Let’s not muck about!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
When I found out they were rehashing this beloved franchise, my eyes lit up like the child I used to be, fat and stuffing my face with Cheezels®. When I heard the subsequent words ‘Michael Bay’ the ‘awwww’ was audible. You’re probably aware that the Transformers movies are my benchmark for appalling cinema.
Perhaps it was because my expectations were non-existent, perhaps it’s because I was a little bit baked, but this film, while still appalling, didn’t disgust me.
Yes, it completely does away with the origin story of the first films. Splinter does NOT learn martial arts from Hamato Yoshi, he just randomly picks it up from reading a book in the sewer. I’m sorry, but a rat developing literacy is far less believable than learning martial arts through mimicry of a master (which I know is also unbelievable, shut up). The turtles weren’t named by the Splinter in this film – in a delightfully cheesy coincidence they end up being the turtles that April O’Niell named and owned as a child (nonsense, complete and utter nonsense).
Part of why the original films worked was because it was a good origin story – an origin story I didn’t even realise I remembered that much of until I noticed how much they’d changed. It weakens
Yes, it has the ridiculously overblown action sequences – one scene in particular that takes place as a truck slides down a mountain. The scene goes for ages and the truck maintains its speed down a steep slope for AGES. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a mountain on earth that could have facilitated such a long and rapid decline. There are way too many convenient solutions to immediate problems that appear out of nowhere, but they’re a bunch of radioactive turtles for crying out loud.
That being said, what sets this apart from the horror of Transformers is a certain self-awareness that immature and juvenile characters help facilitate. It’s stupid, but it’s far more cartoon-ish. It doesn’t take itself as seriously as Optimus Nutsack and Megatwat, and that makes it far more enjoyable.
That, and not paying more than $20 to see it.
WHERE THE FUCK WAS CASEY JONES THOUGH?! 4/10
The Maze Runner (2014)
The trailer for this film piqued my interest, but finding out it was based on a popular series of young-adult novels made me feel both old and completely out of touch. Sure, there are some compelling and amazingly popular book series out there, something that someone like me, who considers themselves a writer in at least some sense of the word, should be aware of as the holy grail of profitability, but that doesn’t mean I want to sit through them.
As it often does though, curiosity got the better of me.
It’s an interesting premise, and I have the feeling James Dashner owes at least some of his idea to watching far too much Lost and Survivor, probably drunk– but it’s OK, we’re talking the first three seasons of Lost, when it was good, before it all came horribly undone. Or perhaps he’d been playing too much Minecraft, who knows.
Essentially, a bunch of kids are shot up through an express elevator one by one, surrounded by a maze – the object being, of course, to get the hell out of there. Kids die, kids argue with other kids about enforcing standardized procedures to ensure survival, one kid breaks the mould, others distrust him, blah blah.
It’s a cross between Terminator and Labyrinth, just without the freaky Bowie stuff.
Of course, for all I know, people who’ve read the book might be appalled with the film for going completely off script, I’m just not sure.
There are a whole lot of futuristic, dystopian, man against machine against a decimated earth style films, and there are many, many bad ones. This isn’t one of those. It doesn’t break a whole heap of boundaries in the genre but it’s been very well shot and the young actors do a decent job.
What lets it down is the ending. I know it’s part of a trilogy and it’s already predetermined to finish a certain way, and that this isn’t in fact the ending, but it’s a letdown, much like the other season of Lost. The death of the fat kid (RETROACTIVE SPOILER ALERT) makes you realise you haven’t cringed all the way through, while making you disappointed you couldn’t have gone just a little longer.
I really did enjoy this film, but it doesn’t mean I’ll be queuing up for the next one. 7/10
I love award season, and not for the suits.
Brad Pitt, Nazis, what more do you need to make a good film, right? The trailer for this, even though it probably shouldn’t have, filled me with expectations of Inglourious Basterds like badass-ery.
Those expectations weren’t met, and I was caught off guard. While the name indicates a large amount of aggression, much of the focus of the film is about the hopelessness and futility of war, even on the Germans own soil. A newbie comes in and his first duty is to wipe what remains of the face of the man he’s replacing off the inside of the tank.
And that’s the main focus of the film, and where it actually gets its name – the tank, Fury. The battle scenes and tank warfare are filmed well and interesting to watch, particularly the 3v1 battle with superior German machinery. There’s a considerable amount of graphic injury. At first it catches you off guard, then it brings home the ugliness of war, but by the 50th head being exploded towards the end you get over it.
What makes this less appealing than other masterpieces of the genre is the attempted humanising element. We’re just supposed to believe that a little bit of palm reading made a young German woman want to sleep with an American Soldier, when his compatriots are out raping the other women in town? Bollocks. And we’re supposed to believe that her almost instant death only hours after the start of this ‘relationship’ was the sole factor that motivated this previously moral young soldier to decide he wanted to kill Nazi’s? Bah.
And while I’m on the subject of things I didn’t like (which is my favourite subject) – we witness gore and brutality, killing fields and relentless death throughout the whole movie, to the point where, as I mentioned before, it loses impact, yet at the very end, when the Germans throw MULTIPLE Model 24 Stielhandgranaten right on top of Brad Pitt and close the hatch (RETROACTIVE SPOILER ALERT), grenades designed to destroy you with blast force rather than shrapnel, the hatch is later opened to reveal HIS WHOLE BODY STILL IN TACT. There is NO WAY that his character would have been little more than human mincemeat on the wall. Farcical.
I didn’t think I disliked this movie that much until I read my own review. Just watch Basterds instead. 5/10