Christopher Nolan’s TENET (2020) Has A $225 Million Budget?! Should Warner Bros. Be Worried?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Over a month ago I discussed what has previously been established about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming flick, “Tenet.” And as of recently, something else has been brought up that needs to be talked about. Specifically, the budget. Why? Because it is one of the biggest in history, not to mention, Christopher Nolan’s second highest budget ever, regardless of whether or not you adjust the others for inflation. It has been announced by several sources that this film has a budget of $225 million. How big is that? Well, let’s just put it this way. Christopher Nolan also directed 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which had a budget of $230 million. According to Wikipedia, that film ties “Spectre,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “The Fate of the Furious,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” for the 18th highest budget for a movie. If what is being said about “Tenet” actually happens to be true, turns out it would tie the budgets of films like “Man of Steel,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” and “The Lone Ranger.” All of these budgets are in the top 30!

My question is this. Is it worth it? Because one simple fact about this movie and my relationship to it is that I am perhaps one of the most likely individuals to end up going to see it. I love Christopher Nolan, I am well aware of his track record, which is much more than solid, and he made some of my favorite films of all time. He is practically a movie god in my book. And if this movie were coming out some time after say “The Dark Knight” or the “The Dark Knight Rises” I think this would be a guaranteed success. However, it is coming out in 2020.

I want to bring up some numbers here regarding Christopher Nolan’s previous films, and I want to set a point straight. People love the man as a filmmaker, but I wonder if his name is going to be enough to carry this next film.

INCEPTION (2010) (released between TDK and TDKR)
Budget: $160 million
Box office: $828.3 million

INTERSTELLAR (2014) (released after TDKR)
Budget: $165 million
Box office: $677.5 million

DUNKIRK (2017)
Budget: $100-150 million
Box office: $526.9 million

By the way, for those who really want to know, the last two films in “The Dark Knight” grossed over $1 billion.

If you ask me, part of why films like “Inception” and “Interstellar” have been mega-successes is because they were released when Christopher Nolan and “The Dark Knight” were fresh in people’s minds. But I am wondering if Christopher Nolan’s clock is ticking. Because we live in a time where CGI superhero movies, Disney flicks, nostalgia bombs, and pretty much anything having to do with spectacle is what “the people” happen to be checking out.

Although at the same time, the description for “Tenet” makes it fall along the lines of a spectacle-type movie. Some have referred to “Tenet” as a “massive, innovative, action blockbuster” and “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

I will say, this film has a chance, but partially because it is not based on any preexisting material, it almost seems impossible for it to become a box office success. Besides, the summer it comes out, it will be competing against films like “Bob’s Burgers: The Movie,” “Ghostbusters 2020,” and because Disney is still running out of original ideas, “Jungle Cruise.” Granted, “Tenet” is probably not going after the family demographic, but let’s face it, it’s probably gonna lose those kinds of people to “Jungle Cruise.” If you ask me, I’d prefer seeing “Tenet” over all these movies, but I’m me, not everyone else. And basing purely on statistics and predictions, “Tenet” is probably going to have some trouble. Especially when you consider how “Tenet” is from Warner Bros., unlike these films. In fact, the only other July release announced for Warner Bros. is “Green Lantern Corps,” which I honestly wonder if it actually will happen to see the light of day. And if I must add something else to the table, one of Nolan’s recent films, “Interstellar,” didn’t win the box office on its opening weekend, instead that honor went to Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” an animated family film about the formation of a superhero team.

I have no idea what was going on when this movie was originally pitched. I would not be surprised, because I sometimes have this particular image in my head, if Christopher Nolan simply went to Warner Brothers, walked in the door, exchanged greetings with someone, said “I’d like to pitch a movie,” to which Warner Brothers responded, “We don’t care what it is, we want it!” Because Warner Brothers has helped distribute many of Nolan’s flicks, usually to be met with extremely positive feedback. Therefore, their bond is amazingly strong.

Christopher Nolan’s last few non-Batman films have been box office successes, making more than thrice their original budget. But I am wondering if based on their ultimate totals, it is perhaps a downward spiral. “Inception” came out after “The Dark Knight,” which is the #4 movie on IMDb right now. “The Dark Knight Rises” came out in 2012, which was positively received, but not to the same levels as “The Dark Knight,” which may have caused some audience members to lack the same level of faith in Nolan. Although based on the successes of “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk,” that did not seem to stop him. It’s still a question to keep in mind though because “Batman,” despite its nerdy association, is popular. Then again, a lot of nerdy things have officially become “cool” so what do I know? You’re not as likely to go to a bar and see everyone having a conversation about “Dunkirk.”

I do think “Tenet” has a chance at being a success, but it also has significant odds of failing as well. It’s an original film with an abnormally huge budget, and if the box office has taught us anything recently, most audiences are flocking to what they know. They know Christopher Nolan. But do they know him enough?

So if “Tenet” is to succeed, I do have some ideas as to how it could potentially win people over through its marketing campaign. It should insert the following:

“FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY”
The name “Christopher Nolan” in a significant manner
“GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEE John David Washington”
Michael Caine (either the name, the actor in the film, or both)
Visually stunning moments
Enough to hide the movie’s overall structure
SHOT WITH IMAX CAMERAS

In fact on that last one, what I recommend is doing something that Nolan did for “Dunkirk.” When a big movie comes out this year or next year, perhaps maybe “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Black Widow,” “Birds of Prey,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” or “Wonder Woman 1984,” perhaps attach a 5 minute preview of “Tenet” to one of these films to emphasize the scope of the film. In fact, “Wonder Woman 1984” is also being shot with IMAX cameras, this would be like an appetizer for that film.

Granted, there is a sign of hope when it comes to Nolan’s time of release, which is the fact that he is putting his film out during the third weekend of July. A lot of people have free time since it is summer, but most importantly, mainly for Nolan, is that said weekend is “a lucky date,” as once stated by Deadline Hollywood. He released four of his most recent projects at that time, to have them all be met with eventual success.

Although another thing that could help Nolan is that none of his competing films (as of now) are listed to be in IMAX. On Wikipedia’s List of films released in IMAX, “Tenet” is the only film confirmed to be released in that format during the month of July. I am willing to bet this list will change to include films like “Jungle Cruise,” but based on the specs of “Tenet,” I have a feeling that the IMAX brand is going to put more emphasis on that film during the summer more than any other. Kind of like how “Dunkirk” got an unusually long run in many of IMAX’s theaters.

At the very end though, “Tenet’s” success, at least from my point of view, is going to come down to a number of things. Positive reactions, originality, solid marketing, and giving audiences enough reasons to avoid checking out other similar films to be released in summer 2020. From what I have heard so far, the film has me onboard. I am looking for more original material to gloss over that will hopefully be remembered as time marches on. While I didn’t go see it in the theater, “Inception” won a number of people over for being innovative and something that some viewers have yet to see. I am willing to bet that “Tenet” is able to have the same effect that “Inception” did with its viewers. The film involves action and espionage, which makes the middle of summer a good time to release it. But the film should be thankful it is not going up against a “Mission: Impossible” movie.

I feel like this is a very neck and neck situation. On one hand you have a director with name power, a great track record, multiple successes. But not only is this a property nobody has ever witnessed, but the actors are not box office draws, there’s some competition for the time being, including some films that’ll probably be more likely to get kids in the theater. What’ll happen? I literally have no idea. After all, it’s more than a year until “Tenet” releases, so only time will tell.

I want to know, what are your thoughts on the budget for “Tenet?” Personally, it makes me excited for how the film will turn out, and I imagine some other people will feel the same way. Even without the budget, this is already my most anticipated film of 2020 based on everything I have heard so far. However, do you think this is financially responsible enough to allow a future box office success? If so, I’m curious, how much do you think “Tenet” will make? If you think it is going to fail, how much money do you think it’ll earn? Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! I just want to let everyone know that this week I am likely going to be seeing the movie “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle. I’m not sure what day I am going yet, but that is on my radar at some point. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Will STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Be Shown On IMAX 70mm Film?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last year, I created a post asking the following question. Will “First Man” be shown on IMAX 70mm film? The answer, no. This year, there is another movie that I have followed for some time that is making me ask the same question. Specifically, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Why? Because despite a majority of this decade’s “Star Wars” films getting 70mm IMAX releases, there are reasons to believe that “The Rise of Skywalker,” the final film in The Skywalker Saga, will miss the mark.

When J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out in December 2015, that released in a number of IMAX 70mm locations, along with standard 35mm and 70mm theaters. It also was projected on IMAX’s then new laser technology in other locations. While that’s not film based, it is a digital response to IMAX’s film projection. When it comes to being projected in IMAX 70mm, the following locations took action.

US/CANADA

Alabama
McWane Center IMAX Dome Theatre – Birmingham
IMAX, U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville

California
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum – San Jose

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre – Regina

Florida
Museum of Discovery & Science AutoNation IMAX – Ft. Lauderdale
IMAX Dome, Museum of Science & Industry – Tampa

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana State Museum – Indianapolis

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa – Des Moines

Missouri
Branson’s IMAX, Entertainment Complex – Branson
St. Louis Science Center OMNIMAX Theatre – St. Louis

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute– Philadelphia

Washington, DC
Lockheed Martin IMAX, National Air & Space Museum

Texas
Omni, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History – Fort Worth

INTERNATIONAL
LG IMAX, Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia
The Science Museum – London, England

That’s 15 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “NCIS,” “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Judge Judy,” “Dr. Phil,” “South Park,” “The Bachelor,” and the combined seasons for “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” also came out in certain IMAX 70mm locations, but the difference between that and “The Force Awakens,” aside from being a spinoff, is that the film was not shot specifically for 70mm IMAX projection. “The Force Awakens” was shot using IMAX branded cameras, and when a number of films were shot using that, IMAX presented the movie having those scenes fill the entire screen. This is true for many of their digital-based locations, as well as those running film. In fact, the film was shot completely in digital using an ARRI Alexa 65. Nevertheless, it still managed to hit 13 IMAX 70mm screens.

Alabama
IMAX, US Space & Rocket Center
IMAX Dome, McWane Center

California
AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19 & IMAX – Universal City
Esquire IMAX – Sacramento
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre

Florida
IMAX Dome, Museum of Science & Industry

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center Iowa

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana Stare Museum

Minnesota
IMAX Theatre, Minnesota Zoo

Missouri
OMNIMAX, St. Louis Science Center

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute

Texas
Omni Theatre Fort Worth Museum of Science & History

Granted, this was a starting list. I say so because “Rogue One” was shown in more IMAX 70mm theaters after its initial release, including one in Connecticut’s Maritime Aquarium, which is one of the closest venues of its kind to where I live. When it comes to this specific theater, they managed to do the same for “The Force Awakens.”

Then came “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johsnon. Much like its chronological predecessor, “The Force Awakens,” this was partially shot using IMAX cameras. I will say though, personally, I missed out on the IMAX experience for this film when it came out. But based on research, I did not miss much. Why? Multiple sources suggest that the film never had any scenes projected from top to bottom on IMAX 70mm screens. The entire movie was projected in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, which is conventional in the movie industry. The original IMAX-specific aspect ratio is 1.43:1. “The Force Awakens” had 5 minutes of IMAX footage intact. All five minutes was blown up to fill the brand’s screens. But for those who went to see “The Last Jedi” in IMAX, they may have gotten crystal clear images, but black bars up the wazoo. Turns out, as a matter of fact, IMAX was the only film format in which this movie happened to be presented. No standard 35mm or standard 70mm was available. And if viewers did manage to check out these types of IMAX screenings, chances are they flocked to one of these places.

US/CANADA

Alabama
IMAX Dome, McWane Center – Birmingham
IMAX, U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville

California
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum – San Jose

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre – Regina

Connecticut
IMAX, The Maritime Aquarium – Norwalk

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana State Museum – Indianapolis

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa – Des Moines

Missouri
OMNIMAX, St. Louis Science Center – St. Louis

North Carolina
The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome, Discovery Place – Charlotte

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute– Philadelphia

Texas
Omnitheatre, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History – Fort Worth

UK
London Science Museum – London

That’s 11 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Supernatural,” “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “Criminal Minds,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Ridiculousness,” “Bones,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Face Off,” “The Bachelorette,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dallas,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “Love Connection.”

As for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which released almost half a year after “The Last Jedi,” that was not filmed with any IMAX technology. It still released in the IMAX format however, going through a traditional DMR (Digital Media Remastering) process. Here are the theaters that presented “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in IMAX 70mm.

There aren’t any, the film was entirely released in digital formats.

That’s 0 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “Freaks and Geeks,” “Firefly,” “Clone High,” “Swamp Thing,” “Whiskey Cavalier,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” “Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show,” “Son of Zorn,” “Bordertown,” “Inhumans,” “Selfie,” “Heroes: Reborn,” “Ghosted,” “America’s Next Best Weatherman,” and “State of Georgia.” FYI, ALL OF THESE got cancelled after one season.

To be honest though, I can’t complain too much because the entire movie was shot digitally on ARRI Alexa cameras.

And when it comes to a good portion of the locations that have played a few of these recent “Star Wars” movies in 70mm, not only are they few and far between, but many of them rarely play Hollywood features. Many of these theaters simply show IMAX-distributed documentaries that are either new or cater to a theme that would associate with a venue. Not to mention, a glaring fraction of these are domes, and while I will say I rarely go to domed IMAX theaters, one thing to point out about them is the 180° style of the screen. With a number of cinema screens, it is sometimes easy to notice a slight curve they can provide, and traditional IMAX screens are no exception. Forget about a curve with an IMAX Dome, it’s practically a boulder sliced in half. Not only do they rarely show Hollywood features, but they also can have a quirky looking image when there are black bars involved. Granted, I have yet to see something like this for myself in person, but from what I’ve seen online, it’s almost weird looking. I almost wonder if it would turn off a good portion of general audience members.

History aside, let’s move onto the present and the future. Despite IMDb’s current claims that this film will be shot with IMAX cameras, no word of mouth from Disney, J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, etc., has said anything related to such a claim (except this one, based on brief research). After all, I don’t know for sure, it could have been inserted long before, or maybe just as soon as the film happened to be starting production. However, IMDb is also claiming that the movie will be presented in multiple film formats. These include 35mm, 70mm, and IMAX 70mm. By the way, they are also suggesting these were also formats used for shooting.

“Shot on 35mm, 70mm, and 70mm IMAX, this is the third Star Wars film to be shot in the IMAX format, the first film in the franchise to be shot on 70mm film, and the first Star Wars film since Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) to be shot entirely on celluloid.”

OK, I can buy this movie entirely being shot on film. After all, one of the things that J.J. Abrams wanted out of “Episode VII” was the nostalgia factor, which was partially brought to the table through filming the movie in celluloid, an action that the prequels neglected for the most part. But to be fair, “new technology” sometimes has a ring to it.

As for what technology was used specifically, I think we still need updated information on it. Because when it comes to technical specifications, that is still a mystery kept by those who made this film. Yes, there are articles suggesting a mixture of 35mm and 70mm cinematography in the movie, but many of them are from the end of 2016, a month before “Rogue One” came out. However, perhaps the most credible information I came across was this occasionally updated article as seen on fromthegrapevine.com. For those who are lazy, there is a suggestion via an image that this next “Star Wars” film will be shot in 70mm.

Granted, I highly doubt that this movie will be mostly shot in digital. The past two films in the trilogy have been shot using film for a good portion of the runtime, therefore to maintain a similar feel, Abrams must have said film was the way to go.

And with this information in mind, I will point out that IMAX has a vast history of showcasing movies that were not shot through their technology on their true projection format. The thing is however, that time happened back when the DMR process was starting to get into full swing. With IMAX’s jump into digital projection in 2008, it wasn’t too long before IMAX started getting picky with what films would be shown in their original format. “Rogue One” was a rare exception back when it came out in 2016.

In fact, let’s look at IMAX in 2018 and what they have done with this technology. Unfortunately, IMAX missed the opportunity to put “First Man,” their only new release that year shot with IMAX 70mm tech, in theaters catering to that format. They were shown in IMAX Laser theaters, which is a nice consolation, but having been in both venues for different movies, it’s not the same. The only “new” 70mm experience that came out was a limited 50th anniversary engagement of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Aside from that, there was a 10th anniversary limited engagement of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” which played around the same time period. There was another movie released in IMAX shot with their technology (Avengers: Infinity War), but that film was shot completely in digital. This allowed a complete fill of the screen in many, smaller, digital venues, but not for the venues IMAX was originally known for.

If you think I am pulling these facts out of my butt, let me just point out to you, I am not. There is a Wikipedia page that lists every single IMAX film that has gone through a DMR process. Yes, Wikipedia is not the most scholarly source of all time, but over the years, this has been pretty reliable for this subject matter.

List of IMAX DMR Films

In fact, if you scour the list, go to the section labeled “2019,” and scroll down to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” you’ll notice it does not suggest there will be any IMAX 70mm screenings, nor does it say anything about the cinematic equipment. Granted, a lot of the information related to this does not exactly need to be displayed now, the movie does not even release until December. Even with that in mind however, it is slightly concerning. I can live with a lack of IMAX 70mm screenings if it wasn’t shot in that exact format, but if it was, I feel like we are gonna be in a “First Man” situation all over again. Although that movie flopped as far as I am aware so, who knows? It might have been for the best. I enjoyed the movie, in fact it was one of my favorites of the year, but regardless, it didn’t have proper financial legs.

It is perhaps slightly inevitable that “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be a financial success. I say SLIGHTLY inevitable, because while a number of recent Disney “Star Wars” flicks made over $1 billion at the box office, the most recent one, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” did not meet the financial standards of films that came prior to it, including the spinoff “Rogue One.” At the same time, it has things going for it. For one thing, it’s the conclusive chapter to The Skywalker Saga, it involves characters we have known for the past two films and even further into the past, Lando is back, and Palpatine seems to be making an appearance as well. It has the potential to win audiences and a portion of the fanbase overall. Well, that depends on how divided said fanbase is by the time this movie comes out, because it’s pretty ugly right now. And even though that ugliness is a thing, there are enough fans in the “Star Wars” community that could potentially show up for a new flick in the franchise.

If you ask me, I think Disney, Lucasfilm, Bob Iger, IMAX, among others would not have minded the idea of releasing the film in IMAX 70mm. Sure, “Solo” didn’t do as well as they would have hoped, but based on how that is a film that not many audiences asked for in the first place, added onto the prior success of films that came before it, they wouldn’t mind releasing the film in an IMAX 70mm format. They’re making more money with the Skywalker films compared to the spinoffs, and let’s face it, audiences care about Rey, they care about Kylo, they care about Chewie, they care about Lando, they care about BB-8. The praise is there, the studio just has to make a decision. Another factor to consider is the transition to go back to how Disney originally released these types of films. Specifically, by doing so in December. This is a good strategy because people are home for the holidays, kids are on break, and with a bunch of Oscar-bait films competing against each other, this blockbuster has a significant chance of standing out.

Do I want to see a reality where we get the opportunity to go check out “The Rise of Skywalker” in IMAX 70mm? I would, but I know it’s not certain. Given my clustered knowledge of how this movie is being shot, I don’t know if it is being shot in the IMAX format, but even if it isn’t, I would be willing to show up for an IMAX 70mm presentation simply because it is the clearest picture in existence. And… Disney, if you are planning on releasing this in IMAX 70mm… PLEASE… Consider releasing it at the Providence Place IMAX. It’s one of the closest true IMAX venues to my house, and one of the best theaters I have ever been to. I will flock there immediately if you release your film there in this specified format.

Am I being an obsessive nerd about this? Probably. Do I care? Hell no! In fact, with all statistics being considered, it makes me worried for the future of how IMAX movies are presented. Yes, we are likely getting Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in IMAX 70mm next year, but are we simply doing so because it’s a Christopher Nolan film? Is it because of the director’s power in the industry? He’s my favorite director working today, but it’s still a question I can’t help but ask! “Star Wars” is a big franchise. And this latest film is seemingly shot in a big resolution. So why not let us as an audience look at the big picture?

YUP. PUN ABSOLUTELY INTENDED.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters December 20th, 2019. I am looking forward (although I am also slightly apprehensive) to seeing how this sequel trilogy will conclude. I do have faith in J.J. Abrams, especially after the excellent job he did with “The Force Awakens.” It also seems inevitable that I am going to see the movie on opening night, even if I get access to a press screening before the movie hits theaters everywhere. As for IMAX, I don’t care what you do with this movie. If it is shot in your format, release it in 70mm. But based on the popularity of this franchise, consider that sort of release even if this movie was shot in a smaller format. What will happen? I don’t know, only time will tell! Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that next week starts the second half of 2019, so I will be creating a mega-post containing a halftime report and a glimpse into the future of Scene Before. Be sure to look forward to that! Also, stay tuned for my second trailer of “Project 2020.” If you have seen one of my posts back in April, you know what I am talking about. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you have any thoughts on this “Rise of Skywalker” in IMAX 70mm matter? Or am I just batcrap crazy? Also, are you looking forward to “The Rise of Skywalker?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019): The Secret’s Out: This Movie’s As Lifeless As A Pet Rock

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” is directed by Chris Renaud, who directed the previous installment to this specific franchise. He also has a voice role as multiple characters. Renaud is directing alongside Jonathan del Val, whose work has mainly been in the animation department for other Illumination titles such as “The Grinch” and “The Lorax,” which makes this his directorial debut. This film stars Patton Oswalt (King of Queens, Ratatouille) as the character of Max, a dog who has many pet pals in his vicinity around the city of New York. What’s interesting about that is the first movie had Max be voiced by Louis C.K., but based on eventually surfaced controversy, C.K. was replaced by Oswalt. Alongside Oswalt, we have Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family, Identity Thief), Kevin Hart (Ride Along, Central Intelligence), Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, The LEGO Batman Movie), Tiffany Haddish (Night School, Uncle Drew), Lake Bell (BoJack Horseman, Childrens Hospital), Nick Kroll (Operation Finale, Sing), Hannibal Buress (The Eric Andre Show, Neighbors), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live, Me, Myself, & I), and Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark).

“The Secret Life of Pets 2” follows the story of the recently mentioned Max as he adapts to having a human child by his side, only to eventually become protective of said child, not to mention, his own self. Meanwhile we get side stories involving the bunny Snowball as a superhero and the dog Gidget guarding a toy as she tries to learn the traditions of being a cat.

I saw the original “Secret Life of Pets” back when it came out, and it was also one of my first reviews I have ever done (view my continuously developing content here). When I did that review, I managed to view the movie as decent, and I managed to address a complaint that I imagine a decent number of people had while watching the film. Specifically, the notion that “The Secret Life of Pets” is too similar to “Toy Story.” Yes, there are similarities, but “The Secret Life of Pets” is fine enough to stand on its own if you ask me.

Oh, by the way! Check out my review for “Toy Story 4!”

That first movie managed to make $800 million more than its original budget of $75 million. Regardless of the movie’s quality, that is something both Universal and Illumination should celebrate. So naturally, a sequel seemed to be inevitable.

Well, here we are. And honestly, while I imagine some people like Chris Renaud may be doing this as a passion project, this almost feels like one of those movies that only exists just to make money. I could just say that just from viewing the movie on paper, but I viewed it on a screen. Guess what? I still feel that way! “The Secret Life of Pets 2” is the worst animation of the year so far! If I had to be honest, this just makes me feel bad for Illumination. I know the studio is pretty popular right now, especially with the following of “Despicable Me,” a trilogy I still have yet to see from start to finish. I saw part of the second film, and that is it. No, I have not seen “Minions.” But even though I enjoyed “Sing” and sort of enjoyed “The Secret Life of Pets,” I have yet to see that one film which defines the studio. To add onto this, I watched last year’s “The Grinch” and it was freaking awful. My gosh golly! That movie was a mean one for sure! Sadly, I think this movie’s worse. Because for starters, much like “The Grinch,” there is some occasional nice looking animation in this, but I think “The Grinch” slightly edges out its competitor because “The Grinch” was colorful and zazzy. There was nothing in this film that had a real wow factor. In fact, most of the film is cringe if you ask me!

Seriously! The writing is terrible! The plot is nearly convoluted! Not to mention, the movie almost has this rushed feeling to it. And if you look at the runtime, this statement would not surprise you. I say that because the runtime is 1 hour and 26 minutes. Coincidentally, that is also the runtime of what may be the worst animated film of all time, “The Emoji Movie,” another rushed disaster that might as well exist because, well, the thing it is about is trendy! “The Secret Life of Pets” was a success, why not make another one? We’ll make it the s*ittiest waste of time and money imaginable, and everyone will go see it. The script will be so lazy that it will eventually spend lots of time in one of the crew members’ junk drawers! Granted, “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” admittedly, is much better than “The Emoji Movie,” so this does not say much.

I felt like I already gave a teaser to how chaotic this movie is in terms of building blocks, because it didn’t feel like a movie. Instead, it felt more like a bad situation comedy episode with pets as the main cast. There are multiple plot lines for individual characters, which is fine for a number of films, but the execution was poor in this one. There are cheap jokes that don’t land, and there are anger-inducing moments that make playing a game of pinball where the flipper buttons shock you with each press look fun!

As for Max himself, there is one question I want to ask to the general audience going to this film. Do you care about the replacement voice actor? I could tell the voice difference betweent Oswalt and C.K., but I understand why the replacement happened so it’s not like I entirely give damn. Oswalt did a fine job with the voice, but as an avid moviegoer, I am gonna inevitably notice things, and Oswalt’s voice is not the same as C.K.’s. If you ask me, I would have probably done an audition process to see if someone could be a good match to Louis C.K.’s voice for the movie. Then again, I imagine some people don’t want to think about that guy so that could backfire. In terms of characterization, I understand the purpose of his character throughout the film and how he was written, but Max’s main problem in the movie in terms of how it was executed, nearly made me roll my eyes. Did I feel bad for him at times? Sure. But I still hated myself throughout the experience.

But as he tries to cope with this we get to meet the absolute best character in the movie, Rooster. For one thing, he’s voiced by Harrison Ford, who definitely brings a likable screen presence into a lot of projects, perhaps even if he sleepwalks. He has a couple of funny moments during the film, sadly I saw the characters’s main highlights prior to going into the auditorium. I guess this is what you get for watching promotional material and talk shows. Although unfortunately, because this movie quite literally cannot get any shorter, the amount of screentime Rooster manages to have is slightly underwhelming. I could tell that Harrison Ford was likely trying, but I would almost bet that this was a paycheck movie as far as Ford was concerned. As soon as I saw what I then gathered would be Ford’s final scene in the film, I almost wanted to turn off my brain. And I don’t mean turn off my brain and shove popcorn in my month as I stare at the screen. I mean lose all processes of thinking, knowing, and realizing. Because while I’m not psychic, I imagined that whatever would come next in the film, would be nowhere near as fun or entertaining as the scenes with Ford’s character. And of course, this super genius of film is right once again! Boom! Although I will say one thing about Harrison Ford’s character that is kind of interesting, I guess Han Solo got to play Chewbacca for once!

*Cricket noises*

Chewbacca derives from a Russian word for dog.

There is a lot of crap that happens in this movie to the point where I don’t even have the time to hit all of it (and some hinges into spoiler territory). Some of it includes a scene where Chloe (Lake Bell) is slowly taking in the effects of cat nip as if it was some sort of illegal drug, which might qualify to be one of the most unintentionally disturbing scenes in animation history. The ending is kind of absurd that it almost feels like it is too much for a cartoon, but there is one thing I have yet to cover regarding this film that I absolutely hate as a viewer.

They say a story is only as good as its villain. If that’s the case, THEN THIS STORY IS BULLCRAP! “The Secret Life of Pets 2” has a villain that even makes a good portion of the underwhelming MCU villains come off as menacing and watchable. Specifically, a character by the name of Sergei. The lackluster Sergei is partially responsible for running a circus. His latest addition to the crew is a wild tiger named Hu. Maybe I could appreciate the villain if he wasn’t so over-embellished, but crew went ahead and uttered “F*ck that! Quality? Who cares about quality? Let’s make him talk deep, with a unique yet cliche voice, give him the most boring lines imaginable, give him less personality than a bowling pin, and possibly make him more evil than he should be!” It would be fine if Sergei were some alien from another world or if he… I dunno, just didn’t happen to be human, but behind his black clothing and sidekick wolves, he is very likely just a regular guy. I imagine he would do other things in life aside from his dayjob at the circus. Once he gets home, I imagine he turns on the TV, watches the news, heats up a microwavable pizza, drinks a glass water, takes a shower, lives a normal life. I don’t mind ordinary people becoming extremely villainous for one reason or another, but in this case, it just didn’t work. If this is supposed to be propaganda against the circus or keeping wild animals where they don’t belong, maybe I could appreciate the movie for the direction it decided to take. But I’m sorry, it is overshadowed by cringe, insanity, stupidity, and a villain who makes this movie even more of a waste of my time than I ever imagined it would be. Remember the movie “Up” where the main villain is basically an elderly man who just loved to explore and hunt? He was not a maniac for the sake of being a maniac! Much like this film’s villain, he’s got a pack of animal sidekicks, but they have more dimension than chasing after potential victims. Then again, that’s because in this movie, the wolves are loyal to their one-dimensional owner whereas in “Up” the owner of the mob of dogs managed to have a personality. Man, this movie sucks!

In the end, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” is more intolerable than a bite from a vicious dog. I cannot even believe I am still talking about this movie! But in all seriousness, this movie could have been a lesson to children to make them realize they may have to face their fears, but sadly, I’m a teenager, and now I have self-diagnosed disease of TheSecretLifeofPets2phobia. Maybe it could be a lesson for adults and parents to not to make their children too soft, but even with a lesson like that intact, I learned a different lesson from “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” That lesson by the way is that I don’t ever want to watch this film again! This movie is a bad boy! Bad boy! Or… girl??? Is it a boy or girl? I dunno, who cares? The jokes don’t the work, the screenplay doesn’t work, and everything feels as rushed as math homework done by a student who answered each problem with the phrase “I dunno.” The first movie was OK, and now I am starting to wonder if someone put heavy drugs in my body because maybe if I watch that original film now it could suck. You know, kind of like this movie did. I’m going to give “The Secret Life of Pets 2” a 2/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that next week I am going to releasing a giant post related to my Scene Before experience so far this year, which will also include a preview for what I’ll be doing for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for that! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Secret Life of Pets 2?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the worst animated movie of the year for you? I did not see “Wonder Park,” but if I did see it, I imagine that would be in the conversation for sure. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Toy Story 4 (2019): Wait… This Got Made? Thanks, Pixar!

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“Toy Story 4” is directed by Josh Cooley (Inside Out, Up) and stars Tom Hanks (Cast Away, Sully), Tim Allen (Last Man Standing, Home Improvement), Annie Potts (Ghostbusters, Pretty In Pink), Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Chuck), Keegan Michael-Key (Keanu, Tomorrowland), Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us), Madeleine McGraw (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Cars 3), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, The Neon Demon), Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, John Wick), Ally Maki (Wrecked, Cloak & Dagger), Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad, Bad Moms), Lori Alan (Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants), and Joan Cusack (Say Anything, Saturday Night Live). This is the fourth installment to the “Toy Story” franchise, not to mention what I once considered to be one of the most unnecessary films of all time. While I never explicitly made a full length post about it, I was extremely skeptical about how would turn out. Nevertheless, the film takes place some time after the toys’ transition from Andy to Bonnie, as seen in “Toy Story 3.” The film also explores Bonnie’s personal life as she makes a transition of her own. Simultaneously, we get to know a new “toy” by the name of Forky. Bonnie and her family also go on a road trip together, allowing for more adventures to ensue.

I’m not even joking when I say this, out of all the sequels, reboots, or remakes coming out these days, I DID NOT think “Toy Story 4” was going to be one of them. “Toy Story 3” was one of the most satisfying, lovable, and emotionally charging movies I have ever seen. It is by far one of Pixar’s best examples of quality work, and possibly worthy of having the best ending to any of their movies. Although then again, it’s tough to decide between that and “Wall-E.” It is also one of my favorite movies of 2010, alongside “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Inception.” In fact, the trilogy itself is nearly perfect. “Toy Story” revolutionized animated technology and was able to prove that computer animation was the future. “Toy Story 2” was a worthy follow-up that was hilarious, and expands the lore of its main character. “Toy Story 3…” is the bomb. That’s all I have to say. And despite hearing some comments from stars like Tom Hanks suggesting how emotional the movie is, I was still a tad skeptical about what we were going to get. This movie, on paper, felt like an obvious cash grab by Disney. Specifically, one that purely exists for financial gain, and for no reason that could associate with compelling audiences. But more and more word of mouth happened be positive upon this film’s arrival. I became more excited. I don’t know how, but apparently I wanted to see this movie. So I went to a local AMC, bought tickets for a Dolby Cinema screening, and I went in, with a thinking cap on, but still hyped.

How was “Toy Story 4?” Tell ya what, it’s almost my favorite movie of the year. In fact, it might be my #2. The animated genre in general almost does not get better than this. The animation is almost lifelike in some scenes. In fact, there is a cat in this movie, even though my head knew this film was animated, it looked like something I would probably notice in real life. The amount of detail done by the artists behind this film is astounding. As for the film, the story was surprisingly well done! If you think the words “Toy Story 4” would have sounded like nothing else but a cash grab back in the day, imagine a movie where a spork happens to have a conscience. Imaginative? Maybe. Would it sell toys. Probably. But what’s the story? This movie took that plot and executed it better than one would execute a deep dish pizza in Chicago!

Seriously guys, Forky is a surprisingly good character. I love how they take the purpose of a toy and apply it to something that is an eating utensil! Its connection with Bonnie is sweet, and kind of made me feel bad for the character. You remember “Blade Runner 2049?” There tons of reasons why I love that movie, but one of them is Ana De Armas’ character, Joi. She is not a human, while she does take the design of a human technically, she’s actually a hologram. When you can convince me that your movie’s main character is in love with something he might as well have purchased, to the point that gets me as a viewer to crush on them, you know your movie might be doing something right. Forky is a gem if I have ever seen one, and he also might be the greatest throwaway character in movie history!

By the way, one of the film’s main plot points involves a connection between Woody and Forky. While their connection was not displayed for the entire film, I was pleased with what was presented in front of me. In fact, if I had to compare the relationship between this duo, it would perhaps be Pixar’s response to the relationship between George and Lennie in “Of Mice and Men.” You have Woody, who is practically trying to be this father figure to Forky, teaching him all the traditions of being a toy. As for Forky, while not exactly simple minded, he is terrified and has a completely different purpose than being played with.

And I will say, one thing that the other movies had that this one didn’t have, was much of Woody and Buzz together. I will point out, I am not as nostalgic towards “Toy Story” as other people. For me, my most nostalgic franchise from Pixar is likely to be “The Incredibles.” I imagine some people may consider this a hindrance on the film’s part, but if you ask me, I don’t care. While Woody and Buzz can definitely go together like bread and butter, I didn’t care that they weren’t together much because I was already enjoying the storyline involving Woody and Forky. Plus, Buzz has a storyline of his own that I happened to enjoy.

In fact, the only real problem that I have with this movie happens to be the humor. And when I say problem, I don’t mean catastrophe, I mean something that at times just didn’t work. I will say, this movie is funny, but not as funny as I was expecting. There were a number of chuckleworthy moments, but there are few moments that I’d consider kneeslappers. I won’t specify, but I’m almost surprised that I’m even saying this, because I know some people are pointing out that this is the funniest “Toy Story” film yet.

If you ask me, that’s not the case. While this may not be my definite answer, since it has been awhile since I have seen every installment of the franchise, “Toy Story 2” is probably the funniest. What other movie can you get a line like this?

Thank you, Pixar!

As for everything else, this movie doesn’t just rock, it rocks the world. From the United States, to the United Kingdom, to the United Arab Emirates, to the United Nations, to United Airlines, to the United–wait wait, let’s just go with Canada just for shiggles. Wait… Canada… that reminds me.

Let’s talk about Keanu f*cking Reeves! Keanu Reeves… Oh my gosh, his role in this movie just proves that he is getting so much better as an actor. I don’t know if he is accepting any script that comes his way nowadays, or if he is getting more fun material to work on. Wait… He did “Replicas.” I take that back. Keanu Reeves plays a toy that is supposed to be a Canadian stuntman. He’s energetic, charming, and he even has a surprising amount of layers to him. And I can imagine other actors playing him and doing a good job with the voicework, but the fact that Keanu Reeves managed to not only take on the role, but light my eyes up by doing it, just puts a cherry on top of the sundae! And while I will say Reeves is more entertaining in “John Wick: Chapter 3,” I’d currently say this may be his best movie of the year. AND THAT SAYS SOMETHING.

Speaking of characters, Bo Peep is back! And I will point out something, you know how I appreciate “Toy Story 2” because it goes into the lore of its main character? Well “Toy Story 4” happens to dive into lore involving the connection of Woody and Bo. I will also say, upon seeing Bo in the middle of this film, I could not help but feel slightly shocked on how she would display herself. And when it comes to her character, it’s almost like this movie is trying to present a feminist message. This is your reminder that I am a straight white male, and as a straight white male, I don’t mind these sorts of messages as long as they feel like they fit or have a purpose. And guess what? It works! I’m not confirming this movie has a feminist message, and I won’t go into why, but if that’s what the movie was going for, I think they did a pretty good job with it. If not a feminist message, it is at the least, a message about growing up and becoming an adult. One or the other.

And what this movie didn’t do for laughs, is honestly forgiven when you consider how close I got to releasing man tears. You know how “Toy Story 3” had a whole climax of emotion? “Toy Story 4” kicks off with that, and there are more instances throughout displaying a similar vibe. I don’t think it was as sad as “Toy Story 3” as a movie, but there are more scenes where I felt like a girl. Nevertheless, this movie does a fine job of balancing character development, emotion, and storylines to the point where I’d call it one of the best animated films I have seen in recent memory. In fact, the ending… HOLY S*IT. Another thing that “Toy Story 3” did better, but this came SO CLOSE to being the best ending in the franchise.

Let me also just remind you, this film is directed by Josh Cooley, and this just so happens to be his feature-length debut. Much like other films from this decade such as “Deadpool” and “Lady Bird,” “Toy Story 4” in regards to its director, Josh Cooley, is definitely going to be one hell of a debut to put on his resume. I cannot wait to see Cooley’s next full length feature, and if it’s from Pixar, I’m there. If it’s live-action, I’m there. If it has a budget of $50 max, I don’t care, Josh Cooley did one hell of a job with this movie that I just want to see more from him. By the way, I think credit should also go to the writers, everyone behind the story, maybe even, as much flak as I might get for saying this, John Lasseter (based on recent events). For all I know, he could have conceived the best ideas in this movie. I don’t know, I wasn’t there. The screenplay for this movie is one of the best of the year, even with the hit or miss humor. Go see this movie now! That’s all I can say!

In the end, “Toy Story 4” is in the conversation of being the worst “Toy Story” movie. But that is not saying much, because ALL OF THEM are great. Don’t just take it from me, because the lowest rating one of these movies possess from Rotten Tomatoes is in the nineties. Half of the movies in the franchise have a 100% verdict on that site! “Toy Story,” honestly, might be the most solid franchise ever. When was the last time a franchise with four films in it was this good? “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” came out, some say it nuked the franchise. “Star Wars” had its first prequel, and as time went on it didn’t turn out too well. “Alien: Resurrection” is considered by many fans to be one most inferior installments in the entire franchise. “Mission: Impossible” had less than satisfying films before its fourth one came out. Some would say “Jaws: The Revenge” killed shark movies. Others would say “Sharknado” BRUTALLY MURDERED shark movies. It’s really hard to think of another franchise like “Toy Story.” This just makes “Toy Story 4” a pure cinematic achievement. It’s proof that sometimes, even when the idea of having a sequel that could feel like a cash grab, maybe a sequel that could be a bit scary to create, it’s all worth it in the end. It’s nearly tearjerking, it’s fun, it’s adventurous, the characters, new and old, have earned my seal of approval. But if the humor were just a little bit better, this could have been a perfect movie. But don’t think that last comment is meant to bog this movie down, because it is funny, but it was not as funny as I would have wanted it to be. That’s just me, plus comedy is one of the most subjective things on the face of the Earth, chances are everyone reading this will love the comedy and that’s great. I would love to buy “Toy Story 4” when they release a 4K for it, I think it is up there as one of my favorites of the year, and I am going to give it a 9/10.

I will also point out a few things for those who are curious. There is no short film before this movie, and I would recommend staying for the credits. If you want me to be specific, there are five end credit scenes, and they do something pretty cool with the Pixar logo at the end. Thanks for reading this review! Next week I am going to see the upcoming comedy “Stuber” starring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista. I got passes to an upcoming screening, so look forward to that review very soon. I also want to let everyone know that pretty soon I am going to be releasing a reflection of my first half of 2019 as well as a less than concrete (but also somewhat official) schedule for the second half of the year. It’s going to announce movies I’m potentially going to review, some new, some old, cons I am planning on going to, and a special event that I am going to be releasing at the beginning of 2020. This post will be up very soon, look forward to it! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Toy Story 4?” I’m willing to bet a lot of you did by now, because it is one of the biggest selling movies in the animation genre. Nevertheless, if you saw the movie, what did you think about it? Or, what is the most solid franchise to you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Replicas (2018): Keanu Reeves’ Latest Glitch In the Matrix

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“Replicas” is directed by Jeffery Nachmanoff (Legends, Traitor) and stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Point Break), Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Iron Fist), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie), and John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island, Silver Linings Playbook). This film is about a man who works for a scientific organization and despite some downs here and there, his life is good. That is until he gets into a traffic accident alongside his family. He’s the only one in the car to survive. From this moment, his primary focus is on resurrecting said family through means of science.

Keanu Reeves is one of the best actors working today. He is one of those actors who has allowed me to change my perception towards them in regards to range and talent. I am not saying I hated Keanu Reeves back in the day or anything, but having seen him in “The Matrix,” it was almost hard for me to think of Keanu as anyone else but Neo for a period of time. An occasionally emotionless being who might as well be the heroic equivalent of an Amazon Echo.

USER: Alexa, try to make the first jump.

ALEXA: Whoa.

Then I saw him in “John Wick,” and holy hell that was sick! And at this point, in 2019, I feel like not just myself, but the world, is having Keanu fever. Keanu… Reever? Keanu Feever? Whatever. The point is, Keanu Reeves is arguably more popular and hip than he’s ever been. If you told me back in the day that Keanu Reeves could make another popular trilogy after “The Matrix,” I’d laugh in your face, call you a dirty rotten liar, and steal your most valuable possessions at night.

But today, we are not talking about “John Wick,” partially because I just saw the third movie and reviewed it about a month ago, and the fact that I purchased a Blu-ray from Best Buy of a movie that I for one am well aware, did not get good reviews. But for the sake of reviewing more relevant movies (as in, ones that recently came out) on this blog, I figured I’d buy it and watch it. And unfortunately, it is just about as bad as I heard. Like, what the f*ck?! Why did Keanu Reeves do this? Did he lose a bet or something? Granted, all of the actors in this movie, at least from my perspective, did well with what lackluster material was provided. But this movie felt like it should have gone straight to Syfy or something. I have a feeling that the studio behind “Replicas,” probably would have wanted to put this out on DVD or something, maybe sell the rights to Netflix. But they had Keanu Reeves, who as suggested, is probably a bigger phenomenon right now than the “Baby Shark” song. Maybe Alice Eve had something to do with it, but yeeeaah… Keanu Reeves is the bomb right now.

And sadly, the movie WASTES him! When he’s at work, he’s this serious guy who is insanely focused and has a bond with Thomas Middleditch. In fact, this is shown during one of the first scenes where Keanu is testing out a robot. And when it comes to this robot, he kind of represents the upright position of a homo-sapien, which isn’t a bad design. Granted, some of it looks cliche, maybe a little boring, but it’s at most, serviceable. Although at the same time, maybe even that is a little too generous! Partially because I then saw this robot move, it did not look real! I did not buy it! When it’s trying to gain control, it felt like the movie was losing frames. Movies are traditionally shot in 24 frames per second, when this robot moved, it felt like 12. What is this? Is this a movie? Or is it an online video game on a slightly tolerable PC?

You know what? It’s neither! You know what it is? S*IT!

In fact, that’s not all! Keanu has to figure out a way to revive his family, without getting into certain major consequences. This leads to an enormously off-putting scene where we have to watch him impersonate his family and make up lies. He tells the school his children go to that the kids are now being home-schooled, he’s texting with his daughters’ friends, some of these things just feel like they could work on an “SNL” sketch if the vibe was appropriate, but in a movie that I guess I’m supposed to take somewhat seriously, it just didn’t work for me. I could tell that Keanu really loves his family in this film, but holy crap, some of the things he does is just out of left field.

In fact, as a story, the concept could have potential, but at times it felt awkward, maddening, and sadly, BOOORING. I’d rather watch a YouTube video of some guy in a hotel counting all of the bedbugs in all of the guestrooms! You’ve got uninteresting characters, barely passable pacing, moments that make me as a viewer angry, and a cliche corporate guy who loves money.

It’s really sad how generic some of things in this movie happen to be. Sure, the story is kind of an interesting concept, but you’ve got a standard looking robot that does not come off as great, you’ve got the definition of a “suburban family,” and a lot of the dialogue feels bland and wooden. The testing in this movie kind of reminded me of “Fant4stic” from 2015, BUT WORSE! Granted, I wouldn’t say “Fant4stic” is AS bad as other people say, in my opinion, but knowing some things about this movie and that movie, that is a good comparison. You’ve got your randomly placed together characters, cliche writing, and a couple moments that made me as an audience member feel dumber.

In fact, there is a point where this movie’s “main plot” if you can call it that, gets into full swing, and I think the only interesting thing that happened is when Keanu is with his kids. It’s a warm morning and the kids at one point want one particular breakfast portion and once they’re finished with that, they want another decent breakfast portion. That’s kind of fun and quirky, give me more of that! But no, this movie wants to be boring, and as I write this review, I’m almost having trouble figuring out what to say. Out of all the characters in this movie, barely any of them have a personality. As for those who do have a personality, they are either less than fascinating or ordinary. I think a ragdoll from “Garry’s Mod,” simply lying on the ground on a map could potentially be more compelling of a character than some of these people!

Does the movie know what it wants it be? Probably so. It probably wanted to be this compelling sci-fi flick that could show the power of family and connections. That’s probably what I wanted it to be. But it was nothing except garbage to me, just the honest truth! When the climax arrived, I practically checked out. I didn’t care what would happen to anyone! Everyone could die and I wouldn’t care! The world could mutate or something and everybody would turn into banana splits! I wouldn’t give a damn! For all I know we get a plot twist that the big corporate dude from the beginning of the movie was Jesus Christ in disguise! Why should I even pay attention?! It doesn’t matter! Just let the movie end!

In the end, “Replicas,” which came out in theaters, feels like a carbon copy of a flick that went straight to Syfy. Keanu Reeves, seriously! Are you poor? If you are, I apologize, I’ll send you a Nintendo Switch to keep you entertained, I’ll bring some food, and I’ll organize a GoFundMe page! But why did anyone agree to do this movie? All the actors must have been “Alright, *double clap* paycheck time.” Because this movie is not just the epitome of bad sci-fi, but also a January movie. It bombed at the box office, and it did so for good reason! If you want a good Keanu Reeves movie from this year, go see “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” I’m just glad I could actually say that since I waited until June to check this film out. But no matter what month you check “Replicas” out, you will wish you could die. Given how I would be fine going through the rest of my life not watching this movie again, and finding perhaps one or two minor positives overall, I am gonna give “Replicas” a 1/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that this upcoming weekend is the opening for “Toy Story 4.” I don’t know if I’ll be catching it this weekend, but it is on my to do list for sure. “Toy Story” is one of the best animated franchises out there, and even though I have been petrified for a long time on the thought of “Toy Story 4,” I kind of want to see it the more I hear about it. I don’t have my tickets yet, but I want to get them as soon as possible, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Replicas?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your least favorite Keanu Reeves film? I have not seen em’ all, so I cannot really say “Johnny Mnemonic.” This one is certainly a contender for me. My gosh, my brain cells are literally exiting my body! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Men In Black: International (2019): Thor and Valkyrie Play with Toys

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“Men In Black: International” is directed by F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious, Friday) and stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Creed), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl On the Train), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Rafe Spall (The Big Short, Life of Pi), Les Twins, Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, Love Actually), Liam Neeson (Non-Stop, Cold Pursuit), and Tim Blaney (Muppets Tonight, Guild Wars 2). This film is a spinoff that takes place in the popular “Men In Black” franchise, which would traditionally star Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but this time, as you can assume by the recently mentioned word “spinoff,” the story is diverging away from its usual storytelling methods. Although Frank the Pug is back, which is awesome. This spinoff revolves around agents H and M (coincidence?) as they save the planet from alien-related attacks.

Going into this movie, I had my expectations set somewhere around the middle. I enjoy the “Men In Black” movies. I own the first one on DVD, and I have seen the second and third films as well. When it comes to the second film, I thought it was decent. Just another case of the sequel not surpassing the original, but still a good time. Surprisingly, probably not just for me, but this might surprise a lot of you, of Will Smith’s trilogy, my favorite of them all is “Men In Black 3.” There was one point where I would watch Starz all the time, and throughout the year of 2013, “Men In Black 3” was probably the thing I rewatched the most on that channel. I admired the film for its use of time travel, some of the dialogue, and the surprisingly emotional ending. When I first heard they were doing a “Men In Black” spinoff, I didn’t particularly know what to think. I also remember there once being an idea for a crossover between “21 Jump Street” and “Men In Black.” I have not seen “21 Jump Street,” so I can’t fully give my thoughts on how much sense this idea would make. However, despite my slight apprehensions, which I still had after witnessing the first trailer for “Men In Black: International,” I still went in with some hopes that this movie would be worthy of the franchise name. I will say though, the final trailer, is actually a pretty good piece of marketing. It got me a bit more interested in the movie than I was before.

So, how was the movie? It’s the best “Men In Black” spinoff ever!

It’s also the only one.

Seriously though, how was the movie? It was pretty good. If you ask me, I think “Men In Black: International” has all the ingredients for a cliche, but effective, summer blockbuster. Cool action, witty dialogue, charming characters, neat effects (for the most part), and some nifty concepts here and there. It’s good enough for you to go with a few friends and forget about reality for a couple hours, and then, I dunno, maybe catch on cable one day. And I say that with all seriousness, because it is probably the most “fun” I’ve had in a theater this year. It’s not the best movie of 2019. In fact, there are other “fun” movies that I saw that I would technically consider better than this, but if you if you ask me which movie made me grin like an idiot for most of the runtime in 2019, “Men In Black: International” is certainly a contender.

The “Men In Black” franchise has always seemed to have mastered the art of comedy, and “Men In Black: International” is no exception to this rule. Unfortunately, while Frank the Pug does make a brief appearance in this film, he’s not a critical character. But we do manage to get an equally as awesome comic relief character by the name of Pawny, played by the likable and talented Kumail Nanjiani. His backstory, which is explained during the film, made me care for him, and he had a number of gutbusting lines here and there. Speaking of gutbusters, Pawny’s charisma does suggest that all the other characters are less funny or less interesting, because Chris Hemsworth is the bomb.

My respect for Chris Hemsworth has grown so much over the past few years, even though I hated “Ghostbusters,” even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was not what I wanted it to be, I still had respect for Chris Hemsworth because in general, he makes the idea of being charming the exact opposite of a chore. And when it comes to “Men In Black: International,” I think Hemsworth was one word: charismatic. He had fantastic lines, he truly feels like an expert in his field, maybe a bit of a goofy smart-ass who simultaneously takes his job seriously, and a guy who I would not mind having lunch with. Also, I mentioned the excellence of this film’s comedic elements, and I will certainly link an inside joke involving Hemsworth’s character. If you have ever heard of Marvel or Thor, there is a shot that will have you dying. Prepare for it if you ever see this movie.

Speaking of Hemsworth, I’d say he also had great chemistry with the film’s other lead, Tessa Thompson, but then again, that should not be too surprising since they have worked together before in multiple Marvel films, most notably “Thor: Ragnarok.” In fact, if I had to be honest, I think the duo’s chemistry here in “Men In Black: International” is better than it was in “Thor: Ragnarok,” because I feel the actors’ personalities meshed together when it comes to collective line delivery and interactions. I was able to buy into their partnership, and they worked together quite well.

I also really liked the big gun the marketing revealed at one point. If you remember the final trailer where our main characters test a gun in a desert, that makes for a couple highlights in the film. The gun does not get heavy usage, but it is probably the most admirable weapon in the film, which is saying a lot.

However, like most movies, “Men In Black: International” comes with its imperfections. Like a number of films I have seen recently, this movie suffers from some minor pacing issues, which almost made me lose interest in the story. Also, compared to a couple other “Men In Black” films, this installment feels a tad disposable. I’d watch it again, but I would not call it the holy grail of summer blockbusters. And as mentioned earlier in the post, a lot of the effects worked, but it doesn’t mean all of them did. When the movie started, I got a glimpse at a creature who was in front of young Agent M. It looked like something out of a B-rate “Avatar” film or perhaps live-action “Sonic the Hedgehog,” although, probably much more competent than that. It didn’t look revolting, but absolutely artificial. There was also almost no real threat. While various baddies appear throughout the film, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the most threatening of them all, at least for a period of time, and it almost took me out of the movie. Another aspect I didn’t like is the Lexus product placement, but at the same time, compared to “Hitman: Agent 47” and that film’s relationship with Audi, I can tolerate Lexus in this film by MILES. Pun most certainly intended. Then again, this film had a decent amount of positives to which point, the negatives almost don’t even matter. I had enough fun with “Men In Black: International” that I felt in the zone. Do I want to see another story with Chris Hemsworth or Tessa Thompson? That’s still up for debate from my perspective, but I still managed to enjoy what I saw.

In the end, “Men In Black: International” had me smiling, laughing, and immersed. If there is one aspect of movies that I personally felt has improved since I first started Scene Before in 2016, it is comedy, and movies like “Men In Black: International” support that sentiment. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson make a good team, I enjoyed the humor, and it made me, surprisingly, appreciate a “Men In Black” story that didn’t have Will Smith in it. Although technically speaking, he does appear at one point, I won’t say how. Also, part of me may be wondering however if my positive, “smile on my face” thoughts related to this film, may be due to the collective atmosphere in the theater. Because just about everyone was laughing from one point to the next and the cinema was nearly full. Then again, I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in a full cinema where everyone was laughing and I hated that piece of crap. Part of me wonders if my thoughts as of now, are simply fueled by what the collective vibe must have been. Maybe if I watch the film again, said thoughts could end up changing. But I don’t care, because I’m going to give “Men In Black: International” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that I just recently reached my 300 post mark on Scene Before, so if you want to check it out, click this link! The post involves me going over my complete Blu-ray collection, which features a video I uploaded to YouTube, partially because WordPress would not let me upload it directly. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Men In Black: International?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite “Men In Black” movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Rocketman (2019): Elton John: The Musical

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“Rocketman” is directed by Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle, Bohemian Rhapsody) and stars Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Sing), Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four, Jumper), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Bodyguard), and Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3, Jurassic World). This film is based on a portion of the life of music icon Elton John. It goes over his origins as an artist, as a person, and as someone who eventually must overcome various personal weaknesses or quirks.

I don’t know much about Elton John as an artist, and he’s not the first musician I go to when I need some music to soothe the mood. It’s not to say I hate him, but unlike other artists including AC/DC or Metallica, I just don’t think to myself, “Oh yeah, Elton John! I’ll leave myself on this station for him!” However, going into this movie, I did have some expectations. One of them, specifically the least important expectation, is that it would be better than “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Why? Because “Rocketman” came out the same weekend as that movie, I already saw “King of the Monsters,” and now I unfortunately can’t unsee it. As for other expectations, I did think that “Rocketman” would be rather fun and maybe not as much a downer type of film compared to other music-related biopics. For one thing as an example, unlike the main character of last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie Mercury, Elton John is still alive. It’s not like we’re going to see a movie and feel like it is asking the audience, “Oh, remember him?” I’m not saying I’m bored of the whole “memory” thing, if you remember the movie “Ray,” I thought that was one of the best movies of the 2000’s and it showcased some serious downs of Ray Charles’ life. Even with that being said, I was still expecting this movie to go in a slightly different direction. “Rocketman” from the trailers looked vibrant, immersive, while at the same time, a true escape from reality. After all, one of the movie’s taglines is “Based on a true fantasy.” And I certainly did get a true escape from reality, almost a little too much. “Rocketman” is based on true events, and I know a lot of movies don’t have every detail of accuracy when it comes to basing them on reality. But “Rocketman” went into a direction that I for one did not see coming. The Wikipedia page for “Rocketman” describes the flick as a “biographical musical film.” I was expecting “biographical,” but not “musical.” In fact, this movie’s early attempts at being a musical kind of felt forced. It did become slightly more acceptable and a tad less cringeworthy as time passed, but due to my limited research on the film prior to seeing it, not to mention having certain expectations, this kind of came off as a surprise.

To put this in a short amount of words, if you went into “Rocketman” thinking you’re going to get a glimpse of what happened during Elton John’s life, I must point out that you are in fact going to get that. But it is all surrounded by tons of musical numbers, some of which kind of felt admittedly cringeworthy at first. It almost made me think I accidentally bought tickets for a Disney flick or something! Although that would be kind of amazing because this is rated R. And as the movie went on, the numbers actually almost became the biggest highlight. After all, while I am not a musical guy, one thing I can appreciate about certain musicals is the spectacle, which at times, this movie truly does have. It pulls you into the lively, flashy concerts, and takes an idea that I usually think would not fit in a biopic, but somehow the crew would manage to make it all work.

Also, Taron Egerton as Elton John? Hell yeah. I bought it completely. Definitely one of the best performances of the year so far. But it’s not even summer yet so I cannot confirm or speculate how many awards he’s going to win. And I have a feeling that part of why Egerton may have encapsulated the essential elements of Elton John is because the two have previously interacted with each other. If you remember 2017’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” which to me was a fun, but slightly disposable action flick, Taron Egerton plays the main character. During that film, Elton John made an appearance as himself.

Don’t go breakin’ my heart? More like, “Go breakin’ some bones!”

Does Egerton have a shot at an Oscar from here? I dunno, we’ve still got time to wonder. But much like Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born” from 2018, one of the biggest praises I can give to Taron Egerton is that he does his own singing. I never saw Taron Egerton as a singer, and the fact that he even made the effort to sing on his own is magnificent. Big thumbs up from me!

I also admire the direction that this film tends to go, because the way it starts off, it’s almost glamorous, almost as if I went to see a movie that takes place in a cinematic universe where all the contestants from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” team up to fight crime. Then without going into spoilers, it turns out to be… well, not that. I mentioned that this movie isn’t really the most “downer-like” of biopics, but some serious stuff manages to happen in one overarching part of the story, not to mention other parts of the film. I’m not saying the film is having trouble knowing what it wants to be, in fact, I think the tone in its entirety works for a movie like “Rocketman.” It’s big, it’s exciting, but also at the same time, slightly grounded in some sort of reality here and there. I guess I am not that surprised to see an Elton John film. A lot of famous people will get their own movie if their story can be told while being interesting and profitable. But what I am somewhat surprised by is the fashion in which we managed to get a movie like this. Because for those of you who don’t know, Elton John himself has an executive producer credit for this film. While he didn’t direct or write the film himself, this almost must have been a glimpse back, not just for the audience, but for Elton John more than anyone else. I have seen some of the film’s marketing, but I can’t say I knew everything about it going in, so let me just say, consider my last statement and see how this movie is presented. Trust me.

And I do mean this, “Rocketman” has the flair of Elton John himself, whilst presenting some peaks and valleys from his youth. He had trouble living with his parents, not to mention getting care from both of his parents, especially his father, who is nothing short of a jerkface with an extreme lack of tact.

One last thing, I also really like some of the scenes where Elton John has to present himself and his musical talent to executives. I thought those were some of the better parts of the movie and there’s one scene where an executive just keeps criticizing every music-related choice Elton John is making. It’s kind chuckle-worthy, maybe even funnier than that.

In the end, “Rocketman” is not the best movie of the year, but it probably qualifies as the most interesting. It’s quirky, it has spectacular direction, and a stellar performance by Taron Egerton. It’s no wonder that Egerton likely had John’s blessing, and if they make another movie together, whether it is another “Kingsman” or something completely different, sign me up! I will say however, to me, this is probably going to be a movie that does not have much replay value. A lot of the movie’s standout scenes, at least to me, may make for good YouTube clips, but unless I needed something to watch on a big 4K TV, I probably wouldn’t go straight back to watching “Rocketman” this instant. It’s kind of a one-off, but it’s a good one-off. I’m going to give “Rocketman” a 7/10.

But before we go any further, I do have to bring one thing up, I went to see this movie with my mother and sister, and as far as I know, this is probably the most anticipated my mother in particular has ever been for a film. And she had a ball watching it. In fact, she brought up something I would have never expected to have ever heard from her. She mentioned the movie “brought her back to her childhood.” I don’t talk about my family life much on here, but this came off as a shock to me because my mother, at least when I’m in the room, NEVER gets nostalgic over anything. And out of all the nostalgia bombs arriving in theaters today, there are few, if any, that ever brought my mother back to her youth. I think only exception in my entire life when it comes to this sort of thing would have be 2015’s  “Pixels” because it inspired my mother to play an 80’s playlist. I’m just glad that in this postmodern era of media, it’s not just people like myself who obsess over “Star Wars” or “The Incredibles” can return to the days of being a kid. Even my own mom, who to my knowledge, never tends to go back in time, just experienced time travel.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that I scored a couple of passes to go see “Men In Black: International” next week, which is the first spinoff in the popular “Men In Black” film franchise starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who coincidentally, worked closely together in “Thor: Ragnarok.” I also want to remind you all that if you have not checked it out already, I recently released my 300th post on Scene Before, which is a glance at my Blu-ray collection. It features a YouTube video going over every single solitary copy I own including special editions like 4K, 3D, Steelbook, etc. To view the post, click the link right here! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Rocketman?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite song by Elton John? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): For Godzilla’s Sake, Please Stop!

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“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is directed Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘r Treat) and stars Kyle Chandler (Game Night, Homefront), Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, The Judge), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Intruders), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Get Out), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine, Happy-Go-Lucky), Charles Dance (Alien 3, Game of Thrones), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie), Aisha Hinds (9-1-1, If I Stay), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Long Shot), David Strathairn (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Good Night, and Good Luck), Ken Watanabe (Inception, The Last Samurai), and Zhang Ziyi (Rush Hour 2, Memoirs of a Geisha). This film is the sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla,” where the title character wreaks havoc over the city of San Francisco. 5 years later, this film tries to go bigger. More monsters, more destruction, more big cities, yada yada yada. And we also get emphasis towards Monarch, an organization overseeing these monsters we come across during the film.

The 2014 “Godzilla” film was an interesting experience. The trailers leading up to it were some of the best I have seen in my life. In fact, one of them might actually be my all time favorite trailer for a movie. Then I went to see it on opening weekend at a sold out IMAX theater. I was born ready. This is coming from a guy who up until that point, never sat down to watch a “Godzilla” flick from start to finish. In fact, I knew this going in, they changed the IMAX countdown before the movie to have sound effects from the trailers and Godzilla roaring at the end. It set the mood with ease. The movie was good for a theater experience, and I did manage to check it out once more when it hit premium channels. I also own a DVD copy of it that I once got for Christmas. It’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s a good time.

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As for this sequel, I had a similar relationship going into it. I went into the same theater as I did for 2014’s “Godzilla.” I was a bit excited, not to mention a little bit scared because I managed to hear about some of the film’s reviews before going into it. It was ultimately a mix for critics, but for some reason audiences seem to be loving this thing. And before even entering the cinema, I remember seeing the San Diego Comic-Con trailer and I thought it was one of the best trailers of 2018. And judging by earlier impressions, this movie did manage to market itself pretty well if you ask me. But again, that’s just marketing. Upon watching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” I wanted to perhaps die. In fact, as I write this, I almost don’t have words that I could possibly put into a sentence to describe this movie. And the sad part is, compared to a lot of other bad movies that I’ve witnessed, I have a tendency to go into them and not expect much. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a movie that I was actually really excited for. It looked great, it looked like an epic theater experience (part of it was, but it didn’t make up for tons of weaknesses), and I was just hoping for at the very least, a good popcorn flick. I am not one who would traditionally expect an Oscar-winning script from a movie like this, but I would at least want something where it feels like the writers are trying!

In fact, one thing that I really find to be weird about this movie is that despite how much I went out of it thinking it was a disaster, there were a couple moments that I could end up appreciating. The battle sequences are occasionally fun and look great on the big screen. The CGI monsters were all well designed for the film at hand. And as I would expect, the sound editors and mixers involved with this movie all deserve pats on the back. There are compliments to give, but these compliments are surrounded by tons of negativity.

As for how this movie’s written, I don’t know if someone secretly injected drugs inside of me for the first movie, because while Godzilla wasn’t on screen for that long,  I thought the human characters such as those played by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were at least tolerable. Here, we got a bunch of new characters that we never met in the first movie, and they feel so dumb that they would all need a dictionary to research the definition of the word “dumb.” Yes, there are a lot of big name actors in this movie. You’ve got actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Kyle Chandler, and my first impression of them wasn’t anything that had to do with hating them, but that certainly changed as this movie went on. At first, these characters were believable and I could at least go along for the ride with them. Then during that ride, everyone is infected by a virus, making them go insane, and I am the only person who can BARELY keep himself in control. In fact, despite having all of these well-known actors in this movie, a lot of these characters feel like they could easily be played by someone else. The writing feels stale, robotic, and at times, it almost feels as if this movie does not know what it wants to be.

As much as I liked the first couple of trailers for this movie, specifically the one that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con and another one which came out in December. I still remember watching them and as I look back, they kind of differ in tone. The first trailer was slow, dramatic, majestic, and somewhat serious. Its follow-up manages to be faster in pace, and while there is some serious s*it happening, it lacks the same tone that I managed to get in the first trailer. This movie is like those two trailers, and I probably should have seen that coming. I do have respect for the film not lying about how it is going to present itself, but this is one painful truth to bear. Because the reality is, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” just can’t stick to being one thing. At one moment, it’s about saving the planet, not mention sacrificing what we as humans have created overtime. At another moment, it’s your typical, goofy popcorn flick with cheesy one-liners that are kind of hit or miss. I can imagine myself finding this movie on TV one day, perhaps on HBO or something, maybe watching it if I want to destroy my brain cells, clicking the info button and the description would be “Time to die.”

The only human characters I really ended up liking in the movie are Millie Bobby Brown and Charles Dance, but it has nothing really to do with caring about their actions or their background stories. Millie Bobby Brown just manages to, out of everyone, including the hundreds of adults surrounding her, deliver the best performance in the movie. And Charles Dance just has a spark about him that would make him look good on screen no matter what he’s doing. He’s almost like JK Simmons. Even if he’s wasted, kind of like he was in a movie like “The Accountant,” there is still an appreciable screen presence that he can give. As for everyone else, there’s nothing… truly revolting I guess… But it doesn’t all add up to be masterful. Ken Watanabe’s back? Not enough. Maybe his story stands out, but it does not add up to make a good movie. Somehow, these characters are more forgettable than most of Apple’s terms & services agreement!

As for the monsters, I mentioned they do look cool, and they serve their purpose. One of the small perks that “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” has compared to its predecessor is that Godzilla actually receives more screentime. Unfortunately however, it kind of hits the tipping point. When the movie first starts, we get bits and pieces of Godzilla, but as it goes on, it’s almost like we get an overload of Godzilla. It almost makes me look like a hypocrite since the lack of Godzilla was a major problem of mine with the last movie, but at least what we got tended to work. As soon as we reach the climax of the movie where everything comes together, I’m admiring all of the eye candy present, but then it extends to a point that feels like it overstays its welcome. It’s almost like the movie does not really know when it wants to end.

Even with the presence of spectacular beasts like Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, it just makes me want to punch myself in the face for fun. They look great for a movie like this, and I want to give an enormous shoutout to the VFX artists doing a spectacular job on creating them. I have to say, if I were rating “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” based on technical aspects, it would be a positive grade. Granted, not perfect, because the cinematography is a little off and on. But visual effects do not have to do with the story, which is what matters most when it comes to just about any movie imaginable.

Sticking with compliments however, one of the highlights of the movie is when the camera can show off all of the monsters in full scale. In fact, based on what I’ve seen in trailers, that is an aspect of the movie that didn’t surprise me once I saw the final product on the big screen. There’s an extreme wide showcasing the true monstrosity of Godzilla and King Ghidorah as they gaze upon each other. It almost sends chills down my spine as I think about it. But during the battles, while what I was seeing was cool, it didn’t entirely flow because the camera would just be in a certain angle that was uncomfortable or it would just keep moving. The best way I can describe it is messy. This movie may have a sense of style, at least it is trying to display that, but it can’t always do so in the best possible way.

The first “Godzilla” movie from 2014 is 2 hours and 3 minutes long. It ended up feeling like a movie that would be around that runtime, perhaps less. This one however is 2 hours and 11 minutes long. It honestly felt like 2 and a half hours long, maybe even longer. In other words, I was watching “The Favourite” all over again!

Also, as I was watching this piece of garbage, here’s what I thought to myself. “Holy s*it. Now I see why everyone hates the ‘Transformers’ movies.” While I will consider a few of the Michael Bay-directed “Transformers” movies to be less than satisfactory, I don’t particularly hate the franchise as much as other people. I enjoyed the first film, then again I grew up with it so I could be biased. And I almost enjoy the third film even more! But this movie reminds me of those. The movie is called “Transformers,” we have all of these cool fighting robots, but let’s make the movie about the human characters! Underwhelming scripts for the win! Here, we have a movie called “Godzilla,” and now we have to deal with a s*itty script that may have to do with Godzilla, but it collides with the plethora of human characters that may as just be there to pass time. If I were ten years old and I went to see this movie, I think part of me would be bored!

I know a lot of people will read this review and think about telling me in the comments section, “Hey, Jackass! Godzilla movies are not about brilliant scripts! They’re about the monsters!” Look, guys. If that’s the case, then you can make the same argument for a movie like “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Don’t go in wanting good characters! Go in for the kinky sex! Or what about “Sharknado?” Don’t go in begging for a justifiable plot! Embrace the silly! Listen guys, unless you’re creating some real-life event or there is some other special situation, no movie can exist without a screenplay. Some will be good, and some will be bad. This one was ugly. Is it cheesy? Yes. Some people may expect “Godzilla” movies to have some cheesy lines here and there. But it’s also met with a clashing serious tone. This clash between tones may be a bigger and more brutal fight as opposed to any of the monster action scenes presented on screen! When you treat your movie’s humans as if they are the core characters of the movie and you can’t get me to care about them, and I barely care about the monsters, you’ve done goof. As an aspiring filmmaker and in this case I’ll give a specification, screenwriter, I may be biased, but my case stands. This is especially important when you consider that this movie is in a cinematic universe. The next movie in this lineup is “Godzilla vs. Kong” and part of me is worried for that movie now because the excuse for both monsters to eventually interact could potentially be bulls*it. It could ultimately ruin the entire movie.

Please help me.

And one sad thing about this movie is this. While I probably hate this movie more than any other this year that I’ve witnessed so far. It’s almost an enigma because for one thing, I’m able to find positives, but they are heavily outweighed by a plethora of negatives. Surprisingly, there’s not a moment where I can remember conceptualizing a personal need for Anger Management classes. But based on this movie’s script and my memory of said script, I almost can’t remember feeling any emotion whatsoever, which may almost be worse than getting angry about a movie or its characters. I didn’t care about anyone enough to decide how I truly feel about them. When your movie makes me a robot, even though I cannot process information like a robot, you know your movie is a special kind of crap.

Now I know that I said this movie is surround sound Heaven, but I cannot help but think of a quote one wise man said back in the day.

“What can we do, to encourage people to have more quiet in their lives, more silence? Real revelation comes through silence.” -Fred Rogers

The answer, simple. Show everyone “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” That’s all this movie is. S*it and noise. Nothing more.

In the end, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” broke me. It made me dumber, it made me sum up better ideas for a monster movie script with a friend of mine, and it almost killed all hopes I have for this MonsterVerse Warner Brothers seems to be planning. I know a lot of people had no hope for the DCEU for some time. This is how I feel about this MonsterVerse. And as a sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla,” it tries to go bigger, but the reality is, bigger doesn’t always mean better. It’s like watching “Independence Day: Resurgence” three years later! With lackluster characters, unlikable plot elements, and beyond awful screenwriting, this movie, unlike its titled character, is most certainly no king. Will I go see “Godzilla vs. Kong” when it comes out? Sure, but whatever hype I’ve had for that movie before watching “King of the Monsters” has perhaps dwindled to a level lower than an underground subway tunnel in New York City. Let’s hope my life does not become more miserable than it already is! I’m going to give “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” a 1/10. Yes, there are positives, but again, they are heavily outweighed by tons of crap, and the fact that my brain literally could not function upon leaving the theater. I could probably never watch “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” ever again. If the MonsterVerse becomes as big as the MCU one day and there’s a big movie marathon at a theater, chances are I might end up buying a ticket, but I’d feel fine ditching “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” I’ll probably use that time for a fresh air break or something. Who knows? But the fact is, this movie is a freaking monster. Also, first 1/10 of the year! It had to happen at some point! Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that on June 11th I have plans to see “Men In Black: International” as part of an advance screening held a couple days before the film hits theaters. Be sure to look forward to that review! Also be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Godzilla: King of the Monsters?” What do you think about it? Or, when you see a movie like the one I’m talking about, does the script matter to you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

300TH POST SPECIAL! June 2019 Blu-ray Collection Update!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Well, whaddya know? It’s post 300! If you remember around the time of my 200th post, I did an analysis of my Blu-ray collection. Now we have reached a total of 300 and with that in mind, we have an update to go through. Last Spring we have gone through my ENTIRE Blu-ray collection only to realize… They’re a hell of a drug for me. We live in an era where “Netflix and Chill” seems to be the cool and hip thing to say, but the reality is, I just like the feeling of having something and knowing that a studio or service is not going to take away my right of viewing it after awhile. We live in one hell of a time where everything is at our fingertips, but I’m old fashioned. I’m 19 years old, and I already feel like that old man complaining to my grandchildren about the ways things used to be and that sort of thing.

“Back in my day, we went to this thing called a store, where we bought cases, that you had to pick up with your own hands. And it was like a Tamagotchi, you had to take care of it. You had to store it on shelf space, and when you wanted to watch it, you had to physically maneuver yourself to a media player. And hopefully, the disc wasn’t scratched! Swell times!”

No, seriously, even though I know there is a market for physical media out there, this is the way I feel right now. But who cares? Because it is time to dive into the collection.

Before getting into the collection however, I would like to point out something. This is for my Blu-ray collection ONLY, so while I do own a number of DVDs, they will not count. Blu-ray is my main physical medium, which is part of why I continue to collect it to this day. And yes, this will include 4K discs, because those are technically under the Blu-ray label.

Also, instead of what I did last time, which is simply listing everything I’ve collected, I am making the choice to record a video showing off the collection in detail. I feel like it would provide a more immersive experience instead of me just telling you what I have. Anyway, hope you enjoy the video!

I just want to say, I tried uploading this video directly to this WordPress page, but unfortunately it wouldn’t go through. However, if you want to see more from my YouTube channel (which does not really have much to do with movies), click the link below and subscribe!

YOUTUBE

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Thanks for checking this out, and I will remind everyone that coming soon I have my review for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” which… Oooh boy. That’s gonna be a fun review. Just you wait. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you still buy Blu-rays? Samsung just recently stopped making Blu-ray players, which according to a lot of people, seems to signify *the end of physical media*. I think it has *at least* ways to go, but if that end comes soon, I am gonna be a mess. But hey! This may be worth something one day, so who knows? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!