Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer at the Movies: Action, Laughs, and a Box of Kleenex

Ah, summer. When most people are running outside, lounging by the pool, I'm running inside... to the movie theater. I've seen two great movies in the last few days. Even though they're both very different, they had one thing in common: both had me crying within the first ten minutes. This was not the reaction I expected, I assure you.

So what were these excellent, though surprisingly emotional flicks? I'll tell you...

But first, if you're the type (like me) who doesn't want to know anything about a movie ahead of time, stop now. I don't share any major spoilers, but you might find out more than you want to know.

STAR TREK

I've been jazzed since I found out J.J. Abrams was taking the helm, and that was about a year ago. With the exception of the ill-conceived Cloverfield, I'm a fan of Abrams' work (Lost anyone? Alias?) But messing with the Star Trek franchise can be sticky, especially when you're going back to the early days of the federation. Remember the poorly received TV series Star Trek: Enterprise? Not even sci-fi vet Scott Bakula could save it. So even though my expectations were high, I went into the new Star Trek movie with my fingers crossed.

I should never have worried. From the action-packed and extremely emotional first ten minutes to the satisfying conclusion, the movie is darn near pitch perfect. Abrams respects the characters we know and love, and he stays true to them. Yet at the same time, he tweaks things just enough so that the franchise is completely open to him. He's seen to it that any future films (and oh boy, I hope there will be a few) won't be limited by the Star Trek universe as we knew it.

Zachary Quinto (Heroes) and Chris Pine (The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement) were great as a young Spock and Kirk, respectively. But the best bit of casting goes to Karl Urban (TLOTR: The Return of the King) as Leonard "Bones" McCoy. From his look to his delivery and posture, the New Zealand native nailed the role. I hope to see him, and the rest of the fine cast, on another bold trek soon.

UP

Those sneaky, sneaker Pixar people! I knew I'd enjoy this movie. I always do when the Pixar name is attached. But Lassiter and his crew were keeping something a secret here: this movie has a huge heart and a lot of action. You'd never know it from the trailer, which had me expecting just a funny movie about a boy, an old man, and a floating house. Oh yeah, and a talking dog.

Here's what you need to know if you plan on taking little kids to the film. There's some scary stuff in it. Some really mean dogs. Even a tiny bit of blood. Probably nothing that would concern anyone over the age of eight, but something for you parents to be aware of.

And there are some very serious scenes. In fact, the young scout you see in the trailer doesn't show up until fifteen minutes or so into the movie. So if you have a child who gets fidgety when the action stops, take that into account.

I saw it with my almost-sixteen-year-old son. We both loved it. We laughed and we cried (okay, I cried... if he did, he will not admit to it). And THANK GOD we did not have to watch it in 3-D. I was so happy to find that the theater had two different showings... one 3-D and the other normal. Can you tell I'm not a 3-D fan? But that's something for another post.

So, if you're looking for a fun time at the movies, I highly recommend both these movies. If you go, let me know what you think.

3 comments:

Kathy Kovach said...

Hey, great post! I've linked to it in my blog article at http://craftcinema.blogspot.com/2009/06/summer-movies-fresh-out-of-gate.html. I loved Star Trek! What a great tribute to the original series. From Sulu's fencing to the demise of the nameless red shirted crew member, it did not disappoint. And, I feel I know Spock much better now after seeing his back story.

I haven't seen Up yet. That and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian are next on my list. And yes, I'll take your advice and be sure I have Kleenex handy for Up. I've heard stories. :)

Jennifer AlLee said...

Hey Kathy,

Thanks for the link! I've seen Night at the Museum, too. I didn't think it was quite as good as the first, but still really enjoyed it. The best part for me was Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. The girl's got moxie!

Jaime said...

Cool!! I so want to see Star TreK! :)