Category Archives: Action

Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)

We all have baggage.

— Ramona Flowers

Film nerds everywhere were almost salivating over the release of three-time Omie Award winning, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I was one of those people, but I didn’t have the dollars to watch the film at the time. No, wait, that was when I saw The Town instead of this, right. Big mistake that was. I was bummed that I didn’t get the chance to see it until now.

The movie starts with the classic Atari 8-bit making over the opening credits. You know that it’s going to off-kilter from there. The titular Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22-year-old nerd from Toronto that between jobs and is dating a high schooler named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Scott is the bassist in a band named Sex Bob-omb with lead guitarist, Stephen (Mark Webber), his morose ex-gf drummer, Kim (Alison Pill) with Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) hanging around them.

Hearing the band play obviously bad music, Knives is convinced that they are awesome and should go into Battle of the Bands to get a record contract from G-Man aka Gideon (Jason Schwartzman).

One day, Scott meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at a library. He falls hard for her and wants to know everything about her when they meet again at a party. He convinces her to go out on a date with her. What Scott doesn’t realize is that in order to date her, he has to get past her seven evil exes.

The movie is a Nintendo style video game come to life with the pop up points, life points, the way the exes explode when they are defeated. There is one thing that I didn’t enjoy was Michael Cera’s obvious stunt double that had a Raggedy Andy mop top on his head. That threw me for a loop.

It was nice to see something different in a quirky romantic comedy. I think that this movie is too cutting edge for me. Everybody seems to love the film. I like it. It’s probably going to be one of those that I have to watch again to fully appreciate it. It might happen with The Big Lebowski. Who knows?

Judgment: If you like to see a guy with the built of a Holocaust victim beating the crap out some people, this is your flick.

Rating: 7.5/10

Red (2010)

I remember the CIA being tougher.

— Marvin Boggs

I was sold going to see Red was when the image of the regal Helen Mirren in holding a machine gun spraying at the bad guys. I was over for me. I had very little knowledge of the limited comic book series created by Warren Ellis a couple of years ago. My research showed that the comic and film are two different entities and I wish that it was like the comic book.

Former CIA black ops agent, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is not content been retired, living alone in his empty Cleveland house. The only break to his monotonous life is calling a customer service rep for the Social Security Administration, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) who he likes.

In the middle of the night, a group of South African militants try to kill Frank, but he quickly disposes of them. He sets out on a road trip that vaguely reminds me of Knight and Day last summer. Frank knows that the people trying to kill him bugged his phone. Sarah could be in danger. He is considered R.E.D. which means “Retired Extremely Dangerous.” Going to Kansas City, the reception of Frank’s presence is not what he expected. He has no choice but to kidnap and protect her.

After the botched assassination attempt, CIA operative William Cooper (Karl Urban) is dispatched to personally bring down Moses, because of what he knows about a mission in Guatemala in 1981.

Frank knows the same information when a New York Times reporter is killed because of uncovering the story and compiling a list of people who where there. Frank seeks the advice of fellow Joe (Morgan Freeman), who is in a rest home in New Orléans to find out who is still alive and find out why the CIA is coming after old operatives in their retirement.

They enlist the help of Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) who due to his years long exposure to LSD is extremely paranoid about anything and everyone around him and a former assassin for the MI-6, Victoria (Helen Mirren) to bring down the bad guys once and for all.

Learning about the original comic plot with Moses dealing squarely with the CIA would have been a great action thriller. I don’t mind that writers Erich and Jon Hoeber made dramatic changes to the movies to make a team of retired operatives taking down their former bosses, but I thought the movies was very clunky. I understand that director, Robert Schwentke wanted to make an action comedy, but the romance part of the movie with Frank and Sarah seemed off-putting. An act of Stockholm Syndrome in a comedy is a fantastic plot device. (I was being sarcastic.) Some of the jokes fell on deaf ears.

I did enjoy the actors, especially Helen Mirren (My girl) and Malcovich! The action sequences were expertly well done. I enjoyed the hell out of the movie when that was going on, but the rest left a lot of be desired.

Judgment: Helen Mirren shooting a machine gun. Come on. It can’t get any better than that.

Rating: ***

Iron Man 2 (2010)

I wanna make Iron Man look like an antique.

— Justin Hammer

I thoroughly enjoyed the surprise hit, Iron Man and I was eagerly anticipating this sequel, Iron Man 2. I had to go into boot camp put the kibosh on that. When I came back, everybody was meh with it. People were saying this just a bridge between this and the upcoming Avengers movie. I blasted this film on a recent LAMBcast without watching a single frame of the movie. I wanted to make sure were my unfounded criticisms were validated and they were for the most part.

After revealing to world that he is Iron Man, Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.)  popularity has skyrocketed to epic proportions. With notoriety comes a detractor like Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) who summons him to the Arm Services Committee to recommend giving up the technology to the US government, because it is a weapon in a civilian’s hands.  Stark’s inflated ego tries to dodge giving the Iron Man suit away as his rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) tries to embarrass him with turning Col. Rhodes’s (Don Cheadle) word on him. Hammer is found out by Stark to have tried to replicate the technology to sell it to enemies of the US.

His company is in shambles with Tony headlining the year long Stark Expo while his trusty assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) tries to fan the fires. Tony has enough to deal with the core that is keeping the shrapnel from getting into his heart is unstable and is contaminating him from the inside out. Stark is worried that his time in running short and needs to find a successor. He quickly appoints Pepper as Chairman/CEO of Stark Industries. Potts replacement, Natasha Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) is brought in and the women get off on the wrong foot.

During the Monaco Grand Prix, Tony brazenly commandeers a car to race it when the event is rudely interrupted by Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) who replicated the core technology to use for his whips on each hand. A fight ensues between Vanko and Iron Man. When Vanko is defeated, he is hauled off to jail where Tony visits him to see why Vanko attacked him. Vanko explains about his father working the same technology with Tony’s father, Howard (John Slattery) decades earlier. Justin Hammer enlists Vanko to develop personal Iron Mans of his own to bring down Stark.

I think that the massive success of the first movie tainted the quality of this movie. It seems a bit bloated with the meandering dialogue that went nowhere. The character acted like they were children. Bickering back and forth would turn you off. The wow factor of the first movie was not here. I thought the supporting people were completely wasted here. They have a little dialogue to say and they are gone for fifteen minutes. It was great that they introduced Tony when would get drunk, but I thought the climax of that was a bit too much for my taste. The only person I liked was Rourke. He was deliciously evil that I couldn’t wait for him to pop back on screen.

Judgment: The magic of the first movie could not be replicated in this movie. It was a cheap imitation.

Rating: ***

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

You just gestured to all of me.

— Hiccup

Currently the #175th movie of All Time on IMDb, How to Train Your Dragon has been on the hearts and minds of the people that have seen it a couple of months ago. I was not interested in seeing the movie, because of the crappy trailer for it. People were gushing over this movie saying that it was the best thing that’s happened in that dead part at the beginning of the year. I’m glad that I saw this movie. It’s not most original storyline ever, but I enjoyed the ride on Toothless’s back.

A scrawny Viking boy unfortunately named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is trying to be a typical Viking that kills dragons that have been terrorizing their village for centuries like his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler). Life dealt him a bad hand that he is a bumbling kid that could only make little contraptions in the back of Gobber’s (Craig Ferguson) blacksmith shop where he works as an apprentice.

During one dragon fight, Hiccup wants to help his fellow Vikings out by using one of his inventions; a bolas-shooting cannon that could take down the elusive Night Fury dragon. Hiccup sees a figure out in the distance and fires his cannon. He believes that he caught something that fell in the middle of forest outside of the village.

Stoick is tired of fighting the dragons for their basic way of life. He decides to go out in search of the dragon’s nest to have one final decisive battle. While he is away, asks Gobber to stay behind to teach the new generation of dragon killers, including Hiccup.

At the mean time, Hiccup tries to search for the dragon he might have captured in the forest. He does find it, which turns out to be the Night Fury of legend. He has the perfect opportunity to slay the beast. But looking into the eyes of this creature could not allow him to strike to the fatal blow. Hiccup decides to release the dragon instead, who tries to fly away, but is injured enough to not take flight.

Hiccup wants to help out the dragon he named Toothless while he is in the middle of his dragon slaying classes with the know-it-all Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the fragile  Snotlout (Jonah Hill), the warring fraternal twin Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig), Tuffnut (T.J. Miller) and Hiccup’s crush, Astrid (America Ferrera). Hiccup struggles being a “dragon whisperer” and being a dragon killer that his father wants him to become.

The praise was well-deserved to a certain extent. I’m not gonna be Armond White or anything, but the story has been done countless times with the protagonist has to choose between duty and an unconventional friendship. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but I liked the movie tried to interpret the author, Cressida Cowell’s words into something slightly unique. The one thing I thought was too convenient is something traumatic happens to Hiccup that made him relate to Toothless more kinda turned me off.

Judgment: Damn it. I wish I saw this movie in 3D. It would have been epic.

Rating: ****

Knight and Day (2010)

Someday. That’s a dangerous word. It’s really just a code for “never”.

— Roy Miller

After the miasma that was Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz reteam for their latest effort Knight and Day. First of all, I hated that the studio changed the title from “Wichita” on the original script to this. It’s so plain. Looking at the promos for this movie, I was unimpressed with it, but people seem to be digging this movie. What the hell! Give it a try. Take a gamble. You know what I rolled snake eyes.

This action flick starts with Roy Miller (Cruise); a FBI agent is going to Boston for a little R&R when his flight is delayed. He continues bumping into a random woman, June (Diaz) who is going on the same flight. When they are about to board the flight, she is told by the ticket taker that the flight was full. Roy goes on the flight.

Meanwhile, another agent, Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) is watching Miller’s actions with June with Director George (Viola Davis) try to keep tabs on Miller from their headquarters. They have reason to believe that Miller has gone rogue, because he has been displaying erratic behavior of late.

At the last moment, June is let on the plane, which is strangely not full. This realization goes over June’s head who thinks it was the carelessness of the airline. Roy, on the other hand, knows better. The flight is plagued with massive turbulence that leas June to spill his drink on herself. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, Roy takes on the other passengers who turn out of the assassins.

June coming back to see the plane full of dead people, she panics. Roy flies the plane into a cornfield where Roy drugs her. Before she loses consciousness, Roy quickly explains to her that if anybody from the FBI come looking for her, she doesn’t know Roy.

The next day, June wakes up in her house in Boston where she thinks that everything was a dream, but Roy leaves post-it notes for her around her house. As expected, Fitzgerald comes to talk to June about her relationship with Miller. He tells her about the fact that Roy is losing his marbles and should stay away from him.

For her safety, she is transported to a safe house where the convoy is under attack by a mystery shooter. Turns out to be Roy. June runs for her life thinking that he would come after her. She seeks shelter in a firehouse where her ex-boyfriend, Rodney (Marc Blucas) is at. Over lunch, she tries to explain to him about the past 24 hours. He doesn’t believe her until Roy comes in to take her away. They go on a ridiculous adventure that tests loyalties.

This movie started out like a bumbling romantic comedy then you have to throw some guns and preposterous action sequences to keep the audience intrigued. Actually, I got kinda bored with it. How many times does June need to be drugged in this movie? I’m surprised she didn’t have permanent brain damage.

The MacGuffin of this film was so asinine that I fathom why anyone would give two shits about it in the first place. I understand that the toy knight had to be symbolic of something in his past. When that was revealed, I went with a resounding, “Duh!”

The movie was supposed to keep you guessing about whom to trust Miller or the FBI, but I didn’t buy it for a second. It was going to end up the same way. It is just another throwaway movie that could have been great if it wasn’t handled so poorly.

Judgment: I wish that someone would chloroform me to forget this movie.

Rating: **

The A-Team (2010)

I love it when a plan comes together.

Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith

The A-Team is a modern update to the 80s action series. I heard of it because of Mr. T. I knew the basic plot of the series. A bunch of wronged guys try to clear their name by blowing shit up anyway that can without killing anybody. I did my Compare and Contract with this and The Losers. Who knew that I would enjoy this movie better?

This is origin story of sorts where it starts with Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) carjacking Cpl. Bosco ”B.A.” Baracus (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson) put in the Mexican desert. Nobody goes off on anybody, because they both share the brotherhood of the Army Rangers. They go to rescue Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck from the Federales who are torturing him for rescuing a damsel in distress.

In true to form Alpha Team style, there is a crazy escape sequence that leads the newly formed team to nearby medavac hospital where they go to get the best pilot in the land, “Howling Mad” Murdock who is a raving lunatic. Who would anybody trust this guy in a helicopter much less in uniform in beyond me? The team hijacks a helicopter to get the Federales into US air space where they are promptly shot down.

Back at the base camp in Iraq, a former flame of Face’s, Capt. Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel) comes into the camp to make sure the guys are on their best behavior after the stunt they pulled. A CIA agent, Lynch (Patrick Wilson) propositions Hannibal to pull a covert operation to steal a package of Iraqi currency plates that were about to be sold on the black market.

Hannibal goes up to General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) to talk about the mission, but Morrison will not allow it to happen on his watch. Hannibal decides to go behind the General’s back to steal the plates using The A-Team’s help. They have an elaborate plan to gather materials together from the camp for the mission. Nobody was watching these lunatics to see what they were up to?

When the guys successfully recovered the plates, they want to celebrate. Their joy is short lived when the General’s humvee was bombed by a group of militia men called Black Forest headed by their leader, Pike (Brian Bloom) to make it look like The A-Team did it. Subsequently, the team is promptly court-martialed, stripped of their ranks and are sentenced to jail for ten years separately.

Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in jail to discuss a way to get the team of jail, clear their names and recover the plates. In true fashion, the team comes up with some bat shit crazy ways to break out of jail and get revenge on the person that set them up.

Going into this movie, I knew it was going to be stupid fun from the get go. Sometimes, you need to have mindless entertainment. I had a fucking ball with this movie. Granted the action sequences where incomprehensible. Enough with the fucking shaky cam already!

The Scooby Doo moment at the ¾ mark of the movie I saw from a mile away. Personally, I thought why Jessica Biel was in this movie. She was terribly miscast. A paper bag could take over that role. It was not good to begin with and Patrick Wilson reminded me of Timothy Olyphant’s character  in Live Free or Die Hard to me. Otherwise, I had a huge smile on my face especially when the classic theme song came up.

Judgment: Turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

Rating: ***1/2

MacGruber (2010)

MacGruber don’t play like homie, and homie don’t play that game.

— MacGruber

Saturday Night Live is trying to harken back to the days that they had successful spin-offs of their characters like the Blues Brothers in The Blues Brothers or Wayne and Garth in the Wayne’s World franchise instead of the less than great ones like Superstar, Night at the Roxbury, It’s Pat and The Ladies’ Man. Will Forte translates his famous bumbling hero MacGruber in this big screen adaptation. Does this break the curse? The answer is a resounding no.

I have to admit I have seen bits and pieces of the sketches. I got the jest of them. MacGruber is in a situation where there are explosives and he has to disarm it, but he blows himself up and everyone around him instead. How do you make that into a movie? This movie tries to play it completely straight, but makes fun of those typical eighties action movies.

Col. James Faith (Power Boothe) tracks down the only American hero that has earned the rank of Green Beret, Navy SEAL and Army Ranger and was awarded sixteen purple hearts, three Congressional Medals of Honor and seven presidential medals of bravery at a monastery in Pueblo, New Mexico. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention to the details.

He has Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Philippe) in tow to find a guy that was presumed dead for a decade after MacGruber’s fiancée, Casey (Maya Rudolph) was killed at the alter by the evil Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer). He is up to his old tricks when Von Cunth orchestrates a massacre in Siberia in order to steal a nuclear warhead, the X-5. Inexplicably, the U.S. government could only turn to this bumbling idiot to help stop Von Cunth.

Col. Faith wants MacGruber to have the inexperienced Lt. Piper as the part of his team. MacGruber declines because he doesn’t like him. Plain and simple. MacGruber tries to assemble his own team with a bunch of old friends that are real-life wrestlers: Frank Korver (Chris Jericho), Tut Beemer (Mark Henry), Vernon Freedom (MVP), Tug Phelps (The Great Khali), and Tanker Lutz (Kane).

When the team are about to depart, MacGruber’s homemade C-4 bombs accidentally kill his team. His second team now includes Piper and a former team member of MacGruber’s, Vicki St. Elmo (Kirsten Wiig). She is hesitant about reteaming with MacGruber who has a “budding music career.” She quickly drops that to go on the idiotic journey with MacGruber.

I was wrestling with the movie when the credits rolled. I kinda liked it, but it some things did not work at all. The only things that I laughed at when the sexual humor, the sex scene and the scene with the celery. That’s it. Everything else was dead in the water to me. I can’t pontificate anymore about this.

Judgment: Another SNL movie going into the Hall of Shame.

Rating: **

The Losers (2010)

I’m warning you, I am a lethal killing machine. It was a secret government experiment. They did stuff to me. Spooky stuff… Anal stuff. It turned me into a dangerous telekinetic. In the words of Ancient Taoist masters, Don’t start none… Won’t be none.

— Jensen

A couple of months ago, I did a “Compare and Contrast” about how familiar the upcoming A-Team movie adaptation is to this movie, The Losers. Both of these films deal with mercenaries that were betrayed and they have nothing to lose. I also want to point out that this sounds familiar to another movie, The Expendables, the new Stallone flick. Not being familiar with the original Andy Diggle comic book series, I went into this movie blind. This film is a huge stink bomb. Let me explain.

This movie starts in Bolivia where a US Special Forces soldiers; pilot Pooch (Columbus Short), hacker Jensen (Chris Evans), sniper Cougar (Óscar Jaenada), the second-in-command Roque (Idris Elba) and leader Clay (Jeffery Dean Morgan) make up the titular team. They are on a search and destroy mission to kill shameless drug and arms dealer, Fadhil (Peter Francis James) who is using children as drug mules. The team doesn’t know this before the air strike is about to happen. When the team tries to call off the strike, the military chain of command proceeds, but the Losers save the kids.

The team is betrayed by their handler, Max (Jason Patric) who thinks that the helicopter that his blows up had the rescued kids, instead of them. Feeling the ultimate betrayal and presumed dead, the team are not soldiers anymore and decide to find a way to get back to the US legitimately. They take small jobs at local doll factory to scrape some money together.

At a bar one night, Clay meets a beautiful woman, Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who informs him after a rough and tumble fight in his hotel room that she has a way to get the guys back into the States and get revenge on Max. The rest of the team are not too keen on the plan, especially Roque would thinks that Clay loses his edge when a woman is involved in a mission. Clay goes against Roque’s wishes and aligns himself with Aisha.

Meanwhile, the “evil” Max hatches his plan for world destruction contract a couples of scientist from Dubai to get him an environmentally friendly bomb called a snuke to start a war that would benefit the United States. Sidebar—a green terrorist? That is ludicrous. I laughed my ass off when that phrase came out of his mouth. He is joined by his right-hand man, Wade (Holt McCallany) to carry out his master plan.

The Losers go to a rendezvous point in Miami which they think that Max is being transported, but it turns out to be a high-tech safe deposit box. They think that it could be the leverage they need to take Max down once and for all.

The movie is insipid. I thought the cast was fine with the exception of Jason Patric. What movie do he come from? He was laughable as the “bad guy” with that fucked up left hand of his that was never explained. Did he try to channel Hannibal Lecter there? It was cringe-worthy to say the least. The action was fine for a PG-13 flick. I have to say, do we need to subplot about Jensen being heavily into his niece’s soccer team, The Petunias. There is some glaring plotholes that had me scratching my head.

Judgment: Just another subpar action flick.

Rating: **

Review and Rant of Kick-Ass (2010)

With no power, comes no responsibility. Except, *that* wasn’t true.

— Dave Lizewski

I saw some Comic-Con footage of the #146 movie of all time, Kick-Ass when it was leaked online before it was taken down. I saw footage of Hit Girl in action, the opening sequence of the film and I believe it was Kick-Ass’s first fight with the thugs. I was pumped to see this movie. I have been eagerly anticipating this movie when it was picked up by Lionsgate. I wanted to see it before it left theaters. I’m glad I did because I had a ball with this movie.

Based on Mark Millar & John S. Romita Jr.’s graphic novel, Kick-Ass is the ultimate examination in fanboy delusion. High schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) could be the typical comic book teenager. He is a total outcast that likes hanging out at Atomic Comics with his friends Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters). He is vagina repellent to all girls, especially to his crush, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca).

He ponders the question to his friends, why can’t someone become a superhero when the guys are constantly mugged a couple of thugs. Marty bluntly says that they would fucking die within a day. Dave ignores the warning of his friends and decides to become a superhero even though he has no powers whatsoever. He orders green and yellow wet suit online and decides to be a costume vigilante. He tries to train his body to be “super strong.”

The problem is not that much crime happens until he walks into a mugging outside of restaurant. He is taped by a stranger on their cellphone the remarkably clear footage is posted on YouTube. The local news pick up the story about this costumed hero. They want to know who is Kick-Ass.

Kick-Ass decides to create a MySpace account so random strangers could post messages praising him and asking him for help. Dave is enjoying the instant fame Kick-Ass is generating for him and he has to keep his secret identity. The coverage of this amateur attracts the attention of two other costume vigilantes that are in hiding, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moertz). Their paths cross when a local drug dealer, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) thinks that Kick-Ass is killing his business. He wants to kill Kick-Ass.

This movie went farther than Watchmen in my opinion. It tried to poke fun at the superhero origin story but still doesn’t go off the deep end. It was bloody, vulgar and fucking awesome. The action sequences especially with Hit-Girl were awesome.

The ultimate message of the movie is that we are desensitized to extreme violence. We don’t know that the world is not a safe place. It also showed us that bringing your fantasies like becoming a superhero into the real world is dangerous and could potentially get your killed if you try to do it. When I was younger, I wanted to be a Power Ranger. I thought it was refreshing that a movie would give this generation a much needed wake up call it deserves. Just because you want that instant fame either from being a runaway hit on YouTube or being profile in your local news, you have to know that there is a dark side to instant fame. It’s not just the notoriety you will get. There will be people that want the same thing as you and would harm you to replace your name in the papers.

I’m not saying that this movie was perfect. Far from it. Not having read the graphic novel, I heard that the ending of the movie changed. I like some of the changes, but not all of them. I thought that the movie was poking fun at Spider-Man, Superman and Batman at the beginning of the movie. Towards the ends, however, the movie becomes a conventional superhero storyline with the hero in trouble, the damsel in distress watching idly by, and the over the top climatic action sequence to close out the film. I think the relationship between Dave and Katie felt forced and uninspired or the last scene with Big Daddy and Hit-Girl went into melodrama. It was a bit of a cop out.

Before I close out this review, I have something to say is that I don’t understand why Hit Girl is the make or break factor of this movie. Have the naysayers ever heard of a pre-pubescent girl cursing like a sailor? Oh, please. Get over yourselves. I cursed a blue streak when I was that age. What about the boy from Role Models? He was so obsessed with tits and talking about sex. Where people saying that it was a horrible movie, because they got this kid to say such filthy phrases? Did anybody say boo when Stand by Me came out? They were cussing and smoothing when their balls haven’t dropped. That was in 1986. What has changed? Just because a little girl is saying these words you would write off a movie.

I would understand if you don’t like this movie, because it subverts the typical superhero tropes of the outcast granted special abilities to fight crime and defeat the bad guy at the end. I understand. You cannot dismiss an entire movie, because you don’t like one character in it. There are a lot of movies where I hated a particular character but I still enjoyed the movie such as the little sister in (500) Days of Summer. I think it is very myopic for any critic to write off a movie because of one character that don’t like. What about the other characters of the film, the story, the pacing, the direction it is going? Does that factor in at all when you are giving your final verdict?

Maybe it’s because you have been watching movies for so long that you have become jaded about the message of the movie. I’m not trying to sound like a fanboy here, but you have to have an objective eye. You are giving your opinion on a movie that other people are going to read and form their opinion about whether to see it or not. If you write a movie off because one character then people are not going trust your opinion anymore. That is my take on this so called controversy.

Judgment: It is a subversive take on the superhero story tat people could enjoy if they open their minds to it.

Rating: ****

Toy Story (1995)

What chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure?

— Woody

In my opinion, Pixar’s latest movies have left me high and dry with brilliant concepts that are poorly executed. I thought that I might revisit the film that put the company on the map; the first feature-length computer animated movie, Toy Story. Never gone out to the see this and the sequel in 3D a couple of months ago, I wanted to see how they started. This movie was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1995 and it is the #159 movie of All Time on IMDb. This movie continues to hit home with the message of friendship, even though they are toys.

During a birthday party for Andy (John Morris), the other toys like Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Little Bo Peep (Annie Potts) in his room wanted to know if there is anything new coming into the house, particularly the alpha toy, Woody (Tom Hanks) that is worried of getting replaced.

A team of plastic green army men headed by the Sergeant (R. Lee Ermey) goes with a baby monitor to scope out the gift that Andy has gotten. Everything seems to be fine, when there is a surprise present by Andy’s mother (Laurie Metcalf). It turns out to be Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) who thinks that it is actually a space ranger on a space mission instead of a mass produced product.

Andy and the other toys really like Buzz. Woody feels left out of being the favorite toy of Andy’s. Woody becomes more jealous during the next couple of days before the family moves into another house.

Hearing noises outside of Andy’s window, the other toys tell Buzz about the kid next door, Sid (Erik von Detten), has an infamous reputation for blowing up toys. Two days before the family leaves, Woody overhears the mother tell Andy to bring one toy on their final dinner together to Pizza Planet. He finds it the opportunity to get rid of Buzz by forcing him out of the house. He does, but the other toys think that he murder Buzz. The toys plan to execute him.

Woody tries to find a way to get Buzz back and get back in the good grace of the other toys.

I thought I remember this movie. Watching it again, I believed I saw bits and pieces of it instead of the entire thing. I could not believe that this movie is fifteen years old. The most of the animation still holds up after fifteen years. There is still blockiness with the Scud, Sid’s dog and Sid’s brace face, but I let that slide because the movie was innovative at the time.

Judgment: It’s a good movie to revisit before Toy Story 3 comes out.

Rating: ****1/2

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