Apes, Rings, & Shields!

Thanks to my particular brand of (pseudo-) nerdiness is that I’ve become a keen observer to detail. I tend notice the little quirks, the subtle aspects of an interaction or environment. This is especially evident when it pertains to film and gaming. But sometimes when I’m dulling my senses watching a movie or playing a game, I’ll come across something that just rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes the litmus for suspension of disbelief for the sake of convenience is flat-out assaulted. Let me clarify that last bit. I’m not one of those douchebags who goes in with the intent of deconstructing a movie (or game) to harp on all its flaws.

Armond White: Film reviewer, music critic, and massive prick all in in one!

The following aren’t really movie reviews per se. But more like a quick rundown of anal-retentive, takeaways from a round of movies I saw recently. So this post will be laced with semi-spoilers. You’ve been warned. But really, anything I put in one of these harping sessions probably isn’t worth your time anyway.

I guess this would be a really bad time to make a joke about him being naked.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: This wasn’t a bad film in hindsight. But I’m definitely puzzled as hell as to why it’s being lauded as a crowning piece of cinema. Starts out with a ton of potential and interesting elements, but then falls apart in the second half when it went full throttle into action movie mode. For a movie about apes being set loose, I was expecting some really wild, action sequences, but it was so tame I zoned out a few times. I was expecting to see some ape-shit craziness but only got a slightly angry version of Curious George, LAME!

The biggest flaw that undercut the entire premise of the movie was not Caesar, but the circus orangutan he befriended. On one hand you have a genetically altered monkey with a genius level IQ. Yet this lowly circus orangutan is able to communicate and understands Caesar perfectly well. Yeah, he’s not playing chess; but a damn monkey that can seemingly understands human interactions and some of the prevailing social dynamics is much more impressive feat in my opinion.

But moving on, then there’s the massive Nat Turner-esque escape. As Caesar explained, there are strength in numbers. So their first stop, breakout the apes n the zoo. Which is good and all, but how in the hell did the zoo apes manage to fall in line with the rest of the now, intelligent apes? I’d reckon the zoo apes would function as cannon fodder so the others could have an easier escape. And if that was the point, it contradicts Caesar ‘strength in numbers’ philosophy and kinda’ makes him look like a major dick. But from the looks of it, ALL the apes were in perfect formation, understood commands and everything. So somehow in the span of being freed and overrunning the city, they somehow become sentient enough to follow the crowd. But whatever, let’s move on.

So now we’re in the Redwoods. Now, I’m no primatologist but something tells me the Redwoods wouldn’t necessarily provide the sustainable environment & resources for the Mesan level apes. Just a wild guess on my part. And let’s not mention how some their mannerisms suddenly became more “human”. Geniuses, some primates do occasionally walk on two legs. They just prefer walking on all fours because it’s more efficient give the anatomical structure of their bodies.

Other than that, it was a decent movie. This was definitely a set-up piece for future films. So I can’t give it too much crap for now. It’s obviously not as clever as the original; but it doesn’t need to be nor was that its purpose. Definitely worth viewing, I just hope the sequels up the geek a bit along with some ape-shit madness.

Hey baby, I got another big head I wanna show ya'.

Green Lantern: Yup folks, the above picture is (one of) the main antagonist in the Green lantern movie: some deformed geek with major daddy issues. You don’t need Green Lantern for this folks. This threat could’ve been handled by two college meatheads who would give him an atomic wedgie and shove him in a locker or throw him in a swimming pool. Then they can celebrate by slamming beers from his test beakers while lighting joints from his Bunsen burner.

I was never the biggest Green Lantern fan. But from what I do remember, Ryan Reynolds is not Hal Jordan. But that’s not even the worst part, it’s practically everything else. The cookie cutter format of the movie plays out just as you’d expect. And that’s perfectly fine, it’s a summer popcorn movie based on a damn comic book; I’m not expecting a Steven Soderbergh masterpiece. But at least bedazzle me some cool special effects. Seeing Sinestro and the Green Lantern Corps was cool for like five minutes but that got old quickly. You know what? I won’t even dignify anymore time to this garbage. It just plain sucked period!

I just don’t get why DC can’t capitalize on their franchises. They have a stable of cool characters to work with. The Superman franchise alone should be as popular, if not moreso, than Batman. There’s no reason we why there isn’t a good Flash movie in the works, or Wonder Woman, or the Green Arrow, or something. Yet Marvel continues to get it right. Even when they fail, they turnaround time for remakes is incredibly short. And it’s not as though DC is hurting financially, so what the hell? Get better DC!

Movie cliche 13: Surround your enemy, but DON'T kill them. Take them to your leader instead!

Captain America: This was the most enjoyable of the three movies. And surprisingly, it wasn’t as campy as I expected. And as always, Hugo Weaving was amazing as the red Skull. I do feel it’s a bit bloated in some areas and they could’ve easily chopped a good 30 minutes. That aside, it was fairly decent. I wouldn’t put it up there with Ironman or even Thor, but this was a decent set-up piece for the Avengers movie.

But since this is a nitpicking session, I gotta’ pick out something. This criticism is more of assessment of the character himself, not the movie. And I’ve had it for a while. Yes, Captain America represents everything that is good and wholesome about American values. But his origin is a huge endorsement for drug use in many ways. Don’t roll your eyes just yet; hear me out. One of hard truths of life is that anything worthwhile takes a lot of hard work and pain. Young Steve Rogers was able to bypass all of that thanks to modified steroids; scratch that, I mean a serum that was developed to create super soldiers. What kind of message does that send? “Hey kids, don’t worry about spending countless hours in the gym sweating it out in the gym, watching your diet, avoid those nasty scraps and sprained body parts, or even going practices & training classes even though you pulled a full day at work / school. All you need is a little help thanks to this government approved serum.

Yes, I realize that is a huge stretch of an argument given the circumstances. But there is some validity in it being that the ends justify the means. In this case, the end being taking out the Nazi regime. How is this any different than athletes who wants to use performance enhancing drugs to increase their abilities and career livelihood? Sports, war, it’s all about dominance in the end. But that’s a post I’ll explore at a later time. Again, it’s a just fricking comic book and fun, little movie.

That’s enough kvetching for one day. By now, I’m sure a lot of you are under the impression I’m a massive movie snob I’m really not. I actually find a bit of enjoyment in crappy movies due to their pure (unintentional) comedic potential. Case in point, I love the Fast & Furious franchise based purely on laughably terrible they are. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call is easily the best comedy of the past decade. At the end of the day people like what they like, simple as that. I may think less of your tastes going forward. But, hey tomato-tomatoe, right?

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