Film Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

wir2

Death, taxes, and Disney.  3 surefire constants in life.  Disney has made a TON of quality films: Toy Story 1-3 (Pixar but still under Disney umbrella), Lion King, Duck Tales Movie (You better believe that counts), Little Mermaid, the list goes on.  And hey, they’re allowed to have a Black Cauldron,  Chicken Little, or Meet the Robinsons every so often.  Then what happens?  Disney buys Star Wars and fires out films faster than Alexandra Ocasio Cortez fires out her lack of knowledge regarding government structure.  SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS GETTING INAUGERATED??!! Anyway, some of the Star Wars films were solid (Rogue 1 and Episode 8), and a couple that weren’t (Solo and arguably Episode 7).  But Disney is that guy you want up to the plate with bases loaded and down by 3 in the bottom of the 9th.  They’ll bring it home and make more “feel good” memories for you 8 times out of 10.    

So when they announced a sequel to one of my favorite recent Disney films, Wreck it Ralph, I was immediately ecstatic.  How perfect was the mix of 80’s/90’s video games, humor, and even a message of acceptance for people with physical issues that doesn’t constantly hit you over the head.  I laughed throughout the first film and had to rewatch to see all of the characters walking in the background of all the scenes.  How did I think the sequel holds up?  Well…

Ralph and Vanellope (John C Reilly and Sarah “I don’t mind watching Louis CK beat off as long as that ginger juice doesn’t get on me” Silverman) are back in Litwak’s arcade, hooping it up when Ralph accidentally contributes to the breaking of Sugar Rush’s (Vanellope’s game) steering wheel.  Uh-oh!  A replacement steering wheel costs more than Sugar Rush takes in a year so all the characters escape from the now shutdown video game.  Vanellope and Ralph make their way into the wi-fi router and head to eBay so they can get that replacement steering wheel and save Candy Crush from being taken out of the arcade.  Cue the spam/pop up add jokes, the google autofill jokes, and various internet gags.  After Ralph and Vanellope win the auction for the Sugar Rush steering wheel, they learn that Ebay does indeed cost money.  Ralph heads off to make goofy videos and becomes a viral star with the help of the algorithm, YESSS (Taraji P Henson).  Meanwhile, Vanellope heads off and gets tied in with bad girl/wannabe Fast and the Furious racer, Shank (Gal Godot).  Vanellope wants to drive and Shank tells her that maybe Sugar Rush is not longer for the place for her.  Enter internal conflict of staying with her best friend or leaving for her dreams.  

At this point, this film is solid and just about as enjoyable as the first.  I must say that when Vanellope goes to the Disney section of the internet is HILARIOUS.  She runs into Star Wars characters, priceless.  But when she mets all of the princesses of the Disney films is when this film takes the cake.  Tons of shoutouts, tongue in mouth jokes from Snow White to Mulan to Elsa.  That writing couldn’t have been more sharp.  But I have to say, this film disappointed me when Ralph tries to sabotage the internet with a virus.  It really lost me in the end and I think the payoff was subdued because I wasn’t really on board with that final act.  Is this a fun film?  Yes.  Did I like it?  Yes.  But is this in the same ballpark as its predecessor?  Absolutely not.  

I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Advertisements

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (No spoilers)

starwars

Well kids, it’s Christmas time for us all…unless you’re Jewish.  The new Star Wars film is here which is something EVERYONE can celebrate.  The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.  What do I think?  Glad you asked your favorite film snob cause I have many thoughts.  And before we get started, here’s my rankings of the films so you know my preferences:

4, 6, 5, Rogue One, 3, 7, 2, ——————1.  That’s how bad Phantom Menace is, lower than Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad.  Hell, I’ll put the punching bag known as the Star Wars Christmas above PM.

We start TLJ off in a dark time, the Resistance is getting decimated by the First Order (a La Empire Strikes back but don’t worry, this film isn’t an Empire reboot as Ep 7 was like Ep 4).  Rey is about to meet Skywalker and learn about the path of a Jedi.  And of course, cry baby Kylo Ren is back being tormented by Supreme Leader Snoke how he’s not much of a man with that mask.  Ren then destroys the mask and then destroying my wishes that he’d keep the mask on so we don’t have to look at his stupid face.  And they say bullying is bad, bullying gets shit done…to a degree.  Good news in this installment, not many emo temper tantrums out of Ren!

The Resistance, led by Princess Leia (yes, you’ll spend most of the time guessing if and where she gets killed off to coincide with Carrie Fisher’s death) needs a codebreaker to crack the code of being able to track a ship through hyperspace.  Speaking of Carrie Fisher, they must have paid her for the Force Awakens in gallons of gin and Virginia Slims.  Her voice sounds huskier than mine.  Folks, it’s been a LONNGGGG time since she wore that metal bikini.  But I did enjoy her having a larger role here than she did in Episode 7.  Anyway, the ships’ shields can only hold up for so long as Finn and new character Jane escape to find said codebreaker.  I’ll tell you now that you’ll find Jane ALMOST as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.  Not a fan.  She is going down in the Star Wars annals as one of the most unlikeable characters, I’ll guarantee it.  And there’s a whole 15-20 minutes with Finn and her that on their search for the codebreaker that could’ve been cut.  Meanwhile, Rey attempts to learn why Skywalker became a hermit and no longer a teacher of the Jedi.  We also learn more why Kylo Ren made the choice to commit to the dark side and I found it to be a nice twist.  

Chewbacca doesn’t get much screen time in this one and you’ll find yourself saying, “Where the hell is Chewie?”  There’s also very little from R2 and some of 3PO.  BB-8 does get a solid haul of screen time and he’s enjoyable as usual.   BUT, you also get a couple of cameos, including one great surprise that will easily put a smile on your face.

I will say that this film is a lot funnier than most BUT after the halfway point, I felt that the jokes were becoming a bit overkill.  I don’t need comedic lines like Caddyshack in a Star Wars film.  I just want good story and good action.  By all means, sprinkle a few throughout the film.  But this has a LOT more; maybe more than all of the films combined.  So that was a bit off-putting.  

Let’s also talk about Daisy Ridley playing Rey.  She’s fantastic and for everyone trying to shove female heroes down our throats for the sake of, take note of this.  You know why this works?  Cause it’s natural.  You BELIEVE that this girl can be a Jedi knight and enjoy her journey.  But when Hollywood forces all female reboots or DEMANDS we have more female superheroes just to check a box, people seize up.  When you feel like you’re trying to be sold something, you freeze up and reject it, right?  Well Rey doesn’t do go that route, bravo!

The action scenes are great.  Dogfight scenes are rock solid and the lightsaber battles?  Top notch, top notch!  

Without delving too deeply into the story, a lot of shit goes down in this film that you would’ve expected to happen in the final film.  TLJ will definitely throw you a few unexpected curveballs, some pleasant and even an, “Ahhh shit” moment.  A lot of people were worried that this would be too much like Empire and there are a couple of moments that there are similarities but overall, it’s quite independent of Ep 5.  

This film does drag a BIT; as I said above, there’s easily 15-20 minutes that can be cut.  And you’ll wonder during the final battle why it’s going on so long but it does pay off nicely.  

And now, the verdict.  I really liked this film and I think it’s better than Force Awakens.  Why?  Because it wasn’t a “greatest hits” like Ep 7 was.  It’s dark.  And they do answer some questions but you’ll wish they expounded on more of the story.  The stage was set relatively well and I’m hoping they just close the loops nicely with episode 9.  

I give it a 7.5 out of 10 and in the rankings, I put it after Rogue One and before Force Awakens.

Review of Star Wars: Rogue One (No spoilers)

rogueone_onesheeta

As I have said before, I like to see the schedule of films coming out and I’ll circle the ones I highly anticipate.  Usually, there about 4 per year that I get excited for and this was one of them.  However, being that Rogue 1 isn’t part of the original story, I was a little less excited for this as I was for Episode 7 last year.  Spinoff of the original tend to suck (Scorpion King, This is 40, X-Men Wolverine films are awful, and those god awful American Pie straight to DVD films) so I was slightly hesitant.  I also read that this is the first Star Wars film that John Williams wasn’t doing the score for.  John Williams is as integral to these films (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jaws, the list goes on) as pepperoni is to pizza.

The story takes place after Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith, when Hayden Christiansen thankfully slides into the lava after Obi-Wan slices his legs off.  I wish Obi-Wan used the force to give Hayden better acting lessons.  Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, whose father (Madds Mikelsen) was the architect behind the Death Star.  Young Jyn is hidden for years by Saw Gerrara (Forrest Whittaker) as the Imperials have been looking for her to ensure her father’s cooperation in the completion of the Death Star.  Jyn is freed by the Rebellion and thus begins her mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

The new characters are instantly likable and you feel something for them all.  K2SO is the robot who embraces the newest comedic role. You’ll see a bunch of familiar faces from previous films, even some restored by CGI as their younger selves from Star Wars.  Some characters may take you a second to recall but when you do, a smile will cross your face.  And of course, Darth Vader makes several appearances in the film.  And without spoiling anything, his final scene is bad-assery at its finest. One of my complaints are they take you to several planets/moons all over the galaxy but you won’t need to remember them later on. I wish they showed you the Emperor in some capacity but no luck.  This film flows beautifully while weaving a fantastic tale.  It’s almost sad as we know the fate for most of these characters being that we’ve seen the 7 previous films.  Director Gareth Edwards ensures it ends with a flawless segue for Star Wars, Episode 4.

People ask me how I rank this amongst the other films but I really need to see this again to take it in.  I’m still processing everything but rest assured, it’s damn good.  If I were to give an early ranking, I put it after Empire and before 7.  Here’s the way I rank them as of now.  4, 6, 5, 3.5, 7, 3 (really good, people just hate the shit out of the 2nd trilogy), 2 (the last 1/3 is really good), 1 (an egregious piece of shit).

Star Wars Episode 7

I loved it.  JJ Abrams did a great job with the story.  Yes, there are some shoutouts to the earlier films with characters or props.  SPOILER ALERT: 95% of the audience in the theater didn’t use deodorant; it smelled like a Syrian refugee camp in there.  Nerds, save your money on just 1 action figure and buy a couple Speed Sticks.

I smelled a couple of the angles right out but still found it enjoyable.  I also had a bunch of questions, one of them being how is Carrie Fisher’s voice deeper than mine?  I understand she probably downed a quart of Bombay a day since ’83 but Jesus Christ, she sounds like 85 year old truck driver with emphysema.

Here’s how I rank the 7:

Star Wars, Jedi, Empire, Force Awakens, Revenge of the Sith, Attack of the Clones, and the biggest piece of shit to grace the screen, the Phantom Menace.

Here’s my impression if Hayden Christiansen called JJ Abrams, asking him for a part in the new film.

Hayden: JJ, it’s Hayden, what’s up?

JJ: Who?

Hayden: Hayden Christiansen, you know…I played Anakin in the prequel trilogy

JJ: Ummm…Right…what can I do for you?

Hayden: Well, I was wondering if there was any role for me in the new film you’re directing.

JJ: Sure, we can always use an intern or some help on craft services.

Hayden: I was thinking more of an on-camera role, maybe a flashback scene with Vader or earlier memory of Anakin.

JJ: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH!!

Hayden: You don’t need to be mean.

JJ: Awww, come on, this isn’t Hayden.  Did Harrison put you up to this?  Man, that old goat has a sense of humor; despite being married to that bulimic wife of his.

Hayden: No, Harrison didn’t put me up to this.  I’m serious, would you have a part.

JJ: (Shouting to no one) JJ, Alec Guiness is the other line. Hayden, I gotta take this call from Alec Guiness.

Hayden: JJ, he’s been dead for over 30 years.

JJ: He’s calling collect, gotta go.  Good luck in Jumper 2.

 

My rating, I’d give it a 7.5 out of 10.  I’m dying for the next film and thankfully, it’s only another year and a half to episode 8.