Benz Eye View: Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet_and_Clank_2015
Ratchet & Clank

Pros:

1.) The CG animation looks great.  The movie makes the video game characters look like they just came to life on the movie screen.  It also makes sense that this movie should be in CG animation, not a live action version (which will obviously never work).  It also gives a sense that this is a different world than any other movies that take place either on Earth or a certain new world.

2.) Clank is cool…I will explain more later.

3.) It is kind of nice that the movie made some Playstation games references.  For anyone who is a fan of certain Playstation games, I will not spoil what they are, but pretty good addition that does not interfere with the plot…

 

Cons: 

1.) …Speaking of the plot, let me make a checklist here: The main character dreams of being famous one day?  Check.  A major character that is much more likable than the main character?  Check.  A two-dimensional villain that does things, because he is the villain?  Check.  A Nefarious villain that works behind-the-scenes?  Check.  Combine all of that to make a pretty predictable plot that has been done better in other movies?  Check, check, and check again.

2.) Very few of the gags and jokes are funny.  The ones that are funny are a little clever, but the ones that are not will probably only satisfy young children (to be fair, I did hear some laughter by the very few adults that were in the movie theater that I was in).

3.) This all leads to the biggest problem I noticed in the movie: the pacing.  The movie goes by too quickly.  It paces over many character motivations/backgrounds, action scenes, certain gags, and many others.  As a result, the movie suffers.  I barely get to know the characters, resulting in them being cliches, stereotypes, or two-dimensional.  The action scenes do not give much impact.  The gags become a little awkward as it rushes to something else.  The movie barely takes time to slow down, and gives a breather.  Take your time.

 

Overall:

Based on a popular video game series, Ratchet & Clank is a movie that has plenty of potential.  For one, it is a prequel to the video game series, or more specifically, it takes place on the first game.  Since I never played any of these games, this helps me get into it.  Now that I finally watched it, I feel like there are some things that are better explained in the video games.  Not only that, this movie is not good.  It pains me, because I can see potential of being one of the first movies based on a video game that is actually good (besides Mortal Kombat).  Unfortunately, they screwed it up.  Ironically, I heard that the game based on this movie based on the game series (wrap your head on that) is actually pretty good.

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Pretty ironic if you think about the history of video games based on movies.

I do not recommend this for casual viewers and fans of the video game series.  Wait until the Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft movies come out (notice I did not say The Angry Birds Movie). Maybe it will be better than this.   Until then, play your Ratchet & Clank games, because this movie will not fix this movie-video game problem.

3/10

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Benz Eye View: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Pros:

1.) Charlize Theron is the best actress out of every single actor in the movie.  While the other actors did well (except Jessica Chastain), Charlize beats them with a demeaning, elegant, intimidating performance despite (SPOILERS) being around for only forty minutes in an hour and fifty-four minute movie (END SPOILERS).

2.) The third act is the best part of the movie, because the stakes are high, you actually care for the characters a little bit (more on that later), and the action scenes are executed better than any of the action scenes in this movie.

3.) Even though it is not that well-delivered, I admire that they have SOME comedy in it.  The interactions between Eric and the dwarves not only bring some relief and laughter, but also some characterization and humanity that make these characters alive…

 

Cons:

1.) …The reason why I said that is because the drama and romance is completely dull and boring.  The main reason why is that this movie is predictable.  Here is one example: the two male dwarves meet two female dwarves, and they join together in their quest despite the fact they hate each other.  Guess what happens between these two couples in the end?  Also, the romance between Eric and Sara?  Worst.  Romantic.  Chemistry.  Ever.

2.) With the exception of the creature effects (especially when they are on their own), the CG just sucks.  Maybe I might be a bit more forgiving in the ice and gold/black goo effects, but after reviewing The Jungle Book (2016), I expected better CG.

3.) The script is filled with plot holes, and moments that does not make any sense.  Characters that are just extras at best later become important in the end for no good reason, moments that are probably better explained in the first movie, logical fallacies, and many more just drag this movie down.

 

Overall: 

A continuation of Snow White and the Huntsmen, this movie is a prequel/sequel that explores a little bit more about Eric, and his encounter with the Snow Queen.  I am going to warn you now that despite the marketing showing that this a prequel, it is actually a prequel and a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsmen.  You should know that if you are planning to watch this movie.  With that said, I found this movie to be really dull.  I barely cared what is happening, nor was I really impressed with many of the performances and production executions (with the exception of Charlize Theron).  It probably did not help that I did not see the first movie, so maybe it is better if I did, but I doubt it.  From what the movie has shown and delivered, many things reminded me of other movies or media (i.e. Frozen, Halo: Fall of Reach, Thor, etc.).

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Tell me this does not look the ice castle from Frozen.  Please, tell me.  

In the end, even the magic mirror will tell you that Frozen is the better film of them all.

3/10

Benz Eye View: The Jungle Book (2016)

The_Jungle_Book_(2016)
The Jungle Book (2016)

Pros:

1.) The animal CG effects look great.  It bothered me at first to have these animals talk, but I got used to them, because of the facial expressions and body movements that the animators created in order to make them life-like.  It looks like they are actually standing next to a real-life child actor.

2.) The few changes from the original (as far as I can remember) make this movie better.  It makes the movie more exciting, interesting, and amusing than the original animated movie.

3.) On its own, the environments look amazing.  With the CG animals, it looks this movie belongs in a CG movie…

 

Cons:

1.) …However, it kind ruins its immersion when a real-life child actor is in those specific environments.  You can tell it is a green screen effect when Mowgli is in it.  If it is an actual environment, it is fine.  If it is a green screen environment, it is pretty glaring (with nighttime environments as an exception).

2.) The child action, Neel Sethi is a hit-or-miss for me.  There are times that he can make a convincing performance, but there are also moments that looks like he is trying, but he cannot deliver.  I hope he gets better as he progresses, because I can see some potential in him.

3.) Shere Khan is kind of an idiot.  He can be intimidating if he wants to be, but he is barely in the movie at all (in the animated version, he does not come in until close to the third act).  Not going to spoil what he has been doing, but let’s just say that Scar did a better job with his time than Khan did.

 

Overall:

The Jungle Book (2016) is based on the animated movie of the same name back in 1967 which is based on a book in 1894.  I want to be clear: I am not a fan of the original animated movie.  I thought it was boring, uninteresting, dull, and I did not like Mowgli at all.  Even as a child, I very rarely watch that movie since I was more of a fan of other Disney films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty of the Beast, Aladdin, The Great Mouse Detective, etc.  Coming into the live action version, I had very low expectations.  All I can say is this: if you love the original animated movie, you will love this movie.  They improved on a few things from the original, and made it a pretty good movie as a result.  For me, I acknowledge that it is good, but just like the animated movie, this live-action version is just not for me.

8/10

I just realized something: since they are planning to make live-action remakes of Disney classics, I get the feeling that in twenty years, they are going to make a live-action version of Frozen.

once-upon-a-time-season-4-premiere
Um…maybe?

Benz Eye View: Hardcore Henry

Hardcore_(2015_film)
Hardcore Henry

Pros:

1.) Since the entire movie takes on a first-person perspective, the cinematography is important, which they did is an excellent job.  You get the feeling that you are in Henry’s shoes: following what he is going through in each action and quiet scenes.  Even Henry has some characterization moments (other than shooting people) through simple camera and hand movements that are subtle enough to show that he is not some blank slate.

2.) As the title implies, there are many hardcore action moments.  Many are especially violent and awesome, it gives a similar feel like you are in a first-person video game that came to life.

 

Cons: 

1.) I get why they have to do it, but the cuts are distracting.  It kind of takes away the immersion of being in the same shoes as Henry.  There is a reason why the filmmakers did it, but it is still distracting nonetheless.

2.) Since the cinematography relies on a first-person perspective, the action scenes can be claustrophobic and nauseating at times.  If you are one of those people who have motion-sickness, it is best you stay away from this movie, because there are many moments where the camera has to shake in conjunction with Henry’s movements.

3.) Even though this is ridiculous movie as it is, there are times when the ridiculousness goes a bit over the top.  It is best if you just see it then you will understand.

 

Overall:

Did you guys ever watched a movie called Doom?  A movie based on a popular first-person shooting game?  Yeah, it is bad.  However, the one thing that stood out from that movie was the first-person shooting scene.  Hardcore Henry reminds me of that, except it is now turned into a movie.  It is a pretty cliched action movie, but it is awesome.  The cinematography is what sold me into this movie: it is what helped me immerse into what is happening since it makes me feel like I am part of what is happening.  It is also embraces that many of its moments are ridiculous.  Unless you have motion sickness and cannot handle extreme violence, go and watch this movie.  Do not expect it to be a story masterpiece, just a hardcore, action-packed movie with awesome first-person cinematography.

7/10

Benz Eye View: God’s Not Dead 2 + Top Best Films and Worst Movies of 2015

God's_Not_Dead_2_poster
God’s Not Dead 2

Pros:

1.) I like Tom Endler, Grace’s lawyer that defends her case throughout the movie.  Not only is he the only one of the atheist characters that are not jerks to Christians, but he is the only human character that seems to have life in him compared to the rest of the characters, Christians or atheists.

2.) The climax is somewhat clever.  No spoilers, but it is pointed out by a non-believing character that if you are doing this, why are not doing the same thing to others?  It points the hypocrisy of a world that wants diversity and tolerance (how they deliver the message on the other hand is a different story).

3.) The court scenes are pretty cool.  There are moments where it makes you question on certain things that are discussed in the movie…

 

Cons:

1.) …There is one problem with that: it is bias.  I recall that there are more witnesses who are in favor with Grace and God, and less witnesses who are against them.  Suddenly, the court case changes slightly from a woman who mentioned Jesus in her class into proving God exists.  That…is not what I expected, and it ends up being preachy as a result.

2.) There are somewhat too many sub-plot lines that have little to do with the main plot.  Some of them connect to the main plot (few of them are continuations of the first movie), but they do not really have much place other than it might work as a story for another movie.  Also, the main plot has a somewhat deus ex machina ending (you will understand if you watch it…if you ARE going to watch it).

3.) Other than a few actors, all the actors are not good.  Sub-par at best, they do not really have much emotion other than certain things for each character.  Melissa Joan Hart only can deliver a sad facial expression throughout most of the movie.  Ray Wise delivers an evil smirk throughout the time he is apparently winning the court.  And those are the good actors, the rest just suck.

 

Overall:

A sequel to God’s Not Dead?  Great.  Another Christian movie that means well, but does not do well.  This movie is just like its predecessor: It is filled with cliches, not subtle with its message, most of the actors are not good, etc. etc. you get the idea.  Is it just as bad as the original?  I say it is a slight improvement to the first.  Slight, because they take one step due to storytelling, but three steps back due to being preachy.  They do bring a good point on how some people do not exactly treat Christians well, and some do not even like them.  The movie has some decency to actually break their Christian cliche that not all atheists are evil.  However, that does not mean that the movie is good.  It does satisfy the intended audience: Christians, but there are so many problems with this movie that I do not exactly recommend it other than a FEW good moments.  Come on, Christian filmmakers.  I know you are better than this.  Actually make a film instead of a church sermon in movie form.

2/10

Before I end this review, I might as well put in my top best films and worst movies of 2015.  Before I start this, for those who have been following me on my personal Facebook account, I apologize that I did not put in the top best films and worst movies of 2014, so here is a quick list with THE BEST FILMS and WORST MOVIES in bold:

Top Best Films of 2014

The Lego Movie

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Edge of Tomorrow

How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault in Our Stars

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Maze Runner

Gone Girl

John Wick

Nightcrawler

Interstellar

The Imitation Game

Selma

Whiplash

The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Top Worst Movies of 2014

I, Frankenstein

God’s Not Dead

Noah

Mom’s Night Out

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Maleficent

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Lucy

Get On Up

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Expendables 3

The Giver

The November Man

Exodus: Gods and Kings

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Annie

 

Here is the same list, but in 2015:

Top Best Films of 2015

American Sniper

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Cinderalla (2015)

Woman In Gold

Ex Machina

Mad Mad: Fury Road

Jurassic World

Inside Out

Minions

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Ricki & the Flash

Black Mass

Hotel Transylvania 2

Bridge of Spies

The Martian

The Peanuts Movie

In the Heart of the Sea

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Hateful Eight

The Revenant

Spotlight

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Sicario

The Good Dinosaur

Creed

Room

 

Top Worst Movies of 2015

Seventh Son

Chappie

Insurgent

Run All Night

Hot Pursuit

Beyond the Mask

Pixels

Fantastic Four (2015)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Hitman: Agent 47

Pan

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The Night Before

Legends

Daddy’s Home

 

Sorry if this seems a little out of nowhere and unprofessional, but the reason I end up like this is that I do not have that much time to make a Top 10 list, and I cannot seem to formulate a good explanation for each film and movie when I do have the time.  From now on, I am going to list my Top Best Films and Worst Movies in this format each year.  If you do not like this and prefer for me to actually make a Top 10 List, let me know.  Thank you for taking time to read this, and have a nice day.