Cloudy With a 100% Chance of Food Puns

(This is an older blog post that I’m migrating from my old blog on Blogspot)

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  My last post was really serious (can you detect my sarcasm?) so I thought that I would lighten things up because my wife and I were celebrating this week.

Why were we celebrating, you might ask.  Well there are several reasons.

  1. We managed to pay off all our remaining debt with our tax returns.  We didn’t have any substantial debt, and we haven’t made the plunge into home ownership yet, so it may have been a small and temporary victory, but it was a victory nonetheless.
  2. We had some wonderful days off from my job because of some inclement weather, which gave us an unexpectedly long weekend.  We took the opportunity to head off to visit relatives in Virginia.
  3. While in Virginia our relatives decided that they were going to use their tax returns to buy a new Blu Ray player.  Not having any need for their old Blu Ray player they graciously gave us their old one.  (Thanks again to Roz and Dan, if you’re reading this, you’re the best!)

We were previously using an older-ish model of this thing called a DVD player.  Maybe you’ve heard of them, they were all the rave a few years ago.

The DVD worked for us . . . for the most part.  The only problem with our late DVD player is that the remote got lost sometime in between moving from St. Louis to Utah to Maryland.  I hope whoever has it is enjoying it.  In all likelihood it is lost somewhere in my parents house, or was given to DI.  If the latter is the case, may it rest in peace rotting on that thrift store shelf.

After putting our DVD player to rest back in the box from whence it came we went out and got ourselves a Redbox film, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  What’s funny is that we got our new BluRay player set up, but I’m pretty sure that we rented a DVD. . . . One day we’ll do this whole Blu Ray thing right. . . . Baby steps, we’ll get there.

My wife and I really liked Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  It was a funny movie. . . .  ‘Nuff said.

Cloudy 2 was different though.

In lieu of giving you a detailed review of the film let me just sum it up for you, if you haven’t already seen it (very unlikely, but I’ll go for it anyway):

Cloudy 2 took all of the funny gags and jokes that they used in the first film and used them again.

They introduced a lame villain; no depth, too predictable.  He started out as Flint’s childhood hero, and within five minutes it became apparent that he was the villain set on pitting Flint against his own friends.  Blah, blah, blah, an hour later you’re watching the ending thinking “I totally knew that it was going to end this way”.  Kinda lame.

Kids shows are frequently obvious, I get that.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the deal breaker for me. What did it for me was the endless food puns.  And the villain . . . but mostly the food puns.

They’re on an island with sentient food, “Foodimals” as they call them.  It was the perfect setup for food jokes.  The puns were endless.  If they weren’t mashing food names with dinosaur names (Taco-don Supreme anyone?), they were punning up a storm.  It got old after about five jokes.  Towards the end I was just rolling my eyes with each new food pun.  Cloudy 1 had some food jokes, but it wasn’t to the extreme like in Cloudy 2.  It was silly.

Besides the food puns the story just moved along too quickly.  The characters didn’t feel developed.  I couldn’t relate to them.  I didn’t feel connected with them.  I didn’t love them.  I know it’s harsh, but it’s true.

You might say that I’m being too critical, that it’s just a kids show, an animated cartoon.  Well, you’d be right, I’m pretty harsh.  But imagine if I told you that it was a wonderful film, filled with spectacular jokes, well scripted characters, and a plot that will have you watching it over and over again.  Well, that would be a lie, and you’d never read my reviews again.  So I’d better stick with the truth and hope that you can at least agree partially with my critiques.

To sum it up:

On a scale from “Buy The Collectors Edition” to “Redbox it“, this is definitely a Redbox movie. Unless you’re buying for your little kids, and you don’t mind that they may watch it 5 billion times before they’re 4 years old (you know how kids are), it’s probably not worth the money.

P.S. One day I’ll actually get a real Blu Ray to watch on our player . . . I promise . . .

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A Flimsy Man of Steel

(This is a post that I’m migrating from my previous blog on Blogspot)

It was quite a while ago that I watched Man of Steel.  So that makes this review a little late to the game, but I thought that I would give it a go anyway.

I remember being really excited about the movie.  Christopher Nolan’s name appeared somewhere in the credits right?  How could I not be excited?

The previews did an amazing job of making it look like a film that would take a totally new and fresh look at one of the best known comic book super heroes of all time. It looked down-to-earth.  It looked like it was going to delve into the psychology of Superman like The Dark Knight did with Batman.  It looked like it was going to be tactful and refreshing, a real keeper.

Well, not to spoil it, but it didn’t.

It had a vast mixture of things going on that just didn’t work for me; the first being the Sci-Fi-ness of the original planet that superman was born on, the second was the long introduction of a character who says practically nothing, and the third was the strange decision to have all fighting scenes be absolutely, ridiculously out of character.

The first scenes where Russell Crowe (Clark Kent’s real dad) and Michael Shannon (the evil General Zod) are introduced felt a little heavy, a bit too Sci-Fi for my taste.  Not that I don’t like Sci-Fi, but it just didn’t seem like it fit very well with the rest of the film. This is probably because I came expecting an almost singular focus on Clark Kent as a character.  The film spent too much time discussing the follies of the evolutionary, and environmental choices they made on Krypton and establishing the villain as a really angry dude.

If I had done the film I would have left all of that stuff out about Krypton and his real dad and stuff.  I would have started the film focusing on Clark, and then let the audience experience with the protagonist the discovery of his powers and his internal struggle to find an identity instead of showing us all the other main characters, confirming that Clark is, in fact invincible, and then attempting to humanize him throughout the rest of the film.  It wouldn’t have stretched the imagination too far for Clark to find the holographic version of his dad’s consciousness in a spaceship buried under the snow, and it would have had more impact to find out then that the crazy, angry antagonist was coming to get him.

But I didn’t make the movie, so I guess that makes my opinion on how it should have been done less than important.

They spent a good deal of time in the movie watching Clark Kent wander the planet in search of who he is. Or maybe, perhaps he was just searching for the holographic conscience of his dead father? Or a fancy suit to wear?  Anyway, he found all of those things, but mostly we just watched him walk around in almost near silence doing good deeds and saving people as he went along.  This was probably the best part of the film.  We got to see a little bit of how he decided that he wanted to be a hero.  This was a central question in the film, would the world be ready to accept him as a hero, or would they reject him as a freak?

Turns out, no surprise, that the government feared him, but people (represented by Lois Lane) would accept him.  With that internal struggle over it was on to the fighting!

The fighting was something else entirely, if it wasn’t for the fighting I would say that it was a pretty good movie, one thumb up even.  Sure, the story was predictable.  Sure, it wasn’t all that it was hyped to be, but I would have walked out of the theater thinking “that was alright”.   But the main reason that I can’t give it that rating is not for the character development or the Sci-Fi-ness, those were some of the reasons why the story didn’t develop right, but what really destroyed the staying power of the movie was the fighting.

There were probably a number of ways that they could have approached filming the fight scenes.  Superman has super speed, so that poses a bit of a problem making super speed believable in this film that has devoted so much time in attempting to make Superman believable.  But instead of trying to make the fighting believable they didn’t even try at all.  They went the opposite direction, they made it so unbelievable that it was comical.

It was jarring.  It was like watching an hour and half of moderately well made superhero drama and then when I got to the final fight scenes it was like I stepped out of the superhero drama straight into a computer generated, Superman version of Dragon Ball Z.  It was like a trip straight back to the late 90’s.  It was weird.  So the tagline that should have been used for the movie was “The Man of Steel, Superman meets Dragon Ball Z.  Watch out Goku!” (For those unfamiliar with Dragon Ball Z here is a link, skip to about 2:00 in,  you’ll get a taste.)

It was such a jarring transition to go from a film attempting to be down-to-earth, realistic; and then suddenly the characters start zipping around and punching each other through buildings in the most awkward way conceivable.

On a side note, the last fight scene felt really long, so long it was boring long.

So if I had to rate the movie on a scale of “Buy the Collectors edition Blu-Ray version” to “Wait till it’s in the $5 bin at Walmart” I would have to go with the latter.

In summary the film was ok.  The character development was weak, the previews had more emotional impact than the film did, and the fighting was beyond ridiculous.  All of that being said, it was a pretty clean movie, and if I were to find it sitting in the bottom of the $5 bin someday I might even consider buying it, if it happened to be the only movie in the bin worth buying and I only had $5 to spend.  Or I might just buy some candy for the same price and watch this instead for free because it’s hilarious.