Full Service Westside

This week are going to do something different and look at two films that are at the theater right now.  Bumblebee and Aquaman are really interested to compare.  Both films are part of a larger cinematic universes that are in need of revitalization.  Both films are big-budget action movies that seem to want to attract the same demographic to show up and watch them.  They both are also films that had high potential to be pretty awful.  Finally, through a process I’ll never fully understand, both movies released on the same day.

Bumblebee is a reboot of the 80’s toy icon Transformers movies that Michael Bay has milked for every ounce of cash he could over the past decade.  Bumblebee resets the clock, and dials down the scale, the destruction, and the chaos.  This film instead focuses on the Bumblebee, an Autobot who has been sent to earth to establish a safe home for his kind.  He is tracked down by an evil Decepticon and although he wins the fight, he is badly hurt.  This sets up his eventual discovery years later by Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie.  Charlie is a loner kid still dealing with unexpected loss of her dad.  What develops is a story about growth and friendship, with some explosions and military guys thrown in.  Executive producer Steven Spielberg’s influence can be felt, as Bumblebee feels most like a spiritual successor to his classic E.T.

Bumblebee is very good.  Having suffered through all the Transformer movies, this one was by far the best.  Hailee Steinfeld does a great job, and her character is so much more enjoyable and fleshed out than Sam Witwicky.  The thrust of the film centering around Charlie and Bumblebee’s growing friendship was also fun.  It’s not Shakespeare, but it creates some depth and gets the audience to care about the protagonists, rather than just rooting for them because they are “the good guys.”

Aquaman is the latest offering from the D.C. comic book universe.  Wonder Woman was received with great praise, but a tepid response to Justice League snuffed out a lot of the excitement.  Arther Curry, aka Aquaman, is played by Jason Momoa who reprises his role from Justice League.  Aquaman had a lot going against it, being set in the water and based on a character who talks to fish, but Momoa was my personal favorite part of Justice League.  The question was could he be enough to carry a whole movie.

Aquaman is a fun superhero movie.  The plot is serviceable though pretty murky at times.  The acting is really good, and the number of big name stars was a shock to me.  Momoa has a really cool take on the character that he elevates what could be a really absurd and lame hero.  There is an action sequence halfway through the film that is one of the best filmed and fun scenes I’ve seen in a while, and is worth a re-watch on its own.  D.C. still has trouble finding their footing on the finishing of films, and once again Aquaman’s climax is clumsy, confusing, and anti-climatic. 

Both Bumblebee and Aquaman are really fun movies.  Despite a lot of cards stacked against them, they both are entertaining movies, well worth seeing.   If you have to pick only one, choose between Bumblebee’s relationships and Aquaman’s epic adventure.  Either way, drive or swim down to the Fridley Palms Theater and check out at least one of these movi
This week, we are going to do something different and look at two films that are at the theater right now. Bumblebee and Aquaman are really interesting to compare. Both films are part of larger cinematic universes that are in need of revitalization. Both films are big-budget action movies that seem to want to attract the same demographic to show up and watch them. They both are also films that had high potential to be pretty awful. Finally, through a process I’ll never fully understand, both movies released on the same day.
 Bumblebee is a reboot of the iconic 80’s Transformers movies that Michael Bay has milked for every ounce of cash he could over the past decade. Bumblebee resets the clock, and dials down the scale, the destruction, and the chaos. This film instead focuses on the Bumblebee, an Autobot who has been sent to earth to establish a safe home for his kind. He is tracked down by an evil Decepticon and although he wins the fight, he is badly hurt. This sets up his eventual discovery years later by Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie. Charlie is a loner kid still dealing with the unexpected loss of her dad. What develops is a story about growth and friendship, with some explosions and military guys thrown in. Executive producer Steven Spielberg’s influence can be felt, as Bumblebee feels most like a spiritual successor to his classic E.T.
 Bumblebee is very good. Having suffered through all the Transformer movies, this one was by far the best. Steinfeld does a great job, and her character is so much more enjoyable and fleshed out than Sam Witwicky. The thrust of the film centering around Charlie and Bumblebee’s growing friendship was also fun. It’s not Shakespeare, but it creates some depth and gets the audience to care about the protagonists, rather than just rooting for them because they are “the good guys.”
 Aquaman is the latest offering from the D.C. comic book universe. Wonder Woman was received with great praise, but a tepid response to Justice League snuffed out a lot of the excitement. Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman, is played by Jason Momoa who reprises his role from Justice League. Aquaman had a lot going against it, being set in the water and based on a character who talks to fish, but Momoa was my personal favorite part of Justice League. The question was could he be enough to carry a whole movie?
 Aquaman is a fun superhero movie. The plot is serviceable though pretty murky at times. The acting is really good, and the number of big-name stars was a shock to me. Momoa has a really cool take on the character that elevates what could be a really absurd and lame hero. There is an action sequence halfway through the film that is one of the best filmed and fun scenes I’ve seen in a while and is worth a re-watch on its own. D.C. still has trouble finding their footing on the finishing of films, and once again Aquaman’s conclusion is clumsy, confusing, and anti-climatic.
 Both Bumblebee and Aquaman are really fun movies. Despite a lot of cards stacked against them, they both are entertaining movies, well worth seeing. If you have to pick only one, choose between Bumblebee’s relationships and Aquaman’s epic adventure. Either way, drive or swim down to the Fridley Palms Theatre and check out at least one of these movies out. 

Full Service Westside