adventure, animation, comedy, movie, movie review

October 21st, 2018 Movie – Ice Age

ice age

The one good thing about being a kid at heart is that you can still enjoy watching an animated movie. I admit, I will still go see animated movies in theaters because there really is something about watching cartoons on a big screen that just makes the day feel better. Well, today’s movie is one such movie that I saw in theaters. When this movie came out, I was a few months away from getting married and the stress of that plus school was getting to my fiance. So when I went down to Savannah for a visit, we went out to a movie and I suggested Ice Age because it would be light hearted and fun so she could just enjoy the movie, which we both did.

The plot: A sabre-toothed squirrel named Scrat is trying to find a place to bury the acorn it is carrying but as he tries to force it into the icy ground, he causes a massive crack to appear in the ice, causing part of the mountain to break off and slide towards him. Scrat grabs his acorn and barely manages to avoid getting crushed by the ice, but ends up sliding down the mountain to the ground below. As he recovers from the fall and grabs his acorn, he is stepped on by a herd of animals that is moving south to avoid the snow and ice from the oncoming Ice Age. As the herd is moving south, a surly woolly mammoth named Manny is moving against the herd and heading north, saying it will be quieter with all the other animals gone. Meanwhile, a sloth named Sid wakes up to discover that his friends had all left on the migration without him. As Sid prepares to leave, he steps in the feces of an animal that had passed by and starts wiping it off his feet, ruining the meal of a pair of Brontops named Carl and Frank in the process. When Carl and Frank chase after him, Sid runs into Manny and hides behind him, forcing Manny to deal with the two Brontops. Sid thanks Manny but inadvertently knocks them both off a cliff and with the Brontops still wanting to injure him, Sid decides to follow Manny, despite the fact that he is heading North. As night falls, Manny makes a shelter while Sid tries to make a fire but when he fails, he tries to ask Manny to let him stay in his shelter but Manny turns his back on him and goes to sleep, while Scrat is seen still trying to hide his acorn. Elsewhere, Soto, the leader of a pack of smilodons, is watching a tribe of humans and makes plans with the rest of his pack to attack them at dawn, telling another smilodon named Diego to grab the leader’s baby, as he wants to kill it as revenge for the tribe’s killing half of their pack. At dawn, the smilodon’s attack the camp and while Soto and the others keep the humans busy, Diego sneaks into the tent to grab the baby but the mother grabs the baby and runs for it and ends up jumping over the falls to escape Diego. Diego tells Soto what happened and Soto tells him to find the baby and bring it to Half Peak or else Soto will kill Diego instead. Later, Manny and Sid are walking by the river when they see the mother clinging to a log near the bank. Seeing Manny, the mother pushes the bundle containing the baby towards him and Manny pulls the baby to safety but when he and Sid look up, they find that the mother has disappeared down the river. Manny turns to leave and Sid chastises him for leaving the baby and, seeing smoke at the top of a cliff, says he will take the baby back to it’s tribe. Manny watches as Sid tries to scale the cliff with the baby but when the baby starts to slip out of it’s blanket, Sid yells for Manny to catch it only for Diego to leap up and grab it. Manny grabs the baby from Diego, who tells them that the humans have left already and tries to convince them to let him take the baby back to them but Manny is wary of Diego and decides to go with Sid to take the baby back. When they reach the camp site and find it empty, Diego tells them that he can track the humans to Glacier Pass, where they have a settlement, and get the baby there before it closes up with snow but Manny still doesn’t trust him and hands the baby to Sid while telling Diego to lead the way. As they make their journey, the baby starts crying and after checking to make sure it hadn’t pooped, they realize it is hungry. Seeing a melon nearby, Manny goes to grab it but it is snatched away by a dodo and taken to it’s flock, where they are preparing for the coming Ice Age. The group tries to get the melon back from the dodos and Sid eventually succeeds but then smashes it on the ground, where the baby proceeds to eat it. That night, Manny has the baby wrapped in his trunk and Diego attempts to swipe it but when he hears something in the nearby grass, he goes to attack it and encounters two members of his pack. The other smilodons tell Diego that Soto is growing impatient and Diego tells them that he will bring the baby to Half Peak, along with a mammoth, and to get the whole pack there to take him down. The next morning, Manny and Diego wake up to find Sid and the baby are missing. Manny discovers Sid with the baby in a hot spring, where he is using it to pick up two female sloths. Manny takes the baby from Sid, who pleads with Manny to let him use it, but when Manny refuses, but boosts Sid confidence in himself, Sid returns to the hot spring only to find Carl and Frank in it instead. Sid runs from the Brontops and finds Diego, then gets him to help pretend that Diego has killed Sid in order to get the Brontops to leave. The group continue heading to Glacier Pass, with Diego hiding evidence of Soto and the other smilodons heading there as well, then flicking Scrat away when he tries to warn Manny and Sid about them. As they get close to Half Peak, Diego sees the humans nearby but convinces Manny and Sid to take a shortcut through a mountain pass, accidentally causing an avalanche that seals them in. As they make their way through the icy cavern, passing by several frozen animals (and a UFO), the baby ends up getting knocked off Manny’s back and slides down a ice chute. The animals all chase after it and Manny eventually catches the baby as they all smash through a snow drift. They enter another cave where the humans have painted cave drawings on the walls. As Sid is looking for paintings of sloths, he spots some paintings of a family of mammoths and points them out to Manny. Manny stares at the pictures, thinking of his own family that he had lost and as the baby grabs his trunk and hugs him, Manny places him gently back on his back and walks away, with Sid and Diego understanding his desire to be alone now and sadly following after him. Meanwhile, the human’s leader is attempting to track his baby but his wolves lose the scent and they are forced to turn towards Glacier Pass. Manny and the others exit the cave and spot Half Peak and Glacier pass in the distance but as they keep walking, an eruption occurs, melting the ice around them. Sid and Manny manage to make it across the ice bridge but when Diego leaps for the other side, he doesn’t make it and starts to fall. Manny saves Diego and tosses him to safety but the ice under his feet ends up breaking off and he falls into the magma below, only to be shot up when the ice acts like a geyser upon hitting the lava. As Manny recovers, Diego asks why he saved him and Manny tells him that a herd is supposed to look out for one another. As they reach Half Peak, Diego starts to change his mind about leading them into danger and warns them about the ambush. Manny is angry and tells Sid that they will figure a way out but Diego says that he is their only chance. Diego goes ahead and rejoins the pack and Soto tells them to wait until they see the mammoth before they attack but Diego convinces one of them to attack as soon as he sees Sid. Sid manages to elude the smilodons for a while but when he drops the baby, the smilodons realize that it is a decoy. Three of the smilodons chase after Sid only to be surprised by Manny and are knocked down a ledge. Diego says they should leave now but when Soto shows up and tells Diego to help him attack Manny, Diego stands between them. Soto and Diego fight while two other smilodons keep Manny at bay and Diego ends up being injured. When Soto turns his attention to Manny and tries to kill him, Diego leaps in front os many and takes the killing blow himself. Soto turns his attention back to Manny but when Sid shows up with the baby, Soto gets distracted and Manny knocks him aside, where some falling icicles kill him. The rest of the pack runs off and Manny, Sid, and the baby approach Diego, who says he had to return the favor from when MAnny saved his life before he falls silent. Manny and Sid continue moving forward and finally catch up to the baby’s father, returning the baby to him. The father hugs the baby and Manny and Sid turn to leave but the bay cries out to them. The father sets the baby down and he walks over to hug Sid and Manny and after Manny gives the baby back to his father, the father puts a necklace on Manny’s tusk to thank him. The humans leave and as the baby waves goodbye, he suddenly starts playing peek-a-boo. Manny turns to find that Diego had survived and he waves goodbye to the baby before Sid happily tackles him and the group start heading South. 20,000 years later, Scrat is seen to be frozen in a block of ice while he was chasing his acorn. He ends up on an island and as the ice melts, Scrats acorn is washed. A frustrated Scrat smashes his head into a tree, causing a coconut to fall to the ground and as an excited Scrat tries to bury it, he causes a crack to form in the ground which expands and ends up causing the nearby volcano to erupt.

Ice Age met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own.” Though Scrat was designed as a fictional animal, in 2009, scientists in Argentina unearthed the remains of a small, extinct mammal resembling a shrew with long fangs. This animal was given the scientific name of “Cronopio Dentiacutus”, in tribute to Scrat. The movie was a box office success, earning $383.3 million off of a $59 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels that would bring in a combined revenue of $3.2 billion for the franchise.

This is a really good, non-Disney animated movie. The voice acting was great, with Ray Romano (Manny), John Leguizamo (Sid) and Denis Leary (Diego) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not too original, as it really felt a lot like Monsters, Inc., which had come out the year before. However, the idea of the different animals grouping together to care for and return the baby to it’s family was very touching. Personally, I liked the brief segments featuring Scrat the best, as the slapstick antics as he kept trying to get his acorn hidden really had me laughing. The animation was really good and I liked some of the digs at modern society that got thrown into the movie, such as the Stonehenge structure and Sid wanting Global Warming to start happening. All in all, this is a fun movie to watch, whether it is with your kids or just by yourself.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 27th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man

the amazing spider-man 2012

After all of the teasing Sam Raimi did with having Curt Connors in his movies, we finally get to see the Lizard make an appearance on the big screen; and all it took was 5 years, a reboot, and a new director. Yeh, 5 years after Raimi’s trilogy ended, Columbia Pictures decided to Columbia Pictures decided to cancel the proposed 4th Raimi movie and recast all of the characters. Now I had considered going to see this movie in theaters but I ended up passing after hearing what some of my friends thought about it. However, that obviously had no effect on my purchasing it and thus, I have today’s movie, The Amazing Spider-Man

The plot: A young Peter Parker is playing hide and seek with his parents but when he walks into his parent’s study, he finds the place has been ransacked. Peter yells out to his dad, who takes a look at the room and quickly heads over to the desk and pulls out a drawer to reveal a false bottom, with some folders hidden inside. Richard and Mary quickly pack some things for Peter and take him to Richard’s brother Ben and his wife May, asking them to take care of Peter, then they quickly leave. Years later, Peter is now in high school and attempts to stand up to Flash Thompson for being a bully but is quickly beat down. After returning home, he helps his uncle move boxes out of the flooded basement when he discovers his father’s old satchel and when he opens it, sees a newspaper clipping of his father with another man, but neither his Aunt or Uncle know who he is. Taking the satchel upstairs, Peter starts examining it some more and finds the hidden file and starts to look through it but quickly hides it when his Uncle Ben knocks on his door. Ben sits down to talk with Peter and tells him that the man in the picture is Curt Connors and after he leaves, Peter quickly looks up information on Curt Connors. Heading to Oscorp, where Connors works, Peter sneaks into a tour group of a bunch of interns and is surprised to see that Gwen Stacy, his classmate that he has a crush on, is leading the tour. As Connors introduces himself to the group, Gwen is shocked to see Peter there and questions him as to why he is there, asking him not to get into trouble, which could get her into trouble. As the tour moves on, Peter accidentally bumps into a man, Rajit Ratha, and as he picks up the folder Ratha dropped and notices it has the same logo on his father’s work and decides to follow him. After seeing Ratha open a restricted access door and speak to some men inside before they all leave, Peter sneaks inside and finds Oscorp is making a “biocable” using genetically modified spiders but when he accidentally bumps into it, the spiders start falling all around him. Peter quickly leaves and runs into Gwen, who takes his badge because he left the group, and as he goes to leave, one of the spiders that had fallen around him bites him in the neck. As he rides home on the subway, Peter has an altercation with some passengers, where he starts to display strange abilities. After things keep happening to him, Peter goes to see Connors at his home, telling him he is Richard Parker’s son. While not telling Connors about what happened to him, Peter helps him figure out the decay rate algorithm, which Connors needs as he is being pressured to use his work to help cure a dying Norman Osborn. Peter goes to Oscorp with Connors and helps him test the new formula and when it passes in the simulation, they test it on one of the mice. Peter heads home late, where he ends up getting into an argument with his Uncle Ben, due to Peter’s not being there to walk his Aunt May home when she got off work, and leaves the house. Ben goes looking for Peter, who avoids him and heads over to a nearby market to get something to drink but he is short two cents and the clerk won’t let him use the pennies from the tray. As Peter leaves, he witnesses the customer behind him rob the place and leave, not helping the clerk stop the thief. Ben, who is nearby, sees the thief stumble and drop a gun and goes to try and get the gun away from him but during the struggle, the gun goes off and Ben is shot. Peter, hearing the shot, heads over there and sees his uncle lying on the ground and calls out for help as he tries to save Ben’s life but Ben dies in his arms. Returning home with the police so they can tell May what happened, Peter hears their description of the killer and realizes it is the same man that he saw rob the market and let get away. Feeling guilty over what happened, Peter starts going out at night to hunt down his uncle’s killer, fashioning a suit so that he can keep people from knowing who he is. While not finding the murderer, he does capture several crooks and the police start labeling him as a vigilante, and Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, makes it a priority to capture him. Meanwhile, Connors is facing pressure from Ratha to begin human trials, as the mouse has succeeded in regrowing it’s missing limb, but when Connors refuses to rush human trials, Ratha fires him and says he will administer the trial at the V. A. Hospital and heads off. Connors administers the serum to himself and does regrow his missing arm but when he starts to feel pain, he hails a cab and tries to head to the hospital to stop Ratha but transforms into a giant, humanoid lizard during the ride. Meanwhile, Gwen had invited Peter over for dinner and Peter ends up arguing with Captain Stacy over Spider-Man. Gwen takes Peter out onto the balcony to cool things down and so they can talk and Peter ends up revealing that he is Spider-Man before kissing her. As Gwen is told to come inside, Peter hears police sirens in the distance and leaps off the roof and heads for the bridge, where he sees The Lizard throwing cars off the bridge as he goes after Ratha. Spider-Man webs the cars to the bridge to keep them from falling, then goes after The Lizard but when he hears a man saying his son is trapped in one of the cars, he goes and rescues the boy before the car explodes. The next day, Peter goes to see Dr. Connors and asks him about lizards, claiming it is part of a school project, but Connors evades the questions then escorts Peter out of his lab. As Peter is leaving, he notices that the mouse that was given the serum had mutated and developed lizard like qualities and he realizes that Connors is The Lizard. Peter heads to the police station and tries telling Captain Stacy his suspicions about Connors but Stacy ignores him and has him escorted from the building, but then tells one of his officers to get him all the files they have on Connors. As Peter leaves the precinct, he notices several lizards heading down into the subway and sewer tunnels and he follows after them, then uses his webs to try and figure out Connors’ location. Connors transforms into the Lizard again and as Peter tries to locate him, the two end up fighting, with a camera Peter had set up taking pictures of the two of them. Peter is overpowered and manages to get away from the Lizard but the Lizard sees the camera and discovers who Spider-Man really is. The Lizard attacks the school and as everyone flees, Peter ends up fighting with the Lizard but finds himself outmatched. When Gwen tries to help, Peter is able to web up the Lizard, then breaks a window and lowers Gwen to safety before returning to face the Lizard only to find he has disappeared. Peter follows after him, telling Gwen to head back to Oscorp and work on an antidote to the serum, but when he finds Connor’s video files, he realizes that Connors plans to expose the whole city to the serum and change everyone into human lizards. As the Lizard makes it’s way to Oscorp, he is attacked by the police but he uses some of the serum, which he made into a gas, to infect the police, changing them into lizardmen. Spider-Man gives chase but he is shot with a taser by the police. Captain Stacy and his men approach Spider-Man and Stacy removes the mask but Peter comes too and starts fending off the police while keeping his face covered. Stacy eventually corners Peter and Peter reveals his face, then tells Stacy that Gwen is at Oscorp and Stacy lets Peter go and tells his men to stand down but one of the cops shoots Spider-Man in the leg before he leaves. Meanwhile, the Lizard reaches Oscorp and breaks in and steals a gas dispersal device which Gwen had hidden but after he leaves, Gwen realizes the antidote is finished and heads outside. Spider-Man is having trouble reaching Oscorp due to his injury but is helped by the cities crane operators, who form a corridor for him to use to web swing to the tower. Spider-Man heads up to face the Lizard while on the ground, Stacy arrives and meets with Gwen, who hands him the antidote to give to Peter. On the roof, Spider-Man and the Lizard continue fighting but Stacy arrives and shoots the Lizard with a shotgun, distracting him enough for Spider-Man to pull out a hose of liquid nitrogen and the two knock him into an opening with some more nitrogen tanks, which Stacy shoots to keep the Lizard contained. Stacy then gives Spider-Man the antidote and keeps the Lizard at bay long enough for Spider-Man to insert it into the delivery system, but Stacy is mortally wounded by the Lizard. As the antidote is spread throughout the city and starts changing people back to human, the antennae, damaged from the fight, breaks and Spider-Man starts to fall off the roof but he is saved by Connors and dragged back onto the roof. Peter then goes to check on Stacy, who says that the city does need Spider-Man but makes Peter promise to stay away from Gwen in order to keep her safe. A funeral is held for Captain Stacy and afterwards, Gwen goes to Peter’s house to find out why he wasn’t there and when he says he can’t see her anymore, she asks if her father made him break up with her, taking his silence as a confirmation. However, the next day at school, as a teacher comments to Peter about not making promises he can’t keep, Peter says that those are the best kind, making Gwen smile as she realizes that he might still try and see her. Meanwhile, Connors is in his cell when he is visited by a mysterious man, who asks if Peter learned the truth about his father. Connors says he doesn’t know and begs that Peter be left alone but the man disappears from the cell.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allow The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill, despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002’s Spider-Man.” Director Marc Webb decided to have the majority of the stunts performed practically as opposed to using CGI, as he wanted them to look more realistic. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $757.9 million off of a $200-$230 million budget and spawned a sequel.

This movie had it’s faults but it wasn’t as bad of a movie as I initially thought. The acting was pretty good, with Andrew Garfield (Peter) and Emma Stone (Gwen) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Denis Leary’s portrayal of Captain Stacy but really liked Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of Connors, doing a pretty decent job of showcasing his humanity as Connors while also portraying the darker nature of himself as the Lizard. The story was ok, somewhat following the origin in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics more than the traditional comic series. One thing I did like in this reboot was the scene with Peter sending strands of webbing throughout the sewers and then sitting in the middle of the strands, trying to sense the vibrations through the webbing in order to locate the Lizard, as that showed Peter utilizing more of the spider aspects of his powers than he is normally shown to have used. I also liked how they had Spider-Man quipping during his fights with the lizard and when he was catching the carjacker, as that was an aspect of Spider-Man’s character that was missing in the Raimi trilogy. The stunt work was really good and while I didn’t particularly care for the first person views of Spider-Man moving through the city, I did like the parkour aspect of his movements through the alley’s, seeming to make a little more sense with how he would move throughout the city. To be honest, the main thing I didn’t like about the movie was the special effects, as there were several times where they didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. I will also admit that I was a little disappointed with how the Lizard looked, as I was hoping it would have a lot more of a saurian appearance than the end result did. Not a bad movie but worth a watch if for no other reason than to see how the direction the new director took it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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