Hotel Transylvania 2

Blah blah blah.

Hotel Transylvania 2 brings back all the characters for more wacky adventures. The first one was great, so I’m looking forward to the second one. I am really surprised they went through the beginning montage with the pregnancy and seeing Denisovich grow up. I thought they would have made a jump cut after the wedding to four years later, but whoa.

The side monsters are as funny as ever. Murray, the mummy, Frank the Frankenstein’s monster, Griffin the invisible man and Wayne the werewolf, all of them were hilarious. Now that they are all minor celebrities and even more out of shape than before, the group is now more adorable.

This movie has a lot of parts that had me laughing out loud. It’s not the quippy, one-liner kind of humor. It’s just some good jokes. The part I laughed at the most was Frank going into Drac’s room and trying on Drac’s clothes.

Speaking of Drac, the plot this time is that his grandson, Denisovich, might not turn out to be a vampire, and he is not having it! Mavis wants to take Denis(ovich) to California, somewhere where he can live a more normal life. No one else seems to want that, not Denis, not Johnny, and definitely not Drac. So Drac tricks Mavis to go off on a house-hunting mission while he tries to prove that his grandson is a vampire.

It’s a roadtrip movie with all of the characters as lovable monsters and a cute kid that’s not annoying.

Johnny and Mavis seems to have less to do, but they do show off the world now that everyone knows monster exists. They also get to interact with Johnny’s family. It’s not quite as slapstick and funny as Drac’s parts, but still a nice bit of world-building in the movie. Nothing too in your face. It’s just enough to answer some questions.

Time for some spoilers. Stop reading now. I recommend this movie, especially if you liked the first one. The character’s haven’t missed a beat. In fact, they’re better than before.

Anyway, the third act really feels like the necessary excitement climax in the movie. They introduce the main antagonist then and defeat him just as fast. Drac’s father was mentioned a few times earlier on. He’s an old-school human-hating monster. But for being a thousand-year-old guy, Drac’s father changes his stance about humans really quick once he thinks his great grandson might be human.

I get that it would basically be a rehash of the first movie if they took more time with Drac’s grandfather, but it still feels too fast. Oh, and there’s a bat monster that just hates humans to give the characters an action scene.

It was exciting, but feels like it developed too fast.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is a fun sequel to the first movie. Just seeing all those scary monsters of old turn into regular people, pretty much, is really entertaining to see.

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Good is Not Enough

When I was younger, I watched a lot of movies. That’s because I always found the cheap theaters. They were simple, no frills but good because they were inexpensive. I watched whatever I wanted in theaters because of that. That was also before the profileration of internet reviews. Nowadays, you can see a whole bunch of people’s opinions, not just professionals but regular people, too. Just one day seems to be enough to get a good idea of people’s opinions.

Due to just knowing that a movie is average, I’m less inclined to watch it even though I’m, like, 80% certain I would enjoy it. I mean, looking back at the review scores for some of the things I’ve seen before, quite a lot of them were middling, not bad but not great.

Nowadays, I don’t have access to a cheaper theater, so I tend to be much more selective of what I see there. Especially with On-demand, I can pay like, a few dollars to get a movie to watch at home the moment it releases the Blu-Rays. Due to that, I’m a lot less likely to see things that aren’t reviewed great.

I think quite a few people are like that. But most movies are average. I mean, that is kind of the meaning of average. But as people’s expectations go up, what might be considered good movies will only be given average scores because there are fantastic movies out there. A lot of these good movies might falter despite being very enjoyable just because most people don’t want to give it a chance. And with so many movies coming out, why should they? Consumers can now find a lot of information without every directly coming into contact with the product.

If movie ticket prices were cheaper, I would so want to see movies in theaters. As it is, I mostly decide to wait until they come out on-demand for a much lower price. Thus, I contribute to movies not getting sequels since they don’t get enough money. Though it’s also pretty wild to think that a movie needs to make double its budget just to break even thanks to costs not related to making the movie.

Movies considered “average” can be very enjoyable. I just don’t feel like paying a lot of money to see them anymore, unfortunately, even if I know I would like it. It’s just too easy to get other entertainment now. That’s pretty bad for competent movies that are not phenominal. But that’s the breaks, I suppose. It does make me sad that some movies I enjoy won’t get sequels just because they aren’t great but just “okay.”

I’m not helping anything, so I guess I can’t complain that much.

Oh, random mumblings not related to anything above, I tend to only watch huge special effect movies when I go to theaters. I want giant dragons, robots and super powers. I’m fine with watching movie stars in small size at home. I don’t need giant Geoge Clooney. Him at regular size is good for me.

Daredevil Season 2

Ah, the beauty of watching things later, I don’t need to wait for the next season. So after a short break, I rolled right into season 2. This season keeps up the action and powerful moments. Pretty much all surviving characters are back in some way or form.

I think there’s going to be mild spoilers throughout. Later on I will have a spoiler section.

This season really feels like Punisher’s season. I mean, half of the plot is devoted to him. And is it good. This Punisher is fantastic. Over the course of the season, it shows how Frank Castle turns into the Punisher. Matt wants to stop him since he just shoots everyone. They come into contact early and on opposite sides.

Partway through the season is when the actual bad guy for Matt get’s introduced. No, it’s not Elektra, it’s Ninjas! You thought they were gone after the first seaon? Think again. I sort of have an issue with them, though, because the ninjas receive pretty much no characterization. Frank Castle really is the best character of the season.

I kind of get not wanting to go into the ninja’s reasons and motivations to make them feel more mysterious, but they just aren’t. Matt beats them up a lot and without a huge amount of effort. I think that if they want to keep them mysterious, they should up the mystic factor. This show already takes place in the same universe as an alien invasion, just give the ninjas a bit more magical flare. It might be tough to balance out with the more down-to-Earth tone, but it can be done. That way, the ninjas still feel threatening while not needing to reveal a lot about them.

Back to the good part of the season, Frank Castle. He can just hit every note from grief to rage so well. The man does everything. He will kill people and later on make you cry. He’s pretty much great every time he appears on screen.

Matt’s still good, but I want to say I’m disappointed how little I see him doing his actual job. He’s really taking his nighttime activities to an unhealthy level, and his personal relationships are really struggling for it. I do like what happened to Foggy and Karen, though. Karen turned into an investigative reporter, which is pretty much what she’s been doing for the entirety of season one. Foggy really gets to show his stuff as a lawyer since Matt’s not around that much.

The action is still fantastic. It’s still brutal. The Punisher side of the plot is great. Elektra is good, but the enemy she’s facing isn’t as interesting.

Onto the major spoilers.

So, Nobu’s back. I hoped they would use this season to flesh him out more, but nope, not really. And I mentioned ninjas before. Fans of the comics will probably realize I mean the Hand. It might not be comic accurate, but give them some more badass people like Nobu. That would be interesting even without rounding them out as much.

Wilson Fisk is back! And he still takes all scenes he’s in. Even in jail, he is just so threatening.

I was so disappointed by the last episode where Frank Castle did not mow down ninjas by the dozen with his newly found arsenal. I mean, it was the perfect set up! Nope, he just shows up for a bit and kills, like, 4 ninjas. I get why they did that. This is a Daredevil season. You can’t have the Punisher outdo the main character, but it was just so well set up for that to happen.

Still a great season. And now I actually have to wait to see what happens next. Aw.

Zootopia

Starting out already, I like this movie. It just presents a fantastical world and gives enough insight into it to show how things work. The world where mammals have evolved to where clothes, do basically do everything people do, has enough thought behind it to make things work. And the visuals are just amazing, which shouldn’t be surprising for a Disney film. The city of Zootopia is just amazing to see. It’s a mishmash of several different climates and the animals that live there.

Zootopia tells the story of the first rabbit cop. They don’t tend to let rabbits be cops due to their size, but Judy Hops is determined to do it. The main focus of the movie is the examination of prejudice, not just between predator and prey but between the different species as well.

Foxes tend to be looked down on as being sly tricksters. Judy had a bad experience with a fox when she was younger, so of course she is forced to work with a fox conman over the course of the movie to solve her case. Citizens of Zootopia have been mysteriously disappearing and the police can’t find them. Only the fox, Nick, has a lead on one of the missing animals.

I don’t want to say too much more. It’s a Disney movie that explores a lot of issues with so many different kinds of people living in close proximity. For younger kids, a lot of the problems that are going on underneath the main plot might go over them. This movie is also overall more slow-paced. There are some wacky hijinks, but not that as much as other movies. They take their investigating slow and methodical.

It’s still a lot of fun just exploring the world and meeting all the characters. Judy is great fun to watch. She’s just vibrant, smart, wants to help, refuses to get stay down. Everything you want from a police officer. Nick, he’s the slick one. I didn’t enjoy him as much, but that’s more due to his type of character rather than anything wrong with him. I think he actually changes more over the course of the movie than Judy. Later on, I enjoyed him much more.

The side characters are all great, too. Clawhauser, especially, is just fun and awesome. I really like Judy’s parents. They are the cautious sort of supportive because they think a rabbit would not be safe being a cop.

This movie is just begging for a follow-up series, like Big Hero 6, where Judy continues on her cop quest.

The movie is thematically heavier than other Disney movies of late in terms of how it can be applied to the real world. I just like the Zootopia world and all the visuals. There’s just so much going on, and I would really enjoy a nice, slowed-down look at how everything works. Call it curiousity on world-building.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

This movie is slick. It has style and charm with comedy sprinkled in throughout. The movie stars Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, American Spy. Here, he is charming, personable and generally a happy guy. The directors really need to have him act more like his for his Superman rolls. Not entirely, but just more charming and less brooding. It also stars Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, a humorless Russian spy with anger issues. And Alicia Vikander as Gaby, the niece of high valued target.

Being a spy movie, the action is smooth and flowing. Even as things are spiralling out of control, the main characters keep their cool and somehow get things done. The main fun of the movie is seeing the competing styles of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. They start of hating each other, slowly learn to appreciate each other’s skill and then respect each other.

I really enjoy movies like this. The scenes and dialogue just flows from one to the next. The action is like a gentle river that hits patches of rapids without missing a beat. This entire movie is just smooth. The only odd parts to the movie are the overtly comedy bits. It’s not cheesy enough for that shift in tone.

I’m not going to dig into the plot too much, but its Cold War era stuff, only with America and Russia working together against someone else. But I do really like this movie. It’s just got a certain feel that the main characters are always in control, even when they aren’t. Both of them are cool customers.