Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Film

Finally watched this one. I have wanted to see it for a while, since the second movie came out. I only got around to it now, though. I was never a huge TMNT fan. I knew them, of course, and saw the old cartoons and movies. But I would look forward to other old properties than the ninja turtles.

Being an older movie, I’ll probably just have spoiler thoughts right in the main part of the post. So be aware!

I did enjoy the film. April was really the main character. I don’t know if its a budget thing or a Michael Bay thing or some other thing that makes studios prefer to put human characters in front. The main characters should be the turtles, but everything about them is related through April.

Megan Fox as April was fine. I did like the way she was involved. For the kind of enemies the ninja turtles fight, she could concievably help out. I also liked Will Arnett’s character. He was part of the movie just enough.

The film itself feels pretty simple, though. And the turtles are not given enough chances to show them grow. They do have character development, but it happens near the end of the movie and feels like it comes out of nowhere. I guess that’s the problem when we’re following April all the time.

I do like how each turtle has more individuality beyond just their weapons and mask colors. The turtles even have different body types, which is great. I did see one image that modified the turtles a bit to remove their nose. I think that would make them look much better.

The fight scenes in this movie are pretty fun, actually. They really take advantage of being mutant turtles to do things that normal people wouldn’t even try. I could also follow what was going on. The camera didn’t shake too much. It was good.

Talking about the bad guys of the movie, their plan seems ill thought out. Shredder looked pretty awesome and menacing. And I really liked his arm blades. Still, Shredder was barely a character. He was more of some evil wall that the main characters needed to get over to reach their goal.

I had fun with the movie. Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello was fun to watch. They had some nice interactions with April and Will Arnett’s character. And they had some great fight scenes. The movie is let down by the bad guys and the lack of development for the turtles.

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X-Men: Apocalypse

Whoa, this movie is wild. This is like, one blood splatter away from being rated R. I mean, if any blood was flying out when people were injured, instead of just appearing on walls after the fact, this would definitely be rated R. X-Men Apocalypse! Time for more mutant mayhem!

Now then, as a whole, I really had fun with the film. It didn’t feel too long, despite actually being quite long. There were wild effects and plenty of action. It was a action film throughout. Not that there aren’t problems with it, but this X-Men film is still pretty good.

I enjoyed going back to Cyclops, Jean, Storm and all of those characters. Cyclops and Jean are particularly important in this. And Nightcrawler’s back, too! I always really liked Nightcrawler. They’re all in their younger form, but they work well in this film. Beast is around, though he doesn’t really act like a beast. Mystique is back and a clear hero this time. I don’t mind that. I think it took a bit of forcing in the plot to make her a team leader, though.

And the movie doesn’t really get bogged down. I almost want it to slow down a bit. I wanted to get to know Scott, Jean and the others more. I feel the movie sort of abuses the fact that most people know the X-Men already and uses it as an excuse not to develop them as much. But I wanted more about them. Have some more screentime with Jean and Charles talking about her powers.

I am kind of abusing the fact I expect people to know about these characters the way I just talk about them.

Best part of the film is once again Quicksilver. Remember his speed scene in Days of Future Past? He has a similar one here. And I was smiling all the way through.

As far as Apocalypse goes, I think he was alright. Nothing fantastic. I don’t know much about his powers, but I think they showed him as sufficiently powerful. I mean, it took more to take him out than any other X-Men villain by a huge mile. So as far as power was concerned, I enjoyed the portayal. He still could have been more physically imposing, though.

But once again, in an attempt to ramp things up, this movie has massive destruction everywhere. Then, at the end, everything is just brushed away. Magneto is pretty much just Magnetoing it up like in every film. Yes, the guy is tragic, but stop Magnetoing things up!

Oh, random note, I had to look up who played Havok in the previous films. I did not recognize it was Lucas Till all three times and thought they replaced the actor.

Time for some spoilery thoughts. Stop here if you have not seen the movie. As a whole, I enjoyed this movie as some fun. It doesn’t change up the X-Men much, but I do like being back to Scott, Jean and the rest.

Alright, spoiler thoughts.

Out of the Four Horsemen, three are pretty not useful in this. I can’t even figure out why three of them would join Apocalypse. Only Magneto really seems to care about what Apocalypse is saying. It seems that Apocalypse has some sort of persuasion powers, but he explicity cannot mind control people. And in general, the other Horsemen seem really into it until things go south.

Comparing things to Age of Ultron for a bit, I would add in a scene showing Storm starting to doubt things. She’s the only one that changes sides, but it’s all down to reaction shots. Storm’s characterization was a bit too subtle. Really, aside from Magneto, none of the other Horsemen say more than one line at a time and are just brute force for Apocalypse. Sure, that’s what they were recruited for, but it does make Storm’s betrayal feel like it’s there just because she’s a future X-Men.

Once again, it’s a fun movie, but it’s squarely in the sequel style of bigger, badder and more flashy. And the characterization suffer a bit as a result.

Now You See Me 1 and 2

It’s a heist movie, but with magic! Not real magic. Stage magic. Misdirection. Spectacle. And a lot of arrogance. I saw both movies recently, so I’ll put them both together. Though I’ll still have them in separate sections. I will try to avoid spoilers since the whole point of the movie is to find out whats happening.

Now I don’t know if they dropped clues that allows the audience to figure it out. I don’t think about it too much since I’m not about to pause the movie just to try and guess the ending.

Now You See Me 1 tells the story of a mysterious guy that wants to bring together four great magicians. The purpose isn’t immediately clear, but the four magicans together make a great team and start doing shows at big venues. Then the stealing begins. And the chase between the FBI and the Four Horsemen.

While there are a few sides to the story, it doesn’t get too complicated to follow, which is great. The story doesn’t get convoluted. It’s actually pretty on target. Now You See Me is an alright film that is a lot more about flashy, being slick, and doing fast action. The main hero is arguably the FBI agent in charge of capturing the Four Horsemen. He’s the one trying to catch the thieves and the one that changes the most during the story.

I think that’s my problem with the film. We’re supposed to be rooting for the Four Horsemen. The people they steal from are all bad people, and the Four Horsemen are all cool and charming. The problem is that while the people they steal from are bad, they are not bad enough to counter what the Horsemen are doing.

Comparing to the Ocean’s series, over there, the thieves had personal motives for stealing from their marks. In Now You See Me, the Horsemen do not. That lack of a personal connection makes them more difficult to side with. And the Horsemen, in general, don’t seem to matter much. They don’t really change over the course of the story and they’re just listening to orders.

Atlas (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is the arrogant “leader” of the Horsemen. He certainly plays that kind of character well. And Atlas sort of just stays that way throughout. Merrit (played by Woody Harrelson) is my favorite of the Horsemen. He’s talker of the group and the one with a bit of charm. Henly (played by Isla Fisher) seems to just be there. Her magic specialty is escapes, but they never really need that. And finally, Jack (played by Dave Franco). Using another Ocean’s reference, he’s like the Linus of the group, the young guy wanting to prove himself.

There is a point where the film tries to make it seem that the Four Horsemen don’t have things in control, but I knew they were fooling. And the final reveal of the movie is fun. I just wanted more reason to like the Horsemen and dislike the people they’re against.

For Now You See Me 2 a lot of my complaints about the first film are gone. I liked the second movie better than the first, actually. Now, the Horsemen are clearly the main characters. They’re not taking orders anymore. The bad guys this time around are fully deserving of what happens to them. New Horsemen (replacing Henley) Lula is fun and seems to be more important to the story. She’s played by Lizzy Caplan.

This film actually keeps a lot of characters from the first one, adding really only 3 major new characters. Of course, one of those characters is played by Daniel Radcliffe at his sleaziest best and is the new antagonist. He does a good job at being threatening and derailing the Horsemen’s plans and generally works as someone on a similar level to them.

Overall, I think the second movie is much more solid and fun while still keeping the same style and tone from the first one. The second movie also builds a lot on what happens in the first film, almost as if they realized the first one had a lot of questionable choices. So yeah, I liked Now You See Me 2 better than the first one.

Both films are heist films with a magical twist. They stay pretty firmly in that lane, but it’s a stylish and misdirecting lane.

The Little Prince

Another animated film not released in American theaters. Yet, it is really good. It’s only thanks to Netflix that I get to see these animated films. And no, no being sponsored. I don’t have enough readers to warrant that. Haha. Cry.

Anyway, The Little Prince is about a girl who’s life is entirely controlled by her mother. She gets no time for fun and doesn’t even want any. That is until she meets a quirky old man that tells her the story of a little prince. Somehow, I didn’t even realize none of the characters had proper names until after the film. The little girl is just the little girl. Everyone else is also named by a descriptor. It adds a nice bit if atmosphere to the movie.

The film is done in two different styles. There’s traditional animated style for the main parts. Then there’s the part of the little prince’s story. It’s some kind of stop motion thing, or something made to look like stop motion. And everything has a different style entirely. The style adds to the great surreal nature of the story.

It’s a nice little story not about some grand adventure, really, but about a girl growing up and dealing with more of what the world has to offer. It’s presented in a great and charming way. That makes it worth a watch, and the story of the little prince is interesting too.

All of the voice actors do a great job. I actually really like the bit parts of the rose and the fox. They don’t say much, but I think they’re still memorable just for being different. The fox has a very simple and soft delivery.

The little girl is great. It’s Mackenzie Foy, the actor playing young Murph from interstellar. She does a fantastic job in this showing all the emotions a girl goes through, especially in the second half of the movie. The Aviator is Jeff Bridges, and he has that great, scratchy and gentle voice.

Also, the little girl and her mother is totally Asian. The mother just has so much of that value in education to the point of moving just to get into the right school zone.

The movie is nice and worth the watch. It’s too bad it never came out in theaters and is only on Netflix. It probably wouldn’t make a ton of money in theaters, but it’s great. The story isn’t as zany as some other kids movies, but I was entertained the entire time.

Time for some spoiler thoughts. And these spoilers will be from the last third of the movie, so if you have Netflix, go watch the movie first!

Okay, now for spoilers. The last third of the movie gets weird. The first two-thirds of the movie can either be seen as the longest setup to the actual adventure part of the film. Or it’s the longest dream sequence ever. Either way, the third part of the movie is all about the girl dealing with the fact that the Aviator is old and sickly.

It does feel like an entirely different film. There’s an animal sidekick, and a magical world full of imagery about growing up and losing the magic of childhood. I really liked the segment, but it felt like it came out of nowhere. Just whoa.

Whether it fits with the rest of the film or not, it’s tough to say. But I felt it was a fitting conclusion to the little prince’s story, and it helps the little girl with her problem, too. And the last part does add a bit of excitement to an otherwise serene film.

Warcraft

A 20+ hour of story compressed into around 2 hours of film. This is going to be packed. Warcraft, the movie, covers the events from the first Wacraft game. I have played that game, but I also remember the least about what happened there. I remember a bit of Warcraft 2, a lot of 3, but pretty much none of the first one at all. That said, most of the characters stay around for multiple games, so I do know the characters.

A problem with trying to put so many story into a short time is that the film doesn’t get enough time to properly set everything up. I don’t know how understandable it is without knowing the game, but you do lose out on a lot by not knowing the game. They put in so much for those that know the series.

Looks-wise, this movie is spot on. Everything looks Warcraft from armor design to spell effects. The orcs look great. I even recognized some of the chieftans despite them only being background characters. That is cool.

The movie is introduction-heavy. They pretty much say who the character is and what there relationship is to the world when they first show up. It’s a bit clumsy, but there are a lot of stuff to get to. The actual main characters of Lothar, Khadgar, Garona and Durotan are pretty cool, though. And the visuals of the movie are fantastic. The orc structures look spot on, and Stormwind is grand. It’ll get really wild if they ever reach the even stranger parts of the world.

I enjoyed the film but I think it partially has to do with me knowing the world and game. If not, I would feel a bit lost. The main story is easy to get, but a lot of wow-factor (not a pun) is lost when you don’t know about the characters beforehand. But it’s always going to be tough trying to tell a long story in just 2 hours.

What they pulled off was alright. The mechanics of the movie could be better. It turned out a bit normal in terms of characterization, and the acting could be better. Really enjoyed the orcs, though. Going into the world felt great, though. I was really disappointed we didn’t get to see more of it.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian is a space romp through exotic locations and strange creatures and dangerous situations. The titular City of a Thousand Planets is a space station that has been slowly built up over a long time by many different races. It started out as a human space station, which explains why humans run the place. This movie is full of fantastic visuals and settings. Unfortunately, the feel of the place is rarely there.

So, I have not read the original comics, so there’s that. But Valerian is a movie that doesn’t work on a few levels. What I did like included the story, though. I’ll talk about it more in the spoiler section, but that was good. The visuals are pretty great. The thing is, the movie is too fast-paced and manic to really give me a reason to appreciate or care.

The opening scene is great, though. It’s just at the right pace to show the growth of the City of a Thousand Planets. The next scene after that, on Mul, is also fantastic. That’s the kind of thing I wanted more of. We get a good look at Mul and how life works on there. And everything there is gorgeous. I will say that the significance of the scene isn’t apparent for a while, making it seem like it’s just there.

Once the main characters, Valerian and Laureline come into the picture, though, things start getting hectic, and not in a good way. The visuals start just getting thrown out there without a reason. It wasn’t as bad in the marketplace, but in the actual City of a Thousand Planets, it just seems so hodge-podge and put together. I mean, it probably is, but still, I got no sense of scale to the city.

We get introduced to both of the main characters well into their relationship and stuff and we never get to know them at all. Valerian is a quip machine, but he doesn’t have the charm to endearing quality to pull it off. I didn’t feel a reason as to why he was the main character. Laureline is better, but we also know even less about her, leaving her just as Valerian’s partner. The two of them feel underdeveloped.

I think part of the problem comes from them spending large parts of the movie away from each other. We see a lot of what they would do for each other, but we don’t see what they would do with each other. That leaves out of why we should care about their relationship.

So, while the visuals are great, a high pace and main characters without much depth weaken the movie. I do have a lot to say in the spoiler section, so read on if you want some of that. I do go into more things I like about the movie there.

Here we go!

My favorite character of the movie has to be Bubble. She feels more real than the other characters. She was interesting to watch and is a fun alien character. I wanted more of that. The other military characters are also solid.

Onto the plot, the movie feels like there are two segments that are uneeded, which is unfortunate because both of them are pretty cool in both characters and visually. But they just stop the main plot in an unnecessary way.

The people of Mul, they were great. They are sort of like the perfect idealized race kind of people, but they’re still really interesting to see. And I liked how grounded the actual story turned out to be. It wasn’t like some giant space monster was attacking or anything, and at no point in the movie was the City of a Thousand Planets in danger of being destroyed, so yay on that.

They do telegraph who the actual bad guy is so heavily that I wonder why they tried to hide it at all.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has great visuals and a nice story, but it’s hampered by underdeveloped main characters. I pretty much care about all other characters more than them. Oh well.

Peanuts Movie

Hahaha, I have to admit that I have not seen much of Charlie Brown or the Peanuts gang before. I’ve seen that awesome dance scene, though. But I don’t really know the characters or the plot. So this movie is a first for me.

And I really enjoyed it. To describe this movie in two words, charming and nice. It’s probably the nicest movie I’ve seen in a while. And I mean nice in the sense that no ones really mean. There are no antagonists. Its just a nice story about kids. Everyone likes Charlie Brown even if Charlie Brown doesn’t like Charlie Brown. There are cute Snoopy and Woodstock antics. The movie is nice.

The art style for the movie is great. It really stands out as trying to look like old-style 2D animations. Sometimes, te animations are jerky. They have constant effects that are done in 2d. The characters are constantly moving and have their own little flourishes. All over, the movie has a lot of charm and style.

The film is a slice-of-life style plot, so I really like it. I’m not going to say too much more, but it’s a nice kids story. There is a second plot running through that involves Snoopy and Woodstock. While the two plots only intersect rarely, Snoopy is constantly around the other characters. And the movie still felt decently short even with two separate plotlines running through it. The movie is a good length, though. There’s no unncessary stuff. The scenes just roll right along while leaving behind little sparkles of delight.

The only thing I found weird with this movie was who it was for. I think it’s for people who have enjoyed Peanuts for a long time. They use technology from the 80’s, and not just in a stylistic way. It does affect the plot at one point. And kids are going to need an explanation of why their phones have wires.

Still, the overall movie is good. It’s not as flashy as some other CGI films. Peanuts is homely and a good watch.