their actors they pulled into the project (like Forrest Whittaker).  Outside of that though… a solid movie.

 

So, there you have it.  Just a few women of the silver screen that I wanted to talk about.  These are just some of my observations on the femme fatales of modern film, and for the most part, I hope you find my analysis in good favor.  Like all good characters there are strengths and weaknesses and one can only hope that the characters whose stories aren’t closed yet will get the epic tale they deserve.  We will see what Wonder Woman brings in the next movie in September and from there one can only guess what is next in the world of Hollywood.  I’m Robbie K, thanking you for another read and inviting any constructive discussion you might wish to share.

 

 

Wander Over To Wonder

Wonder Woman

 

It’s a brand-new month and you know what that means right?  Yes, another super hero movie to kick off the summer blockbuster season.  This time it isn’t Marvel cranking out the comic book, cinematic feature, but their rivals DC studios. With its recent shaky track record, the DC cinematic universe hasn’t gotten the best publicity in terms of quality. So, the studio has decided to get the leading lady herself to pave the way.  Yes, today’s review is on Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. Can this movie break the bad luck streak of DC/WB studios?  Robbie K here to share some opinions on the matter, so let’s get started, shall we?

 

LIKES

 

  1. Gal Gadot is incredible and steals the show with her poise, pizazz, and acting talents. A fantastic casting direction that really brings the woman to wonder to life in beauty, ferocity, and bouts of heroism (a.k.a. kicking bad guy butt). Acting, stunts, and an on-point delivery of her lines makes this actress one of the tops in my book!

 

  1. The action is on point (for most of the movie) filled with impressive displays of weaponry, martial arts, and historical warfare. Wonder Woman’s battles held such emotion, managing to bring the suspense all while delivering that feel good, post battle high, you might have gotten from reading a comic book.  The team brings some fast-paced thrills we have wanted for almost a year and a half.

 

  1. A good representation for girls. I may have already said this, but this movie targets a wide variety of audience members in some form or manner.  Yet this reviewer has to give props for the design of a character that is certainly worthy of representing the female super heroes and inspiring the female population that they certainly can do anything.

 

  1. Comedic timing: It’s not going to be a super hero movie (at least in this day and age) without some laughs to break up the tension. Wonder Woman continues this trend, filling the void with well-timed one-liners, a few awkward encounters that often deal with sex, and some slap-stick gimmicks that do the job well.

 

  1. Character Development: I know most super hero movies have this element, but there is something about Wonder Woman that stood out to me. This film managed to spin Diana’s character development into a roller coaster ride of feelings that almost made me tear up. Her journey to discovering herself and her role into this new world was poetically portrayed, using multiple angles to get the job done.  It could have also been due to the powerful soundtrack, the visual effects, or maybe Gadot’s acting, but it really worked for me.

 

  1. Fast Pace: We all know those movies that drag (and yes, I’m talking much of DC’s library). Not the case for this film. The nearly 150-minute run time flew by for much of the movie having me at one point saying, “Dang, it’s already been 90 minutes.” Not something I often say.

 

 

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

  1. Unoriginality: You’ll find that Wonder Woman shares a lot with Captain America: First Avenger. The set-up, setting, and build up almost matching outside of the weapon of choice and martial arts moves.  Certainly, not the biggest limitation, but something that others have been bothered by.

 

  1. Almost pointless crew: The crew that joins Diana held such promise in the picture, but it was dropped so hard in this movie. Outside of Chris Pine, the other members do little for the overall mission outside of a few throws, some “tracking” and mainly comedic relief. There were hints at character development and deeper dynamics, but they fizzled out faster than sparkler at 4th of July.  I know, this movie is about Wonder Woman, but why even include these guys if that was the goal.

 

  1. Preachy: Some reviews state the whole feminism/males are pigs is overdone, and to an extent I agree. Yet the bigger dislike was the preachy monologues that sometimes plagued this film. A few times the heat of the moment was lost in a display of self-reflection, which is great, but not in the midst of a battlefield. Some of these moments also had that eye-rolling factor for me.

 

  1. Overuse of CGI: I like special effects, I like stunts, but I don’t like overuse of a gimmick. The slow-motion interludes during the action scenes added some cool emphasis to Wonder Woman’s skills (alongside some cool finishing moves). Somewhere along the production, someone got a little trigger happy with the effect and used a little too much for me, and soon started disrupting the cool stunts they had Gal do. In addition, there were some special effects that were a bit cheesy and took the edge off of Wonder Woman. Learn from Michael Bay people, too much of special effects makes for many jokes.

 

  1. The ending: Don’t turn away, hear me out.  The ending is great on many levels (emotional, prowess, role model, and morals). However, it lost the momentum the first few fights had with them, trading suspense for flashy special effects, drawn out banter, and unimpressive choreography. Sort of felt like the ending to X-men apocalypse where the bad guys bark was worse than his bite.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Wonder Woman delivers on many levels and breaks the mediocre displays that DC has cranked out over the last year.  It’s emotional, it’s dynamic, it’s fun, and it provides a solid role model for admirable heroes. I feel the movie met most of my expectations and I was happy with the overall product.  It’s far from perfect though, and still has a few things to tighten up (like developing other characters, balancing the CGI use, and keeping the momentum going). Still, I have to recommend this one for a theater visit, especially you comic lovers out there.

 

My Scores:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  9.0

Movie Overall: 7.5