Movie Valley
May 2010 Movie Reviews
Back to the main movie page

Shrek 4: Forever After
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn
Directed By: Mike Mitchell
Run Time: 1 hr 33 mins

Shrek Forever After is shown in 3D (and IMAX) and is about Shrek pining for the good ol' days where people were afraid of him and his days weren't so monotonous. He wishes that, for one day, he could be a scary ogre again. Enter Rumpelstiltskin, a man who grants wishes through magical contracts. In return for granting Shrek one day to be a scary ogre, Rumpelstiltskin gets a "random" day from Shrek's life. Little does Shrek know that this one day exchange changes everything in his life. None of his friends - including his wife - know him and the kingdom is not at all like it was. Ogres are hunted. No one is happy. It's up to Shrek to change things back.

First and foremost, I should point out that I like Shrek 2 better than Shrek 1 (particularly for the traveling scene with Donkey in the back seat) and that I've never seen Shrek 3 (although I have seen - and own - the Christmas special). I don't like Shrek being too grouchy, particularly with Donkey, and I don't like Fiona being all preachy. I like the other characters - like Gingy and the Three Blind Mice. Donkey, of course, is my favorite, followed very closely by Puss in Boots.

This one had some great visual gags that really, really made me laugh. I particularly liked fat Puss in Boots, if only because it reminded me of my fat guy without boots. I also now own the Happy Meal toy of Puss in Boots. I liked Puss sliding down the rope and his post. I have a feeling he didn't fully intend to slide down them but couldn't fight gravity. I actually liked the annoying and devious Rumpelstiltskin, particularly with his hair changes. I also liked the strong Fiona character. In addition to the great sight gags and strong/different characters, there were some great funny lines that I don't think kids will get ("It looked bigger in the catalog"). They made me laugh.

The story for this tale is quite interesting and different. I liked it. The overall premise seemed a bit insulting - a man who is bored by his family life and needs a change - but what they did with it - the different worlds - was quite intriguing. The underlying premise - reaffirming that the love of your life is true love - has been done before but I liked the ending.

This installment is funny... in parts. The story is quite good and interesting. It brings together the old characters once more - and doesn't rehash bits that were funny in the previous versions. 3D isn't necessary and IMAX certainly isn't necessary. But it is an enjoyable movie. I'll probably end up buying it and watching it on a plane or when I'm home sick. It's gonna get played a lot...

Robin Hood Directed By: Ridley Scott
Run Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Robin Hood takes place before Robin was Robin, before the battle between Prince John and Robin Hood and even before Robin meets maid Marion.

This tale of Robin Hood is a totally different story from any other version I've seen or read. As a result, it was a tish difficult to follow because I kept trying to lead. I kept trying to put the names to people and predict what was going to happen - what must and should happen - based on the versions I knew. I couldn't stop doing it so I kept getting confused and frustrated. That aside, I did like that this was something totally new. However, despite being a new story (and therefore I couldn't guess what was going to happen), I still found the movie rather boring. At the final battle scene, I left the theater to go to the bathroom (something I never do for fear of missing something good/important) and came back to still a rather lengthy battle scene (and I could figure out what had happened while I was gone).

I did like the story between Marion and Robin. I also liked Marion's toughness. I didn't care that Russell Crowe was the oldest actor to ever play Robin Hood (something I read in a bunch of different articles). Maybe that's because I never assigned an age to Robin Hood pr maybe it's because I just assume that Robin Hood is older than I am and since I keep aging, so, too, must Robin Hood.

It's a decent movie. I didn't hate it. I didn't like it either. I was blah about it. It passed time... a lot of time. It is incredibly long, though, and time does drag out a bit. It's a least an hour before we even meet Marion! I wouldn't watch it again. But it didn't annoy me, which is always a good thing.

Iron Man 2
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Run Time: 2 hrs 5 mins

Iron Man 2 is about Iron Man/Tony Stark's struggle with releasing the suit's design to the government. Tony Stark admitted in a hearing that he was Iron Man and now the government wants him to turn over his technology. They see him as a threat - superhero wannabes will challenge Iron Man to a battle if he continues to be Iron Man. Tony Stark insists that the safest way to prevent copycats is to keep his designs under lock and key. The government wants to create an army of Iron Mans and hires a cheesy Tony Stark knock off Justin Hammer (played by Rockwell) to build that army. Hammer hires Russian wannabe superhero with a vengeance Ivan Vanko (played by Rourke) to build these suits. Vanko uses the money and the lab to build himself a suit that will aid in crushing the son of his father's nemesis - Tony Stark.

This movie is enjoyable... and yet not. I was not impressed by the opening with Vanko (played by Rourke). I didn't understand what was going on. It was not an interesting opening. It was not well acted. And since you have no idea what's going on, the anguished yell is irksome, rather than enticing.

I think part of the reason I didn't enjoy this movie is because it's all about attacking Tony Stark and Iron Man, from the government, to Justin Hammer, to Vanko, to himself. I just wanted everyone to leave him alone! This movie also lacked the charm from the first installment.

I will admit that another part of the reason I didn't enjoy this movie can solely (yes) be attributed to Scarlet Johansson's performance. She's not my favorite actress because I feel as though an actress should actually act. I did not buy her character at all - from the beginning introduction or to the end reveal. The end reveal big battle scene was all stunt double and cgi. That scene frustrated me a lot. Why cast an actress who can't pull off the character's requirements?

Although I came to like Mickey Rourke's performance, I was not not sucked into his character. I didn't feel his drive for revenge. I didn't even sense any evil in him. I felt as though his battle scenes mumbled, "Hey! I'm here now. I'm supposed to fight you. I guess I will." There was no intensity, no felt animosity. It was kind of bleh.

It's a decent movie, if just for Robert Downey, Jr and Jon Favreau's bodyguard character. I don't think the director is supposed to steal every scene he's in and yet...

The Losers
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short
Directed By: Sylvain White
Run Time: 1 hr 38 mins

The Losers is about an elite Special Forces unit who are thought to be dead after the mission mastermind betrays them. Now they're bent on revenge.

The reviews have not been kind to this movie but since there was nothing else showing at the time I wanted to see a movie, I opted to see this one. It wasn't bad. Really. It's not an Oscar contender but what do you expect from an action flick based on a comic book called The Losers ? If you want a non-thinking action movie that's slightly funny and fairly harmless (none of the gore is shown), this is a pretty good bet. Not a great bet, but decent. I didn't groan once or sigh heavily.

There many enjoyable things about this movie. It tried to be funny. It didn't try hard (which in itself is a good thing). I liked the strong female character. I liked the friendship throughout the unit. I liked Jensen's T-shirts. I liked the donut scene. It's not every day that you hear someone shout "Donut, donut, donut!" who's not Homer Simpson. A bit on the quirky side. Of course, I'm not sure how feasible the main plot really is but if you don't think about plot, it's an enjoyable movie.