Benz Eye View: The Book of Henry

The_Book_of_Henry_film_poster
The Book of Henry

Pros: 

1.) When it comes to child actors, they can easily make or break a film.  In the case of this film, the child actors did a fantastic job in their roles.  They do act like legitimate children even if one of the child characters is abnormal due to his intelligence.  They work well alongside with the adult actors, making their on-screen relationships appear genuine.

2.) All these characters are genuine with their obvious strengths and weaknesses.  A few of them I question whether or not they are needed to be there, but they are good enough for certain emotional moments.

3.) Even though it takes a while to reveal itself, the conflict can be rather nerve-wracking.  What happens in the film is a little more extreme than I thought it would be, but it makes some moments in the film exhilarating.

 

Cons: 

1.) The first act of this film is longer than I expected due to how slow it is.  I get it is trying to establish what is happening, but in terms of screenwriting, that is not exactly how you should write them (I understand that the rules of screenwriting are not really set in stone and can be changed depending on the writer’s style, but they must do a good job at it).  One character I thought was going to be the main character ends up not being one (which can happen in writing, but it just feels odd).  The film needs to balance on its three-act structure.

2.) Halfway into the film, the tone changes from family-friendly into something slightly sinister and dark.  The change of tone is jarring, and may annoy plenty of people in the process, and change how they see the movie.

3.) There is one plot hole I noticed after watching that could make or break some people for liking this film.  I will not say what it is, and I hope you will figure it out after watching the film, but let’s just say that the entire film would not have happened if these characters notice this flaw.

 

Overall:

I really do not have much to comment about this film’s origins since I came into it without any knowledge of it other than one word of mouth saying that it is good.  I decided to check it out, and it is surprisingly good.   What is a bigger surprise to me is that critics do not like this film at all.  I understand that there are things in the writing in this film that is different from the usual screenwriting method, but I think it actually works to an extent.  It has been a while since I have seen an original film (and since I have noticed that many of the films that I have watched are sequels, prequels, based on other media, etc., that is a good welcome).  Sorry if I am vague in certain areas, but I would like you to watch it without any knowledge about the film since I believe it will have a bigger impact for you.

8/10

Benz Eye View: The Mummy (2017)

The_Mummy_(2017)
The Mummy (2017)

Pros: 

1.) Tom Cruise is certainly trying out of all the other major cast members (other than Sofia Boutella, but I will get to her in a second).  When he has to be emotional, he does it well.  When he has to be confused (although I am betting he is as confused as I am in this movie), you can buy it.  He still has the talent to act as he did in his old movies.

2.) Sofia Boutella as Princess Ahmanet is quite intimidating and scary at times.  While I do not think of her as great as Imhotep from the previous Mummy movies, she can certainly hold on her own as a threatening antagonistic force that is not meant to be messed with by anyone.  She may not have the same abilities as her previous Mummy antagonists, but she has powers that can frighten any normal human being.

3.) There are some interesting references to the old Universal Movie Monsters.  Not to going to say what they are, but they are nice tribute to old those classical films.  In fact, there is an Easter Egg that refers to The Mummy (1999).  There is even one (and I may be looking this a bit too closely) that reminds me so much of Friday the 13th.  I know that is not much of a pro…

 

Cons: 

1.) …That is because there are so many things wrong with this movie.  Let us start with the characters.  I do not like any of them.  Some are annoying and others are unlikable.  They try to give chemistry with many of these characters (like the friendship between Nick Morton and Chris Vail, and the romance between Nick and Jenny), but their chemistry is as thin as toilet paper (also the actress who plays the love interest, Jenny, sucks).  The movie tries to make us care for them, but they failed so badly, I wanted Princess Ahmanet to hurry up and kill them.

2.) The action scenes are lackluster.  Very few moments did the action scenes become engaging (i.e. Ahmanet throwing around Tom Cruise, and the sandstorm scene).  I might as well describe these scenes as rag-doll zombies being thrown towards the actors as they try to run away.  The filmmakers should really look at The Mummy (1999) as a decent example on how to make an action scene engaging.

3.) There are so many things wrong with the writing.  Besides the poor characters, there are scenes that serve no purpose to the movie whatsoever.  Since this movie involves Ancient Egypt, they mention the Second Crusader Knights are involved.  They give a reason, but it still feels a little contrived to suddenly have Ancient Egypt and Second Crusader Knights being connected somehow.  Not only that, the characters make poor decisions that should have gotten them killed.  Also, since this is a new cinematic universe, the movie is building up certain things for other movies.  It does a better job on foreshadowing than the DCEU, but they are noticeable.

 

Overall: 

The Mummy.  One of the classical movie monsters; a Universal Movie Monster.  While I have not seen the original Mummy movies (unfortunately), I have seen the Sommers movies starring Brendan Fraser.  The Mummy (1999) was enjoyable if not flawed.  The Mummy Returns was still enjoyable despite bigger amounts of flaws.  The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has flaws that could not be ignored, making the movie dreadful instead of fun.  Now we have The Mummy (2017): a movie that kick-starts the Dark Universe: a cinematic universe that has the Universal Movie Monsters cross over in the same movie universe.  I do recall that there was an attempt in making this universe in the movie Van Helsing (2004), and it did not do well.  Does this movie a good start for this universe to grow into a multitude of movies?  To put it simply, no.  It is a bad start in a similar fashion of how Man of Steel started the DC Extended Universe.  Poor characters, bad writing, and lackluster action are what makes this movie and Man of Steel similar to each other.  I hope they learn their lessons with the failures of this movie, because if they do not, this world of gods and monsters will cease to exist very easily.

3/10

Benz Eye View: Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)
Wonder Woman (2017)

Pros: 

1.) The film does a great job making visual atmospheric differences between Themyscira and London.  Themyscira is bright and heavenly while London is bleak, dark, and hellish.  The visuals (not the CG, which they do stand out pretty badly) makes each location seem unique from each other…

2.) …Which relates to Wonder Woman since she has a great character arc.  She starts out wanting to fight evil, because she believes that good and evil are simple.  However, she eventually realizes that good and evil are much more complicated than she thought.  While the delivery of the arc could have been better, I appreciate how Diana Prince grows throughout the entire film, and how she ends up in the events of Batman v. Superman (despite a few questions that I have for the character).

3.) If there is one thing that the DC Extended Universe is doing well over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is the music.  Wonder Woman’s theme has been playing throughout the film bit by bit, and it fully plays in certain battle scenes.  This is how you make a great theme as opposed to Marvel where there are very few good musical moments (i.e. The Avengers).

 

Cons: 

1.) If you want a superhero film with plenty of battle scenes, you are going to have to wait, because the pacing is so slow when the second act begins, particularly when Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor leave Themyscira.  The film develops many scenes, plot points, and characters throughout its run time, but it takes too much time for anything interesting to happen.  You probably will not even remember some of the characters that are introduced other than the major ones.

2.) Sadly, there are some below-average acting in this film.  Fortunately, it is not outright terrible, and can be considered passable in certain moments, but they are noticeable.  There are moments where I wondered why the director chose shots where the actors were stuttering with their lines.  I would be fine with them stuttering, except it happens so often, I cannot really ignore it.  Unfortunately, the one actor who suffers the worst with below-average acting is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  When she is acting and fighting normally, she is fine, but when she has to be emotional, she cannot do it.  I can see some potential in her, so she may need some acting lessons, otherwise she will be replaced pretty quickly if her acting does not get better.

3.) Apparently, the director loves slow motion so much that she uses it in most if not all of her action scenes.  While it is cool to see, it gets tiring over time.  Tone it down, and let the cinematographers do their job (although they need to work on it as well in certain action moments).

 

Overall: 

The DC Extended Universe’s competition against the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off poorly.  Man of Steel was awful, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was even worse, and Suicide Squad was slightly better, but was still bad.  The DCEU’s next installment: Wonder Woman is out now.  Will Wonder Woman do a better job in the DCEU where Superman, Batman, and even the Suicide Squad could not?  In a word, yes.  They FINALLY learned their lessons, and made an actual good film.  They made a superhero compelling, her character arc interesting, and a film that is a breath of fresh air over the dark and dull movies before it.  I hope they continue this over the other films in the DCEU (I am looking at you, Justice League).  Until then, if you wanted a good DCEU film, it has finally come in the form of Wonder Woman.

8/10