Summer Movie Awards, Pt. 1

 

(Beware spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie)

Most Boring and Never-Ending Finale

Man of Steel’s hour-long meaningless battle between indestructible Superman and indestructible General Zod, as they demolish an entire city. Whoever coined the term ‘demolition porn,’ got it right. CGI has ‘rendered’ the audience’s investment in onscreen destruction a big ‘meh.’ It might as well be a cartoon at this point, for all we care if we’re not invested in the story or characters. And Superman does something he’s never done in 70+ years before – he kills. He snaps Zod’s neck (you’d think throwing him through seven skyscrapers would have done the same trick) to protect a family from being fried by Zod’s laser beam eyes. Nevermind the countless thousands of people who must have died while they were knocking down skyscrapers pummeling each other forever and ever throughout the city. Yawn.

Best Impersonation of a Transformers Movie

Pacific Rim has a stylistic production look, sense of humor, and a nostalgic tradition going back to Godzilla movies and anime cartoons, but it’s still just two hours-plus of oversized CGI robots battling oversized CGI monsters. As I sit going deaf watching more loud and meaningless demolition, my mind drifts to trivial thoughts like, “I’m glad Idris Elba from The Wire is finally getting a big paycheck;” or “How do those little helicopters carry 700-ft robots out to sea on those itty bitty wires?” and, “I really miss the guys in the rubber monster suits stomping around on one of those awesome model cities. You knew something was at stake, then… hundreds of hours of painstaking work by a master model-maker.” Kinda cool sci-fi movie, though.

Best Third Act Rescue

No, it wasn’t a character within a film; it was the re-shot third act of World War Z itself. Apparently the first version of this world wide apocalyptic zombie romp tried to go even bigger than the first two acts and, in doing so, probably played like that third act of Man of Steel and bored test audiences into a near zombie catatonic state. So they brought in a writer from the TV series Lost, and scaled the last act down to Brad Pitt alone in a haunted house – er, I mean a World Health Organization lab – trying to retrieve a possible vaccine amid loitering, teeth-clacking zombies. I hope more films get the message that less can be more when you reduce finales back to human scale, where one person surviving or succeeding just resonates louder than countless CGI humans, buildings or worlds blowing up.

Worst First Two Acts

Despicable Me 2. Is it a James Bond spoof, a dating movie, a Gremlins rip-off, or a little princesses movie? No, it’s just a total mess of three-second visual gags in search of a comprehensible story. Fortunately, most of the 5 year-old girls at the matinee I went to didn’t care and were there to just laugh at the minions. Next time, just skip the plot, characters or story and give us two hours of minions or Scrit. Oh… that’s what they’re actually going to do: The Minions Movie is coming next summer.

Best Expensive Version of 24

White House Down is a $200 million dollar version of the TV series 24, but at least with a sense of humor and minimal torture. Channing Tatum’s character saving the president, his daughter (but not from a cougar) and the world makes Jack Bauer look like a pussy. The director previously destroyed the White House in Independence Day, one of the founding father films of demolition porn, but with a sly wink to the audience, he teases you to the brink here, but ultimately that’s about the only building in Washington he doesn’t demolish. Jaime Fox also has a blast playing Obama as a Nicorette-chewing pacifist who gets his badass on.

Who Was That Masked Man Award

I guess we’ll never know. No one showed up at the theaters.

 

Okay, where are the movies for grown-ups, already? And no, anything with Adam Sandler doesn’t count.

– A. Wayne Carter

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