Birds of a feather
Storks is directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland and features voicework from Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammar, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Key, and Jordan Peele.
I find it difficult to properly discuss an animated film like Storks, one that isn't directly linked to animation juggernaut Pixar or one that simply doesn't achieve the soaring heights of other non-Pixar animated smash-hits. I am, for whatever strange reason, under the impression that nearly every new animated film should turn out to be a borderline classic. I'm under that impression probably because Pixar just keeps finding new ways to deliver top quality products, and animation, in general, is one of the most robust genres in cinema today. I have read some not-too-kind reviews for Storks, but the general consensus seems to sway towards the positive side of the approval spectrum. My expectations beforehand were not exactly out of this world, since I vaguely recall the film having a rather low-key marketing campaign in the weeks up to its theatrical release. That to me speaks to a film not exactly falling into the category of must-see. This is also not the Minions or Finding Dory, where you must be blind as a bat to not notice some form of its marketing. What Storks did give me was one of my favorite type of experiences while watching a movie: my expectations are proven wrong and, every once in a while, they are exceeded. It does what just about every family targeted animated movie is supposed to do, which is combine witty and memorable humor with sugar-sweet storytelling that brings the AAAAAWWWWWs out of you. The story and its depth are more child friendly, but, hey, this is a movie that centers on birds and babies.
The story tells us of how, for many years, the storks of Stork Mountain have delivered babies to families around the world. This system came to an abrupt end, however, when one stork named Jasper (voiced by Danny Trejo) tried to take one of the babies for himself. The baby's address is lost, and the storks are forced to adopt the child, which they name Tulip. Many years later, CEO stork Hunter has shut down baby delivery and replaced it with package delivery for Cornerstore.com (which is actually a real website that is not related to this movie). Hunter is about to promote top stork deliverer Junior (Andy Samberg) to boss, but not until he fires a grown-up Tulip from her job. Junior cannot bring himself to fire Tulip, though. Meanwhile, a young boy named Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) is feeling lonely since he has no other siblings and his parents are working non-stop. Nate writes a letter to Stork Mountain in hopes of them delivering him a baby brother (he is unaware that the storks no longer deliver babies). Tulip gets a hold of the letter and accidentally restarts the abandoned baby factory, which produces a pink-haired baby girl who is later named Diamond Destiny. Junior and Tulip must now work together to deliver the baby and avoid being caught by Hunter.
Storks should be best regarded as a second-tier animated feature, with humor and syrupy feels that are not up to the top tier level that is Pixar and Studio Ghibli, but are effective enough to fly on their own. You're most likely to come away from it saying, "I liked it. It was funny and cute." which I think is the typical reaction to second tier animated movies. It lacks the thematic depth that you would see in Inside Out and Princess Mononoke, which might be a turn-off to parents that happen to get dragged along by their kids (for the record, Princess Mononoke is not a kids film).
- Storks's funniest moments come from a pack of wolves that Junior and Tulip encounter early on once the plot fully kicks in. The alpha and beta wolves are voiced by Key & Peele, who get easily swept up by Diamond Destiny's irresistible baby cuteness. The wolf pack is able to work together in turning themselves into various objects such as a bridge. I found myself in hysterics watching these wolves act in ways that animals are not supposed to act, and even more so, I appreciated how the film avoids overdoing the wolf teamwork to the point where the humor and creativity run bone dry.
- Storks is unable to achieve lift-off mainly because of its scatterbrained story that takes far too many twists and turns. For a little while, the plot focus is strictly on trying to get Diamond Destiny back home. That is until the various, underlying subplots grow in urgency and, at that point, the film is frantically trying to juggle everything that it hopes to accomplish. The film becomes a victim of its own colorful and fast-paced manic, and it is eventually left with no choice but to resolve every conflict in one fell swoop. You can only do so much in 87 minutes.
It lacks any true thematic depth and its story can't seem to make up its mind on what it wants to tell us, but Storks still has enough humor and colorful animation to pass as a pleasing animated experience. The young-lings might enjoy it more than the older crowd, but I'm willing to bet that older folks won't think of it as a waste of time. Good animation isn't regulated by just Pixar and Ghibli. Those two are just so good at what they do that other quality animated works get overshadowed in the process.
What are we? Some kind of collateral beauty?
Collateral Beauty is directed by David Frankel and features an all-star cast of Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Helen Mirren, and Keira Knightley.
This is a rather unique occasion. I cannot simply proceed to go about telling you all of the necessary plot details of Collateral Beauty. The trailers tell you one story, while the film itself tells you another one, with some overlap between the two. The cardinal sin of any movie trailer is to reveal every major plot element because wouldn't that defeat the purpose of seeing the film? It would not be wrong to say that Collateral Beauty does its job of not revealing every important detail within its trailers. What stands out, though, is how it goes about structuring various clips into a trailer in a way that gives you a majorly false impression of what the film is about.
When examining the film strictly from a trailer viewpoint, Collateral Beauty focuses on a man named Howard (Will Smith) who is the head of an advertising agency. Howard is suffering from a tragic loss in his life, and, according to his friends, played by Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, and Michael Pena, Howard is depressed and disengaged from the world. It is discovered that Howard is writing letters to the abstract concepts of love, death, and time. Shortly afterwards, Howard begins to get visits from three people (Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore) claiming to be the embodiments of love, death, and time. These three people try to help Howard cope with his recent loss. Howard also finds emotional support from a woman played by Naomie Harris.
The trailers suggest that the film plays off as a tearjerker fantasy drama, which would be completely acceptable if that was what the film is actually about. Instead, this is what the film is about: Howard is suffering from the loss of his young daughter and is beginning to fail at his job. He isn't talking with anyone, he won't answer any phone calls, and he spends much of his time playing with colored dominoes or riding his bike. Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, and Michael Pena play three people named Claire, Whit, and Simon, respectively, and all three work for the company that Howard is the majority shareholder of. The company is losing many clients, and Claire, White, and Simon all fear for their jobs. The three decide to hire a private investigator to find evidence that Howard is no longer capable of running the company. The private investigator breaks into the postal service, (and last I recall, mail tampering is a felony) and finds that Howard has written letters to love, death, and time. Claire, Whit, and Simon then decide to hire three actors, promising to pay each actor a hefty sum if they agree to act as love, death, and time and approach Howard about the letters he wrote. While the actors are talking with Howard, the private investigator records Howard having his conversations. The actors are then digitally removed from the recorded footage so as to make it look as if Howard is talking to nobody, which will then be used as evidence to conclude that Howard is mentally unstable and, therefore, incapable of running the company any longer.
What we have here is a miscalculation of the highest degree. Combine this film's preposterous premise with the fact that it was released the same weekend as box office gargantuan Rogue One, and you have yourself a complete failure of an annual Will Smith Christmas-time Oscar-bait drama. Collateral Beauty is not just bad. That would be too easy to say because there are many ways that a film can be bad. Collateral Beauty is fraudulent, which is a word that I think is so rarely used when describing a film. The fact that so many A-list, Academy Award winning actors signed on to this film is mind-boggling. Are you telling me that not a single one of them had the decency to look at the script and object to the obviously manipulative and downright offensive parts that stick out like a sore thumb? David Frankel knows a thing or two about manipulative tearjerkers. This is the guy that brought us every pet owner's favorite weeper, Marley & Me. I just cannot stomach how he and all of these credible actors that were involved could proceed as if all of the film's attempts at emotional uplift greatly outweighed the glaring flaws in its writing and execution. This is also the last kind of film that I would predict you could encounter such a colossal misfire. That's what makes Collateral Beauty all the more startling. Shouldn't this kind of thing happen to stupid comedies or bad action movies? How could this possibly happen to an emotional Christmas-time drama? With Will Smith no less?
- With so much talent on display here, you would hope that everyone at least gives a decent effort, which they do. No one is going to wow the Academy here, especially not screenwriter Allan Loeb, who perhaps should be barred from ever getting nominated for an Oscar, let alone win one. Will Smith is doing his best to make the most out of what he is given to do, which requires a lot of sad faces, long stretches without saying a word, and avoiding smiling at all costs. I'm afraid that this is more of a non-charismatic After Earth type of Will Smith and not the wisecracking cool Will Smith who can easily win the hearts of millions. Everyone else does enough to make themselves believable, even if it seems like they are all coasting a bit on autopilot.
- Collateral Beauty looks nice with its Christmas-y cinematography. The lighting is effective, and the film has that holiday feeling which might make it more appropriate to view late in the year and not on the brink of summer.
- The plot is, truly, one of the most ghastly and inexplicable plots that I have come across in recent memory. Had the film incorporated the supposed fantasy elements from the trailer(s), I would bet that it could come through as an acceptable Christmas-time drama film. Instead, we have a plot that involves a man having his grief stricken life put down even further by coworkers who claim to be his friends. If they were really Howard's friends, they would do whatever it takes to help him get back on his feet. No, they insist on hiring actors as a means to prove that Howard is mentally unstable, so as to save their own jobs, without a care for what happens to Howard in the long run. This is sadistic and shameful work by a group of selfish characters, and the fact that I'm supposed to feel moved to tears by this process makes this whole experience even worse. You might be better off viewing Collateral Beauty as a black comedy, because the premise is better suited for comedy rather than for a tearjerker.
With so much talent behind it, Collateral Beauty definitely had a chance to be a solid drama film and a fine installment in the series of Will Smith December Oscar-bait. Too bad that its backed by a plot that is inexcusable and unforgivable in every way. It is a real low blow when a film aiming for emotional manipulation involves taking advantage of one man's sorrow. Collateral Beauty will move you to tears alright, tears over it being a shameful offense to cinema that cannot be justified in any reasonable way. Its only redeeming factors are being fairly well-acted and being nice to look at. Otherwise, you have yourself a total fraud of a film. I never thought that the film industry could reduce itself to approving the works of con artists. Whatever to get a quick buck, I guess.
What the truck?
Monster Trucks is directed by Chris Wedge and stars Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, and Danny Glover. The film was co-produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
I studied mathematics during college, so I'm only speaking the obvious when I say I dealt quite a bit of time with numbers and equations. Here's a bizarre claim of mine: Monster Trucks is a mathematical formula that doesn't work. The film takes monsters, adds them to trucks, and thinks that the final result is a good kids movie. No, monsters plus trucks, in reality, equates to a tone-deaf and largely unsatisfying kids film. I honestly appreciate how Nickelodeon Movies was a co-producer for this film, because Monster Trucks has that feel of a film that would be better suited as a Nickelodeon TV special on a Friday night and not a wide release during the dreaded cinematic dumping grounds that is the month of January. It would have saved hundreds of parents the time and frustration of driving out to the theater and being forced to sit through a film that the kids have about a 110 percent chance of enjoying more. Any parent with a working knowledge of movies will quickly realize that the film is a rough copy of E.T., which is what basically every kids film with a touch of science fiction goes for nowadays.
Monster Trucks takes place in a town in North Dakota of all places. A boy named Tripp (Lucas Till) works a part-time job at the town's junkyard, where he is building his own pickup truck. Tripp desires to leave the town and start a new life somewhere. One night, Tripp meets a slippery, oil-consuming creature that he later names Creech. It turns out that Creech escaped from a nearby drilling rig when the oil company Terravex messed up on a fracking operation and released Creech from wherever he was originally living. Tripp quickly befriends Creech, who eventually resides itself within Tripp's pickup truck. Tripp also befriends a girl named Meredith (Jane Levy), who is supposed to be his biology tutor. Meredith eventually learns of Creech's existence and comes to help Tripp in keeping Creech safe from the Terravex authorities.
Let me reiterate if the math explanation didn't make things clear. Do you see why the movie is called Monster Trucks? There is a monster inside a truck, so, therefore, it is a monster truck! Creative genius! A monster truck is also a custom-built vehicle that has massively sized wheels, which is applicable to this film's definition of monster trucks. I want to believe that the film is attempting to generate humor by relying on the sheer stupidity of this simpleminded concept, but there is no dialogue from any of the characters to support this. I would've totally bought into Tripp and Meredith having a conversation while driving down the road, where Meredith would say something like, "So how different is this truck with Creech inside it?" and Tripp would respond by saying something such as, "Well, it's bigger and faster, like a monster truck." It would be stupid, but that doesn't automatically mean that it can't be funny. Let's not forget though, this is a kids film. Calling the cute and cuddly Creech a monster would just be a little too mean-spirited. Then again, a lot of kids films and TV shows are mean-spirited.
- Despite everything you can object to in Monster Trucks (and there are a lot of things to object to), the film rides along as totally harmless. The film can easily be brushed off as bad, but it isn't offensive or anything like that. Although, you could say that the film is offensive from a business standpoint. Adam Goodman, who was the president of Paramount in the summer of 2013 when this film was in the early production stages, originally conceived the idea of the film alongside his son, who was four years old at the time. A little kid thinking up movie ideas might sound cute to some, but not to whoever the big money-grubbing honchos are in Hollywood who only care about the numbers. Kids can be highly creative and imaginative, but the brutal truth is that there is just no creativity or originality in putting a slug-like creature with a goofy face into a pickup truck. What might really shock you is the 125 million dollar budget that was behind this film. I mean, does a film with a concept as simple as putting monsters into trucks really need that much money? The effects aren't the worst I've ever seen, and I'm sure most of the budget went towards all of the monster truck driving action that goes on throughout. The box office gross got barely half of the budget back, so let that be further proof that putting random monsters and trucks together doesn't equate to a successful, profitable film.
- The poorly-written characters. We have a basic understanding of why Tripp wants to leave his North Dakota town, but the fact that he wants to leave is about the only notable trait that we get for Tripp. Meredith is written even worse. She goes to visit Tripp at work one night (the film does not address how Meredith knows where Tripp works), and mostly just follows him around for the rest of the movie. Tripp and Meredith develop obvious romantic feelings for each other, but it's the common case of two people falling in love just because they got to share a crazy adventure together. That seems to be the number one way that a kids movie explains how to find your significant other. There's never really any "bonding" time between Tripp and Meredith, and Lucas Till and Jane Levy aren't exactly delivering Oscar-worthy performances here which doesn't help. Any other relevant characters, hero or villain, are reduced to their typical, respective characteristics. Rob Lowe, who plays the CEO of Terravex, only cares about cutting corners and making all the money. Jedidiah Goodacre plays a hot-stuff jerkwad named Jake who picks on Tripp. Whatever brief descriptions you would give to these characters would describe basically all of the characteristics that they've been given.
Monster Trucks would've been better off as a prime-time TV movie aired on a channel like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. It's as straightforward as any kids movie can be, but it heavily suffers from a banal premise that might be better off gone and forgotten within the frigid snows of January. The entire thing is a harmless E.T. knock-off, and a pretty bad one at that. Needless to say, I didn't give a truck.
A peculiar director for peculiar children
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is directed by Tim Burton and stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson. It is based off of the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs.
For a film that is best described as dark fantasy as well as an odd mixture of Harry Potter and X-Men, Tim Burton would seem like a natural selection for tackling such a book-to-film adaptation. Everything that you've come to expect from Mr. Burton is once again on full display here: dark lighting, snazzy costumes, and delicate visuals that are bound to please even the most cynical of viewers. In my mind, however, Burton's direction has been hit or miss virtually his entire career, not quite being able to reach lofty heights achieved by the likes of Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg, nor achieving the mud pit lows of, say, Ed Wood or Michael Bay. Burton is about as middle of the road as it comes for directors, with his works never equating to total disasters, and not quite spectacular enough to be considered must-sees. This has not been more evident recently than with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
The plot revolves around a boy named Jake (Asa Butterfield), who has been told stories by his grandfather all his life about how when his grandfather was a boy, he would fight evil monsters during World War II while living at Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in Wales. The children living in the home possess strange abilities, and the children are regarded as "peculiars". Jake eventually travels to Wales to seek out the home and finds that it was destroyed in a Luftwaffe raid. However, Jake is greeted by some of the children in his grandfather's stories and is brought through a portal that takes him to 1943. Jake then meets Miss Alma Peregrine (Eva Green), who explains to Jake that she is of a special breed of peculiars called "Ymbrynes", who can transform into birds and manipulate time. Miss Peregrine and the children stay hidden from the outside world, because Miss Peregrine has set up a time loop for the day of September 3, 1943. Her and the children live the same day over and over again and avoid aging because of it.
Say what you will about the live-action Alice in Wonderland films, but I will be stubborn about insisting that those said films are not very good. If Burton's greatest critique as a director is being a style-over-substance type of guy, then the evidence for such a critique is abundantly clear in Alice in Wonderland. We can drive the point home even further with this film adaptation of Ransom Rigg's dark fantasy novel, which is obviously heavy on the visual appeal, but short on the narrative structure. It's not that the film is without enjoyment/entertainment value. It's just that there is not enough plot details and character development to enhance the overall experience.
- The stylish and dark visuals. The various peculiar children have interesting traits, especially Millard, who is invisible. The movie has a running gag of Millard running around with no clothes on, which, I suppose, would be the thing that any trouble-making kid would do if they knew that they were invisible. A young girl named Claire has a mouth with razor sharp teeth on the back of her head. Another boy named Hugh can shoot bees out of his mouth. You can see some of the X-Men type peculiars in Emma Bloom, who can manipulate air, and Olive, who is pyrokinetic. The film's climax allows the children to work together in using their abilities, which includes one child named Enoch who resurrects an army of skeletons that looks like stop-motion right out of Jason and the Argonauts. It's probably the neatest visual in the entire film. Burton is also one to avoid gigantic explosions and other Michael Bay-esque effects in his films. There is one scene where a German bomb is dropped on a building, and the bomb has an awkwardly compressed explosion. If Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich were directing this film, I bet that bomb would have unleashed at least ten explosions. Anyway, the necessary fantasy settings and visuals are all there in their usual Tim Burton fashion. When it's done right, it's done good.
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children really takes its sweet old time in getting started. I have never been one to say that any of Burton's films are too slow and/or too long, but wow does this film feel longer than its actual 127 minute run time. The film starts with its necessary exposition of the relationship between Jake and his grandfather, which is followed by a slow, tedious journey to Wales. Jake eventually makes it into the time loop, but then, for whatever reason, Jake decides to return to the present time. I failed to find a legitimate reason for Jake to go back to the present, since nothing changes other than Jake having a stronger realization of the main villain, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. Speaking of the villain, it takes until well over an hour into the film for us to learn who the villain is and what he is after. There is a brief glimpse of Jackson early on in the film, but by the time he begins to initialize his evil-doing plan, it is already too late for the climax to receive proper build-up and deliver rewarding pay-off. The film as a whole is an uneven combination of fantasy world-building and stopping an evil-baddy from doing evil-baddy things.
- The lack of narrative structure. It's a shame that several of the peculiar children are relegated to just their peculiar traits. Many of the children suffer from shallow character development and get only one or two moments to show off their peculiar abilities. With a setting that is part X-Men, I guess I should not be surprised that this film suffers from one of the most notable setbacks of the X-Men film franchise: an abundance of characters that struggle to be balanced. There's also not enough in the way of backstory of the home and how Miss Peregrine came to be. The story is a linear path forward that never cares to look back and wonder how it got to where it's going in the first place.
Fans of Burton will get the dark visuals and fantasy-setting charm that they've been getting for years, but Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children lacks the character development and narrative appeal to make it a wholly satisfying entry in the Burton directorial library. Like much of Burton's recent works, it's a middle-of-the-road cinematic experience that strays too far into the style-over-substance direction. But hey, Burton has made a living on being a style-over-substance guy, and I think he still has yet to bottom out. Michael Bay could learn a thing or two from Tim Burton, if he hasn't already.
Recommend? Watch it only if you've got some free time
A Monster Calls is a 2017 dark fantasy drama film directed by J.A. Bayona, the director of The Orphanage and The Impossible, and is based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Ness. The film stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson.
The film centers on a young boy named Conor O'Malley (Lewis MacDougall), who has it tough at school, as he is the unfortunate victim of a group of bullies and their leader, Harry (James Melville). Conor doesn't have it any easier at home, where he must deal with his stern grandmother, Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver). Nothing is harder for Conor, however, than the grief that he is stricken with when his mother, Lizzie (Felicity Jones), is diagnosed with a terminal illness. One night, Conor is visited by a giant yew tree monster (Liam Neeson), who informs Conor that he will tell three stories. The monster says that Conor must then tell a fourth story, the truth behind Conor's recurring nightmare.
I cannot remember the last time that I found a film to be so skewered between two distinct target audiences. A Monster Calls is too dark and too much of a tearjerker to be a kids film, and it is too gentle with its thematic material to be strictly for adults. The PG-13 rating might have you thinking that the film leans more towards the adult side, but the line between PG (more kid-friendly) and PG-13 (less kid-friendly) today is so obscure, that I no longer know how to distinguish the two anymore. A Monster Calls aims to make you cry, which I don't find to be typical of many kids movies. If you will cry and if so, how much, depend on how relatable that the film's subject matter is to your own life. The movie also aims to be interpreted like a fairy tale, which might be a turn-off for adults who couldn't care an ounce for fables and family-friendly fantasy. It seems as if the movie has something to offer for everyone, and yet it is never clear if the target audience is everyone.
The interesting thing about A Monster Calls is its handling of the giant monster. The monster is a fictional figure within Conor's mind, influencing his thoughts and decisions within reality. I do appreciate how the film refuses to treat the monster strictly as a projection of Conor's anger and frustration, like in the way that the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are represent the hardships of Max. The monster in A Monster Calls is a figure to guide Conor through his grief, using stories that aren't as straightforward as a boy like Conor thinks they might be. He is not a gentle monster, insisting that he will not make Conor happy if Conor does not tell the fourth story.
- Liam Neeson is perfectly cast as the yew tree monster. Neeson is, arguably, best known nowadays as the ass-kicking Bryan Mills from the Taken trilogy, which would translate to him being suitable for a scary tree monster that can destroy everything at a moment's notice. Let's not forget that Neeson also has a history of more humble roles: Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List and Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. The monster needs not only to be menacing, but sympathetic too. Neeson nicely balances monstrous intimidation with emotional resonance. This might go down as one of his most underrated performances ever (the box office returns for this film were not exactly out of this world).
- There is not a consistent flow between Conor and his relationships with his mother, father, and grandmother. Since the story heavily hinges on the terminal illness of Conor's mother, Lizzie, we are to assume that these two will share hugs and kisses and spend quality mother-son bonding together. The extent of Conor and Lizzie's relationship within the film is a few hospital visits, Conor viewing memory tapes of he and his mother doing fun things together, and Lizzie showing up in Conor's ongoing nightmare. To put it differently, it seems that the film relegates Felicity Jones to a background character who only shows up when we start wondering where she is. The same goes for Toby Kebbell, who shows up and gives Conor moral support in only a few scenes. He could very much not be in the film at all. Conor's relationship with Mrs. Clayton jumps the gun as the two grow from disconnect to loving and caring with no smooth transition in between. All the while, it's a guessing game as to who Conor will speak to next after he has story time with the monster. The main result is a lot of forced sentimentality in the film's third act, which diminishes the film's tearjerk-inducing final moments.
I have no doubts that A Monster Calls resonates with a lot of people, especially those with a similar life experience as Conor O'Malley. This is not a film to feel ashamed of if you cried at some point during it. Liam Neeson's performance as the monster gives the film its emotional depth, blending a scary monster vibe with heartfelt support. The monster's relationship with Conor is the only character relationship within the film that comes off as developed. The four stories told during the film are supposed to give Conor insight on his relationships with his mother, father, grandmother, and with the bullies at school. This insight, unfortunately, does not translate to effective and consistent connected-ness between Conor and said people just mentioned. Conor's mother appears sporadically, Toby Kebbell shows up just enough to make you remember that he was even in the movie, and Mrs. Clayton doesn't quite cut it as a secondary villain to the school bullies. If you were curious, no, the film did not make me cry. Although, a small part of me wished that it would have.
Recommend? Yes, but I won't insist that it's a must-see
It scares little kids and little monsters
Monsters, Inc. is Pixar's 4th animated feature film and the first to not be directed by John Lasseter. It was directed by Pete Docter and features voice work from John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, and James Coburn.
The film takes place in the monster city of Monstropolis, which gets its power from the screams of human children. The central source of scream power is the famous Monsters, Inc. factory, where monsters are employed as scarers and enter into the human world to scare children by going through doors that take them into various children's bedrooms. While it seems obvious that young children would be afraid of giant furry monsters, it actually works the other way around too. The monsters themselves are frightened of the little children, believing the children to be toxic and capable of killing monsters. Monstropolis is going through an energy crisis because the children are becoming harder and harder to scare, and Monsters, Inc. CEO Henry J. Waternoose (James Coburn) wants to find a solution. Monsters, Inc.'s top scarer is James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) who works alongside his best friend, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal). The two are rivaled against the sneaky chameleon-esque monster Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), who is right on Sulley's tail for the company's all-time scare record. One day, Sulley discovers a door left activated by Randall and finds a small girl who has entered the monster world. Sulley desperately tries to put the girl back within her door, but fails. The monster world is soon sent into mass hysteria when the girl appears in public. Mike and Sulley, the latter naming the girl Boo, must now work to keep the girl hidden from the authorities and send her back home.
I have seen plenty of animated films thus far in my lifetime, and I can easily compile a list of those that I would consider my favorites. A Bug's Life, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc. are easily my three favorite animated films from Pixar, and between those three, Monsters, Inc. might just be the one that I adore the most. Inside Out does not contain any childhood nostalgia for me, and as many times as I re-watched A Bug's Life, it doesn't have quite the heartwarming charm that Monsters, Inc. has. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Monsters, Inc. back as a young-in, and re-watching it several years later still gave me humorous and heartfelt feels. The magic of Disney and Pixar are how masterfully they can convey a story to audiences of all ages and evoke emotional responses from kids and adults alike. Kids will giggle and smile at all of the furry and goofy monsters running around like scaredy cats, while adults might notice that there is an underlying social commentary on how two different groups of living beings (humans and monsters) interact when neither sees eye to eye. The monsters fear that children are toxic, with one touch basically meaning death. To feel secure, the monsters oppress human children by relying on their screams as a power source and as a means to promote their own cause.
- Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski. Wazowski is easily the film's funniest character, and the best part is how the script avoids turning him into a total clown with no dimension other than how many times can he make you laugh until he becomes annoying. Crystal's suave voice is successfully able to make certain lines sound funny, even when the lines themselves don't seem particularly funny. Mike addresses one of his co-workers, Roz, one day and tells her, "Roz, my tender, oozing blossom, you're looking fabulous today." Just reading that line as is might emit a chuckle, but hearing someone like Billy Crystal say it is really funny because Billy Crystal has the vocal talent to make the line funny. The script does not have Mike Wazowski rely on one liners and bad puns to make humor, but instead on goofball sarcasm, especially during serious situations that the monsters find themselves in. At the same time, Wazowski remains serious-minded and on-point enough so as to never seem over-the-top or no holds barred.
- The fast pace. Monsters, Inc. is high energy fun, always moving along and never missing a beat. A 90-some minute film might usually have a bare bones plot, but Monsters, Inc. is able to effectively communicate its layered plot without rushing anything or sounding overly confusing.
- The sweet charm spawning from the father-daughter relationship between Boo and Sulley. Boo calls Sulley "Kitty" (he's covered in fur, so he's like a cat, you see) and constantly outmaneuvers him whenever Sulley tries to catch her. Sulley is terrified of Boo at first, but once he realizes that she's not toxic, he warms up to her and does whatever he can to make her feel comfortable in a world packed with freaky monsters. Sulley lets Boo sleep in his bed and plays hide and seek with her in the male monster restroom (which does create some clever adult humor). You'd have to have a heart made of granite to not be charmed by Sulley and Boo's relationship.
- Monsters, Inc. has no major low points to speak of. I'm extra hesitant to downplay anything within the film because I am biased towards it being one of my all-time favorite animated films. There's just too much fun, humor, and heart that I do not have it in me to complain about anything.
Even if Monsters, Inc. is not regarded as Pixar's most important film (that title belongs to Toy Story), it certainly is one of their best. An interesting story, a consistent dosage of humor, and plenty of heartfelt charm all add up to make Monsters, Inc. one of the finest animated family films that kids and adults can equally enjoy. I am not sure about Pixar expanding upon the monster world of Monsters, Inc. outside of the Monsters University prequel. Maybe a small part of me doesn't want there to be any sequels or spin-offs, so as to not tarnish this film's legacy. Hey, it's Pixar. They continue to find new ways to amaze us.
A Herculean disaster
The Legend of Hercules is a 2014 fantasy action film directed by Renny Harlin and stars Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, and Scott Adkins.
Bad movies come in all shapes and sizes. Some mean well but instead come off as flat-footed and poorly executed. Others have few to no redeeming qualities whatsoever and make you feel bad for investing some of your precious time into watching them. Every once in a great while, though, there comes along a bad movie that is so preposterous and fails so hard at everything that it attempts that you cannot help but stare at the screen in utter amazement at the astonishing and often hilarious badness that is unfolding before you. Renny Harlin's The Legend of Hercules is one of those once in a great while bad movies. It does not matter what angle you look at the film at nor does it matter what course of action you take in trying to dissect this film. Every path leads to the same conclusion of how to best describe The Legend of Hercules: a hot mess of an origin story that grows increasingly ludicrous by the second.
The most ideal place to start carving into this turkey is in director Renny Harlin, who most people might know as the director of Die Hard 2. Harlin has also been the director behind other bad movies like Cutthroat Island and 12 Rounds and has earned the dubious distinction of being a five time nominee for the Worst Director Razzie. If you thought any of Harlin's previous directorial features were bad, then The Legend of Hercules will make those said films look like Best Picture nominees. Harlin's lazy directing is evident in how inept that the film is with every necessary line of work involved with making movies and with how the prominent cheapness of select scenes was able to slip into the final product. I cannot help but think that Harlin's top incentive for this production was to collect a paycheck.
I don't know all of the ins and outs of Hercules in Greek mythology, so I will refrain from calling out parts of the story as made-up bull crap. The story begins with the Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee), who prays to the wife of Zeus, Hera, for guidance in dealing with her tyrannical husband, the king Amphitryon (Scott Adkins). Hera responds to Alcmene that Zeus will impregnate her with a son who will grow up to become a savior of the people. Amphitryon finds out about Alcmene's pregnancy and declares the son to be named Alcides. Alcmene, however, has give the son the name of Hercules. Twenty years pass and Hercules (Kellan Lutz) has grown up and fallen in love with Princess Hebe of Crete (Gaia Weiss). However, Hercules' older brother, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan), is arranged to marry Princess Hebe while Hercules is sent away and sold into slavery.
Here we have a version of Hercules being portrayed by lunkhead Kellan Lutz, who you might know as one of the vampires in the Twilight film series. Lutz has the bod, but he is definitely no god. The only thing that Lutz has going for himself in this film is how he fits the part strictly from a physical standpoint with his bulking biceps and ripped abs. His acting is atrocious, and my favorite example of how so is in a pre-battle speech that Hercules gives near the end of the film. Lutz delivers his lines so forcefully and so without charisma, that I claim it is one of the most hilarious pre-battle speeches that I have ever heard. It's a big splash in a movie that is an ocean of unintentional hilarity.
- An exceptionally bad movie can only redeem itself by falling backwards into the so-bad-it's good territory which The Legend of Hercules definitely does. The film is better watched as an unintentional comedy rather than a serious-minded action fantasy film. The male characters, especially King Amphitryon, are constantly frothing at the mouth with testosterone while shouting and making stern faces as if everyone is secretly trying out for a WWE championship match. The fight scenes are equally funny with Renny Harlin deciding to borrow from Zack Snyder and 300 by utilizing Snyder's concept of slow-motion and speed-up while fighters are flying through the air and swinging their weapons. The slow-motion is overused to the point where the fighting is bereft of any legitimate excitement yet brimming with silliness. You might get annoyed by the first few times that the slow-mo happens, but you'll eventually come to accept it and begin to enjoy it for pure laughs. The movie as a whole is a lot funnier than many recent comedy films, which is actually kind of a sad truth.
- The Legend of Hercules looks as if it was made on a $300 budget. The costumes appear as if they were purchased from a rundown mythological thrift store, and there are some blatant moments that violate cinema's fourth wall. Hercules, Iphicles, and King Amphitryon sport sleeveless shirts throughout the film which would make sense because of how the male characters only care about acting as masculine as possible. Hercules and Iphicles run into a lion early on in the film, and it is a laughably fake-looking CGI lion. There is also a moment where Hercules has a tag team match with one of his friends, and Hercules stabs one of his opponents with a spear. You will notice that the spear is tucked under the guy's arm while he is falling to the ground. There are also moments of awful green screen such as a shot of Princess Hebe looking behind her while riding a horse. I am stunned to think that a movie with a 70 million dollar budget settled for some of the lowest forms of cinematic cheapness. It also doesn't help that the violence is so sanitized that characters can get whacked with spears, swords, and fists and have little to no blood be visible.
If you ever need evidence of the fiery wrath of the dreaded cinematic month of January, then you need to look no further than The Legend of Hercules. It is horribly acted and lazily constructed, but it is also entertainingly bad enough so as to be perfectly watchable. There is only so much one can do when your central star is vampire turned demi-god Kellan Lutz who lacks the charisma to be a quality action hero. Of all the cinematic crimes that the film commits, none may be worse than the ridiculous cheapness of far too many of its scenes. The story devolves into a ripoff of Gladiator, and the slow motion effects from 300 get used so much and in such an incompetent fashion that they become laugh-out-loud bad rather quickly. There is not a single thing about the action and fighting that is worth complementing, and the romance between Hercules and Hebe has no flare or emotional appeal. Everything amounts to The Legend of Hercules being one of the biggest January misfires in recent memory and arguably the final nail in the coffin for Renny Harlin and his time as an action director. I loved every minute of it, but for reasons that Renny Harlin was definitely not intending for.
Recommend? Only if you like so-bad-it's-good movies, which is exactly the kind of movie that The Legend of Hercules is
School is scary
Monsters University is a 2013 prequel to 2001's Monsters Inc., being again produced by Pixar. The film is directed by Dan Scanlon and features voice work from Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Bob Peterson, and Helen Mirren.
As a young boy, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) visits the famous Monsters Inc. on a school field trip. Wazowski is wowed by the scarers that work for the company, and he gets inspired to grow up and become a scarer himself. Several years later, Mike attends Monsters University as a first-year scare major, and he meets James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman), who comes from a family of natural scarers. Wazowski relies on being a bookworm and excels in his academics because of it, while Sulley struggles to succeed in his classes, only relying on his natural scaring abilities. The two accidentally get themselves kicked out of the school's scare program, but Wazowski, determined to prove that he is indeed a scary monster, joins the school's loser fraternity, Oozma Kappa, under the penalty of being expelled if he and his team are not able to win the university's annual Scare Games. Sulley also joins Oozma Kappa, who now have quite a challenge ahead of themselves in trying to topple the other monster fraternities and sororities in the series of Scare Games challenges.
Pixar's reputation has been so impressive, that I cannot help but feel optimistic about any of their new features, no matter how awful the trailer(s) might look. Say what one will about the Cars films, but there is no denying that Pixar always knows how to deliver a balanced blend of heart, humor, and creativity in each of their works. You can call it formulaic, but it's a formula for success that still holds up however many years later and continues to find a way to pull at our heartstrings and give us laughing fits. Even when Pixar does sequels or, in this case, prequels, it still does enough to feel satisfying and complete, even if said sequels and prequels don't quite hold up to the gems that inspired them in the first place.
I think long and hard about what my favorite animated film is, and although I watched A Bug's Life just about every other day when I was a kid, I keep finding myself coming back to Monsters Inc. Maybe the two are tied for my favorite animated film. The point is is that I adored Monsters Inc. a ton back in the day, so, naturally, I should adore Monsters University almost as much, if not just as much. I certainly did enjoy watching Monsters University, but it did not have me wanting to go back and watch it again and again like some other Pixar films. It is by no means a bad animated film, and it is far from being the absolute worst Pixar film. It is heartwarming and fun and totally enjoyable for all ages.
- The best thing about Monsters University is its sense of harmless, entertaining fun. The Scare Games challenges are all amusing to watch, and they are all challenges that would make sense at a college for monsters. Instead of tug-of-war or kayaking, we have sneak past the scary librarian and don't scare the teenagers. Mike and Sulley are once again a fun monster duo to watch, especially as we get to see how the two become good friends and how their friendship carries over into Monsters Inc. I also appreciate how Pixar continues to drop hints at how Mike and Sulley might secretly be a couple. Mike wakes up one morning and is using one of Sulley's hands like a pillow. If there's one thing about Pixar, it's that they can't resist sneaking in adult jokes somewhere. These are family films, so the grown-ups need something to laugh at too.
- Monsters University is scattershot funny, with some jokes and references that work while others will most likely fail to generate a chuckle. I come out of nearly every Pixar film remembering at least one or two especially funny moments, but that was, unfortunately, not the case with Monsters University. There isn't an effort to be overly clever, especially with its adult references. With so many colorful and furry monsters abound, you would think that the film has humorous opportunities out the wazoo. Monsters Inc. does a nice job of creating humor out of various monster characteristics, but Monsters University gives us the notion that nearly every college monster is a mean-spirited jerk that only cares about being part of the "cool crowd" and making condescending remarks to the not-so-fortunate monsters. I think by the college level, people have typically grown out of the contemptuous bullying stage that normally wanes during high school. I was never part of a college fraternity or sorority, so what do I know?
Kids will perfectly enjoy this film. As will adults. For that, Pixar deserves praise for another job well done with Monsters University. The humor might not be quite up to speed with Pixar's most popular animated films, but there are enough heartwarming and amusing moments to satisfy any Pixar fan. It's gentle, sweet, and colorful monster fun.
I don't sea where they were going with this
Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster was released in Japan under the title Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and was the second Godzilla movie to not be directed by Ishiro Honda and not have the special effects be under the direction of Eiji Tsuburaya. The film was originally written for King Kong, but the project got scrapped until Toho decided to pick it up and turn it into a Godzilla film.
As I hinted at in my review of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, the Godzilla series would now dive into some murky waters that the franchise would not submerge from until the very end of the original Showa series. How appropriate that this film involves being far out at sea, because it is the beginning of what can be appropriately referred to as the Dark Ages of Godzilla. To start with, this film takes place in a much different setting than any of the previous Godzilla films. There is no Tokyo smashing or trouble with power-hungry aliens, sadly.
Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster mainly takes place on the far-away Letchi Island, where a man named Ryota (Toru Watanabe), along with two of his friends and a bank robber, end up after stealing a yacht and accidentally running into the giant lobster-creature Ebirah at sea. The four discover that a terrorist group called the Red Bamboo are stationed on the island and have enslaved natives of Infant Island, the home of Mothra. The natives are being enslaved to help the Red Bamboo manufacture nuclear weapons. You know, terrorist things. One of the female natives named Dayo (Kumi Mizuno) manages to escape and comes across the four men. The group of now five find a cave and discover Godzilla sleeping inside. They decide to wake Godzilla up to defeat the Red Bamboo and free all of the captured natives.
You could compile a pretty substantial list of all the bad things about the previous six Godzilla films. The dubbing and dubbed dialogue barely elevate above tolerable, and the initial application of human traits to the monsters is simply weird and indecipherable. My best guess is still that Ishiro Honda wanted to make the monsters more relatable. Anyway, no matter what wrongdoings that you point to in any of the first six Godzilla films, there is no denying that each one has an entertainment factor located somewhere within its run time. I am one to admit that I will give any Godzilla film a pass if the monster action does a quality job of making up for whatever shortcomings there are with characters and story. After all, why would be here if there weren't any giant monsters? Where Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster drops the ball is how the monsters fail to make up for the blatant lack of effort with characters and story.
- Unfortunately, I find myself unable to think up anything within the film that I would consider a high point. F-graded movies are normally the only movies that I have no high points for, but Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster is a strange exception. Nearly everything about it is so unsatisfying, but not quite to the point that I would fit it under the criteria that I give to an F film. Nothing stands out from the monsters, for starters. Godzilla lollygags through the film like he didn't fully wake up after emerging from the cave that he was sleeping in. He has a clumsy fight with Ebirah, and he tramples on the Red Bamboo base in a confusing manner. The base is not super large, so one might think something like Godzilla could smash the base and burn it to a crisp in, say, 10 minutes tops. Godzilla stomps on a few parts of the base, but he also decides to throw rocks and wave his arms around while the base turrets shoot at him. Let's just say that it takes Godzilla way longer than necessary to trample the base.
Godzilla also takes an interest in Dayo, which actually has some reasoning behind it. The film was originally supposed to star King Kong, who had a curious romantic interest in a human female in his own 1933 film. Although, exactly why Godzilla takes on traits that were originally meant for King Kong is beyond me. While Dayo is trying to run away from Godzilla, Godzilla decides to stop and go back to sleep. Godzilla then gets attacked by a giant bird, which is a fight that really has no purpose other than to be brief fan service. The giant bird, which I researched and found to be called a Giant Condor, comes out of nowhere and is gone as quickly as he arrives when Godzilla easily fries him with his atomic breath. This whole sequence with Dayo and the bird is basically pointless because it doesn't enhance anything in the story other than to give Godzilla some screen time. Any other time we see Godzilla is when he's fighting Ebirah or just wandering around looking totally clueless.
Mothra makes a brief appearance in the film, and there's really nothing interesting to say about her except that the English dub keeps insisting on calling Mothra a he. Ebirah, the monster villain, is one of the weaker foes that Godzilla goes up against. Ebirah and Godzilla play volleyball with some boulders, and the worst thing that Ebirah ever does to Godzilla is drag him underwater a couple times. Admittedly, I think the idea of Godzilla fighting an aquatic monster is pretty neat, but why must it be a giant, shrieking lobster and not something slightly more menacing like Zigra from the Gamera series? Hell, even a Sharknado would've been more intimidating.
- Godzilla doesn't wake up until about 50 minutes into this 87 minute film, and the only monster action that we get beforehand is watching Ebirah smash up some boats with his giant claw. I would not say that the movie is outright boring because of how long it takes for Godzilla to do anything, but the movie does have a hard time keeping our interest until it gets around to having Godzilla go on his island tour. The Red Bamboo are typical run-of-the-mill terrorists, although it's amusing to watch them shoot their guns and miss everything like Stormtroopers do. It's also amusing to watch how terrible the security is at the Red Bamboo's base, as the main characters just sneak their way through completely undetected while pick locking doors like it was child's play. The Red Bamboo are a scary bunch, aren't they?
- The human characters in most, if not all, Godzilla films are shallow and disposable. Like the dubbing and dialogue, I don't feel the need to really bite into a part of a Godzilla film that isn't worth chewing on, but man are the characters bad in this one. The two friends of the main character Ryota are first seen partaking in a youth dance competition, and, for whatever reason, decide to come along with him when Ryota goes to steal a yacht. The three of them then meet the bank robber who supposedly stole the yacht that the four take out to sea. The fact that the bank robber has a criminal background really amounts to nothing in the long run, and Ryota is really the only character that has a legitimate reason to head out toward Letchi Island, in that he wants to find his missing brother. The other three guys, well, they're there for physical and emotional support. Ryota is the only guy among the four that we might care about.
The main problem with Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster is not its characters, its story, or even its limited Godzilla appearances. What's wrong is how unsatisfying the film is as a whole. The Red Bamboo and Ebirah are villains that are not worth our cinematic opposition. The human characters are as forgettable as ever, and the story is not well-suited for Godzilla and what he is expected to do. Godzilla can't seem to decide if he's an antihero that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or if he's made his full transition into monster superhero. Nothing looks cheaply filmed and it seems like everyone involved was trying, which is worth something, I suppose. Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster is essentially the cinematic equivalent of an insipid fish dinner.
There is a Zero percent chance that aliens are trustworthy
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is also known by the titles Invasion of the Astro-Monster and simply Monster Zero. It stars American actor Nick Adams who isn't dubbed over in the English version.
The previous Godzilla installment, Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster, was when the franchise gave us our first example of "outer space sci-fi" in which aliens or some other extra-terrestrial force come to Earth, and, somehow, Godzilla gets involved. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is Godzilla on sci-fi steroids, featuring lots of space travel, aliens, and, oh yeah, giant monsters.
The story takes place in 196X (I don't know what 196X is supposed to mean. Don't ask.), and it begins with two astronauts named Kazuo Fuji (Akira Takarada) and Glenn (Nick Adams) who are being sent to investigate the newly discovered Planet X which is located behind Jupiter. Fuji and Glenn arrive on Planet X and encounter the planet's human-like beings which are referred to as Xiliens. The Xiliens leader is simply known as the Controller, and he informs Fuji and Glenn that Planet X's surface is being ravaged by a demonic creature that the Xiliens call Monster Zero. Monster Zero actually turns out to be Ghidrah who Fuji and Glenn recognize. The Controller explains that Ghidrah's nonstop attacks are forcing the Xiliens to reside underground. The Controller requests to Fuji and Glenn that the Xiliens be allowed to travel to Earth and "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan to help repel Ghidrah and his attacks . In exchange, the Controller promises to give planet Earth a miracle drug that can cure any disease (in the Japanese version, it's the cure for cancer, but the English-version's deal sounds way better). Fuji and Glenn have their suspicions, but the totally non-suspicious Xiliens are able to go through with their plan. Earth has no reason to worry, because the Xiliens have absolutely no ulterior motives whatsoever.
What is both special and depressing about Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is that it is the last Godzilla film before the original Showa series fully delves into some murky waters that they wouldn't escape from until the mid 1970s. It's special because of how much that director Ishiro Honda and the screenwriters crank up the science fiction, giving us the only Godzilla film to not only have important scenes take place outside Earth, but also the only Godzilla battle that takes place on another planet. The film is also depressing because it is the last time in a while that I can say that a Godzilla movie is fun and not in a super cheesy, kid-friendly, B-movie kind of way. That's not to say that the next few installment aren't fun, but they're just not quite as fun in the ultra entertaining, straightforward way that Monster Zero is.
- If I was ranking the Godzilla movies strictly off of the entertainment factor, then I would put Godzilla vs. Monster Zero on the higher end of the list. The monsters' destruction sequence through Japan is highly amusing, and the monster fights are well-choreographed and pure fun to watch. Godzilla and Rodan work like a tag team when fighting Ghidrah, while poor Ghidrah tries to fight by just blasting everything with his lightning beams. The outer space aspects of the film do complement all of the monster action pretty well, and none of the entertaining stuff gets so ludicrous to a point where it becomes unbearable. Actually, there is one ridiculous moment where Godzilla does a victory dance, and it's funny because of how out of context that the dance is, but also how it is never mentioned or referred to by anyone in the movie. Check it out:
- Godzilla vs. Monster Zero gives us our first taste of a form of cheapness that would become an unfortunate reality in several of the upcoming Godzilla installments. That cheapness is the use of stock footage. The Xiliens take control of Godzilla and Rodan (Oh what? You couldn't guess that the Xiliens were up to something bad?) and unleash the two monsters along with Ghidrah in a destructive rampage throughout Earth. While the three monsters do provide another entertaining round of building smashing, several shots of buildings getting destroyed are just recycled shots from some of Toho's previous installments, mainly Rodan and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. Just about all of Rodan's destruction scenes are those seen in Rodan's 1957 film. The only new clips of Rodan during the Japan demolition are ones in which we see him bounce around like he's on a pogo-stick while the military hopelessly fires their weapons at him. Yeah, it's weird.
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero is a highly attractive film for any sci-fi nut, combining alien plotting with giant monster entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, this Godzilla film is no question one of the more entertaining ones in the entire franchise, despite its small use of stock footage. I am not even going to comment on the dubbing because, honestly, there really has been no such thing as great dubbing for a Godzilla film. Only when it gets atrociously bad will I feel the need to mention it again. Anyway, Ghidrah's presence is always welcome, because he can only enhance a Godzilla movie. How could he not? Godzilla and Rodan make a neat tag team, and it's a bummer that the two don't fight alongside one another again like they do here. Godzilla just has so many friends to fight together with.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: