Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Attack of the Killer Clones

She blinded me with SCIENCE!

This movie was created for extra credit in my biology class. So, that's pretty much the story behind this movie.

It was a creation that was definitely a team effort and I'd like to thank everyone that appears in the credits for helping out on this project!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Okay, first, let's get something out the way before. It's my sense of humor, in that, it's kind of unique to a lot of people's. I bring this up because there were a lot of jokes I was laughing at in this movie that not a lot of people were laughing at in the theater, though it was probably because it was making a lot of references that were going over a lot of people's heads. But, if you want to see something that I find uniquely funny, something that I'm not sure a lot of others are going to laugh at, is this video.

As far as I'm concerned, this video is comical genius. I laughed at nearly every joke in this video, but it wasn't because it was the jokes that Mike was reading off, rather his deadpan delivery on all of them. He delivers all of the jokes with this sort of sincere affectation of "Wow, these jokes are kind of dumb as shit, but that's why I'm reading them." and I just could not help but burst out laughing.

It's not that I will laugh at anything, as there are a lot of jokes that seemed to get shared on Facebook that make me want to strangle who ever came up with those jokes in the first place. Also, there are a lot of times where audiences will just at jokes where I'll find myself being the only one not laughing at them.

So, I felt bringing this up was important for this movie. Anyways, here we go!

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based off of Peabody's Improbable History, a cartoon in the late 50s and early 60s along with Rocky & Bullwinkle. These were cartoons that I actually grew up with. I don't exactly remember watching them religiously, but I do remember liking them. It wasn't until recently that I decided to watch them again as the sort of "test of nostalgia" where I was wondering if what I was watching was any good in the first place rather than just a dumb cartoon that I watched when I was a kid because kids like watching dumb cartoons.

Well, all of the shows on the Rocky & Bullwinkle selection became one of those shows that was actually better than I even remember as I soon found out that these shows weren't exactly made with kids in mind. They're very quick witted shows that you kind of have to realize what they're doing in order to really get the sense of humor behind them. They're shows that like to play on the expectations of viewers in a very unique, yet, almost blatant way. The big thing about Peabody's Improbable History is that you kind of have to be familiar with historical events and people they were joking about. But, now that I'm older and know at least two more things than I did as a kid, Peabody, along with the rest of the cartoons, are one of the few shows that I can actually genuinely appreciate besides just being something that I remember fondly as a kid.

Seeing the trailer for this new movie of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, it was kind of hard to get less than a little mad. Something that was known for dry witticisms and clever reflexive gags gets turned into a big "family adventure" for the kiddies who can't sit still for more the 2 nanoseconds who need everything force fed to them(and maybe some of the adults as well). Really, I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of this movie. The trailers made it looked contrived, overly-simple, and boring. It was as if there was nothing going to be special about it and that it might even just get shoved into the pile that the Lorax movie is in where people are going to just ask "What were they thinking?"

Sidenote: I actually haven't seen the Lorax movie. So, I guess I'm not really allowed to hate it yet, but hearing the horror stories of that movie really makes it hard for me to want to see it in the first place.

With my low expectations and pessimistic attitude, thinking "of course they would turn a familiar property into a big dumb kids cartoon for the money." It felt like there was no way that this movie was going to be any good.

I was wrong! And, really, hooray for that!!!

This movie is FUNNY!

Now, I'm not entirely sure if Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an entirely good movie or maybe a movie that even works completey, but, as far as it delivers on being entertaining, it's hard to imagine anybody leaving the theater disappointed. And, believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are talking about how much I liked this movie. The movie does carry the spirit of its original series without completely embracing it, which is kind of a shame, but it doesn't forget the signature style of the original show, even if it does kind of poke fun of it.

If there's anything to why this movie doesn't completely work, it's because the story in the movie is kind of a mess. The movie starts off with a giant side adventure during the French Revolution that does a good job of showing us the kind of characters that Mr. Peabody and Sherman are. Mr. Peabody has been amped up to be this sort of Sherlock Holmes genius that has been multiplied by 10. His clever, on the spot planning skills of getting out of dangerous situations is nothing but far-fetched and silly. But it's also highly entertaining. Sherman is a kid who's there to ask all the questions so Peabody can cleverly explain his thought process. "Elementary, my dear Watson!"

The actual plot starts when Sherman starts going to school and she pisses off this one girl in class by knowing a little more about history than she does. Her name is Penny, and she decides to make fun of Sherman on how his guardian is a dog and starts calling Sherman a dog as well. They get into a small scuffle and Sherman bites Penny on the arm. This starts getting the main antagonist(I'm honestly not even going to bother to remember her name, it's kind of not that important) to start an investigation on how Mr. Peabody might be an unfit parent for Sherman while Sherman is starting to question his relationship with his dad and how it might be kind of weird how his dad is a dog. Mr. Peabody decides the best way to keep Sherman is to make friends with Penny and her parents. Sherman and Penny don't exactly get along, but, in order to impress Penny, Sherman decides to take her on the time machine where Penny decides to stay in Ancient Egypt to become King Tut's bride. Of course, this isn't good, so it's up to Mr. Peabody and Sherman to make sure they rescue Penny with hope that they don't disrupt too much of history.

Writing that lengthy summary of the plot, I'm kind of starting to realize that they might have put more thought into the actually story of the movie than they probably should have. The problem is entirely the structure of the plot. The movie doesn't really take care to make sure that things follow in a consequential order; they just keep on throwing things at the main characters in order for the movie to keep going. This would honestly be fine if the movie would embrace the absurdity of its situations, but, unfortunately, The LEGO Movie didn't exactly come out in time for the people behind this movie to take notes on how to create a movie that's silly and over the top and self-aware while also still giving a compelling story in its own right. Mixing absurd plotting with a serious story just doesn't quite work.

Fortunately, the movie is willing to try to be funny, and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't laughing my ass off through out the entire movie. However, like the TV show the movie is based on, you have to know a thing or two about history in order to get a lot of the jokes in this movie. The movie does sneak in some adult-humor into the movie that's going to fly over the kids' heads, but the movie also makes a lot of references that will probably fly over nearly everyone's heads. I don't want to spoil any of the jokes, but you can watch a couple of episodes of the original show in order to see the kind of humor that this movie is going for.

If it's any problem I had with this movie, it is that every time the movie made a joke, it was pretty bad at saying  "HEY! DID YOU GET IT! WE WERE BEING FUNNY RIGHT THERE!" It's kind of a turn off as the TV show was pretty confident that the audience would know when it was making a joke without having to be obvious, but, remember, this is a big family movie. One example I can think of that doesn't spoil too much is this scene that had me thinking "Wow, this is exactly like that one scene from Spartacus!" and then the movie suddenly goes "Hey look! This is exactly like that one scene from Spartacus!" To be fair, I think them doing that was the joke, and it was pretty funny. But I'm not lying by saying that, every time they make a joke, they make sure that the audience gets that they were trying to be funny at that moment.

All in all, I'd actually call Mr. Peabody & Sherman a success. A movie that's way more smart and clever than the trailers would ever lead anybody to believe. The movie doesn't entirely work with it's awkward plotting and structure while also having a more serious tone than it probably should have. But, when a movie is this funny, something must have gone right. It might be a bit of a back-handed compliment to say that this movie was better than I thought it was going to be, as I didn't think the movie was going to be good at all, but I enjoyed it immensely and it's definitely a better movie than just finding something, just anything, that the family can do.