Well, this took a little longer for me to get to than I expected, but I think I’m still good for it.
Just over a month ago, I wound up traveling over to Germany on business — gaming business, and that’s about as much as I feel comfortable disclosing about that. To get there took a rather long flight, to say nothing of back: about eight and a half hours one way, and around ten and a half back, not including layovers and other fun. Suffice to say, I found myself with an abundance of time.
Fortunately for me, the plane had just the contingency I needed: movies! Movies that played on a monitor mounted in the back of the seat in front of me, to be precise.
Personally, I love watching movies. My wife, though? Not so much. So I don’t get to see nearly as many movies as I used to watch with my parents when I was young, and have managed to build up a nice backlog of films I should probably have seen by now, but haven’t. I didn’t have time to watch everything I wanted on the way there and back, but I’m still pretty happy overall with what I did get to see.
So here are some mini-reviews on the six movies I got to watch, in the order that I watched them. I’m not going fully in-depth because the viewing situation was anything but ideal: constant interruptions from the captain that halted the whole thing, lousy sound through the headphones, and a touchscreen interface that you just want to slap. I got a good feel for each, but I wouldn’t want to get really in-depth, just to be safe.
First up is…
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
…a movie I’ve already seen, along with probably everyone else reading this. Not the greatest use of my time, perhaps, but I just really felt like watching it again, having only seen it once.
To be honest? I enjoyed it the first time, but even more the second time through. While it did seem to carry on a bit the first time, knowing what to expect actually made things go by faster than I would have expected. Plus, it’s a nice way to warm up for Captain America: Civil War in a few months.
My favorite part, of course, still has to be Iron Man in the Hulkbuster armor versus… well, the Hulk, of course. From what I’ve heard of how it went down in the comics, I think I like the outcome here much more.
To be honest, before my flight, I never even knew this movie existed. But someone else was watching it on their own monitor, and some bits of it from early on were enough to rouse my curiosity enough to check it out for myself.
It was alright. It has a whopping 7 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and while I don’t regret watching it, nor do I feel any particular desire to watch it again. Once was enough.
My curiosity sated, it was time for one last movie before landing, one I’ve been wanting to see:
Wow. I really, honestly don’t understand the hate that this gets, and I hate that talk about a sequel/trilogy off of it has seemingly been derailed. The quote on the Blu-ray cover nails it: “The best Terminator since T2: Judgment Day.”
I’m not going to lie: I didn’t think Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was as bad as people say, and Terminator Salvation was alright by me, but none of that matters in this one, since it seems to be observing — and eventually altering — the original course of events as they played out.
The opening acts are pretty good, with some nice recreations of shots/scenes from the original Terminator. It’s got some great robot versus robot action (which you know I love), I like how they incorporated Arnold real life age into it, Emilia Clarke made a great Sarah Conner and Jai Courtney a great Kyle Reese, we got to see a pivotal moment that’s only been spoken of in previous installments, there was a neat twist partway through, and I loved how the ending was a real departure from the franchise’s norm while still setting up more to come. Frankly, I want to watch it again, and have already added the Blu-ray to my Amazon Wish Lists (along with one other movie from this, yet to come).
If there was one thing that kind of bugged me, it was Jason Clarke as John Connor. Not through any fault of his own, but so soon after Christian Bale’s go with the character, it felt weird to go from someone who looks like Bruce Wayne to someone who looks more like Peter Venkman. It’s a minor nitpick, though, and he played the part well; it was just a bit of a visual departure that felt a little more jarring to me than the others.
The two originals are hard to top, and while this does (or would) make a good jumping-on point for new fans, I think it works best after having watched the original two. And Paramount, if you happen to read this (yeah, right), I definitely want more to follow this!
Oh, and that whole thing with the name? It makes sense in context — trust me.
This is one that I remember seemed to have a ginormous poster hanging outside the mall near us for the longest time, so maybe that’s part of why I felt compelled to watch this. In any case, it was fun and kind of funny, albeit in a more “mature” sort of way that is really anything but. Still, who’s counting?
I enjoyed it more than Hot Pursuit, though it was a little embarrassing to have scenes of nudity popping up on my monitor on a crowded plane. Whoops. I did not know that would be there. Oh well, it’s not like I know any of the people on the plane, anyway.
I’m honestly not sure what else to say about this one. The chemistry among the actors seemed pretty good, I got some good laughs, and I’d say it met expectations, even though it didn’t really exceed them.
I’ve been a James Bond fan for a good number of years, so of course I had to check this one out. Both Skyfall and Spectre were available on my return flight, and I started with this one in the vague hope that I might be able to watch both, but alas; it was not to be.
My dad was a Bond fan going way back to Sean Connery’s portrayal, but for me, “my” Bond was Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, which remains my favorite of the Bond movies to this day. Granted, I haven’t seen them all — in fact, I don’t even think I got to see all of the films with Brosnan in the role — but he remains the one I think of first and foremost as Bond, James Bond. I suppose having a hit Nintendo 64 game might help, too.
That said, Daniel Craig still does an admirable job in the role. I saw Casino Royale some years ago when it came to home video, but I don’t think I got to see the follow-up, Quantum of Solace. As for Skyfall, I thought it was good overall. It drags at points, sort of like Casino Royale did, but when it’s good, it’s really good in the way you expect Bond to be, and the ending might surprise some people (though I felt like it was easy to see coming).
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
I grew up watching The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in syndication on my local Fox affiliate, and aside from the eponymous duo, I think my favorite short was “Peabody’s Improbable History.” So naturally, when it was revealed that DreamWorks was making a movie, I was at once both intrigued and wary.
Wary, because… well, it’s DreamWorks. They’ve done some great movies, but they’ve kind of earned a reputation and meme status, just on the smarminess of their characters alone. Heck, just look at the poster here! I don’t think either Peabody or Sherman sport that expression once throughout the entire feature.
In any case, I need not have worried — DreamWorks had on their “good” hats for this one, with the co-director of Disney’s The Lion King taking charge and the estate of creator Jay Ward behind them, with his daughter Tiffany taking on the role of executive producer. All told, the film exceeded my expectations, and it’s the other title I’ve added on to my Amazon Wish Lists.
The tone feels very much like the show and Ty Burrell nails the voice of Mr. Peabody, closely evoking the sound of original voice actor Bill Scott. All the while, it of course has the feel of a bigger feature version of the show and all that would entail: a grander scope, character development, an origin for how Sherman became Mr. Peabody’s boy, an antagonist that all but the most stone-hearted can’t help but to despise, and even an actual look at what the WABAC Machine looks like.
It’s kind of a nitpick, but I do feel that the movie misses the mark in one tiny way: in the cartoon, when Mr. Peabody and Sherman arrive at some point in history, there’s usually something wrong versus what’s known in the history books, and it’s up to the dog and his boy to set things right. In the movie, it’s usually one of the lead characters who sets things down a wrong path to begin with. It makes sense in its own way, naturally, but it is a noticeable deviation from the source material nonetheless.
That said, if it wasn’t clear already, I loved this movie and highly recommend it. And if you haven’t already, give Terminator Genisys a shot, too.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.