Bru’s Reviews – 3 FOR 1: GRINCH, FANTASTIC BEASTS 2 AND ROBIN HOOD November 29, 2018 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Bru-Hed
All original written content is (c) 2018 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.

THIS WEEK:

Your pal Bru’s been too busy (mostly drinkin’ and watchin’ football) to write much so I’m crammin’ three reviews into one. What a deal for you! Instead of just “Pros” and “Cons,” I’m gonna give you the Good, Bad and the Ugly (in tribute to 88-year-old Clint Eastwood, whose new movie THE MULE comes Dec. 14). I’ll make ’em quick so you can be on your way to the theater–or your couch.

First up: Illumination, the fine folks behind the MINIONS and DESPICABLE ME animated genius, take on the Dr. Seuss book/Chuck Jones 2D animated TV special about Whoville’s least favorite green meanie. Benedict Cumberbatch (DR. STRANGE, BBC’s SHERLOCK) does the vocal honors while Pharrell Williams (the “Happy” song you’ve heard so many times it makes you anything but) does the non-Boris Karloff narration.

BRUS-REVIEWS-BUTTON

Written by Michael LeSier and Tommy Swerdlow from the book by Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel). Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier.

 

 

 

THE GOOD:

  • Cumberbatch does an amazing job: I could barely tell that it was the same guy who’s both Dr. Strange and Sherlock. The dog Max is as adorable as the original. (Yak-looking reindeer Fred is a funny addition.) Enjoyed Keenan (SNL) Thompson’s Mr. Bricklebaum and Angela Lansbury’s Mayor McGerkle. Cameron Seely as Cindy Loo Who, though 180-degrees different from the TV version, had her funny moments, mostly with her pal Groopert (Tristan O’Hare). Nice story with a positive message overall that humanized the Grinch. Mostly great gags. And of course, incredible animation that you expect from Illumination.

THE BAD:

  • Cindy Loo is older, talks non-stop, and looks/acts nothing like Chuck Jones’ or Seuss’s versions. All the other characters (with the possible exception of Fred) could have fit perfectly into either original source, so there’s no reason to change Cindy so much other than to pander to kids. The ending was anti-climactic–an added scene that wasn’t necessary and ended up preachy. While the animation was awesome, noticeably missing were some of the hilarious facial expression extremes from Chuck Jones, especially when the Grinch’s face morphs from mean to happy, one of the pivotal and iconic scenes of the TV show.

 

THE UGLY:

  • Pharrell may be a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum songwriter/singer, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean he’s the right narrator or singer for the Grinch theme song. They chose a soft-voiced Millennial to replace both Boris Karloff and Thurl Ravenscroft (also voice of Tony The Tiger)? Seriously? Then we get an easy-listening hiphop version of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” instead of that expressive, booming baritone everyone over 35 knows and loves. And there are so many other voice actors that would have been perfect–James Earl Jones, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David, even Sam Jackson! Major “WTF were they thinking” moment there.

OVERALL RATING:

Bru's Reviews - RENT IT

RENT IT!
Just for the gags, animation and Cumberbitch’s dialog.

 


NEXT UP:

Harry Potter fans have been drooling in waiting (or waiting in drool) for creator J.K. Rowling’s next “prequel” chapter. FANTASTIC BEASTS 2: THE CRIMES OF GRINDLEWALD (pronounced “grin-del-vald”) takes place a few months after 2016’s WHERE TO FIND THEM. Bad dude G-wald (Johnny Depp) is in a max-security wizard prison while “magizoologist” Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has been banned from international travel. Newt, friend Jacob (Dan Fogler) and former love-interest Tina (Katherine ALIEN Waterston) get wrapped up in a mission to stop Grindlewald from getting to mysterious magic person Creedence (Ezra JUSTICE LEAGUE’s Flash Miller) and bringing bad juju to the Muggle world.

Written by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly from a story by Chandler. Directed by Otto Bathurst.

THE GOOD:

  • Most of the creatures and special effects are major stars, including a fantastic fire-dragon (not a fire-breathing dragon, but one actually made of fire). All the previous characters are true to their past behaviors/personalities more or less. Jacob and Queenie (Alison Sudol) are again the most likable. New addition Jude Law as a young Dumbledore is fine but has secrets, some of which we still don’t know. We get an origin story for Zoe Kravitz’s hot Leta Lestrange and her relatives. Great cinematography, Hogwarts included. Nifflers are nifty. Exciting battle at the end. Definitely big-screen spectacular stuff.

THE BAD:

  • Story is hard to follow in parts along with all the characters and connections (with both the previous flick as well as the “Potterverse”). Throw in the weird pronunciations and thick accents and it’s tough to keep track of who’s doing and saying what. No recap of the last film. (I recommend seeing it again if you don’t remember it or the 8 HARRY POTTER ones. Plenty of connective bits but mostly lost on me.) I really could have used a program. Leta Lestrange never gets nekkid (nor does Jude Law, ladies). No button at the end credits to set up the next flick.

THE UGLY:

  • The Chinese Dragon looks like a strung-out Luck Dragon from THE NEVERENDING STORY. Villain’s motivation is a rehash of the Hitler theme we’ve seen a gazillion times. No decent Asian wizards? Plus the annoying lazy-writing contradictory/Suspension Of Disbelief issues you run into with any magic-based film (“If the character can do A, why didn’t they just do that when B happened?”)

 

OVERALL RATING:

See It

SEE IT!
Turn off the brain and enjoy the creatures, effects and scenery. Figure it all out later on Wikipedia.

 


LAST UP:

And third but not third-rate, ROBIN HOOD is the umpteenth reimagining of the classic legend/tale. This one features Taron Egerton (KINGSMAN: SECRET SERVICE) as Lord Robin of Loxley in the royal military during The Crusades, who gets fed up with the murderous injustice being done to Moorish prisoners as well as his “common folk” of Nottingham back in England. Teaming up with Moor commander “Yayahn” something (aka Little John, played by Jamie Foxx), archer “Rob” helps protestors/reformers Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), Will Scarlet and former girlfriend Marian (Eve Hewson) stand up against the evil Sheriff (go-to bad-guy Ben Mendelsohn of ROGUE ONE and READY PLAYER ONE) and take his town back, one arrow at a time.

Written by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly from a story by Chandler. Directed by Otto Bathurst.

THE GOOD:

  • Totally different take so it’s fresh in that respect. Egerton is always good as a lead and Foxx is always great when he’s angry, and his intense Little John is P.O.ed for the whole film. The stunts are mouth-gaping amazing and unusual (you’ll never see Ollie Queen of ARROW doing some of this stuff, including a smart firing technique) and a lot of the camera work/cinematography is cool (though you have seen a lot of the super-slo-mo techniques before). Mendelsohn is a villain you love to hate, and a bonus was AMADAEUS’s F. Murray Abraham as a crooked cardinal. Decent take on the story and events and several suspenseful scenes. Ending open for sequels.

THE BAD:

  • Filmmakers were not interested in period accuracy so if you’re a stickler for proper language, customs and clothing, you may be irritated. Several main characters are one-dimensional due to plot development, if you care about that sort of thing (as long as punches are being thrown, bodies are flying and things are exploding, I’m entertained). The usual issue of “Hey, wouldn’t he run out of arrows by now?” but at least Robin Hood is shown a few times pulling arrows out of dead guys and reusing them, which is more than I can say for seven seasons of ARROW.

THE UGLY:

  • Robin Hood and Little J are shown shirtless but never Marion or any other wench. Even in the “decadent” pub scenes, too little cleavage. The Sheriff has a slight lisp that borders on annoying and funny. Staunch Catholics will not like how corrupt the Church is. Twisting of the tale’s staples (Marion’s a commoner, Will’s a dick, Tuck’s a skinny bearded slacker-type, muscular Little John is of average height, etc.) will anger purists. The uniform looks more like L.L. Bean outerwear than a cool costume.

OVERALL RATING:

Bru's Reviews - RENT IT

RENT IT!
Like the changes or not, it’s not boring and worth it for the stunt work.

That’s it, kids! Do you prefer a few quick-and-quippy reviews like these or the one-per-blog I usually do? Take five secs and lmk in the Comments, will ya? I’d appreciate it.

Later,
Bru

 

P.S.: After the big shopping week, it’s time to get something nice for yourself: ORIGINAL ART! Get a cheap commission of your choice from Pascale. FREE SHIPPING if you mention this review.

Just ask Craig here!

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Doctors of Seuss, Wizards of Potter, Hoods of Robin, Whoville, Louisville, Hogwarts, frog warts, Nottingham or Canadian ham. Bru-Hed would love some roast beast, a magic wand and sick bow-and-arrow skills so he could pick up some Who-tail, Wiz-babes and Notting-gals. Someone gimme an ale!
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