THE LEGO MOVIE (2014)
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, and Will Ferrell
Synopsis: Everything is awesome.
Rating: PG for Lego type violence and brick on brick action.
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that shakes the very foundation of your being and rocks you to your very core.
The Lego Movie is such a movie.
What exactly makes The Lego Movie such an exceptional standout in a sea of lesser movies?
Is it the wonderful visuals? The funny voice work by a very funny cast? The perfect blending of story and humor with a thoughtful message about learning to put down the instruction manual from time to time and follow your own path?
Nope. it’s the Legos. Every movie should have Legos. And every movie that has been made would be better if it had Legos.
The Hunger Games? Decent movie. The Hunger Games with Legos? Super awesome!
Jaws? Great movie. Jaws with Legos? Boom.
R.I.P.D? You know what, let’s skip that one…
If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie yet, then for Heaven sake screw it together and buy a copy! I mean, here’s a brief synopsis lf this charming tale of fun and adventure:
In the all Lego universe, happy go lucky Emmet (Chris Pratt) happily goes about his life in the city of Bricksburg, getting up early, driving safely, and doing his construction job with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. One day Emmet catches the pretty and mysterious Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) snooping around the construction site, and while chasing her discovers the mysterious Piece of Resistance, an object that has been prophesized to save the Lego universe.
Now Emmet the ordinary becomes Emmet “The Special,” the being destined to stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who wants to used his Kragle superweapon to freeze everyone and everything in the universe.
I know what you’re thinking – is Emmet truly “The Special?” Well…maybe. Not quite. Sort of. Not really. But thankfully he has a team of Master Builders in his corner to help guide our goofy but lovable protagonist along to find his courage and train him to become The Special. They are the aforementioned Wyldestyle, the mysterious blind wizard Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman) who offers all kinds of wisdom and advice, and superhero extraordinaire Batman (Will Arnett) who offers no help whatsoever.
Emmet and his pals travel from one amazing Lego world to another, trying to stay one step ahead of Lord Business and his Super Secret Police which is lead by Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), a cop with personality issues. Can Emmet become a Master Builder and put an end to Lord Business’ plans to really mess up Taco Tuesday?
The Lego Movie is a glorious, enjoyable action fantasy with lots of humor and a heartwarming ending. If you watch this movie and aren’t charmed down to your shorts by this movie, we can no longer be friends. Seriously, I will un-friend you on the spot if you don’t love this movie. This is what it’s come down to. I am drawing a line in the sand here compadre.
But I wouldn’t worry. You’re going to love The Lego Movie, and we’re going to be friends for a long, long time. Can I crash at your place for a few weeks?
BATTLESHIP (2012) Director: Peter Berg Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rhianna, and Liam Neeson Rating: PG-13 for explosions, profanity, evil space aliens, swimsuit models and singers trying to act.
Gather round kids! Ol’ Grandpa Tom is going to tell you a painfully boring story!
When I was a fresh faced grade school lad growing up in suburban New Jersey, there was very little to do. Before the Atari 2600 Video Game System came along and introduced children to the heart stopping thrills of Yars Revenge, the only way to entertain oneself was either playing outside with that kid down the street who always picked his nose or staying inside and playing board games.
Board games had instructions to read, rules to be followed, and plastic pieces that always slid under the couch when you got frustrated and violently knocked the game off the table. Then Mom would send you to your room where you watched blurry Gilligan’s Island reruns on a 13 inch black and white TV set with a coat hanger antenna and a missing channel knob.
To sum up, being a kid in the late 70’s sucked ass. Big time.
One board game that every kid in the burbs owned was Battleship. For reasons unknown, Universal Pictures took this classic strategy game and made it into a big action movie extravaganza, also named Battleship. Again, I’m not sure why they did this. Maybe the script for Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie wasn’t ready yet? That’s my theory.
Battleship opens with the discovery of an Earth-like planet in a nearby galaxy. Using a high tech communications facility in Hawaii, NASA beams a powerful signal to “Planet G,” a signal which hopefully contains a message of universal peace, and not tracks from the new Ke$ha album.
A few years later, NASA craps their pants as five huge mean alien ships come to Earth and land in the Pacific Ocean. Actually, four ships land in the Pacific ocean and the fifth one crashes into downtown Hong Kong, proving that even an advanced species from another planet can mistake the gas pedal for the brake.
But don’t worry Earthlings! It just so happens the United States Navy and dozens of other fighting ships from around the world are conducting naval drills in the Pacific Ocean when the aliens arrive! On second thought, worry a lot because the alien ships erect a giant energy dome around Hawaii, leaving 97% of the fleet commanded by Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson in a glorified cameo) on the outside looking in. Things get really ugly when two of the three warships on the inside of the dome are quickly turned into scrap by the ferocious space aliens who wield weapons straight out of the Transformer movies and look like they bought their armored space suits at Tony Stark’s yard sale.
Only the USS John Paul Jones is left to battle the alien menace. Unfortunately, with the executive officers dead, the Destroyer is now commanded by Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a cocky maverick on the verge of a discharge who is about as fit to wear a Navy uniform as Tom Arnold in McHale’s Navy. Can Hopper screw his stuff together long enough to defeat the heavily armed aliens who want to use the communications array in Hawaii to call their home planet, leading to a full scale invasion that will turn Earth into Planet G’s vacation home?
And more importantly, why was swimsuit model Booklyn Decker cast in this movie?
Ah. Never mind.
Even though it wasn’t the huge moneymaking blockbuster Universal Pictures wanted it to be and the critics unanimously panned it, truth be told, this ol’ grandpa of a critic kinda liked Battleship.
It’s big, loud, and dumb; which is the way I like my blockbuster movies.
And my women. But that’s a story for when you’re older.
So if you like big loud dumb movies loaded with explosions, hard charged fighting men and women kicking some alien butt, and buxom models turned actresses wearing tiny shirts, you can’t go wrong with Battleship. Heck, I’ll even go so far as to say that out of all the movies based on classic games, Battleship is the best hands down.
Yeah, I’m talking to you Super Mario Brothers. You will take your shame to your grave.
WRATH OF THE TITANS (2012) Director: Jonathan Liebesman Starring: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes Rating: PG-13 for swords clashing and Titans wrathing.
Wrath of the Titans is swords and sandals epic which is a sequel to the 2010 film Clash of the Titans, which also had lots of swords and sandals.
Wrath has more swords than Clash, but Clash had beautiful sandals. I’m talking real high quality ones too – not the cheapo kinds you buy at Wallgreens in the seasonal items section next to the pool toys, I’m talking the fine quality sandals you’d find at Kohl’s, or dare I say it – Payless. Thems some fine sandals!
If you didn’t see Clash of the Titans, here’s what you missed:
Perseus (Sam Worthington) the half-man half-god undertakes a mighty quest to stop the evil God of the underworld Hades (Ralph Fiennes) before he enacts terrible vengeance against the people of ancient Greece, and king of the gods Zeus (Liam Neeson) utters the best catchphrase of 2010:
Picking up ten years after the first film, Wrath of the Titans finds Perseus living the quiet life as a fisherman with his young son Helius. Zeus shows up and asks his son to help him out with some God business, but Perseus wants none of that as he’s still mourning the death of his wife Io, who passed away during the opening credits because the actress who played her in the previous movie was unavailable for the sequel.
The Gods are losing their powers and the Underworld prison of Tartarus is crumbling. The evil Titans imprisoned there will escape and make a big mess if Zeus doesn’t stop them. Zeus seeks help from his brother Hades, but since Hades is still god of dick moves, he and Zeus’ other half god son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) imprison Zeus so they can use his power to revive Kronos, the father of the gods who is basically a gigantic walking volcano who sweats lava and really hates his kids.
When Perseus learns Dad is in big trouble he seeks out his old pal Queen Andromeda to help him find a way to set things right. Perseus rescued Andromeda from the Kraken in the previous movie but since she has a bigger part in the sequel, she’s played by better known actress Rosamund Pike. Perseus and Andromeda hook up with Poseidon’s half god son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) who knows a guy who knows a way to Tartarus where Zeus is being held.
Perseus and crew fight a veritable who’s who of Greek mythology to rescue Zeus from Hades. There’s a gang of giant cyclops guys, a butt ugly Minotaur, and some angry warrior demons who look like conjoined Orcs on HGH. As Andromeda and her army take on Kronos and his minions, Perseus goes mano y mano with Ares, who is really pissed off because Dad gave his half brother a flying pony, a cool Australian accent, and a starring role in the Avatar franchise while all he got was a really girly name.
In summation, despite some CG goodies and a few decent battle scenes, Wrath of the Titans is your basic by-the-book sequel that fails to surpass or even equal the original movie.
I wonder what they could have done to make the movie better?
Okay, I’ll say it. They should have brought back the Kraken.
Sure, the Kraken crumbled into the sea at the climax of the last movie, but who cares? It’s a sequel for crying out loud! Maybe the Kraken was just pretending to be dead like Michael Meyers at the end of every Halloween sequel! How about reviving him with a lightening bolt a la Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th Part VI! Or have him return as the long lost twin brother of the Kraken out for revenge!
Once again, nobody listens to me.