Wednesday, 17 July 2013

This is the Monster Mash!

Pacific Rim and Monsters University. A double movie feature. This can only mean one thing – a double review. First up is Monsters University!

It’s been 12 years since we saw Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan storm onto the screen scaring kids and collecting their screams. Now we get to see how they got there. Before they were incorporated, they had to be educated. Cue feel good movie about the geek vs the jock, who eventually team up to overcome the problems of college. That’s pretty much the story and it’s massively generic, yet still charming.

Most of the charm comes from all the prettyful colours, and believe me, there are lots of prettyful colours. There are more monsters in this film than in Monsters Inc, and no two are the same. The amount of effort that must have gone into designing this world and its inhabitants is ridiculous! There’s everything you can think of, from the adorable, to the downright terrifying, (I’m not kidding, look up “The Librarian”, I’m 18 soon, and it still gave me chills).

Admittedly, the generic story could have been done better, and sure, Sully is a far more lovable central character than Mike (who takes centre stage), but the supporting characters (mainly the brotherhood of Oosma Kappa) really added some fresh, new faces to the cast, and even characters like Randall are somewhat likeable. Plus, there is a moment at the end that changes the feel of the film altogether, replacing the colourful, vibrant world of Monster’s University with...something else. At the risk of spoilers, my lips on the matter are sealed.

As a teen movie (which it can definitely be compared to), it can’t really stand as a competitor, because the vulgar humour and dirty jokes that attract audiences to this genre have to be dialled back, and on the one hand it provides an example of why this sort of film shouldn’t be rated at any lower than a 15. On the other hand, this ISN’T  a teen movie. It just resembles one. This is a Monster’s Inc prequel, and whilst it makes it a great film for older fans with plenty of references, it’s also massively accessible for a new, younger audience. Unfortunately for us a large population of this younger audience were in the same theatre, so their shouting and screaming sullied the experience a little...and yes, that pun was intended.

BUT! Let’s not go into that now. Despite the distractions, the film was still enjoyable. It wasn’t my favourite film this summer, but it fits as a worthy successor to Monster’s Inc, and I do recommend it!

So! After resisting the urge to shout at the unruly children, using language that would probably mentally scar them for the rest of their lives, I left the cinema and began preparation for movie number two. Pacific Rim. Now let me just tell you about what I went through before I saw it. When I first saw the trailer, I thought “Dear God...what is this? It looks awful”. The more I saw of it, the more I didn’t want to watch it. Then the feedback came out, and people were loving it! Saying how amazing it was! This confused me, because I couldn’t see how it could be good. For this reason, it was curiosity more than anything else that led me to the cinema.

Well. I don’t think my initial judgement of a film has ever been so right; or so wrong. Confused? You should be. Let me clear things up for you by splitting it in half. Looking at the technicalities, this film is absolutely awful. Seriously, one of the worst films of the year. It’s clichéd, badly written, and the acting induced more cringes than an episode of Jackass. But ask yourself this: does all of that really matter as long as it’s entertaining? Because if there’s one word to describe Pacific Rim, that word is “entertaining”. From start to finish I was truly enticed by the sheer intensity of it all. There’s no waiting whatsoever. I was expecting to see an attack, then half a film of building, then a massive showdown at the end. The first five minutes quickly sum up where the Kaiju came from, and within 10 minutes, we’re already seeing a huge robot punch a huge alien in the face.

As the film goes on, the dialogue gets worse, the acting maintains that low that we see right at the beginning (with the exception of Idris Elba who steals the show), but the Kaiju get bigger, we see more Jaegers (the robots, not the drinks), and battles involving 2 or 3 fighters on each side. Despite its numerous flaws, the entire thing is absolutely spectacular, and I couldn’t help but smile watching it! Besides, how can you not love a film featuring Ron Pearlman as a one-eyed monster hunter with gold-tipped shoes? I just wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who values their eardrums.  

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