Moonfall (2022): A Small, Lifeless Step for All

“Moonfall” is directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) and stars Halle Berry (Catwoman, Extant), Patrick Wilson (The Phantom of the Opera, Watchmen), John Bradley (Game of Thrones, The Brothers Grimsby), Michael Peña (Tower Heist, Ant-Man), Charlie Plummer (Looking for Alaska, Words on Bathroom Walls), Kelly Yu Wenwen (Young Pea, Lost Promise), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, The Undoing). This film is exactly as the title sounds. The moon is falling.

And it sucks. *Ends review*

Okay, okay, there’s more to it than that, but that’s the backbone here. Basically, for some established reason, the moon, which has been circling alongside the Earth for years, goes out of orbit, and decides one day, “Screw everything, I’m gonna kiss the planet goodbye!” So it is up to a few scientists to figure out how to save the earth before the moon destroys all life and civilization as we know it.

Director Roland Emmerich on the set of Columbia Pictures’ 2012. The action film will be released November 13, 2009.

They say that certain filmmakers who have been around in the industry for awhile get attached to their genres or consistencies. For Martin Scorsese, that would be mob movies. For Michael Bay, that would be explosive action movies. For Roland Emmerich, that would be disaster movies. When it comes to this genre, he is no stranger. He’s done movies such as “White House Down,” “2012,” and “Indepndence Day” along with its sequel. I have not seen every single one of these films, but I nevertheless have an expectation when it comes to Roland Emmerich. None of these films are Shakespearean, nor are they a Best Picture contender. When it comes to my expectations for “Moonfall,” I did not walk in the door asking for a whole lot. I just wanted to have fun while the moon crashes the Earth. Sure, you have your humanized storyline, but if you make the characters relatable enough, it will be worthwhile in the end.

“Moonfall” is something I’d rather witness through fiction as opposed to reality. But it does not change the fact that “Moonfall” is one of the worst science fiction films I have seen in a long time.

Although, slight digression, I think getting crushed by a moon would be a cool way to die. And after seeing this movie, I hope one falls sooner than later.

“Moonfall” is what happens when you write a script for Syfy channel original movie and somehow get in touch with someone who promises they’ll put a little more money into it. This movie has big stars, big effects, but a small plot. That is if there even is one. If you go to the Wikipedia page for “Moonfall,” there’s a whole section that is titled “Plot,” which explains everything that happens in the movie. Honestly, I think Wikipedia is being generous. When it comes to “Moonfall,” Roland Emmerich partially financed the film himself. This makes sense, given how he’s probably done well financially due to the success of some of his previous films, and the fact that the script for this movie is probably not as memorable as one or two of his previous films. I’ve seen “Independence Day.” It knew what it was, it did not take itself too seriously, and it was fun for what it was. “Moonfall” is actually so bad that I would have been okay if they killed off all the main characters. Almost none of them are interesting. Some of them are flat out annoyingly written, and whenever I watched JC Bradley’s character, I almost felt bad that he had to take on this role. There were a couple okay lines out of him, but around the halfway point of the movie, I felt like I was watching a high school play written by the robots from “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.” Forced jokes! Lazy lines! It’s cringe all the way to the moon! The screenplay is one small step for man, and one giant leap for the moon to waltz through the stars to end civilization as we know it. Both literally and figuratively.

I will admit, I’m an aspiring screenwriter, and I’m one of those people who doesn’t really have a whole concrete plan on how my scripts go from start to finish. Some of my ideas are made up as they go along, because I want to project the feeling I would have as an audience member who would want to be surprised and see something they haven’t seen before. First off, the concept of the moon falling is not new. I cannot recall it being done in a movie, but I think some of my viewers would know that it was once done in a “Legend of Zelda” game. And even though I never finished the game (which may play into my mediocre time management skills), I think that moon-falling story is better. The point is, the screenplay for “Moonfall” barely feels like it was planned. You can perhaps write a movie with little planning and have it be great, but Roland Emmerich took the film in a haywire, offish, and unexpectedly disastrous direction that left me with my jaw open and my hands over my head. There was a point during the second half of this film, where I simply stopped caring.

I could write something about the characters in this review. But in actuality I don’t feel like I can. There is not a single individual I care about enough to say they were worth watching, as much effort as some of the actors put into their performances. I wonder if any of the actors actually wanted to be in this movie for a single reason other than the paycheck.

You know a movie is bad when you try to think of anything positive to say about the characters, and not only is there almost nothing that comes to mind, but you can’t even remember their name! I don’t think it would be a surprise that I would have to go back to IMDb a couple times and look up a certain character’s name just to include them in the review. But “Moonfall” is a prime example of a movie where I’d have to do that for every character for all the wrong reasons. They’re lucky they’ve got a couple recognizable faces in this like Halle Berry and Michael Peña. If I were doing this review on video, Jeremy Jahns style, I would be in front my green screen yelling at the camera before the next jumpcut, freezing, then turning my head over to my phone to see what I’ve forgotten.

“Moonfall” proves that sometimes bigger isn’t always better. This movie has too many characters that it asks you to latch onto. The script doesn’t serve any of these characters properly. And they’re all directed like this movie was written with intentional 1990s cheese. Yes, “Independence Day” worked in the 1990s. I need “Moonfall” to work in the 2020s. I went into this movie simply wanting the moon to wreak havoc over the earth, and maybe they’ll come up something to make that concept work. Without spoiling anything, the film tries to give some reason as to why everything is happening, but that reason is arguably the biggest insult of the movie. Yes, the “characters” develop and alter, but they do so in a way that made me want to sucker punch my popcorn. This movie honestly would have been better had Roland Emmerich popped out of the screen and cut the off all the heads of everyone in my auditorium. At least in that reality, we’d probably never get to experience the space oddity, and that’s putting it lightly, that is “Moonfall.”

In the end, “Moonfall” is an insult to science fiction. The effects look okay at times, and that may be the one big plus of the film. It could work as a tech demo. There may be one or two lines in the movie that could get a laugh, but by the end of the film I was rolling my eyes way more than I was slapping my knees. It’s crazy to think that in the same weekend we get an epic sci-fi movie, which cost over $150 million, about the moon potentially destroying Earth, where people go up into space to see if they can solve the problem, “Jackass Forever” is the movie that looks like it was made for smart people. Gosh, that was so funny. Aren’t space movies supposedly taken a bit more seriously than guys destroying their balls? I’m not asking for all my space movies to be the same, but I just want them to be good. And clearly Roland Emmerich failed the assignment. I’m going to give “Moonfall” a 2/10.

“Moonfall” is now playing in theaters everywhere, tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed my review for “Moonfall,” be sure to look out for more upcoming reviews including one I’ve got for “Death on the Nile” and another one for “Uncharted.” Also, I want to apologize to everyone who follows my personal account on Instagram. I share my latest posts on the platform, but I completely forgot to do so for one of my recent film reviews, and that is “Belfast.” So for those who have not read that review yet, feel free to do so! If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or a WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Moonfall?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Roland Emmerich film? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Tom & Jerry (2021): Who Shamed Roger Rabbit?

“Tom & Jerry” is directed by Tim Story and stars Chloë Grace Moretz (If I Stay, The Fifth Wave), Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Jexi), Colin Jost (Saturday Night Live, How to be Single), Rob Delaney (Catastrophe, Deadpool 2), and Ken Jeong (The Hangover, The Masked Singer). This film places the iconic cartoon cat and mouse duo in a live-action environment, specifically in New York City. Simultaneously, we follow the character of Kayla, who acquires a job at a fancy hotel, occasionally runs into the two cartoons, and needs to accompany guests for a balls out wedding.

I have never watched the “Tom & Jerry” cartoons as a kid, except maybe once or twice. Therefore, like some other things that have been adapted into live-action like “The Smurfs,” I had little to no connection to it as a child. I know the titular duo always find themselves trying to take each other down, and conceptually, it sounds entertaining. If I were six years old, I could find it to be a solid time-waster. But there’s no real story or plot to it that I can come up with other than the fact that the two creatures do not like each other, as cats and mice probably shouldn’t and they always end up in shambles against one another. This leads me to my first positive of the film, there are a couple entertaining fight sequences. They’re not all memorable or fascinating, but they have glimmers of entertainment throughout. Unfortunately, that is where all the positivity stops.

After all, even though this movie is about two animated rascals trying to beat each other up, that’s not even the whole story. Instead, it is another lame, copypaste, live-action snoozefest that has no substance. I just want to say to everyone reading this who has kids, if you are planning on taking your kid to the theater this weekend, do not watch “Tom & Jerry.” Save yourself from going inside. The kids might have fun, although I will admit, since seeing the movie, I talked with someone I know who has kids and they were apparently bored instantly by the film upon first watching it. Go watch “Raya and the Last Dragon” instead! That film has substance, great characters, laughs, and even though one of the core elements of “Tom & Jerry” are the action sequences, that film manages to have better action! Both in terms of style and story! I have not seen many movies in 2021 so far, but this is currently the worst one of the year for me.

Now, let’s talk about some characters. That’s always a great place to start in a review, right? Well, the movie’s called “Tom & Jerry” so it would only be appropriate to talk about Tom & Jerry first, right?

Nope! This is not their movie! They’re on the title because you know, franchises make money!

Instead, let’s talk about Kayla for a second. How is she a positive role model for children? Sure, maybe throughout the movie she’s taming a cat and mouse, which might translate to some kids being good with pets, but as a person, she is not exactly fine and dandy. She starts off the film by quitting her job, going to a hotel where she runs into a woman trying to apply for another job, manipulates her into not applying, and tries to acquire the job for herself. How is this a teaching moment for children? How do you get to the top? Lying! Unfortunately, Moretz is not the only hairball in this mess. This movie comes with a sadly obnoxious Michael Peña, who very much reminded me of his character in the piece of crap people call “Jexi.” Colin Jost and Pallati Sharva play a rather entitled celebrity couple I almost did not even come close to caring about. Ken Jeong is a chef who is weirdly dynamic and I don’t really remember anything else about him or almost anyone in this movie. Granted, it has been a few weeks since I saw “Tom & Jerry,” but it really goes to show how disposable it is.

Let me just be clear. The cast of this movie has talent. I admittedly have not watched a lot of Chloe Grace Moretz’s work, but I can tell she always commits to her craft. And given the little substance this movie offers, she does her best. Michael Peña unfortunately has followed a trend lately where some of the movies he’s been in that I’ve personally seen are not some of his best, and this is one of them. Colin Jost is consistently funny on “Saturday Night Live,” keeping up with the genius of Weekend Update from one episode to the next. Rob Delaney is an actor whose work I need to follow more often, but he was one of the highlights for me in “Deadpool 2” as the powerless Peter. Ken Jeong is a dynamic personality that will take any project that he is in and improve it by just a sliver, even if it is already great! In fact he was in “Over the Moon,” one of the best animations I have ever seen and my favorite film of last year. While these actors have had better days in terms of performances, much of it has to do with bad writing and perhaps just as awful directing. This movie consistently feels like it is doing the bare minimum to keep kids entertained, but not enough for grown-ups to keep themselves from cringing.

Also I want to address a problem with this film that has been bugging me. I say this as someone who has never had a childhood attachment to “Tom & Jerry.” But this film is not about “Tom & Jerry.” If you take “Tom & Jerry” out, you have a slightly different film with more realistic drama and it is completely centered around the human characters, many of whom I did not give a s*it about. My point is, “Tom & Jerry” comes packed in with a couple of the same problems viewers had with the live-action “Transformers” movies, all of which, and this maybe even includes “The Last Knight,” are more entertaining than whatever this piece of crap happens to be! The film centers around “Tom & Jerry,” the iconic duo known from your childhood days watching cartoons, but they shove in all these forced human storylines just for the sake of going, “Bippity boppity boo! Here’s a movie! It’s not completely in shambles!” And those are not the only flaws this movie comes with, because remember, this is a live-action adaptation of a cartoon. Remember “The Smurfs?” This is basically the exact same thing, only it does not go into multiverse bulls*it and transport Tom & Jerry to earth! Now to be fair, unlike the Smurfs, who hail from their own fantastical village, Tom & Jerry come from more realistic environments, so you can say that they’ve always been on earth. But given how the older material usually strays away from complete realism, the comparison is close enough. You have these two imbeciles, they have their life of brawling each other, and to be fair, that part of the source material seems faithful enough. But they are not the center of the story, it’s f*cking Kayla! Whenever Tom & Jerry show up, they cause trouble, create shenanigans, and show that they really don’t like each other, which given things going on in the movie, is kind of a problem. However, they are not the main characters. Sure, their actions occasionally link to one’s successes or downfalls, but the direction they decided to take this movie in not only feels boring, but also repetitive. We’ve seen this weird creature/human interaction thing done before, but not always to positive results. Although I will admit, last year’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” is one of the delightfully positive exceptions.

Movies like this show that not everything translates to film. “Tom & Jerry” works as a series of animated shorts, not as a big blockbuster epic. And I will admit one of the positives of this film is that it actually is somewhat faithful to its source material. The duo come off like their hand-drawn counterparts, and unlike the live-action “Smurfs” or “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies, they are in 2D and not CGIed to another dimension. And while this is faithful, Tom and Jerry do not talk. I bet this is part of why they put all of these human characters in the film as an attempt to relate to its audience. While there may have been good intentions, they proceeded to bad results. I bring up Tom & Jerry not being able to talk because in a lot of these family movies, you have these characters that are expressive and excited or upbeat. At least communication was not a problem in those other movies. Here, the solution makes for something that lessens a problem, but it still creates another one by making me want to rip my ears and throw them into a trash compactor! Just because this movie comes off looking like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” does not mean it is the next “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.”

In the end, this movie feels like a lazy cash grab, and based on the box office, they certainly happen to be grabbing that cash! “Tom & Jerry” opened to over $14 million domestically, which would be a disappointment by pre-coronavirus standards. But with the current pandemic and Warner Bros. simultaneously releasing new films on HBO Max, that is actually not a bad result. I’m glad the studio is making money, I’m glad the theatres are making money. But I felt like I wasted my money watching this. I felt like I was in a giant mousetrap for the entire runtime! This is a ridiculous, lazy, and uninspired film with some of the worst writing and direction I have seen in recent memory. Some of the fight scenes were entertaining though and I will also leave you with this, there are a couple genuinely funny lines in the film, but sadly I do not even remember them. Save your money, go see “Raya” instead, or find something else to watch on HBO Max. I’m going to give “Tom & Jerry” a 3/10.

I said this to myself before going into “Tom & Jerry,” and that thought has not changed since. I’ve been looking forward a big event featuring two classic characters in the ultimate fight for society. And that fight will be settled… IN “GODZILLA VS. KONG!”

“Tom & Jerry?” I’m sorry, what are you talking about? It was a pass from me before watching the movie, and it is still a pass from me after watching the movie. Although I did see the movie with a friend who admittedly enjoyed himself, so good for him.

“Tom & Jerry” is now playing in theaters wherever they are open and is currently available to watch if you are subscribed to HBO Max.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that my next review is going to be for Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.” I saw the film in IMAX a couple weeks ago, but I have not gotten around to review it, kind of like “Tom & Jerry” due to my commitments with the Jackoff Awards. Also coming soon, I will have my thoughts on “Chaos Walking” starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, so look forward to that!

One more thing, awards season is in full swing, and if you have not done so yet, check out the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards, where one moron awards a ton of movies! Be sure to follow Scene Before with email or WordPress account, also check out the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Tom & Jerry?” What did you think about it? Or, did you watch the “Tom & Jerry” cartoons? What are your thoughts? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Fantasy Island (2020): Fantasy F***ing Island

“Fantasy Island” is directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2, Truth or Dare) and stars Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), Maggie Q, Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare), Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies, Dolphin Tale), Portia Doubleday (Mr. Robot, Carrie), Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley, Fresh Off the Boat), Ryan Hansen (Friday the 13th, Party Down), and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Thunder). This film is based the television series of the same name, and takes place on an island where visitors see their fantasies come to life. However, as time passes, those fantasies lead to nightmares.

If you’re wondering how I spent my Halloween, I did not really do much. I watched “The Simpsons” on FXX, which was airing a Treehouse of Horror marathon, I had more food than usual, and my mother and I hunkered down to watch this disposable film in the living room. I have never been exposed to any previous material related to the “Fantasy Island” IP. I am aware that previous material exists, in fact my mother pointed out some details about the movie that harkens back to older material. Unfortunately, regardless of whatever faithfulness toward older material this film provides, it is not enough to make a good movie.

This film is tonally inconsistent, structurally discombobulated, and all around just forgettable. Without looking them up on IMDb, I cannot tell you almost a single character’s name from memory. This is how bad the movie is.

This movie is an hour and forty-nine minutes long, it did not need to be that long. Honestly, if this movie took out some of the over the top exposition, they could have trimmed the runtime down by like a few minutes, maybe ten. Short and sweet wins the race! “Fantasy Island” shows that there is a fantasy out there for everyone. If your fantasy is to be treated like an idiot while being overexposed, then this is the movie for you. There are barely any scenes where one can appreciate the sound of silence, embrace the visual art of filmmaking. It’s almost like words are being hammered over your head and you have no choice but to stand by and take it.

One of the core aspects of “Fantasy Island” is seeing these different personalities come together. They originate from alternate walks of life, they have separate fantasies, and it is cool to see some of them in action. But this is also where the movie suffers in a way. It is great to see these ideas and personalities mesh together. However, the movie also suffers because you have all these characters with different backgrounds and aspirations, that there is no one tone that defines the final product. Is it supposed to be lively? Depressing? Hardcore? Sensual? You could make an argument that it is all those things in one, but as a result, the movie sort of suffers from an identity problem. It’s just weird having to jump back and forth to see something vastly different every scene. There are even moments where we linger on one character for so long that I forget somebody else in this film even exists.

Let’s talk about the script of “Fantasy Island.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure this was written in crayon. This is an actual line from the movie.

“Oh, I feel just like Jodie Foster in that Jodie Foster movie.”

“Fantasy Island” is a classic for the ages!

The script for “Fantasy Island” comes off as a punishment for those who ever thought of paying money to see it. There is almost nothing noteworthy about this film. It is a sorry excuse of a script. Not one character will be remembered, not one line stands out as iconic, not one idea feels bold. All around, it feels lazy. It’s almost as if Sony wanted to make this movie so bad they didn’t care how many drafts the script took. It’s colossally terrible! The movie is from the horror-based studio, Blumhouse. And naturally, they took the iconic property of “Fantasy Island” with an intention of fitting in a horror twist. But it doesn’t come off that way. The film is not that scary! If anything, it’s more hilarious than it is terrifying!

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“Fantasy f*cking island.” -Brax Weaver

Me too brother. I feel the same way. How did we get here?

I saw a lot of movies in 2018, and one movie that came out that year is “Truth or Dare,” another Blumhouse production. I missed that film, and I still have not seen it to this day. In fact part of me is glad I still have not seen it as it has received mostly negative reviews and has garnered a 5.2/10 on IMDb. Turns out that “Fantasy Island” is from the same director, writer, producer, and has even brought back Lucy Hale as a cast member for this film. Have we learned nothing?

Wait… “Truth or Dare” almost made a $100 million on a small budget?

“Truth or Dare” is getting a sequel?

Take me to FANTASY. F*CKING. ISLAND.

Unlike some other bad movies I have seen this year though, “Fantasy Island” has one advantage compared to its competition. I watched this film alongside my mother, and we had no regrets. This is the kind of film that if you want to get flat out wasted while watching, I would not object, because it definitely has that vibe. So if you invite your friends to your fantasy island to watch the disaster known as “Fantasy Island,” I can guarantee you all will be on Fantasy f*cking Island.

I said earlier in this review that not one character will be remembered. While I still sort of stand by that, I will say one of my big wonders for this film, is how the casting for JD and Brax came to fruition. Because I watched this movie and I don’t know if this was coincidental, it’s like looking at Bill and Ted, except that Bill and Ted had genuine charisma and chemistry. I did not watch this in the theater so thankfully I got to shout as loud as I want, but every other scene I would say something like “Duuuude” or “Excellent!” They feel like carbon copies of a much more compelling duo! Some of their dialogue represents that too!

Speaking of casting, this movie originally offered the role of Mr. Roarke, which ultimately went to Michael Peña, to Nicolas Cage.

Have you seen his resume in recent years? Also, Cage! You made a mistake! If they got Nicolas Cage, I would argue that this could have been the greatest bad movie ever made. I could just imagine the zaniness all over! What a missed opportunity! Michael Peña does what he can here, and I could tell that he is giving it his all, but his performance does not hide some recent complaints. Overexplaining, too much reliance on dialogue, and horrible writing. I can also imagine the direction in this film.

“Quiet on set! Lucy Hale, explain everything to the audience like they don’t have brains! Take 57! Action!”

Did I mention one of the three guys who wrote this movie, Jeff Wadlow, also has a screenplay credit for “Bloodshot?” I did not review that film, mainly due to a lack of motivation, but I am getting concerned for Wadlow’s life choices.

I will also say, one thing that is different about this movie compared to a few other bad films this year is that when it comes to a recent bad movie I saw, specifically “The Hunt,” is that I felt more emotionally attached to the film upon leaving it. By that I mean I felt complete and total anger, but I still felt something. “Fantasy Island” did not really let me feel much of anything. Yes, I was shouting at the screen, laughing, maybe getting a little angry here and there. However, upon leaving the film I started to forget about it. All my emotions separated from my head and went to its own little island. That can be a good thing because “Fantasy Island” is not a good movie, and the sooner I can forget about it, the better. But it also shows that there is no lasting impact. “The Hunt” made me genuinely fill myself with rage, and that was kind of the point of the film at times. “Fantasy Island” tries to be entertaining and scary, but fails at every step of the way. As a result, we have a forgettable mess.

In the end, “Fantasy Island” is a major waste of valuable time. You can probably watch this movie if you’re drunk. But I would rather preserve my liver. The cast, while somewhat competent, are all wasted. Not one person in this schlock added anything of value. All that happened to added were endless streams of exposition. At one moment this movie is a poppy wonderland, the next moment we’re at war, the next moment we’re having date night, it’s just a lot happening at once. The movie has too many characters that all feel disposable. These tones would be fine if the characters were fine. However, that’s not the case. I’m going to give “Fantasy f*cking Island” a 2/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I am hoping to get back to the theater sometime soon to watch something new. The past couple films I reviewed were stuff I watched at home, but if I have time, maybe I’ll check something out like “The Empty Man,” “Come Play,” or “Synchronic.” I will say though, the film I am looking forward to this month more than any other is another Blumhouse production, and that is “Freaky” starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn. It’s a horror twist on “Freaky Friday.” They just had an early screening in my area, but I did not go as I was watching “Alita: Battle Angel” at the AMC that night. Such a good movie. I will be sure to buy a ticket, watch the movie, and share my thoughts with you all. I think this is going to be absolute fun. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Fantasy Island?” What did you think about it? Or, what did you do for Halloween 2020? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Jexi (2019): Smartphony

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“Jexi” is directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who also co-wrote the movie together. This film stars Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Love, Simon), Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), and Rose Byrne (Damages, Neighbors) in a story about a guy who is too attached to his phone. The main character of Phil uses his phone which has this voice control service named Jexi, pretty similar to Siri, Google, Alexa, or Cortana if that’s still a thing. The film eventually arrives at a point where it is established that the phone is controlling Phil’s life, perhaps in an abusive manner. So, basically imagine if Siri became HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Going into “Jexi,” I honestly had little to no hopes for this movie whatsoever. I watched the trailer before going in and even though it put a slight smile on my face for one moment, I thought this movie was just going to plain suck. But at the same time, the plot can resonate with society today, so maybe it could be a fine allegory for how much we as people rely on our phones. Once they’re in our sights, or in our hands, we’re hooked. This point is emphasized at the very beginning of the film. The main character enjoys playing on his phone, he uses it as an alarm clock, he uses it as a calendar, and when it falls when accidentally bumping into someone, he tends to attach more value onto the device than other people. So when Phil’s phone breaks, I as an audience member got a sense that this incident sort of ruined his life.

Speaking of ruining lives, I think my life has officially been tossed to the ground, shattered, stepped on, and in need of repair at the Geek Squad. This movie… I don’t even know what to say except… WOW. This was one of my least anticipated films I have seen all year, and I honestly can’t say it’s the worst I’ve seen this year. But… To call this movie Shakespeare would be impractical to unimaginable degrees. F*ck! This! Movie! I mean… Seriously! I still don’t even know how to describe what just happened! My head is spinning as I write this! If I had to be honest, out of all the movies I have seen this year, aside from John Travolta’s “The Fanatic,” this is definitely the one that I will remember as that “so bad it’s good” type of film. Because a lot of elements are inserted to make something interesting, but it’s funny for the wrong reasons. Granted, this is a comedy, and the job of a comedy is to make me laugh. I cannot say I was happy with myself for laughing because I felt like what I was watching could have been written by Patrick Star from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Without spoiling anything, here are my main thoughts on this movie’s BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END… In separate paragraphs.

BEGINNING:
The first act provides a fine sense of where this movie will eventually go. It establishes our society’s insatiable hankering for smartphones. The humor is a little bit mixed, but when it’s bad, it easily messes with my brain. Most of the standout moments and lines, kind of to my surprise, come from the AI. BUT THE MAIN CHARACTER IS STUPID.

MIDDLE:
Alright, this part is not too bad. I think the chemistry between the main character and his love interest is a tad off. Although wait a minute… DID THEIR CHEMISTRY JUST CLICK?! WHAT AM I WATCHING?! Also… That phone is starting to annoy me a bit.

END:
Never thought I’d say this, but “Jexi” has somehow built itself up pretty well. I’m somewhat irritated by the movie, but I do think it is funny at times, maybe for reasons I can’t live with, but things seemed to have moved in the right direc–wait wait wait! WHAT?! NO! F*ck this s*it! I’m done! I can’t! Why is this happening? This makes no sense!

As of this point, “Jexi” has tarnished my soul and made me feel somewhat insignificant.

As mentioned, THE MAIN CHARACTER IS STUPID. Granted, that is kind of the point of the movie. I guess Phil is supposed to represent the stereotype of a phone addict. Phil uses his phone to control pretty much every aspect of his life. He’s that kind of person who would work at a job for a good portion of time and still try to ask his phone what the fastest route to work is. Granted, he is in a major city so it’s not completely nonsensical, but it still feels weird! Also, when Phil first gets a phone with Jexi on it, he needs to agree to various terms and conditions. You know how a lot of people join something new without reading the obnoxiously long terms and conditions? There’s this joke where Phil just blindly accepts whatever is in front of him. It takes some time for him to want to switch to a new phone. He’s incredibly petrified given his recent situation and just takes whatever phone is given to him. There’s no process as to how he manages to get a phone, he just takes one and walks away. So he gets a new phone, which also has Jexi on it. He’s given the terms and conditions again. And just like last time, he doesn’t read through them! WHAT ARE YOU STUPID?! I’m pretty sure in a situation like this, that MIGHT have something to do with what’s happening here! It sounds absurd, but I think Captain Obvious whispered in my ear as this movie went on! As I expected, this leads to Jexi eventually activating herself and recognizing Phil. And then I had to suffer through the rest of this crap!

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I will give credit to Jexi though for being a proper definition of what a crazy AI on a phone could be. It follows you around, it’s with you forever, and it has all of your information to use against you. In fact, Jexi is voiced by Rose Byrne and she is PERFECT in her role. There is not a moment where this felt like I wasn’t listening to a phone robot. Well done!

Although one of the more interesting characters in the film, even though she is part of an off and on marathon of interactions is Cate. The reason why I find her so interesting is because she is not attached any electronic devices. She mentions at one point that she used to be about that sort of life, but she gave up and decided to focus more on reality. I for one went in the opposite direction, where I gave up on reality for a greater dive into social media. It does make me wonder though, is it worth talking to a bunch of people I don’t know? Because there’s a high chance that I won’t meet everyone I talk to online, so do we have real relationships? It is a question worth considering.

Although aside from Phil, there are two characters in this movie I hate with a burning passion. One of them is Denice, who happens to be working at a phone store Phil makes multiple trips to during the movie. As I saw her in multiple scenes, I just had to ask. WHY is she here? She should be fired! For all I know she could be one of the higher-ups there, but wouldn’t somebody call, USING A PHONE THEY PROBABLY BOUGHT FROM THE STORE, to complain about their experience to the corporate office or something? I am just dumbfounded! How did she get a job working at a phone store, if she is making fun of a target demographic for the smartphone industry? Is it supposed to be played for laughs? I guess. But in reality, this does not make sense! It’s like if I applied for a job at Amazon and I made fun of everybody who chose the fastest shipping options. I would not be the prime pick for them!

Speaking of terrible work environments and people in them, let’s talk about Phil’s boss in this movie. Phil works at this company that may as well have been created because maybe the writers could not use the name BuzzFeed. Essentially, it is a bunch of people’s jobs, including Phil’s, to come up with random click-bait type lists that will go viral for like a day until they create a new one that also might last for a day in terms of popularity. Phil’s boss is played by Michael Peña, who isn’t really as much of a dick as say Kevin Spacey from “Horrible Bosses,” or… well, Kevin Spacey, but he’s just annoying. There’s this gag where people have to drop beats to let him move away from a certain area and it made me want to beat myself in the face.

But the absolute worst thing about this movie is the ending. I talked about it a little bit, but I need to dive a little deeper because… F*CK! A lot of what happens with Jexi in this film may be rather supernatural or unrealistic to a certain standard, but I was still able to let it slide because at times, it was funny. Then we get to the ending. The big… fat… ending, where all hell and its fiendish minions break loose. I will not go into much detail, but something truly significant happens during the ending, that would probably work if it were a nightmare heavily involving technology, but if it were put into reality, it would come off as insane. I’m still flabbergasted, I’m still a little hurt, and this was ultimately the biggest turnoff that I can point out in “Jexi” because the second act seemed to have sparked a slight sense of improvement in the movie, and all of a sudden, this s*it happens. It just goes to show, a bad ending can ruin a good movie. Granted, “Jexi” was average at best before this, but this was a huge downfall. At least it’s only 84 minutes! …Well, 84 minutes of doom.

“OK Google, set a reminder on my calendar for every day for the rest of civilization to never watch Jexi again.”

In the end, “Jexi” tries to be hilarious, but just manages to be a defect of a movie. I’d rather be stuck in the woods with no bars on my phone, holding a 5% charge, and have a high possibility of being eaten by a bear than watch “Jexi” again. Maybe if I’m 21 and happen to be drunk, I’d slap it on the TV and see what happens. Maybe I’d laugh my ass off, because this is not just a bad movie, it’s occasionally got that so bad it’s good vibe. It has a lot of aspects worth questioning, both for good and bad reasons. And with that notion in mind, it could make the movie watchable. But in all seriousness, I’m going to give “Jexi” a 3/10. One last thing, I know this movie was probably never supposed to be a standout for its technical aspects, but the cinematography was SO OFF-PUTTING at times. There are multiple scenes where the cinematographer or the director just had this fetish to zoom in or out on something. This almost reminded of why I don’t watch shows like “The Office.” The camera is always in motion, it feels kind of uncomfortable. Just… “Jexi” can suck it.

Thanks for reading my totally objective and not at all opinionated review. This movie somehow managed to turn out better than I originally thought it would, but that must not say much at all, because I thought this could have been the worst movie of the year. Turns out it’s just… another bad flick. And speaking of movies where phones happen to be possessed, I will have another review up this week, specifically for the new movie “Countdown.” I just got to see it at an advance screening last Thursday, and I have some things to say about it. Be sure to look out for that review, and if you want to be notified of said review, please follow Scene Before either with an email if you want to get news about my blog in your inbox, or with a WordPress account to like or comment and get informed about the latest at Scene Before through your very own WordPress feed! Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Jexi?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite voice control AI? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019): Dumb Dora Is So Dumb…

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“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is directed by James Bobin (The Muppets, Alice Through the Looking Glass) and stars Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, Instant Family), Eugenio Derbez (How to Be a Latin Lover, Overboard), Michael Peña (Ant-Man, End of Watch), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives, The Sentinel), and Danny Trejo (Machete, Spy Kids). This film is based on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Dora the Explorer,” where a young girl and her monkey companion, Boots, go on adventures together, sing, encounter obstacles, including a fox named Swiper (played here by Benicio Del Toro). All the while, there are fourth wall breaks that involve encouraging children to talk to the screen, occasionally in Spanish. In this film, we get to know Dora as a teenager who lives in the jungle, but she recently learns she has to adapt to a more urbanized lifestyle and go to high school. This eventually leads to an adventure with her newfound friends and her cousin, Diego.

I was born at the tail end of the 1990s, I was raised through the 2000s. It was perhaps inevitable that “Dora the Explorer” would be a part of my childhood in some way, shape, or form. Granted, it was not my goto program at the time. That was more of my sister’s thing, but I did have some interest here and there at the very least. Therefore, I would say, while not calling it the epitome of my nostalgic roots, it did sort of fit somewhere into some of my more prominent childhood memories and experiences. So when I saw the trailers for this film, and granted, even before that, when I was hearing news about this film’s production, part of me was even wondering how it was getting made. Yes, “Dora” is an iconic IP and it does well with children, but I honestly wondered how this could even work as a film. Granted, upon seeing updates, I would say the crew got some things right. They did cast an OK Dora and she looked pretty similar to her cartoon counterpart. But I gotta be honest, the trailers did nothing for me. It all felt like a warning sign for the death of my childhood. And ultimately, that’s what this movie kind of is. It took something I knew from my childhood and split its head open.

Remember “Transformers?” Remember “The Smurfs?” Remember “Alvin and the Chipmunks?” None of those IPs were ever a part of my life before I watched their live-action film adaptations. Therefore when I first checked them out, I never had a part of my life affected. I never felt offended through a link to nostalgia by these types of films. I did however feel offended as to how bad “The Smurfs” turned out, but still. “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” was a movie where I knew the source material behind it, so basically I was taking a trip back in time. And this is sort of what the movie felt like at times. There are tons of homages to the original material, there are a couple fourth wall breaks, and some of the songs that they use in the movie are from the TV show. But let me just say this, there are certain parts of the show, core elements in fact, where I look back on them, I somehow cringe. The theme song is fitting, but catchy to the point that I would rather listen to “Baby Shark” or some other crap. As an adult, it is somewhat weird to go back to such a phase of my childhood where I was learning Spanish from a girl who doesn’t even use a map by herself. This is why when Dora would break the fourth wall, I would cringe and put my head in my large popcorn bucket! Granted, this is somewhat more adult-friendly than the cartoon, but nevertheless, the movie’s pretty stinkin’ cringeworthy!

It’s almost like “Batman & Robin” merged together with a Michael Bay movie. Between the stale humor and one-dimensional characters, that sort of statement makes sense. In fact, what adds even more sense into the mix is that when this movie was in development, news sites have reported about Michael Bay’s involvement.

None of this is true, by the way.

However, this film was directed by James Bobin, who has some other family-oriented entertainment on his resume including 2011’s “The Muppets,” its 2014 sequel, “Muppets: Most Wanted,” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Now collective reactions would suggest that Bobin didn’t stick the landing 100% of the time, but nevertheless, he’s at least had experience. And to be fair, I saw “Muppets: Most Wanted” back in 2014, directed by Bobin, and I was impressed with what I saw. It was wacky, hilarious, and fun. I’ll give credit to Bobin because I think he did the best he could with the directing job. The movie is upbeat, has a quick pace, and it never feels like anyone has an off performance. Sadly, when you put the script into play, that’s a different story. While the film is a homage to the source material, it doesn’t mean it comes off as compelling or interesting. I will say, the script does have some excellent lines from Dora’s character that make her look like an absolute savage. Dora in this movie at times is almost like a female Sheldon Cooper, it’s bonkers! But aside from a few funny lines here and there, the script does nothing to justify its existence. I buy into the plot for the most part, I think as far as the story itself goes, there are barely any problematic complaints I could make. But various characters we get to know throughout the film feel like they have no chemistry. I’ll also mention that some characters have unearned moments I won’t get into.

Sure, I just mentioned the movie can be funny. But it doesn’t mean it’s always funny, in some cases, it’s really freaking annoying! There’s this one joke where Michael Peña talks to Dora about city life, which leads him to bringing up the concept of dancing. This leads to an explanation of the music they play during community dances where a DJ tends to get involved, and the joke becomes as old as dirt because Peña’s character won’t stop rambling about the subject matter! We get it! Move on! Stop torturing me!

By the way, this movie establishes that Dora likes to sing. Ultimately, this isn’t surprising. After all, there’s a ton of singing in the cartoon. In this movie, Dora sings… A LOT, and it gets annoying. Not only does she take part in singing songs from the cartoon that certain frequent viewers have come to recognize over the years, but there is also this one song that is shown in the movie. Guess what it’s about? Well, what do kids think is the ultimate joke in comedy? Poop jokes of course! There is a song in this movie about taking dumps! Holy s*it! No pun intended! This… I want to–My brain–…Just freaking kill me! This movie sucks! OK? This takes a lack of intelligence to a whole new level! GAH!

And this brings me to something that this movie has in common with a movie like “The Smurfs.” “Dora the Explorer” has always taken place in a somewhat fantastical setting, but we never really see her in a world that comes off as realistic. The original source material for “The Smurfs” has been the same way, but in the live-action movie Sony made in 2011, it was decided that they would come to our world, making New York City the epicenter of the entire film. Seeing “The Smurfs” interact with normal people in New York, including Neil Patrick Harris, was off-putting to say the least. In this movie, I kind of got a similar vibe. Dora states she’s from “the jungle,” a jungle which according to this movie, is still on Earth. But her interactions with fellow high schoolers and others are kind of weird and full of cringe at times. But hey! If the kids like it, why change it?

Because then the movie will be smart? Bah! Screw that!

Although I will say, there was one interesting moment of the movie that was sort of a homage to the original material that I dug. It was kind of weird, but also intriguing. I won’t go into it, but if you have seen the movie “Booksmart” and know about the scene where the two main girls have to climb a bureau, this reminded me a little bit of that. It’s wacky, but it’s also a tribute to what “Dora” followers have come to recognize over the years. It doesn’t make up for the rest of crap this movie makes me go through, but it’s there.

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There’s a scene where Swiper’s pretty badass. The movie’s got that going for it. But what else? What have we done to deserve this filth?!

In the end, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” put me in what I like to call a “torture chamber of my childhood.” “Dora the Explorer” was not my goto show as a child, but this movie did take me back to my childhood. Doesn’t mean it didn’t sully my childhood at times! I think the cast did the best they could, I think the direction was somewhat tolerable, but the screenplay is less than satisfactory, the singing got on my nerves at times, and there are a couple of moments where I almost dozed off due to near boredom. I may not be in the right demographic for a film like this, but it doesn’t mean I cannot judge the film the way I see it. And the way I see it, would not happen to be through the best lens. I’m going to give “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! This weekend is the release of “It: Chapter Two,” I’m hoping to see it before the end of Sunday, but only time will tell as to whether or not I get around to such a thing. If you want to see more of my content, consider following Scene Before through an email or WordPress account, or even checking out the Scene Before Facebook page! Or, just browse for free! I don’t care, it’s your life. You do you. I want to know, did you see “Dora and the Lost City of Gold?” What did you think about it? Or, did you ever watch “Dora the Explorer?” Were you a young child? A parent? A critic? Whoever you may be, tell me your thoughts on the series! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Mule (2018): Clint Eastwood’s Second Disappointment of 2018

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“The Mule” is directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Sully) and stars himself alongside Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy, A Star Is Born), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Michael Peña (American Hustle, Crash), Dianne Wiest (Life in Pieces, Law & Order), and Andy Garcia (Geostorm, Ocean’s Eleven). This movie is based on a true story and an article from The New York Time called “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” It’s a about a guy by the name of Earl Stone, who is a war veteran, and he claims that he made the mistake of putting work before family. He missed a couple of important events, he cared for his plants more than his children, and he seems to be always doing something that will keep him from his family. Throughout the film, we see Stone trying to get cash for transporting loads on his truck under the responsibility of a Mexican drug cartel.

I haven’t seen much of Clint Eastwood’s work. As a film buff, or at least that’s what I like to call myself, part of me is slightly surprised that I have not looked into more of his stuff. I have seen “Sully,” “The 15:17 to Paris,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Now that “The Mule” is in cinemas everywhere, it allows me to dive deeper into seeing how talented Clint Eastwood really is, not only as an actor, but as a director. What I’ve seen from him acting-wise is pretty serviceable, including what I’ve seen from him in this movie. However, thus far, I have seen him direct competently, but there are other directors I prefer compared to him. I much prefer the work of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Memento), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs), and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land). While this is at times, a nice looking, and rather well done film from a technical and acting perspective, the fact is that I was honestly disappointed.

When I saw “The 15:17 To Paris” this year, I felt the same way as I do now. Clint Eastwood is a household name in Hollywood. But throughout a portion of the year, a part of me thought that was just Eastwood’s appetizer to get to the real film he wants to tackle in 2018. After all, the movie was released in February, which is one of the dumpster fire months for movies, so there’s a good chance that either the studio or Eastwood himself may have been dissatisfied over the outcome of what eventually became “The 15:17 To Paris.” The good news was that this was not the only film to be released in 2018 that is directed by Clint Eastwood. Maybe “The Mule” would be better than “The 15:17 To Paris.” Well, it was, but that’s not saying much because, again, I was disappointed.

Let’s talk about Clint Eastwood in this film, he does a good job performance-wise, but when it comes to his character, I have mixed thoughts about him. I can understand the way he felt at certain times. The way the character manages to develop is also charming. But there are certain qualities attached to him that are kind of off-putting. He would occasionally tell people they are stupid for using cell phones and the Internet, and there’s actually a scene that makes him come off as a less likable version of Hugh Hefner. I say that because Clint Eastwood is in his eighties, he’s playing a character around his age range. There’s a scene where we see him with some chicks in a bedroom, they’re all seducing him and removing his clothes, it’s not traditionally something that I would pay to see. Granted, “The Mule” is not a family movie, and I never asked for it to be. But I can’t recall the last time I said, I’m gonna go see Clint Eastwood f*ck someone twice as young as him. I also will say, age is just a number, and I’m not against someone dating a person much younger or older than them as long as it makes both partners of the relationship happy, but seeing an eighty-something year old Clint Eastwood engaging in sexual behavior with women that are much younger then him is not even close to my cup of tea. I don’t hate sex in movies, and this is based on a true story, so it could be worse, but it is cringeworthy as an idea.

I will say, despite my gripes with Eastwood’s character, I wouldn’t consider him the worst character in the movie, because a good portion of the film involves us as an audience getting a glance at the DEA investigators played by Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, and Laurence Fishburne. I really didn’t care for any of these people. After all, the only time I legit gave a flying f*ck about them was towards the end of the movie. Oh yeah, I even completely forgot Laurence Fishburne’s character was even in the movie! Why are we here?!

This movie seems to pack in the moral that family is more important than work. It seems to suggest that being a part of a group of people you are attached to by relation is more important than being famous or busy. I will say, as a freshman in college, I did not choose to be busy for five days a week, other classmates who got to submit class choices before me did. But that’s not the point, my biggest wonder about the film is if Clint Eastwood has ever applied this moral that he seems to be hammering in towards his daily life. Granted, Eastwood did not write “The Mule” or the source material which it is based on, so therefore it cannot completely be his vision, but I wonder if someone as famous as Eastwood has been through his life making a similar mistake to this movie’s main character. Part of me wonders if Eastwood even relates to him. The regret of not seeing your family as much as one would desire can make for a compelling character, but the thing about Clint Eastwood is that he is such a famous actor and director. Not to mention he’s cheated many times. Granted, things are not as always as they seem, people change, and Eastwood is portraying a “character,” not himself. Nevertheless, despite a fine performance, part of me doesn’t completely buy Eastwood as his character.

I will say though, while I may be bashing this movie a little bit, one of the biggest positives I will point out is that there is one scene, I won’t specify, that has to do with death. It shows how people come together in a time of need, the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen when you’re going to die, not to mention the fear of dying itself. That is the best part of the movie and is probably the part I’ll admire the most as I reflect on “The Mule.”

In the end, “The Mule” is yet another dissatisfying attempt at a film from Clint Eastwood this year. I was talking with some family members as the year was coming to a close, and there are a few people I know who were anticipating and excited for “The Mule” to come out. I don’t know how many of them saw the movie by now, but in all seriousness, I don’t think got much good out of seeing “The Mule.” It’s not the worst movie of the year, not even close to be completely honest, but for a movie with Eastwood’s name on it, it seems that there could have been a lot more delivered to provide satisfaction than what was given to me as an audience member. I will say though, the acting is five times better than “The 15:17 To Paris” so that’s a plus! I’m gonna give “The 15:17 To Paris” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review, pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Instant Family,” a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and from the same director who did “Daddy’s Home,” also starring Mark Wahlberg. Also, after I finish that review, be sure to stay tuned for my top 10 BEST movies of 2018 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2018! I will also say that the Golden Globes are on this Sunday, so if you want to see me talk about them, I might do a recap, but if I don’t, there’s a high chance I’ll be livetweeting throughout the show. To see my potential livetweets to the Golden Globes this Sunday, follow me on Twitter at @JackDrees, and feel free to hit the notification bell if you want Golden Globes tweets shoved right in your face. 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 “The Mule?” What did you think about it? Or, since Clint Eastwood has worked on both “The 15:17 To Paris” and “The Mule,” which of these two movies do you prefer? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!