I do tend to have a bit of a fascination with "bottle movies". I've mentioned this a few times before, but for me, it's seeing how good of a story can be told with how little there is to use. Typically, a bottle movie will take place in one room, and there are a few classic examples out there under this category. However, if you see just one bottle movie to say that you've had the patience to sit through one (they aren't necessarily for everyone) it should probably be '12 Angry Men', being that it is the quintessential classic in the genre.
Amazingly, I haven't actually seen this movie until fairly recently when a friend showed it to me. I'll be perfectly honest with everyone here, I didn't LOVE it and even had a few moments when I snickered at something that probably wasn't supposed to be funny. But having said that, it does become a movie I have a certain admiration for. Keep in mind that I'm no pro critic who gets paid for everything he writes, and some really classic stuff like this is material that's not as much in my wheelhouse as it is something I can admire from afar and have respect for. A lot of this was really good, but I think my genuine problem going into it was just already knowing how it would all go down.
The film takes place in an overly hot jury room of the New York County Courthouse where a jury discusses the case of an 18-year-old boy who has been accused of stabbing his father to death. If at the end of the day, this young man is found guilty, he faces the fatal electric chair. Furthermore, the verdict of guilty or not guilty must be completely unanimous. As eleven men seem to have no problem at all looking at the evidence and sealing the kid's fate, Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) has a different idea, and reasonable doubt of the crime in his mind. So, this is the story of the one guy in the jury room trying to convince everyone else there to shift their verdict in order to save a potentially innocent person. We've seen it parodied numerous times, but this is where all those parodies really came from.
We can't give a bottle movie like this much credit without its performances that really carry the film. Aside from Juror #8, we've also got Jurors #1 (Martin Balsam), #2 (John Fiedler), #3 (Lee J. Cobb), #4 (E.G. Marshall), #5 (Jack Klugman), #6 (Edward Binns), #7 (Jack Warden), #9 (Joseph Sweeney), #10 (Ed Begley), #11 (George Voskovec) and #12 (Robert Webber), and no, none of them are referred to by their real names until the very end. Seems like a lot of name-dropping to fill space, I know, but there's something to be said about these performances along with their personalities. The film forces the audience to think for themselves, and even relate to one or perhaps a few of these characters as we go.
Despite knowing how it all ends, I might suggest that from a filmmaking standpoint, this is a pretty golden title. It is and has been for a while now, toted as one of the best films ever made, and with the simple techniques used here, it's easy to see why. The example that stood out to me was seeing these guys seemingly literally sweating throughout their performances in this overheated jury room. The heat adds to the tension everyone feels and seems to make the delivery of frustrating dialogue more believable. Are these guys planning on just saying "guilty" so they can go home and be comfortable, or will they endure this discomfort as long as they have to in order to save a life?
Although on a personal level, this doesn't land on the list of my favourite movies, the film has my utmost respect for its overall execution, and it's not at all hard to see why this film is so beloved by so many. I really think if I had no idea what to expect here, going into it, I'd have gotten a lot more out of it. But again, it's just a scenario I've seen a whole bunch of different times, and it's a shame that I managed to watch something like 'Jury Duty' (a Pauly Shore comedy) before this. I will, however, still highly recommend it to anyone looking for a solid classic because it still does provide a good amount of tension and drama by using so little. It may not be on my list, but if you can, give it a shot for yourself!
It's sort of interesting to think that there was a point in time when this was the last traditionally animated Disney Animation Studios film until 2009, when 'The Princess and the Frog' revived it, and revived it quite well. But more on that when we get there. I think I'm going to take an opportunity here, however, to recap where we are in the grand scheme of the Disney animation eras. We have gone through the "Golden Age", "Wartime Era", "Silver Age", "Bronze Age" and "Renaissance", thus covering five of the known seven.
With 'Home on the Range', we find ourselves ending this Disney month-long marathon in the midst of the "Post-Renaissance" era, which indeed, includes some of Disney's weakest animated titles. I've discovered that it sort of does a 'Star Trek' think up until this point. 'Fantastia 2000', good, 'Dinosaur', meh, 'New Groove', good, 'Atlantis', meh, and it goes on like that, at least up until this point, which ends us on not only a "meh" title, but one I might actually say is just bad altogether. With most Disney animated movies that I'm not big on, I still give the film the benefit of the doubt, knowing that there might be something about it I'm not getting. But truth told this is one of the lowest-ranked Disney movies of all time. And I have to say, I can see why, but more on that in a bit.
Plot-wise, we go back to 1889, where, on the Dixon Ranch, a wanted cattle rustler named Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid) has successfully stolen all of Mr. Dixon's cattle, save for one, Maggie (Roseanne Barr). As a result, Dixon has to sell Maggie to a kindly old woman named Pearl Gesner (Carole Cook) who owns a patch of farmland known as "Patch of Heaven". Now that Maggie's safe and all, Sheriff Sam Brown (Richard Riehle) arrives to inform Pearl that she has three days to pay the bank her debt of $750, or the farm goes up for auction. Overhearing, Maggie suggests that she and the other two cows, the strictly proper Mrs. Calloway (Judi Dench) and Grace (Jennifer Tilly) head into town to try to win the money to save the farm.
Once there, the cows discover that there may be a better way to obtain the exact amount they need. They notice a bounty hunter named Rico (Charles Dennis) drop a criminal off, collect his bounty and bring his horse for a rest while he takes a new horse named Buck (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who actually idolizes him. Here is where they find out that the bounty on Slim is exactly $750, so the cows figure it would be a good idea to try to get the bounty, themselves, in order to save Patch of Heaven. It sort of ends up becoming a 'Rat Race' type movie between the cows, Rico and honestly, eventually Buck as well. The whole thing might be just fine for any kids to enjoy, but this is not something that crosses into the realm of imagination and creativity that I can appreciate.
The only thing that really holds this movie together for me in any regard is its talented voice cast (although personally, I could always do without Roseanne's voice). We have characters here I haven't mentioned yet like Slim's lackey, Wesley (Steve Buscemi), Jebb the Goat (Joe Flaherty), Audrey the Chicken (Estelle Harris) and quite a few more. Even Patrick Warburton is back here, last seen as Kronk in 'Emperor's New Groove', and arguably one of the best parts about that movie. But alas, a great voice cast is no match for weak writing and a snooze of a plot. But I'm going to be fair enough to mention that the whole Western thing has never really spoken to me, so there will be bias against this one for me, regardless (although I have seen a few that I've enjoyed)
Really though, the overall story is just bland to me, and the film lacks the imagination that has been put into the other films that preceded it, even in this era. I don't know how else to say it but there's just something so extremely basic about this one. It doesn't really seem to gauge any emotions of any sort, and by the end it almost felt like it was representative of Disney almost giving up on their once epic storytelling. A stretch, sure, but by 2004, Pixar had really taken things over in the animation department. So there's always the thought that they just weren't trying because Pixar was doing well enough for them. Soon, such things would eventually get mended... but perhaps not before the next title on the list.
Here, Disney takes another shot at the Native American side of story-telling brought to us by a couple of white dudes from Burlington, Vermont and Toronto, Ontario. Having said that, I can't help but feel that this is, at the very least, more respectful than 'Pocahontas' was. Cards on the table, I have no idea if this is offensive or not when it comes to things like tradition and lack of homework. I do want to be on the right side of things, so feel free to educate me in the comments below. Otherwise, on with the show.
Local tribes in Alaska hold the traditional belief that all creatures, great and small, are created through the Great Spirits, who appear as an aurora (Northern Lights effect) Here, we meet a trio of brothers; the eldest, Sitka (D.B. Sweeney); the middle brother, Denahi (Jason Raize), and youngest and hero of this tale, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix). The time has come for Kenai to receive his totem. In this tribe, they come in the form of a necklace, with a wooden-carved pendant resembling an animal. Each totem represents what they need to achieve to become men - Kenai's is the Bear of Love. He's a little upset about this, and the others poke fun at him for it (only fooling around, not so much bullying), but soon, none of that matters.
When a brown bear steals a basket of salmon, the three brothers pursue her, only to have Sitka meet a dramatic fate. Then, at Sitka's funeral, the other two swear vengeance on the bear. During the hunt, Kenai has a face-to-face encounter with the same bear from earlier. When Kenai just barely manages the kill, however, Sitka's spirit comes along and transforms Kenai into a bear. After this, Kenai is instructed by the tribe shaman, Tanana (Joan Copeland) to find his brother, Sitka in order to be changed back to a human. However, on his journey, he must atone for his actions.
Potential atonement comes in the form of a bear cub name Koda (Jeremy Suarez) who frees him from a trap. The two make a deal that Koda will lead Kenai to where he needs to go as long as Kenai takes Koda to the annual salmon run. As their journey continues, the pair form a brotherly friendship. Soon enough, Kenai begins to learn what it means to be a bear, and a part of that includes humankind being the Boogeyman. It's very much a shoe-on-the-other-foot movie that doesn't entirely teach that killing is wrong, but it allows you to see the other perspective. It's good for people to learn empathy - especially impressionable children. I really think the message of this movie is well laid out. The execution is something I'm a bit iffy on.
Let me make it perfectly clear that I LIKED this movie. I'm only out to try to forewarn of anything that may offend other viewers. As far as this one goes, I'd probably say its the lack of female characters and the almost completely non-native cast of voices (although a huge kudos to bringing Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis in as two extremely Canadian moose reminiscent of their original MacKenzie Brothers skits). For me, my only real criticism is that it does get a little bit preachy with its message, even if it is a good one to teach. It's certainly not gonna be for everyone, but I quite honestly enjoyed myself with this - bearing in mind that I look at things pretty deeply most of the time.
'Treasure Planet' was always a bit of an anomaly to me. Despite a release that (at least among my peers) sort of just came and went, somehow the title 'Treasure Planet' stuck with me as a curiosity. There is the part of me that enjoys the old 'Treasure Island' tale (especially when told by Muppets), so a neat, sci-fi rendering of the story seemed like a cool idea. I did review this a few years ago as well, and not a whole lot has changed.
To simplify the plot completely, it is, exactly, 'Treasure Island' in space. If you are unfamiliar with 'Treasure Island', it's an adventure tale from all the way back to 1881, involving pirates, namely Long John Silver (Brian Murray), a boy named Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and the search for the evil Captain Flint's buried treasure. I know that's extremely simplified, but hey, it's a 140+-year-old story with about a million renditions that you've likely read at some point in school. It's legendary. That said, I have to admit that it seemed to take them long enough to come up with a sci-fi version of the story, because why the hell not? It's in the public domain, go nuts!
When I first reviewed this, I brought up the combination of the overall setting and how distracting it was. The idea is that the mechanics and backdrop are basically advanced technology, but the costume design is that of the pirate age along with the ship they're sailing on. And though I admit it's still a bit weird that Disney didn't go one way or the other on it (entirely traditional or entirely futuristic), it certainly takes nothing away from the film. It's interesting, given Disney's history of retelling tales that it wasn't just traditional. But I do give kudos for being creative. We can't always be purists (at least I can't).
For the most part, I still enjoyed this one, although it's not like it would make the top of my list as far as Disney animation goes. It's good, but being a story we've seen so many times before, it IS unfortunately somewhat forgettable. It keeps the original story alive and well, and we do get to like these characters as we go on this adventure. The key relationship here is the one between Long John and Jim, as they have a sort of mutual respect for one another that plays through the film, even when things go awry (I mean, spoiler alert, but Long John ends up being a double-crossing pirate).
It would feel wrong not to offer up a few more of the talented voices who worked on this. It's easy enough to explain that it's the plot of 'Treasure Island' in space, but several characters lend themselves to the great relationships we see forming throughout the film. Just a few of the more familiar voices include Emma Thompson as Captain Amelia, David Hyde Pierce as Doctor Doppler, Martin Short as B.E.N. and Laurie Metcalf as Sarah Hawkins. And yes, in case you are wondering, a couple of these characters are robots.
Perhaps my true appreciation for the film, however, lies in the fact that it looks so beautiful, using CG to its full advantage, providing us with a sort of grand scale of things. To see this on the big screen probably would have been much more of a treat than on my standard computer screen, streaming a Disney+ feature. In the end, it's a interesting rendition of an age-old classic tale, and it's perfectly fine. The thing of it is, it doesn't stand out in any parituclar way (aside from perhaps the animation of the time), and has since been completely shrouded by the new age of Disney animation, which dates any amount of CG from 2002.
This one falls under the ongoing category of "feel-good" movies in my life. It's one that I haven't seen for a few years prior to this viewing, but it's safe to say that I forgot how much I loved it. This one comes to us from a couple of rather decent names in the realm of animation; Dean DeBlois, heavily responsible for the 'How to Train Your Dragon' series, and Chris Sanders who worked on the stories for 'The Lion King' and 'Aladdin' (both worked on 'Mulan' as well).
'Lilo & Stitch' is a good place for any fans of such titles to see where the roots started, so to speak. As we well know by now, this was the beginning of things, but there would be three sequels to follow, marketing, an animated series, more marketing, and also, marketing. That said, I am a fan of Stitch, and would proudly own something like a Stitch plushie. Of course, Disney's no stranger to that side of things, and it should be known that I've come to accept their mass marketing techniques as long as the stories keep on being good! This is a great example of such a thing where it just works on all sides.
Taking place in Kauaʻi, Hawaii (I have been. If you haven't, you've gotta check it out. It's absolutely beautiful!), we meet a couple of sisters who have been left on their own after their parents were killed in a car crash cliche. Nani Pelekai (Tia Carrere) is a near-20-year-old waitress who struggles to take care of her little sister, Lilo (Daveigh Chase), who lives in her own little world of eccentricity and Elvis music. Lilo's classmates end up ostracizing her, which leads to Nani allowing her to get a dog for herself. While searching the animal shelter, Lilo falls for a rather interesting-looking dog who happens to be Stitch (Chris Sanders).
What the audience knows from the beginning, however, is that Stich is really better known as Experiment 626; a sentient alien "criminal" who's ultimately quite intelligent, but also embraces chaos... like if the Joker was adorable. The creature was created by Dr. Jumba Jookiba (David Ogden Stiers) who eventually comes to Earth looking for him, with the help of his assistant, Earth "expert", Agent Wendell Pleakley (Kevin McDonald). Between Stitch dodging his own capture and causing a mess everywhere he goes, and a social worker named Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames), Nani finds herself in the midst of it all. As for Lilo, she's kind of the naive, fun child along for the ride - but that doesn't mean she doesn't learn a thing or two in the process.
Personally speaking, I'd probably put this one up there with 'Emperor's New Groove' as far as its quality. It's pretty laugh-out-loud funny, relying more on being silly and fun than the drama these Disney animated features usually tend to be. I wouldn't say it's my favourite animated Disney film, but it's definitely somewhere well within my "Top 10" (a list I should probably actually make one of these days). It has some fun ideas going for it along with a solid sense of humour, original creature designs, a solid story, and lovable characters. It's a fine example of fun for the whole family, and a new title to seek out for feeling down in the dumps.
I may not have loved this movie, but it's another good example of something I'm gonna end up going against the grain on. It actually surprised me to learn that this movie earned a Rotten Tomato average of 51.5%. To be fair, that's the masses meeting pretty much in the middle, but I definitely thought it would have been ranked a bit higher. Anyway, digressing.
This film marks a pretty good point in time where the visuals of newfound CG animation really show. Stylistically, I feel like whether you like it or not, we can pretty much agree that it's beautifully filmed for 2001. The thing is, this is a CG test title following another CG test title, and a problem is generally presented when the style trumps the substance. And I'll admit that most of what I liked about this was how it all looked along with several characters - a few of whom I really liked. The story is admittedly pretty familiar, but I appreciated the execution.
It all starts when a tsunami hits the city of Atlantis, sinking it, and leaving an abandoned child; Princess Kida behind. She's okay though because the Queen merges with a crystal that creates a protective dome over Atlantis before it sinks. There, the remaining Atlantians live in their lost city for 8,000 years. We then go to 1914 where we meet Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox); a linguist working for the Smithsonian Institution, and a bit of an expert on the Lost City of Atlantis. He is interviewed and recruited by millionaire Preston B. Whitmore (John Mahoney) to decipher the Shephard's Journal, which is said to contain directions to the Lost City.
Milo joins the expedition, along with a handful of colourful and mostly likable characters. Commander Rourke (James Garner) leads the expedition which also consists of the badass Helga Sinclaire (Claudia Christian), demolitions expert, Vinny (Don Novello), geologist, Molière (Corey Burton), medical officer, Dr. Sweet (Phil Morris), mechanic, Audrey (Jacqueline Obradors), radio operator, Mrs. Packard (Florence Stanley) and chef, Cookie (Jim Varney). Following a traumatic struggle, the group do eventually get to Atlantis and meet Kida (Cree Summer), her father (Leonard Nimoy) and a handful of others. However, as Milo thinks they're there to discover and explore, the team may or may not have different plans.
Admittedly, the whole thing does come off as the typical 'Avatar' plot (with a twist or two), but much like 'Avatar', I can still appreciate this in its execution. I kind of wish I took the time to check this out upon its initial release. I think I could have had fun with this one on the big screen, considering how smooth and clean the CG action scenes are. But while I may have enjoyed it for what it was, I can see where a lot of the criticisms come from. Even I had a bit of a problem with how overly animated Milo's character seemed. I love Michael J Fox, but something about Milo just kinda bugged me. Other than that though, my criticisms of this are limited enough that it still gets a pass. If you ask me, it's kind of underrated.
Funny story, but if anyone were to ask me to name any romantic comedy, my mind actually jumps to this title. This is despite liking Richard Curtis' other famous love story title, 'Love, Actually' quite a bit more. And from the looks of it, I seem to be the odd one out, which I always enjoy because it further proves I don't always "fall in with the crowd". To be perfectly fair, this is a delightfully charming romantic comedy with well-timed British humour. But once again, we have one that's probably just... not for me.
The story is nice and simple too, so get ready for a pretty short review. At the wedding reception, the best man, Charles (Hugh Grant) becomes smitten with an American girl named Carrie (Andie MacDowell), and the two leave together for a fairly romantic one-night stand. As the film unfolds, their paths constantly cross as their respective affection for one another develops over the course of four separate weddings and a funeral (and no, you don't get to know who's funeral it is). The way the story flows may seem fairly typical today, but to be fair, this was 1994, and this quality of romantic comedy was almost pioneered by this movie.
What I mean when I say "quality" is that there is a bit of realism to the movies that Curtis makes. Perhaps that doesn't always lie in the execution of them, but the characters have a very human side and show the audience a bit of variety. I can say with all honesty that I don't find this to be a boring movie, as if I'm some kid made to watch his Mom's stories on TV. I did get a few genuine chuckles, and I pretty much always love it when Rowan Atkinson pops up (he's in this too). But for me, this isn't ever going to really become a go-to like 'Love, Actually' has become.
'Love, Actually' has something about it that reminds me that "love" comes in a whole bunch of different forms. It's a feel-good movie I can watch when I really need to feel something warm the heart and has actually become something of an annual Christmas watch. This, however, just doesn't have anything really deep going on with it. It's another movie about two respective paths crossing, whether or not it's "meant to be", and it ends very predictably (in my opinion, anyway). I think at this point it's just sort of "old news", and I've been charmed by other similar stories since.
This is a title I might recommend to a fairly well-established married couple for a charming date night that might remind them of why they got married in the first place. As for your average single person, it's a hit or miss. It all depends on how charming you find Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell; both of whom you'd probably sooner know from other titles these days. This movie is just fine for what it is, and I have no real complaints about it at all. But once again, this isn't a title that was made with me as its target audience, so if you like a decent romantic comedy, check it out.
For as popular as this film seems to be, I probably never would have heard of it if it wasn't for a Chris Farley sketch on SNL where he dubs it an "awesome flick" while "interviewing" Jeff Daniels, who plays the starring role here. Despite Farley's opinion, It was never really on my list of things to do. However, recently, someone in my life recommended it for my "romantic comedy" catch-up theme, so I finally decided to check it out.
The film really hits the ground running, as it introduces us to Charlie Driggs (Daniels); an uptight investment banker who skips out on a restaurant bill. Catching him in the act is the free-spirited Audrey Hankel (Melanie Griffith), calling herself "Lulu". Their confrontation ends on a friendly note, however, as she offers him a ride downtown. Instead of going downtown, though, she throws his beeper out of the car and heads for New Jersey while openly drinking and driving. While hesitant about all of this at first, Charlie soon finds himself falling for the free spirit, all culminating towards her taking him to her high school reunion, posing as her husband for the evening.
Things start to take a turn when Audrey's old flame Ray (Ray Liotta) runs into them at the reunion and isn't too keen on giving up what he once had with her. The whole thing sort of turns into loser vs bully for the woman's hand. As with most stories like this, the "loser" has to try to learn to be a bit more confident through trial and error as the woman takes him by the hand. Meanwhile, the bully is ultimately possessive, even if he acts kind of friendly to begin with. So, in my mind, I just feel like I've seen this sort of thing before. Whether or not it's been done better though; perhaps, but I have to admit that I still enjoyed this for what it was. If nothing else, I had fun with it.
I think what really helps this movie stand out from others like it is the somewhat surprising dark turn it takes towards the end. I might not consider this film as much a comedy as a light drama with comedic elements, but that part of it is the first two acts. When we get to the third act, it does sort of turn into a thriller of sorts, and the climax isn't entirely something one would expect. With that said, I can't say the surprise twists and turns were very shocking as we've pretty much come to expect Ray Liotta's face to be that of someone who will kick your ass into your own face if you so much as look at him the wrong way. I mostly know him as something of a "tough guy", so it's no surprise to me to see him "Goodfella" things up here.
About the only other thing I have to say about this is that it is very hard to find. This is one of those titles that may very well be fading into actual extinction, as according to 'JustWatch', you can find this on Hoopla (which I'm unfamiliar with), Tubi (with ads) and the Criterion Channel (which I didn't know was a thing). I managed with Tubi, but ads are SO annoying when they cut in so randomly. In saying that, I might not recommend looking too hard for this one, unless you're genuinely curious. I feel like it was something far more special for its time than for now. While I did have fun with it, it stands out as very "80s R" - sex, drugs, language and violence all there, but toned way down from what we have these days. If you have a Sunday afternoon to kill, check it out, you could have a good time.
Truth be told, I always knew 'Annie Hall' to be one of the most famous rom-coms of all time. However, I never realized that it seems to have reached such legendary status as a film, let alone a romantic comedy film. The list of this thing's accolades is extensive. But even if we ignore the Oscars or any other awards, it's widely seen as Woody Allen's (possibly) best film, holds a Rotten Tomato average of a whopping 94.5%, and happens to be one of the first fourth-wall-breaking movies.
In taking a look at that fourth wall that 'Deadpool' has since perfected, this is only really predated by various whacky comedies that include skits from 'Monty Python' and 'Laurel & Hardy' and a 1918 silent film called 'Men Who Have Made Love to Me'. It could be said that before 'Deadpool', this was the big 4th Wall movie (if not 'Ferris Bueller', which 'Deadpool' delightfully parodies... but enough about 'Deadpool', already). Another fun fact is the idea that the role of Annie Hall was actually written specifically for Diane Keaton. That alone seems like it gives a certain authenticity to things.
As far as plot goes, it's really quite simple. Annie Hall (Keaton) ended a relationship with Comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) a year ago, and Alvy spends the film trying to wrap his head around why. The story is generally told in a (once again) fourth-wall-breaking flashback of their relationship, and in many, many ways reminds me of '500 Days of Summer'. I suppose I could say this is the '500 Days' of its time. The thing is, however, there's nothing about this that feels "old" or "outdated", and I'd say '500 Days' owes a lot to it. That said, I do love both in their own ways, and would recommend both for different reasons. However, 'Annie Hall' might be the one a touch more relatable on a personal level.
Part of what makes this film so good is Allen's honest performance as a somewhat nervous wreck of a man. The question is constantly "why did this happen?" when we see, almost from the get-go, exactly what the problem is. It's a good example of a movie that might make someone asking the same questions take a good look at themselves. I mean, I can admit to being "that guy" in the past, so this ended up being pretty relatable. There was a lot here that made me laugh off some of my past insecurities, and ultimately, it was sort of healing. Maybe that sounds weird, but maybe it's another thing that makes this movie so legendarily good - it can serve as a personal eye-opener.
'Annie Hall' takes on everything that sucks about breaking up with someone, and everything leading to the breakup, giving it a great comedic edge. The thing is, there's no real side to choose from here. There's something ultimately realistic about this in that the main protagonist just so happens to be the problem. Allen's role here reflects that perspective of considering yourself to be the star in your own movie that is your life, but not taking into account the others around you who are starring in their own movie. Maybe that's a little deep for what this really is, but it was kind of my takeaway from things here; the idea that maybe the relationship fell apart because of you.
Again though, the film doesn't send its message in such a harsh manner. Instead of making it almost insulting, it acts as more of a reflective story, and I'd recommend it pretty highly to people even today. You could do this and '500 Days' back to back, and it would make for a really solid night of good break-up movies. I know how bad that might sound, but sometimes, us perpetually single guys need a good movie like this to remind us of how things really are as opposed to how we really want them. I think I'll be adding this one to my list of things to watch upon heartbreak. It speaks truth, but it's also pretty hilarious, and being that this is my first viewing of it, I might say timeless as well.
For a very long time, I never really considered romantic comedies to be my cup of tea. While the fact remains that I still see them as almost all the same (the generalized version being "unlikely couple get together in the end"), there are a few that stand out as famous titles under the category. So, I decided to take a look at some of the titles best known as classic romantic comedies that I've honestly never actually seen before now (at least not all the way through).
One of the all-time greats, according to audiences, is 'When Harry Met Sally'. I've gone all these years assuming that the movie was essentially what the title says "these two meet, fall in love, the end", so I've foolishly deemed it to be ultimately predictable, and certainly not the type of movie I'd ever seek out. However, I'm happy to admit that I definitely see why this has its staying power. It's a pretty interesting story of how chance can bring two people together, it tells its story in a matter of 5-year gaps, and two of the most charmingly funny leads of the time are its headliners.
We begin in 1977, when Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) meets Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) through his girlfriend, Amanda (Michelle Nicastro). Upon graduation from the University of Chicago, Harry and Sally drive together for convenience purposes to New York City, where she plans on starting school for journalism and he plans on starting a new career. They eventually part ways on somewhat bitter terms, mostly based on their differing ideas of relationships; namely the idea that men and women can't be friends because the "sex thing" gets in the way (in other words, one ALWAYS has sexual feelings for the other, despite any current relationship status).
I'm not gonna drag it all out, but through the years; once in 1982, and once again in 1987, their paths keep crossing. Eventually, their friendship leads them to have feelings for one another, despite the fact that they both seem to want to just be friends. Because of the stubbornness on both their parts, there can be times that the movie gets frustrating. But I also believe that's all part of it - it wants you to feel what these characters are feeling, which is this insane amount of pressure between maintaining a friendship, forming a relationship, and which is the right move.
One thing I really enjoyed about this movie (aside from that great, famous scene everyone knows and loves) was the overall charm it put forth. Not only do we get the likes of Crystal and Ryan (and Carrie Fisher as NOT Princess Leia), but we have a pretty solid soundtrack, consisting of classy music, and elderly couples reminiscing about how and when they met. You follow along with these stories with a grin on your face because you can't help but fall in love with all these couples, even if they are putting forth their little quirks that can make the relationship tough. My favourite was a couple that kept talking over each other, only to sort of land on the same conclusion to the story.
There is something SO lovable about an elderly couple reminiscing on their love life, and this film has it in buckets. At times, perhaps it's a bit sappy, but I can't help but take these sweet stories to heart. This was a movie I'm glad I finally checked out for myself. Although I probably won't rush back to watch it again, it was entertaining, charming, sweet, and it just hits the right spot. One thing to know going into this is that it's really not raunchy by any means, so don't go looking for it. If anything, I'd say this is a near-perfect date movie for a nice night in.
After the laggy, somewhat disappointing 'Dinosaur', Disney managed to come back strong with a film that reminds us of how fun Disney can still be. Unfortunately for yours truly, I was still in a bit of a phase of not caring too much about animation, so this was one of the bunch of Disney flicks I missed out on in theaters.
It wasn't until a few friends started throwing quotes around from it in high school that I got curious. These quotes were always giving me a good chuckle, so I finally decided to rent it when it was fresh on video, and check it out (back when you could still do that). Lo and behold, I actually loved it, and I was kind of surprised at how much I did. It was refreshing to see Disney put its magic in the background and bring its comedy forward.
We meet a selfish, spoiled, power-abusing brat named Kuzco (David Spade), who happens to be the Incan Emperor. He spends his days talking down to people and being an overall egotistical jerk. He calls on the village leader, Pacha (John Goodman), to tell him that he plans to build a summer mansion in his village called "Kuzcotopia". He also fires his advisor, Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her bumbling assistant, Kronk (Patrick Warburton). Yzma plans to revenge kill him with some poison, but, Kronk manages to mess up the mixture, turning Kuzco into a llama instead.
Eventually, Kuzco ends up in Pacha's care, mistaken for one of his llamas. Demanding to be led back to his palace, Pacha agrees to escort him, under the condition that he doesn't follow through with his summer home plans. Meanwhile, Yzma finds out that the assassination on Kuzco didn't go as planned, so she and Kronk set out to find him and finish the job. The big takeaway from this seems to be the aspect of teamwork, whether you're looking at Kuzco's dealings with Pacha or Yzma's dealings with Kronk.
While Kuzco and Pacha have to learn to work together to some pretty comedic results, for me, the best laughs come from Yzma and Kronk. Yzma just seems to try too hard, but Kronk's idiotic ways always result in her suffering somehow - be it cartoonish physical assault ("WRONG LEVEERR!") or just pure inconvenience ("It's called a 'cruel irony', like my dependence on you"). It's so very refreshing to see the villain be comedic again for the first time in a long time. It's almost like they gave Cruella DeVille a long-lost sister... or at least a distant relative, considering time frames.
I was very happy to see that this time around, the comedy didn't really wear thin like I thought it might. It has been quite a few years since I last saw it, so this viewing brought a bit of nostalgia to the table as well. It remains one of my Disney animation studio favourites, but in a different sort of way. This is one of few examples I can think of that just brings pure fun to the table, and there's nothing all too serious going on here. It's a comedy far before it's a drama of any kind, and that's, to say it yet again, refreshing!
This may take the cake for the boldest statement I've said on this blog, but here it goes... Of the entirety of the Disney animated movies out there that I have seen, this is, hands down, the single most unimpressive and forgettable product they've ever cranked out. At the time of its release, I saw it in theaters and remember being thoroughly impressed with how solid the animation was. But that's really all it had going for it. Otherwise, things were pretty basic, and it took from a bunch of other stuff.
As time went on between then and now, I've never really given 'Dinosaur' a second thought. As a matter of fact, I damn near almost forgot it even existed at one point. So many modern classics have popped up in the Disney library since, so it has been very easy to get sidetracked. It does honestly make me wonder how many are reading this who are pretty much in the same boat. This is one of those movies that came and went and no one paid much attention to it. However, it was respectfully Disney's big "animation show-off" feature of its time. For 2000, this looked pretty amazing.
The film hits the ground running, quite literally, as a Carnotaurus burst onto the scene, looking for a meal. The Carno wrecks an Iguanodon nest, sending a lone egg on a journey to an area inhabited by prehistoric lemurs. A family of lemurs adopts the small dino, and once hatched, they name him Aladar (D.B. Sweeney). The family, consisting of father, Yar (Ossie Davis), daughter, Plio (Alfre Woodard), and granddaughter, Suri (Hayden Panettiere), take Aladar in as one of their own, and Al grows alongside Suri over the years.
During a lemur mating ritual (yes, you read that right), in which Plio's brother, Zini (Max Casella) fails, a meteor suddenly strikes the Earth, which wipes out the island of this lemur "orgy", forcing Aladar and the rest of the lemur family to flee to the mainland. The family eventually runs into a herd of displaced dinosaurs heading for the communal Nesting Ground. This herd is led by another Iguanodon named Kron (Samuel E. Wright); your average egotistical not-good but not-bad jerk character, who sends the family to the back of the line.
There, they befriend an old Styracosaurus named Eema (Della Reese) along with her dog-like Ankylosaurus, Url, and her Brachiosaurus friend Baylene (Joan Plowright). Eventually, there is also tension between Aladar and Kron when Kron's sister, Neera (Julianna Margulies), comes into the picture. All the while, travel continues and results in a movie about Dinosaurs trying to get to some kind of (almost) paradise while having to duck and dodge predators and undergoing real-life, relatable situations. Does that sound familiar to anyone? A Don Bluth movie that gave Disney some stiff competition when it ran alongside 'Oliver & Company'?
Anyway, it will come as no surprise watching this today that, overall, it's pretty underwhelming. For its time, the CG animation was a little bit ground-breaking. When you look at this and consider 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' (the film I personally consider to be the leap from full-length "cartoonish" CG to full-length "realistic" CG) being released a year later, it's easy to see what the big-screen draw may have been when this first came out. But I daresay it has faded into obscurity as nothing really more than a stepping stone for animation. Other Disney titles surround its future and past as much more memorable classics we've grown to love. I'm sure this one has its audience, but I can't say I'm one of them. I'll stick to 'The Land Before Time'.
Whether it's your cup of tea or not, 'Fantasia' has gone down in cinematic history as one of Disney's big gems. Despite all of the controversial issues that lie within, it does still do a fine job of combining its animation with a great selection of classical music from classical artists. I personally loved it, so I looked forward to giving its sequel my first watch for this review; nice and fresh. This launches the "Post-Renaissance" era; the 6th, and last before the present "Revival" era.
Typically, a Disney animated sequel would be sent straight to video at this point in time. It's still pretty untypical, as (correct me if I'm wrong) I think 'Frozen II' is the only one that managed to pull it off besides this. But truth be told, a sequel was in the works for quite some time, but there was some doubt about audience interest. That is until the 1991 home video release of the original 'Fantasia' started setting things back into motion for the development of this great sequel. Eventually, this would finally come along, approximately 60 years after the original.
Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven: A similar sort of opening act to the original is introduced by Deems Taylor (musical advisor for the original) through some archived audio recordings. This one uses geometric shapes of both vibrant colours to represent butterflies, and black to represent bats, telling a basic story of light conquering the darkness. It was interesting, and I appreciated the artistic style. But it's soon overshadowed by a bunch of whales, and ends up almost being forgettable. 3/5
Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi: Introduced by Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman., this one was probably my favourite of this collection. It features a family of humpback whales with the ability to fly and tells the short story of a mother's love for her calf. This is just an all-around beautiful piece and makes me think of something from a dream. I'm an absolute sucker for this kind of wondrous atmosphere, and it sort of reminds you of what Disney magic is supposed to look like. 5/5
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin: Introduced by Quincy Jones and pianist Ralph Grierson, this one takes inspiration from 30's caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. The segment is also set in the 30s, in New York City. It follows four separate characters whose stories coincide, as they all wish for something "more" than what they have. I really liked the jazzy concept of this whole segment in both the music and the animation style. It's almost like a love letter to 1930s urban culture, and provides a feel-good atmosphere by its conclusion. 4/5
Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 by Dmitri Shostakovich: Introduced by Bette Midler featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman, this one features the music playing overtop of an animated rendition of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". It's fun, and the animation really sticks out, providing a neat little adventure with an ending much happier than the original story. 4/5
The Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnival des Animaux), Finale by Camille Saint-Saëns: This is far from my favourite segment, but it definitely has my favourite intro of the film by James Earl Jones. The segment portrays a flock of flamingos and the "odd duck" among them. His interest in a yo-yo distracts him from proper flock activities. It's cute, but nothing really stands out about it. 3/5
The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas: Introduced by Penn & Teller, this classic and most popular segment is brought back for another go. This one depicts Mickey Mouse as Sorcerer Yen Sid's apprentice. He attempts to use magic to make a clean-up job easier, but it gets completely out of hand. This is and will forever be a total classic. I gave it 5 once, and I'll give it 5 again. 5/5
Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Edward Elgar: Composer James Levine along with Mickey Mouse introduces this one. Donald and Daisy Duck are featured in a rendition of the 'Noah's Ark' story from the 'Book of Genesis'. Donald is tasked with gathering the animals and loading them two by two, begging the question of why Donald and Daisy don't count as the two ducks on the ark. Anyway, between the song that everyone hears at graduation, and the story about Noah's Ark, I kind of just felt like I was in class. 3/5
Firebird Suite—1919 Version by Igor Stravinsky: Angela Lansbury introduces the final and certainly one of the best segments of the film. It features an elk and a sprite who accidentally awakens a fire spirit. The segment is about the cycle of life, death and renewal, and is a pretty solid closer to this when compared to the original's 'Night on Bald Mountain', which was very similar. 5/5
The only thing I found truly a bit odd about this experience was its length. While the original clocks in at just over two hours, this is just 1 hour and 15 minutes. When Lansbury said that it was time for the final segment, I had wondered if I was watching some edited version. It doesn't really take away from the experience, but it does make it feel like more of a Disney Sunday Night Special as opposed to a full-fledged 'Fantasia' sequel. Still though, I'm very glad I watched it, because a few segments really stuck out for me, providing a pretty grand experience despite its length.
Here we have the final title of the Renaissance era, and I'm happy to say that this particular era does end on a strong note. This is one of the few films on my Disney Catch-Up list that I haven't seen before now as well. One thing I appreciate with titles like these as opposed to something like 'Mulan' or 'Pocahontas' is that it's a Disney take on a work of fiction, and not something based on a true story.
I went into this expecting something a sort of cross, in atmosphere between 'The Jungle Book' and 'The Lion King' and... well, I have to admit that I pretty well got what I expected. I'm not sure this would land on an all-time favourites list, but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was, and I can't say that critically, I had any real problems with it. I thought it was charming and that there was even a bit more maturity to it than some other titles in the era. It's definitely a good way for Disney to cap off the century, as we are now in good old 1999.
The film opens a little over a century ago, where we see tragedy befall two separate families, both at the hands of a leopard known as Sabor. The first family is a British couple and their baby son, who get shipwrecked and forced to go all Swiss Family Robinson. Off-screen, the parents are killed, leaving the baby all alone. If that's not enough, not too far away, a mother gorilla named Kala (Glenn Close) ends up losing her baby as well. Eventually, Kala happens on the treehouse built by the human couple and finds the infant, only to bring it back to the troop and raise it as her own. Yeah, the opening is a lot. But it does get much better.
As Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn/Alex D. Linz) grows up, he befriends various other animals; namely Terk (Rosie O'Donnell), a young female gorilla with a bit of attitude, and Tantor (Wayne Knight), an elephant that walks on the worried side. He's otherwise picked on for being different, even by the troop's leader, Kerchak (Lance Henriksen). There's a bit of a spoiler if I get into how, but eventually, Tarzan does earn the respect of his troop just before a trio of humans come waltzing in - Professor Archimedes Q. Porter (Nigel Hawthorne), his daughter, Jane (Minnie Driver), and their escort and pro hunter, Clayton (Brian Blessed).
The humans are there to study gorillas in their natural habitat, but soon enough, Jane stumbles across Tarzan, and the rest is relatively predictable. as Clayton eventually takes interest in Tarzan for the wrong reasons, whereas Porter is interested in him on a scientific level. As for Jane, she finds him fascinating, and it probably also helps that the dude is as buff as all hell. I make it sound like it's some sort of par for the course story, and in some ways it is. But one can appreciate some of the execution of this all the same. For example, I appreciated that it didn't make Tarzan out to be some dummy so much as he's just a stranger to the world. I also appreciated some of the musical selections throughout the film, making it both fun and heartwarming - even if 'You'll be in My Heart' has been played out.
I can't help but feel, upon leaving this, that it's something I would have loved if it was somewhere closer to 'Aladdin' in its timing. By 1999 I was kind of ignorant to the whole Disney animation thing, and it was "kids stuff" - as opposed to now, where I'm damn near 40 and appreciating the stories animation can tell, and the characters it can develop. Like I said earlier, this was a pretty solid title to cap the century off with, considering it's a story that goes back as far as 1912! Something about that just feels right. I'm glad I finally checked it out, and might not mind a re-watch or two in the future.
Although I pretty well consider the Disney Renaissance era "my era" (especially between 'Little Mermaid' and 'Lion King'), the latter part of it wasn't something I paid much attention to. I had simply outgrown it and moved on with other things. It wouldn't be until much later that I'd finally watch 'Mulan' for this very site just a couple of years ago. So this is a bit of a rewrite, as I think my opinion has changed on it quite a bit.
Plot-wise, we are introduced to a young lady named Fa Mulan (Ming-Na Wen). As a woman of the time, she gets stuck with old traditions and is brought up to be "proper". However, she's not quite into it, and she longs for something more. In a somewhat refreshing change of pace from other Disney movies, however, a man isn't really part of her "something more". She wants to find her life's purpose and fulfill it, and that's really all there is to it. In that case, this is a stand-out for Disney, making their female protagonist much more about herself than "finding true love".
Back to the story, after the Huns, led by our story's villain, Shan Yu (Miguel Ferrer) breach the Great Wall of China, the Chinese Emperor (Pat Morita) calls on one man from each family to join the Chinese army. When the Fa family is called upon, Mulan's father, Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh) volunteers. However, he's a little on the elderly side, and Mulan protests to him going into battle, being as frail as he is. She then takes matters into her own hands, and sets out on her own, dressed as a boy, so as not to bring "shame" on her family. In other words, yeah, women going to war was unheard of here.
Along her journey, Mulan befriends a helpful dragon named Mushu (Eddie Murphy) and a band of soldiers, who provide a lot of comedy relief throughout the film. In my opinion, they are the best part of it. As far as Mulan's character, I give credit to Disney giving us a stronger female character, and she's all in all likable. I criticized her character a bit for sinking into the background a little too much on my last review. But now I wonder if that lends itself more to the whole concept of her being the underdog here. After watching the live-action version and then coming back to this, I have to say that it's now confirmed that I like her overall journey here a bit more.
Going back to what I said in the 'Mulan 2020' review, I suggest that this feels like a story about someone trying to prove themselves in a society that won't have it. In this case, Mulan is a woman out to prove herself in a man's world, but the story could potentially appeal to anyone of any sort of "minority" status. It's about proving one's self. The live-action version leans a little more towards the equal rights aspect of things and feels a little more heavy-leaning on Mulan's role as a woman. In fairness, both are decently told, and you get what you need to out of them both. However, there's not much of an "underdog" feel to the live-action film in comparison to this, so I tend to lean towards this a bit more.
I do appreciate that, especially for the time, they gave us a genuine heroine instead of just another princess. Here we have a girl who breaks the rules of her society and goes to war so that her father can continue living. The love here is for her father and her family name, not some sort of Prince Charming character, and it's honestly pretty refreshing. When you really think about it, this was pretty powerful stuff for the time, and I'm pretty happy to say that over the years it has grown on me (especially after the live-action wasn't quite as good).
The animation is nice, the sets are nice, the "suit-up" montage is pretty damn sweet, and the songs take a sort of a different step from the typical mix. I know there's some controversy in certain songs like "I'll Make a Man Out of You", and some historical inaccuracies, much like with 'Pocahontas'. But for whatever reason, I find these things more forgivable here - possibly because the point to the story overshadows these things. That said, there could always be a thing or two that I'm missing. So I'll take the animated over the live-action here, but at the end of the day, while still good, neither are movies I rush back to for a re-watch.
I think this is probably a good example of a "product of its time", but the controversy lies more behind the idea of the horrors that "cloning" could potentially bring to the world. It all starts with the film opening with a credit sequence, taking you through what "happened" since the cloning of the sheep, Dolly (a real-life occurrence that no doubt inspired this movie). It then brings us to "the near future... sooner than you think". So, almost instantly, we get a hint of "preachy" with this one.
Cloning has become a sort of regular, everyday thing for people. Animals can be cloned, which can lead to plenty of food, but also, playing God and cloning your dying pets. Organs can be cloned for easy transplant surgeries, but so can entire human beings. Thus, the "6th Day Law" was put into place, where human beings are basically the only thing people aren't allowed to clone. Well, as any pot smoker will tell you, there are ways around laws... even if cloning a human isn't as simple as just finding a good hiding place.
We are soon introduced to charter pilot Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his partner, Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport). They are hired by billionaire Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), who owns cloning corporation, "Replacement Technologies". The pilots are made to take blood and eye tests in order to prove they are good to fly. Eventually this all leads to the actual ski trip where something violent goes down, but Adam does manage to make it back home, only to see a clone of himself hanging out with his family (along with a horrendous doll that would give Chucky nightmares).
Here, we learn that the dangerous thing about having a clone is having people try to kill you, as there should only be one of you. The other thing is, the idea of a clone retaining all of your own memories, so you start to question your own reality. Before he knows it, Adam is on the run from Replacement Tech. Security agents Marshall (Michael Rooker), Elsworth (Sarah Wynter), Vincent (Terry Crews) and Wiley (Rodney Rowland) as he tries to figure out what in the hell happened to his life. All in all, it's an okay movie for Schwarzenegger fans, but I personally consider it a sort of "nail in the coffin" for Schwarzenegger's prime.
While one can appreciate a lot of the fun clichés we have come to expect from an Arnie flick, there's quite a bit here that overshadows all of that, and in a kind of negative way. First, it just seems like a clear project meant as a message to forewarn the world of the dangers of cloning. Nowadays (22 years later) all of that seems sort of irrelevant. Is cloning real? Sure. But we don't seem altogether worried about making full clones of ourselves as opposed to cloning things we really need for ourselves. I should also point out that I'm no scientist, and have no idea what the limits of cloning are, as it's surprisingly not a whole matter I've paid much attention to. I'm still sitting here thinking "duplicator tech from 'Star Trek' would be neat.
Now that I've probably made myself out to sound not so bright about sciencey stuff, let's get to my final word on the film itself. I think that the film is perfectly passable IF you watch it as a product of its time as opposed to a present-day thriller. You might look at it a lot like someone like me would look at an 80s movie these days - you kind of need to watch it through special lenses in order to enjoy it. I'll also point out that there are MUCH better Schwarzenegger titles out there, if you're on the lookout for that classic Arnie action. My personal favourite is still 'True Lies', but his library is a lot of fun to go through if one is looking to have a good time. This is just on the lower end of it.
As far as I'm concerned, Schwarzenegger's last really good film was probably 'True Lies' (1994). But that doesn't mean one shouldn't appreciate the effort Arnold still put forward in giving us the action hero we all love him as, despite the quality of some of his more recent action films. I would probably consider 'Eraser' to be right around the time we were seeing a tipping point. It's fun, but at the same time, it felt like it was about time to make way for a new action hero.
Here, Arnold plays John "The Eraser" Kruger. Working for the Witness Security Protection Program (aka "WITSEC"), he "erases" the identities of high-profile witnesses by faking their deaths, protecting them from anyone who might get to them before they are able to testify in court. John is assigned by his boss, Chief Arthur Beller (James Coburn) to protect a Cyrez Corp. senior executive named Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams). Cyrez is a defense contractor, wherein top executives have developed a top secret weapon, and Cullen has warned the FBI that they plan to sell the weapon on the Black Market.
Cullen delivers the disc with the weapon's data to the FBI, and is soon put under Witness Protection with Kruger's help. However, the disc is replaced with a fake by a mole who works for a man named Daniel Harper (Andy Romano), who happens to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Long story short, it's not long before John finds himself stuck between protecting Cullen, and battling sources of conspiracy from within his own company. And to make it perfectly clear, this was another action flick I found somewhat hard to follow, so if my description is a bit broad, I apologize for that.
I think in some ways, this feels somewhat typical for the time. There's not a whole lot of substance to the film, but it's largely dealing with conspiracy, corruption from within and of course it all adds up to some over-the-top action. But let's be fair, it's Schwarzenegger - we WANT that over-the-top action, complete with his ever-famous one-liners. Look no further here than the scene in the zoo, involving a couple of killer crocodiles. So I think if you're a die hard Schwarzenegger action fan, this can still be fairly solid, if only a little typical. This was 1996, so the box office was starting to get a little more "disaster movie" than "shoot-em-up", making this one film that sort of dangled there during the change-over.
I think, however, I only have a couple of small, maybe even insignificant criticisms to give to this movie. I can be far more forgiving than others, considering this seems to be a low-ranking movie, critically. I think it's a bit complicated (although, I tend to get confused easier than others), I think it could be considered a little too "shoot-em-up" at times, and it's often quite over-the-top with its violence. But having said all of that, this is a Schwarzenegger flick, and he's a well-established action hero. I might say it's equivalent to me buying a coffee and being a little disappointed that it wasn't actually a mocha. It's decent for what it is, there are better Arnold movies out there, but there are certainly much worse.