Last Month in Movies – July 2017

I don’t know if this is going to become a regular thing or not, but I’m trying out something new. Well, a new spin on something I’ve been doing for years, anyhow. You know that Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up post that you ignore every month? Well, there’s one for movies now.

On the upside, I watch very few movies, so at least this should be a fairly light feature.

Power Rangers – The reboot that came out earlier this year, that I really wanted to see, but nobody I know gives a flip about Power Rangers. This is probably more on me, because I barely know any people at all. Anyway, I finally watched it, now that it’s available on home video.

Anyhow, I went in expecting the worst, and I was… well, it exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed it overall, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The Power Rangers are now straight-up superheroes, which is fine, Jason has a sword-arm, which is awesome, and Alpha 5 was somewhere between terrible and hilarious. I also liked the characterizations of the new rangers, how they all come from vastly different backgrounds and have actual depth instead of being one-note stereotypes. My biggest question about the movie is how in the heck did they land Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks?

So what was wrong with it? It’s the worst kind of origin story. The kind of origin story that runs over two hours (yes, really), but all the action is crammed into the last ten minutes. The Megazord looked too much like a Michael Bay Transformer, and for some reason the Mastodon Zord had eight legs. Also, during those final moments, Angel Grove suffers destruction relative to how badly Metropolis got torn apart in Man of Steel. Not quite razed to the ground, but for a smallish town, you wonder if the residents are even going to bother trying to rebuild.

Three-Headed Shark Attack – Many years ago, I watched a film called Two-Headed Shark Attack, and I remember absolutely nothing about it, other than Carmen Electra was in it literally just to be eye candy. Unlike Sharknado, it left no impression on me, so I wavered a bit before deciding to watch the sequel.

But then I did anyway, and it’s one of those sequels that has nothing in common with the previous movie except for a vague theme. Or specific theme? Mutant sharks. I guess that’s not especially vague. This movie is about a bunch of environmental researchers and hippies working near a massive island of garbage off some unmentioned coast. Turns out the pollution is mutating local animals, the biggest of which is our title monster: the three-headed shark.

The shark somehow destroys the research facility and then attacks a booze cruise that happens to be passing by. The research station survivors desperately try to save the ship, but pretty much everyone dies. Danny Trejo shows up and lops a head off the shark, seemingly killing it. Then it’s discovered that the shark will regrow two heads for every one that it loses, like the mythical hydra. Eventually the shark defeats itself when the many heads end up fighting for food and bite each other to death. Somehow.

Guys, don’t ever watch this. Unless you’re doing a bad movie podcast or something.

Wonder Woman – It’s great. It’s just great. Excellent. I never gave a damn about Wonder Woman, because I’m not really into anything DC outside of Batman, but holy cow I sure do care about the Wonder Woman cinematic universe now.

For one, it gets everything right that Power Rangers flubbed. It’s an origin story, but it’s gripping the whole time and you don’t have to wait until the very end to actually see the hero in action. There’s a bit too long of a lead-in with the background lore, but there’s still a huge battle within the first 15 minutes. And then a journey to collect a ragtag group of mercenaries to stop a foe that may or may not even be real.

I should mention that both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are superb in their roles, and I really just want to go on more hilarious adventures with them. That’s not to take away from any of the supporting characters, though! Everyone was great and the whole movie was just about perfect. The one thing that I need to gripe about is the fact that the lasso effects did not look very good in combat. But that’s it! that’s literally the only thing I disliked about this movie! Crazy!

Satanic – And so with all that gushing about how great Wonder Woman is, we come to our last film of the month, which was unfortunately pretty bad. Of course, like all the bad movies I watch these days, this was a Netflix recommendation that missed the mark.

In this one, we follow a foursome of young people out on a road trip, who stop in LA to check out some historic Satanist sites or whatever. Along the way, they “rescue” a young lady from a Satanist cult. However, it turns out that the cult wanted her out because she was too crazy, and the young lady curses the group just before slitting her own throat. And so our heroes are stalked by an unseen force that traps them in a nightmare world and kills them one by one.

I feel like there might have been potential here, but every character is unlikable and the acting is terrible, so you want to see them die. But all the kills are off-screen, and the movie ends with the main girl trapped in an empty, black cube, her mouth sewn shut and her limbs amputated. There is no precedent for this. It makes no sense. It’s just there as a weird, shocking thing to end on. Super lame. Also, it’s another one of those movies that just spends so much time building up that all the “action” at the very end, only there’s no real payoff. None of it means anything. Blech.

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