In the endless stream of remakes and sequels that is the new normal for summer at the movies, here comes The Incredibles 2. Unlike most of it’s “another chapter in the story” brethren, this movie is well written. The thing is, its story beats are nearly identical to the first one.
Even though this movie is about the exact same thing as the previous installment, it’s still creates and expands on interesting characters, situations and does it in a different way than the first installment. This made me think about what Robert zemeckis said when making Back to the Future Part 2 and how the audience wants the same experience when they go see a sequel as they had the first time and The Incredibles 2 fits this tradition like a glove.
The reason it works is because the revisited story points are covered in broad strokes. For example:
- superheroes have conflict with the public
- conflict within the Parr family
- there’s a mysterious villian
- Edna makes a super suit
- Luscious’ wife complains about his super heroing
- Jack-Jack has powers?!?
And so on. The thing is, the subtext drives the relationship between the characters and the way the audience relates to them. It’s the reason the movie is a fun time at the movies instead of a tedious retread of something we’ve already seen.
At its core, The Incredibles 2 is a carbon copy of the original. It doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but then, what movie could? The original film (in what seems to be destined to become a franchise) is essentially without flaw. While this new entry hits all the right (even if the same) notes, the champ is still undisputed. But I still can recommend this movie to fans of the first one.
It’s a new dawn, and a new day, and the world is feeling crazy – and not just in the “Let’s blow each other up because you worship God slightly differently than I do” sort of way. Today, I bring you the fun version of crazy… well, mostly. Read the rest of this entry
I don’t think any movie was on TV in the early 90s more often than Troop Beverly Hills. Like Clue, the movie performed poorly at the box office and lost over $10 million, which made both flicks a cheap pickup for stations that were looking to fill time with affordable movies. This easy availability and constant exposure engrained Troop Beverly Hills onto my young mind in a way that makes it nearly impossible for me to look at this film objectively. Nearly. Read the rest of this entry
First, watch the trailer for The Company Men:
Looks good, right? In fact, this is one of the most promising trailers I have seen in a while – although keep in mind I just saw the Transformers 3 trailer… just awful. (I hope NASA is as pissed off as I am.) But yes, it looks like there are all the elements of a good story here along with a promising cast, including Ben Affleck as the guy who lost his job, Tommy Lee Jones and as Chris Cooper his former coworkers, Craig T. Nelson as their boss, and Kevin Costner as Affleck’s brother in law, who is sporting a Boston accent – guess he heard I was ripping on him for not doing a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The problem with this movie is… well, it’s just not very good. If somebody pitched the idea of doing a movie about downsizing on a corporate level, it sounds like the stuff Oscars are made of, right? The problem here is I don’t believe this movie for a second. The characters are one dimensional and largely unsympathetic. I’m sorry, I love Tommy Lee Jones as much as anybody, but it’s pretty hard to believe that Maria Bello would have an affair with him – and what’s with the totally random shot of her rack? I love rack as much as anybody, but there was no need to include a shot of her rack while she was getting dressed. It felt like they were there shooting the movie and a producer called the director’s cell and said, “Hey, do me a favor: get some tits into this movie any way you can. Nothing says authentic drama like tits.” Its that kind of movie; you find yourself wondering, what the hell is happening here? Isn’t a million dollar home excessive for an executive that makes under $150k a year? I don’t understand the way Affleck’s character was written – it’s like they were thinking about doing the five stages of grief with him after he lost his job, but in the end, they decided, “Fuck it, lets just do denial, a little anger, and a dash of acceptance.” Why is Cooper’s character the flattest, least interesting character ever? His suicide isn’t a surprise; you’re waiting for it. In the first five minutes of the movie, his character promises to “take an AK47 to the place” if they fire him… The guy is literally throwing rocks at the office building after he gets fired… it’s the most inauthentic thing you’ll ever see on film. When Affleck gets a job working with Costner as a carpenter, you expect it to go somewhere, for Affleck to learn something besides his brother in law isn’t so bad after all. Or, maybe he’ll get good at carpentry. Or maybe that his Porsche and his country club membership weren’t so important after all. But no, that doesn’t happen. Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones leaves his wife after he gets fired… presumably because she bought a really expensive end table (like over $10k) in a previous scene… or because he’s having an affair… I don’t know. There just isn’t enough content in the movie to explain it. Then he decides to start his own company and he hires Affleck and they are pretty much back where they started before they got fired and the movie ends. There is no rivalry with the old company – I was thinking it might have been interesting to do a “you were doing business the wrong way, we’re doing it the right way and we’ll be more successful than you,” sort of angle, but it can’t because the movie is over. (And not a moment too soon, it’s a long 104 minutes.) The movie just always leaves you feeling… I don’t know, flat. You never feel what the movie intends for you to feel – when Cooper’s character dies, you don’t fee bad – he was a miserable man, you’re sort of glad he’s dead so you don’t have to listen to him complain anymore.
OK, I’m going to leave it there. The movie isn’t unwatchable, but on a whole, it just doesn’t work. The characters are crappy and the plot is kind of pointless. It’s an ensemble drama that wants to do character portraits, but it doesn’t devote hardly enough time to any of the characters, not even Affleck, who is the star of the damn movie. Nobody really learns anything, nobody changes… There are some good performances in here (sorry, Chris Cooper – I know they wrote you into a corner, but your sad-sack whining just wasn’t working here), but it’s not enough to save the movie. I am neither recommending nor endorsing this movie – its crappy, but if there are no other movies to see, it’s watchable. It’s like the Coors Light of movies.