Although summer doesn’t technically end for another few weeks, the summer movie season certainly has. As a result, this will be my final post in the summer movie report card series. Not sure if I’ll do a fall movie report post. To be honest, September looks pretty dull, but I’ll certainly be sharing my thoughts on some of the great looking movies coming out this winter.
So, without any further ado, here are the films I’ve seen in the last month or so. I haven’t had a chance to see The Butler yet, but I still might be able to catch that.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- Unlike the first installment in the series, the screenwriters seem to have remembered that these books are actually funny, so there’s that at least. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot pulling this movie down. The adult cast does fine, but the younger actors are noticeably weaker. The CGI is maddeningly inconsistent, and the pacing so rushed that it seems like the screenwriters knew that this was the weakest book in the series, and wanted to get through it all as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we’re probably not going to get to book three of this otherwise fabulous series. C-
Elysium- Although it does it with all the subtlety of a chainsaw, Elysium does manage to say some really important things about illegal immigration. The sci-fi elements, from the beautiful space ship Elysium, to all the sci-fi weaponry, are really strong, as is the international cast. I love the fact that the characters were so morally gray. Our protagonist is not a hero. He just wants to live. Still, there are some moments that left me scratching my heads. Like why the hell do they speak French on Elysium? B
Kick Ass 2– The biggest disappointment of the summer. Where the first Kick Ass was edgy and darkly funny, filled with beautifully choreographed fight scenes and snappy dialogue, Kick Ass 2 is boring. Kick Ass felt so new an interesting. The sequel just delivers more of the same. Yes, it has funny moments, but they’re almost all in the trailers! I think what makes this the most painful is the cast is clearly trying their hardest here, but the script isn’t worth their efforts. I want my money back for this one. D+
The Gamers: Hands of Fate– Okay, this isn’t playing at the movies, but Zombie Orpheus Entertainment did release a digital download of their kickstarter funded film this month, and it managed to be just as entertaining (and sometimes more so) than so many of the movies this summer with just a fraction of their budgets. Cass’s evolution of a character is great, and the world created for the collectible card game looks really unique. Also, with all the talk on sexism in the SFF community lately, it’s so satisfying to see a movie address the issue. Unlike Kick Ass 2, the ZOE team took a risk by not producing a film that provided merely more of the same, and it really pays off. On a more technical note, there are some weird lighting issues I hope are cleaned up for the DVD release. B+
The World’s End– Edgar Wright, you never let me down. The World’s End is one of those movies that is satisfying on pretty much every level. The comedy had me in stitches, while the more dramatic moments had me close to tears. And as you’d expect from the director of Scot Pilgrim, the fight scenes are fantastic (although, they are much tighter, and less grand here). While perhaps not as satisfying as Hot Fuzz, the acting in the The World’s End really blew me away. Simon Pegg is really shaping up to be something special. I really can’t wait to see what he does next. The best movie I’ve seen this year. Do yourself a favor and see it before it leaves theaters. A-
So all in all, the summer movie seeing, while not amazing had some pretty good movies. Here’s how I’d rank the films I saw, from strongest to weakest.
The World’s End- A-
Pacific Rim- B+
Monsters University- B+
The Gamers: Hands of Fate- B+
Star Trek: Into Darkness- B+
The Wolverine- B
The Heat- B
This is the End- B
Despicable Me 2- B-
Iron Man 3- C+
Man of Steel- C
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- C-
Kick Ass 2- D+