Wednesday, April 23, 2014

G.I. Joe sequel is what you expect, Insidious Chapter 2 is less than expected

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) Poster
These two movies are being reviewed as sequels, and because of that, I have to take into account the previous movies. I point this out for the simple fact that though they end up being rated the same, in the long run the Joe movie would be the clear winner as not being as bad as Insidious Chapter 2. Standing alone then of course Insidious Chapter 2 would be the winner, but alas it is a sequel.

            I am a child of the 80’s. I grew up playing with G.I. Joe toys, and more than that I was an avid comic book collector of G.I. Joe initially, as well as C.O.P.S. and though I have no idea how I got into it I apparently bought every issue (and still have) of Yukinobu Hoshin’s 2001 Nights.

            The current G.I. Joe movies are a mystery because I don’t know who they are for. Are they for me, an adult male, or a teen-age kid (since the movie is PG-13) or a grade school kid, which was the age I was when I played with G.I. Joes so I’m assuming that is still the same now-a-days. The movie is a bit too violent for grade school kids, so mostly the movie would be for teens (who have all manner of super hero movies to choose from that are much more well known than G.I. Joe) or adults who would most likely not want to lay down hard earned money for a movie that they will probably not feel is worth it. That’s assuming they’d even admit they wanted to see the movie. Nostalgic sake, okay, maybe, but I would love to see the man who drags his wife to see G.I. Joe Retaliation and in all seriousness is anxious and excited to see what sort of amazing adventure the Joes are going to go on this time – could it be as good, if not better, than the first movie? – because I do not know this man, nor do I believe he exists.

            So I don’t know who would see this in the theatre, but I know who would watch it on Netflix streaming. Me. A movie I know is not really for me, I know I will not Love It, and it’s safe to say I’m not gonna Really Like It, and assuming it doesn’t completely screw up, I’ll probably Like It, but very well could just as easily Not Like It.

Rachel Nichols Actress's Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols and Karolina Kurkova pose for a photograph on HMS Belfast after arriving on a Royal Marine RIB during a photocall to launch 'G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra' on July 22, 2009 in London, England.
You're not gonna bring these girls back
but you'll put The Rock and Bruce Willis
in it? 
            I don’t recall much of the first movie other than it had a bunch of people, not the least of which was Chirstopher Eccleston who is always great, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is also great but bordering on annoying with how cool and popular he is. The first one also had Sienna Miller and Dennis Quaid and Rachel Nichols, all of who played popular G.I. Joes, and all of which are simply not in the sequel (and I say “simply” because it is never really explained why they’re not there. Dead? Missing? On a mission? Who cares? The audience probably, wondering where the entire cast – and the characters for that matter – went to). The first movie felt like a G.I. Joe movie because of the fact that there were so many ties to the toys and the cartoon; Destro, Cobra Commander, all that stuff – this movie, the sequel, does not feel like a G.I. Joe movie.

It feels like an action movie with the title G.I. Joe slapped on it.

            G.I. Joe didn’t have the easiest villains to transfer to a “realistic” movie such as the kind the last two were trying to be. Cobra Commander first wears a black hood, and then later has a shield for a face, and Destro’s head is metallic, or silver (let’s just be thankful they didn’t decide to show us Serpentor); and even the Joes have Snake Eyes, a hero who is probably the baddest of them all, and very popular, but he wears a mask the entire time and doesn’t even talk. You know, listing stuff like this makes me think that one could do a psychological profile of said cartoon’s affect on the children watching it, so many characters with physical damage that causes them to wear masks, as well as psychological damage that could also lead to them wearing masks but also keep them from talking, and all of them hiding behind crazy weapons.

            I will never understand why – when making G.I. Joe into a movie – they didn’t use Springfield, the whole Cobra town that looks all perfect and is in fact a front for the enemy, that always creeped me out and I think were it addressed in a movie today could be done in a truly creepy and awesome way.

            But no, we’ll just make a vehicle for Damon Wayans and Channing Tatum and then follow that movie up with another movie vehicle for The Rock and Bruce Willis. Oh, okay.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) PosterI loved the first Insidious. My wife, who loves horror movies, didn’t care for it nearly as much as I did. I was really into it, for whatever reason, so was anxious to see the second one, and very happy to see it streaming.

            Of course I was disappointed after I watched it, why wouldn’t I be? I think at this point if I see a movie and am totally blown away by how awesome it was I’ll be disappointed a little bit by the fact that I wasn’t disappointed instead.

Seriously, where are all the good streaming movies now-a-days (I actually finally saw 2 movies I loved, but that’s for another time)?

            I am a huge fan of Patrick Wilson. The guy is a great actor as so far has not been in a bad movie, and though yes, this movie wasn’t as good as the first one, it is still a decent movie. Rose Byrne is a great actress (I keep meaning to check her out in Damages) and I’m a huge fan because of 28 Weeks Later which is a great sequel that is equal too and at times even better than the original. I’m also a fan of James Wan because of his movie Death Sentence – that is probably one of the best revenge movies I’ve seen – but I also did enjoy Saw, a great movie that did not need a sequel and I feel has been hurt because of them. On its own, though, Saw is a good tense horror movie.

            Yes all of them return for the sequel, and the story has been set up for a continuation that looks as though it will work, like we’re being prepared for more of the same, and then when it’s delivered it’s different. Not bad, just not what I was expecting.
Bring this guy back, he's way more scary
than the ghost they chose for the sequel.
            I told my wife the movie felt like a Scooby Doo mystery, which wasn’t a bad thing, really, it’s just that it wasn’t scary – at all. It was interesting enough while they solve the mystery of the ghost and all, but it wasn’t scary; and the worst part was that it had everyone from the first one, but whatever made the first one a good scary movie just wasn’t there. I wouldn’t even say this movie was creepy, the whole story of the main ghost and connection with the boy was as close to creepy as the movie got, and it was good but it just did not have the same hooks in me as the first movie did. Maybe it was the lack of ghosts that the first had plenty of, I don’t know, all I know is that it just didn’t work this time.

            I know sequels aren’t generally as good as the original, and when the main problem with a sequel is that it wasn’t as good as the first one, I guess that’s not really an attack on the movie so much as an attack on the sequel – if you can see that the two are different. If not, what are you doing reading this at all, much less this far?

            Insidious Chapter 2 was a good movie, a good mystery, but not a good horror movie and since it is a sequel to a horror movie, it’s a bad sequel. Look, the first G.I. Joe was an action movie that set up another action movie, and that’s what we got. The first Insidious was a horror movie that set up another horror movie – but that’s not what we got, we got a mystery.

That doesn’t work, sorry.    

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