The Muppets (2011 Movie)

Disney attempts to cash in on the Muppet Franchise and reboots it. There are a lot of call back scenes to the Original Muppet Movie and there is a LOT of group singing and dancing. That cover feels pretty accurate in conveying the tone of the movie.

I enjoyed this movie more than some of the other Muppet stuff but this time I felt that it would have been ok if the Muppets had been left in the past. There were some great comedic schticks (the scenes where Jack Black is tied up on stage and is involuntarily having a comedy duo routine with Fozzy was absolutely priceless) but Disney’s fingerprints were all over this and they were very smudgy and jelly’ish fingerprints, not at all unobtrusive or subtle.

Unlike the Muppets Wizard of Oz, I found the interaction between the humans and the Muppets to be quite believable and once again the Muppets were as much stars as the human cast. That’s how it should be.

I’m going to keep on watching the Muppet oeuvre until the end but it is now completely apparent to me that without Jim Henson’s direct hand, the Muppets aren’t quite all that. Henson made the correct decision to end the tv show on a high point and this continuation of the franchise shows the wisdom of his decision. While fans clamor for more Muppets, they should have trusted Henson’s decision. While Disney is a big fat target for my dislike (what they have done to my beloved Star Wars is unconscionable), fans are as much to blame.

I’d only recommend this to hardcore Muppet Completionists.

The Muppets Wizard of Oz (2005 Movie)

In my April ’22 Roundup & Ramblings post I mentioned that I’d heard this was a really bad Muppet’s movie, possibly the worst ever. After the struggle it was to write the Sherlock Posts I felt it would be a relief to really dig into something and eviscerate it mercilessly.

Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be THAT kind of bad movie. This was exactly in the same vein as Muppets from Space, ie, childish, stupid and not one whit funny. But this was even more vanilla and even more boring than From Space. From Space at least had a few laughs. Wizard of Oz? I don’t think I cracked a smile even once.

Ashanti, playing Dorothy Gale, had ZERO chemistry with the muppets. This was the first movie where every single original Muppeteer was gone (as far as I can tell), so that might have played a part, but it was evident that Ashanti was used to being the center of attention and to diminish that by allowing the Muppets to be the stars was more than she could handle.

There were things that SHOULD have been funny. Miss Piggy as the 4 Witches, each with their own costume and personality, well, it should have been funny. It wasn’t. Like I noted before though, nothing was outright bad. It was just boring as all get out. I usually watch these movies 2-3 times to make sure I’m not missing anything (I watch it the first time to just enjoy it. The second time to get ideas about reviewing and a 3rd if I need clarification on something). With this one, I watched it once and said “good enough” because any more would be interrogating myself enhancedly! and as I’m a bona fida genuina Americhino Citizen, we simply can not have that.

I would only recommend this to a Muppet Completionist. Every one else? Go watch something else, ANYTHING else. If I may make a suggestion? Go watch Tron. Broaden your lumpy modern mind with something classic and good.

Death Note (Movie) (Netflix 2017 Release)

(Sorry BC, I couldn’t wait until next weekend!)

 

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I was discussing Favorites with Book Cupidity and we got on the subject of Death Note. I’ve been a fan of the manga since it was released here in the United States beginning in ’05 and ending in ’07.  2 Live action movies were released in Japan and eventually made their way here to the States. I own those two movies on dvd and I’ll be watching and reviewing them later this week. An anime was created and was just as popular, if not more so, than the manga. A tv show aired for 11 episodes and a third movie was created which took place after the 2 movies ended. I do not believe the tv show or 3rd movie ever made it to Region 1 dvd/bluray/digital. They are available on various torrent sites with subtitles however. I plan on reviewing the 3rd movie as well. So this coming week will be a bit movie focused instead of book focused.

Well, it turns out that Netflix JUST released their own adaptation and BC was saying how she and her hubby were rather underwhelmed. Reviews I saw also lambasted the adaptation. So of course, I had to check it out for myself.

Ok, my first impressions were actually rather positive. Because I have read the manga, watched the original movies and watched the anime, I’ve got a solid grounding. That directly explains why I enjoyed this.

This was truly an adaptation. Much like some of those Pride and Prejudice adaptations. They take the bones of the story and then add their own guts, flesh and skin to it.  If you go into this expecting a hollywood aesthetic telling of the Death Note story, you’ll be disappointed. This is NOT the Death Note of the manga. This takes the idea of the Death Note and some of the characters from the manga and tells its own story.

Light Turner is just a poor schmuck who wants to make the world a better place. By killing criminals. His girlfriend Mia is the twisted one and is willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the killing of criminals going.  L, Light’s supposed nemesis, is an unstable kid who hops around on chairs and eats candy by the handful. And goes completely off the rails near the end. Light’s Dad is a police officer, just a Joe Officer heading a lonely task force by himself trying to find Kira. Kira, by the way, is what Light is calling himself when he kills the criminals.

Teen hormones and angsty’ness [but not really] ensue. Light has one moment of genius and does a whole bunch of stuff right at the end, whereas before he hasn’t exhibited one trace of smartness. Heck, I’m smarter than the Light portrayed in this movie. L is a bad caricature and never proves anything, just rants and then tries to freaking shoot Light! Near and Mello don’t exist in this adaptation I guess. Which means that L’s true fate doesn’t happen here. THAT was disappointing.  The movie ends without ANY resolution. To me, it looks like it was made as a Part I but the studio was hedging their bets by not calling it Part I.

The change of location from Japan to Seattle, from Light and L going from Japanese to a white and black guy and Mia filling in for Misa, I had no problems with. But the change in the characters themselves was what got me. Light went from a Sherlock Holmes genius psychopath willing to use ANYONE to some blubbering, wants to be loved and understood generic American Teenager. L went from the smartest, most idiosyncratic private detective to a kid with replacement daddy-issues. And Mia? She was what Light SHOULD have been. She was the only character worthy of actually having a Death Note. My other big issue is that this went from a mind game between geniuses to a splatterfest. Decapitations of bullies, tyrants exploding gorefully, etc, etc.

The ending was huge mess. If I hadn’t had a thorough grounding in just what the Death Note could do, I would have been completely lost. I definitely would not have liked this if this had been the first incarnation of Death Note that I had seen. As a seasoned connoisseur however, it was refreshing to see someone else’s interpretation, no matter how messy.

To end. This movie sucked on its own. It was disjointed, in execution, in character development and plotting. As an adaptation of something I already liked though, I enjoyed this version.

Recommendation: For Completists Only

/or\

for those who have read the manga AND watched the 2 Japanese live action films and loved them all. If you were so-so about either the manga or the movies, this won’t ignite your interest.

deathnote

 

I’m including my thoughts on the Death Note manga below from when I reviewed them in ’14. Just be aware, they’re as spoilery as anything, as is my tendency.

 

  1. Death Note Vol. 1-3
  2. Death Note Vol. 4-6
  3. Death Note Vol. 7-9
  4. Death Note Vol. 10-12

 

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