This should be an interesting weekend for new movies. In Pacific Rim, we have giant robots fighting giant monsters in an all-out Godzilla, anime style brawl. In Grown Ups 2, we have a forced sequel to one of the laziest comedies of all time. Which one will win the box office battle?
While a movie of this scope would normally generate a lot of buzz, audiences are a bit tired on
wonton wanton destruction and carnage. After seeing the world destroyed in Man of Steel, Star Trek into Darkness and White House Down, movie crowds have been pummeled into big effects submission and require a change of pace. Don’t go looking for that here. Pacific Rim makes those movies look like peaceful negotiations.
Everyone I’ve talked to about this movie has referenced their boredom with the Transformers series and compares the trailer to just another giant robot movie. Pacific Rim manages to soar high above any other mech battle movie in a big way.
The movie starts out with a ton of exposition. Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) gives the brief history of the ocean rift and the first days of the Kaiju attacks. To combat their steady arrival, the human race constructed several giant robots, called Jaegers. We have been able to hold back their attacks, but as the movie begins we find that the Kaiju have adapted and are learning the Jaeger’s weaknesses. The meat of the movie takes place 12 years after the initial attacks. Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) leads a waning group of the last Jaeger defensive until the program disappears entirely. He recruits Raleigh to fend off the increasingly powerful Kaiju.
In short, monsters attack us, we fight back with giant robots, they get stronger and we try to nuke the dimensional gate they’re coming in through.
You aren’t really going to see this movie for story are you? That’s not to say there isn’t one. Director Guillermo Del Toro creates a fantastic world where life is precious, yet expendable at the same time. This is a world that would rather build a giant coastal wall that hopefully protects us from oncoming monsters, rather than fight the problem head on.
Let’s get over the weak areas first. The dialogue deals mostly with characters unintelligibly yelling at each other in military facilities. Don’t go into this movie expecting witty or inspiring writing. Normally I would rip a movie apart for such a blatant weakness, but as I sat in the theater, I couldn’t hate it. In fact, I gave it a pass because of what the movie does right. Yes, I wish Whedon or Nolan wrote the dialogue, but the movie does what it needed to do.
The characters are very thin. Though, this movie is more about relationships. We get to see brief, though great, glimpses of terrific charactertization between mentor/apprentice, father and son, brothers and co-pilots.
What you really care about in Pacific Rim is the incredible battles. You will not be let down. This is nothing like Transformers, where 30 robots are smashing each other and you can’t tell who you’re supposed to root for. (Fun Fact: In Australian, root means to have sex) Instead, the battles in Pacific Rim show one robot and one monster, normally. The violence is larger than life and displayed clearly before your eyes. Also, it’s much easier to relate to the Jaegers, because they have 2 pilots controlling the robot. When they step the Jaeger steps, when the Jaeger is damaged, they temporarily are as well. This movie keeps you entertained by showing unique perspectives from within the Jaeger and the incredible scope of the destruction from outside.
This movie is meant to be seen in IMAX. Seriously. You will feel every step, every crunch and growl. And you will be better for it. If you have ever wanted to rekindle your relationship with your inner child, this is the movie to see. I felt like I was 14 years old while watching unforgettable imagery that blew me away.
Will this movie ever win an award for best screenplay? No. But it’s not dumb, nor does it pander to the masses. It’s a giant present that walks away and says, “You’re welcome.” Women, on the whole, may not get how anyone likes this. Men, you now have your own version of The Notebook.
Grown Ups 2
Three short years ago, Grown Ups was released upon an unsuspecting public. In what seemed like a found footage tape of Adam Sandler and his buddies spending a weekend at a cabin, they also created a franchise that should never have been. Earning $162 million made it a huge success and because people paid for it the first time around, they are going to have to pay for it again. Now we have the sequel. Instead of taking the first film’s profits and investing it into a funny writer or a decent director, they figured, “Hey, it worked the first time right?” Well, to be honest, it’s probably going to work again.
Grown Ups 2 follows the same group of guys minus Rob Schneider. There is no reason for any of these guys to have character names, so I’m not going to bother. Sandler and his family have moved from LA to the small town to be close to “the guys.” Chris Rock is a neutered version of himself. David Spade is set to spend the Summer with his violent love child. And Kevin James is there to Burp, Sneeze and Fart. It’s cleverly titled a Burp Snart. I can’t believe I’m writing this.
First of all, I just want to apologize to World War Z and Lone Ranger. It takes a truly terrible movie like Grown Ups to make me realize how harsh I was on you guys. You’re still not great, but I’m sorry I was a movie bully.
To help you visualize what Grown Ups 2 is like, just close your eyes and imagine every single bodily fluid there is. Okay, now imagine those fluids eaten, licked, sprayed and just played for “comedy.” That is the soul of Grown Ups 2. Don’t be fooled, thinking this is a family comedy. If you want your kids to progressively become less intelligent, take them to this movie. They may laugh at the poop jokes and the slapstick, but they will pay the cost down the road.
There’s just a major issue when director Dennis Dugan’s last 7 flicks have been Sandler flicks and they have all scored less than 15% on Rotten Tomatoes. Wouldn’t you think a career change would be in order? Who am I kidding, these guys are all getting a paycheck, and a big one at that.
I understand there’s an audience for these movies and to them I apologize for being a snob. But if you enjoy this movie, can’t you just watch it and realize that no one is putting any effort in at all? I understand comedies are easy to watch and don’t require much from the audience, but don’t you want to be challenged? Don’t you want a comedy to be even better the 3rd or 4th time you watch it because of jokes you missed the first time around? If not, enjoy the deer peeing, ice cream pooping, snot cheetos, pee stain fun.
If I haven’t convinced you to not see this, I’ll just say one more thing…Taylor Lautner’s in it.