2017 Movie Challenge – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

atlantis posterFor my third entry in the 2017 Movie Challenge, I decided to fulfill #12, “Second Childhood – an animated movie you didn’t watch as a child,” with Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).

It’s obvious this movie was made right about the time Disney was abandoning the 2D animation that sustained it for so long. While some scenes were very impressive, in general, the art of Atlantis had more in common with a Saturday morning cartoon than the house that gave us The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Bambi. That combined with a few stolen faces from other properties led to some major distractions that Atlantis couldn’t really afford.

It’s not a bad movie, by any means. It covers a lot of ground in its 90-minute runtime, from history to theology, mysticism and of course good, old-fashioned greed, but it was a difficult movie to really get into. The first 20 minutes felt like an hour — and not in a good way — as Michael J. Fox’s nerdy linguist Milo Thatch struggles to gain respect first from his superiors at the museum where he works in the boiler room and then from the crew of people on an expedition led by James Garner’s Gen. Roarke to find the lost city of Atlantis.

But once the expedition got underway, the film really picked up, fueled mostly on the strength of its cast of side characters. Milo was a fun character that Fox imbued with plenty of personality, but the others — like Audrey Ramirez, the teenage engineer; Vinny, the demolitions expert with a flowery past; Sweet, the kindhearted muscle-man of a medic; and the ever-colorful chef Cookie voiced by Jim Varney in his last role before his death — were colorful additions bursting with possibility but given limited opportunity to shine.

And while many adults may be irritated by what is ultimately another story of a white man leading the charge to save the native people of Atlantis with his plucky band of minority sidekicks, at its heart, Atlantis is still a cartoon action-adventure meant for kids but with a tremendous cast that most people can enjoy if they’re able to overlook the rough spots.

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Coulda been Star Wars, but instead: Jaws 4

I intended to spend my Wednesday FINALLY finishing the Star Wars: A New Hope novelization so I could have that post ready today, May the Fourth. But then I learned my job’s going away next month, and even though I have really mixed feelings on this book, I love Star Wars as a franchise and didn’t want to associate with a day of bad news.

So instead, I went home and watched Jaws: The Revenge, which I’ve had out from Netflix since August of 2016. I’d apologize to the other would-be renters, but in all honesty, you’re probably few and most people would say I’ve done you a favor.

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I really liked ‘Logan,’ but probably not for the reason you think

“Logan” earns its R rating.

It’s violent to a degree that isn’t just speeding down the highway of what viewers have come to expect from the franchise — it could have gotten off a few exits back and still been coarse enough to merit the rating that also allows for all the F-bombs it drops. It’s excessive to the point of being distracting in places, and the film itself has several moments that are nothing short of predictable.

And yet, for all of that and for all the effort that the paper-thin villains went through trying to manufacture mutants to be the perfect killing machines, there’s an undeniable humanity to “Logan” that goes far beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

logan

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The Leisure Time 2017 Movie Challenge

While my sister was trying to decide if she wanted to do the PopSugar 2017 reading challenge or the Book Riot one, and I was trying to decide if I even wanted to bother, we stumbled upon the idea of making our own similarly styled 2017 movie challenge. In this challenge, there are 26 categories that are as simple as “A black and white movie” to as complicated as “the first movie by the director of a movie you’re really into right now.” We’re not going to drown you in rules, so any movie that fits a challenge is good, but if you want to up the ante, make all of them a movie you’ve never seen.

We collaborated to offer some suggestions, and while we have similar tastes and generally agree on things, I’m sure this list also contains movies I would never watch and movies my sister would definitely never watch, so…good luck.

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