Film Review: THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (USA/Denmark/Australia 2019) ****

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Poster
Trailer

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: Lego Duplo invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.

Director:

Mike Mitchell

Writers:

Phil Lord (screenplay by), Christopher Miller (screenplay by) | 3 more credits »

THE LEGO MOVIE 2’s  story in the human world starts after the events of the first film made in 2014, just as Finn’s toddler sister Bianca starts to play with Duplo blocks and tries to take over Bricksburg.  Bianca has grown up.  In the intervening years, Bianca has taken more of the Lego sets into her own room to incorporate into her own creations causing Finn  to get angry with her when he discovers this.   Meanwhile in the Lego story, the Duplo invaders have turned Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland named Apocalypseburg, and continue to invade periodically.  On one occasion, Master Builder Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) attempts to broker peace between the citizens and the aliens with a Lego heart, to no avail.  The ordeal has made most of Apocalypseburg’s citizens hardened, but Emmet remains upbeat, wanting to move into a dream home with Lucy (Elizabeth Banks).   However, Emmet is troubled by dreams of a pending “Our-mom-ageddon”.

The film pays nods to a dozen films including the MAD MAX films, JURASSIC PARK, STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, BACK TO THE FUTURE and of course all the films the other Lego characters come from like Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Aquaman (Jason Mom) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) among others.  These are the super heroes from the Warner Bros films.

The animation is impressive.  The Lego character also include fabrics and paper, exploring multiple animation styles for each playlet, thus expanding the target audience for girls as well as boys.

Mike Mitchell takes over the director reins from Lord and Miller who directed the original and Chris McKay initially signed to direct the sequel.  Mitchell does an awesome job.  Chris Miller and Phil Lord who stay around this film to write the screenplay.  The story is inventive and clever incorporating tow different worlds and in the concept of good and evil.

THE LEGO MOVIE worked, so there is no need to change the successful formula.  The format of the first film is kept similar including an ending involving human beings coming into the picture with the LEGO characters transforming into inanimate toys.  Will Farrell is again present (though is voice is only heard, shouting words like: “Where are my pants, honey?”)

Is the sequel just as awesome as the first?  It is awesome and just as inventive and hilarious.  The climax where Maya Rudolph appears as the mother is simply non-stop laugh-out loud laughter.  The original famous song “Everything is awesome” is replaced by a sister song “Everything’s Not Awesome” with news owns like “Catchy Song” written by Jon Lajoie who did the songs for the first movie.  The “Catchy Song” has the phrase ‘this song is gonna get stuck inside your head’ and indeed it does  Great songs and soundtrack!

THE LEGO MOVIE 2 is an animated film that should please both kids and adults.  It is tamed down several notches making it more coherent that the terrible LEGO NINJA movie.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU2qVosryck

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Film Review: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (USA 2017)

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guardians2.jpgSet to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Dan Abnett (based on the Marvel comics by) |
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY Volume 2 follows exactly the path of sequels – louder and more of what were found in the original.

If the first film is your cup of tea, is is doubtless that you will enjoy the volume 2 – because it is nothing more than a replica of the same, only with Disney/Marvel going haywire and completely berserk. The best example is the climatic fight scene where during the battle between the hero and villain, the hero suddenly turns into a pixeled chomping Pacman. (Silly but funny!)

The films does boast an awesome soundtrack. Those who love the oldies, might go out and buy the soundtrack, maybe even skip the movie. There are are familiar songs, some seldom heard for a long time and some choice ones I have never heard before. The film is scored, as in the first film by Tyler Bates.

So, who are these Guardians of the Galaxy? The leader is an unchallenged Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who has a romantic fling with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an alien orphan fighting to redeem her past crimes. There is also Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a highly skilled warrior, Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). There is absolutely no explanation why Baby Groot is in this film after a larger Groot died in the original film.

Subplots are thrown in with additional characters like Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister. The only other character of importance is Quill’s dad, Ego (Kurt, Russell) who turns out to be the film’s villain.
The plot of the film involves the Guardians of the Galaxy saving the Galaxy from destruction, once at the start of the film and then again. But the guardians are a comical troupe led by no less than a character of the same mould. They obviously get not trouble while saving the galaxy – all these antics supposedly providing fun and reason for millions of cinemagoers around the world to cough up money for an admission ticket or even more to see the film in imax 3-D.

The film contains lots of irrelevant and meaningless quotes that should amuse those easily amused. When Quill’s father turns bad, Quill’s adopted father Yondu (Michael Rooker) tells him: “He might be your father, but he is not your daddy!” Or goes the another saying: “I know who you are, because you are me!”

There is a lot of ego on display here. Not only is the villain named Ego but he is also omnipresent as the entire planet which is also called Ego. There is the egoistic rivalry between the two sisters and more important, the rivalry between the father and son. The father is the personification of ego. He says:’What I have planted is an extension of myself so that eventually, everything is me.”

It is evident that director Gunn has put in a lot of effort to make Volume 2 worth the price of the admission ticket. But take away the special effects and production design, dazzling and expensive though they may be, and what is left is a narrative mess of a tedious convoluted plot littered with irrelevant humour.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cv2ueYnKjg

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Film Review: PASSENGERS (2016). Jennifer Lawrence. Chris Pratt

passengers_movie_poster.jpgDirector: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen

Review by Gilbert Seah

 
PASSENGERS arrives at the height of the success of polished looking sci-fi hits like THE MARTIAN, GRAVITY and ARRIVAL. PASSENGERS also looks stunning, thanks to the awesome art direction, wardrobe, cinematography and sets. But unfortunately, the film soon gets lost in space, unable to wake up from its initial promise.

The film’s action takes place aboard the Starship Avalon, on a 120-year voyage transporting over 5000 colonists to Homestead II, a planet so far from earth the journey takes 120 years. The colonists are placed into hibernation for the journey. The ship hits a meteor storm. A malfunction wakes up a passenger, mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90-years early. The film spends a lengthy first 40 minutes or so with Jim roaming around the spaceship alone discovering the horror of not only being the only one alive but knowing he would be dead by the time the ship reaches its destination. Humorously, he tries to send an S.O.S. message back to earth but realizes that it not only takes 5 years for the message to reach earth but that it will cost him several thousand dollars.

He gets some companionship (and free drinks) from a bartender android (Michael Sheen). Preston notices a beautiful sleeping writer in another pod, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) and decides to wake her up from hibernation to keep him company. (The script could also have been more imaginative than naming the heroine Aurora.) This means a death sentence for her as well. They fall in love and things go smoothly till she learns the truth. This is when the film falls apart.

The couple eventually get back together with Aurora finally saving Jim from being lost in outer space very much the same way Matt Damon almost got himself lost in THE MARTIAN. Things get even more ridiculous with an oasis present complete with birds (yes, birds – where did they come from?) by the 90 years the ship reaches Homestead II.

PASSENGERS is directed by Morten Tyldum who made the World War II thriller THE IMITATION GAME. In PASSENGERS, he and the scriptwriter Jon Spaihts cannot decide if the film is supposed to be a thriller, horror, romance or sci-fi adventure. They decide on ‘all of the above’. This is basically a story of a really intelligent writer and a creepy stalker who should pay for his sins. Instead, he is forgiven and saved and made a hero. PASSENGERS would have succeeded as a horror flick close to what ALIENS was.

The film is also basically a two handler. Lawrence and Pratt are fortunately two fine looking actors that audiences can look at for two hours. But the introduction of Lawrence Fishburne as Gus, an engineer also woken up by pod failure, adds a welcome change to the proceedings.
There are a few action sequences such as Jim’s race against time to repair the ship before it explodes in heat and his rescue from outer space. These are two of the film’s most ridiculous segments. PASSENGERS ends up both ridiculous and plain silly.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BWWWQzTpNU

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Happy Birthday: Chris Pratt

chrispratt.jpgHappy Birthday actor Chris Pratt

Born: June 21, 1979 in Virginia, Minnesota, USA

Married to: Anna Faris (9 July 2009 – present) (1 child)

 

 

 

 

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