Tag: Batman

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | The Lego Movie (2014)

the-lego-movie-poster10
Co-writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are building a solid reputation.  I never saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but I know it got way better reviews than I ever expected for a movies called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  And with 21 Jump Street, they managed to take a seemingly lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab, and turn it into one of the funniest comedies of its year.  It also made me notice the comic awesomeness of Channing Tatum.


Now, they’ve done it again.  If there’s anything that could have been more of a lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab than a movie based on a cheesy 80s TV show, it’s a movie based on a kids’ toy.  Especially a kids’ toy that doesn’t even come with characters or built in back story.  But like 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie has too much genuine affection for its characters and history, to ever be lazy, cynical, or nostalgically cash grabby. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Lego Movie (2014)

the-lego-movie-poster10
Co-writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are building a solid reputation.  I never saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but I know it got way better reviews than I ever expected for a movies called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  And with 21 Jump Street, they managed to take a seemingly lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab, and turn it into one of the funniest comedies of its year.  It also made me notice the comic awesomeness of Channing Tatum.


Now, they’ve done it again.  If there’s anything that could have been more of a lazy, cynical, nostalgia based cash grab than a movie based on a cheesy 80s TV show, it’s a movie based on a kids’ toy.  Especially a kids’ toy that doesn’t even come with characters or built in back story.  But like 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie has too much genuine affection for its characters and history, to ever be lazy, cynical, or nostalgically cash grabby.

Chris Pratt is the voice of Emmett, an everyday Lego man construction worker.  He lives in a town where everyone’s lives are ruled by instruction manuals.  Waking up and getting ready for work, making small talk with colleagues, dancing to Lego World hit single Everything is Awesome…  All of these things come with a step by step manual that Emmett is only too eager to follow.

Until he’s burdened with the Piece of Resistance, a weird mysterious object that might be the key to saving them all from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).  To help discover his inner hero, Emmett teams up with cyber punk Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Virtruvius (Morgan Freeman), Batman (Will Arnett) and Benny (Charlie Day).

The Lego Movie has been made by people who obviously had a real connection to Lego and everything that comes with it as kids.  The little nods to things like Benny the space man’s broken helmet, the lollypop stick as Vitruvius’s staff, Lego pieces intended for one purpose being co-opted for another (like Lord Business’ horns made from coffee mugs).  The love for everything Lego is just too obvious to ignore.

The other major achievement in The Lego Movie is the way it injects actual (and literal) human emotion.  And while the execution of this aspect might be a little heavy handed, the ingenuity in how it’s worked in, more than makes up the cheese.

On some levels, The Lego Movie is a rip off of The Matrix, a rip off of every ‘be yourself’ kids’ move you’ve ever seen, and a rip off of every ‘everyman discovers he’s chosen one’ story ever told.  But none of that matters.  Because while the ingredients might seem clichéd, obvious and overdone, the end result is just too fun, too fresh and too entertaining.  Lord and Miller have once again proven that they don’t just polish turds or put lip stick on pigs, they are story miracle workers, turning even the oldest and most obvious tropes into a world where everything is awesome.

The Lego Movie
Directed By – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Written By – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Batman and Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin (1997)
Few movies in the last couple of decades are the butt of more jokes than this one.  Few movies are more famous for more bad reasons than this one.  And I can’t imagine a single mainstream, family targeted movie that has more plastic nipples and gratuitous ass in tight leather shots than this one.  I made it almost 20 years, but I have now seen Batman and Robin and am now forever unclean.


I’ll start by saying this, every terrible thing you’ve heard about this movie is an understatement.  Director Joel Schumaker somehow took one of the darkest grittiest popular comic characters out there, and turned him into Mardi Gras float.

It’s hard to remember a time when George Clooney wasn’t a showbiz king, nominated for Oscars in acting and or directing categories most years, and making some of the most interesting mainstream movies on offer.  But in 1997, it still looked like he’d made a Caruso sized mistake, quitting ER to pursue a movie career that just wouldn’t take off.  So I guess taking the title roll in a massive budget superhero franchise seemed like a no brainer.  Unfortunately, absolutely everything about Batman and Robin is completely lacking in brains.

Clooney takes up the Bruce Wayne / Batman mantle, vacated by Val Kilmer.  Chris O’Donnell returns as Dick Grayson / Robin and the same old dudes who played Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are still hanging around, all those years after Tim Burton cast them in the 1988 franchise starter.  This time around, Alicia Silverstone arrives as Alfred’s niece who becomes Batgirl, and the bad guy roster is filled by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.

There’s a story, I assume, I just never bothered to pay attention to any if it.  Why would I, when there was a perfectly good blank wall above the TV to stare at while I waited for Batman and Robin to end?

I did notice this much, I think Arnie’s dialogue consists entirely of terrible, terrible puns.

Of course, watching this in 2013, I have the hindsight of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to compare it too.  But if you ignore the Nolan / Christian Bale lead series, even the Burton movies look dark, serious and gritty compared to Schumaker’s bullshit.

Batman and Robin is less like a movie and more like the biggest budget high school musical you’ve ever seen.  Even then, it’s like that musical was still written and directed by the school’s dodgy drama teacher, and they spent all the money on the sets and a designer from the local theme park.

Batman and Robin
Directed By – Joel Schumaker
Written By – Akiva Goldmsith