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Movie Time 2.0: TT mini reviews

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is on Paramount+ and is about as fun as the first movie, only with less unnecessary humans and more pastel furries. So, perfect for Sonic fans and precisely no one else.

I'm impressed at how much Rachel justifies the presence of the unnecessary humans. This woman is just livid that she has to live in a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. I would watch a whole series that's just her trying to have a normal day until a talking animal shows up with a Chaos Emerald and suddenly everyone around her starts spouting nonsense and pointing not-guns. I demand every ill-advised live action adaptation have a character like this from now on.

I'm looking forward to the Idris Elba Knuckles series and hope it's as overwrought as he is. Please give me Ken Penders-style scenes with dozens of echidnae who are all just Knuckles in a hat.

I am also a total hypocrite because I was very tepid on Chip and Dale and yet loved this movie, even though Chip and Dale is definitely a better movie.
 
I watched Rocky 3 through Balboa this past week, after having watched the first two a month or so ago. The latter definitely feels strongest as an actual film to be enjoyed unironically (and so worked as proof-of-concept to justify the also-great Creed films), though the first three have merely aged rather than been actually weaker per se. I was pleasantly surprised by 3 and even 5, much better than their lower reputations suggest. Hopefully this year's Creed 3 will fully emerge from the Rocky shadow though, and let Adonis have his own film that isn't dealing with the previous generation's baggage.
 
I saw Top Guns today. I'd never seen the original, but the new one got great reviews so I decided to check it out. I don't know that I had strong feelings about the original but it was easy watching. Didn't really read to me as very gay at all, although sure, it had its moments. What doesn't? Has a pretty well-developed straight romance, though!

Anyway, Top Gun: Maverick is incredible, thrilling cinema. Pretty much a joy to watch at every moment. Great ensemble. Some kind of evil things, yes: why, exactly, is it good our heroes are killing all these faceless Iranians...? And it's extremely rude that they replaced Kelly McGinnis's character, who just doesn't exist anymore, although I wish Jennifer Connelly the best. And yeah, I also wish all these excellent latter-day Tom Cruise blockbusters had... someone else in them. But they wouldn't be as good, of course. Neo Skimbleshanks culpable.
 
Watched Sonic 2 today. That was fun! Similar to the last movie but more game characters, fewer humans. The human portions that remained were fine, played for quick laughs and not really dragged out.

Interestingly to me at least it seemed to echo the old British Sonic comics with its Robotnik absorbing the power of the Master Emerald to become a green-glowing god and its tease of Super Sonic potentially being evil or mindless, though that was ultimately a gag.
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I watched Rocky 3 through Balboa this past week, after having watched the first two a month or so ago. The latter definitely feels strongest as an actual film to be enjoyed unironically (and so worked as proof-of-concept to justify the also-great Creed films), though the first three have merely aged rather than been actually weaker per se. I was pleasantly surprised by 3 and even 5, much better than their lower reputations suggest. Hopefully this year's Creed 3 will fully emerge from the Rocky shadow though, and let Adonis have his own film that isn't dealing with the previous generation's baggage.
While I doubt anyone could honestly claim that it's the best, Rocky 3 is my favourite and I pity the fool who doesn't agree with me
 
It was nice to see 3 comfortably shift the relationship between Apollo and Rocky into a believable friendship-rivalry rather than their previous more antagonistic one, which is utterly necessary for 4 and Creed to work.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I watched some movies while getting chores done today.

I found Sonic 2 to kind of insufferable, Knuckles excepted. Idris Elba's ridiculously deep voice contrasting with how cartoony everyone else is never stopped being entertaining. Everything else did.

Ambulance is a Michael Bay movie. I resent the people who tried to sell it as some kind of modern classic. Its not.

Fantastic Beasts: The Mumble of Dumblebumble is a bad movie. The whole thing feels like a wild reaction to all the problems the previous movie created, which just creates more problems. It desperately wants the viewer to forget that Grindlebindle is the bad guy because he wants wizards to stop the holocaust. It works very hard to make sure some kind of magical animal is important to climax to give its protagonist a reason to be there. He still doesn't.
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Fantastic Beasts: The Mumble of Dumblebumble is a bad movie. The whole thing feels like a wild reaction to all the problems the previous movie created, which just creates more problems. It desperately wants the viewer to forget that Grindlebindle is the bad guy because he wants wizards to stop the holocaust. It works very hard to make sure some kind of magical animal is important to climax to give its protagonist a reason to be there. He still doesn't.
Silly Badger, you can’t fool me! There was only one Fantastic Beasts movie!
 
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As someone who actually kinda liked the first two Fantastic Beasts movies, this last one was not good. It felt like, at the end of the movie, all they'd accomplished was hitting a reset button to undo the 2nd movie. Which in the big picture of things might not be a bad thing, but wasting a whole movie to do it is beyond a waste of potential. Also the dumb leader-deciding animal was dumb.
 
Fantastic Beasts: The Mumble of Dumblebumble is a bad movie. The whole thing feels like a wild reaction to all the problems the previous movie created, which just creates more problems. It desperately wants the viewer to forget that Grindlebindle is the bad guy because he wants wizards to stop the holocaust. It works very hard to make sure some kind of magical animal is important to climax to give its protagonist a reason to be there. He still doesn't.

Getting the best selling children's author, even one with as much baggage as J.K. Rowling, to write original film scripts cannot be cheap. But I find it hard to imagine it wouldn't be more cost effective in the long run to pay the writer (or writers) up front for the entire story and then invest in making the movies if the underlying story is strong enough.

The Rise of Skywalker, Alien Covenant, and Fantastic Beasts (from what I gather) which have all been labeled as reactionary filmmaking, are middling to poor movies. Are there any examples of fan reaction filmmaking where people go "That one really hit the mark!"?

I've not seen Fantastic Beasts 3, but I'm disappointed that the fan reaction here seems to be lukewarm to disappointed. I liked the first two movies. I think WB, also stated that if this one does not do well the planned series will end here. That seems very likely.
 
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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Well I’d say the Snyder Cut of Justice League elevated the film to “Honestly Pretty Damn Good”, and if you want to count the removal of human teeth and eyes from Sonic the Hedgehog, that as well
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
In the case of Justice League, the 2017 cut was the reactive one.
 
Are there any examples of fan reaction filmmaking where people go? That one really hit the mark!
Not quite film making in the way you were meaning, since it's a TV show, but Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is 120% reactionary by weight and fans are gobbling it up. (It's also just legitimately good too, but you can literally taste the reactionary finger prints all over the production.)
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Yes, they made nothing but bad shows for years, and then "reacted" by making a good one that remembers what Star Trek is.
 
Yes, they made nothing but bad shows for years, and then "reacted" by making a good one that remembers what Star Trek is.
I'm not going to bog this thread down by relitigating the value of nuTrek or the merits of complaints about it. But suffice to say, regardless of how you feel about nuTrek (and I love it) SNW feels like a veritable checklist of things detractors argue about being marked off in rapid succession.
 
If you want to count the removal of human teeth and eyes from Sonic the Hedgehog, that as well
Great example.

Not quite film making in the way you were meaning, since it's a TV show, but Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is 120% reactionary by weight and fans are gobbling it up. (It's also just legitimately good too, but you can literally taste the reactionary finger prints all over the production.)
Another great example.

While reactionary film and TV does equal terrible most of the time, the above examples prove, reactionary doesn't always equal terrible.
 
Both Suicide Squad movies seem to have been reactive to some degree, but I guess as examples they might cancel each other out.
 
I watched Dario Argento's Trauma (1993) for the first time. A serial killer who decapitates his victims is on the loose. A daughter of the serial killers victims, and a local news graphics artist team up to try to find the killer. Its a pretty standard Argento movie: heavy on atmosphere and style and light on plot.

In the very first scene of the movie Asia Argento's character, daughter of the serial killers victims, attempts suicide by jumping off a bridge. In the background I see the very recognizable Grain Belt Beer sign. Small world. Dario Argento shot a movie in Minneapolis, my home town, and I didn't know about it until today?!

I enjoyed the movie. But a small part of my enjoyment was trying to see if I could figure out where each scene in the movie was shot around town.

I would say if you like Deep Red, Suspiria, or Inferno, you will enjoy Trauma. Trauma is definitely a step down from those films, but Trauma is enjoyable.

After the movie was over I watched an interview with Dario Argento. Apparently George Lucas invited or allowed Argento to edit the film at Lucasfilm using Laser Disc editing. Argento thought he was one of the first filmmakers to use the editing technique. A weird piece of trivia that I was not expecting to hear about.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
I just watched Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and overall enjoyed the experience, although I would certainly suggest watching it with your with your brain on but set to park. Ben Schwartz is a more annoying Sonic than Jaleel White, and that kind of effort borders on setting a world record. Tails is a fluffy exposition vending machine, and Knuckles is a cross between Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy and Goliath from Gargoyles, dramatic yet impossibly dense. ("Tiny magic hedgehog destroyed!") Robotnik is frequently referenced as "Eggman" for no reason other than a callback to the later video games, and suffers from Jim Carrey overexposure, which makes you realize why Jim Carrey vanished off the radar for about ten years. The emotional beats feel forced and insincere... I just about gagged when Tom referred to Sonic as his son. The Rachel character, who I disliked immensely in the first film, redeems herself in the sequel, quickly shifting her fiery rage from Sonic's "father" to her fiancée.

It was all a bit contrived, with plot holes so large even the plot cement that constantly flows from Tails' mouth couldn't fill them. Still, if you're watching the movie as a fan of the games, there should be enough here to satisfy you. Sonic hates water and gulps air bubbles to keep himself alive while submerged. Robotnik's giant robot comes with a manual taken straight out of a Sega Genesis. Tails flies a red biplane from the early games. And so forth. There are strong ties to the video games, and many video game movies don't do this, so it gets credit for that at least. Also, the action-filled second half of the film is way better than the first half, probably because it's so tightly focused on the Sonic characters and full of action and dazzling special effects. It's been said before, and it can't be said enough... most of the humans in the films are, at best, baggage.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a pretty darn good Spider-Man movie despite the Internet's concerted efforts to spoil as much surprise as possible because maybe I don't want to go to the theatre right now in the middle of a pandemic. Willem Dafoe is still amazing and I love that he's not afraid to go full cartoon man because he knows EXACTLY who this character is and that the Riami movies had a different vibe. Some of the effects, notably the Lizard, aren't super great, though I'm also wondering if that's supposed to be a nod to the effects of the era they came out in. I also like that this is the story of a guy who wants to be someone who can try to save his enemies and not feeling his hate through cruelty but processing it through less murder-y means. I will say the Statue of Liberty is a very fun, silly touch that makes sense in the context of the movie. Even though there's a "goodbye" ish element, I wouldn't mind more Tom Holland but let's face it, bring on Miles Morales in the MCU. We already have most of the Champions and Young Avengers set up anyway.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
Top Gun: Maverick is pretty good.

To say the original is important to me is underselling it: I first saw it when I was in second grade and thought it was the coolest, most grown-up film imaginable. I misunderstood about half of the dialogue because all the swears and innuendos weren't in my vocabulary yet. It has loomed like a monolith in my mind ever since and I legitimately cannot tell if it's a good or a bad movie because I'm too close to it emotionally. What I do know is that it's a testosterone-fueled fever nightmare with a weird, manic energy that barely holds it together from scene to scene. You're watching these insane, sweating macho men all dialed up to 11 from the jump, egos ricocheting off of each other, and either they need to start making out or killing each other because something's gotta give and it never does. It's incredible.

Top Gun: Maverick could never hope to recapture that and, perhaps wisely, it doesn't really try. It's intensely reverent of the original in ways that sometimes don't make a lot of sense; the first scene of Top Gun is fighter jets taking off from a carrier to Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone and the next scene is those planes in the air. The first scene of Top Gun: Maverick is fighter jets taking off from a carrier to Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone, and the next scene is in a desert thousands of miles away and nobody's in a plane. What? They also spin a throwaway line of dialogue from the original into the love interest in this film, which is probably a lot of fun for editors of the Top Gun Wiki.

The movie's tone is comparatively pretty sedate for the first three quarters until the action-packed finale, which goes on longer than expected but doesn't drag, aside from using the same "last-second surprise save" moment twice within a few minutes of each other. That said, there are a lot of very cool aerial maneuvers and some degree of tension even though you know everyone's gonna make it.

I feel like they could have changed Maverick's callsign to Team Player, as there never really comes a point where he makes a selfish or reckless decision; we're reintroduced to him potentially sacrificing his career in order to keep his teammates' program going, and everything he does from that point on is for the benefit of the collective. I guess he mellowed out some in the intervening 36 years.

I don't know that Miles Teller turns in a phenomenal performance as Rooster but he's good, and boy howdy does he look like Anthony Edwards. Using this movie to unpack Goose's death was a wise narrative choice, perhaps the only one they could have made. It's super weird that Kelly McGillis' character isn't even obliquely referenced. Val Kilmer's scene (singular) feels like it was added in reshoots, as the rest of the time he's communicating via text or seen in photographs, but it was ice to see him again.

Overall I had a good time. I leave you with these two snippets from TVTropes regarding the popularity of the original:

  • At the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (formerly known as TOPGUN) today, anyone on staff who quotes or references this movie gets fined $10.
  • Anyone caught singing "Danger Zone" while piloting a Tomcat, supposedly, is considered a hostile. It's hopefully all a joke, but ejected pilots who sing "Take My Breath Away" are to be shot at. Considering the F-14 has been retired from service due to wear on the airframe, it's likely moot at this point.
 
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bring on Miles Morales in the MCU.
There's a moment towards the end of the PS5 game where Miles and Peter are just like, being spider-pals swinging thru the city together. That's what I want. Like, a buddy-cop movie, but nobody is cops, nobody is the bad-cop, and both cops are Spider-Man. Can you imagine? I can imagine.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
Rewatched VENOM via outerheaven last weekend and actually this movie rules yeah I said it this movie is fucking rad fuck the haters.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
I think my favorite not-Venom thing about Venom is Eddie's ex's new boyfriend is not in some thinly sketched asshole, but like, just a genuinely good person who thinks Eddie is cool and tries to be his friend.
 
Isn't that basically Into the Spider-Verse? Which, to be fair, is something we all want more of.
Spiderverse was mostly like, Miles with his mentor. And then Miles with his bae. And then Miles with a whole squad. I want the buddy cop. Just a 1v1 rapport where the two are equals. Maybe Joe Pesci can tag along as comic relief or something, but yeah.
 
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