Tag: Fantasy

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Maleficent stormed onto the scene many years ago, one of the first of the Disney live action titles, outside of that bad Alice one.And it was pretty forgettable. A weak plot, a lot of time of just watching a kid grow up, and then some terrible CGI fight battles.

But hey, the whole reason for doing it is to say that someone with the name of Maleficent,meaning to cause harm supernaturally, isn’t actually bad. Oh okay. And sure, they made her seem misunderstood, and basically a revenge film about a rape, metaphors aside.

So why is this sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, doubling down on the badness? But she isn’t bad. Just bad looking. Now she is also the mistress of evil? I uhh, don’t know why they want to do this?

I’ll go ahead and say this early enough, that they don’t have a good plot reason for this title.

green
Ah, green fire magic. Magic-y. Evil. 

Alright, so Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a sort of hero, killing a king who was a liar and a bad person, and I guess everyone agreed? She magically got her wings back and restored some sort of order, and went back to her magical forest to chill with magic forest people.

But apparently in like, a year or two, the story changes so much that she is a bad guy again. Cool.

Well, Aurora (Elle Fanning) wants to get married finally though, to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who was definitely recast between movies. So they get their parents together, Aurora finding Maleficent, and Philip getting King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Neither set of parents like this at all, especially not Ingrith, who sets about immediately being a bitch. This leads to a curse being cast on a King, Maleficent noping the hell out of there, and then a war against the fey, again.

But hey, this time there are going to be lots of people like Maleficent this time, so you know, bigger stakes, and lots of CGI warring.

Also starring Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton.

wedding
The king has huge look of regret about this whole thing.

Without a doubt, this is a two hour movie that feels like four hours. On the first day of the year, ready to watch a bunch of films, I was completely warn out after this one, my 2nd film of the day, because of how much this movie dragged.

This felt like more of the same, with worse reasoning for existing. This time, the big CGI fest battle happened for a bigger chunk of the movie, if we start it with the very obvious double cross that started against the magical creatures.

This film tries to do more world building this time, but it is building a world, answering questions none of us had. Maleficent is stronger and better than others because. Just because.

Pfeiffer’s character is completely stupid in this film. An antagonist without a good reason. And honestly, Pfeiffer does nothing to really elevate the role at all, she is here for a paycheck.

Maleficent 2 is a movie with more CGI that is exhausting in his excess without being worth looking at. It has acting from all fronts that is forgettable. It tells a story that is very, very similar to the first one, but with “bigger scales” that don’t really matter either. It is a waste of what felt like four hours of my life.

0 out of 4.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level is the sequel to the sequel/reboot that was actually the second sequel to a movie that is based on a book from the 1980’s.

But this one has characters from the last one, and is also in a video game, so people like that.

Honestly, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was better than I expected, even with dumb video game inconsistencies that movies just refuse to ever get right when we have real people sucked into video games.

And knowing that this movie had Dwayne Johnson pretending to be Danny DeVito? That was really enough for me to make sure I could see it!

awk
Seems like some glitches have affected the Avatars!
Alright! Time for more video games!

This takes place I guess about two years after the events of our first film. All of our heroes went off to do things. Spencer (Alex Wolff), our main kid I guess, went off to NYC for college, while the girl Martha (Morgan Turner) whom he started to date, went to a different school. She seemed toooo cool for him now and he broke up because of his anxieties and low self worth.

But the four of them still agree to meet up over the holidays, Spencer, Martha, Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), a strange Breakfast club that didn’t end.

This time though, Spencer doesn’t show up, despite coming back home. So they check for him at home and only see some old dudes, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Milo (Danny Glover). It’s his grandparent and old business partner!

Turns out Spencer went back into the game Also turns out that Spencer even has the game again, despite being all broken. So they agree to go back in, but uh oh, old people get sucked in instead of Bethany! Now they have to explain it all to people who are bad at video games. Not only that, but the game seems to be a sequel, and a new quest!

Ack. Okay. Find Spencer. Finish the game. Don’t die. Also starring the same avatars of Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Jack BlackNick Jonas, and Kevin Hart. Also Awkwafina, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann, and Colin Hanks.

upsidedown car
In this new level, it takes place in Australia! Clearly.

I came for the Rock as Devito, but it turns out the real star was Hart as Glover. It is already hard to see Kevin Hart as anyone besides Kevin Hart. Even in the last film, it was still basically Kevin Hart. But when he was imitating Glover, his voice was deeper, his voice was more thoughtful and slow. And sure, the slower speech was important enough to the plot so that everyone would notice it, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.

The Rock as DeVito? Honestly, a bit more disappointing. At first I thought it must be my own hype ruining it, and maybe DeVito wasn’t as obvious as I thought. But later in the movie, ANOTHER character had to act like DeVito for long periods of time and they nailed it. It was exactly what I was hoping the Rock would do, and he didn’t deliver. And for spoiler reasons I will keep it vague, great job other acting person. You and the previous mentioned Hart description knocked it out of the park.

Now on the other fronts, the plot of this one is really weak. Not just the video game plot, which is part of the point. The real world plot. The old guy anger isn’t worth our time. The plot to get Spencer and friends into the game was terrible this time around. Why does it happen? Because they want a sequel to exist, I guess.

This film still has some fun, and some tricks up its sleeve. And still, like the first, it ends up being just okay.

2 out of 4.

Dark Phoenix

Oh X-Men, how much we weep for thee.

X-Men so bad now, they took X-Men out of the title.

X-Men so bad, they are trying to remake their previous worst main X-Men title with the same writer.

X-Men so bad, they make a movie called Dark Phoenix and don´t have Phoenix in the movie at all.

X-Men so bad, this movie killed the X-Men.

stranger
And no amount of Albinism can save it. 

X-Men: Apocalypse took place in the 1980´s, and this one takes place in the 1990´s and features no real aging of any of the mutants. That is the real superpowers here.

At this point, they are accepted by the public, a weird timeline indeed. And after the crew was sent into space to safe a spaceship disaster. And sure enough, some space dust gets absorbed into Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) making her feel all funny inside.

It turns out Xavier (James McAvoy) may have been lying to her about her past, and hidden some of her own memories from her. That makes her sad. And mad. And willing apparently to turn her back on all of the X-Men, even killing a few of them, just to showcase how mad she is.

Also aliens.

Featuring of various amounts Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Halston Sage, Brian d´Arcy James, Lamar Johnson, Scott Shepherd, and Jessica Chastain.

face
X-Men so bad, their faces are breaking and not the box office records.

X-Men so bad, they keep having their greatest enemy be themselves.

X-Men so bad, that kindness saves the day, like they are care bears.

X-Men so bad, this is not the first time actors have asked for their characters to be killed in order to leave the franchise.

X-Men so bad, that they used time travel to fix the bad movies and still made more bad movies (and time paradoxes).

X-Men so bad, they have failed multiple times to make a hero turning bad in no way compelling for the viewers.

X-Men so bad, they are their own Greek tragedy in terms of a rise and fall of successful films.

X-Men so bad, their film qualities would make a better roller coaster than anything at the Island of Adventure.

X-Men so bad, I put off writing this review for months due to complete and utter apathy.

0 out of 4.

Frozen II

Seven years ago, Frozen hit the world one Thanksgiving week, and we weren’t ready for it. I don’t recall a lot about the trailers, but I do recall the teaser trailer, and it was very basic.

And you know what? I loved it. Most of the soundtrack was really good. They didn’t use Menzel enough, and Groff was ignored stupidly, but they could have done better. It was still a really good sign of Disney amping up their animation department, and led to the also quite perfect Moana!

And let me say, that for Frozen II, I wasn’t dreading it at all. I loved their first teaser trailer. It made this movie look darker, more plot focused, more adventure full. I was ready to be blown away.

horse
A water horse in water? That makes sense. Land horses are on land.
Three years after the events of the first film, everything in Arendelle is going so darn swell. The gates have been open, people are happy and prosperous, and oh golly gee gumdrops, everything will stay the same.

Except… Elsa (Idina Menzel) is starting to hear a strange calling in the distance, and only she is hearing it. And Anna (Kristen Bell) is helping run things, she loves having all these freedoms. Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) is about to propose to Anna, but she is so preoccupied with her sister things keep coming up. And Olaf (Josh Gad) is dealing with his strange existence, getting older and more mature.

All of this only slightly matters. What matters the most is that voice, and all of the exposition the beginning of the film talked about. There used to be an enchanted nearby that the old King saw when he was a boy, and the two groups tried to be friends. But, betrayal! Sadness! And a lot of magic left the world.

I guess Elsa just has that magical adventure itch, because she gets the gang together after a disaster in their city to try and enter that blocked off enchanted forest to see if they can figure out what is going on, or maybe just that voice.

Also starring various voices by Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.

deer
Reindeers rush better than people, Sven wouldn’t you say that’s true? 

Really early on in Frozen II is when I realized things weren’t going to be as good as I had hoped. It started with a scene from their childhood, pre trolls interfering with memory. And it had the long story their dad said about the forest, and a bonus mom song. And the entirety of the movie relies on the scene.

The entirety of a sequel relying on a scene that didn’t happen in the first film? Ugh. There were a lot of plot points they could have naturally done based on the first film. Hell, they could have done most of this film without that scene. But really this just feels like changing the canon. Sure, that kid conversation could have happened in their life and not changed the first film at all. But it now just feels tacked on.

Another downgrade for me is the music overall. Now of course, I love that they gave Groff his own song and parts of other songs, keeping true to his character. They also used Menzel more. But most of the songs don’t capture the spirit to me like they did in the first film. I already listened to the soundtrack a second time and I am not left with whimsy, I’m not wanting to hear and sing a long over and over.

Again, overall, the plot is okay. It has some good parts, some lame parts, some rushed parts, and some tacked on parts. Some of the Elsa and Anna scenes are really strong, but the film overall feels a lot weaker. And that is a shame. It will still probably win an Oscar for animated awards because the Academy is usually really lame though.

2 out of 4.

Shazam!

Wham, bam, thank you maam, Shazam is crammed with ham, rams, and not giving a damn.

Since the DCEU has begun, it has looked very bleak. They have had great people to pick their movies apart to make fantastic trailers, and almost never lived up to them. The closest up to this point [coming from someone who will get around to seeing Aquaman…eventually] was Wonder Woman, which had an actual good story and visuals and felt great. Until the end where it decided it needed to go full DCEU with its final reveal/battle scene to end it pretty shitty.

But Shazam! No, they brought in Zachary Levi, and everyone knows that Levi is not serious. His face is too goofy for serious. He would need a beard for that. They are now going for a Superhero comedy. Marvel has those, and people like Marvel.

DC wants that Marvel money, damn it, so they are going to start with their former Captain Marvel himself.

Spark
And this time he´s also part Storm!

Billy Baston (Asher Angel) is your typical foster kid. He is mad at the world, he wants to find his real mom, and thinks it is easy to not care about the regular stuff in life, like school, homework, or bath time.

Long story short, Billy is found to be pure of heart by some ancient Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and given some ancient Greek magical powers once he says the words Shazam! And he also becomes an adult (Zachary Levi), strong, and all of the basic super hero stuff.

His foster brother (Jack Dylan Grazer) also knows the truth about his new powers, and given his comic book knowledge, is there to help him through this change. Can they use these powers for good? Where are the villains?

It turns out the villain is Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), who has a kid was given the power but failed the test. This made him lose his family and since then he has spent his life looking for them, gaining wealth and power in the real world. He wants the power for himself, at whatever cost.

And you know, Billy just wants to find his mom, and be liked, and not care about any of this responsibility. Oh golly.

Also starring Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Grace Fulton, and Jovan Armand.

Drink
Got an adult body? Time to drink a lot of soda!

Shazam has a lot of heart and humor, things that seem to have been missing from the DCEU. And that extended universe has slowed, slowed down. I haven´t even seen Aquaman from last year, and Shazam is the only entry for 2019. The whole group of movies needs to rethink its existence and how to put out films that do not feel like crap on arrival (COA).

Levi is probably the perfect choice of kid in adult body and walks that line perfectly. It always brought a smile to my face and felt incredibly accurate.

The foster home was wonderful, and the sad scenes were the right level of sad. A lot of emotions in this movie.

And it still had some awkward scenes. I thought the entire intro with the kid future villain was awkward. The other dimension or whatever with the powers? It looked cheap and fake. The ending had some cool fan service and implications for the future, but also didn´t have a lot of high stakes.

Strong made an okay bad guy in this one, with the board room scene in particular being a great insight to evil.

DCEU needs to realize this was a good start in fixing its image. Not every film should be like Shazam, that would not make sense. But to balance the humor with the dark, to not just be a gross CGI fest, and all of that? Here is hoping 2020 and onward is better.

3 out of 4.

Aladdin

Out of all of the Disney remakes this year, I think Aladdin got the worst rap before it came out. Specifically, no rap at all. Didn’t Will Smith used to make a song before starring in movies? I want the 90’s back. (The 90’s that gave us the Aladdin original).

The people did not like Smith as the Genie. But he had the impossible task of doing what Robin Williams did, in live action with graphics, and not just voice acting. And Williams was crazy good at what he needed to do.

I think a lot of hate came from people who knew nothing of the Broadway version of Aladdin that already existed, where the Genie was typically played by a black man and done in a way like Smith is likely to do.

And hate by people who don’t know about Broadway is hate we can ignore.

genie
This is Smith, ignoring the haters.

Prince Ali, mighty as he, and technically not real. Because that’s not how this story starts.

Instead, we have a street rat named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) with his monkey, Abu. They steal, they give to the poor, and they live lavishly in the city in secret. Well, not rich, but the sites are sweet.

One day, he meets a princess in disguise, Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and they hit it off. He doesn’t know she is a princess though, and it is a surprise to him when he finds that out in the palace! Well, this also gets him arrested, led by the royal vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), who really just wants to use him to steal a magical lamp from a fucking tiger head sand cave. Whoa.

Anyways, lot of crazy stuff started happening. A genie in a lamp (Will Smith), wishes, and trying to pretend to be a prince to get with a pretty and smart lady. Oh yeah, magic, and lies, and singing.

Also starring Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Numan Acar, and Navid Negahban.

jasmine
This whole knew world has a lot of beards!

With remakes, we are allowed to compare to the originals. This has all of the songs from the original, plus about 2 more given specifically to Jasmine. This film does a great job of expanding Jasmine. In the cartoon, Jasmine feels trapped and then uses her body to help defeat Jafar as a distraction. In this film, she is seen as smarter, wanting to get out, but also doing a lot more shit on her own. She tries to take the lamp, causes more distractions, and just makes sure everyone knows she is here to kick ass. Jasmine is much improved in this version.

Another plus is the Genie. He isn’t improved, but he is different and still fun. The references are nice, the jokes and callbacks work, and he is a fresh face in this film.

Unfortunately, the rest of our leads aren’t as great. Massoud never seems to capture the thrills of the cartoon or whimsy, although I did laugh at his jam jokes. Jafar is so much worse than the cartoon. He barely feels conniving and never that threatening. Iago is completely pointless in this one. The Sultan is really just a body.

The city and palace are full of color, but also seem to feel like cheap imitations. They feel and act like a movie study, and don’t reach any level of realism I’d expect with those Disney budgets. It looks like something they could have made for a TV movie.

Overall, it could have been a lot better. It didn’t have to feel rushed or so fake. It could have made the male leads like, better or at least as good as the cartoon. But the improvements to Jasmine and extra songs are worth admission alone and the best Disney remake of the year.

2 out of 4.

Dumbo

The first of the three Disney remakes this year, Dumbo has always felt like an odd choice for several reasons.

First, the original Dumbo doesn’t have a whole lot of plot going on for it. It is a simple story, so they will have to expand a lot of it in order to be worth a revisit.

Second, it was going to be directed by Tim Burton. For the most part, everything he has touched lately has been pretty shit. It has been five years since Big Eyes and 12 years since Sweeney Todd. A lot of forgettable things in between. Could he reimagine it, or will he just make it his basic Burton brand?

And thirdly, like…who the hell cares about Dumbo? Honestly? I can honestly understand most of the remakes, but I can’t imagine Dumbo was high on the list of the average viewer of something they wanted new and updated.


That doesn’t include the people who say no to every remake.

Our main-est adult character is Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), an amputee from World War I (not called that during the movie) has returned home for work, and well, is going to work for the circus. His old boss (Danny DeVito) gives him the job to take care of the pregnant elephant, and Ms. Jumbo gives birth under his watch to a strange, large ear having elephant baby.

What a weirdo! And when they show him off eventually, the crowd makes fun of him, calls him Dumbo, and that makes his mom so mad, she gets angry and causes a ruckus, so they have to get rid of her. Damn.

Well, Holt’s kids are with him, and Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) take a liking to Dumbo. Shit, they find out he can fly if he has a feather. That sounds fun. That sounds like something that can be exploitable!

And exploit the circus does! More and more stunts, bigger and bigger audiences, more and more money!

Also featuring Michael Keaton, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.


This frame went on to inspire the film Joker.

The original Dumbo came out in 1941, so that means two things. Honestly, a lot of people have probably never seen it. And sure, 78 years is probably long enough to wait for a remake. Much longer wait for more films. I won’t hurt them for that.

For those that saw the original, there is not a lot of film after Dumbo both learns to fly and learns to do it whenever he feels like it. So a lot of this film takes place after that, which is great. I need expanded stories.

However, they sure picked a dull way to expand his story. Just more exploitation and sadness, and corporations taking over corporations as some weird meta explaining what Disney is doing to everything.

The cast of characters are completely ones that no one will care about. Our lead girl to help inspire the youth of the world has the personality of “liking science” and apparently that is good enough.

And honestly, this whole thing was unappealing to look at. It felt too dark physically at times.The animation never grappled with me, and yes, this film oozes Burton.

I would say this is the biggest live action mistake Disney has done, but I would watch this film a dozen more times before I ever watch either of the Alice films again. Which are directed or produced by Burton too. Ah, now we know where the major problem lies.

0 out of 4.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

A few years ago, The Jungle Book remake came out, and people were confused or impressed or didn’t see it. One of the first “live action” remakes (whereas everything is still animated but one character basically) from Disney and it was a good way to test the waters with their technology and realism.

The problem is, there was another Jungle Book movie trying to come out before that one. It was to be directed by Andy Serkis, and yes, also mostly CGI, but also a lot of mocap technology, the same stuff that made Serkis famous. HE wanted to see those famous actors pretending to be animals, really getting into those characters.

And because of the Disney release, they decided to delay this one. Wait a couple of years, and release it fresh with new eyes. But The Jungle Book announced a sequel, which means there will never really be a time when there isn’t a Jungle Book movie coming out, so they just needed to get it out at some point. People rushed things, advertising potential was low, so they instead sold it to Netflix, so that it can hopefully just be successful there.

Poor Serkis, there is no way he wanted his movie to premiere on Netflix. And at some point they changed the title to be Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, because Mowgli apparently wasn’t good enough on its own.

Race
Mowgli and the four realms wolves.

Look, I know and you know, that you are not here for the plot. We know that a boy has his parents get all murdered by a mean tiger (Benedict Cumberbatch), so some wolves take him in and raise him. He is also watched over by a panther (Christian Bale), who is soft or something, and really wants the baby to not die, while also being pretty darn afraid of a tiger.

And occasionally, a bear (Andy Serkis) is around to give advice/teach/protect. The snake? Well the snake (Cate Blanchett) is less evil and more godlike, with a bit of an oracle-sense, she is there to be unnerving, not just looking for a bite to eat.

Anyways, the boy (Rohan Chand) tries to be a good wolf, not realizing he is actually a human, and you know, not die to tigers.

Also starring the voices of Naomie Harris, Jack Reynor, Peter Mullan, and Eddie Marsan. If you want other real people, Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto are also notable characters who have more than just a voice.

Bath
When bathing, make sure you focus on your bare niceties.

Really, to have two movies based on the same source book around the same time, those movies better be really different. They need a reason to exist and not just because they wanted to see who can do it better.

And regardless of who had the idea first, or how pitch meetings went, this just feels like a competition to try and see who can do it better. I would like to do a big list of comparisons of the two and argue which is better, but I saw The Jungle Book years ago and don’t really want to make that sort of review. This film has more zoomed in looks at the animals faces, probably for mocap reasons as they created animals around acing faces. None of them looked like people creepily, but the mouth movements felt a bit more natural to have human words coming out of them.

But that doesn’t make the graphics better. I am having a hard time to really figure out which one counts as better, so just put the movies as good enough graphics. They are telling the same basic story too, except this one is a bit darker at times. The monkey scene in particular is really frightening, as are some of the chase scenes. The snake scene is more confusing than anything.

However, this film has problems. Namely, when Mowgli gets to the village. That isn’t the end of the movie, but maybe two-thirds of the way through it. Once that happens all momentum is dropped. The movie seemingly comes to a stop and just takes forever to move the hell on. It loses its steam and can never really gain it back, as most people then decide at that time to start checking their watches waiting for it to end.

Voices are fine, graphics are suitable, darkness is less appropriate for a family movie, and holy shit does it take awhile to just end. Easy pass, but since it is on Netflix, you will see it large and around for weeks, and sure, it will probably frighten your kids.

2 out of 4.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

I saw a trailer for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, I was astounded by the screen in front of me.

I honestly didn’t know this was a movie coming out, and my first impression was, “…is this another goddamn Alice in Wonderland movie sneaking its way out?”

I have an easily hate relationship with those two movies. Alice in Wonderland was telling a story so awkward, because it decided to be a secret sequel, and Through the Looking Glass is just legit one of the worst films I have ever seen.

This film just seemed to be equally CGI heavy, with a British slant, and some sort of fantasy uncomfortable world.

But why a CGI fantasy movie about the nutcracker? Was there clammoring for a nutcracker based movie? I mean, it seems to only be loosely based on the play/ballet as well. It certainly is not going to be a ballet showcase. So, a serious non dancing version of a famous dance? Like…Why.

That would be like taking a Tony award winning musical and turning it into a not really musical movie. A very poor decision.

Group
Speaking of poor decisions…the agents of these famous people!

This yarn is about a girl named Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is really smart and charming in her own way. The kind of girl that boys will chase later in life when she is successful, not when boys are stupid and in school. Her mom died in the last year, and that made things really sad. She has an older sister (Ellie Bamber), a younger brother (Tom Sweet), and a dad (Matthew Macfadyen) who is trying to keep things normal by avoiding the issue almost completely.

So they are taken to a big Christmas Eve ball party for their British aristocratic friends and neighbors. Clara had received an early present before the ball of an egg with a lock, but no key. Her mom had left it for her before she died. Clara is more focused on the key than silly dances.

And sure enough, thanks to the plot, at some point Clara wanders into a different wintry world. No, this is not a world with lions and witches and wardrobes. This one has nutcrackers, mice that seem extremely intelligent, toy soldiers, and sugar plum fairies (Keira Knightley). A world of four lands that have come together to be swell together, or something. A land that her mom used to be the queen of and now it is her time to lead! Once she gets the key and fixes a few issues of course.

Also starring Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and also Jayden Fowora-Knight as a major role, his second role after Boy Playing Tennis in Ready Player One.

Rats
“Go my rat minions! Go and steal the cheese!”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms…first, the title is terrible. Honestly, why did they not just call it The Nutcracker? That is good, iconic enough, and can get those ballet people in. This title is too hard. THE nutcracker and THE four realms. The first THE could be cut out and it works better. But they wanted the play title too badly. And the second half? The four realms? That does nothing for anyone.

Alright, this is a movie about the nutcracker and four kingdoms. Will we have very location specific places? Different worlds? One of candy, one flowers, one of ice? Yeah, probably. But guess what. Most of the film that takes place in our magical land, takes place just at a castle and one of the realms that is now forsaken.

I have no clue if the “castle” is actually one of the realms or not. Because we don’t do a damn thing with the other 2-3 realms. Why the fuck is the title and advertising focusing on four realms, when we don’t even get to play in four realms? What are they setting up? What is the point?

And the point is nothing. There seems to be very little point in this movie. I guess it is about a young girl who has to use her daring and smarts to save the day. Save the day of a fantasy kingdom that has relatively low stakes. And that effects her regular life about zero. Where no one is close to dying, and everything just feels…flighty.

Speaking of flighty, the only strong connection to the Nutcracker ballet (besides aspects of the story) is the soundtrack, which features music from the nutracker. Some of it is obvious, a lot you may not notice, but they did not fit the story that great. If the music takes out of the story, then it might not be doing its job.

Near the end, a scene with a giant robot fighting toy soldiers (sigh, yes) spliced with other action shenanigans ends up feeling dead. It felt like an unfinished movie. There was no sense of dread or suspense, and it just didn’t feel like it matched what was supposed to be an intense scene.

And you know what? To top it all off? There was a small dance scene to music, where the characters involved were dancing a waltz. But the music was not a waltz song. Come on guys. You’re not even trying.

This film is forgettable, regrettable, and probably something that Disney is really going to bury in the future. I expect no sequels, no great toy tie ins, and just a lot of disappointment from everyone involved.

0 out of 4.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Apparently The House with a Clock in its Walls was a book. I haven’t heard of it. The author really loves it, and made a whole bunch about these people. Studios be trying to get all pseudo famous books into movies, because the scripts are halfway made and have a following.

I don’t know it, nor do I care. This title is unforgivably awful. At no point does this scream out sexy, fun, or cool. It sounds god awful. This is about magic? This is the least magical sounding title of a movie ever.

How anyone saw this title and wanted to read the book is beyond me, but at no point is this one I would want to watch without being a reviewer. This is a film that I would skip on principle alone.

Goggles
Why the fuck is this kid wearing goggles? To show he is whimsical?

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) just lots his parents, in some sort of car accident. Now he has to move to some place in Michigan, to live with his Uncle John (Jack Black), an eccentric man that his family never talked about and whom he never met. for many wonderful reasons. He lives in a mansion. It is weird, and decorated with Jack O’Lanterns.

And shit, inside the house things move around and are a bit spooky. Why? Well, his Uncle is reluctant to tell, so we have to let things be a mystery for a while. Maybe he is a murderer, and he will kill Louis one day.

There is also a purple loving neighbor, Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), no relation to the Florida vigilante, who is hanging around, also involve in some sort of shenanigans.

Alright, okay, they are warlocks and witches. Not bad ones, not necessarily good either, but certainly not evil. And Louis is showing promise so, shoot, he can be one too.

No, this is not The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This is the Warlock’s apprentice, damn it.

Also starring, Kyle MacLachlan, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Lorenzza Izzo, and Vanessa Anne Williams.

Old people
“Hey, we’re cool, we’re hip, we know magic!”

To be honest, it has been a good while since I fell asleep during a movie in the theaters. The last one was probably Deadpool 2, I know, how dare I do that thing.

Well, when a movie is boring, its boring. I know I missed full scenes, because they referred back to them later in the movie. “What cemetary scene? A blood what?” I think to myself. Oh well, not important. Because of how slow the film decided to start, really going hard after that old time asthetic, we had to watch character development scenes that really don’t move the story forward.

At no point would I say are the school plot points really useful for this story. People don’t like him because he is new. Normal stuff. People don’t like him for being a nerd? Hard to say. Really, they don’t like him for wearing goddamn goggles. Take that shit off your head. Which another character even points off, but nah, need those goggles on.

The school scenes are all just to set up future movies that probably won’t happen. Even the normal plot line of finding a friend didn’t work out, defying no tropes along the way.

The movie feels overly polished and CGI heavy when we get to the magic aspects. The ending isn’t fun or exciting. It mostly feels like convenient moments after convenient moments to get to what they eventually call an ending.

Eli Roth tried to do a family film. I shouldn’t be too surprised at the low ranking, since he has been disappointing me with his R rated endeavors recently as well.

1 out of 4.