I have a very interesting history with The Time Machine (2002). When I was 6 years old, my dad took me and my brother to the theater with the intention of seeing Ice Age. For the first and so far only time in my life, the movie was totally sold out. Rather then leave, my dad took us to see The Time Machine (2002) instead. Of course my child brain processed it as the greatest thing ever. Which is why we bought the movie on VHS and watched it numerous times after. Until my mom pointed out that the original was much better. Then my opinion of the remake dropped severely. Don’t get me wrong, even the worst of my childhood movies make me feel nostalgic no matter what. But I could tell there was something wrong with the movie even at a young age. The Time Machine (2002) takes a far darker approach to the H.G. Wells story. It also adds things that were never present in the original story. The inventor, now named Alexander, invents the time machine with the purpose of saving his fiancée’s life. The new cause of him ending up in 802,701 is the moon exploding. The Eloi are also made to look more like natives who are a mixture of all races (which is actually a very clever notion). The Morlocks look about the same though, only with the confusing inclusion of a super intelligent Morlock. The original Time Machine is clearly the better movie, but I would still recommend the remake for the sake of comparison.
Alexander Hartdegen boards his time machine
Remake of: The Time Machine (1960)
The Time Machine is the first book written by acclaimed writer H.G. Wells. Which turned into one of the most influential science fiction movies of all time. The Time Machine is also responsible for popularizing the concept of time travel. A concept that will never become a reality no matter how much science you put into it. Still, it’s fun to imagine what it would be like to actually be able to time travel to the past, present, or future. The Time Machine focuses squarely on the future. George Wells is an inventor who successfully invents a time machine. A cool looking stationary machine that George uses to travel forwards in time. He unwillingly ends up traveling too far in time when he experiences a nuclear explosion that causes him to be buried under a volcanic eruption. He ends up in the far future of 802,701, where he discovers a race of people called the Eloi. Passive blonde haired blue eyed people who live a simple life. A life that includes being eaten by a primitive race of humanoid mutants known as the Morlocks. I remember The Time Machine for being part of my parents VHS collection. I watched it at a young age, because my mom told me and my brother we had to watch it. It fast became one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time. Some quotes in the movie even became inside jokes for my family. It also received an Oscar for the groundbreaking use of time lapsing effects. The Time Machine is a timeless classic.
George Wells boards his time machine
Pete’s Dragon (2016) is the only Disney live action remake I can unreservedly say is better than the original. The original Pete’s Dragon was too long and too dull. Unlike the other live action remakes that are being made, Pete’s Dragon actually deserves to be redone. The 2016 remake ditches the musical aesthetic in favor of a far more grounding story. Pete is much more of a lost feral child who has trouble adapting to the real world. This change actually made the movie feel more like a kid friendly drama. Elliot is redesigned to look more like a green dog-like CGI dragon instead of a scaly animated dragon. This was most likely done to make Elliot feel more playful. He still turns invisible, but it’s thankfully done a lot less. That way you can get a better feel of the dragon as a character. The main threat in the movie matched up better with the story too. The shorter runtime also makes more sense since this is a simple story that doesn’t need to be over 2 hours long. While Pete’s Dragon (2016) may not stand out too much, it still deserves an audience.
- Pete (boy) plays with Elliot (dragon)
Remake of: Pete’s Dragon (1977)
Pete’s Dragon is so boring. I’m glad I never watched it as a kid, because I can’t imagine it holding my attention. Pete’s Dragon is a 1977 live action/animation movie from Disney. It’s about a boy and his dragon Elliot. An animated dragon with the ability to turn invisible. A convenient power to have considering he uses it through practically the entire 2 hour and 14 minute movie (most likely done to save money). Why did it have to be this long? I have no idea. It’s a Disney movie so of course there are musical numbers, but this is one of the rare times music felt completely unwarranted. Especially since most of it doesn’t connect to the larger story. Pete and Elliot visit a town called Passamaquoddy. Elliot is around for a little while, but he disappears and the story goes on a tangent. With most it focusing on Mickey Rooney and an overly flamboyant villain. The only good thing I can say about it, is how impressive the effects are for the time. The animation is okay, but the invisibility is what’s the most convincing. Kids will also most likely enjoy the playful design the dragon has. However, Pete’s Dragon is just too dull to make an impression.
Pete (boy) feeds Elliot (dragon) apples
Conan the Barbarian (2011) is the latest interpretation of the character Conan in a movie. It also seems to be the last since this interpretation gained almost entirely negative reviews and bombed at the box office. Rightfully so considering there isn’t much value to be found here. Since Arnold didn’t want to make the planned third Conan movie (titled Conan the Conqueror), Conan is now played by Jason Momoa. In his second of three performances where he plays a burly shirtless warrior. While his body type does match the character, his acting leaves a lot to be desired. Although it doesn’t help that all the dialogue is super generic and or cliché. Conan the Barbarian (2011) is also about revenge, but there’s a much stronger emphasis on sorcery. Which is also really generic. They did give the movie an R rating, but I think they went a little too far with it. It’s insanely gory to the point where I wanted to throw up and just about every female character is either naked or topless (which doesn’t bother me as much as the violence, but you get my point). Another problem with the movie is the time it came out and their use of unwarranted 3D effects. Plus Morgan Freeman narrates very inconstantly throughout the movie. Conan the Barbarian (2011) is just too barbaric for my taste.
Conan fights with the Atlantean
Red Sonja seems like a third Conan movie, but it isn’t. Even though it was intended to be. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a different sword wielding character with long hair named Kalidor. While newcomer Brigitte Nielsen plays the titular role of Red Sonja. Red Sonja is a character who made her debut appearance in a Conan the Barbarian Marvel comic in the 70’s. She was ranked #1 “Sexiest Woman in Comics” in a list by Comics Buyer’s Guide. It’s easy to see why, since she’s basically wearing a chainmail bikini. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t use that outfit, but that’s only the first of many problems. Brigitte Nielsen cannot act at all. Aside from her being being tall, she doesn’t have any natural star power. Which is probably why she doesn’t get top billing. Although Arnold isn’t much better. You can tell he isn’t even trying here. It’s probably why Red Sonja is his biggest embarrassment. In fact, Arnold would even use it as a punishment for his kids if they misbehave. He would make them watch it 10 times (which sounds like torture). Red Sonja is badly acted, painfully generic, and features an annoying kid. The recipe for a bad action film. I’m not even sure what it was about other then it having something to do with kryptonite. Red Sonja leaves no impression whatsoever.
Red Sonja (right) fights Lord Kalidor (left)
Conan the Destroyer destroyed the Conan franchise. Talk about a dramatic shift in tone. Although strangely enough it did sort of hint at the kinds of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies that would eventually dominate his career. Conan the Destroyer ditches its graphic violence, nudity, and R rating in favor of bloodless violence, a comedic tone, and a PG rating. So basically everything that made Conan the Barbarian so good. Not that Conan the Destroyer doesn’t have cheesy entertainment value. It just doesn’t make as much sense to have a PG barbarian movie. Conan the Destroyer is about Conan being sent on a quest to safely transport a virgin to restore a jewel. It’s not nearly as simple as the first movie. Although one of the better additions is Grace Jones as a warrior woman named Zulu. She plays strong female characters very well. Plus like I said, Arnold movies are always quotable. However, the biggest problem with Conan the Destroyer is the direction they took. It’s one of the earliest examples of making a sequel to an R rated movie that’s way lighter. It’s especially unusual considering the 80’s reputation for intense movies that were still marketed to a wide audience. I’m still not sure why they didn’t just make it R rated. In fact, it was such a disappointment that they didn’t even make the sequel the end of the movie promised. Conan the Destroyer could have meant the end of Arnold’s career if not for what came later that same year.
Conan fights with the Atlantean
Preceded by: Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first major starring performance. I’ve said before on my blog that I’m a huge fan of Schwarzenegger movies. And that I’ve seen most of them as a child. I actually didn’t see Conan the Barbarian at a young age. Just small snippets of the movie. I’m not sure why considering it’s not half as mature as most of his films I did see at a young age. Conan the Barbarian came out when R rated action movies were the norm. It rightfully features strong violence and nudity. What you’d expect from a movie about a barbarian. Conan the Barbarian is actually a very old character. Not nearly as old as Hercules, but still pretty old. Conan has been around since the 1930’s and has since been featured in pulp magazines, Marvel comics, TV shows, and of course movies. Considering his size and muscles, Arnold was a perfect choice for the role. It didn’t even require him to act all that much. Conan the Barbarian is about Conan’s quest for vengeance against Thulsa Doom, the man who killed his mother, father, and people. He encounters many strange and magical things on his quest. Including witches, sorcerers, and a particular camel. Like all great Arnold movies, it’s filled with quotable dialogue. Specifically what is best in life according to Conan. “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” Conan the Barbarian put Arnold’s acting career on the right track.
Conan fights with the Atlantean
Followed by: Conan the Destroyer
Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Of course I had to review the 2016 movie Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day. After the semi-pointless movies Valentine’s Day (review here) and New Year’s Eve (review here), I wasn’t sure if Garry Marshall was gonna make another holiday themed anthology film. Well it only took him 5 years to finally come up with Mother’s Day (it also turned out to be his last film). An even weirder choice since there’s absolutely nothing romantic about Mother’s Day. The only love you feel is the love for your mother. Even though it is schmaltzy, I did feel like the movie was at least trying to be something special. The amount of paycheck hungry celebrities is actually a lot lower than the other two movies. They only focus on about four different storylines instead of twenty. Which at least makes it easier to focus on them, but it still includes every kind of mother you can think of. Including: a single divorced mother, a step-mother, a widower who has to fill the role of mother, a long lost mother, a young mother, and a mother you haven’t talked to in a long time. The main problem is that it feels like there are good stories that might have worked better on their own. Together, Mother’s Day is like a Hallmark card. Well meaning, but with little effort put into it. Love you mom.❤️
Sandy (left) meets Miranda (right) before Mother’s day
A Very Brady Sequel is a very worthy follow up to The Brady Bunch Movie. Following the same winning formula that made that movie so entertaining. Maybe it’s not as fresh, but I still enjoyed it. The Brady Bunch ran for 5 seasons, so there was no way they could cover everything that made the show so memorable. This time Mike and Carol face a crisis when Carol’s previous husband seems to return after it was assumed he had disappeared. This is a reference to the unexplained marital status of Carol before she married Mike Brady. Something they couldn’t explore back in the 70’s. Just like the first movie, everybody has their own subplot lifted from the show. Greg and Marcia try to move into their own room, Peter thinks about his future career, Jan creates an imaginary boyfriend (George Glass), and Cindy and Bobby become detectives. There’s also another subplot that involves Greg and Marcia developing romantic feelings for one another since they think they might no longer be brother and sister. This is a reference to fans of the original show who would pair the two together even though they were step siblings. The movie also uses references to other popular shows at the time like Gilligan’s Island and I Dream of Jeannie. A Very Brady Sequel is the perfect movie to watch on a sunshine day.
The Brady’s at a wedding
Preceded by: The Brady Bunch Movie