May 1, 2009, - 12:36 pm
Weekend Box Office: X-Men’s “Wolverine” Tops Very Lame Offerings; UPDATE: Review of Dumb “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” Added
By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE: Scroll down for review of horrid “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” ****
* “X-Men Origins: Wolverine“: This was better than I expected, but not that great. It was just okay. It’s got fantastic special effects. Very cool set designs and scenery. And for that, it’s worth it. That’s what people go to this kind of superhero movie to see–the FX. And you’ll get your fill here.
It’s just that it was missing that “something special,” that magic that makes a good superhero movie great, like “Iron Man” or the far superior original “X-Men” movie, which I liked a lot. Also, this movie let me down in that it begins with a bang and ends with a mediocre, formulaic whimper.
At the beginning, we learn how Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) discovers his powers as a kid, along with his crazy brother (Liev Schreiber). We see the two of them fighting on the side of the U.S. in a number of wars–the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam. That was cool. And we learn how Wolverine’s claws and the rest of his body become undestructible. That was cool, too.
But it just wasn’t all that. And I could have done without the usual anti-military tripe that comes out of Hollywood: that an evil general is turning humans into ultimate weapons and setting Wolverine up and trying to blackmail/extort him. We’ve seen this before. That aspect of the movie is typical and boring. And it’s the sign of a weak script and plot.
But, hey, like I said, the script and plot isn’t the reason we go to see this kind of movie. And for what we do go to see, it’s not bad. It’s got its moments of excitement and the like. But there wasn’t much in the way of suspense or the magic sparks I like in my superhero flicks. And there wasn’t any humor. I laughed like maybe three or four times, where I don’t think it was meant to be funny. I like a certain amount of humor and snark in the guys with special powers. But this movie just takes itself too seriously.
(Also, parents should note that it’s a tad violent for younger kids. Lots of stabbing with the Wolverine claws, and there’s a beheaded wolf. But it should be okay for teens.)
Worth ten bucks and almost two hours, but not spectacular. Just all right.
* “Battle for Terra“: This was probably the worst animated movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not just that the animation was stiff and seemed like 20 years behind the times. It’s that the story was ridiculous and boring. And all of the alien characters looked the same. It was in 3D, and the 3D was unremarkable and useless. Did nothing for me.
And then there’s the anti-war theme, that we human Americans want to war and destroy a peaceful people and take their land. Sound familiar? Ditto for the global warming BS.
Terrians are aliens who look like tadpoles or sea monkeys. They all look the same and can float and undulate. (It’s odd, when one of them crashes and gets injured because we know they can fly.) They live on the planet of Terra, which has very cool animated sets, but that’s where the coolness of the animation ends. The rest is anachronistic in terms of today’s animation technology and imagination.
Humans from earth (they’re Americans with standard English names) have destroyed there planet because they “misused the natural resources and the land and destroyed it.” (At this point I was thinking, “Shut up, Al Gore and Sheryl Crow.”) They’ve been relegated to a giant spaceship, which will soon run out of oxygen, so they plan to invade Terra, destroy the Terrians and change their atmosphere to an oxygen-based one.
But the Terrians, after an initial exploratory invasion by the humans, fight back, led by a young Terrian girl, Mala. We’re told, “Even the most peaceful world has a right to fight back and defend itself, when it’s under attack.” Sounds like what Al-Qaeda says to recruit terrorists, while showing them Iraq video clips.
I found it odd that an animated movie meant for kids was not only so boring, but way too complicated and over the top for a younger crowd.
Skip it. If you’re looking for a great movie for kids, try the timeless (non-animated) classic, “My Side of the Mountain,” instead. It’s from 1969, and despite the 40-year lag, it’s far more advanced for kids than this baloney.
* “Lymelife“: In case we didn’t see enough attacks on American life in the suburbs and capitalism–with movies like “Revolutionary Road” (read my review)–this boring, pointless movie, starring Alec Baldwin (need I say more) will give you more than you could ask for. The movie poster features this horrid film’s message: “The American Dream Sucks.” Um, no, it doesn’t. Just in Hollywood, where they want us to feel bad and despise America.
Baldwin plays a successful Long Island builder bent on building a bigger house. His wife is happy in their modest middle class home and life back in Queens. In the meantime, Baldwin is cheating on his wife with his female employee, whose husband (Timothy Hutton) is an unemployed man afflicted by Lyme disease. Baldwin’s son is friends with and has a crush on Hutton’s daughter. Everyone is miserable. Then end.
A complete waste of time. Save two hours of your life and $10 and avoid like the plague. Utter crap.
**** UPDATE–“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past“: Possibly the dumbest, most annoying, most cheesy, dopey, and predictable movie ever. It was torture sitting through this absolutely awful chick flick starring the utterly untalented Matthew McConaughey and almost as untalented Jennifer Garner. If I wasn’t reviewing it, I’d have walked out in the middle (or probably toward the beginning). Painful. If we were still allowed to “torture” terrorists, this would be at the top of my list to make ’em sit through over and over. This was supposed to be a comedy, and I didn’t laugh once. But I did fall asleep (yaaaaawn).
McConaughey plays a playboy and a photographer who is single, alone, and a proud womanizer. He was raised this way by his late uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas). Now, he’s at his uncle’s house for his brother’s wedding, where he’s trying to bed everything in sight and finds his past girlfriend, Garner, whom he left because he’s a commitment-phobe. Soon, he’s visited by ghosts of his uncle and others from his life, warning him not to be a womanizer or he’ll die old and alone and ruin everything.
The only thing good about this movie was Michael Douglas as the womanizing uncle, and he makes only a few brief appearances.
Guys, don’t let your wife or girlfriend drag you to this tripe. Absolutely awful. Avoid at all cost.
FOUR MARXES PLUS
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