Welcome to a new section of my blog called Review Report. These posts will contain little mini-reviews of movies, shows and video games I’ve seen or played recently and have wanted to talk about, but haven’t been able to make full reviews out of them. I’ll structure each small review like I would with the grading scales in my regular reviews, just with a bit more fleshing out. With that said, to kickstart this section, I’ll be reviewing 3 movies I’ve seen recently, those films being Ant Man and The Wasp, Christopher Robin and The Happytime Murders.
Antman and The Wasp
The latest film from the superhero movie juggernauts over at Marvel. Ant Man and The Wasp exists for one clear reason, to tie us over until the sequel to Infinity War. This movie is very light in its tone and honestly plays more like a comedy than any other Marvel movie with the exception of the Deadpool movies.
- Story: 4/5 – The plot is very linear, it follows Scott Lang after his involvement in Captain America: Civil War and getting back into the role of Antman. All the while a new villain named Ghost is lurking around, trying to steal the data the main gang possesses in hopes of saving herself from certain doom. The story is very surface level, it’s a heist movie like the first Antman film, but spends less time on introducing characters and gets straight into the action. Overall it’s a satisfying plot. Not to mention the actual humor is so typically Marvel, but it’s amped up to the point where the entire theatre was howling with laughter at most of the jokes.
- Characters: 4/5 – Scott Lang is a wonderfully goofy lead and is likeable beyond compare, but we don’t get to see much of him as Antman in this one. This is mainly because a lot of the movie is dedicated to Hope Pym and her becoming a hero, and she’s fine, I just feel she’s a bit too snarky for her own good at times. One performance I really must praise is Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, I loved this character and felt so loved his transitions from supporting friend to back talking joker. Laurence Fishburne is fine and Randall Park is a great comic relief as are Scotts buddies, but the villain of the movie is one of the weakest yet. She’s so boring and so needlessly evil, she has no reason to be evil other than the script dictating so. In conclusion, while the villain is weak, the rest of the cast is either serviceable or very good.
- Presentation: 4/5 – Not much to say on this one other than that the effects in this movie are spectacular. The sets both big and small are great looking, and the varied environments in the Micro-verse were really spectacular. This is the kind of CGI where it’s so fantastical and creative that you forget you’re watching special effects and let yourself be taken in by the colours, shapes and sizes.
- Final Grade: 4/5 – This is a satisfying movie, the stakes aren’t nearly as high as they were in Infinity War, but to compare this film to that one is a bit unfair considering the setting and nature of both films. If you’re a Marvel fan, definitely give this one a go.
With the trend of Disney remaking all its old classics into live action, Winnie the Pooh is next on the chopping block with Christopher Robin. This movie follows a grown up Christopher Robin as he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood and rediscovers his old friends. This movie got mixed reviews but I personally think it’s an excellent film and probably one of the better live action remakes from Disney.
- Story: 5/5 – This story is the kind that kids will enjoy and the kind adults will appreciate. The film is about recapturing that essence of youth and childlike wonder that came with growing up. Seeing Christopher feel trapped in this world of work and slowly come into his own as a redeemed man with his youth reinvigorated is a splendid arc to follow. The plot isn’t really special, in fact it kinda happens with no real rhyme or reason, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing as when we were young nothing had rhyme or reason. I loved seeing these characters back and I laughed at many of the jokes and remarks made by characters, especially Pooh and his sheer obliviousness to everything. If you don’t mind s story that;s complete fluff, then you’ll love this story.
- Characters: 5/5 – The characters in this film are great. Ewan McGregor delivers a sterling performance as Christopher and has this really relatable feel to him, as an adult who tries to avoid slipping back into his child like ways but finds he needs such ways to be happy. Pooh is an absolute treat, he’s lovable tin almost every way and his stupid quips are the best jokes in the film. The other characters are good as well, but Eeyore is the highlight for me, his depressing outlook is so over the top it’s hilarious. These characters are the ones we all remember and who we can’t help but be happy to see again.
- Presentation 5/5 – Some people find the characters to be a little bit uncanny valley, but I personally find these character design to be very good. Making them look more raggedy and worn is a really nice touch, indicating both their time spent playing with Christopher and their number of years away from him. The cinematography is fine, but there’s not much to talk about with it. Long story short this movie boasts some impressive effects but they are really left to your personal preference towards CGI.
- Final Grade: 5/5 – I might be loving this film a bit too much, but it’s simply because I look at this film for what it is (besides a cashgrab), it’s a children’s movie for adults, ones who’ve lost their childlike innocence and helps them recapture it through the memories of watching Winnie the Pooh and just being a kid in general. I recommend this movie to anyone as a family film and as a nostalgia trip.
The Happytime Murders
Coming our of Henson Alternative is The Happytime Murders, a buddy cop movie featuring puppets and humans interacting. This movie hasn’t received the best reputation and frankly it isn’t hard to see why, the movie is by no means terrible but it screams wasted potential. Instead of clever jokes, many of them are either lame one liners, bizarre visual jokes or just plain gross out jokes.
- Story: 2/5 – The plot is not that bad, it’s just boring. It’s a typical buddy cop movie, which I usually like, but they could have done so much more with this idea. Having puppets in your world could lead to a more interesting plot that just a string of murders. The twist is certainly one I didn’t see coming and I’ll give it credit it is a pretty funny way they figure it out, but the actual end climax is a complete throwaway and removes any potential tension we could have got.
- Characters: 3/5 – Phil Philips is a fine main character, his grizzled tone is quite funny to see coming from a puppet. Melissa Mccarthy’s character is an ok supporting role, but she’s not very defined, going from hating Phil to almost instantly moving past it and acting like a crazy person. The other characters are either completely superfluous or just throwaway characters.
- Presentation: 4/5 – I will praise the movie on its effects and presentation. The puppets all look unique and interesting, often displaying more emotion in their faces and movement than the human characters. The shots to the puppets standing on their own were really well made through a combination of suit actors and greenscreen suits. I love seeing puppets interact in the human world, it’s always great to see their varied movements and actions and how well the puppeteers can make the characters move.
- Final Grade: 2/5 – Despite the good presentation and the ok characters, The Happytime Murders falls short on its plot, humor and overall potential. If you want a better version of this movie, watch the musical Avenue Q, it’s legitimately funny and way more witty.
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