Happy 4th of July week everyone! I’ve never been a big fan of parades, heat or fireworks. But you know what I am a fan of…? Movies. So let’s cut to the chase and see if these two wide releases are worth your money. Because seeing Johnny Depp in whiteface has got to be better than last week’s White House Down. Right?
Despicable Me 2
We are almost to the point of over-saturation of CG animated movies. With Turbo releasing in a few weeks, I think we’ll have reached the maximum amount of kids movies Hollywood can release in one year.
The first Despicable Me was a huge success and, even though it was was about a super-villain, it was extremely likable. Thanks in no small part to the minions.
This movie continues Gru’s story and we get to see how life is now that he’s retired from villainy and prefers to spend time with his adopted girls. Of course, his retirement doesn’t last long as he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League, who requires his skills to find a criminal mastermind working in the local mall.
I had a great time with the story. Seeing how Gru interacts with off-kilter AVL agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) made for a great time. At times, you forget that there is supposed to be a villain they’re seeking. Though, we know that kids aren’t watching this movie for the story.
Whenever the pacing feels a little flat, this movie brings in its not-so-secret weapons, the Minions. I don’t know what it is about these things. People just love them. Even in their pre-movie commercials, you can hear movie audiences laughing their faces off. You’d think the joke would get old. They’re basically yellow blobs who speak their own adorable language and laugh at flatulence. But for some reason, it still works. Without these Minions, Despicable Me would be a tier 4 animated movie.
The Minions have proven so popular that they’re getting their own feature next year. We shall see if the joke is still enough for these jibberish-speaking tylenol capsules to carry their own movie.
Despicable Me 2 can be quite funny. Normally the laughter of children scares me (when I can hear it in my house late at night), but this movie definitely knows its target audience and keeps up the comedy, pacing and even packs in a few jokes for the older crowd. This was a far more lively screening than Monsters University, where I heard one kid laugh, on accident.
If you liked the first movie and if you have kids or immature friends to see it with, this is a great way to pass 100 minutes of your weekend. See it.
The Lone Ranger
I know Disney has all the money, but when did they think that adapting an old radio and TV series would be relevant to movie audiences today? I think there’s only one reason why this adaptation was created. Because Johnny Depp wanted it to be. He has gone on record that he wanted to play Tonto to mess around with the stereotypes of “American Indians” that Hollywood has created.
Because there’s nothing that salvages America’s poor treatment of Native Americans more than a white actor from Kentucky playing a crow-haired Native American whose name is translated as “fool” in Spanish.
John Reid, who later becomes The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer, yes that’s his real name), starts out as a naive prosecuting attorney. He is visiting his Texas Ranger brother and just happens to be on the same train as convict, Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), who is awaiting his impending hanging. Tonto also conveniently happens to be on the train as well. Well, it seems only obvious that the bad guy escapes, then Reid’s Ranger brother is killed, Reid and Tonto unite and trains explode.
Yep, that’s pretty much it. So why did it take two and a half hours to tell that story. First of all, it takes an hour for Reid’s origin story to surface. An entire hour! Then, much like Ryan Reynolds in the Green Lantern, he still doesn’t get the importance of his responsibilities and whines about them for another hour. Then in the last half hour, a bunch of villains with incredibly stupid motives are having train wars with the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
This movie couldn’t make up it’s mind. It wanted to be like Pirates of the Caribbean. But then it gets overly serious and incredibly violent. It constantly hinted at a supernatural element taking place in the story (the original script called for Werewolves. Seriously), but then left anything interesting behind.
And what is up with the terrible villains? As if Fichtner doesn’t look villainous enough, they have to give him Jonah Hex scars. Oh, that’s not sinister enough? Let’s make him a cannibal to boot. And Barry Pepper is riding this western wave of fame. Don’t watch True Grit followed by this movie, it will just be too confusing.
Why is Helena Bonham Carter in this movie? She appeared in two brief scenes and looks like she showed up to pick up her paycheck. But wait, she has a fake leg that can shoot shotgun and cannon shells. That’s cool, right?….
Johnny Depp. What are you doing? It’s time for an intervention because you need to just stop. The charm you built with Captain Jack is now officially at an end. I’ve got an idea. Try acting in your next movie and don’t rely on your makeup/costume.
This movie is so dull it should be called “Mild, Mild West.” Don’t bother seeing this.