Geeky Daddy Movie Review Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Spoiler Warning: There are some spoilers, but if you’re worried about spoilers, why are you reading a review of the movie in the 1st place?

I have been looking forward to this film more than any other release of 2017!  Who hasn’t? Will we finally learn Rey’s story? How about Snoke’s?

I did have some trepidation about this movie however. Based on how much of a requel (combination sequel and reboot) The Force Awakens was of A New Hope, would The Last Jedi be simply a re-hashed Empire Strikes Back?

Fortunately, my fears proved unfounded as, while there were plenty of nods to Empire Strikes Back, The Last Jedi was its own story. But was it a good one?

The Good

There was a lot of good!

From the beginning crawl (yes there was one, I don’t know why they opted to leave that out of Rogue One) this movie felt 100% Star Wars!

Terrific Space Action

The_Last_Jedi_Space_Battle

The movie begins with a terrific space battle that had great action, wonderful special effects and even a little humor mixed in. Beginning a Star Wars movie with a joke was a bit of a risk, but paid off. The battle was an obvious nod to the trench sequence from A New Hope mixed in with some vintage WWII bombing raid battle footage. Laws of gravity aside, it was a great way to open the film!

Kylo vs. Rey vs. Elite Praetorian Guard

Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul had always been my favorite lightsaber battle, but it may have just been unthroned. Usually a battle with multiple opponents quickly descends into chaos, but this battle remained a ballet of martial arts violence.

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The Samurai inspired armor was awesome to look at, the creative new weapons were impressive in combat and the martial arts was expertly choreographed.

The Bad

The Island

From the ending of The Force Awakens, none of use could wait to see what the island had in store for us. What we got was the slowest developing island story that was not told over the first 5 seasons of CW’s Arrow.

I mean, I only remember like 1 scene of actually training. So much of the time spent on the island seemed like the same dialogue repeated over and over again. Aside from the need for Disney to sell pallets of Porg toys, I’m not sure why the island scenes needed to take up so much screen time.

Vice Admiral Holdo & Other Bad Leadership

I have watched The Last Jedi twice and I still have no idea what the point of this character was. Why not simply have Princess (General) Leia fulfill this role?

The character of Vice Admiral Holdo appears on the screen built up as a great tactician and the hero of a previous battle but looking more like she just came directly from a Cyndi Lauper concert.

vice admiral Holdo
“Girls just want to have fun”

But that’s cool. I like the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea, but then she turned out to be the most inept leader in a movie that also included the ginger General Hux.

General-Hux-590709
“I SUCK!!!”

She stays behind on the cruiser while the rest of the resistance boarded shieldless shuttles so she could “pilot the cruiser”, but then she didn’t. She simply stared out the window with the same sad longing that I do when I am staring out my window waiting for the overdue pizza delivery guy.

She didn’t even head to the bridge until after a dozen or so of the 30 shuttles had already been destroyed! I did love her Kamikaze maneuver…that she did after like 27 of the 30 shuttles were destroyed!

Why not:

A: Maneuver the cruiser (with its working shields) in between the defenseless shuttles and the pursuing First Order. Or…

B: Once the cloaked shuttles were launched, use the last bit of fuel to jump to hyperspace to lure the tracking First Order with her and allow her shuttles to escape. Or…

C: Be on the friggin’ bridge so she could perform the Kamikaze maneuver earlier. As in, right after the First Order started blowing up the shuttles.

D: There really was no way to remote control the cruiser? Just how far behind Google in “self driving car” technology are the resistance?

Google-Self-Driving-Car
“I’m a very safe driver.”

Obviously no one could have foreseen Carrie Fisher’s death shortly after completion of filming, but even without that hindsight, why not simply have Princess Leia fulfill this role? What better way for her character to go out than by sacrificing herself to save the rest of the resistance?

princess leia
(And I was not a fan of her coming back from the dead of space)

And if we look deeper into it, the First Order only learned about the cloaked shuttles because Benicio Del Toro’s DJ character was on their main ship. DJ was only on their ship because Holdo didn’t share her escape plan with her commanders, as every previous rebel leader had down in every previous Star Wars movie.

Poe, Connix and the other commanders thought Holdo was simply leading them on the slowest high speed chace since O.J. and A.C. gave the world a guided tour of L.A.’s highway system. Which is why they sent Finn and Rose for the a splicer (hacker) in the first place.

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“I think we are being followed!”

And Hux had like a dozen Star Destroyers in his pursuing fleet. Why wouldn’t he have one make a short hyper jump ahead to cut off the resistance?

Luke Skywalker

I totally get why Mark Hamill reacted the way he did when he first saw Rian Johnson’s script for The Last Jedi.

In an interview with Vanity Fair.  “I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character,'” he said. “‘Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision,'” he reportedly told Johnson.

Luke
“At least I’m not ‘speechless’ this time.”

When I first heard this was Mark Hamill’s reaction, I was worried that Rey would be revealed to be his daughter and our favorite Jedi would be revealed to be the galaxy’s greatest dead beat dad. While, thankfully, this did not turn out to be true, what they did with Luke wasn’t all that much better.

They left him to wallow in self pity on his private island after his student fell to the dark. He essentially became a dead beat dad for a whole generation.

I will say, however, that I did like what they did with his character towards the end.

Other Notes

Are Johnson And Abrams On The Same Page?

The J.J. Abrams helmed The Force Awakens was a “requel” (combination sequel and reboot) of the Star Wars universe and introduced some great new characters and concepts, but did Rian Johnson agree?

It seemed as though Johnson purposefully undid some of the elements that Abrams introduced. Snoke ordering Kylo to “take off that ridiculous mask” sounded like it summed up what Johnson thought of it.

Much of The Force Awakens was spent building up the character of Snoke. Will we ever learn his origin, how he became so powerful or even if he was a Sith or something different? It is worth pointing out that neither him or Kylo took on the title of “Darth”. And what about the “Knights of Ren?”

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Who wore it better?

And what of Rey’s origin? Do you think Kylo was telling her the truth? Or could Snoke have implanted false impressions of Rey’s parents in his head?

rey's parents?
Could this still be a portrait of Rey’s parents?

J.J. Abrams will be helming  chapter IX in this trilogy so will we see him bring back some of what he introduced in chapter VII?

The Dice

I had to Google this because the significance of the gold dice to Luke and Leia went over my head when I saw the movie.

Star Wars Dice

The gold dice were a set decoration that first appeared in A New Hope and appear to have some kind of special meaning to Han.

After A New Hope, the dice disappear. They don’t appear in another Star Wars film until The Force Awakens. According to Vanity Fair, “[Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Pablo] Hidalgo says it’s possible the production team simply forgot about them between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.”

Nods To Previous Movies

From the re-enactment of the Battle of Hoth to the Millennium Falcon somersaulting through tunnels, there were plenty of nods to previous Star Wars films. I did like the parallels between Anakin’s fall to the Darkside, his burning of the Jedi Temple and slaughtering of the padawans to Ben Solo’s fall, his burning of Luke’s temple and slaughter of the students. I especially like that the writers didn’t insult us by referring to Luke’s students as “younglings”.

Billie Lourd’s Expanded Role

It was great to see Carrie Fisher’s daughter with an expanded role in a Star Wars tale. While Billie Lourd’s character of Lieutenant Connix was not overly pivotal, it was nice to see the Star Wars tradition of strong female warriors continue.

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She even rocked the hair buns! (probably the first time that sentence was ever uttered)

Foreshadow To The Next Trilogy?

Disney recently announced that The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson will be taking over a new Star Wars trilogy and that it will not be Skywalker focused. Did we see a foreshadow of this new trilogy with the small force sensitive slave boy that helped Finn and Rose escape the stable and watch the falling star at the end?

The Result

At the end, The Last Jedi was very enjoyable and I would love to be able to give it a 5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating, but with all the character flaws and unexplained plot points, I can’t.

The special effects and action sequences were just as spectacular as you’d expect in a Star Wars film. There was a good splash of humor without being silly or distracting (as Thor: Ragnarok sometimes bordered on) and the Porgs were fortunately much more Ewok-ish than Jar Jar Binks-ish. Lil’ G-Man loved them!

From what I have read, the director’s original cut of The Last Jedi ran about 3 hours and Disney ordered it to be cut to 2 hours 30 minutes. From a fiscal point of view, this makes sense as it allows for one more showing per business day at the theaters (more showings = more tickets sold), but did this sacrifice the storytelling at all?

One thing is for sure: When the Director’s Cut gets released (it is Lucasfilm, so you know there are going to be multiple editions), it should be one of the best selling Director’s Cuts of all time!

Overall, I give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a 3.5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating and a Fairly Kid Friendly on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Scale.

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My Wife Forced Me To Watch ‘A Christmas Prince’ And I Am Still Recovering

Warning: Spoiler Alert (Just Kidding – the script is so predictable there’s literally nothing spoilable)

My wife is a huge fan of cheesy Christmas movies..for reasons that continue to elude me a decade into our relationship.

As per our usual holiday agreement, I agreed to watch at least one Christmas movie with her not named Christmas Vacation, Die Hard or Lethal Weapon.

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This year, my wife heard that the cheesiest of the cheesy ones to watch is Netflix’s A Christmas Prince. We are about 30 minutes into this Christmas Crap-tastrophy and I can’t take much more.

A quick Google search and I found out the Buzzfeed thinks “A Christmas Prince is simultaneously the best and worst thing Netflix has ever produced.” So far I am thinking the latter of the two is more accurate than the first.

A Christmas Prince is an amalgam of every cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie I have been forced to endure over the past ten years wrapped up in one predictable, horribly acted package. It does star Rose McIver who I really enjoyed as the uber pale Liv Moore on CW’s IZombie.

The film starts off with the tons of stock footage of Christmas in New York City such as ice skating in front of the tree in Rockefeller Center and Christmas lights all round various New York City landmarks. The film then cuts straight to what I am pretty sure is the Chicago Tribune building (?) where we meet our heroine: Amber.

new york christmas

Amber is a struggling newspaper journalist (which is actually the most believable part of the story) and is complaining to her under-developed co-worker characters (the stock gay friend and the sassy female black friend) about her mean boss and 5 rejection letters. Wouldn’t rejection letters be received over email by media professionals nowadays?

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But Amber gets the opportunity of a lifetime when her publisher sends her to the fictional country of Aldovia, which I guess we are supposed to assume lies somewhere between Maldovia and Albania, to break a tabloid story about the playboy prince who soon will become king.

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“I never noticed you before but now that you have a strapless dress and a lot of eye make-up, I can’t take my eyes off of you.”

Amber has no trouble assuming the identity of the handicapped 12-year-old princess’s tutor and sneaking into the least secured and poorly guarded royal palace in all of Europe. Here we meet the rest of the ensemble cast of retreaded Christmas characters.

Enter all the stereo typical characters that we are familiar with seeing annually on Hallmark Channel. The Prince is of course a loyal, honest, charitable man who is misunderstood by the press. The conniving 2nd-in-line to the throne cousin who desires nothing more than to one day become king. The prince’s title obsessed ex-girlfriend who happens to lock lips with the prince while Amber catches a timely misunderstood glimpse of the embrace.

His mother, Queen Helena (Alice Krige), is a cold queen with ice in her veins (until she warms up to our heroine). She is also the one cast member I recognized from her portrayal as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact.

The 63-year-old queen is also the mother of the 12-year-old princess, which apparently makes her birth a Christmas miracle?

And remember Amber’s 5 rejection letters? As Twitter user Emily Black Favreau noted in a screenshot of Amber’s computer from the movie, Amber may have been rejected simply because she is a horrible journalist:

Christmas Prince

“Have to find out!!” and “I have to dig deeper” are not exactly bullet points a reporter needs in her notes. And why does the bottom of her screen say “0 words”? I see around 50 on her screen? What crap version of Microsoft Word is she using anyway?

christmas-prince

Sometime between Amber befriending the Tiny Tim-esque Princess Emily and me waking up from my nap induced by the whimsical musical score, the cousin’s dastardly evil plot to assume the throne had been exposed by our heroine and the kingdom of Aldovia, the prince’s throne and Christmas are all saved.

Basically, the only reason to subject yourself to this Abu Ghaib level torture of a film would be if you are in the doghouse with your spouse or you need to bank some brownie points because you have done something that will soon land you in that doghouse.

Side Note: Also, how come the weather in all these Christmas movies calls for overcoats and scarves but no gloves? Exactly what temperature is that?

In the end, I would rate this around a 1.5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Review Scale and a Kid Friendly on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Safe Scale.

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Geeky Daddy (Mostly Spoiler Free) Movie Review Of Thor Ragnarok

Obvious Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

I have been looking forward to this movie since the release of the first trailer! Seeing the Hulk come crashing into the arena and the visual of Hela destroying Asgard to the score of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song” had me hooked from the beginning!

“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Suicide Squad” and now “Thor Ragnarok” are fine examples of how much movie marketers stick with a winning formula once they find one. The latest being to score comic book movie previews with classic rock tracks that were recorded years (possibly even decades) before many of the movie goers were even born.

My brain will now permanently associate Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” with Thor Ragnarok. Much like how, even twenty years later, whenever I hear Van Halen’s “Right Here, Right Now” my taste buds crave a Crystal Pepsi!

The Good

Chemistry Of The Cast

As we have seen in the previous films, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) have excellent comedic chemistry and play very well off each other. But in Ragnarok, the comedy went beyond this duo to include the entire cast.

The CGI created Korg, voiced by Thor Ragnarok’s director Taika Waititi, was my favorite new character and provided laugh out loud humor to every scene he was in. You will leave the theater “liking the New Doug”.

Thor-Ragnarok-Korg
“Hey New Doug!”

Hiddleston also continues his track record with his scene stealing charismatic portrayal of the God of Mischief. He is so well cast for this role it is hard to envision him portraying any other character.

Comedy

The producers of Thor Ragnarok successfully took the movie much further into the realm of comedy than previous Marvel movies (including Guardians of the Galaxy). Loki’s reaction to seeing the Hulk was hilarious, Thor giving Banner his interpretation of his battle with the Hulk was well done and did I mention the new character Korg?

Thor and Hulk’s interactions provided some of the funniest moments of the film. Of all of the Hulk’s appearances in the Marvel cinematic universe, I thought his best portrayal was in the first Avengers movie…until now! When Stan Lee first created the Hulk, he was going for a Frankenstein style misunderstood child and this film’s creators nailed it!

thor and hulk
We never did learn exactly what Hulk flashed to earn those Mardi Gras beads… 

It almost seemed as if the script was handed to Seth MacFarlane at one point and he was told to make it more “Seth MacFarlane-esque”. Frat humor inspired scenes such as an intoxicated Valkyrie falling off the ramp, Korg carrying around his dead friend and Bruce Banner plummeting onto the Bifrost bridge seemed as if they could have been lifted directly from “Family Guy” or the “Orville” and were all hysterically executed.

Some scenes appeared to be written in for the sole purpose of adding in humor, rather than to advance the story (cough…Dr. Strange..cough) but were still done well and didn’t feel forced as they were in Avengers: Age Of Ultron or Superman V. Batman.

The Bad

There were very few components of this film that I would consider “bad”, but there were a pair things that I was not a huge fan of…

Remember, I warned you about Spoilers ahead!

Mjolnir Is Bupkis

mjolnir_bye

In the previous movies, we learned that Thor’s hammer Mjolnir was one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe. Some fan theories went as far as suggesting that Mjolnir contained one of the Infinity Gems Thanos is seeking, yet Hela was able to thrash it with the same ease my one-year-old is able to destroy a diaper after getting into My Taco Bell meal.

This was then explained away by Odin to Thor in the same manner that Yogurt explained away the ring of the Schwartz to Lonestar in Spaceballs. The lightning was always inside Thor and Mjolnir was merely used to focus the power.

Warriors Three

Warriors-Three-reunited-with-Thor

I enjoyed the characters of the Warriors Three and Lady Sif from the previous Thor movies. I understand Jaime Alexander was unable to reprise her role of Lady Sif due to scheduling conflicts with her current TV show “Blindspot, but why dispose of the Warriors Three in under three seconds?

A certain amount of shock and awe was needed to establish to the audience exactly how powerful Hela is and I guess what better way to shock the audience than with the unexpected death of established characters.  But, at the same time, there must have been a better use of these characters, especially with how Thor Ragnarok ended (mid credits scene).

The Unexplained

Sibling Rivalry

We learned early on the Hela: The goddess of Death is the daughter of Odin. We already knew that Thor: The God of Thunder is the son of Odin. Which my public school education leads me to deduce that they are siblings.

If the two are siblings, why is Hela incredibly more powerful than Thor? Because she was simply the first born? Was her mother revealed to be different than Thor’s and I just missed it? I have an older sibling and he is not that much more powerful than I am. In fact, I think I could probably kick his butt in anything other than maybe assembling furniture purchased from Ikea.

Hela’s Exile From Asgard

Hela disposed of the Valkyries with the same speed and ease that I dispose of cocktail wieners during the hors’derves portion of a wedding.

So how was she exiled from Asgard? And how did the passing of Odin suddenly allow her to return? Some type of magical spell? My suspension of disbelief allows me to overlook a lot in comic book movies, but this mystery left me baffled.

The Result

I really enjoyed this movie and would (and most likely will) pay to see it in theaters again (which is the definition of a very successful movie).

As I pointed out earlier, Thor Ragnarok was loaded with more comedy than I expected and felt much more like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie than a Thor movie, but that is fine. Thor and Loki were true to the characters that we fell in love with in the previous movies, multiple enjoyable new characters were successfully introduced and the entire film felt that it belonged in the ever expanding Marvel cinematic universe.

As with all Marvel movies, make sure you stick around for the mid and post credit scenes. The mid credit scene (which was foreshadowed when Loki stole a glance at the tesseract in Asgard) should bleed directly into next year’s release of Avengers Infinity War!

Thor Ragnarok rated a 5 out of 5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Rating Scale and a Kid Friendly on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Safe Scale.

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Geeky Daddy Movie Review of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn Director’s Cut 35th Anniversary Special

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

But seriously, this movie is 35-years-old, so if I am spoiling anything in this article for you, who’s fault is that…

Ask any Trekkie which is the best Star Trek movie ever made and the most predominate answer will always be Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

Well, that and that the paper used to print the script for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier should have been used for toilet paper instead. At least then, some use would have come from the trees it was printed on…

Side Note: All Trekkies know to stick with the even numbered Star Trek movies only.

star trek films

The History

The even numbered Star Trek movies also happen to be the only ones that Wrath of Kahns director Nicholas Meyer worked on. Coincidentally, I am sure this has something to do with him being  brought back to the Star Trek universe for the new Star Trek: Discovery series.

The story of how the best Star Trek movie was created really begins in 1977 with the release of Star Wars. Paramount Pictures saw the success (profits) of Star Wars and was desperate to ride it’s galactic coat tales, which lead to the release of the snoozer that would later became known as Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture.

star-trek-the-motion-picture

In an effort to correct their mistake, the studio turned to low budget producer Herve Bennett with $11 million (a quarter of Star Trek I’s budget) and asked him to write a successful sequel with more action (which couldn’t have been that hard to do) than the original movie .

The Good

Wrath of Kahn features the most well written script of any of the original Star Trek movies. Smart, fast paced dialogue between the perfectly characterized crew with the right amount of humor and just enough Shakespearian effect catches the original cast at the top of their game.

star trek II cast
Everyone looking somewhat serious…then there is George Takei

According to urban legend, Bennett binge watched the entire run of the original series, decided that Kahn was the best villain from the entire series and chose to write a revenge sequel to that episode (Space Seed).

kahn

(When Nicholas Meyer was brought on as director, he re-wrote much of the script but because Hollywood’s rule book for crediting writer’s has more layers and stipulations than Google’s search algorithm, he is not credited as a writer.)

All the returning crew member’s lines were perfectly written for each character with more subtle humor than I remembered. The interaction between the big three (Kirk, Spock & McCoy) felt unforced and flowed organically, even in the emotionally charged scenes towards the end.

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Even in a seated position, William Shatner is overacting.

William Shatner puts on the best performance of his Captain Kirk career, dealing with his own mortality on so many different levels. From something as subtle as the need for reading glasses to meeting his resentful adult son to the death of his best friend (I warned you about the spoilers), The ‘Shat’ (over) delivers the perfectly characterized dialogue in the way only he could.



Star Trek has often been described as a soap opera in space and Ricardo Montalban’s revenge seeking Kahn is the best possible Shakespearian villain for this interstellar opera. Blaming Kirk for the death of his wife, Kahn’s obsession with revenge to the point of self destruction was an instant classic.

Montalban is possibly the only one who could have portrayed Kahn’s level of obsession, to the point of quoting Melville, without going over the top and coming off as cartoony. I found that his level of over delivery actually paralleled Shatner’s over delivery and helped sell the rivalry of him and Kirk. The Yin to Kirk’s Yang or the Boba Fett to Kirk’s Han Solo.

And nobody can rock an ascot like Ricardo!

James Horner’s score was another dimension of this film that distanced it from the others in the franchise.

Horner most famous work is probably from Titanic and his most unusual is probably still the bizarre metal oil drums on the Commando soundtrack, but this film has some of his most emotional work. The score was powerful at the right moments of battle and subdued and reflective at the emotional times of the movie. I want Scottie to play Amazing Grace on his bag pipes at my funeral!

Director’s Cut vs. The Original

The Director’s Cut opens with an entertaining William Shatner interview reminiscing about the making of Wrath of Kahn…and at times, The Search for Spock (Shatner got a little confused at times and was called out on it by the interviewer).

The most notable change of the film itself was not so much the additional material, of which there was not much of, but the modernization of the film coloring.

Star Trek II vs. Director's cut Even with the improved color definition, the discrepancy between early 80’s technology and current high definition was painful at times on the big screen.

Most director’s cuts are mostly additional scenes were cut for the theatrical release for good reason. Whether scenes are just unnecessary, lack quality, negatively effect the flow of the movie or for simple run time, the fact is most cuts are made for a good reason.

However, the few minutes of footage that were re-inserted into the Wrath of Kahn Director’s Cut all worked very well and assisted the flow of the film.

I enjoyed the extended dialogue where Bones explains to Kirk what reading glasses are and how they are used. Kirk’s extended interaction with Scottie’s nephew also helped to add more emotional buy-in and weight to his death scene later in the film.

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I had hoped that the extended scenes would address a plot hole that always stuck out like a Darth Vader coplayer at a Star Trek Convention: If Kirk, Bones and Saavik were able to beam from the space station Regula I to the planet, how come they were unable to beam back aboard the Enterprise? Spock said the Enterprise did not have enough power to beam them back, but they were using the beaming platforms on Regula I.

Other Things I Noticed:

Sense of Mortality

It was impossible to watch the film without noticing how many of the cast are deceased. Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Ricardo Montalban, Bibi Besch, Paul Winfield, Merritt Butrick. It was a somber feeling.

Bacon sleeve:

It may just be because I was hungry at the time and unwilling to mortgage my home just to purchase a bucket of popcorn, but I thought Joachim’s arm looked like a huge strip of yummy bacon!

joachim
I picked up a bacon cheeseburger after the movie.

Parallel’s to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

After the near franchise killing turd blossom that was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier bombed at the theaters, Paramount realized their best bet was to re-create Wrath of Kahn as closely as possible. (Even Shatner poked fun at #5 in the interview)

So the studio brought back Nicholas Meyer to write and direct Star Trek’s own version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: a re-quel (or combination sequel and reboot)

star-trek-vi-courtroom
Christopher Plummer delivered his lines with Kahn-esque enthusiasm.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country featured a very similar naval battle between the two vessels, an eccentric enemy captain repeatedly over articulating quotes from famous literature (this time Shakespeare as opposed to Melville),  a young female Vulcan Lieutenant on the Enterprise and Kirk coming to terms with his own mortality (again).


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The Result

Any other Star Trek re-release, I may have thought twice about the cost of a ticket, but to seeing Kirk and Kahn match wits and over delivered dialogue on the big screen was only logical.

It was wonderful watching this well written sci-fi revenge classic on the big screen with a theater full of other geeks who appreciated these timeless characters.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn Director’s Cut scores a 4.5 our of 5 (More Than Babysitter Worthy) on the Geeky Daddy Movie Rating scale and a warm green on the Sidekick scale (mostly kid friendly).

Although Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn Director’s Cut had a limited amount of additional content, what was added did assist the story telling without disrupting the flow of the movie and the improved colorization was much appreciated.

Tell us your opinion of this film and make sure to check out other Geeky Daddy Movie Reviews.

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star trek II director's cut
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Geeky Daddy Movie Review Of Marvel’s Inhumans

As always, I will do my best not to reveal any major spoilers, but be warned, specifics of the movie ahead……

WARNING:  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This is the first Geeky Daddy Movie Review I have done for a movie that was not technically a movie, but I watched it at the IMAX theater, so it counts.

Marvel’s Inhumans was originally slated to be part of Marvel’s phase 3 feature films, but was later switched to be a spin-off from the successful ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The series launches on ABC this fall, but some mastermind at the Disney merchandising machine realized they could release the 2-part pilot in IMAX theaters as a feature film first and double dip on the revenue! It is the first live-action television series to do this, which means other studios will be watching closely to see how successful (or unsuccessful) the method is.

inhumans

The release runs approximately 75 minutes, about 10 minutes shorter than the cut that will air on television.

The Good

I was concerned how the network television produced special effects would translate to IMAX, since I previously read that only parts of the series were filmed with IMAX camera, but for the vast majority of the effects were very well done.

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“Why can’t I hail a taxi?”

There were a few shots of Medusa’s hair that were not as fluid as some others and Lockjaw did appear overly CGI in at least one shot, but I did love what they did with the teleporting effect, most of Lockjaw’s scenes and Black Bolt’s voice.

The actors all put forth strong performances with the best being done by Serinda Swan (Medusa) and Game of Thrones alum Iwan Rheon (Maximus). They also happened to be the only 2 characters with depth or internal conflict, but none-the-less, well done.

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The only exception to the overall strong cast performance may be that of Isabelle Cornish as Crystal. Although, in her defense, I am not sure if that was due to her acting, her dialogue or just the distractingly stupid hair tattoo. But whatever the reason, something about Crystal just didn’t resonate as well as the other characters.

ISABELLE CORNISH


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The Not So Good

For some reason the producers thought that lifting the special effects from Dr. Strange was the best way to explain Karnak’s power, but it didn’t translate well at all.

KEN LEUNG

Based on Karnak’s scenes, the viewer can determine that Karnak can either:

  1. Determine an opponent’s weaknesses?
  2. Briefly glimpse into the immediate future?
  3. Access an abstract non-working compass?

The main eye-sore of the movie was the architecture of the Inhumans’ home city of Attilan, which appears to have been solely inspired by parking garages.

Seriously, how much grey boring poured concrete can one possibly look at before they willingly step out into the vacuum of space?

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“Vast boringness. As far as the eye can see.”

For half the feature I just assumed Black Bolt’s power was that he was able to endure sitting in the world’s least comfortable throne without hemorrhoid irritation.

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Black Bolt’s brother Maximus contemplating ordering a seat cushion from Amazon...

Also the second half of the feature (episode 2?) saw the storytelling speed up a bit…thankfully. First episodes for any series are always slow paced. Character and plot development take priority over action, but holy cow the first half of the movie had a lot of talking and not a ton of doing.

The Confusing…

The Inhumans live on the moon (in parking garage inspired structures), with advanced technology such as laser guns and Apple Watch inspired communication devices (with sub-Google Maps technology).

So why did Maximus go after Medusa with regular, off the Walgreen’s shelf Norelco hair trimmers? Hair care technology is not advanced on the moon?

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Did the prop master show up to work one day, look at the itinerary, say “Crap! We’re shooting that scene today!” and simply run to the corner drugstore for the purchase?

The Result

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, or pilot or feature or whatever we want to call this.

The audience is able to easily jump on here without needing to have a familiarity of Terrigen gas from the comics or the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Although, I am not sure that a casual television viewer (non-comicbook fanboy) would be drawn into the series having just watched this pilot.



ABC’s choice to air Inhumans on a Friday evening is of note as well. The series is obviously targeting the male 18-34 year-old market who will be trying to score dates for those particular evenings. Maybe ABC is hedging their bets on DVR’s, or those fan-boys just not getting dates?

Overall, Inhumans rates a 3.5 out of 5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Ratings Scale and rated well on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Scale (mostly kid friendly)

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Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (5)

Geeky Daddy Movie Review Of Baby Driver

When I first heard about this film, I thought “Man, what a stupid title for a movie.”

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After watching this rather entertaining movie, I left the theater understanding where the name of the movie came from, but I was still like “Man, what a stupid title for a movie.”

The best way I can describe this entertaining ride would be a Fast & Furious movie combined with a Fat Boy Slim music video: IF the Fast & Furious cast could actually act and the Fat Boy Slim video actually told a story.

The Story

The Professor (Kevin Spacey) puts together different crews for different heist, all using the same getaway driver: a young talented driver with Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The only thing that keeps is ear ringing in check: A very diverse soundtrack!

The Players

This is the first movie I have ever seen Ansel Elgort in, since I have not seen the Divergent movies and somehow missed The Fault In Our Stars (by “somehow” I mean “I had no desire to”). Overall I was impressed by his performance.  He was very convincing as this quirky character and showed a wide range of emotions.

Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and John Hamm all contributed with their usual outstanding performances as well. Especially Hamm, whose character was able to flip the switch from a likable buddy character to sociopath successfully. Many performers come off as over-acting trying to make that switch.

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I would have liked to have seen more of Jon Bernthal in the film, seeing as how he was in every commercial I saw. His role was more a cameo and since it was towards the beginning of the film, I kept expecting to see him pop up again at some point.

The Good

The music used in the movie obviously played a huge role. Whether setting the mood for certain scenes or communicating emotions, the incredibly diverse soundtrack was perfectly selected and utilized.

The car chase stunts were also expertly choreographed to combine excitement with humor. It was nice to watch a car movie that did not come off as an obvious 2 hour commercial for a certain brand (cough…Fast & Furious..Dodge..cough).

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The dialogue was smart and quick throughout leaving with the viewer with a soft spot for all the characters, even the serial killer ones.

It does leave you wondering how good Marvel’s Ant-Man could have been.

The Not-So-Good

I really enjoyed the story more so than the intermediate dance/music videos that Edgar Wright mixed in. While those scenes were entertaining, after a while I found them a little annoying and distracting from the well written plot.

I was not a huge fan of the ending either. Without giving too much away, I thought the film should have ended about 10 minutes earlier than it did.

The Result

In the end, I really enjoyed Baby Driver and am giving it a 4 out of 5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Rating Scale and a Not Kid Friendly on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Safe Scale.

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (4)

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Geeky Daddy (Mostly Spoiler Free) Movie Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Obvious Warning: Possible Spoilers ahead.

We try to leave massive spoilers out of our reviews, however if you are super paranoid about having details about a movie spoiled for you, you probably shouldn’t be reading a review of the movie.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the sixth Spider-Man film to be released in recent memory with the 3rd different actor (Tom Holland) taking over as our friendly neighborhood web-slinger. We did get an entertaining and true-to-source-material sneak preview of Holland’s version of Peter Parker in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, which left most of us fanboys with high hopes for Spider-Man: Homecoming!

The Story

Thankfully, the producers of Spider-Man: Homecoming did not feel it necessary to subject us to a 2 hour re-telling of Spider-Man’s origin. I think everyone who would be in market to purchase a ticket for a Spider-Man movie is familiar with Peter being bitten by a radioactive spider and Uncle Ben’s speech about great power and great responsibility. Spoiler: That speech has nothing to do with any rice recipes.

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I have never understood why studios feel they need to re-tell origins of well known heroes with every casting change. If it is a new or relatively unknown character (Star-Lord) I get it, but is there anyone born in the western hemisphere in the last 50 years who does not know Peter was bit by a radioactive spider, Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered or Superman came from another planet?

Although we still don’t know what happened to Peter’s parents…or do we...

In Homecoming, Peter Parker must protect the city of New York from an evil super villain arms dealer who is using alien technology left over from the battle of New York (The first Avengers movie) to create futuristic powerful weapons. All this while trying to balance a mild mannered high school life, get the attention of the girl he likes and get ready for (you guessed it): The Homecoming dance!

The Players

As I mentioned earlier, this was the second time we have see Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and I gotta say: I love this kid in this role, especially as Peter Parker! Holland looked and acted as you’d expect a true 15-year-old would in multiple situations.

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“Don’t call me Garfield”

I’ve heard a few people complain that there was too much “high school” in the movie, such as Parker video blogging himself at the beginning of the film. But it is a film about a high school kid and that is what high school kids do.

This movie did a much better job of capturing a more realistic “Peter Parker high school life” than the previous films. Parker is constantly being put into complex situations where he needs to make tough choices between high school life (such as competing in the academic decathlon) or rushing off to fulfill his Spider-Man duties. Choosing between having fun with your friends or performing your chores is something most teenagers (and even young parents like myself) can relate to.

While I did miss hearing J. Jonah Jameson barking orders at him, I did enjoy the supporting cast of Parker’s high school classmates. From his comedic buddy Ned to his new romantic interest Liz. I was uncertain about the re-invention of Flash Thompson’s character from the typical “jock” bully to being more of an intellectual fellow geek, but it worked out well and assisted with the story telling.  Why would the school bully have so many classes and events with Peter, Ned and the other advanced placement kids?

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This movie was also successful in conveying Spider-Man’s humor and wise-cracking without it being overly done. Spider-Man’s humor is supposed to be a PG rated Deadpool (actually, I guess Deadpool is the R rated Spider-Man since Spider-Man came first and Deadpool is based off of Spider-Man). There is a fine line between funny sarcasm and plot distracting wise-cracks and I think this movie got it right.

I was also unsure about the re-casting of the typical geriatric Golden Girl-ish Aunt May to the younger MILF-ish Marisa Tomei, but it actually worked out very well. A whole lot more can be done story wise with a younger Aunt May (relationships, work, Peter’s friends having a crush…) who is of the right age to have a high school kid.

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“It’s May. Ms. Parker if you’re nasty” …Did I go too far with the Janet Jackson reference?

The Bad (guy)

I love Michael Keaton in pretty much anything he has ever done (except maybe Working Stiffs with Jim Belushi). However I never thought much of the comic book character the Vulture, so I was apprehensive of how this was going to turn out.

But my apprehensiveness (Srabble triple word score there!) was completely unfounded as Keaton put forth his usual convincing, high energy performance.

The best villains are always the ones you can relate to on some level or at least sympathize with as to why they are doing what it is they are doing. Keaton has a natural ability of just being relatable and this shows through in his portrayal of big government stiffed working class hero Adrian Toomes.  Keaton actually makes you feel bad for Toomes to the point where you want to like the guy.

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“I’m (still) Batman.”

Toomes gradually becomes more cold-blooded throughout the movie but still holds onto his “nothing is more important than family” code, which is displayed in the scene where he is dropping Parker and his daughter off at the homecoming dance.

At this point, he knows Parker is Spider-Man but is also thankful that Parker saved his daughter’s life earlier in the movie. He respects that Parker keeps his identity close to the vest to protect his loved one and lets him go, basically stating “you stay out of my way and I will stay out of yours”. (SPOILER: they do not stay out of each other’s way.)

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The Not-So-Good

We don’t need to make Spider-Man into “Iron Man 2.0”, so why try to so hard to do so?

I might take some heat for this, but I thought there was a little too much Tony Stark in this movie. I understand that Stark is playing the part of the surrogate father figure in Spider-Man’s life, but I felt he just popped up a little too often and sort of interrupted the flow of the movie a bit. Granted, part of the screen time may have been due to Robert Downey Jr.’s contract.

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And this was never even in the movie!

I was also not a fan of having artificial intelligence in Spider-Man’s suit. It did provide some comic relief and an easy way for the writer’s to communicate information to the audience (i.e. Damage Control’s warehouse), but it was a little too Iron Man-ish.

The Result

I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming and would rate it a close 2nd to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as my favorite Spider-Man films. There was plenty of action, well timed humor, well written characters and terrific performances all the way around.

Keaton gave us a Vulture that was cold-blooded, relatable and scary. The movie also set itself (and a future villain) up very well for the sequel. While the sequel will be a couple years out, we will see Holland’s Spider-Man in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Spider-Man: Homecoming earned itself a 4 out of 5 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Scale and Kid Safe on the Geeky Daddy Sidekick Scale (Violence).

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (2)

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (3)

Do you agree? What did you think of Spider: Homecoming?

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Available on Amazon.com

 

Geeky Daddy Movie Review Of Wonder Woman

Obvious Warning: Spoilers (but not many) Ahead!

The whole Geeky Family have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time and were not disappointed!

I was getting nervous about the quality of this movie because, right up until about 2 weeks before Wonder Woman’s release, it seemed as though Warner Bros was spending more time and money promoting November’s Justice League than May’s release of Wonder Woman.

Did that signify a lack of confidence in the film by Warner executives?

If so…then these executives sure missed the boat because this movie was excellent!

I wanted to make sure this review was handled from the right point of view, so Geeky Mommie will be taking over this movie review from here on:


It takes a woman apparently for DC to get it right. After tepid movies following DC’s success with Christian Bale’s Batman, they put out a great movie with Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot slays as the title character and who doesn’t love a great origin story followed by fighting for the good guys in WWI?

I was a little concerned originally when Gal Gadot was announced for the role, thinking it would have been more fitting for Jaimie Alexander (Lady Sif in Thor). I was impressed with Gadot from the Fast and the Furious movies but was worried she was a little too scrawny to play Wonder Woman. Well, luckily, I am not a casting director because they nailed it. Gadot was stunning and her acting has greatly improved since her debut in the fourth Fast movie.

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The movie starts with Bruce Wayne (Batfleck – although he doesn’t appear in the film) sending Diana Prince/Wonder Woman the picture of her in WWI looking identical to present day. With the picture is a note that says he’d love to hear her story and thus begins the flashback. The beginning is a little forced and could have been there either to let us know it was a flashback or to show that Wonder Woman (hereafter referred to as WW) and Batman are still talking. Regardless, I think it would have been more interesting to start talking about the Gods and creation of the Amazons, but we get over it quickly. I also was concerned that it was mansplaining Diana’s character – needing Bruce Wayne to make her relevant. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.

We see a child Diana, played by 8-year-old Lilly Aspell, who happens to be incredibly adorable, wanting to learn how to fight. As the only child on an island of women and daughter of the Queen, she’s adored by all, but a bit of a handful. We also learn that DC took some liberties with the Greek Gods (although I guess we don’t necessarily know what happened to the Gods circa 1900ish), and Ares has gone and killed all of them. The Amazons are tasked with killing him, but are also protected on an invisible island where they live in paradise and train to fight pretty much 24/7.

Despite Queen Hippolyta’s reluctance, Diana learns to fight from her aunt, Antiope, played by a ripped Robin Wright. The Princess Bride was barely recognizable, but seriously, don’t mess with her. At one point she takes out three guys with one pull of her bow. She would have taken out Wesley, Andre the Giant, Inigo Montoya and the Sicilian mastermind without breaking a sweat.

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Chris Pine’s Steven Trevor (which by the way is my brother-in-law’s name!) brings WWI to Paradise Island after Diana’s accidental show of power apparently weakens the island’s shield and Wonder Woman is off and running to save the world from Ares (I totally called which character was Ares!), the Germans and an evil woman scientist who is creating deadly poison to use against the Allies.

Diana’s fish out of water when arriving in London was both funny (walking through a revolving door with a sword) and thought provoking. While slightly naive, Diana is still highly intelligent and educated in all things (including details about men), but doesn’t understand a world where men are essentially in charge. We’re reminded that woman can’t even vote at this time, and when she crashes a military intelligence meeting, the men are shocked that a woman is in their presence. Surprisingly, throughout most of the movie, the only people who didn’t treat her differently because she was a woman were the Germans, who shot at her regardlessly, which we’ll discuss later.

We also have a great scene where Diana needs to find appropriate clothing, which could have been an amazing 80’s movie montage. And then the typical scene of finding a group to take on an important mission, much like Captain America’s Howling Commandos. Wonder Woman probably didn’t even need these guys and they didn’t really add a ton to the story – nameless soldiers would have worked just fine, apart from the Native American “The Chief” showing that even Steven Trevor’s people aren’t saints.

wonder woman outfits

Once they make it to the front line of the war, just sit back and enjoy the action. With no better way to state it, WW just kicked ass. Between Gal Gadot’s training and her stuntwoman, she looked flawless (much unlike the super awkward Laurel Lance from CW’s The Arrow), and I was rooting for her with every kick, punch, leap and otherwise amazing feat. One of the best scenes is her crossing over a trench called “No Man’s Land”, drawing all of the fire so that the soldiers could cross and liberate a city.

One of the odd things here though is that a half-naked woman (really rare for the time period) steps out into the battlefield between the trenches and the Germans don’t stop and think, “what is this”, or even ogle – they just start shooting. I’m not sure if this is to show that at no point does WW use sexuality to get ahead or to show that the Germans looked at everyone (even women and children) as the enemy, but thought it was interesting. Even though her outfit is pretty revealing (although at least this one has a little skirt), she was proud of her warrior body as opposed to trying to sexualize it. And even though she was stunning, it still wasn’t sexual, but very empowering. As a side note though, I love that when she goes to fight she takes her hair down. Nothing like having your hair whip around during a fight.

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I’d be distracted.

Overall, the movie was a lot of fun, with action and a few comic bits. It wasn’t as funny as a Marvel movie, but not as dark as most of the DC movies have been. It struck a perfect balance to make it more appropriate for a younger audience than the other DC movies. Yes, there is war and death, but it wasn’t handled in a gratuitous way and the power of her as a role model for both girls and boys outweighs this. Being a mom to a boy, I appreciated that this movie was about a strong woman, but not at the expense of men or by saying men are dumb/weak/etc. I hope that my son thinks of women as strong and powerful when he grows up (like his mom!), but knows that boys are great too.

Overall, the Geeky Family gives Wonder Woman a 4.5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating and a Sidekick Friendly (Above the age of 8 due to violence) rating.

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (1)

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Shop Amazon for all your Wonder Woman needs!

Geeky Daddy Movie Review Of Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Obvious Warning: Massive Spoilers Ahead!

I was so looking forward to this film!

The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie blew audiences away with its mix of humor, action, characters and special effects, and Volume 2 brings a whole lot more of the same!

The unbelievable success of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie snuck up on everybody. Even I was surprised when I saw Guardians on Marvel’s list of projects. It had never been an overly successful comic book title with not well known characters so it seemed like a risky gamble to invest Scrooge McDuck type sums of money on. Give James Gunn and his crew credit for putting together some fun rides with tons of character!

The main characters from the 1st movie are all back: Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, this time as adorable Baby Groot with toddler like qualities.  (Remember he sacrificed himself to save the others at the end of the original and Rocket replanted him.)

The Story

The film opens to find our heroes hilariously defending some energy batteries from a super large space slug type thing. Things end well for our heroes and we find out that the Guardians were hired by Ayesha to defend the batteries in exchange for Gamora’s sister Nebula, who plays a larger role in this film. Rocket steals a couple of the batteries, the team is chased down by Ayesha’s Sovereign forces but are saved by Ego, a Celestial who claims to be Peter’s father. The team learns to work alongside old foes (Nebula and Yondu) to save the universe from an ancient evil. (I am doing my best to reveal as few spoilers as possible here.)

The Players

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Marvel has this thing where they try to take popular villains and remake them into heroes (i.e. Loki), and they continue that trend here with Nebula and Yondu. Both character’s stories of redemption play heavily into the movie’s plot.

Nebula makes peace with her sister Gamora but still plans to hunt down their father Thanos, who she considers to be the worst father in the galaxy. Which may be true depending on what we find out about Luke Skywalker and Rey’s lineage in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The award for the Galaxy’s Most Deadbeat Dad may be going to Luke!

Either way, I imagine this will play its way into Avengers: Infinity War due out next Spring.

I did like the story of Yondu’s redemption. We learn that Yondu had been exiled from Sylvester Stallone’s Sons Of Anarchy: Outer Space Chapter (not their real name) for breaking their honor code by child trafficking the young Peter Quill (as well as other children) for the Celestial Ego.  Yondu later found out the Ego had been killing the children, which is why he never delivered Peter to Ego.

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“He’s got the whole world, In his hand…”

I was impressed by the performance of Michael Rooker (who is usually typecast in one-dimensional roles) as Yondu. He did a terrific job communicating Yondu’s yearning to regain his gang’s acceptance and his love for Quill, whom he viewed as an adopted son.

Sylvester Stallone’s role was much smaller in this film than I anticipated, really just a couple cameos, which was disappointing as I was looking forward to a Tango & Cash reference or two, but important.  Especially his post credit scene, which sets the stage for him and a few other pretty big names (cough…Michelle Yeoh…cough) to have a much larger role in the 3rd volume!

By the way, his post credit scene was 1 of 5 post credit scenes: Stay till the entire end!

As a parent of a 7-month-old, I loved Baby Groot!  There were so many scenes where I sat back and said “that’s Lil’ G!” From his toddler curiosity to his sad faces, it’s fun seeing the other characters watch out for the little guy.

I can’t be the only one who see’s the similarities, right?

As a whole, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, much like the first movie, felt more like a Star Wars movie than a Marvel movie and that is a good thing! That, along with the grittier Netflix Series, illustrates the range Disney has with the Marvel universe characters.

It would be awesome to see some of Disney’s other space faring properties crossover with Guardians sometime in the future as well.  Maybe Mandalorian armor in the Collector’s showroom or in the background at a bar or nightclub in a future Guardians movie. (Side note: Howard the Duck is just not going to happen.)

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Image credit: 9gag.com

The Bad (which is not much)

The only negatives I would have about the film (and this is nitpicking, I know) is that this film was so similar to the first Guardians movie and the villains were a little weak in character.

Dave Bautista delivers Drax’s satire-oblivious lines just as humorously as the first film, Bradley Cooper delivers Rocket’s sarcasm and Chris Pratt is just as loveable as the first film, but it does feel very similar. Part of why the first movie blew everyone away was because it was so different than previous Marvel movies.

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Image: IGN.com

Also I thought the villains in this film were a little weak. Marvel has taken a lot of criticism for having one-dimensional villains in previous movies and wanted to set up a more in depth character from the beginning of the movie. I liked Kurt Russell as Ego but would have liked to have seen a bigger reveal that he was Peter’s father. The slip of the tongue by Ego that alerted Peter to his plan seemed a little too obvious as well.

Hey, speaking of one-dimensional villains…

While Ayesha and her Sovereign Army were visually stunning, they left a big plot hole.  She said they hired the Guardians to protect the batteries because it was not worth risking their own lives to fight the space slug thingy, but then all their combat later was done via remote control drones.  Why couldn’t they have fought the slug with the same drones?  Maybe it will be revealed in Vol 3, which the character is already confirmed to be involved in.

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Ayesha fresh off her date with Goldfinger.

She also has a post credit scene which I believe is a harbinger to seeing Adam Warlock in Avengers: Infinity War.

The Soundtrack

The first film had one of the best movie soundtracks ever.  The soundtrack from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie finished 2014 as the top selling Billboard 200 album, making it the first soundtrack comprised entirely of pre-released music to do so.

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While I did not enjoy this soundtrack as much as the first, the producers did an excellent job scouring the 80’s for the right music to set the right moods throughout the film.

The Result

Vol 2, while a great movie and a fun ride, arrived with higher expectations than the first film did and I think lived up to expectations. Maybe even exceeded by a bit.

I left the movie wanting to watch it again, which is how I judge a superhero movie to be successful or not.

Overall, I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5 on the GeekyDaddy movie scale with the only thing holding it back from the perfect score being that it felt to similar to the first. I also give it a “mostly kid friendly” on the GeekyDaddy Sidekick scale (violence, language and on screen deaths).

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Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (12)

Amazon.com Guardians of The Galaxy Shirt Yeah Baby Star Lord T Shirt Clothing
Star Lord’s shirt available on Amazon.com

Geeky Daddy Movie Review of Fate Of The Furious

Obvious Warning: Massive Spoilers Ahead!

I love the Fast and Furious franchise.  It seems like they tailor make each film for a 16-year-old Geeky Daddy.  Awesome cars, huge explosions, guns and gratuitous camera shots of scantily clad women that add nothing to the storytelling whatsoever.

Just pure suspension of disbelief and escapism fun…with plot holes large enough to drive a Dodge Challenger through…

This is how I picture the way Chris Morgan (the head writer for the Fast and Furious series) came up with the plot for this chapter of the franchise:

Morgan and a few studio executives walked into a special classroom for 8th grade students jacked up on Mt. Dew and Monster energy drinks, had all the kids sit in a circle and start yelling out random things they think are cool:

“Explosions!” “Corvettes!” “Iceland!” “The Rock!” “Babies!” “Driverless cars!” “Submarines!” “New York City” “Eastwood!” “Orange Lamborghinis!” “Machine Guns!” “Cuban Women!” “Huge muscles in sleeveless shirts!”

and…

“AN EVIL GINGER SANTA CLAUS!!!”

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Kristofer Hivju as FF villain Rhodes

To which Chris Morgan responds with “Great! I can work with this!” while the studio executives stand behind him with deer-in-the-headlights fear in their eyes.

But, as with the previous films, the Fast and Furious team once again puts together an entertaining ride.

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Dom’s Necklace plays a role in the film Available on Amazon.com

The Story

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), whose character has morphed from street racing thug to the world’s greatest paramilitary tactician over the past half dozen films, gets blackmailed and forced to turn on his “family” by the world’s hottest cyber terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). His team then goes on the hunt for Dom with the assistance of their former enemy Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and their shadowy financier Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell).

 

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They all look so serious.

The Players

Diesel did his best to try to make the character of Dom show more human emotions in this film.  He softened the abrasive, gravelly sound in his voice that seems to have increased exponentially over the past few films and even shed a tear in one scene.  I am not saying it was overly successful (it was more like watching a robot attempting to learn how to love), but it was necessary for the story.

The interaction between Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Statham’s Deckard Shaw stole the show from the other actors and provided the most entertaining dialogues in the movie. There is a WWE style trash talking dialogue while the two are incarcerated that provides laugh out loud moments.

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After watching the movie, it is obvious why the studio is attempting to put together a spin-off from the series starring these two.  The other characters on the team just don’t really stand out or make you care about them in any meaningful way.

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Michelle Rodriguez and Nathalie Emmanuel all put in serviceable supporting performances and Tyrese Gibson continues to perfect his “Chris Tucker Shouting Your Lines Louder Makes You Funnier” theory of acting.

Charlize Theron played a good villain but also provided one scene that I thought was excessively dark for the series.

Little Too Dark?

So major spoiler here but a scene worth discussing.

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Dom is doing the bidding of Cipher because she has kidnapped Elena (Esla Petaky) and her baby. In an especially dark scene where she decides Dom needs to be taught a lesson not to cross her, she has a tied up Elena coldly murdered right in front of Dom and the baby.

Maybe it is just because Lil’ G is around the same age as her baby, but I thought the scene was excessively dark for the otherwise fun series.  From a storytelling point of view, I understand the need to write out Elena’s character from future series installments, otherwise everytime we see the baby, we are going to be curious about where his mother is.

However I thought it could have been handled in a less dark way. We have seen deaths in the series before with Han and Giselle, but those deaths happened in action scenes that helped tell the stories. Elena could have been shot protecting her baby, trying to escape or saving Dom’s life somehow. The execution in the room with the baby just seemed like an easy out for the writers.

More Lighter Side In Future Films?

One of the most entertaining parts of the film was Jason Statham going full Jason Statham in a gunfight while caring for Elena’s Alvin & The Chipmunks listening baby.

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Beats by Baby

It was a terrifically coordinated fight scene with funny Statham & baby dialogues mixed in.

I also would have loved to have seen more interaction between Statham and his meddling mother Magdalene Shaw (uncredited Helen Mirren).  It was entertaining and I hope it will be expanded into a larger role in future films.

Handling the lack of Paul Walker

When the team realizes that they are going to need to hunt down Dom, Roman makes the comment “Brian would know what to do” to which Letty responds “No, we agreed not to bring Brian and Mia into this,” referring to how Paul Walker’s character Brian left the life of bullets behind.  I thought it could have been addressed better, but it was a quick and easy way to address the question on the audience’s minds.

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Source: mymbuzz

Scott Eastwood’s role of Little Nobody, Mr. Nobody’s intern, did provide some moments of comic relief, but seemed a lot like a Paul Walker replacement.

Maybe those same studio execs that accompanied Morgan to the 8th grade focus group meeting got together and said “we can market the film to young white female ticket purchasers if we include a new young good looking white dude to act alongside Tyrese Gibson.”

At the outdoor family feast, which is the go to conclusion for most these films, Dom announces the name he has decided to give the baby will be “Brian”.  While this is a touching tribute to the retired character of Brian O’conner, wouldn’t a minor 4th wall break of naming the baby Paul be a better tribute to Walker and make more sense for the series?

Technically, in the Fast and Furious universe, the baby’s uncle Brian is still alive. This could be awkward at family reunions to have your baby named after your living brother-in-law.

Overall I thought the movie was a fun ride.

furious-2
Source: Deadline.com

Don’t expect strong character development, thought provoking dialogues or academy award winning acting performances, but do expect fun stunts, some entertaining dialogue, and lots of eye candy.

I would give this movie a 4 on the Geeky Daddy Movie Scale & a “not so kid friendly” on the Geeky Daddy SideKick Scale, with a caveat that there is the one scene that new mothers may have an issue with.

Geeky Mommies’s Comment (Spoiler): This is the last Fast and Furious movie I’m going to watch – Geeky Daddy will need to find someone else to see the next 20 or so sequels to this series.  As a new mom, it was bad enough that they have a baby locked up and being threatened (seriously, Vin Diesel is the only guy you can get that you need to go out of the way to kidnap his baby? He can drive a car fast – I’m sure there are a million military guys that would be way better, but I digress.) The baby looked to be under a year old which would mean that he’s breastfeeding or at least on formula, and if he’s anything like Lil’ G, needs a ton of attention (although this baby never cried once so you know it’s fiction). The fact that they killed his mom (while shooting a gun in the same room as the baby without earplugs) was horrific and made this fun series not fun anymore. They don’t address who is then going to care for this baby (is he instantly weaned onto formula, for example?). Do they not realize that babies need pretty much constant supervision? Seemed like a short-sighted move for the bad guys (yes, we already get that they’re bad), but also just left a terrible taste in my mouth. The thought of me leaving my baby is devastating and I’m sad even thinking about it now. Yes, it made for a hilarious scene with Jason Statham, but this should have been handled better. 

 

geeky-daddy-movie-rating-6

Geeky Daddy Movie Rating (10)

Amazon.com Fast Furious The Ultimate Ride Collection Blu ray 1 7 Vin Diesel Paul Walker Lucas Black Tyrese Gibson Bow Wow Michelle Rodriguez Eva Mendes Nathalie Kelley Dwa
Fast & Furious Collection Available on Amazon.com