Bru’s Reviews: JACK RYAN, SHADOW RECRUIT and THE LEGO MOVIE: Everything Is Mostly Awesome! February 10, 2014 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: A Christopher two-fer! Captain Kirk’s Chris Pine plays the title dude in the origin story of Tom Clancy’s famous character, JACK RYAN, SHADOW RECRUIT; and Chris Pratt plays the hero in the first major licensing event of the year, THE LEGO MOVIE.
- Really establishes the “why” as much as the “how” to the character. Motivations, back story, personality, leadership, growth, the whole bit. If yer into that kinda thing.
- Pine is fine as an actor. The right blend of determination, intensity, emotion and humor. Ladies say he’s hunky, but I wouldn’t know.
- More ties with pop culture icons: THOR director Kenneth Branagh not only directs but stars as the main Russian baddie. The giant dude who plays Renfield in TV’s DRACULA (Nonso Anozie) has a brief (but exciting) part. MAN OF STEEL’s Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) plays Jack’s mentor/boss. Upside: lots of good acting.
- Some complexity to the plot, so you actually have to pay attention, which is a bit refreshing, even for a brain-candy-lovin’ guy like me.
- Decent action/car-chase/fight scenes sprinkled throughout. Especially the finale!
- Speaking of finales, the last 20 minutes are packed with suspense…unless you’ve ever lived in or visited downtown Manhattan for any length of time, in which case you’ll have to suspend your disbelief regarding traffic. But still cool to watch.
- Ryan is like yer pal Bru: A true red, white and blue PATRIOT, which you (sadly) don’t see much of in today’s America-hating flicks. U-S-A, bay-bee!
- Keira Knightley: character’s a bit annoying, too skinny to be hot, and doesn’t act hot either. Nice helmet, though.
- NO boobies or buns, not even bustin’ bra or panting panty shots.
- The plot involves a lot of international financial market crap which went right over my head. [NOTE FROM MIKE: It’s not that complicated, and it’s explained. Although these days, the threat of Russia’s oil dominance really doesn’t fly now. They’re still the number one producer in the world, but the USA is number three, with a little over a million barrels a day of difference. But it works okay for the plot as most viewers won’t think twice about it.]
- Some slow bits that drag, but the end makes up for it. And as mentioned, NYC traffic does not allow for high-speed chases! But you need it for the excitement.
I’ve never read a Tom Clancy book [MIKE: Or pretty much ANY book that didn’t have pictures] so I don’t know or care if this is an accurate portrayal of the character. I just know it was an entertaining and suspenseful flick. But there’s really not much there to recommend the movie ticket price, so get it on Redbox or Netflix or whatever and enjoy it at home so you can pause while you pee without missing anything.
Now, let’s take apart THE LEGO MOVIE:
- Whoa! There are NO slow parts here. Pretty much non-stop action or dialog or both. Not to say there aren’t quiet moments, because there are–as in some totally silent pauses that break up the cough—err, ca-coffee–err…what’s that woid? [MIKE: cacophony?] Yeah, that’s it! It’s really loud and thrilling.
- Saw it in 3D because I figgered the cheap-ass parents wouldn’t pay extra to take their baby-baggage, so there would be less annoying kids in the theater. (I was right–theater was almost deserted, even for the last matinee.) Man, it was COOL! Like going on a ride at Six Flags or Cedar Point. Lots of stuff comin’ atcha, going thru, over, under or all around things, via cars, planes, you name it.
- Along those lines, the animation was brilliant to me. You’d swear it was all actual Legos rather than CG (Lego smoke and water?). Or maybe it was. Just looked awesome.
- Speaking of awesome, you’ll be humming the theme song, “Everything Is Awesome” , whether you like it or not! (If the latter, file this under “Cons.”)
- Batman (Will Arnett) was really a bad-ass! (Even if he had a girlfriend.) Superman (Channing Tatum) was pretty good and “third wheel” Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) was hilarious. Of course, since the film was from Warner Bros. Animation, they only had DC characters and no Marvel. Hopefully they’ll do their own Lego Movie next. But there were cameos from STAR WARS characters! (Which, like Marvel, are now Disney, but this was obviously started before that happened.) And some cool voice surprises as well.
- Will Ferrell plays the baddie, which is always a goodie. Other great voices include Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day, Will Arnett, and Elizabeth Banks as the heroine, Wyldstyle.
- Hilariously ridiculous plot, setup and climax…the writers (Dan and Kevin Hageman and co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) were obviously having a blast, just throwing crap at a wall and seeing what looked and sounded funny when it stuck.
- The last part of the film is a complete surprise but ends up making sense (more or less) and delivers some genuine sweetness (but not too much). But unlike EW and other stupid reviews, I’m not gonna ruin it for ya.
- Lots and lots of visual and verbal gags, some of which (especially near the beginning) come too fast to even notice. They obviously want us to buy the DVD so we can pause it and go frame-by-frame! Which is okay by me…a lot of things shot by me too fast to appreciate.
- Great characters!! Where else can you see Michelangelo the artist AND the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the same room, along with Shakespeare, a ghost, robot pirate, swamp creature and an 80s spaceman?
- Kids, especially little boys, will go ape-crap for this. But beware–you’re gonna have to spend serious coin to get the toy tie-ins! The playsets at Target were going for $30-70 each!
- Plenty of soda-out-yer-nose laughs from slapstick and visual gags, which are my kinda thing.
- Definitely made for today’s A.D.D. crowd–characters, actions, assemblies and vehicles just whizzed across the screen at a hummingbird-on-speed pace sometimes. Blink and you’ll miss stuff.
- The heroine had a cute face, but let’s face it–Lego chicks may be round but they’re all flat-chested!
- Wonder Woman was in it for like five seconds. (Funny gag with her plane and Batman’s, tho, which you may have seen on the trailer. That’s it, unfortunately.)
- NO buttons or stuff during the credits! Really missed an opportunity for fake outtakes like you see on Pixar stuff. Coulda done some really funny stuff.
- Some plot points and even gags may be too complicated for little kids…but I doubt they’ll care.
Like I said, the visuals alone are worth the price of admission. So you’ll want to get that big screen experience as well as be able to talk about it to yer pals now, and then pick it up later so you can pause all you want, and hopefully get some cool extras like gag reels and behind the scenes crap. Yeah, you cynical types could argue it’s all just a big video game/toy commercial, but it’s a lot more entertaining than most pretentious “artistic” garbage the critics shove at us, so who cares? You don’t have to buy anything, especially if you don’t have kids. Shaddup and enjoy it!
Well, that’s a wrap for this week, which I think is my 25th movie review! Somebody send me something silver. Like coins. Or those Silver Age comics that Pascale guy tells me about. AMAZING FANTASY #15 will work. I’ll even take some old BATMAN comics since he was in the flick.
P.S.: Pascale can do commissions of Legos, superheroes, Lego superheroes, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, or even Tom Clancy battling Lego superheroes. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Bru’s Reviews are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the CIA, NSA, FSB, KGB, Lego or anyone living, dead or built from blocks. While Bru-Hed is officially “America’s Favorite Blockhead” (™), he’s not a Lego character…YET!