“It looks pretty cool, but I think it’s bad.”

I’m a Will Smith fan; I openly admit that. But my affection for the ageless man that is Will Smith notwithstanding, I wasn’t thrilled by the trailer for After Earth, therefore, I had no desire to see the movie. It wasn’t for lack of a storyline in the clips, but rather for my general dislike for post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic movies. However, through a series of—somewhat unfortunate—events, my friend and I sat through Epic and After Earth at the drive in.

Epic was a kid’s movie at heart with recognizable voices and a cute plot. What made it delightful was how pretty it was. It wasn’t as beautiful as, say, Atonement or Avatar, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a children’s movie and it stayed true to that. It had Cinderella-like predictability, with a dash of Fern Gully thrown in for good measure. Don’t waste good money to see it in theaters, but it wouldn’t be a bad RedBox flick.


Then came After Earth (Click here for a quick synopsis). My summary is this: It should have focused on character development or action, not both, and the trailer lied. Allow to unpack those thoughts in reverse order.

The trailer for this movie (not film, movie) made it seem as though the characters were going to be fighting off all the evil creatures on Earth every moment of every day. They didn’t. In fact, one of the creatures on Earth actually saves Kitai (Jaden Smith)…TWICE! And Cypher Raige (Will Smith), who is stuck in half a crashed plane for the ENTIRE movie, isn’t attacked by bad creatures once, even though his legs are a bloody mess and there are rotting corpses around him that smell tasty, I assume, to the local creatures. Also, there is only one truly terrible creature on Earth, based on the movie, and that creature (Ursa) isn’t even from Earth! It was being transported in the same shuttle that Cypher and Kitai are on. Why was it being transported? Oh, I have no idea… this is one of the several unexplained parts of the story. I won’t even get into all those unanswered questions; it’s too early in the morning for my blood pressure to rise that much.

Sigh… deep breathes…

Okay, moving on. This movie should have been about character development or action, not both. Cypher and Kitai aren’t close  at the beginning of the movie and by the end, Cypher is saluting his son as an equal. So how do we get from Point A to Point B? Why, we throw this father/son due onto a hostile planet and hope for the best, of course. The father has little faith in the son, and the son has a lot to prove. There is also a dead sister and his father’s reputation mixed in there too, but quite honestly, I don’t care enough to explain any more than I already have. See what I mean though? Great fodder for a character-based movie. But instead of allowing this to be the focus, the powers that be tried to add in all sorts of action. Now, character development in this film without action would have sucked, it’s true, but a bit more focus would have been nice. As it was, I was confused as to why I should care (more than the human side of me not wanting a cute kid to die on a hostile planet, of course).

So sum up: This movie is a C+ at best. The fact that I felt tricked into watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie notwithstanding (did YOU see his name mentioned in a trailer?!), the story had a good message. However, that good message was drowned in a sea of unanswered questions and misconceptions.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the title of this blog, it’s a line from the movie (one of the few clever lines when you see it in context) and I thought it made a very fitting title for this cinematic review.


“Snow White” and the “Mirror, Mirror”

Two movies have come out recently that have a similar theme: Snow White. I don’t consider her to be all the great of a princess, so the resent rush to recreate her tale baffles me a bit, however, Hollywood has it’s own agenda I guess. After seeing both films, I have opinions (big shock!?).

My opinion (in short)… One is good, the other is bad

The best part about my opinion is that, based on their previews, my presumptions about these two films were backwards. Let me put it this way: After seeing the “Mirror, Mirror” (MM) trailer and the “Snow White and the Huntsman” (SWH) trailer, I thought that MM would be mediocre and SWH would be good! I don’t know the the word “wrong” can sum up just how far off base my assumption was…

My opinion (in long)…

Mirror, Mirror (2012)
Grade: A-

MM (which I saw first) was entertaining, cute, and (and this is key) it made sense. The storyline was fluid and the characters were developed. Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t the movie of the ages (I mean, it’s no “Avengers”), but it was cute nevertheless. The dwarves were funny (and I loved how their storyline and attack skills), the prince was delightful and the queen’s loyal buffoon, Brighton (Nathan Lane) was a stitch! Julia Roberts was, as always, brilliant, though the movie didn’t rest on her worthy shoulders (which is more than I can say for Charlize Theron, who must be exhausted from carrying the weight of SWH around). The actor who played Snow White (Lily Collins) wasn’t mind-blowing, but she was good enough for this film. She was pretty, shy, and you could appreciate the growth of her character. Oh, and director Tarsem Singh did a great job creating the “mirror.” It was something new and unexpected; I appreciated it. There was an odd sort of music video at the end of the film that was a bit weird, but it didn’t affect the film, so I didn’t mind it much.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Grade: C-

Then there is SWH (which I saw at the drive-in and the second movie of the double feature was “Battleship” which wasn’t good, but was better that evening than SWH). The awesomeness that could have been this film was ripped away unceremoniously by the combined effort of Kristen Stewart and bad plot/character development. Chris Hemsworth (i.e. Thor, for those of you that don’t know his real name but know his pretty, pretty face) and Charlize Theron were the only redeeming factors in this film (actually, calling it a film seems too lofty, so I shall refer to it as a movie from here on). I could follow the plot because I am a smart person, but there were so many unanswered questions, that I just gave up caring about the characters. The only character that has any sort of development through the film is the queen (Charlize Theron). Snow White (played by Kristen “The Movie Killer” Stewart) just sort of exists, as does the queen’s brother (who might have the least development, which is an egregious oversight as he could have been an interesting character). Chris Hemsworth (Huntsman, yeah, that’s his name in the movie, just Huntsman. Creative, right?) pulled off the part because he is pretty good at acting, but even his performance was lackluster because there was nothing for his character to sink his teeth into. I could go on an on about the epic flop that is SWH, but why beat a dead horse? I mean, by the end of the movie, I was cheering for the queen cause at least she was badass!

The short and sweet summing up…
DON’T see SWH and RedBox MM.