These Are Not Blockbusters

I had low expectations for each of these films, but I watched them anyway. The quick summary of my opinions on these films would be something like this. I was both annoyed with and bored by just about everything in Robin Hood. Mortal Engines big failing was weak characters and incomplete and character development and motivation. And lastly, Dudes & Dragon, was bad in all the expected ways, but still better than I thought it would be. Now, let’s look at each in more depth.

Robin Hood, 2018

My hands-down, no-holds-barred favorite character of all time is Robin Hood. Which is why I am always apprehensive when a new Robin Hood movie comes out. That apprehension is warranted as I am inevitably disappointed. This movie is no exception. It’s not good. It’s a weird mix of Hunger Games, Assassin’s Creed, and Kevin Costner’s 1991 Robin Hood, and makes no apologize about not concealing those roots. Machine gun crossbows, some sort of future-apocalypse-medieval time period, and lots of current day, thinly veiled politics all make this movie a fucking mess.

I could go off on quite a long tangent about all the stuff I didn’t like about this movie, but let’s suffice to say that I have many complaints. I spent most of the movie playing games on my phone and only half watching. And yet I was still annoyed.

If I were to write an open letter to the film industry it might read something like this: Dear Hollywood, please stop making Robin Hood movies. You obviously don’t get it.

Robin of Loxley, is a lord living in Nottingham with Marian until he gets drafted into the army. While he’s gone the Sheriff confiscates and then apparently trashes his castle, Marian becomes some sort of mine worker/rebellion leader, and an enormous mine/city grows up across the river. You know what, forget it. I’m not summarizing this. It touches many of the points of the legend, but ignores the point of most-all of them. I didn’t like it. Two stars.

didn’t enjoy it

Mortal Engines, 2018

Mortal Engines is a mixed bag. It was not a great movie, but I did enjoy watching it more than I expected to. This may have been partially because I didn’t know what I was getting into. This is, to my mind, leaning very heavily on the Hunger Games/YA tropes; some of which work and others don’t.

As silly as the mobile, predator cities idea is, I was able to accept it as part of the world building. The 60-second war is a cool idea. The effects were excellent. The sets were first rate. This movie was definitely made to be a blockbuster and the beginning of a series. That didn’t happen and I fear it’s not getting another chance… it lost a lot of money.

Some of the heavy effects/chase scenes could have been cut to make room for scenes that would have cleared up character motivation, character relationships, and story development. This would have made for a better more cohesive movie. I did not realize until watching the “making of” feature that our main character was actively hunting/seeking London. That wasn’t made clear. That’s how the movie starts. That’s a problem. The main character was pretty stereotypical of the YA/supernatural genres. She’s not particularly likeable, but everyone likes her. The declaration of love comes mostly out of the blue, but is completely predictable. Maybe, and I’m hypothesizing here, maybe, these issues were going to get straightened out/developed in future movies. Unfortunately, those wont be happening. I would have watched them. I liked it. 3 stars.

liked it

Dudes & Dragons, 2015

I fully imagine that no one has ever gone looking to watch Dudes & Dragons. This is a movie that is following in the steps of Your Highness, but has a fraction of the budget and lacks the star power. It’s a comedy/heroic fantasy with terrible special effects.

I put this on while I was working on some other stuff, but I confess, there were multiple occasions where I stopped what I was doing to watch. I must confess to being both entertained and amused at various points in the movie. I’m not going to recommend this. I wouldn’t do that to you. But it’s not as bad as you’re probably thinking it would be. It’s got a couple name actors in there. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is your big bad. Dylan from Beverly Hills, 90210 has a role. The ladies are attractive. The funny bits are funny. Really, it’s all about accepting that this is a bad movie and enjoying that aspect of it.beast. I’m giving it 3 stars.

liked it