Monday, July 4, 2016

200 Word Movie Reviews: Tarzan and Independence Day: Resurgence

We see a lot of movies here on-base in Japan.  For one thing, we’re married with children, so it’s about as much excitement as we get.  And we desperately need a reason to escape from the house every other week or so.  It’s also cheap as hell: $3 for most movies, $5 for 3D shows.  One of the amenities for being far-flung from home.

I’m going to start doing quickie movie reviews on here.  I could make them long and in-depth, but I don’t think your average cyber-reader needs all that.  Most just want a quick overview to see if it’s worth their hard-earned dollars.  Should they see it at the theatre, wait for the rental, or just avoid it all together?  I think 200 words are enough to say something worthwhile, while still keeping it brief. 

Of course, everyone’s tastes are different, but if you find over time that our sensibilities align pretty well, then you might just check here before forking over a big wad at the box office.

This past week we saw two movies: 

Independence Day: Resurgence

I didn’t go in expecting much, just a couple-hour escape from the house.  And that’s about all I got.

Basics: Bigger and meaner aliens return to attack an ill-prepared future full of pretty boys and girls. 

In 20 years’ time, you’d think they’d have come up with something better.

One thing that stood out to me was that just about all the main players were young and pretty (especially Liam Hemsworth), which automatically sticks in my craw.  If it looks like 90210, it probably is.  There were a few players from the first movie called back into service, all of whom were probably waiting for this for 20 years, as they haven’t been in much else since. 

There was a little bit of characterization and a redemption storyline, but like just about everything in the movie, it was pretty shallow.  A lot of the science of it seemed wonky to me, too.  It is science fiction, but at least get gravity right! 

On the plus-side, it was a bubblegum summer movie: lots of pew-pew and ‘splosions, with a little romance between beautiful people.  Don’t expect more than that, and you won’t be disappointed.

2.5/5 stars.  “Rent it.”

The Legend of Tarzan

It was good.  Though I wanted this to be more epic than it was.  Even though it pretty much had all the elements and the approach needed, there was still just something missing for me.  (Or maybe I’m just becoming a cold, dry-hearted curmudgeon in my old age.)

Basics: Lord Greystoke, famed Tarzan of the jungle, is called back to the Congo into a trap against some historically-accurate evil-doers. 

I liked that this story takes place after he’s been Tarzan and returned to life as an English lord (which doesn’t appear to agree with him too well).  We still get the Tarzan story but in a series of flashbacks, which is way better than spending the whole movie on something we already know.  And it gives us a more complex story that really is based on the history of Belgium colonial exploitation.  So it mixes true history and social awareness with fantasy and legend (realistically done, as much as swinging like Spiderman and communicating with animals through mating calls can be). Most of the acting is good; Jane’s okay.  And Tarzan mostly naked through the movie is a bonus for the ladies.  (Worked for my wife.)

I’ll round it up to 4/5 stars. “See it.” 

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