The Terminator

Year: 1984
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, and William Wisher

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was one of the most successful films of the year in 1984 when I was born. I don’t remember specifically when I saw it for the first time. I have a deep memory of watching it with my Aunt and Uncle at a young age, and of course when I was older it was a staple in the household I became part of and then throughout life with my brother. There are few movies more beloved in the home I grew up in than The Terminator, and its sequel Judgement Day. This was a groundbreaking film that studios have always been determined to turn into a franchise with one desperate attempt after another. This movie undoubtedly left room to grow, but for whatever reason there is just no way to recreate the success of these movies with James Cameron behind camera.

James Cameron may be an asshole and notoriously hard to work with, but he is a God at filmmaking. I would literally put him on par with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and early Steven Spielberg. I think he is one of the most inventive and industry changing men alive today and I think the Avatar sequels will surprise us all in new and exciting groundbreaking ways. He took science fiction to new heights with films like this one, Aliensand The AbyssHe stole the hearts of women all over the world with Titanic, making it one of the most successful box office films at all. Making that accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that Titanic has a three hour run time that limits how many tickets can be sold in a day. He broke all the records again when he revolutionized 3D films with Avatar. I saw it in the theater four times and it was worth every penny because it was a truly exceptional experience. You can never watch the movie today and get that same effect that the 3D created in the movie theater, if you missed it back in 09 you made a grave mistake. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit theaters again before it’s long awaited sequels are released so if you didn’t see it in the theater hold out hope for another chance. I think it’s easy to forget that there are more Avatar movies coming because it has been so long but when they come out James Cameron will again prove to be one of the most capable and revolutionizing filmmakers there is.

I don’t think one paragraph can accurately cover how much of a badass James Cameron is. I often joke that after Titanic and Avatar that James Cameron could make a movie about anything and studios would fall all over themselves for the rights to fund it. He could literally pitch a biographical feature about his old German Sheppard Wolfie and they’d give him a 250 million dollar budget for the film. This wasn’t always the case though as prior to this film he was actually living in his car. In fact his vision for this movie was so much grander than the budget allowed he had to cut many corners. In an effort to save money Cameron created what he called “guerrilla film making” where he would film on location without the proper permits. A lot of the movie is shot at night because Cameron and crew would show up, set up, and film as quickly as possible before the cops showed up to shut them down. The man may be hard to work with, he may be demanding and even occassionally bring his stars to tears, but the man is a badass and nobody can deny that.

Sometimes is takes a badass to make a badass and that is certainly the case when it comes to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who knows where Schwarzenegger would be today without landing the role in this film. Like Kanye and Taylor Swift, Cameron made that bitch famous. Sure his career had already started with the Conan movies but does anybody really think those parts were going to help him ascend to the next level? Would he have ever reached the heights that he has without these 17 lines of dialogue that gave him the opportunity to get better before his next role? Schwarzenegger could barely speak English back in the day and his accent has never really faded but he was able to overcome that due to the iconic part that made him famous.

When you look at Arnold Schwarzenegger you have to marvel at what the man has accomplished. Here is an immigrant body builder who has risen to the heights of the acting world, married into one of America’s most famous families, successfully entered and exited politics, and maintains his fame even now. I think he is a true example of how anybody is capable of anything in this country. It truly is the land of opportunity for certain people and Arnold Schwarzenegger is a prime example. At one point Schwarzenegger was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, he was elected to not one but two terms as The Govenator, and now he is slowly becoming Donald Trump 2.0. It’s an interesting story and I’m sure there are so many untold stories behind the man that only deepen the intrigue. There are probably already several books written about him but I’d really like to read the one that covers the whole life. There is still an uncertain future that lies ahead and Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man who can reach out and grab it for himself.

One of the reasons this is one of my favorite Schwarzenegger roles is that he actually plays the bad guy in this movie. The cold hearted ruthless bad guy that doesn’t eat or sleep but simply kills and will never stop. I may give a lot of credit to Cameron for how things turned out for Schwarzenegger but he brought his own ability to this movie. It wasn’t enough to look the part so much, he had to be the part. Schwarzenegger didn’t want to act like a robot, he wanted to be a robot. He spent countless hours working with guns prior to shooting and got so good that he was literally criticized for being too good by gun enthusiasts. His presence looms over this movie so much that it’s a tribute to his own personal prowess as a man and person. He only has 17 lines in this movie and speaks less than Stallone did in Rocky when he specifically wrote the part with little dialogue to mask his difficulty speaking. Interesting the parallels of the once action kings right? Schwarzenegger and Stallone both had problems speaking and burst onto the scene with movies that had them speaking less.

Funny factoid, OJ Simpson was originally considered and desired for the role of the terminator but he was deemed too nice. It was thought that people would never be able to accept him as a cold blooded killer. You can twist your head around backwards trying to imagine how that decision may have changed the fate of the American timeline right there. Would OJ and not Arnold turned into America’s fan favorite action star? How different his life would have been…

James Cameron was fond of casting Michael Biehn and I’ve always liked that about him too. I don’t know the story behind Biehn and why he never quite made it to the next level of acting but I have always been a big fan of his work. I think one of the problems with all these new Terminator films is that they keep trying to recast Kyle Reese and they fail. You just can’t top Biehn in the part. I think this is where he was at his best with his role in Aliens a close second, his role in the Abyss certainly doesn’t win him any awards. When I was little and would play with my G.I. Joes there was always a character who would play out a Reese scenario and generally be molded after the character. One of my favorites would be the soldier lost in time and have to fight his way through all the others.

Don’t want to delve too far into Sarah Hamilton here because there is really more to be said of her in the sequel Terminator 2 when she goes full blown Ripley. In this movie she is the soft and delicate victim. In truth a very typical character that we usually see in slasher films, which as a matter of fact some actually consider The Terminator to be. However one difference being that she actually gets down and dirty yet still survives in the end. Sarah Conner isn’t some typical teen running from the killer though, she’s the adolescent badass of the future. Of course she has sex and still manages to survive. Plus she had to make Jon Connor, and become badass mother of the future.

This was one of the most popular movies I remember growing up. The 80s were a terrific time with many groundbreaking and legendary movies being made but this one sticks out as different. I do not know how old I was when I saw it for the first time but I remember where I was and who I was with. It was a movie that I never would have been allowed to watch at home but it was with my Aunt and Uncle that I saw it for the first time. I remember learning the word motherfucker and thinking it was just awesome. I generally credit Wesley Snipes and Passenger 57 for teaching me that beloved nomenclature but this actually preceded it by quite a while. My parents probably would have flipped had they known I had seen this movie but I had a cool uncle and he introduced me to a lot.

Eventually I would enter into a new family dynamic around the age of  10 or so and in that household the action movie was king. We would watch action movies all the time and over and over again. The Terminator and it’s sequel were some of the most popular and to this day the movies are regularly referenced in my household. In fact I think there is a specific corner of my brother’s brain where the movies just play on a loop non stop. I’ll get to more of that with Judgement Day, but the point being this was an influential movie not only in the movie industry but in the very household I grew up in and in my young life.

I have rambled on for a long time now and still have managed to say so little about something so big. There is so much more to this movie and I could never hope to cover it. I may know it like the back of my hand but there is still so much that I know nothing about. For example, there was probably a lot James Cameron’s wife, Gale Anne Hurd, had to do with it as she has gone on to have a really storied career herself. There is a lot to be said of Stan Winston and the special effects his company were able to create. With a movie so influential and groundbreaking there are plenty of people and things to cover but I think it’s time for this rambler to ramble on.

If you haven’t seen this movie then frankly I think there is something wrong with you. Maybe you’re a kid that doesn’t know any better and been blinded by all these new Terminator movies, I’ll get to that in the review for the third film. Point being any movie enthusiast has already seen this movie and they know. Not only is it worth your time but it’s worth your money, it’s worth your attention, and it’s worth that sponge inside of all of us that absorbs influence and binds to the fiber of our soul. This movie isn’t going to change your life or anything but it’s going to entertain the hell out of you. It’s going to raise the bar for what you expect of movies because it shows what a movie is capable of. Even after more than thirty years and multiple attempts to recreate they simply can’t do what this movie does.

NEXT MOVIE: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) 

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George R.R. Martin’s Song of Anticipation and Disappointment

11/28/17

This is not for virgin eyes, if you are opposed to the fuck word or any other form of profanity then get the fuck out because I’m too pissed to be polite. 

I have been patient, I have been loyal, but now I am flat out flabbergasted….

For six goddamn years I have waited! I have read the first five books of The Song of Fire and Ice at least six times over those six years so the story would be fresh on my mind when the sixth book came out (what a foolish notion that has turned into). I even read that motherfucking history book about the seven kingdoms more than once and it read like a fucking textbook. With each re-reading my anticipation grew and my love for the narrative deepened.

I quit watching the show for good in season four and loudly hated on it as a watered down version of something better. I would wait for the next book and not get spoilers out of that sub par version. I would wait patiently for the countless mysteries put forth to be explained in true fashion and avoid finding out anything from the convoluted story that fit into HBO’s budget.

Some time ago, the show bypassed the books and started telling stories that should have remained secret. I have avoided the spoilers on the internet. Do you have any fucking clue how hard it is to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers on the fucking internet? How diligent and disciplined you have to be to sit and wait while the answers are practically screaming at you through your computer screen? It’s a fucking nightmare, with every new season of the show comes months of filtering through my internet feed to avoid what I don’t want to know.

I hear from everybody how great the show is but I hear the same thing about The Walking Dead and all those Dead Heads are wrong too. The written material is twice as good as anything put on screen and I won’t lower myself to the level of watching it. I am a reader and I take pride in it. Reading is more fulfilling and too many people are simply too lazy. I quit watching in season 4 because the story didn’t even make sense anymore. So much had been changed and cut out I didn’t understand how a non reader could even follow it.

So, I have sat and waited. I have bided my time and maintained discipline. I believed I would eventually be rewarded for all my waiting. I have waited since 2011, six years and counting. Everybody tried to tell me what I was missing out on but I tuned them out and I waited, like the good fan that I am, for the actual vision of the creator, Mr. George R.R. Martin, to become available when The Winds of Winter is published.

During this time of waiting I began to google a possible release date. For over two years I have searched Google every single day looking for an answer to when The Winds of Winter might be released. Just a casual search fit somewhere into my daily routine just in case news dropped. With each passing day, month, year it has always been the same… “maybe this year.” Well today ladies and gentlemen I got an actual answer to that search. After two years of waiting, searching, and getting nothing I finally saw an answer today.

July 2019….July 20 fucking 19!!!!!!!!! Here I was thinking the book could drop at any time and not only is it not coming out soon but it isn’t even reasonably close. That’s eight fucking years between books and there is still another to follow after that!

I don’t even know if I’ll be alive in July 2019! Will George R.R. Martin still be alive in July 2019??? Will you be alive in July 2019? That’s so far in the future who the fuck knows what will happen??? Stephen King will probably publish ten books within that time frame and a couple of them will match in length.

I am beside myself with disappointment, frustration, and more than anything absolute anger. Absolute anger doesn’t even cover it. I’m enraged as I imagine many of the other true fans are too. I don’t want to see all the floppy dicks on HBO to find out what happens to Jon Snow. Delightful as they are I don’t care to see Emilia Clarke’s tits over and over again to find out if Dany ever comes back to Westeros. I don’t want to see all the shortcuts and rewrites of something I love just to find out what happens next! I don’t want to stare blindly into my television at something that isn’t the way it is supposed to be but instead overcompensates with violence and sexuality.

This is something I have kept pure in my obsession with stories. I am not opposed to spoilers for generally everything else but Game of Thrones was something I wanted to find out for myself in a personal and private manner. I’ll never forget how it felt to read the Red Wedding for the first time. That shock and dismay that I thought I’d never move past only to find out that the excitement was just beginning.

I can’t get that feeling out of the show, it’s ruined for me by my intimate knowledge of the material having read these books so many times. All I can see when I watch the show is what’s wrong, and there is so much that is just wrong. I want the next book! How the fuck is it not going to be finished until 2019??? Eight years George R.R. Martin? You leave us with the Varys cliffhanger and then make us wait eight years to find out what follows?

That’s bullshit and I have had enough. All my patience and all my discipline have been for naught. I could just as well google the answer to every question I have now and know in seconds what they did on the show but it’ll never live up to what I’ve been waiting for. It won’t be as rich and as in depth as what I will find in the books but after six fucking years of patience I am fucking through.

You have shit on all of us George R.R. Martin! I will not wait another two years to find out what you have in mind because you don’t deserve me as a fan. I have argued on your behalf at great length with fervor but you have fucked me. I feel like an idiot right now because I had faith that you would finish the fucking book and prove all these amateurs to be nothing more than that.

Sorry fans of the show, I know you outnumber me dramatically, but I’ve seen beneath something that you’ve only seen the surface of. I know the story and characters inside and out in ways you can never understand. I have stood above you with a sense of pride as if I was somehow better having read the books but those books have now made a fool out of me. I’m not better, I’m not even in the know now thanks to HBO, George R.R. Martin, and my stubborn decision to stay loyal to the source.

Well that’s all over. I will not wait another two years for what may or may not ever happen. Hope George R.R. Martin is happy. I imagine that fat bastard swimming around a pool full of money like Scrooge McDuck and laughing at me. Sipping Mai Tais, making it rain, and not writing a fucking word.  I hear he gets touchy when asked if he will live long enough to finish the books. What’s really bothering him is if he will live long enough to spend all that cash that he has. Lazy fucking bastard that creates something awesome and sells it away before it is truly finished.

I’m throwing in the towel, giving up, and scrapping the last six years of waiting. Amber and I will soon be tuning in for the boobs and blood. Maybe I’ll forget all the reading and be mesmerized by the shock value the show whores out to people. People don’t want to take the time to read something magnificent, they just want to see the bloody highlights.

George R.R. Martin sold out a long time ago and I was too much of a fool to see the writing on the wall. Everybody told me so but I stubbornly resisted the notion. These amateurs couldn’t possibly be right about anything with all the garbage they’re swallowing with their eyes. Well, jokes on me! I don’t know now if the book is ever actually coming out but I know one thing for sure. I’m not waiting another two fucking years for it.

I guess what this all amounts to is eating crow. I was wrong, and as painful as it is to admit that, I’m here to admit my mistake. You motherfucking amateurs are right and I am nothing more than a foolish know it all who believed in something better. I may never believe in anything again because such a things proves time and time again to be foolhardy.

Thanks George R.R. Martin, you’ve robbed me not only of my time but of my ability to believe! I will wade into the water with the rest of the masses and drown myself in the watered down Game of Thrones. What sucks the most is that motherfucker will still get his in the end because by breaking and watching the show I am just lining his pocket more.

Final Thought: There is a small part of me that wants to cling to the hope that this is simply not true. A smoke screen. Disinformation so that the publication of the book carries the same shock value as the content. Sadly I think I might as easily wish on a star and expect to be taller tomorrow. It’ll be a while before I can start binging the show anyway….maybe Christmas miracles do happen. However, if it doesn’t happen I’m not waiting around until 2019. Brace yourself folks, I’m about to become a hypocrite.

 

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

Year: 2006
Directed By: Liam Lynch
Written By: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, and Liam Lynch

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was never much of a Jack Black fan, until I saw this movie. In fact I had to be practically forced to see the movie by Amber whose persistence paid off when I found not only did I like it but I loved it. The movie had me from the very beginning when little JB sings his tasty jam. I love that song, as well as many in the movie. I have the entire soundtrack downloaded on iTunes, and I rarely skip it when it comes up on random play. Songs like Kickapoo and Beezleboss literally put me in a better mood when I hear them and that still surprises me over ten years later.

Jack Black has been around forever and slowly risen through the ranks to be a leading man but I was having none of it. I have actually to this day still never seen arguably his most famous movie, School of Rock, and the same goes for Nacho Libre. I didn’t see them when they came out on principle because I simply didn’t like Black. So many people told me I should see them, but I have always been a stubborn fan when I got my mind set on something and I had my mind set on Black. I think it stems from Orange County and the role he had in that film. I had mixed feelings about it but one thing that really annoyed me was Black’s over the top portrayal as the drug addict brother.

I felt completely different after seeing this movie and didn’t shy away from his movies afterwards but I never went back. Maybe somewhere deep in my subconscious I’m a little frustrated at how thoroughly Amber put me in my place on the subject of Jack Black and I stubbornly stand by my original principles out of spite when it comes to movies like School of Rock and Nacho Libre. Maybe one day I’ll check those out and realize how wrong I have been for all these years. It’d make a lot of sense actually because I admire Black’s musical skills so much. School of Rock just makes sense, but that stubborn fan in me is unrelenting.

I love this movie, through and through, but I think there is an easy formula that won me over with it. Start off with a bang and leave them laughing in the end. I’ve already mentioned how much I love the beginning of the movie with little Jack Black and Meatloaf. It’s funny and fun. It’s a great song too and it sets the entire tone for the movie. Check this out and tell me it’s not a great way to start a movie:

Kickapoo hits the mark and I feel the Rock when I hear it and I feel the passion. I love the tasty jam and it’s delightful use of the fuck word. It takes me back to when I was a young child trying to rock out in my own religious home. I have always loved my explicit material but it was absolutely not accepted in both of the religious homes I grew up in. One of the most embarrassing memories I have from the age of yesteryear was how I saved up enough money to buy some music. I don’t remember how old I was but back then we were buying tapes. I bought Green Day’s Dookie album on tape and I was pumped. I’ll never forget that after meeting my dad in another store he took one look and went all Meatloaf on me. In one of the most humiliating moments I had at that age I had to stand there while my dad loudly demanded my money back for garbage they had no business selling to someone so young. It was only one of the most famous albums ever but it had “four letter words” in it. My dad wasted not a second tearing the tape open and reading the lyrics on the inside when I showed him what I had gotten. The same went on in the other household when I was scolded for listening to Nine Inch Nails or Snoop Dogg. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I’d do as a parent myself, but I’d be more likely to confiscate and keep it for myself than to humiliate or whip out the belt.

Tangent over and back to the point. Kickapoo was a great opening that follows with some fun and some shenanigans before leading up to an ending that blows me away every time. There is little more I love more in the combination of music and film than Tenacious D and their rock off with the devil. I love the devil, who was played by the giant Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Though I’ve never been a fan I have to have respect for such a key figure in the history of rock, but I think as the devil he rocks the hell out of this shit. “I’m the devil I love metal!” that’s just fucking awesome. See for yourself:

I love how blasphemous it is and how awesome. It doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or if it’s practical. It’s all about the Rock and this absolutely fucking rocks. I love that not only is the devil funny and on point but when he rocks you can feel the difference. It would only make sense that the devil was the greatest rocker of all time.

I love a movie that catches me so by surprise and wins my affection despite all my instincts. When a movie proves me wrong it reminds me that I’m not right about everything and I think we would all be better off with a little bit of a reminder to that undeniable fact. Amber had been after me to watch this movie for months back in 06 or 07 and I refused as long as I possibly could. She owned the album for the film on CD and would play it often. I would get frustrated because with no context I hated listening to it. That’s something else she was right about because I find myself in an on going love affair with the music still after all these years.

This movie is overwhelmingly silly at times but that’s all part of the fun. Where this movie wins is with the music and that’s fitting because it achieves what it is literally trying to do. I may have avoided this movie and done my best to not see it, but when I did I fell in love with something unexpectedly. This is some of the most fun I have watching any movie and I love when the songs hit my playlist on random and I can feel that fun all over again. I think this movie is worth your time, your attention, and your ears and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

NEXT MOVIE: The Terminator (1984)

 

Free Birds

Year: 2013
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Written By: Scott Mosier, Jimmy Hayward, David I. Stern and John J. Strauss

 

It suddenly dawned on me tonight, on the eve of Thanksgiving, that I haven’t reviewed a movie with a Thanksgiving theme. Over the past couple of years at least I have liked to drop a movie review that correlated with America’s mostly passed over holiday. So suddenly did the realization hit me that I had little to no time to consider an appropriate film. In years past we have reviewed Dutch and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, both excellent movies for the holiday. This year on short notice I had little time to consider before the most practical film of all was suggested by Amber. So, I may have dipped into my children’s fledgling DVD collection for this title that I think works all too well.

There are several films made for my children that I find myself liking just as much as they do. Titles that immediately come to mind are The Croods, Big Hero 6, and of course this film. Pixar makes great films for all ages too but all too often now they are trying to make me cry and it pisses me off. I will never get over that bullshit at the end of Toy Story 3. I’m referencing the scene in which all the toys find themselves in the trash compactor with no hope of escape. Instead of trying to come up with some new escape plan they all hold hands and accept their imminent death in what last for many many seconds before they are saved. Come on Pixar, why don’t you just kick me in the balls and make me cry honestly??? It’s obscene to have this kind of moment in a children’s film and nothing makes me feel sillier than bawling my eyes out in a Toy Story film.

I find that I cry far more often in children films than in adult films these days. I am unashamed of it in most cases but Pixar gets under my skin because they are just laying it on too thick. In The Croods when the dad has to throw his entire family across the gap in the Earth only to be left behind himself I cry like a baby, but that’s different. There’s the father daughter aspect that hits me in the heart and I feel like they earn my tears honestly. Pixar cheats by going too hard for that punch in the gut, and really letting the moment linger.

This movie however does not make me cry at all and in fact it’s quite the opposite as the laughs keep on coming. I think the story about these turkeys time traveling to get themselves off the Thanksgiving menu is hilarious. The two main characters are voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson making the movie that much cooler. You even have a lot of other great voices filling up other roles like Amy Poehler, Keith David, Colm Meaney, and even George Takei. They all sound fantastic and deliver on a script that will keep you laughing.

It’s easy the older we get to dismiss animated films for being nothing more than babysitters for the youngins but if you sit down and watch some of them with them you might find yourself surprised. I didn’t particularly like Boss Baby, but for every five of those movies there’s a Shrek, Wall-E, an Up and I know I’m starting to contradict myself naming a few Pixar films but those are exceptional films and Pixar has, in the past made some truly exceptional movies.

So if you get bored with parades and football this Thanksgiving day check out this movie with your kids. You will probably be surprised to find out you enjoy it just as much as they do. Whatever you do try to do something to celebrate the family fun day and not move immediately to Christmas. Take some time to eat turkey, congregate with loved ones, sit through at least one ridiculous argument, and honor the memory of a make believe history. If you already have your Christmas lights up shame on you, that’s Friday work. Tomorrow, that’s all about family, fun, some drama and a lot of thankfulness. I hope you all have a happy one and find plenty to be thankful for.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Year: 2016
Directed By: Dave Green
Written By: Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman.

RYAN’S REVIEW

OK OK OK, I may have stood next to the first film on the pretext that the good outweighed the bad but the scales are tipped differently in this one. There is still the same old good in the Turtles and their great character development but they are not enough to overcome the bad this time around. The bad isn’t just bad in this one but it skips right over into the ugly zone. I think ultimately they made some seriously poor decisions in some places and they tried to cram way too much into the film. I would give this franchise another go if they were to make a third film but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen after this debacle.

To start with what I like, I continue to love the turtles. This movie is worth watching multiple times if for no other reason than them. There is so much going on in the background when all the turtles are on screen and they are really really funny. They each bring their own personalities to each character and I think they hit another home run a second time around, but only where the turtles are concerned. I actually really enjoyed the inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady. Childhood favorites finally hitting the big screen was a lot of fun for me and I didn’t mind how stupid they were. Yeah they were really stupid, but if nobody remembers correctly that’s exactly how they were supposed to be. When I was a 5 year old kid watching blocks of turtle episodes every weekend I remember that these two were always the morons that screwed everything up for the Shredder. I think in this movie they looked really good and they were as stupid as they were supposed to be.

It’s hard to go on any further with what I liked about this movie because there was so much dragging it down. Specifically Stephen Amell as Casey Jones was just flat out awful. I don’t know this guy because I have never seen Arrow, but I have heard plenty of people say good things about the show. Now, either they are all completely out of their mind or maybe he was intimidated by Megan Fox’s hotness on set I don’t know. If his performance in this movie is any indication of what the show is like I definitely won’t be watching it. When he and Fox are together on screen it is at its worse. Why did they give so much screen time to these two? I can handle Megan Fox sucking all the fun out of the screen but when they are paired together I can’t help but feel embarrassed. Embarrassed for them, everyone involved, and even myself for spending my time in this manner.

Not only was Stephen Amell really bad performing the part but the part was just completely stupid. Casey Jones is supposed to be a vigilante and sports enthusiast. Not an airheaded cop with an affinity for hockey. The strapping of the wheels onto his feet so he could skate was even lamer than his hockey stick shenanigans earlier in the film. Elias Koteas was so much better in the part, and I didn’t think he really set the bar that high.

In the first film Megan Fox was paired mostly with Will Arnett and he was able to keep things cool. In this movie she doesn’t have the luxury of a really funny and awesome wingman and she suffers for it. It’s like she has no self respect in that scene where she goes “undercover” as a sexy school girl. So shameful Megan Fox, you’ve lowered yourself to being nothing more than eye candy. I happen to like Megan Fox as eye candy but when you overdo it it just isn’t tasteful. It’s like the second Transformers movie when we see her for the first time and she’s ridiculously draped across a motorcycle painting it. It just isn’t even practical and it’s overkill.

I like the way Krang looked well enough and I thought it was really cool to see the Tecnodrone develop above New York City. The inclusion of Krang also brought the movie down though. The movie had already introduced two new villains and a new ally they didn’t need to go all out and bring in another supervillain. The Shredder is supposed to be a lackey of Krang but in this movie he didn’t have enough to do. If they had been smarter they would have climaxed with something different and let Krang lead into a third end all be all film.

Sadly it doesn’t seem like this franchise will be strong enough to overcome this disappointing second step. There has been little to no talk of a third film and the franchise has more or less been pronounced dead. I find that really disappointing because I still liked so much of what they did with this poorly received rendition.  You never know what will happen so there is always hope, but I’d hate to see it simply rebooted another ten years down the road when I’m definitely too old to be getting into the turtles.

So as I close the chapter on the ninja turtles portion of our collection I will leave it by admitting that this last turtles movie was crap. Truthfully this movie probably never would have authentically made it into the collection this day in age. I received it as a gift and decided that it was a good idea to own all the turtles movies and got myself a copy of the first one too. I really enjoy watching the first film but this one is only fun here and there. If you’re a fan then I think this movie is worth your time, and try not to be too harsh on it, but if you never got into the turtles to begin with this movie is going to do nothing to win you over.

NEXT MOVIE: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006) 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Year: 2014
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman
Written By: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies you just can’t take too seriously or you miss out on all the fun. Yeah there is plenty that could be criticized in this movie but who goes to see the heroes in a half shell expecting an award winner? Maybe I am still a sucker for the turtles after all these years but I can’t help but have a good time whenever I watch this movie. I have gone into it trying to be critical but still find myself overwhelmed by something I seriously enjoy. Plenty of people had problems with this new incantation of the ninja turtles but I feel like they’re just trying to take it too seriously.

People really love to hate on Michael Bay and I agree with those haters on most of what they say. Nevertheless I think when Bay does something good people are too determined to hate on him to appreciate it. At the very least give the guy credit for bringing the turtles back to the big screen. The franchise was so dead that the first installment in eleven years was animated, until this came out. This may not have made everybody happy but I think they are simply too critical of it because Bay was involved as a Producer.

I think there are plenty of things to criticize in this movie, but not enough to overshadow the things that I like about it. I think the shredder was too over the top. Why cast a cool looking actor to play the part then overwhelm him as a mutant Edward Scissorhands? He would have been much cooler had he had a more traditional costume and just manhandled the Turtles because he was that badass. I don’t understand what they were going for with the Shredder in this movie but that’s a criticism I have no counterpoint for in an argument.

Another criticism I simply can’t argue with is the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil. I don’t mind her personally because a movie like this only benefits from a bit of eye candy but I get it. It’s totally ridiculous and along with Michael Bay, she has manage to ruin another beloved franchise from the 80s. What I wonder these days is how long it is going to be before we hear what Megan Fox had to do to get back into the good graces of Michael Bay. I imagine it was something so dirty that she won’t even come public about it. After bad mouthing him and losing her job in the Transformers franchise there had to be something inappropriate going on to explain her presence here.

The last of the criticisms I’ll give credence to is simply Splinter. What a God awful work of CGI animation that thing was. I almost find him too repulsive to look at in this film and it is the main point where the original trilogy was better. All the CGI in the world couldn’t overcome what Jim Henson studios did back in the nineties. Nineties Splinter wasn’t repulsive at all, but more like a dear old grandpa rodent you’d want to take home and feed soup to. Maybe he’d teach you a bit of ninja shit after you fed him. In this film he really kicks some ass but he looks so disgusting that I can’t bear to keep my eyes on it.

Now, where I think this movie succeeds, and succeeds well enough to overcome any and all flaws is the Turtles themselves. I really love the distinct personalities they each have and how they flow into all the dialogue between them. They are exciting to watch in action and funny when they start talking. I love the immaturity that comes from them as they are actual teenagers with all the hormone madness that goes along with youth. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when they are riding the elevator and start beat boxing with their weapons. Hilarious. I think the CGI work on them was a bit weird at first but the more I get used to it the more I like it. They don’t look so uniform in this movie, with each not only having different body styles but so much personal gear that enhances their personas.

I think another big win in this movie was the casting of Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick. Arnett is a really funny guy and brings a lot to a film like this. The character of Fenwick has never been brought into the movies before and I like that they made room for him in the script. It’s hard for Arnett not to steal nearly every scene he is in playing opposite Megan Fox. So many of us remember him lovingly as “the MAGICIAN!!!!…….Gob” from Arrested Development. I for one can’t help but laugh involuntarily every time I hear the Final Countdown by Europe. You know what? Here you go, for old time’s sake:

Probably could have found a better video but this was the first one I came to and it serves the purpose. I freaking love that guy and him simply being part of this movie makes me like it all that much more.

This movie is far from perfect, but anybody demanding perfection from this movie has gone into it with the wrong attitude. The ninja turtles were never perfect, and our memories of them are a product of the age we were when we were introduced to them. Could this movie have been better? Absolutely, but was it good enough? I think so and I can honestly say I enjoy it every time I sit down to watch it. At the end of the day that is all that really matters. So I absolutely think this movie is worth your time, just not worth your criticism because there’s no need to take some things so seriously.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

TMNT

Year: 2007
Directed By: Kevin Munroe
Written By: Kevin Munroe, based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was the next movie up but sadly we won’t be able to review it. Under circumstances I find both disappointing and fulfilling the DVD has been lost. My kids have gotten into the turtles enough to have asked to see this movie and I let them take it off the shelf only to be lost in the madness kids create. There’s a playroom that they have run through like tornadoes, a playroom they will one way or another they be cleaning themselves…… They clean on child time and there is no telling when and if the DVD will be recovered in the effort. Meanwhile I want to go ahead and move along in these reviews.

I hate to admit it but I don’t really remember enough about this ten year old movie to know what I liked about it or saw in it that made me purchase it. I have always been a sucker for the turtles and I imagine there was something here that caught my attention. There had to be something because I can’t imagine why I would have added an animated film otherwise.

I might have thought it was an interesting bridge between the two live action franchises and would have been interested in rediscovering what prompted me to buy it. Nevertheless I won’t have the opportunity anytime soon and doubt I will make the effort to go back and do this one again. We are in the Turtle zone of the collection and once we pass it we’re heading straight on to Terminators, Thors, and all the T’s in between and thereafter.

If this movie is worth the time to come back to then by all means someone let me know and I’ll come back to it. Otherwise this one will have to be at your discretion to watch.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)