Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Saw This!! More Mythical

Monsters University, 2013, Dan Scanlon -- download
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, 2013, Harald Zwart -- download
Odd Thomas, 2013, Stephen Sommers -- download

I just have to clean some out.

Monsters University was a disappointment, but only in that it was not as good as the first, typical of sequelitis. I love the first, being both a buddy movie, a work movie and an incredibly creative exposure of the monsters under the beds. Everything about it is brilliant, from chameleon villain Steve Buscemi to John Goodman playing off oddball (*rimshot*) Billy Crystal, as best pals and workmates. It added "kitty!!" to my lexicon.

The followup is by the numbers, well done but just too typical. You cannot fault it for anything in particular as it is a good use of the frat boy micro-genre (really, are there any other current examples?) to explore the pasts of favourite characters. But it doesn't do anything new with the old story that people my age are familiar with. I hate when animated movies are just done for the kids who will buy the franchise, but this seemed to be the purpose for this entry. Glad I didn't waste my money on it.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is the beginning of a series, thus the use of a colon. I think people believe that by adding in the colon between franchise titles, they are going to reclaim the throne left empty by Harry Potter. The Hobbit had to do it, purely because... well, you know why. Potter did it well because it was always Harry Potter and the... That just works. This one just seems wonky, as if they are trying to convince us of how great this new mystical creatures teen romance story is already great. It doesn't work for me.

The movie itself is not so bad. Surprisingly, I wasn't as annoyed by the goo-goo eyes being made between characters and was actually impressed they tossed a gay man into the love triangle. The world itself is interesting, more like the plot of a 90s RPG from the White Wolf Vampire series, but that is as far as it goes. Interesting. Nothing here is very startling, the plot very familiar the special effects as well as can be expected. I think the whole franchise would be better suited to TV than movies and I doubt we will see another.

P.S. It was about half-demons fighting half-angels and a destiny being revealed to a young girl.

Speaking of destinies, if you are going to add teenage angst to the mix of having a mystical destiny, then Odd Thomas is the way to go about it. This is an odd movie, excuse the pun, and also the introductory entry to a franchise of people fighting the supernatural. Strangely enough, Dean R Koontz wrote the novel, which I dug up before seeing the movie.

It leaves behind the beautiful people and cool cultural environs for a small story in small town California. Odd, yes that's his name, is a kid who can see mythical creatures he ends up naming bodachs, bogeyman like creatures that are invisible to all but him and are attracted to death. Odd also sees the occasional ghost, often murder victims or some, like Elvis, who hang around for the fun of it. Odd and his odd friends, including a sympathetic local sheriff, and his gorgeous Destined To Be Together Forever girlfriend, help him deal with the ghosts. Its a fun premise but it derails itself almost immediately, going from light and bouncy to dark and tragic. Destiny can be a bitch.

This movie was under the radar, having come into a few cinemas and probably not doing very well. OK, I have to revise that. It never did make it to the cinemas, until now. And it comes out in the dead zone to slide into second place for the weekend, behind The Lego Movie. Should I expect a sequel? It does such a good job at laying down the world and the character and handled the heartbreaking climax with such sincerity. This is one of the times where in both the book and the movie, I had my heart utterly wrenched from me knowing what was about to happen. That works for me in such stories. I hope it makes some slow burn money.