Summer Showdown Part 1

Expectation can make or break a movie. No matter how good or bad it is, if it’s not what the fans are expecting the value of the movie changes. Expectations have a huge impact on Sometimes movies are sadly disappointing (like Monster University) while other surprised you (World War Z).

Mike Wazowski Gets Braces

The movie I have most been excited for was Monsters University. I loved the original and couldn’t wait to see how Mike and Sully became best friends. I imagined the movie taking place as a bed time story to little Boo (arguably the best character in the series). What I got was disappointment.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITYThe film starts with Mike and Sully as young children visiting the Monster’s Inc. In a brief tale of the popular vs. unpopular, Mike decides he wants to be a scarer. Fast forward to college and Mike is majoring in scaring though he is not at all scary. Sully waltzes through classes discounting rhetoric because he is naturally scary. Young Mike and Sully clash as their philosophies in life affect their course work. They learn to be friends when they compete in the Scare Games, a Revenge of the Nerd style Greek games with very little humor and a lot of heart ache.

In fact, the movie focuses so much on the ideas of popularity, that it drags the film down. Mike’s underdog is heart breaking but at the same time you don’t like him. It’s hard to like Sully either. He’s mean, disrespectful, and a cheater.  The resolution ends with hippie rhetoric that friends are more important than your life goals.

Meant to be a heartwarming tale of teamwork and friendship, Monster’s University lacks the humor and originality of the first film. While it is entertaining to see why Randall hates Sully and Mike, the loss of Boo and screams of “Mike Wazowski” cause this tale to fall flat.  Don’t expect a tale as charming and funny as the first, and you may enjoy it more.

Pitt’s Best Movie since Interview with a Vampire

My boyfriend talked me into World War Z. I had no interest. Super-fast zombies dog piling up a wall with no regards for the book? Pass; I’d rather watch cartoon monsters.  But then I was glad he convinces me.

Brad Pitt plays a former United Nations investigator who sees the zombie attacks first hand. He, his wife and daughters daughters manage to escape the city and are transported to a military ship. Gerry is asked to visit South Korea where the word “zombie” was first used.  What he finds is are other leads taking him around the world. Shipped from place to place and escaping zombies, Pitt actually finds a way to deter the undead.a_560x375
The book is set up as an oral history. Characters describe events that happened before, during, and after the zombie war.  For an action movie to move forward there should be central characters moving in the present. Pitt goes from the static UN interviewer to an investigator actively trying to find the cause of the zombie plague. Taking some bits and pieces of content from the book, the story moves forward briskly and keeps viewers involved. The stories are collected in a fluid tale.

The movie focuses less on the action and more on the drama. Taking a page out of The Walking Dead’s playbook, the movie is at its best when you can cut the tension with a knife. The final scenes when Gerry is in the lab are terrifying and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Reflecting on the book, it is sad the movie is not a faithful adaptation. But what would be the best way to do so? I think it would make a fabulous TV series. TV would handle the format well and real time could be spent on developing each history, the events and the character.  While not faithful, the movie is entertaining.

Surprisingly I choose zombies over cartoon monsters this time.