Peter Rabbit

Ah, Peter Rabbit, a classic story turned into a movie about a rabbit and real people. CGI and humans. And bunnies.

The last time we had a CGI/live action film involving bunnies and real people was Hop, 7 years ago, and it was a goddamn disaster. It was racist and classist, with a terrible story. It was an attempt to teach that some discrimination is okay. I have no idea how the whole thing got green lit.

Is 7 years enough time to try again? Probably not. Because the one thing I heard about this film before seeing it was the huge controversy over a scene where the bunnies attack a man through his allergies. Trying to kill him by making light of a dangerous scenario, in an amusing way.

A good set up to go into a movie that already has a legacy of shit to pile its way through.

Bunny Pals
Stand back Cookie-Monster, get ready for a new healthier form of gluttony.

Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) is a mean old man, who chases the bunnies out of his garden. He wants to grow his crops, they want to eat his crops. He has an artist neighbor, Bea (Rose Byrne), likes the rabbits and they trust her, so she likes to protect them.

Either way, when Peter Rabbit (James Corden) is doing his thing, taking that food, McGregor has a heart attack and dies. Damn.

Now the rabbits own the place, a big farm party, all animals, lots of foods lots of things break. But then one day, a young Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) shows up, the new owner. He has a lot of anger issues from his job, and now he finds this place he would just like to fix up and sell a disaster.

So of course he hates the rabbits, and says no to their shit. Even if he starts to find Bea attractive and wants to impress her. And this is the story of their war.

Also starring mostly the voices of Fayssal Bazzi, Sia, Colin Moody, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley.

Familypic
Some family trees are hybrids.

For a majority of this story, this film is spending its energy and effort on convincing me, a normal(ish) human male, that I should be on the side of the bunnies on this story. The bunnies who are certain that they should be able to eat the wonderful things that are grown in this garden, that a human spent time growing in order to make food for themselves or to make a profit in order to buy other things.

What in the fuck kind of movie is this? If the bunnies are so sentient that they can talk, and are just not talking to the humans out of secrecy, then goddamn it, go raise your own carrots in a garden and eat it. We can see them making traps and hatching plans, and grabbing and picking things up, then there is no excuse for this insanity.

The old man they have was mean, and he never searched out and tried to kill the rabbits. He just protected his land. Fair. The new guy? The one dealing with grief. Who also only goes out of his way to stop the bunnies when they trash his house, injure him, and kill him with his allergies. No. Just no.

They try to change it by the end, but what doesn’t change is that at least the first half if not more, it is a plot just wanting me to hate the rabbits.

What kind of values are this shit? Grow and go into poverty and depression so some bunnies can eat?

0 out of 4.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I was relatively excited going in to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even with them deciding to drop the iconic episode numbers. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was clear it was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn’t too original. And Rouge One was great.

But the people who let me see things early switched to a different PR company, specifically to the one company that I didn’t have. I found out late November when the change occurred, which made it clear that I wasn’t going to be seeing Star Wars 8 early at all. And at that point, all the pre-sale tickets had already happened for early showtimes.

So if I was going to see it, I knew I would have to wait at least a week after the fact, maybe longer. And then I waited longer, I waited to see how many times I could keep putting it off. I didn’t see this movie until mid-February, still on a nice big screen. And that is why it was never reviewed, and why I decided eventually to wait to put it as the final movie in my “2017 Movies I should have seen last year” list!

Jedi Master
I’m a Jedi master, bitch!

I don’t feel like tagging all of the many characters who are in this film, at least naturally through this review, so I will post them all at the end.

Yay Luke Skywalker was found by Rey! Boo, she is avoided because Luke wants to be alone and doesn’t think the Jedi should be apart of the world anymore. He wants to die and let the Jedi order die with him.

While she convinces him that he is stupid, the Resistance are getting fucked over by the Empire, First Order. A lot of ships are running around, people dying, pew pew pews. And the resistance has to run and get away to not die.

And that is the movie.

Starring, of course, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, and Jimmy Vee.

Also starring newbies to the galaxy, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Amanda Lawrence, Justin Theroux.

Pew pew pew
Yeah, but how many of those dozen plus names can wield a light saber and shoot out red dust!

Star Wars 8 clocks in at around 2.5 hours, because apparently we can never get enough Star Wars. It is the longest Star Wars film yet, cracking the other top place holders by about 10 minutes. And boy did it sure feel long.

You see, it is made apparent from this film that this trilogy is in no way planned out. We have a lot of plots that were set up from the first film that end completely out of nowhere in this film. Characters die off, questions get answered, and most of it is extremely disappointing.

The worst part of the film is a subplot that has a few characters going on a mission alone, in order to find a character in a casino. It lasts very long in terms of the overall movie and again, none of it feels justified or worth it by the end. It felt like this movie had filler, which is inexcusable given its rather long run time. That isn’t even getting into the really awkward Leia scene.

The only reason this film didn’t get a 1 out of 4, is because the ending was pretty rad. It still seemed to have a lot of poor plot developments, making what felt a side plot last the entire goddamn film. It was very character focused, even though a lot of the characters they decided to kill off. I just cannot help but think of the poor merchandise that was sold for the first two films that never really amounted to much.

2 out of 4.

The Eagle Huntress

What the world needs now is a strong female role model to look up to. Someone who is breaking grounds, doing what she wants, and kicking ass all at the same time.

What the world needs now is Aisholpan Nurgaiv. AKA The Eagle Huntress. AKA our new rallying cry.

The Eagle Huntress takes us to Mongolia, in the smaller villages and in the mountains, where natives have lived there for thousands of years. And that is where the great tradition of hunting foxes with trained eagles has been thriving for a very long time.

These proud and noble hunters are few and far in between, normally passing on the skills from father to son. Not everyone can hunt with eagles. It takes time, patience, and of course, being taught. Most people are farmers, or regular hunters, or people with real goddamn jobs.

And Aisholpah is the oldest child in her family, where her father, Rys Nurgaiv, is an eagle hunter. She has always been fascinated by the eagles and has helped raise a few with her dad. But now she is coming of age, she is 13, and she wants an Eagle of her own. She wants to train it, to hunt with it, and to enter competitions with it.

Doc
Spoilers

But of course, in her part of the world, everyone is very conservative. The “village elders” in there are shown to be very against the idea of a GIRL becoming a Hunter. Women are weak and frail. Women need to be farming and cooking. Women cannot handle the eagle or handle the cold. And all of that. They were all shown to be quite angry basically. It is great that Aisholpan lives in such a progressive for the area family.

And yeah, they say screw you. Aisholpan gets her own baby eagle with the help of her dad. She trains the eagle. She goes to competitions. And she goes on hunts with it. Not just women power. Power in goddamn general.

The documentary is narrated by Daisy Ridley, who is also the executive producer, and putting her Star Wars fame to good use right away.

I was awed by some of the scenes, wondering how they could get such great shots in the cold wintry mountains of Mongolia. Eagles taking flight, fighting with foxes. And shit, when she stole the eagle babies? That was downright terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

This documentary does what documentaries really need to start doing again. Telling a great story around the world for people to learn from and for us to get inspired by. If Aisholpan can fight the patriarchy all on her own, what can you do in your own first world home? If Aisholpan can achieve her dreams at such a young age, then why are you still on Reddit?

Go out and do awesome things. It is what Aisholpan would want of you.

And as of this movie, one of my goals is to get one of those super sweet fox pelt outfits that the hunters get. So goddamn sexy, if not warm.

3 out of 4.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Here is what I can tell you:

This review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be super unbiased. Why? Because I am not a hardcore fan boy of the series like most critics I know. I didn’t watch the original trilogy over and over as a kid, and didn’t even see them as an adult. Each film of the original trilogy I have only seen once, and honestly, I get why they were popular then, but think most of it is just nostalgia a la Tron love. Tron is technically terrible, it just did something no other film did before it, so it was a big deal and loved for that reason. If I saw Star Wars as a kid, I might be hooked as well.

I am not saying I hate Star Wars, as that would still be biased. I am just very neutral and ambivalent towards it. I liked KOTOR as a game, so that is one thing I enjoyed. And yes, Episode III might be my favorite Star Wars film, solely for the ending magma battle and shouting.

Here is one more thing I can tell you:

No, I don’t think this review will have a ton of spoilers. I didn’t watch any trailers myself to keep it completely fresh in my mind. I waited days after its released and walked through the internet like a minefield to keep my take on it fresh, despite the news stories of its success. I wanted to wait, so I could watch it in an enjoyable way with a small crowd to not sway my opinion one way or another. Will I reveal basic plot points? Of course, but if that is a spoiler, then fuck me, everything is a spoiler.

Run
This is how I be dodging spoilers on the internet.

Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, shit has once again hit the fan. Remember Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? Yeah, he was a big deal. He has been missing for a long time now though and might just be the last Jedi. Turns out there are still bad people. They aren’t the Empire anymore, they are the First Order. And they are looking for him.

So are the Resistance, which is of course led by Leia (Carrie Fisher), a General now. You can’t really call yourself a Princess anymore when your only claim to royalty blew up in the first half of A New Hope.

Either way, she sends her best pilot down to Jakku on hearing that there is a clue to his whereabouts. You’re thinking Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbaccca (Peter Mayhew)? Hell no! We’re talkin’ Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)! He is like the new Han Solo, I guess.

And that is the plot outline basically given to us by the rolling credits to start the film. Since I don’t want to freak anyone out. First Order bad. Luke is gone. And more question marks.

But there are still new characters! Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the new Luke and Finn (John Boyega) was a storm trooper, and also New Luke. I guess. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is new Darth Vader and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is new Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.

Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) is new Yoda, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is new Palpatine, and Anthony Daniels is still C3P0. Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) is a silver storm trooper commander, and I guess she is just a new thing completely. But she has almost no real reason to be in this film, to be honest.

Old
Princess Leia really let it all go for this film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an entertaining film. It has likable characters. The new people seem to mostly be the focus, determined to tell their own story, and not let a bunch of old people steal their spotlight. What I might have loved the most was that it felt a lot more “realer” than the prequels. It didn’t feel like a giant CGI fest. It involved actors really running through sand. Real sand!

And sure, I liked Rey. This series will catapult Ridley into super stardom, I can feel it. I liked the Poe and Finn bromance. I really liked Poe. I liked Poe a lot more than I would imagine for someone who is just a pilot. Damn you irresistible Oscar Isaac. Even the new R2D2 was cool.

I didn’t like Kylo Ren when he took off the mask though. No offense to Adam Driver, who I tend to enjoy in his other films, but the look he had with the long hair made him just feel so un-intimidating. His characteristics, technically realistic, but not currently as BAMF as I had hoped. The storm troopers themselves were better. They had personalities, they could hit targets, they had various weapons, and obviously, one of them gained a conscious.

Bad guy
He does have the most sensical lightsaber at least.

But then. Then there are other things. Things not as good as those first things.

Of course a common complaint is this whole thing just feels like a rehash of events from the original trilogy. Some people would argue they are just a homage or mirror of events. Others will just call it lazy fan service / heavy winking. I am on the latter. This didn’t feel like a completely new movie. I mean, fuck, they already did two Death Stars. This time we have a really really really big Death Star, with similar dumb weak points with even more who gives a shitness.

Not everything is well acted. Some scenes are cringey, some seem forced. The worst scene for me to watch was unfortunately a scene between Fischer and Ford, talking about their old love. Neither seemed to be really into it at that moment (Fisher was unfortunately aloof for every one of her scenes), and it didn’t provide the power that it was striving for.

I think what I hated even more about this film is that it didn’t feel like a complete story. Yes, it is part of a trilogy. Yes, trilogies should have an over arcing plot and goal that is being worked towards. But each film in a trilogy needs to have its own beginning, middle, and end, and not leave us with almost literal cliffhangers. The ending to TFA reminded me of the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which pissed me off so much I still haven’t seen At World’s End. Will I see Episode VIII? I have to, it is my job, but I will go in on a slightly sour note.

In case I wasn’t clear, this film felt like it wanted to set up the trilogy and only hint at what is to come, instead of letting that come naturally through its own story.

TFA is an entertaining movie and one people can enjoy again and again, but it is not movie of the year material when it comes down to all of the bigger elements. I have hope for the future films.

As a side note, I enjoyed a few other things. Like Fisher’s daughter having a small role, and you may recognize her from Scream Queens. It is hilarious that Isaac and Driver are both in this film, when they were last together they sung with Justin Timberlake about not wanting to go to Outer Space. I hope JT is given future consideration for a small role.

And finally, there was a mother fucking reference to Clerks. Clerks, which made many references to Star Wars. Randall was wrong. He said that the average storm trooper does not know how to install a toilet, and that they’d have to hire independent contractors to make the Death Star. But damn it. Those storm troopers do have jobs. (Spoiler)? Finn worked in fucking sanitation!

3 out of 4.