July 26th, 2016

Anne - What do you think?

A Tale of Two Movies

We got to see two movies on my vacation, and both are from reboots of established franchises:

Emily and I both came in to Ghostbusters with mixed feeling, considering all the negative feedback that's been going on. Some of it was from people who had not yet seen the movie, and I automatically disregard that. Some of it was from people who thought the new movie was a feminist propaganda piece, and who knows? Maybe it was meant that way. But if I stayed away from every movie pushing a left wing agenda, I'd sure have a lot more time to read.

No, I go to movies to be entertained, and in that Ghostbusters delivered in spades. It was certainly the second best of the three movies (sorry, you just can't beat the original), and while there are logical inconsistencies here and there, hey--it's a movie about ghosts. I wasn't looking for logic.

My only real problem is that I see no reason why it had to be a reboot, instead of a sequel. While the story could have been better, and for me the fight scene at the end seemed a bit too much, the movie was saved by its actors. The four lady Ghostbusters were great, but two people stole every scene they were in: Kate McKinnon's a riot as a nuclear engineer who seems to have spent too much time in her devices energy fields, and Chris Hemsworth ... well, he plays a dumb blonde who's hired as a secretary just for his looks, and you can see how that raised some conservation. But he's so friggin' hilarious in every single scene that I just don't care.

My score: Entertainment value, 4 M&Ms out of 4. The good brown ones, that make you think they're more chocolatey than they are.

Oscar potential: 2 M&Ms out of 4. Maybe for some kind of effects or something ... the Oscars aren't kind to comedies, anyway.

Then there's Star Trek Beyond, the third Star Trek movie since the reboot in which Star Trek and Star Wars had a baby. In this edition the Enterprise is attacked by a cloud of TIE fighter and the crew is stranded on the surface of Endor ...

Actually, this time around, for the first time since the reboot, the movie makers seem to have figured something out: Even though Spock would be super-cool with a lightsaber, Star Trek is supposed to be a bit more cerebral and a bit less ... laser blasters. It's more Star Trekkie, although it would be nice if the editors would cut way down on fast cuts. Am I getting older? Yes.

But there are two ways to judge a Star Trek movie: as a movie, or as Star Trek. You have to remember that this started out as a TV series, and it's not so easy going from the small to the big screen. Some of the worst of the series' movies may have, with some cutting, made much better episodes. As Star Trek this was better, complete with nice character moments and shout-outs to the universe's past, but there are plenty of things for hard core fans to not like. (starships on a planetary surface, for instance.) So from a standpoint of the franchise, Beyond was good, but not great.

As a space opera movie, it was great--a slam-bam mix of speed, phaser blasts, and stuff exploding. Oh, and there's some deep thinky stuff too, which actually brings us back to it being Star Trekkie again. The acting and effects were great, and while I'd prefer at least a bit more attempt to match the established science of the original shows, hey--sometimes the original shows didn't, either.

My score: Entertainment value, 4 M&Ms out of 4. Maybe not the brown ones, but still. With Ghostbusters I went in with low expectations, while with Star Trek I'd heard nothing but great things, so that may have painted my reaction.

Oscar potential: 2 M&Ms out of 4. Oscar doesn't like SF much, either.