The weather this summer has been spectacularly bad, which makes a surprising change for England … no seriously, we usually get some pretty hot days, but we’ve not managed much above 20 degrees this year. As a result of this, I’ve spent quite some time at the local cinema during June and July, with a plan to go again to see Ant-Man and Inside Out at some point too. So, here’s my list so far: Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic World, Minions, Slow West, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Let’s discuss them, shall we?
**SPOILER FREE POST**
Pitch Perfect 2 (Banks:2015)
I actually think I preferred this to the first film, from way back when in 2012 (was it really that long ago)?! To be brutally honest, I think the main reason for this was Das Sound Machine, because they are INCREDIBLE. Their performance at the World Championships is without a doubt my favourite track from either of the two films. I also preferred the selection of music in Pitch Perfect 2 – from Tina Turner to Fall Out Boy to Carrie Underwood – and I got more out of this Riff-Off than the original. Green Bay Packers fans, I implore you to watch this film purely for that scene. However, the story of the first film was stronger, both for the Bellas and for Beca herself, mainly due to its smaller scale. The humour and the one-liners in the second instalment made me laugh more too, though I’m not sure any of them quite topped Fat Amy’s nugget of pure gold “Sometimes I get the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think mmm… better not.”
Jurassic World (Trevorrow:2015)
Despite some nay-sayers complaining about how Jurassic World “wasn’t as good as the original” because “it just wasn’t the same”, I enjoyed it. I’m not the biggest Jurassic Park fan in the world, having only seen the first one, so I’m sure I didn’t get the same appreciation as a big fan would have got out of it, but it was damn good. And naturally, the casting of Chris Pratt was much appreciated. I know a lot of people like the ‘real-ness’ of the animatronics and such that were used in the original Jurassic Park, and I 100% understand the charm those effects can have, but I was very impressed with the visual effects used on the dinosaurs – those guys must have had a field day designing a new dinosaur! Jurassic World is a film I would recommend, perhaps not so highly as others I’ve seen this summer, but it’s definitely worth watching.
Minions (Coffin & Balda:2015)
Now this was a highly anticipated film. Both of the Despicable Me films were brilliant and the minions were a small stroke of genius; everyone loves the little glow sticks! However, I wasn’t thrilled with this film. Don’t get me wrong, it was by no means a bad film, it just didn’t quite meet my expectations. Now that may be partly down to the fact that our cute little protagonists don’t speak a comprehensible language so it was nigh on impossible for the narrative to flow as well as other films, but truth be told I simply wasn’t captivated by the story. I understand that the target audience does not require a complex or gripping narrative, but sometimes I swear I get more out of ‘kids’ films than the 7-year-olds do! And in Minions there were numerous references to things that the kiddies wouldn’t know about, little nods to some famous faces of the time, which gave the adults a little something more to take from the film.
Slow West (Maclean:2015)
Love, friendship, a journey, and humour. Before I went to see it, I hadn’t heard anything about this film, which was a little surprising given Michael Fassbender stars in it. But then, it’s not a mainstream film – I saw it in a new indie cinema/theatre/art gallery in Manchester called Home, which is actually really nice, with high quality screens and comfy seats. The film is about a young man from Scotland (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who travels across America to The West, pursuing the woman he loves. He meets a knowledgeable guide in Michael Fassbender’s outlaw, but it seems he doesn’t know his love quite as well as he originally thought. Rory McCann, better known to the people of Westeros as Sandor Clegane, the Hound, also features – a nice surprise as a big Thrones fan. Slow West is beautifully shot on location in New Zealand which boasts naturally stunning and dramatic landscapes, and has a simplistic, stripped-back approach to soundtrack. I have nothing but praise for Slow West, though I think you would need to be quite a film buff to really appreciate it.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (McQuarrie:2015)
I was thoroughly impressed by the latest Mission: Impossible film last week, combining stunning action sequences with brilliant acting, it was a great success! It was clear from the outset that this would be a show-stopping production and we would be thrown straight back into the world of the IMF – our first action shots were of Tom Cruise clinging to the side of a plane during take off. There was also frequent humour, chiefly from our favourite comic ginger Simon Pegg. One of the best things about this film was the seamless combination of thrilling action and gripping narrative, and with stars such as Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin and Tom Hollander, the audience was in good hands. Rebecca Ferguson was a good casting as Ilsa Faust, but I personally thought there were moments where she was objectified unnecessarily by the camera, as the only ‘real’ female character in the film. Anyone who studies media will know what I’m talking about when I say you could definitely apply Male Gaze theory here. But all that aside, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film and if you’re to take anything from this little review, I want it to be this: this film is amazing. Just watch it.