Movie Review: It Chapter Two

Movie Review: It Chapter Two

The Second Part to It was fighting a losing battle from the start.  First off, it had a lot to live up to.  It Chapter One was perhaps the second-best Stephen King adaptation ever made behind Jack Nicholson’s The Shining.  It also had the issue that the source material from King’s novel was inferior.  Almost all of the good parts from the novel took place when the protagonists were kids.  I read the book many moons ago, and all of the stuff that was memorable was the flashbacks scenes when the kids took on Pennywise the first time.

So, this movie had quite a bit, working against it.  One thing was very clear.  This movie was not nearly as good as Chapter One.  Given how good the first chapter was, that doesn’t necessarily make this a bad movie.  And ultimately, it wasn’t bad.  It just wasn’t great.

The bad:  The chills and creep factor, while admirable, didn’t quite measure up.  There was a bit of redundancy to them, and there was no new ground being broken.  Now for the really bad.  What they did with Richie Tozier’s character was ridiculously stupid.  It did not fit who he was, did not make a damn bit of sense after watching the first movie, and was just thrown in to appease special interest groups.  It really brought the movie down for me.  I also didn’t like how they portrayed Mike Hanlon’s character.  He was jumpy and unstable, not at all the way his character is meant to be.  In the novel, he’s the most rock-solid of all the characters.  Finally, the whole part of the Native American ritual was just dumb.

The good:  I really enjoyed the selection of actors, in particular, James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain.  The actors overall were really top-notch and delivered great performances.  And the portrayal of Pennywise was terrific.  The movie had some good laughs to break apart the seriousness of the movie.  There were some good horror elements as well, and I thought a fitting ending.

Overall, I give this movie a thumbs up.  It wasn’t great.  It could have been done better, but it was still solid and worth watching.

Movie Review: Jumanji the Next Level

Movie Review: Jumanji the Next Level

The first Jumanji movie told the story in its entirety, and there was no real reason to make this movie other than the first movie was surprisingly successful and the studio behind it wanted to capitalize on that success.  Given that caveat, this was basically a fun, popcorn movie that didn’t require much deep thought.  It was much like the first movie, except this go around the returning characters started off knowing about their avatars and the game they were in with the exception of two new characters, played by Danny Devito and Danny Glover.  An odd choice bringing in two older, veteran actors, but it worked.  They gave the movie a new element by mixing up the avatars from the first movie.  I especially enjoyed the Rock trying to portray the Danny Devito character and Kevin Hart trying to portray his older character as well.  The actors seemed to have fun with it and overall put in strong performances.

Otherwise, the plot of the sequel was similar to the original.  They once again had to travel through dangerous lands with an ultimate objective and trying to avoid getting killed three times in the process, a difficult task given that the two older characters seemed clueless about the game.  There were fun and silly moments in this movie, certainly nothing deep or thought-provoking, but if you liked the first movie, you will like this one as well.