I feel like I might be down a little bit of cinematic geek cred from last year. I really did very few theatrical release movies, either in the theater, or on Netflix or other streams after the fact. I did do a reasonable amount of television, but that’s a whole different discussion. Thinking about all the major releases last year, there really weren’t all that many I got to. Oh, I had a reason for most, but I don’t promise it was always a good reason.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
I will be honest I was pretty much tired of the whole dystopian society teenage hero motif by the time I saw the first of the hunger games movies. This sub-genre doesn’t do much for me and unless one of my teenagers wants to see it, increasingly unlikely these days, so I’m going to give pretty much all of these a pass. If you enjoy them, great, I hoped they’re work the price of admission.
I didn’t manage to get through the book, finding it ponderous, glacial, and, unfortunately, annoying. I strongly suspect this is one of those rare times where the movie is much better. Cinematic visualization of the strange biological zone that was at the heart book would probably look awesome on screen, but it would also have to rewrite the entire story for me to want to watch it. I need both a story and effects to be worth the big screen so me. Otherwise, I can wait for it to be released to other media so that I can watch it home. Or, in this case, not watch it at all.
I did see this one, and I have seen most of the Marvel moves. I think this is actually my second favorite movie in the cinematic universe so far. Better writing that most and better acting than most, coming together in one film. This is the movie that essentially kept the marble cinematic universe alive for me this year.
The Cloverfield Paradox
This was a sequel, right? I never saw the original Cloverfield, because I don’t typically go in for monster movies unless somebody close to me really wants to see it. Whether the sequel is actually monster movie or not, that’s a question for someone else.
A Wrinkle In Time
I have fond memories the book as a kid, but haven’t read it in literally decades. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. My oldest daughter, however, had heard really good things about it, and was particularly excited to see Mindy Kaling appearing in the film. I was pleasantly surprised, although I did feel like they were big chunks of story missing. That’s the dangerous part about adapting a book and movie, keeping the essential story while still keeping it to a movie time frame.
Pacific Rim Uprising
Pass. The first Pacific Rim was fun even while being a bit clunky and underwritten. I know I just said I’m not much for monster flicks, but giant monsters fighting giant robots, well, sometimes that’s entertaining, at least if the CGI is good. There were certain things there were little too telegraphed, but overall it was a satisfying film. That said, I walked out of it after having seen it with my son voicing the thought that it was fun but I really hoped they wouldn’t make the sequel. He assured me they would. Clearly, one of us was right and it wasn’t me.
I never even heard about this, which might say something about my general media consumption habits these days, or it might mean say something about how much they tried to actually get people interested in this film the first place. I don’t even remember what it’s about at the moment.
Ready Player One
I’ve long since gotten a point in my life where I’m wary of books being converted into movies. In this case, I more or less enjoyed the book, although I didn’t find it as reasonable as everyone else seemed to. I also didn’t see how they could realistically keep the characters as they were and tell the entire story in a two and a half hour movie. So, I passed.
Here’s a movie I only heard about because I found it on a list of Wikipedia.
Avengers: Infinity War
I have to admit that I didn’t actually get around seeing this until the very end of the year when it released on Netflix, watching it with my wife and two of my children who wanted to see it. We reach the end and my overarching thought was, well, there were some entertaining fight scenes, and some good lines here and there, but was that supposed to be a good movie? The ensemble cast was little too ensemble, relying on the viewer’s deep familiarity with the entire cinematic universe. Really, the film was pretty much two and a half hours of explosions. There wasn’t an awful lot of story, and the story that was there was actually pretty weak. Depending on the kids I still have living at home when it releases, I may be forced to see the sequel.
Again, a movie I found out about looking at the year’s big screen releases on Wikipedia.
I think I’ve made my feelings about dead pool fairly well-known. I’m not really a fan. Take away the superpowers and you’re essentially left with a guy who thinks everything he says is funny and everything that falls it is not the supposed be joke. In that light, I went to high school with Deadpool, I know someone who is married to Deadpool, and I’ve worked with Deadpool more than once. I’m good, thanks. Pass.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
And here’s where everyone cringes. I haven’t seen it yet. Neither of the girls wanted to see it in the theater, my son didn’t come home at the right time, and my wife (who likes Star Wars but only enough to see it because I’d want to see it) and I couldn’t make our schedules work at the time. And then it was gone from theatres. For some reason, I haven’t purchased, downloaded, or pirated it, or even look to see if it was on Netflix. I’m not sure why that is.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
It see it. Actually think that Mr. going by the theaters, and honestly wasn’t too worried about it. Antman was kind of fun, but I was pretty sure it is a cinematic sequel.
Ah, good. Another dystopia. Pass. (Am I getting crotchety in my old age?)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Well, add in the fact that I haven’t actually seen the first of the generation later Jurassic Park movies to the fact that I’ve begun to find Chris Pratt kind of annoying since he started using every public opportunity to tell us all we need more God in our lives, and you might see why I gave this a pass, too.
Batman for a new age. AI implant gives man crippled for life super powers to go out and get revenge. I’m good.
The Incredibles 2
I was so ready for this when it came out, but nobody wanted to see it in the theatre with me, and I didn’t want to be that creepy guy in the back of the theatre at something that’s marketed as a kids’ movie. So I waited for the Netflix release, and enjoyed the hell of it. It wasn’t, quite, as good as the first, but as a sequel it should happened a couple of years after the original. For my money, that first Incredibles movie is the best film Pixar has ever made, it should have been a no-brainer for a sequel. Unfortunately, they seemed to get locked into a decade or more long cycle of making Cars and related movies to milk the concept for as many dollars they could
Rehash of the devastating alien invasion. Missed it.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
While part of me wants to see if Adam Sandler turns in a more emotive performance as a cartoon character than in the last several live-action films he’s appeared in, I haven’t been curious enough to actually pay money to find out.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
The original was fun. Not sure if I needed a sequel. Probably why I haven’t seen it yet.
Another movie I found out about long after the fact, but the mixture of premises could be fun. On the list for watching someday.
I have actually had enough of the Alien/Predator franchises. I’m good, please stop, move on.
Small foot: while this looked like it might be entertaining, I am way outside the target market for this one. Maybe if I had grandchildren, which I’m not quite ready for yet.
Yeah, I’m good. While redemption is nice, I don’t actually know if I’m interested in seeing a visualization of Venom’s redemption. To cross the streams, this would be like seeing a Joker movie for me. Or Suicide Squad last year. I have no interest in watching the bad guys unless they’re getting what’s coming to them.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
If I were a Harry Potter fan, maybe. But it pretty much only watch the Harry Potter movies because my kids wrenched seen.
I thought Aquaman was a fun hero when I was younger, talking silver or bronze age Aquaman, or the super friends on TV when I was small. I thought the movie could be fun, too, but I just haven’t gotten there yet.
Bumblebee: The Movie
A Transformers spin off movie. Really? Give it a rest, already. Pass.
See notes under Maze Runners earlier in the year.
So there it is, my cinematic geek representation last year. It’s not a whole lot, is it? Oh, I should mention that my youngest daughter and I went to see The Meg, which I suppose should technically be classed as science-fiction, in several ways. Jason Statham going head-to-head against the shark was kind of fun, but it’s not something that requires another watch.
So, not a terribly impressive year.
Maybe if we were talking about television, there would be more to talk about. I actually did a fair bit of that in the past year, although almost none of it beyond the first season and a bit of The Flash in 2018, currently broadcasting stuff. It’s in season five now, and I’ve only just caught up.
Topic for another day, perhaps.
Be well, everyone.by