Summary: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this film, a lot of secondary ones, and ones who Diana interacts with but I think there are only a few that really stand out.
Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman. Diana is an immortal Amazon princess. The film starts off with her in the present, after the events of Batman v Superman, and then we are moved back in the past with basically a long flashback. We see her as a child, someone who wants to be a warrior, especially after hearing the tales her mother told about the Gods. She eventually is taught by her aunt Antiope how to become a great warrior. She is much more bright eyed, naive and idealistic. Diana is very determined to fulfill what she has been taught about her people, she goes against her mother’s wishes with Steve to fight in the war, believing that her participating will fix things. As the film goes on, she clings to that idea, while also being a fish out of water in London, which is a source of a lot of humor. She’s very intelligent, she’s read thousands of books, she can speak many languages and its obvious that she is very caring, due to her reactions to a lot of tragedies she witnesses from the war. Her idealism causes her to get very disappointed in the end to the point where it’s kind of sad. I think Gal Gadot was a great casting choice, when she was first selected, I only knew her from the Fast and the Furious movies so I thought she was just too skinny, but after seeing her in BvS, I was excited to see more of her and I think this film lives and dies with her. The way she plays Diana’s hopefulness, her awe as she figures out some of the things she’s able to do, her determination at saving everyone, her interactions with Steve… now I do think when it came to the more dramatic parts, it wasn’t as strong of a performance but I still think she was great and easily one of the best thing in the film.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. He is a Captain from US Air Service, he is also a British spy. He is a bit of a rogue in the beginning, he comes off in the beginning as someone who can hardly believe what he’s seeing when he is on Themyscira, as well as how Diana is. It’s like “girl what?” lol, and Pine does that well. He is a charming guy and he tries to help Diana navigate the “real” world, by answering questions, by trying to get her to understand how things are, especially as he’s seen them. Compared to her, he is cynical and there are times where he looks so irritated or stressed out due to her idealistic views of things. He tries but it’s hard. I liked him, I think Chris Pine was really likable in this role, I thought he had great chemistry with Gal Gadot and even though it did dip into romance, I thought it was well earned as it’s not rushed, or forced in there. There is a great scene near the end before the final fight where I think it’s his best scene in the film where he’s talking to her, trying to get her to understand why things didn’t happen the way she thought once she felt she completed her task. When there are dramatic moments, especially between him and Gadot, he performs it better than she does, which I think helps… he was probably the other one of the best things in the film.
Robin Wright as Antiope. Being with the Amazons was great in itself but Robin Wright was fantastic. She is Diana’s aunt and is the General of their army and it shows as her physical prowess is amazing. She trains Diana against her sister’s (the Queen) wishes due to what she believes in, she’s ultimately right, but she is such a great character who serves her purpose in the beginning of Diana’s life.
Action Scenes. There are three major fight scenes. There are smaller moments here and there but there are three BIG ones.
Themyscira beach scene. We get to see the Amazons fight against German invaders on their beach, as they are accidentally discovered thanks to Steve crashing in their water. That scene was so great because seeing those women kick butt like that, with their awesome fighting skills, their weapons, a lot of their stunts was so intense that my eyes were huge.
WWI Scene. We see this scene the most in the trailers, it starts with Diana determined to cross No Man’s Land, and it continues into a tiny village on the other side of the German trench and that entire scene is absolutely amazing. Gal Gadot has physical experience, I’m not sure how many of her own stunts she did, especially since she was pregnant during action reshoots, but everything she does in that scene is amazing. We really get to see Diana’s fighting skills.
Final Fight. This is her fight against the main villain of the film and it’s big, it grand and it’s fun. I almost felt a bit overwhelmed because it was so much, but it was a great overwhelmed feeling. It also had some great emotional moments due to her fighting him parallels other things happening during that scene.
The Effects. As a superhero film, obviously there has to be a lot of effects and there are. There are times where it gets a bit video gamey but it’s not an eyesore, unless you just don’t like that at all. The final fight is very heavy on the effects and almost overwhelming because it’s so grand and quick. There is also a really beautifully animated scene where Diana’s mother tells child Diana a bedtime story, that was really cool.
Chemistry/Small Moments. There are some great small moments between Diana and Steve that are really sweet. After a big battle, they have a small moment where they just talk, understand each other better, and he teaches her how to dance, which does come in handy in a later scene so it’s not random. It builds their relationship more, it helps them understand each other more while also allowing the viewers to understand more as well. While the film has big moments, there are a lot of slower moments that don’t feel slow, it feels relevant. There’s a great scene between Steve and Diana on a boat. I thought all of that was handled well.
The Humor. This movie is actually really funny, being that there are “fish out of water” parts in the film, mostly with Steve in the beginning and then with Diana later, it calls for a lot of humor. Diana also being naive in the world of man is also funny and endearing most of the time. The surrounding people reacting to her is great as well.
The Music. It’s big and grand, when it kicks in, especially during fight scenes, it just adds to the WOW factor of the film. Not to mention, that Wonder Woman theme is awesome, she was the best part of BvS, that theme kicking in when she showed up, so when they played it in this film, I couldn’t help the smile on my face.
COLORFUL. Oh my gosh!! I love that this film has colors! Well mostly in the Themyscira, it’s so bright and colorful, it’s definitely where most of the color comes from in this film. When she’s in London, it’s obviously kind of dark and gloomy and really grey, but there are definitely pockets of color in the fighting scenes, Diana’s costume is colorful unlike how it looked in Batman v Superman. The blue dress she wears (in the trailer where you see the sword down her back), is really beautiful on her and when she runs outside in it, that blue on the gloomy blue of the environment, it was beautiful.
The feeling. There is just something amazing about seeing Wonder Woman on the screen fighting. No one actually ever calls her that in the film, but she definitely is in the film. Just the idea of this powerhouse woman being on the big screen, that she is not sidelined in her own film, that her entire presence is being led by a female director also helps as well. She looks great on film, her outfit is great and practical, her views of the world, she is likable and someone you’d want to follow. The fact that she tried on many clothes in London to find a skirt she could fight in is just a great addition to her character that it adds to the care she’s given. I’m sure many women felt a swell of pride at seeing her, I don’t think it’s overly feminist nor do I think it’s “under” feminist as there’s a nice balance between both Diana and Steve pulling their weight but ya know, she owns every other man though.
Supporting Characters. To be quite honest, outside of Diana none of the supporting characters feel that important or that interesting. The group of guys she ends up spending her time with are fine, they have funny moments but I don’t think I would have been upset if they died minus Chris Pine who we get to spend more time with. The Amazons are an interesting group of women but they serve their purpose outside of Robin Wright’s character.
The Villains. So, it’s kind of weird but we know about the Poison lady Dr. Maru from the trailers but she’s not that interesting, there are a few other people we come into contact with, that I don’t want to spoil and there’s another person working with Dr. Maru who has a lot of interesting potential as well, and I had some questions about him but meh. There’s a third villain that I won’t spoil here, that one was probably the best one, especially in the last act but I can’t help but think with how the movie was, that maybe it was too soon to handle them they way it was handled.
The Final Fight. So, Diana faces off with the big baddie, the effects are great (a bit cgi-ish but it’s not that bad), and it’s pretty great watching her fight this person BUT once it was over, considering what we’ve been told, what Diana learned all those years ago, and how things are presented, the end of the fight feels like a contradiction to what the villain was saying before they started fighting and throughout the entire fight. It’s a bit too long and over the top at times.
The Story/The ending. So I think it’s safe to that the story isn’t anything new really, idealistic person grows up separate from the world, goes out to save it thinking they know what to do, may have some awesome wins in there but the real battle comes at the end where they are shown that their views were naive and most likely wrong, they’re now disappointed then something happens where they have to believe in it again and overcomes. Yeah, I mean it’s textbook and while its in this film, it still doesn’t feel new or fresh. With that said, the ending is interesting because after the big battle, it’s almost kind of hard to talk about this without spoiling, the entire time Diana believes that mankind is involved in this war because of an entity she grew up hearing about, she ends up learning the hard way that that’s not completely true…but once the final battle is over, the soldiers who happened to survive react in a way that makes it seem like she was right… which then begs the question, well what about the other wars? What about WWII? I mean, I get what the idea is but the execution was a bit weak in the end.
Overall, I really liked Wonder Woman and it definitely is the best DCEU film so far, but the bar isn’t that high so everything after this has to live up to, or surpass this one. I think both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine were standouts, Robin Wright was great in her supporting role and the entire time spent on Themyscira is fun, colorful and awesome as we see these Amazonian women kick butt and take names. All of the action scenes are fun and great, the last one is a bit overblown and long but it’s still fun. Wonder Woman herself is a great character, the film lives and breathes with her as well as Chris Pine, their chemistry was great and their small moments helped build their characters to each other and for us. The effects were handled very well, the film was colorful which was needed for this character. The music is great, WW’s theme always gets people hype when it kicks in and that feeling of finally seeing her on the big screen, not playing second fiddle in a boring story is just great. However, the villains aren’t that interesting and the last act has a bit of some weird story elements in it that I find contradictory. I didn’t want to put this as a con per say, but it did kind of effect certain areas of the film, it reminded me a of lot of Captain America, perhaps that can’t be helped as they were both created during times of War and do have similar attributes but the film itself reminded me a lot of The First Avenger to the point where in my head I would go “that reminded me of Cap”. But overall, I really liked Wonder Woman, it’s definitely a game changer for DCEU, we will see if they take notes from the care in this film and put that in the others.
Rating: 4.29 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Wonder Woman? What did you think about it? Did it live up to your expectations? Are you excited to see more?
Summary: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.
Cast and Characters. As always in these movies, there are a LOT of characters BUT some of them are just there to be some type of opposition, or they may serve some purpose but they aren’t that important for me to talk about.
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I’m going to say this now, I think Jack Sparrow is better as a supporting character, or at least NOT the main character, this is why Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, and On Stranger Tides didn’t work as much. So I think this is a return to form of his character in Curse of the Black Pearl, where he may be part of the plot, may help it go forward but he just crashes into things every now and then. I think that works best for him. Jack in this film seems to be lesser, he’s lost his way, he’s not as awesome as he was before, he can’t even plan a bank robbery correctly however, he’s being pursued due to his past and at first he doesn’t seem to be much bothered by it, he doesn’t seem to scheme as much as he has in the past, but instead stuff just happens, showing that he’s lost it a lot. I think Jack Sparrow is one of Johnny Depp’s most iconic roles (I’m partial to Edward Scissorhands) and I think after the first film, he became a caricature of a great and fresh character. He’s much more subdued here, he’s not as “over the top” in some of his expressions or mannerisms, he’s dialed it back a lot, and I think it works here for the most part. I love Johnny Depp and I really want him to get some wins.
Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar. He is a maniacal undead pirate hunter of the Spanish Navy. He was trying to rid the seas of all pirates, he’s tricked into sailing his ship into the Devil’s Triangle causing him and his crew to be cursed. He seeks the Trident of Poseidon to extinguish piracy and get revenge on Jack. He’s a very interesting character, as he starts off as a powerful man and “falls from grace”. He spends the movie wanting his revenge on Jack but he will cut down anyone in his way, he takes no prisoners and everyone is terrified of him. Javier Bardem is a great actor and he’s so terrifying, he’s the best performance in the film, the way he walked for the character, how he utiltized his appearence, and his surroundings. I think he was one of the scariest villains in the POTC universe next to Barbossa in the first film.
Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner. He is the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. The film opens up with a 7-10 year old Henry trying to find his father who is still the “Davy Jones” of the sea after At World’s End. He is desperate to reconnect with his father, to find him and free him of his curse. Throughout the film, he kind of fills Will’s role in being the young guy, but his motives are more emotional as it’s his father, a man he probably doesn’t know as much due to the rule “only can come on land once every 10 years”. He ends up meeting Salazar in the beginning, and delivers a message to Jack but he wants Jack to help him instead. I liked him, I thought he was a sweet kid, headstrong, brave and impulsive however I do think there were times where he was taken over by some of the other characters but I think that has to do with Brenton not really being as charismatic as the others. Even though Orlando Bloom isn’t the best actor around, he’s charismatic and kind of magnetic in a way where your eye is drawn to him. Brenton didn’t have that as much but I did like that his arc was provided and solved in the film, at least for this movie’s purpose.
Lewis McGowan was young Henry and I thought he was very good. It was easy to tell that he missed his father and that he was a pretty good balance between both Will and Elizabeth in being headstrong.
Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth. An astronomer, she’s feisty, headstrong and very smart. She kind of reminded me of Hermione Granger in that she is led by her logic, and her will to learn even though she’s very brave as well. Of course, women weren’t allowed to study in universities so people call her “witch”. But she’s also looking for the Trident and has her diary of clues that she holds on too, as it holds the secrets AND it was from her unknown father. She’s very different from Elizabeth, she’s less annoying for one thing, she feels modern and definitely not a Mary Sue. She definitely has a hard time believing in anything that can’t be proven by science and maybe a bit bullheaded. I’ve never Kaya Scodelario in anything but I think she’s very charismatic and she does steal my eye away from others sometimes.
Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. The former captain of the Black Pearl and Jack’s rival, though they can be friendly sometimes. He still has his one leg but he has become extremely wealthy. He’s has a fleet of ships, loads of treasure and he’s like a poser, he has fancy clothes, a fancy wig and jewels in his peg-leg. Barbossa is still the same man to be honest, he’s polite but he will try to save his own skin and maybe the lives of his crew so he has to do what he has to do. Geoffrey Rush is still good in this role, he’s not as scary as he was the first time, but a bit more tragic. We learn some things about his history that once they lead up to it, it wasn’t that big of a surprise honestly.
Orlando Bloom as Captain William “Will” Turner.” We know the story of Will, he was a blacksmith turned pirate who ends up transformed into the Captain of the Flying Dutchman in the third film. I love Will and I think this was some his best stuff, it was sad and tragic. He’s cursed to this life and while I’m sure he’s happy because he’s not dead, but it’s easy to tell that he hates it. He wants to be with his family as he doesn’t see them often and he fought for Elizabeth for so long. I actually want to know WHY his face looked all gross and why the ship looked all like it did when Davy Jones was Captain because when he started off as Captain, everything was fine. So something must happened in the last 19 or so years that caused this. I think Orlando Bloom did really well in his two scenes he has, he’s not a leading role but more of a “cameo” but he looks so sad that I needed to know what happened to him.
Other Pirates. Of course Gibbs is back with Kevin McNally in the role, this is the first time we really see him give up on Jack, which was interesting, there are few more returning faces, like the two soldiers turned pirates who seemed to take the place of Pintel and Ragetti from the others. A lot of them are funny and seeing their shenanigans are great.
Paul McCartney as Uncle Jack. He has a nice little cameo, he was actually pretty good and the joke he tells was pretty funny, but it was more funny because of the reaction.
The Opening Scene. The film opens with young Henry who gets out onto the ocean, he makes himself sink and he lands on the Dutchman underwater. Will pulls him back to the top on the ship and they share an emotional moment. I quite liked it. I thought it put into place what to expect for Henry’s character and setting up his motivations in the film so it’s never rocky. It gave me hope for the rest of the movie… but honestly this was probably the best scene in the movie.
The Music. Geoff Zanelli does the music here and it has some hints of Hans Zimmer’s score (which makes sense as Zanelli was a student of Zimmer) as well as the iconic Pirates theme that makes me smile whenever I hear it. In some of the quieter moments it’s nice to hear the soft music playing in the background. Sometimes it sounds eerie and scary and other times when its put on next to fighting scenes it gets me pumped.
The Special Effects. There are a couple of things I’m going to talk about, but this movie has so many great effects that if you saw it in IMAX 3D, I’m sure it would be great to see in the theaters that way.
Salazar, his crew’s look and his ship. So Salazar and his crew are cursed, like with fire. Some of the crew are completely burned away but are only a hand, some have their heads half gone. Salazar himself of course looks the most normal, but parts of his face is like ashes and his hair moves like it’s underwater the entire time. He also has this ooze running out of his mouth the entire time. His ship is also cool as it lifts itself up like a caterpillar.
The Running on the Water. Seeing Salazar’s crew running on the water from underwater was so cool. It reminded me of watching Barbossa’s crew walk underwater in the first film.
The Sharks/Birds. I’m not sure why there are always birds around the ship, but the birds are also cursed and they are burned ashes as well.
Trident’s Island. When we finally get to the island where the Trident is hidden, it’s so beautiful, all the colors.
The Divide/Poseidon’s Tomb. We see a shot in the trailer of the Black Pearl sailing on the edge of a crevice, it’s The Divide and it’s really cool how it looks. The entire tomb has a really interesting look, my only problem is that it takes so long to get there and then we don’t spend enough time there.
The Dialogue/Moments. Not all of it’s funny, but there are some good dialogue bits in there. Jack has some good lines. Some of it’s very witty and while I didn’t think the movie itself wasn’t that funny, a lot of the dialogue was. There were also a few moments that were funny, the movie itself isn’t but there are some great moments, like the guillotine scene.
The Flashback Scene. So of course we get a bit of exposition from Salazar as to why he’s hunting Jack, but we get a flashback to accompany his tale. This is where we see a de-aged Johnny Depp as young Jack Sparrow and I think this was some of the better de-aging lately. There were a few times where it was creepy, mostly when he was talking a lot, but other times it was like looking at Johnny Depp from his 21 Jump Street days. It showed how he became Captain Jack Sparrow while also explaining Salazar’s unfortunate fate. It also has a few throwbacks to the first film in how Jack was a bit more feisty and less of a coward, how he was brash and energetic AND it throws back to when Elizabeth suggests they throw the anchor on the starboard side when they were running from Barbossa. It was pretty cool.
The “romance”. So to be honest, I didn’t really have a problem with it but I can imagine people having some issues with it, but I don’t think it’s warranted. When Henry and Carina first meet, they don’t really get along, we actually see them interact a lot and them get to know each other and learning that they have a lot in common BUT once you see that they were getting interested in each other, it was like ehhh, you need a bit more tim. I didn’t dislike it but I think they needed another movie at least. I didn’t want to make it a con because I don’t think it is but I recognize that it probably wasn’t earned in this film. I liked their interactions but I don’t know if the actors had much chemistry like Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley did.
The Action. There always has to be action, always has to be fights and there are some, and the ones we have are great and fun. They’re not as big and grand as the previous films have been which is fine, but we do get to see a bit more of what’s going on and they’re not overly long and drawn out.
Ending Scene. So after the adventure is over, Henry’s arc/goal is addressed and without spoiling it, it’s a very beautiful scene that made me smile like an idiot.
End Credit Scene. There is an end credit scene at the very end, maybe there will be another one which if it goes the way I’m thinking, maybe there’s hope?
The Bank Robbery Scene. So there is this scene in the beginning once we get to the present. We see a man introducing their new bank and how no one can break into their vault, etc. etc. but Jack and his crew were trying to steal it and it’s really just ridiculous. I know POTC has their over the top moments but I thought that was just silly, I get why it was there because it shows that Jack has lost his “mojo” but the entire time I was like ‘ugh really?’.
The British Navy. Of course the soldiers have to have a role as they constantly pursue pirates and make things hard for everyone. We don’t really spend any time with them like we have with Norrington or Beckett. There’s one guy who is played by David Wenham but he’s really just there as a nuisance and to give Carina, Jack and Henry trouble while in town. It’s annoying actually.
Some stupid details. There are some things that happen that are really stupid. I don’t want to spoil them but there are so many things that I questioned like “why would they do that?” or the idea of everyone always double crossing someone, it’s so tired that I expect it. Also everyone always wants the same thing so they eventually all have to meet each other at some point and fight or something. Also, why does Jack have a thing for Elizabeth? I didn’t like that in the other films (love triangles) and I didn’t want him referencing it in this one because it’s dumb. I also hate that stupid X scar on Jack’s face and that stupid sore… I know why the sore was included but I hate it.
The Humor. I don’t think it’s very funny in terms of the shenanigans. Some of the dialogue is good but I don’t think it’s funny, at least not to me. The father and daughter in my row cracked up a lot but ya know humor is subjective.
Lacking Climax. So the climax comes up and it was a bit boring. A lot of this film reminded me of the first POTC film but the climax made me think of the boring climax of On Stranger Tides and it wasn’t interesting and it also felt rushed.
Too Long/Feels Long. In actuality, this is the shortest of the four films but it feels really long because there isn’t a lot going on there. There are some moments where there are slow moments and it’s dragging. Either they should have filled those moments with something, or cut them out to make it a bit shorter.
Overall, I enjoyed myself in this film. I think it’s better than On Stranger Tides and it harkens back to what made the original trilogy so fun. Trust me, I recognize that Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End are not very good BUT this film tries to go back to what made people love these movies in the first place. Jack Sparrow is much more subdued here, he’s not the lead which I think works well for his character and I think Johnny Depp always does well with this character when he’s not being over the top. Javier Bardem was a great addition, he was eerie and scary and his story was interesting. The additions of Henry and Carina were good additions to the world and it would be interesting to see them in later films, but they definitely need to spend more time together. The effects are great, the music adds layers to the film and there are certain scenes and moments that I really liked. On the other hand, I do think it feels a bit too long, it’s trying to be epic but it doesn’t quite get there, the climax is pretty lame and while the action scenes are fun, there aren’t many of them. The film spends a lot of time on information. There are some stupid details that made it into the script that made me go ‘why did that happen? that’s dumb’. BUT while it won’t be the best film of the summer, it’s still a fun and entertaining ride.
Rating: 2.89 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? What do you think?
What is your favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Mine is Curse of the Black Pearl.
Let me know in the comment below! Don’t forget to like, comment and follow this blog!
Summary: Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and a brash new recruit (Zac Efron) uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
Baywatch premieres May 25, 2017.
Cast and Characters.
Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon. He is the leader of his group of Lifeguards. He’s larger than life (as Johnson often is), he’s funny, he cares for his team and he’s a bit of rebellious guy. He protects his Bay at all costs. Mitch gets a bit overzealous when it comes to finding out the truth of the dangers going on in the bay, he doesn’t really think of the consequences because in his mind, his long term goal is to protect the Bay, he doesn’t care what trouble he might get into just to figure something out now. He’s a bit tough love, especially when it comes to his relationship with Efron’s character, he’s a hard mentor but he does it because he cares. I love Dwayne Johnson, I think he’s a good actor and a fun action star. This movie allows him to combine his physical strength and his ability to be really funny. Some of the things he says are ridiculous but they work because of how he delivers them.
Zac Efron as Matt Brody. He starts off as a major tool. He joins the team as it would be a good PR opportunity and he thinks it just is given to him due to him being a famous Olympic medalist. However, his reputation is crap due to his drunken antics. He thinks he owns the place, he flirts and shows off but he learns that it’s not that easy and he continues to make stupid decisions. But as the film goes on, we do see a change. I like Zac Efron for the most part, I think he has good comedic timing, I’ve never really found him attractive but his eyes are soooo pretty. He had great father/son chemistry with Dwayne Johnson and he was good in this role of a dumb, “hot”, guy who in the beginning is rude and kind of mean until he learns his lesson as the film goes on.
Alexandra Daddario as Summer Quinn. She starts off as a surfer but joins the lifeguard team, she’s a pretty tough girl and witty, she’s able to banter with Brody. She’s meant to be his love interest and while they give her a bit more to do than the others, she’s still kind of just there.
Priyanka Chopra as Victoria Leeds. She’s the new owner of the Huntley club on the Bay. She wears some of the best clothes the entire film and so beautiful! But she is a trip. All I will.
Kelly Rohrbach as C.J Parker. She is already a Lifeguard, apparently has some daddy issues due a line in the beginning but she’s also just there. She’s helpful in some ways but she’s also there to be a love interest and to look good in her clothes. She’s cute and likable though so that’s a plus.
Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden. The wiki says she was Mitch’s love interest… where? lol there may have been looks and there was one kiss as a distraction BUT nothing outside of that happened to make me think there was actual interest. If there’s a sequel, they should do better at highlighting her. I liked her from what we saw, but she had such a small part but that she was background. Ilfaensh Hadera looked great and she was likable.
Jon Bass as Ronnie Greenbaum. We first meet him and he’s a tech guy, a bit awkward and goofy but really endearing. He wants to be a Lifeguard for personal reasons but also because he has a major crush on C.J. I think he was one of the better side characters in the beginning but then he too gets pushed to the side a bit for Mitch and Brody and their action antics. He’s funny, he has a great funny scene in the beginning with a chair…cringey but funny.
The Humor. It’s funny, especially in the beginning. Johnson immediately doesn’t like Brody and he continues this one joke throughout the film and it didn’t get old to me, but for some it might. Also, Ronnie was really funny in that endearing kind of way. Hannibal Burress is in this film and outside of not always knowing what he said, he’s really funny. There are great scenes between the team and the Bay’s Police Officer… there was a lot of moments I liked and thought were funny. The Morgue Scene.
The Cinematography/ The Direction. So the film looks really good. Because they’re on the beach, the colors are so bright, especially the reds and blues, the OCEAN and people’s eyes, wow. Also, the direction is great. There are scenes where characters are being lifeguards and jumping into the water and they put it in slow motion, so we can truly see their form of jumping from the rocks/boats/whatever into the water. It was really cool. When you’re going to save someone it’s so fast, which when we see that part it is, because that’s how it goes, but the getting there, they make sure we see it and I liked that. There was a lot of slow motion but it wasn’t gratuitous.
The Music. To be honest, it could be really annoying BUT because we’re on the beach and this is an action/comedy it fits and it’s fun. They’re mostly recognizable songs to the point where you may bounce a little in your seat and a good thing is that most of the time they’re playing at a party, so it has a reason.
Entertainment. If you want fun! You will get it, if this is your idea of a fun time in a movie. It’s funny, it looks really good, the characters are likable and you might leave smiling, unless you just didn’t like it.
The Supporting Cast. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all good, I like them all BUT they definitely are second fiddle to Johnson and Efron which is kind of sad because the Lifeguard team are interesting and I think way more interesting then some of the banter between Johnson and Efron. I wanted to see more with Stephanie, or see what Ronnie and C.J were getting into. Summer was around more due to her obvious upcoming connection with Brody but still. I think it was a missed opportunity.
The Villain. I don’t want to spoil who it is but at first it seemed pretty straight forward but then they were involved in many other things like drugs but they got upset when someone called them a “dealer”, which you can argue they were upset because of the term but still. Also, they were hamming it up and not in a good way. I think they are very good and I like them otherwise, but here, it was so cringey. I think there were a few scenes where I enjoyed seeing them but most of the time, I mostly scrunched up my face watching them.
The Story. So the story has a few things going on, it’s an action movie with all of the stunts they do, the jetski chases, the fighting scenes, and of course all of the lifeguard stuff (though there really isn’t a lot of that), then there is sort of romance between Brody and Summer and two other people (who I think we should have spent more time with). Basically, Mitch and his team are recruiting new lifeguards, Brody joins thinking because he used to be an Olympic medalist that he’s on the team, Mitch puts him through but ya know, he’s “the best” so… but they learn that someone is peddling big drugs in the Bay, so they stretch their lifeguard duties, not to mention, you have a bit of romance going on in two storylines, you have some “buddy cop” stuff going on with Mitch and Brody where he’s trying to teach him how to be better… it’s a lot and it kind of makes it unfocused. It doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The Humor. While some of it is good, a lot of does not hit the marks it wants too. Some of it gets a bit old, or annoying. Also, I think it teeters the line between trying to be a hard comedic rated R film and not wanting to cross that line. It should have just went all the way, similar to what 21 Jump Street did, but it seemed a bit too afraid to do it most times, but at other random times, it did like the scene in the morgue. Other times, it didn’t work.
Unfocused. This movie wanted to be a lot of different things. It wanted to be an action movie, a romantic comedy, a buddy comedy, a mentor/student type story. There’s a lot and while it sort of hits all of those points, it doesn’t mesh well together, at least not all the time.
Overall, I had a fun time watching Baywatch. It’s a nice film to watch with your friends, it’ll probably get some laughs, depending on what tickles your funny bone. The chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron is good and they’re obviously the leads of the film as the other characters get sidelined. The look of the film is really nice and the direction is cool, especially with some of the action shots and the actual lifeguard parts. The humor is good for the most part and all of the characters are likable. But it does suffer from being an unfocused film from trying to be too many things at once, the story is cliche and gets a bit dumb, the supporting characters are likable but they are just there, filler pieces. If you are looking for a fun time, then this will be it.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.
Did you used to watch the original TV Series? Are you interested in seeing this movie?
What’s your favorite Dwayne Johnson film??
Let me know in the comments below!
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Summary: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
*Mild spoilers ahead but the movie has been out for like two weeks. I’m late but ya know.
Cast and Characters.
Chris Pratt as Peter “Star Lord” Quill. In this film, he’s still leading the group and actually seems to have grown up a bit. This is evident in the beginning of the film where Rocket is trying to put on music for the fight and he agrees with Drax that this isn’t a good idea right now. However, he’s not really succeeding. In all of the arguments, he meets a man who claims to be his father and at first he’s not really buying it but thanks to Gamora’s encouragement he listens to this mysterious man’s claims. It’s interesting watching him, because in the first film he was a bit cocky and a bit more sure of himself, in this one, he’s not as cocky nor as sure. He’s the leader of the group but he doesn’t seem to believe in himself like before. Once he meets Ego, who claims to be his father, he’s not sure but it’s something he’s always wanted so he’s willing to listen and it’s easy to tell that he wants it so badly. I like Chris Pratt, he’s very likable and he’s likable in this role and once again his Star Lord is a very fun and grounded character. He manages to put a bit more of a chilled performance compared to the first film. Peter wants this so badly to be true and when he starts to believe it, it’s almost kind of heartbreaking and definitely towards the end, Pratt’s performance is really emotional towards the end.
Zoe Saldana as Gamora. She’s always good in these particular roles, Gamora is more of an active role but this film allows her to do a bit more emotional things. She is the voice of reason and the only woman, so she has to really assert herself, not that she really has too, but she does. Not to mention, it’s adorable how she handles Baby Groot. She’s very detailed, and definitely the second in command because whenever Quill is on the receiving end of her rants, she is in charge. She also wants to believe for him that Ego is his father, she encourages him. But Gamora is also perceptive unless it comes to her own feelings towards Quill. Her relationship with Nebula is also interesting, it’s volatile but there might be some hope.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon. He was my favorite from the first film and that is the same here though I will admit there are some annoying things about him which I hope with how the film ended, they allow that to change in Vol 3. I think out of everyone from the first film, he had the least change as this film allows him to really think about his place in the group and whether or not he fits. In the first film, it was fun and easy because they had a common goal for the most part, and now it’s like he’s stuck with them. His relationship with Groot has also changed, Rocket has taken over being the protector, and while he still kind of talks to Groot the same, he’s a bit nicer about it as he’s a Baby lol. But you can also tell that the friendship is different as Groot is different, so he has to struggle with that. Bradley Cooper once again does a great voice over job for this character, I can’t think of a better actor. He really delivers when it comes to Rocket’s one liners, to his moments of humor and towards the end his moments of emotion, handled so very well. Also to his team of animators and the actor doing his motion capture, all great jobs.
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. He has definitely changed a lot from the first film, he has much more fun and more driven by being with his new family than by revenge. He had to accept that in the first film and we see that come to a head in this film. Drax loves to fight, he’s a bit over the top in how loud his laughs are, or how certain lines are delivered but I think that’s just the charm of the character so I don’t count that against Dave Bautista who I think is even better here than he was in the first film. His scene in Ego’s ship was hilarious. He also gets a couple of emotional moments, which were also handled very well.
Vin Diesel as Baby Groot. So I didn’t really want to put Vin Diesel here but I kind of had to…but I loved Baby Groot, if he wasn’t the cutest thing. I read that he doesn’t have any previous memories, so he learns as he goes along, which that’s kind of easy to tell with how he approaches things. For the character, he’s smaller, so he can’t really do the things he did as Big Groot but it’s cute to watch him get upset and try. I had wanted to hold him when he and Rocket got caught by some Ravagers and they were being mean to him. Also towards the end there’s a little scene where it looked like he was crying and I was like “my baby!” I want one. Once again Vin Diesel did the voice over work, he did a higher register and then they of course knocked it even higher. I read that James Gunn had all of his lines “I am Groot” in English so Diesel knew how to speak the line and I think that helps because even though he’s saying the same words repeatedly it does sound like he’s saying something different each time. Also, stick around for the credits because there’s another scene with him.
Michael Rooker as Yondu. He is the leader of the Ravagers and he also raised Quill pretty much. In this film, he’s much more serious compared to the first film where he was just trying to get Quill back. He deals with his own demons, faces his own problems and I think not only was it handled well, it didn’t feel like it was just shoehorned in there, it was needed, especially to mirror other plot lines going on. It’s easy to tell that while he and Quill don’t always get along, he actually does care about him and the way the film ends, I thought was perfect. Michael Rooker still has that real country voice for the character, which fits, his look is great, his fin is a lot bigger and his arrow is still super cool… but I liked him a lot more here. He’s still intimidating but because of the extra bit of character development we get, Michael Rooker was able to find the balance between being big and large and being subdued. Also, those teeth lol.
Karen Gillan as Nebula. I liked her in the first film, she was interesting and a lot of her moments and lines were hilarious. We see her again from the beginning, the Guardians acquire her to turn her in for a bounty, but things happen and she has her own plans, mostly revenge against Gamora and Thanos. She is angry but there are cracks, there is pain and she reveals some of the things that were done to her, and how she felt about it. She has a couple of monologues that no one wants to listen to because she’s intimidating (which are funny) but the words are intense. Her runs in with Gamora lead to some great action scenes but their interactions are more than that and I think we’ll see their relationship begin to mend… maybe. Karen Gillan is fun, she gets to mean mug a lot and do a lot of angered whispering which works for the character and it makes me laugh. A bit exaggerated but it works for the character for the most part.
Kurt Russell as Ego. It’s told pretty early that he’s Quill’s dad which is really cool that the viewers learn more of his heritage. BUT outside of the last 30 minutes or so he mainly just talks a lot and gives a lot of exposition. However, when the climax happens, it’s pretty cool and scary in places. I like Kurt Russell, I think he’s a good actor and I thought his chemistry with Chris Pratt was good, but I think it’s kind of unfortunate that he spent a lot of time just talking.
The Opening Scene. In the opening scene, the Guardians are preparing to battle a monster while Rocket is trying to hook up speakers. The monster shows up and the battle has started and Baby Groot has managed to connect the speakers and the music starts. The first 30 seconds or so, have Baby Groot in focus while in the background you see the other Guardians fighting, then as it continues, BG is dancing to the music while the battle rages on. It’s the cutest thing and it made me smile like an idiot because I thought that was a very unique way to shoot the fight. The Guardians only come into focus if one of them is shouting at BG to get out of the way, or it they’re thrown in his direction. It’s a super fun opening.
The First Space Ship Scene. After the great opener, the Guardians are pursued by a fleet of ships and that scene was so much fun. Their pursuers aren’t even really flying their ships, it’s remote piloting, but they’re flying like their at an arcade. It was a great reveal and great to see them crowd around one pod cheering them on like a game. The chase itself was also great, watching Quill and Rocket maneuver the Milano through the ships and through the meteor field.
Rocket’s Forest Scene. AH MAN! He has this great scene where a group of people are approaching the area, Rocket is up in a tree and he’s set traps, he’s basically putting those people through the ringer and it was one of the best scenes. It was great seeing Rocket do something on his own, to really see him show his physical ability, we didn’t really get to see that in the first film and we really got see that in this film. He was so fast. I loved it. He’s my favorite, so the scene really allowed for him to do a lot.
The Music. The Awesome Mixtape #2 is awesome. The collection of songs they chose were selected very carefully, they really fit in the film. It also helps that a lot of times, someone is actively listening to the music so it doesn’t feel random and out of place, not that it would because the music always goes so well in the Guardians films.
The Humor. It’s really funny. The chemistry between the characters and the cast is so great that their humor and banter just seems so natural. It’s really funny. Especially when they’re not beating the dead joke horse. Drax’s laugh in itself is funny. Baby Groot got a lot of laughs from me, his reaction to people looking down on him because he’s so small. It was hilarious.
The Action/Fight Scenes. This is a superhero film, it definitely requires action and fight scenes. It delivers on that. From the first scene to the very last scene, there is always something happening, it’s pretty fast paced and even though there isn’t a fight scene in every moment, the pace doesn’t lag. It may slow down a bit to let you catch your breath but then something else is happening.
The Effects. Wow, it’s so beautiful. Ego’s planet alone was so beautiful, the attention to detail, especially in the little moving pictures he showed them of his history. It was so cool. Of course Baby Groot and Rocket’s animation was fantastic in how realistic they look in this world.
The Message. It actually is a pretty simple one, and the way it’s approached is the usual one, but the package is so big and grand that if you’re not paying attention, it might just pass you right on by. It’s definitely a message to live by. Don’t ignore what’s right in front of you because sometimes what you’ve been looking for has been there all this time.
The Emotion. I was actually a little surprised at how emotional it gets towards the end. I actually cried. I don’t want to spoil it, but definitely got emotional. The Message is a good one, and the relationships that some of the characters didn’t consider beforehand really get put in their faces in this film and makes them face it. It got way more emotional than I expected.
Doesn’t feel as fresh. I think the first one was so surprising, it was so different and it was fun. This one is the same but it just doesn’t feel the same as the first one, it doesn’t feel as fresh but in some areas a little stale. I know Drax has his things he says but sometimes it’s just *sighs* please. Even sometimes the characters can get a little grating, every family has it’s issues but sometimes it just got a little overdramatic.
A little disjointed. So there are times where this movie kind of has random things happen, or things happen right after other things and it’s kind of weird because it doesn’t feel like it fits. Mostly with the gold people, it gets some laughs, especially in the first scene where it makes sense that they show up but afterwards it kind of just feels out of place.
The Effects. They’re here because there are some times where it looks super fake. In the beginning we see a young Kurt Russell and my lord it was terrible. I don’t know if it was supposed to be due to what Ego was doing but still, it kind of freaked me out.
Mantis’ Importance. Pom Klementieff as Mantis was really cool. I liked her look and I thought she was cute and funny, but outside of being a plot device, and serving as exposition a couple of times, she really didn’t add anything to the film. It has nothing to do with her acting but the character’s importance.
Repeated Jokes. Sometimes, the jokes just feel like they’re hitting you over the head with them. There’s a joke with Rocket and a dude over his name and they just keep going on it for at least a whole minute and I was over it after the first time. Sometimes the jokes, or the ‘isms’ just aren’t as funny if they keep hitting on it multiple times.
Overall, I really enjoyed myself in this film. It’s really fun and while I pulled out some of the memorable action scenes, this film focuses mostly on the characters and their backstories, to give them a bit more character and to ground them in the world. It’s amazing. It’s definitely Star Lord’s story though. All of the characters, well most of them, Quill, Gamora and Rocket definitely have moments where they need to address their feelings, their pain and Yondu’s story was a very surprising addition. Baby Groot was adorable and it was fun. However, the humor definitely did not always hit and it got a little annoying, it felt choppy and disjointed and it doesn’t feel as fresh as the first one. It deals with new things. The ride is great, I think the characters are good and those are the standouts for the film were the characters and the performances.
Rating: 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2? Was it better than the first?
Summary: A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
Cast and Characters. I think everyone is really good in their roles. Being that these are characters from a young adult novel, with the exception of Maddy’s mother, I think everyone fills those roles really well, they look like their characters and feel like their characters in the book. Maddy’s mother is Japanese American in the book and her father was black, it looked like they switched it in the film.
Amandla Stenberg as Madeline “Maddy” Whittier. Maddy is an 18 year old girl who is living with a disease that prevents her from going outside called “SCID”. It pretty much means that she could die if she goes outside. She’s lived her entire life in her house. However, she manages to have a pretty positive outlook on life, she knows what her limitations are but that doesn’t stop her from longing, especially for the ocean. When she sees Olly’s family moving in she’s immediately drawn to him and she watches him to know more. When they start talking, it’s a bit easy to see that she’s nervous but she wants to know more about him. As time goes on, she wants more and more, and she even risks her life to run outside to see if Olly is okay when he gets into it with his father. Maddy puts her passion into everything. I like Amandla, and I thought she was well cast here. She was soft spoken most times, but she was able to maintain a kind of fierceness about her. She ended up being a little forward which for her, was good and it made sense instead of her just being pulled along by Olly. I had massive hair envy of her as well. The film really rests on her shoulders and I think she led it well.
Nick Robinson as Oliver “Olly” Bright. Olly is introduced when Maddy looks out her window and sees his family moving into the house next door. After he and his sister bring over a bundt cake, he shows his interest. As the story continues, he continues to try to reach out to her in different ways, he uses a bundt cake to make her laugh, he gives her his number, he asks her questions and he seems open but I think he also showed that he had his own secrets which we learned. I liked Nick Robinson, I’ve only ever seen him in Jurassic World and his character was meh, but here, he was able to have a bit more fun. He was able to really fall in love, to worry about her, to worry about his family, to have fun and show her fun things. It was cute seeing him care so much and the way he looked at her, I thought he did very well. I was a little sad that they didn’t keep physical stuff he liked to do. In the book, Olly, liked to climb on stuff, he would climb up on his roof a lot. However, I do like they had him have longer hair whereas in the book he had a shaved head.
Anika Noni Rose as Pauline. She’s a doctor, she works in a hospital but she also makes sure that Maddy is well cared for. She’s not always around but when she is, she and Maddy have fun. They play Phonetic Scrabble, they watch movies together and it’s clear that Pauline loves Maddy. She might be a little bit of a curious person though. I think Anika Noni Rose does a good job, she has great chemistry with Amandla, I believed that she was her mother, I thought her performance was also very understated. When she finds out that Maddy had been talking with Olly, she doesn’t freak out, she sits and talks with her in that knowing motherly tone. I was actually surprised because I think she freaked out a bit more in the book. I appreciated that it wasn’t overly dramatic. There’s also a scene towards the end, an emotional scene between mother and daughter, and again, I thought Anika Noni Rose was really subdued but emotional in how she performed that scene.
Ana de la Reguera as Carla. She has a larger part in the book, but Carla is Maddy’s nurse, had been for years and a friend to Maddy. She, in the beginning knows that something is different once Maddy starts talking with Olly. She spends her days with Maddy and knows her so well, that she walks into a room and knows something is different. She even allows for them to meet in person because she wants Maddy to have something to experience. She’s very supportive, she loves Maddy and she’s also funny. Once she learns that Maddy wants to keep Olly from coming over from her mother, she wonders about her own daughter keeping secrets.
The Story. I think it’s sweet. It’s not an extremely deep story but it has a lot of layers. There’s a girl who wishes she could go outside, knows she can’t and is okay with that, for the most part. She has her wishes, her illness prevents that and she’s okay with it, but when she meets Olly, she starts to get a lot of new thoughts and wants. Just like any young woman, she begins to want more than she has and Olly is a nice catalyst to that. I think it’s more than just love that causes her to want to go outside, mostly visit the ocean, it’s something she’s always wanted, and she does it. Don’t let fear hold you back, if you want everything, then go for everything. It’s definitely sweet to me. There’s definitely more to it but I don’t want to spoil anything either lol. But there are some interesting additions between Maddy and her mom.
The Romance/Chemistry. This film banks on the relationship and chemistry of Maddy and Olly. If Amandla and Nick didn’t work out together, then this movie would be terrible. They have great chemistry. When Maddy first sees him, it’s already shown in her eyes that she’s intrigued, same with him, when he sees her, it’s flirty. But then it turns into something more and they are able to really connect.
The Texting/Getting To Know Each Other Scenes. So in the book, Maddy doesn’t have a phone, she only emails and IMs Olly and we have to read their interactions, which is fine. But for a movie, I’m glad the audience wasn’t stuck just reading their emails, and text messages. They spend time actually talking on the phone before they meet in person, whenever they start texting each other, the viewers go into Maddy’s imagination and we get to see Olly and Maddy actually physically talk in her imagination, we get to see the actors talk but in real time they’re texting. It’s really cool to see that. When they actually get into a room together, we see awkward silences and their conversation but at the same time, we see sentences of their inner thoughts. I thought that was handled really well. When things got emotional and taxing between them, texting and IMing is so impersonal but seeing them actually interacting helped.
The Music. This will be in both parts, but there are parts where the music really worked, especially in the scene where they are driving together to their hotel. I also love that song. There are also some more mood like music in the film that is sweet and uplifting. It helps fit the movie, it’s even better when the characters are playing the music or listening to it themselves because it fits even more and not just blasting in our ears as the audience.
Looks Good/The Colors. This film looks really good, the colors are bright and warm. Whenever Maddy wears colors, it always looks like the colors were turned up to make it pop more. When she’s outside, this filter seems to slide over the camera, which makes sense as this all new to her. When she’s at the ocean, the shots are so beautiful, the water looks beautiful and makes me want to go there. Maddy wears a lot of white and it looks clinical and off putting but at the same time ethereal which makes sense for her character.
The Credits. This isn’t a point to the movie at all, because it’s the credits lol but I appreciated how they added all of the drawings and pictures from the book into the credits. It was cute.
It’s Cutesy. If you don’t like romance movies, especially ones with young people, then this movie won’t be for you. It’s really cute and in places it’s a bit too cute where part of you may feel like ugh.
A Bit Slow/Pacing. There are moments, which for a book works, but for a film, those moments of staring out a window, or staring at each other longing for long periods of time doesn’t always work. It gets a little awkward after the third time. It slows the film down and makes it feel slower than it probably needs to be. Instead of all those moments, they should have filled those spaces with learning more about Olly’s character outside of his interactions with Maddy. In the book, there were a lot of times where Maddy watches from her window, and sees things at Olly’s house, I think if the movie would have shown his side a bit too, albeit from her POV, it would help give him a bit more character.
The Music. It’s not always bad but sometimes it’s just too much pop music. I always think that music is a big part of the film but I think this film uses way to many pop songs. There’s one song by Alessia Cara and Zedd I think that I really like, but then there were like two songs immediately afterwards. I started to get a little fatigued.
The Disease is Forgotten. Maybe that’s the point considering that Maddy wants to live her life, what may be left outside BUT it feels like if the disease didn’t exist, it wouldn’t really change anything. She’d just be a sheltered girl who went outside for the first time and then the disease comes back and makes an appearence for drama. You could really take it out and it wouldn’t really matter for the most part.
The Last Act. So Maddy and Olly run off to Hawaii to “escape” and it’s cute but then drama happens. The last 30 minutes or so, feel kind of random, I think the book handled it better, it flowed better than in the film. It just felt like things took a weird left turn and if I didn’t know what was going to happen, I would wonder why there wasn’t a buildup to this. Maybe Carla should have said something, I think she did in the book, but here there’s nothing. There should have been something. It gets a little emotional in the movie but I don’t think that translate to the audience, at least not to feel the same emotion the characters are feeling, or at least to cry at what’s being shown. It feels a little unearned.
Overall, I really liked this movie, I thought it was cute. It’s a nice date movie. If you go into this film expecting a huge romantic love story, you won’t really get that. It’s a young adult story (one of the better ones I think though) so don’t expect a big epic love story, but to these two characters and probably some teenagers they may feel that way. I think the characters are good for the film and the cast do well in their jobs, they are well casted from their book counterparts. Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson really hold well together with their chemistry and interactions. I love the little tidbits of watching them get to know each other even though it’s through texting form. I think the movie looks really good as well, the colors are bright and welcoming, the whites that Maddy wear are pristine and clinical which fits into her world, the shots at the beach were beautiful. It’s fun. On the other hand, it does feel a bit shallow in the emotional tidbits at the end, it doesn’t feel earned like it should be. The last act of the film feels a little random where it seems like some scenes are missing or that they don’t flow well together.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Everything, Everything? Have you read the book? How does it compare?
What is your favorite romantic movie?
What romantic book do you want to be turned into the film?
Let me know in the comments below!
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Summary: A young street magician is left to care for his little sister after their parents’ passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.
There might be mild spoilers ahead.
Cast and Characters. There’s really only one character that this film truly follows. However, there are some supporting characters who are involved with the hero’s story and for the most part everyone is interesting enough for this film.
Jacob Latimore as Bo. I’m interested to see what else Jacob Latimore does, because so far I’m pretty impressed with him. His character Bashir “Bo” has taken up the mantle of being the parent in his household as his mother died a year before and there’s really no mention of their father. He has given up his future of an Engineering scholarship in order to support his sister. He performs magic tricks on the street and he also drug deals. He’s an interesting character because throughout this movie, he’s just trying to make things better for his sister but he’s not making good decisions in order to do that. Bo is a subdued character, he’s very mild mannered actually, he doesn’t raise his voice ever actually. He carries himself like he’s putting on a front, there’s a scene towards the end where he just breaks down and that was a beautiful moment. He’s trying so hard in the best ways he thinks he knows how. Jacob Latimore does a good job carrying this movie. He did a very good job with playing the various amounts of emotions this character goes through. The love of performing magic and pride he feels when he sees spectators enjoying his tricks. The emotions of feeling like he’s against the wall when he knows he wants to get out of the drug dealer but that life isn’t an easy one to leave. He definitely carries this film.
Seychelle Gabriel as Holly. She starts out as the love interest, as soon as he meets her, it’s easy to tell that he is attracted to her. As they get to know each other, they spend a lot of time together and we get to see their relationship grow on screen. I didn’t think it was forced or rushed. She was a good supporting person for Bo, she learned about his life, she cared for his sister whenever Bo had to go off with Angelo, she got invested. She was very loyal. It’s also learned that she has her own battles to face and when Bo discovers them, he tries to be there for her as well. In terms of them being there for each other it’s pretty even, as he offers support for her as well. It’s actually really cute. I thinks she’s fine, she could be replaced with any young actress to be honest, so I don’t think she stood out in terms of her acting but her character was a nice addition.
Dule Hill as Angelo. I’ve never seen him in anything but Holes. So anytime I see him I think “I can fix that” lol but this character was intimidating, he was charismatic in a scary way and and Dule Hill did a great job portraying that. He had this little “devil may care” smile going on that he flashed but that did not mean there was a good attitude on the other side of that smile. He was the supplier for Bo’s drugs and at first, he seems like a cool dude until he finds out about another dealer then it just takes a dark turn. He goes to threaten the dude, when the dude doesn’t agree to his conditions, he gets even more extreme, even forcing Bo to do the dirty work. He’s just a terrible scary person. I don’t want to spoil anything but the last 2/3s of the film he turns against Bo (for a reason) and he definitely puts the fear into Bo. Dule Hill was really good in his role, he was able to be larger than life and he was good every time he was on screen.
Supporting Characters.Storm Reid plays Tina Wolfe, Bo’s little sister and Sasheer Zamata plays Georgie, a neighbor and they’re both good in their roles as well. Storm Reid is adorable, she loves her older brother (she looks so unlike him that it is a bit jarring lol) but she does her job in loving him, worrying about him and idolizing him. Georgie is fine in that she’s an adult that they need in their lives, she helps out when he needs her, she is an adult voice in this world where Bo is out there on his own, she doesn’t want him to be a drug dealer, she even says that it’s not her place but she doesn’t want him to do this. It’s good for him to have an adult in his life who had a positive hand on his shoulder. Frank Clem as Dr. Granger shows up in the last act of the film as a last resort, Bo goes to him for help and he does his job.
The “Magic”. Okay, so the trailers says this is a mix between Iron Man and Chronicle and that’s not completely wrong. But if you go into this thinking there’s “magic” then that’s the wrong idea. Bo can do amazing things that he puts off as magic which is fine because a magician never reveals their secrets and he only does it twice, to Holly and Dr. Granger (and the audience). It’s pretty cool though. There’s a particular sound that is matched to his movements and abilities. There’s many things we see him do that are really cool, parlor tricks but once you learn how he has these powers it makes you look at it differently.
It’s Low Key/Quiet. This film is a bit chill, the tone is a relaxed one. It’s not over the top, the little bits of violence may be (but the only part that is they don’t show). This film lives and breathes by Jacob Latimore and the film takes it’s direction from him.
An Origin Story. I know these days people are like ugh origin stories but this one is so very different. It focuses solely on Bo and his story, and with the way it ended, it definitely leaves it open for a sequel. It would be interesting to see where Bo’s story goes from here, he created his abilities, what else could he do? I want to know.
Emotional Scene. There’s a scene at the end, it’s after the climax and the film is almost over, Bo handles some business and then gets into a car with Holly and Tina and he just breaks down crying. The girls look at him and they both hug him. I’m a contagious crier and I teared up, but I also felt that. He’s been playing parent for about a year and I assume he’s 19 years old. That’s a lot, to give up everything he had going for him to take care of his sister and in this moment, all of that, plus what he did that night all hit him. It was a great scene.
Anti-climatic. It feels like this movie isn’t really building up to anything. It’s just an experience that we’re going on which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once the second half happens, it kind of amps up and there’s more happening and then the climax happens and while I was wondering if Bo was going to make a bad choice, the whole moment wasn’t necessarily filled with tension. At least not for me. I was expecting a bit more.
The “magic” Details. So it’s shown that Bo is very smart, probably borderline genius when it comes to Engineering. There are pictures of him getting an award, there are trophies, etc. There might be spoilers here, warning. There is something he did to give himself these powers and while he talks about it to Holly, kind of explains why he got into magic, he never actually states how he did this. It’s so interesting to me and while Dr. Granger kind of exposits a few big words of what he needs to do for more power, and they kind of talk about some of the details of what’s there, it’s explained or shown at HOW he did it and that bugged the crap out of me. I wanted to know. Especially with all of the things that start happening at the end, I felt like it needed to be explained.
No Consequences. So Bo does a lot of desperate things, or things out of fear but NOTHING happens to him. Well, maybe one thing that deals with the drug dealer but the other things he does, nothing really happens to him.
Overall, I really liked this film. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first trailer made me go “meh” and then I kept seeing trailers and I got more and more interested. I liked Jacob Latimore in Collateral Beauty, one of the few things I liked about that movie and he really stood on his own here. He led this movie in such a quiet and understated way. His character is very likable, he makes some terrible mistakes but you want to see him win. The power aspects of this film are really cool, I wish I could have learned how he did it, it’s definitely something I was curious about that I don’t think the movie delivered on explaining. It is a bit anti-climatic at the end, it didn’t need to be grand and it does fit the tone of the film but it feels like a slow burn that didn’t lead up to where it could have. The end did seem to hint at a possible sequel which I am interested in seeing. I can’t wait to see what might happen next.
Rating: 3.80 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Sleight? If so, what did you think about it? If not, are you interested? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. While I watching this film, I couldn’t help but to think about Jacob Latimore pulling off a pretty good Virgil Hawkins AKA Static Shock. I think it’s important that Virgil is brown skinned, this character reminded me of him, just add a bit more goofiness to him and he was Virgil. I would support that.
Summary: Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris.
**This film is kind of hard to talk about but I will do my best.
The Cast and characters. We meet quite a few people but I’m going to stick to mentioning the three leads.
Oscar Isaac as Mikael Boghosian. He is the stand out, hands down. I love Oscar Isaac and I wonder if this was a pet project because I think he’s way to good for it. Mikael is an apothecary in his hometown, he goes to a city to be a medical student and he meets a few friends. He’s staying with his uncle and he meets Ana and immediately he’s smitten with her. WWI begins and he tries to avoid being drafted by getting a “medical student” exemption with the help of his friend. But that doesn’t last and he is sent to a prison labor camp. He manages to escape and finds his way back home. It seems like life has gotten together but the war has found him. So without going into more detail about the story, I think the amount of emotions Oscar Isaac puts into this character is fantastic. He starts off as this hopeful young man, who falls in love and we see him fall and it’s all downhill from there. Oscar Isaac has this magnetism that makes him stand out in anything he’s in. He’s charismatic and sympathetic and when he in emotional moments, man. He’s just so good. Again, I think he’s too good for the film.
Charlotte Le Bon as Ana Khesarian. She’s an Armenian woman who was raised in Paris. We first meet her at Mikael’s uncle’s house, she’s teaching his cousins how to dance. She is pretty, exotic in that she’s traveled outside of their home, she’s strong and is happy to claim her Armenian roots. She is strong and tries very hard to help those in need. However, it does feel at times that she is just there to be part of the triangle, or to be the object of Mikael’s eye. I think the actress is great but the character doesn’t remain that interesting. It comes and goes.
Christian Bale as Chris Myers. Christian Bale is always good I think, he’s an American reporter who is in Turkey writing articles about what’s happening. When the war kicks off, he gets involved and he tries chronicle the events, he even gets involved with trying to help orphans escape. He’s dating Ana. He also seems to have a few issues of his own in the beginning. He’s an interesting character, at first they make him come off as a “villain” but that goes away. I think Bale is good here, he’s kind of a low key character, they all are actually. Chris comes off as a brash, drunk American but as the film progresses, we see a smart man who tries to help those fleeing while trying to tell their story and stay alive himself. I almost thought he would be a bad guy in the love triangle but I didn’t think that happened.
Supporting Characters. There are a lot of supporting characters but we only get to see his parents, another woman, his uncle and family and his friend Emre who is also a medical student. They are all good, his mother though, Shohreh Aghdashloo is really good. She isn’t huge in the film but the parts she’s in, she’s fantastic.
The Look of the Film. This film looks really good. The costumes are nice, and while it’s in positive mode it feels happy. But when the tone shift and goes dark, the look of the film starts to shift with the tone which I think is cool. The story gets really heavy and it does not shy away from that, everything is crisp, it’s seen and I think that’s a plus for the type of film it is.
The Story. This is based on the true story of Turkey’s attempt to wipe out Armenians. Now, there’s been controversy surrounding it because that time period has been ignored and Turkey doesn’t claim their involvement but it’s so sad. It starts off by going in a different direction, we follow Mikael who wants to be a medical student, he falls in love with a woman who is with another man, then a war begins and he is thrust into it. It just takes off from there, and it’s emotional. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we see death, we see people who are fleeing for their lives, we see children be casualties of war and genocide and we see people try to fight back. It’s intense.
The Music. Gabriel Yared manages to make a score that is so sad. Due to the nature of the film, the music has to match that, especially as the tone completely changes after the first part of the film and I think he manages to add to the story. There are emotional scenes, that while sad, the music helps put it over the top. I didn’t cry, but I did do that thing where I covered my mouth because it was shocking and the music helped my senses.
The Romance. This will show up again later, but on one end, it’s kind of cute and you totally see it coming. The end has an emotional moment that ties in with the romance that’s a plus.
Wasted Potential. There is a lot of wasted potential in this film. I know it’s based on true events, whether or not the people are real, I’m not sure, but I think there are parts that are way more interesting than others. The movie feels overblown because it wants to tackle everything that happens, when there are smaller storylines that were way more interesting. I think the film should have been told completely through Mikael’s eyes, it should have never strayed from him, that way it would feel more focused and we would be able to understand what’s happening through his eyes. It would be more contained and probably not be as “boring”.
The Love Triangle. So there is a love triangle in this film and it’s a focal point for the characters and I didn’t really care about it. For one thing, I don’t really like love triangles anyway, they’re so annoying. But I mean it understood it but I don’t think it added anything. It’s like those epic movies Titanic, Pearl Harbor where it’s based on true events but the characters have some type of love triangle thing going on and I don’t think it really adds anything to the story, especially from 1/3 of the triangle.
Boring. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie overall, but it’s boring. There are moments when it just lags, the pacing is out of whack a lot here. There are parts where there’s a lot going on, it’s so fast paced then it slows sooo down and I’m like “and now it’s gotten boring”.
Too Long. 2 hours and 13 minutes long, probably 20 minutes too long, I think 20 minutes can do a lot. It just feels like it keeps going and going and going. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the pacing is weird, if they would have filled those moments in with something else, then maybe I wouldn’t have felt the length of the film.
Overall, I like this movie. I think it has a good cast, Oscar Isaac especially is a standout, he’s almost too good for the film. The film has a lovely look, the music adds ambience to the film while also being a support in the emotional moments. The story is very real and raw even with possible inadequacies. However, this film has a lot of wasted potential, while it is an “epic” it tries to hard to tell a story that might have been too big for this film, at least in the way it’s told. It’s very advantageous to tell a horrifying story like the genocide of the Armenians in Turkey but it just falls on it’s side in the story telling.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Promise? Are you interested? Let me know in the comments below.
What’s your favorite Oscar Isaac film? What movie were you surprised that he was in
Favorite Christian Bale film? Let me know in the comments below!