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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, snooze

29 Sep

I might be picky with my animated films.  Okay, I loved loved loved the first “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”  For me, it was right up there with “Wreck it Ralph”  and  “Wall-E”.

I first noticed it when it was playing in the background and actually found myself chuckling.  So I stopped and then I started paying attention.  Then I rewound it and found more to laugh at.

The original had witty writing, subtle jokes and loads of heart.  The trailer for the sequel looked promising….

**** Spoilers ahead*****

The trailer was in all honesty, the best parts of the entire movie.  In the same way that “Community” was somehow just less funny without Dan Harmon, this movie is obviously missing Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street).  Mr. T had it right when he turned this one down!

Visually, it was stunning and there were some cute characters but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to save the movie.

The movie begins with a rehash of the entire last movie and then enters a never before seen flashback, incorporating a new hero of child Flint who as far as it seemed never practiced science but peddled food products.  (Screw you, Tesla!)

After this introduction to a new “very important” character, the movie proceeds to negate the entire last movie’s ending (where he starts a business with his father) but instead picking up just minutes after the last movie ended.  He is busy kissing Sam and making plans with all his new BFF’s.

The new very important character shows up to give him an alternative life plan (I’m still not sure how the ending of the last movie fits in) and all his new BFF’s wholeheartedly endorse anything Flint wants to do because he is no longer awkward but awesome and their hero and they will follow him… follow him wherever he may go…

oops

SIX MONTHS LATER…..

Well, nothing funny has happened yet.  In fact I haven’t even cracked a smile once and on top of that I was curious if I was in fact missing some strange in-joke involving over caffeinated hive workers.  If I did, it didn’t matter because the joke just disappeared moments later.

Flint works hard for something he really really wants… we don’t really see this,  outside of little montages that are similar to ones we saw in the first movie.  Instead, he ends up being laughed at by his entire company reminiscent of when he was young.  (they show this at the beginning in case anyone forgot).  He complains he was “humiliated” but I couldn’t see what was so bad about what happened?  Suddenly, he came across as whiny, which is awful considering how charming his awkwardness was handled in the first movie.

From here on, I can’t understand anything else he does.  He takes a job to go back and get the same machine that caused the problems before.   He makes promises he immediately breaks, berates his father for no other reason than because “it’s dangerous! stay here! GOD DAD! you never let me do anything!!” stomp stomp slams door

Meanwhile,  we finally get to the meat of the story, which is handled beautifully when it comes to visuals.  On the other hand, there are a lot of jokes that are meant to pander to the adults, I’m guessing in the mid to late 3o’s range.  (Butter? Parkay…  it wasn’t even funny the first time!)

Flint’s naivety is played up in full force as he must choose between his childhood hero and his new BFF’s… including a new girlfriend??  Except after the kiss at the beginning, this isn’t addressed again until the ending credits.  (it’s okay, they were kissing then too)

In the midst of this is an introduction to loads of sentient food and they conveniently manage to name them on the spot just for the viewer.  Watermelephants, Bananostriches (that sound like dolphins), Shrimpanzees.  Meanwhile, all the jokes during this time boil down to food related puns.

There is even a sequence where, no lie, a food/animal hybrid is translating and sounds exactly like Eric Cartman when he is whining.

Ugh, and musical sequences… wait, did I say musical sequences… yep.  Including 2Unlimited’s Get Ready for This… Will.I Am and Britney Spears… ugh ugh ugh.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time during this movie making grumpy cat faces and being utterly confused as to what was going on.

It’s really a shame, since the writing was what captivated so many in the first film.  It was surprising, charming and just a little bit quirky enough to take it to another level.  This one, well, it was just there to bring in cash from the people who loved the first one and play out as a vehicle for families to go see together.  It never gets past being mediocre and at times is just out right boring.

Which made me sad.

Wuthering Heights

18 Jun

I finally got around to seeing the 2011 version of Wuthering Heights.

Yes, I know I’m behind.  Anyone following the Twitter feed can see that all I watch are old movies.

This movie was darker than any other version I had seen, but it kind of made sense.  While I am not sure if I liked the film, I can say I was struck by it.  It immediately made me want to go back and read the book.

I first read Wuthering Heights in high school.  I’m not sure why, but I distinctly remember thinking I was going in for a gothic romantic supernatural love story.

image

While I guess it was a story about two people in love with each other, it was also a story about two people who were also incredibly mean to each other.  They hurt each other time and again and it didn’t matter if they could justify their actions.

how misleading is this cover?!

They were selfish and destructive and yet could not tear themselves away from each other.  Even when they tried, it made it worse for those around them and themselves.

While I’m guessing I have a soft spot for this type of story since a mutually assured destructive love story was also the basis for “Jeux D’enfant (Love Me If You Dare), one of the first things I’d seen with Marianne Cotillard.

Differences, yes.  But sometimes, despite love, people can bring out the worse in each other.  Both explore the darker side of being together and how trying to move on with a “normal” relationship does not work for them.  It is too boring, too common, too tame, too civilized.

My favorite part of the novel is the second half, the half generally ignored in movies.  I always felt this part brought everything back around full circle.  There was hope and redemption in the second half, while the first part ends so hopelessly.

Healthcliff begs Cathy to haunt him.

In this version, I did think that the children actors, Shannon Beers and Solomon Glave were very good.

These two were amazing.

I felt that the intensity was lost slightly when they were adults.   I can not tell if this makes the abuse more horrifying or less since the attitude is so cavalier, but it does not feel as though they are compelled by their obsession.

As children, Healthcliff is horrifically abused; emotionally, mentally and physically, no matter how he tries to be accepted.   He spends much of his time with Cathy, who defines the relationship between them.  When he grows older and she leaves, he doesn’t know what to do without her.  Of course, as is often the case, he becomes abusive as he is now able to assert some power where he has been previously powerless.  Oh, there a lot of themes in this novel but (courtly) love is not one of them.

So while I have read reviews where people outright hated the 2011 version, I personally felt that it captured the destructive nature of the novel.  Also, how could people not feel bad towards Heathcliff?  It almost seems obvious that he is so mean as an adult after all he had to deal with when younger.  (though there is one scene that creeped me out  a bit)

I’m also glad that the age is where it should be.  Doesn’t it make more sense that their love is so intense if they are younger in age?  It’s a driving theme behind Romeo and Juliet.  Has society changed the connotations of  this novel by using older actors?

Also, as a matter of comparison, when Cathy (in the 2011 movie) is licking his wounds and sucking on her scratches, I was reminded of “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield.

I will not give out spoilers, but just know there is a tale of two lovers that seems very similar to the 2011 movie version of Wuthering Heights.

Let’s see how much is kept in for the BBC movie adaptation that will be out in Christmas of 2013.  It will star Vanessa Redgrave and Sansa Stark.