Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Movie Smackdowns

So in this past week, I've managed to watch most of four movies, an unprecedented feat that is even more astonishing given the craziness of my family's summer so far. The movies were each pretty good in their own way, but I had thoughts about which were the better movies in the two pairs I watched. One pair was a set of "kids" shows. The other was more PG-13 fare. So, a quick rundown, then the smackdown.
  • The Lion King: Yeah, I know it's an old movie (we have it on VHS!), but my kids hadn't seen it in a very long time and most certainly didn't remember it. This is still one of Disney's finest cartoons of that era, and the children were entranced. I put it on just to listen to the opening sequence to test the surround sound connection to our VCR. One by one, the kids came over and sat down and didn't move. This, of course, had a stellar message about taking responsibility.
  • Rango: Okay, this one was a PG movie that had a lot of buzz. I'd been told it was weird, but, wow, was it weird. I wouldn't have actually rated this as PG, either, because of all the swearing that's in the movie, all of which could have been left out. Clearly in PG-13 territory, the kids were complaining about the swearing and it frightened my youngest son in all the wrong places. Yeah, it was weird. I did appreciate the messages it was conveying, especially the one about how you are what you choose to be.
Smackdown result between these two movies? Clearly, The Lion King wins. Rango was too inappropriate for very young children.

Okay, so the next set:
  • Source Code: I had heard lots of great things about this movie, so we got it from Netflix and watched it in one sitting (that's a feat for my wife and I). We enjoyed piecing the puzzle together through to the very end. I won't spoil it here, but I thought the ending was satisfying.
  • The Adjustment Bureau: I hadn't heard very much about this movie, but Netflix suggested it as a good choice. After reading about it and watching a little video online that showed how they constructed one of the "doors" scenes, I was intrigued. My wife was completely clueless about the movie, but we were enthralled from the first scene. It was a great movie, with interesting theological suggestions, and had a satisfying ending.
Smackdown results? I think The Adjustment Bureau wins. While Source Code had a stronger and more emotionally fulfilling ending, I have to fault that movie for being derivative. My wife and I are well-schooled in alternate realities and diverging timelines thanks to our passion for nearly all things Star Trek, so we weren't wowed by the big reveal at the end. The Adjustment Bureau, on the other hand, posed some very fascinating questions about the nature of free will, God's (oh, excuse me, The Chairman's) divine plan for humanity, and how unrestrained freedom can run amok to cause so much trouble. Wrap this up with a solid romantic plotline and both my wife and I were satisfied with the results.

Okay, so, with this smackdown, a few recommendations:
  • Re-watch The Lion King. It's just good-hearted fun.
  • Watch Rango ... once. But only if you have nothing else to do.
  • Watch Source Code.
  • Definitely watch The Adjustment Bureau.
Ah, summertime ... Who knew I'd have time to actually watch these many movies, let alone construct this blog post about them? (And, please, please, don't remind me of any of the million other things I should have been doing instead ...)

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