I Am for Making Friends

Ron’s Gone Wrong got it right. The moment I saw the trailer for Ron’s Gone Wrong, I thought it was a rip-off of The Mitchells vs. the Machines. I know that’s impossible, but they are very similar. Both are computer animated 2021 movies about the dangers of technology and social media obsession. It can’t be a coincidence that Olivia Colman also happens to voice a character in both films. Even the young black tech creator is basically the same. The difference is B-bots. B-bots are sleek spherical smartphones that make friends for kids and have no plans of overthrowing humanity. The villain is actually an evil corporate businessman trying to cover up a glitch in the system.

While The Mitchells vs. the Machines won me over immediately, I was a little more hesitant of Ron’s Gone Wrong. It’s technically a Disney movie, since 20th Century Studios made it with a new animation studio called Locksmith Animation. Although it looked harmless, I wasn’t sure about the crude animation reminiscent of Arthur Christmas. Ron’s Gone Wrong is similar to other “boy and his robot” movies, but its message is universal. Barney is a socially awkward rock loving middle schooler voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer at the height of his fame. He’s the only kid without a B-bot, but all that changes when his old fashioned father and cooky grandmother from the old country get him one for his birthday.

Ron is a typical defective robot voiced by Zach Galifianakis. Ron’s Gone Wrong is immediately funny the moment he’s on screen. What makes Ron stand out are his computing errors, violent tendencies, and ability to buy alcohol. Surprisingly adult for a kids movie. Barney learns to appreciate Ron’s differences and they eventually grow together as friends. Even Ron’s vlogger crush Savannah and prankster bully Rich learn the value of friendship. Ron’s Gone Wrong doesn’t shy away from the dangers to technology, but there’s a good compromise in the end.

Ron's Gone Wrong

Barney hangs out with Ron

Connected

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is your typical family road trip that happens to include a robot apocalypse. Sony Animation is still very hit or miss, but The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a hit that deserves way more attention. It’s got Gravity Falls writer Mike Rianda as the director, The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller as producers, an all-star comedic cast, and the unique animation of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The latter was apparent the moment I saw the first trailer with the painfully generic title Connected.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a much better title that reflects the film’s creativity. I knew Into the Spider-Verse would inspire similar animated movies, but the comic book style only works for superhero movies. So the animation is more so inspired by internet memes, doodles, pop art, and even a little live action. It’s another heavily detailed work of art that should’ve been on the big screen. Unfortunately, the Pandemic led to its eventual release on Netflix…

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

The Mitchells drive away from the robot apocalypse

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a perfect combination of original and familiar that feels like it was made especially for me. And not just cause it features songs from random YouTube videos of the 2000’s like “Nyan Cat” or “Numa Numa.” Like me and my family, the Mitchells are weird and quirky. Katie is a college bound teenager who loves niche movies, making funny videos, and wants to go to film school. Abbi Jacobson is similar to her Disenchantment character Princess Bean since both her and Katie are ambiguously queer.

I’m glad the movie doesn’t call attention to it, because the theme can be interpreted multiple ways. Katie and her dad begin to drift apart due to her unusual interests. Rick is her father who hates technology and loves nature. Danny McBride is funny, but he has a lot of range in the more emotional scenes. The movie is mostly about their relationship, but the rest of the family helps them open up. Linda is a supportive mother who encourages everyone with gold stars. I already know what to expect from Maya Rudolph. Linda is also jealous of her seemingly perfect neighbors voiced by real life married couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.

Aaron is an awkward kid with an obsessive love of dinosaurs. My only nitpick is Aaron’s distracting grown up voice provided by the director himself. Aside from the strong bound he has with his older sister, Aaron also develops a back and forth crush on their neighbors daughter who also loves dinosaurs. Monchi is the weird cross eyed dog who completes the Mitchell family. Unlike most animated movies, Monchi is voiced by the real life Doug the Pug. The road trip is supposed to strengthen the families relationship, but a robot uprising seems to come out of nowhere. Eric André voices your typical hip young tech company owner responsible for a device that everybody owns.

PAL is like Siri or Alexa if she turned on mankind. Olivia Colman has the right kind of trusting British voice for the AI. PAL Max robots are like giant smartphones with a sleek design and the ability to trap people in a force field. The Mitchells are humanity’s last hope as they avoid detection in their broken down station wagon while searching for a kill code. The action is a lot of fun, but the comedy is literally laugh out loud hilarious. Abrupt cutaway gags are hysterical and jokes about tech obsession are both funny and relatable.

There’s also a particularly humorous scene involving feral Furby’s. The funniest characters are a couple of malfunctioning PAL Max robots named Eric and Deborahbot 5000 who side with the Mitchells. Though the movie is longer than most animated movies, it’s all worth it to bring the Mitchells together in the end. The Mitchells vs. the Machines should’ve won Best Animated Feature, but the Academy Awards are still fixated on Disney. Luckily Sony managed to sweep most other major award shows. The Mitchells vs. the Machines is weird in the best possible way.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines 2

The Mitchells walk away from an explosion

The Adventures of Lovemore and Dash

The Lost City is basically Galaxy Quest if it were set in a jungle. The movie was only brought to my attention after I saw a trailer in theaters. It made me laugh, so I figured I’d go see it. Although I could’ve waited to see it on DVD or streaming, I miss those pre-pandemic days where I could see something brainless without thinking about it. Even the title The Lost City doesn’t try harder than it has to.

Loretta Sage is a disillusioned romantic adventure novelist who wants The Lost City of D to be her final book. Alan is her book’s hunky yet dimwitted cover model with a secret crush on her. When Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire believing her book to be real, it’s up to Alan to rescue her. Imagine Anne Rice and Fabio if they were trapped in the jungle together. Sandra Bullock in a purple sequin suit is just as funny and attractive as she was in her younger days. I’m glad she hasn’t been cast aside like so many aging actresses.

Though she is significantly older than Channing Tatum, they both bring the same amount of energy to their respective roles. Daniel Radcliffe is younger than both, but I still buy him as the villainous billionaire. Loretta and Alan’s adventure is pretty basic and straightforward. Just to kill time, Da’Vine Joy Randolph has a subplot as Loretta’s publicist trying to find them. Not every joke lands, but Brad Pitt’s cameo as a stereotypical action hero is hilarious. The Lost City looks and sounds generic, but it’s actually sweeter after difficulty.

The Lost City

Loretta and Alan trek through the jungle

🤟

CODA is powerful beyond words. First premiering at Sundance, CODA was a true underdog that nobody expected to win Best Picture. I’m so glad it won, because CODA is honestly one of the most deserving Best Picture winners I’ve seen in a long time. Although I was adamant about never getting Apple TV+, it was worth the experience. Beating Netflix to become the first streaming service to win the Academy Award. Similar to The Departed, CODA is technically an American remake of a French-Belgium film called La Famille Bélier. CODA stands for child of deaf adults. Ruby is the only hearing child of her deaf family. Director Sian Heder worked extensively with the deaf community in order to get the story right. Winning a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for her effort.

Marlee Matlin was a major contributor who threatened to leave if deaf actors weren’t cast. Matlin plays Ruby’s commanding mother Jackie, Daniel Durant plays Ruby’s determined brother Leo, and Troy Kotsur plays Ruby’s embarrassing father Frank. Kotsur is so funny and passionate without saying a word. Winning Best Supporting Actor brought things full circle since Matlin was the first deaf actress to win an Oscar. The Rossi family may be deaf, but they’re sexually active proud business owners who stick to together no matter what. Unlike La Famille Bélier, the Rossi’s are fishermen instead of farmers. The open waters are gorgeous even on a TV screen. Ruby is expected to be her families interpreter, but she just wants to live her own life. She discovers a passion for music that her parents will never fully understand.

CODA is a fairly simple coming-of-age story with the horny best friend, mean girls, a charming crush, and that one extra supportive teacher who pushes the main character. Emilia Jones elevates everything with her beautiful singing voice. She had to take vocal lessons and American sign language lessons just for the movie. Although they have trouble letting go, Ruby’s family comes to support her. Most of CODA is surprisingly hilarious, but I had to cry when Ruby sang for her father. Just as emotional is Ruby signing “Both Sides Now” for her family near the end. I actually think I prefer Emilia Jones’ cover over the original. CODA is a story I’ve heard before, but I love it all the more for telling it. 🤟

CODA

Ruby signs “I really love you” to her family

The Living Vampire

Morbius was dead on arrival. After the unfortunate success of Venom, Sony was convinced they could make a shared universe of their own. Without Spider-Man, the studio settled for obscure villains like Morbius, the Living Vampire. I think I speak for everyone when I say, nobody asked for a Morbius movie! Morbius was created by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane in 1971 when the Comics Code Authority lifted the ban on vampires and other supernatural monsters. The horror themed villain first fought Spider-Man during his mutation saga in The Amazing Spider-Man #101. I only knew about the Living Vampire beforehand thanks to several appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

I guess I have that show to thank for a lot of character introductions. Though that version of Morbius was more kid friendly and drained plasma through his hands rather than drink blood. Morbius is technically a Spider-Man villain, but he arguably has more in common with Blade. In the comics, Morbius was responsible for turning the otherwise human vampire hunter into a dhampir. Morbius was actually supposed to cameo in 1998’s Blade, but his scene got cut. Several years later and the movie Morbius feels like it was made in the 90’s. Similar to The New Mutants, Morbius was delayed many times. Although Morbius was supposed to come out between Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, its place in Marvel movie history was questionable to say the least…

16. Morbius

Morbius the living vampire

Morbius sounded like a bad idea when it was first announced, but the teaser trailer confirmed my suspicion. Morbius has a muted low budget color palette that makes it feel like an R rated movie. Yet just like the Venom films, Morbius is a bloodless PG-13 vampire flick. I’m really not sure how Mahershala Ali’s Blade is gonna work in the MCU. Director Daniel Espinosa hasn’t made too many noteworthy films aside from Life. So there wasn’t a lot of reason to get excited. Morbius was supposed to be released on July 10, 2020 before it was pushed to July 31. Then the Pandemic moved it to March 19, 2021 before it was once again pushed to October 8. January 21 or January 28, 2022 felt like its final resting place, but Spider-Man: No Way Home was too much of a success for them to risk a critical and financial dud. April 1 was the best possible release date, because the whole movie feels like a joke.

Morbius is surprisingly faithful to the comics, but who cares when nobody knows who the character is. In the comics, Dr. Michael Morbius is a medical doctor with a rare blood disease who turns himself into a Living Vampire through scientific means. The movie is an almost word for word retelling since Spider-Man doesn’t specifically affect his origin. Like Venom, Morbius is more known as a villain before growing into an anti-hero overtime. Jared Leto seemed like perfect casting since he was trying to distance himself from his awful Joker portrayal. Leto has the long black hair, beard, and malnourished look from the comics, but there’s only so much he can do with the material he’s given. Morbius starts with the “horde of bats” scene from the trailer, but it feels disconnected when it’s followed by Michael’s childhood as a sick kid in Greece.

Though the bat scene looked like his origin, that actually takes place on a shipping boat when he’s injected with vampire bat DNA. Morbius’ monstrous face is also ripped straight from the comics. His vampiric attack on the crew is the only thing that feels unique in a Marvel movie. Everything else is painfully generic and boring. Morbius has to drink artificial blood to curb his craving, he possesses super-strength, bat sonar, enhanced reflexes, and flight accompanied by CGI smoke. He either wears a hoodie or dresses in a black trench coat. They obviously weren’t gonna adapt his flamboyant Dracula ensemble from the 70’s. Morbius is constantly reminded he’s a vampire with cringy attempts at humor. Aside from his name being Michael, The Lost Boys is only referenced in the trailer with the song “People are Strange” by The Doors.

Speaking of references, the trailer is horribly misleading. Daily Bugle newspapers are present, but the Oscorp building and Spider-Man graffiti are nowhere to be seen. Any reference to Venom is painfully on the nose. Most of the supporting cast is from the comics, but who’s gonna know if they are. Adria Arjona plays Michael’s love interest Martine Bancroft who works with him at Horizon Labs. She doesn’t leave an impression outside of being the vampire’s girlfriend. Acclaimed actor Jared Harris doesn’t leave an impression either as Michael’s childhood Dr. Emil Nicholas. His role seems to have been trimmed down just like Tyrese Gibson. Simon Stroud has a robotic arm and what seemed like a personal connection to Morbius that’s completely ditched in the film. Now Stroud and his partner Al are bumbling FBI agents trying to catch the good doctor.

In case you’re wondering who the villain is, they make the mistake of creating an original villain since they couldn’t use Spider-Man. Although Matt Smith was announced to play Hunger from the comics, Milo Morbius is the surrogate brother of Michael with the same disease who becomes yet another evil version of the hero. Smith has been playing a lot of villains lately, but he really hams it up as the evil Living Vampire. Morbius gives into his hunger in a final fight that’s every bit the CGI mess you expect it to be. The movie also leaves out what looked like an action scene in the forest. Morbius feels passionless and disposable with a 1 hour & 44 minute runtime that feels like it was leading to the dumbest post credit scenes I’ve ever seen. In case you were wondering about the Michael Keaton Vulture scene from the trailers, let’s just say I don’t look forward to Sony’s plans for this MCU adjacent franchise. All you need to know is that Morbius sucks. ‘Nuff said!

17. Morbius

Michael Morbius runs away

Maximum Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage embraces the stupidity of the franchise. Somehow that makes it even better than the first movie. Still only 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Venom wasn’t a very high bar to clear. The best decision was making Let There Be Carnage a breezy 1 hour & 37 minutes. It’s kind of refreshing to see a short superhero movie after so many of them have been pushing 3 hours. Venom went an entire hour without the titular symbiote. A decision they thankfully don’t make again. Though the runtime does make the Marvel sequel feel quick and pointless. At least Let There Be Carnage delivers the Carnage that was promised at the end of the first movie.

I’m still not a fan of Sony’s forced shared universe, but seeing Venom fight Carnage in live action was a dream come true. Much like Venom, my familiarity with Carnage mostly came from a toned down version of the villain in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The villain was created in 1992 for The Amazing Spider-Man #361. He was made in response to the growing popularity of Venom and reluctance to kill off his host Eddie Brock. So sadistic serial killer Cletus Kasady ended up the host of an even more evil red symbiote called Carnage. Although Spider-Man teamed up with Venom to defeat Carnage, the hero’s presence isn’t necessary for the character. Let There Be Carnage puts more emphasis on a symbiotic relationship…

14. Venom Let There Be Carnage

Carnage prepares to attack

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a dumb title that matches the tone of the movie. Maximum Carnage would’ve been a better title since that’s what most of the story is based on. After Woody Harrelson appeared at the end of Venom, I hoped a sequel would get made just to see Carnage in action. Even if that meant Venom made nearly a billion dollars at the box-office. Sony bounced back critically with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but the quality of Let There Be Carnage was difficult to determine. Ruben Fleischer seemed to leave the project in favor of Zombieland: Double Tap. I never expected Gollum himself Andy Serkis to replace him as director. His experience with motion capture character’s made him Sony’s top choice. I only grew nervous after seeing the first trailer. This time the problem felt like too much comedy.

The second half of the trailer matched the dark tone of a character like Carnage, but the first half revealed the new voice for Venom. Tom Hardy reprises his role as both Eddie Brock and Venom. His Eddie performance is less awkward, but just as bizarre with him barely maintaining his American accent. His Venom voice is even more exaggerated and kind of goofy. Though not as distracting as it should be. Since Eddie and Venom’s odd couple dynamic was the most entertaining part of the first movie, they give it extra attention in the sequel. They just lean a little too heavily into the gay subtext. It’s difficult to read their relationship as anything else. Especially with lines like “I’m coming out of the Eddie closet.” Venom helps Eddie with his journalism, but Eddie won’t return the favor by becoming the Lethal Protector. They survive by eating chocolate and chicken heads. With the exception of their pet chickens Sonny & Cher.

Eddie’s career gets a major boost when he gets an exclusive from Cletus Kasady in San Quentin Prison. Harrelson looks a lot better with more natural red hair instead of the stupid wig he had before. Kasady feels like he leapt off the page with a practically word for word origin story. Like most serial killers, Cletus harmed his family, animals, and ended up in an orphanage. Harrelson is the perfect serial killer despite the sequel’s PG-13 rating. He was made for the role since his primary relationship is very similar to Natural Born Killers. Kasady’s one bright light is his equally crazy true love Frances Barrison aka Shriek. Shriek is pale in the comics, but casting Naomie Harris made her an exact copy of Black Canary from Birds of Prey. Her mutant ability to emit sonic screams is never explained. Her eye scar is explained when police officer Patrick Mulligan shoots her on her way to the Ravencroft Institute.

Aside from Daily Bugle newspapers, Spider-Man easter eggs are few and far between. Stephen Graham has a big role as Mulligan since he distrusts Brock and suspects him as Venom. Most of Eddie’s supporting cast returns including Michelle Williams as Anne Weying. She’s still in it for a paycheck, but at least she matches the ridiculousness of the story. When Anne reveals her engagement, Venom tries to cheer Eddie up with a messy cooking session. Their bond takes a hit when he visits Cletus after the serial killer gets the death penalty. Since Cletus only wants to see Eddie, he gets close enough to bite him when Venom reveals himself. In the comics, Carnage is the offspring of Venom born while they were in prison. Tasting Brock’s symbiote infected blood makes a little more sense in the movie.

Eddie and Venom “break up” after fighting each other in their apartment. Eddie giving up his power is no different than Spider-Man 2. The only difference is Venom managing to attach his symbiote to other less stable hosts. There’s a lot of Venom in full alien form, but I never expected to see his tendrils giving the finger. Not to mention seeing him attend an underground rave wearing neon bracelets and dropping a mic. Meanwhile, Cletus faces lethal injection for his recently uncovered murders. When Carnage is unleashed, they go on a PG-13 killing spree. The CGI design is larger than the source material and Carnage could be a little redder, but their razor sharp tendrils are just as terrifying as they should be. Harrelson’s Carnage voice maintains his accent, but not a lot of their biting personality.

Kasady’s primary goal is breaking Shriek out of her high security prison. They’re a killer, but ultimately mismatched couple. Since Shriek’s sonic scream is harmful to Carnage. They still plan a red wedding with their respective enemies on the guest list. When Eddie is arrested by an increasingly suspicious Mulligan, Anne is the only person he can call. Convenience store owner Mrs. Chen is given a bigger role when Anne finds her temporarily hosting Venom. Anne’s doctor fiancée Dan is also given a bigger role when he’s made the butt of most of Venom’s insults. She-Venom returns when they break Eddie out of jail and hug the symbiote back onto him. Cletus kidnaps Mulligan for Shriek and Shriek kidnaps Anne in order to get Eddie to their wedding.

The church climax is a lot better than the rocket climax. You can actually tell the difference between Venom and Carnage as they clash in a big CGI fight. It’s the kind of destructive monster duel I’ve only seen in The Incredible Hulk. While Dan tries to help with fire, Shriek provides too much sound for Carnage. Eddie and Venom only get the upper hand when Cletus loses his symbiotic link with Carnage. Kasady makes a tearful plea for Brock’s friendship, but Venom drops an F bomb before biting his head off. Before I have time to process that, Venom goes on the run with Eddie. Mulligan survived his encounter with Carnage, but I didn’t know that meant the possible introduction of Toxin. Eddie accepts the role of Lethal Protector and professes his love for Venom on a beach. It’s not how I expected the movie to end, but the mid credits scene is even more unexpected.

SPOILER ALERT! Eddie and Venom watch soap operas in a hotel room before being unexpectedly transported to an alternate universe. It could only be the work of Doctor Strange’s spell when Venom sees the Daily Bugle news report revealing Peter Parker as Spider-Man. I was excited the moment I heard J. K. Simmons’ voice as J. Jonah Jameson, but seeing Tom Hardy’s Venom on the same screen as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was something I never expected to see. The MCU was growing more all encompassing by the minute. Since my brother and I saw Let There Be Carnage by ourselves, we had to hide the reveal from our parents. Luckily they managed to see it right before Spider-Man: No Way Home came out. In the end, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a chaotic romp that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

15. Venom Let There Be Carnage

Venom drops the mic

Preceded by: Venom

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Tick, Tick… Boom! is an explosion of creative passion. Jonathan Larson will forever be known for creating the hit broadway musical Rent. Most people (myself included) never knew the man behind the music. Larson’s first major production was the semi-autobiographical Tick, Tick… Boom! Since both musicals made Larson a big name on Broadway, it only made sense for Lin-Manuel Miranda to make it his directorial debut. A musical biopic was guaranteed to get him some Oscar attention.

Although the Netflix produced Tick, Tick… Boom! was snubbed for Best Picture, Andrew Garfield was the most deserving of his Best Actor nomination. Garfield fully transforms into the awkward aspiring playwright with messy hair. The title refers to the ticking clock in his head. Larson feels like he’s running out of time and wants to accomplish his goals before he turns 30. Tick, Tick… Boom! spoke to me on a personal level. Since I myself am an aspiring writer who dreams of working in the entertainment industry as soon as possible.

Larson spends a lot of time on an ambitious musical called Superbia that never sees the light of day. Inspiration for Rent comes in the form of his gay friend Michael and strained relationship with his girlfriend Susan. Most characters are fictionalized versions of people in his life. Except for Stephen Sondheim who was a crucial piece of the puzzle. Garfield took singing lessons for the part, but his song and piano skills are so good that you can’t even tell. Longtime singer Vanessa Hudgens legitimizes every performance. For me the most memorable songs are “30/90,” “Therapy,” and “Louder Than Words.” Larson’s sudden death at the young age of 35 isn’t depicted, but his memory will live on thanks to Tick, Tick… Boom!

tick, tick... BOOM!

Jonathan Larson at the piano

When the Sun Goes Down

In the Heights isn’t the musical revival it wanted to be. After Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda could do no wrong. 2021 was a packed year for him that began with his very first Broadway production, In the Heights. I never heard of the musical, but an adaptation was considered even before Hamilton was created. Miranda’s bankability and Hollywood’s recent obsession with diversity made it the right time for a movie. Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu took the reigns and the musical received a major promotional push. Whether it was lack of interest, the Pandemic, or HBO Max’s simultaneous streaming scheme, but In the Heights bombed at the box-office. Reviews were predictably in the 94% range. Much like Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights also feels overhyped and not a Best Picture contender like people thought.

Anything In the Heights does, West Side Story (2021) does better, but I still liked parts of the former. In Washington Heights, Manhattan the streets are made of music and everyone in the community has an el sueñito (dream). Even a movie with a majority Hispanic cast can still be targeted for not having enough afro-latino characters. Miranda’s lead role of Usnavi was given to his younger Hamilton co-star Anthony Ramos. Though Miranda still has a bit part as a snowcone sailsman. Usnavi is a bodega owner who dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic. Melissa Barrera plays Usnavi’s love interest Vanessa who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. The other couple is the non-hispanic Corey Hawkins as dispatcher Benny and newcomer Leslie Grace as college dropout Nina.

There’s also the communities Abuela Claudia, Usnavi’s cousin Sonny with big dreams, Nina’s father who wants a better life for his daughter, and the sassy salon girls. A winning lottery ticket brings everyone together, but rising heat and an incoming blackout threatens everything. Dealing with a changing neighborhood is true to the musical, but In the Heights was made a bit more heavy handed with added problems like racism and undocumented immigration. The titular song “In the Heights” and the catchy “96,000” are fun starter songs, but the musical really starts meandering after awhile. The romantic “When the Sun Goes Down” is the only inventive song with a gravity defying dance number. In the end, In the Heights has more energy than skills.

In the Heights

Usnavi dances with Vanessa

I’m Not Throwin’ Away My Shot!

Hamilton is the hit Broadway musical by breakout singer-songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda. Not since Cats or Wicked has a Broadway production become so popular outside of the musical community. Hamilton makes history fun with a unique interpretation of Alexander Hamilton’s life set to rap music. Miranda got the idea after reading the Founding Fathers’ biography. Although it is interesting to learn more about the first secretary of treasury and his many overlooked accomplishments, Hamilton was never meant to be entirely historically accurate. The show cast people of color since it already feels modern with all the rapping. I never expected to see a Hamilton movie for reasons like that.

Hamilton (2020) is a pre-recorded performance from 2016 put to film. I never know how to review plays put to film since they’re sometimes more Broadway than movie. I can still appreciate how well it’s performed and the cinematic angles it sometimes possesses. A lot of studios wanted to get their hands on the musical, but the rights ended up in the unlikely hands of Disney. Hamilton ended up on Disney+ with a PG-13 rating that had to censor a few F bombs. The runtime is 2 hours & 40 minutes complete with an intermission. I was pretty into it at first, but you really start to feel the length when you’re watching it at home.

Hamilton features most of the original cast including Miranda as Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Daveed Diggs as Lafayette & Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, and Jonathan Groff as King George III. Most events are dramatized including Hamilton’s war work, romantic exploits, legal actions, financial plannings, and tense relationship with frenemy Aaron Burr. Most songs blur together, but “Alexander Hamilton” and “My Shot” are a big stand out. Hamilton is ultimately a story about being remembered for your accomplishments.

Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers

Diving Without a Parachute

Uncharted is a video game adaptation several years in the making. Sony wanted to make a movie based on the Naughty Dog title ever since the first game was released. It makes sense since Uncharted has always felt very cinematic. The action/adventure franchise is a PlayStation exclusive popular for its classic treasure hunting premise. Most people would think Lara Croft is the quintessential video game explorer, but Nathan Drake is pretty cool too. My brother made sure we played Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune before the movie came out. Uncharted had a decade long development cycle that went through a revolving door of directors, writers, and stars.

Directing duties eventually went to Ruben Fleischer, but Nathan Drake was a different story. Although Nathan Fillion was born to play Drake, Sony went with their golden boy instead. Tom Holland is way too young for the part and calling the movie a prequel doesn’t make things better. Mark Wahlberg was another choice to play Drake, but he was instead cast as himself playing Drake’s ill-fated mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan. Sully doesn’t even get his trademark mustache or cigar until the very end. Another important part of the game left out is Nathan’s main love interest Elena Fisher.

She’s instead replaced by later love interest Chloe Frazer played by Sophia Ali. Nathan Drake searches for the Magellan expedition treasure that his brother Sam was looking for. Sully and Chloe betray Nathan at every turn, but he manages to find the gold by the end. Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle play villainous treasure hunters who also end up betraying each other. Despite a bizarre lack of gun use, fight scenes are pretty good. The central action scene are the perilous airplane crates that appear in the third game. Uncharted is as cliché as any other treasure hunt, but it is entertaining.

Uncharted

Nathan Drake holds on to crates