Monday, August 24, 2015

My Top 5 Fictional Character Crushes

So a little while back while on set with the film team, one of the ladies on set mentioned how guys got it easy because they don't form crushes on fictional characters the way that girls do. This caused every guy in the room, myself included, to vehemently disagree, and spurned on a conversation where we all discussed our own personal fictional character crushes. And now, I figured I'd share my own Top 5 Fictional Character Crushes list with you all today!

Now, forewarning for those of you playing along, but when referring to fictional characters, particularly those of the live action variety, we're specifically speaking on the character itself and not the actor who plays them. So, for instance, while originally forming my list I had to debate whether or not Hermione Granger should make it, but ultimately had to cut her, as my crush there lies not with the character, but rather, the actor playing her, the lovely Emma Watson.

So yeah, other than that, pretty straightforward enough, though I do also need to warn that my list does get pretty weird as it goes along, and I also discovered a thing or two about myself that I wasn't entirely aware of beforehand, but we'll get to that as we get to that. Anyways, enough stalling, let's get to the list! But first, some...

Honorable Mentions

Claire Bennet (Heroes)
Haruko Haruhara (FLCL)
Samus Aran (Metroid)
Selene (Underworld)

Okay, now onto the main list!

#5

Android 18
(Dragon Ball Z)

I'll admit that this is the only entry that's based almost entirely on looks moreso than personality, but god damn. Dragon Ball's not exactly a series known for its hot ladies the way a lot of anime series out there are, but then Android 18 showed up on the scene and put an end to all of that. Hell, I pretty much fell for her much the same way that Krillin himself did in the show, and really, can you blame a guy? There's just something about the way she brushes her beautiful blonde hair from her gorgeous, striking eyes that just does it for me every time.

Not to say that she's not a cool girl as well, as a poor personality would definitely kill the attraction. But yeah, for the most part, she's definitely my superficial pick here, and with looks that could kill, Android 18 is certainly a deadly opener to the list.

#4

Sakura Haruno
(Naruto)

This one got some shocked responses, and rightfully so. After all, I rant so damn much about the way this character is written all of the time. And yet, even so, there's just something about her that's just compelling. Let me try to explain. No matter how frustrated I get with her, how much reason I'm given to just loathe her as a character, there's just something there, something deeper, that keeps me from being able to actually hate her. In fact, quite the opposite. She's just such a trainwreck of a character with so much depth hiding deep down inside that there's something about her that I can't help but find sort of intriguing.

It's sorta like the old series mantra used to go in the beginning, with finding the underneath behind the underneath, and how Sakura used to have her "Inner Sakura" moments presented to us in part 1. But as the series progressed, those inner moments became more repressed from the reader, as she became more and more tortured by inner turmoil. And, well, I dunno what it says about me, but there's just something about that hidden depth to her, something about her stubborn conviction, that's always sorta secretly drawn me to her as well.

I will also say that her character design was one of the more standout designs that initially caught my eye, as I recognized her instantly when I first picked up the show and was like, "Oh, here's where that pink haired girl's from!" And while I could quite possibly populate an entire draft of this list with nothing but Naruto characters, I guess that initial attraction towards Sakura sorta grew from there, in its weird yet appropriate roller coaster of a way, and made her stand out from the rest. But yeah, I told you all the list was gonna get weird, and it only picks from here, as we move onto my next choice.

#3

Sally Acorn
(Sonic the Hedgehog)

Yeah yeah, I know, this is entering into anthropomorphic territory, but where someone like Android 18 may have been chosen for looks, Sally here is sorta the opposite, as it's her strong personality that wins out here. When people name their typical list of tough, "strong female characters", you usually wind up with names like Ripley or Sarah Connor, but my first go-to girl in such discussions has always been Sally Acorn.

She's just such an empowering and caring woman, surefire and confident, never straying from her post as leader of the Freedom Fighters, leading her people head on into battle and willingly sacrificing her own well being for the benefit of everyone else. But she's also not just a one-note action trope of a character, either, as throughout the pages of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book, she is a fully realized, fully three dimensional individual. She has fears she has to face, weaknesses that she has to overcome. And even on the homefront away from war, she has very real and quite frankly human situations that she has to contend with. Hell, she's more well rounded a character than most of this particular brand of "strong female" characters, all while still maintaining the bad ass qualities that make the best of the best stand out.

Honestly, this character didn't do much for me in the early days of Sonic the Hedgehog, but as the series progressed and I grew up along with the character and saw her true self gradually unfold, there was an odd sort of attraction that started to brew, and I began to understand more and more just why so many guys in the series were willing to fight one another to try and win her heart.

#2

Loki
(Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Nobody was ready for this one when I originally shared my list! But yup, those of you who've followed me for a while should already be well acquainted with my shameless crush on the God of Mischief. But what can I say, there wasn't a moment in The Avengers where this man was on screen and I wasn't simultaneously melting in my seat. He just oozes so much charisma, so much charm in his demeanor, and I just can't get enough of his lusciously long black locks.

And as with other characters on the list, he's similarly quite the complex character at that, and continues the trend of trainwreck crushes that I was gradually coming to grips with. I would say he's probably the most well written character in the MCU to date, with such a subtle amount of depth in his initial appearance in the first Thor, a depth that comes more and more to the forefront in his subsequent, more outgoing appearances. Loki is just such a fascinating character, brought to life by Tom Hiddleston's transcending performance that just absolutely slays me. But where this pick happened to catch some off guard, my #1 pick really shouldn't be all too surprising for anyone who's been paying attention up until now.

#1

Elsa
(Frozen)

What else can I even say here that hasn't already been well documented in one of my many other Frozen-related posts? But just look at her, she's so stunning! And listen to her sing, how can you not fall in love with that voice when she belts her heart out the way she does?

And yes, this pick does round out that aforementioned trainwreck trend that I apparently have a thing for, which, who knew? But even so, I find her just so perfect in all of her imperfections, she's just so compelling and complex, yet so relatable to me on such a personal and emotional level as well. And people can talk all the trash they want about the movie, whatever (or, no, not whatever, quit hatin' on Frozen, dammit!), but I've actually found that whenever their attacks start being directed at Elsa specifically, yeah, it actually kinda stings a little, almost like they're attacking a part of me all of a sudden. Y'all need to quit hatin' on my girl, dammit!

But yeah, like I said, I don't even really know what all else I can say about her that I haven't said already, and I think I've embarrassed myself quite enough for the time being, so I think I'll stop here.

So there you have it, my Top 5 Fictional Character Crushes, and then some. So you see, guys do also fall for fictional characters like you ladies do. But in any event, I think you all learned a little too much about me for one day. Hell, I certainly learned something about myself while compiling this list. But hey, it was all in fun, so what the hell!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Breathe

Here it is, my latest short film. As I mentioned before, this is my first crack at horror, and is a bit of an experimental film of sorts as well at that. And I do also need to mention that, unlike most of my prior work, this one does have some pretty adult language and some graphic imagery, so fair warning on that. But anyways, if you would, please just sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy my latest offering, Breathe.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

I recently watched the latest Dragon Ball Z movie, Resurrection 'F', which also marks my first time seeing one of these films in an actual theater, which was a pretty cool experience. And though the movie wasn't without a few minor discrepancies throughout, it didn't disappoint either, and even surprised me at times by its seemingly bizarre source of inspiration.

I've only recently watched all of the DBZ parody series, Dragon Ball Z Abridged, and it would appear that Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama has come across it fairly recently as well, as this movie feels like a direct response to that series spoofing his work. For instance, as Frieza is being revived, an eerily familiar metal musical cue hits, and I couldn't help but pause and question if I was really hearing what I thought I was hearing. But sure enough, as the chorus hit, repeating the name of "Frieza, Frieza, Frieza, Frie-za!", my curiosities were confirmed, as Frieza's ringtone from the Abridged series was being used in this official release.

But even beyond that moment, much of the writing also feels directly inspired by the DBZ Abridged series. There are jokes throughout that feel lifted almost directly from the series, such as Android 18 proclaiming, in all sincerity, just how cool a guy Krillin is, or Tien arriving on the scene and making a joke about leaving Yamcha behind due to his not being powerful enough for the approaching battle. And the pacing, too, feels less like a 90 minute movie and more like a full blown arc in the anime condensed down to a typical movie runtime, again, much like the Abridged series.

I just found this aspect sort of fascinating, and it's pretty cool to see the original creators themselves seemingly take inspiration from a fan-created parody of said series, and incorporate those elements on an official level, to the point where there would really be no need for the guys at Team Four Star to even tackle this movie for their series. But even beyond all that, what I really enjoyed quite a bit about this movie was how, in the end, it still remained true to its base source and maintained that classic Dragon Ball Z feel, and actually felt like the canonical entry that it's intended to be.

I was especially able to appreciate that aspect about it after having watched the previous canon movie, Battle of Gods. In comparison, Battle of Gods feels like something the filler writers woulda chalked up. With just about every single major character acting out of character throughout, and featuring an overly-goofy tone, even during times where such a tone just didn't feel appropriate, Battle of Gods wasn't terrible, but as a movie actually worked on by Toriyama himself, it is a bit of an embarrassment. Resurrection 'F' is the exact opposite, however, feeling like a genuine entry in the series, and bringing that classic Dragon Ball Z feel on a cinematic level.

Now, there are a few minor gripes I had with the movie, mostly concerning the handling of the side characters. For one, there are some major inconsistencies with the main series as it concerns power levels. Gohan and Piccolo are especially sidelined in this regard, which is a bit of a shame, as these two characters, Gohan especially, should definitely be at a place by this point where a threat such as Frieza (at least in his pre-Golden form) shouldn't prove nearly so overwhelming.

But on the other end of the spectrum, Master Roshi is actually brought in to take part in the battle against Frieza's forces, and while I realize the character was always intended to be far stronger than one would expect, for him to be keeping up against this caliber of foe (who I can only assume are at least around Raditz level of strength), then I must ask, just where in the fuck was Master Roshi during the Saiyan Saga way back when? And speaking on the battle against the Frieza Force, while there were some nice fun moments throughout, it did overstay its welcome a bit by about a good ten minutes.

And there was also a point during the main event against Frieza where, once it becomes apparent that Goku and Vegeta are essentially just toying with him and treating the fight as a training session, now that any real threat has essentially been eradicated and yet the fight is still continuing on regardless, I was left asking, at what point does this fight then become entirely pointless?

But honestly, those gripes really are fairly minor, and the movie did more good than bad, and was really enjoyable for the most part, with the actual fight against Frieza being quite entertaining throughout regardless. Visually, the animation is updated and definitely feels like an improvement upon the main series, and this especially shows during the fight scenes (though there are also times where it straight up looks like footage from one of the video games), as well as Frieza's endgame attack, which is just an awesome visual. And, while it was initially a bit odd to see such characters as Goten and Trunks be completely left out of the movie entirely, I also appreciated how the movie didn't feel the need to parade the entire extended cast on screen for their token cameo, and was content with scaling things down in that regard.

So yeah, all in all, I enjoyed this. I dug how it feels inspired by the Abridged series in its approach, yet still managed to mostly maintain the classic feel of the main series. And though I did come away with a few gripes, seeing how worse things could be with Battle of Gods really put things in perspective, and I found Resurrection 'F''s misgivings to be far more forgivable in comparison. But either way, it was just kinda cool seeing a Dragon Ball Z movie on the big screen, and especially one that features a classic villain's return such as here, making it feel like all that more genuine an experience. So if you're a fan of the series in any way, then this one is definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Breathe - Coming Soon

So I've been busy working with my film team on my latest short film over the summer, which happens to dabble a bit into horror, my first foray in the genre. The movie's coming along nicely, but in the meantime, if you would, please check out this teaser trailer for my next upcoming movie, Breathe.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Inside Out

During a time when I sometimes feel a little oversaturated by movies, to the point where many leave little impact on me, sometimes to the point where I actually do question whether or not I even still like movies, Inside Out came around just in time to answer that question for me in the biggest way possible with a resounding yes! This is a movie so touching and so beautiful, it acted as a reminder to me as to why I truly do love movies so much.

I knew that this one was gonna be good just by the trailers, which already had me starting to tear up a bit with such a rush of emotion on their own. So I knew that Pixar was onto something monumental with their latest outing, but even then, this movie absolutely floored me beyond my every expectation. Pixar isn't just back, Inside Out is the best movie that the studio has ever produced, by a large, incomparable margin.

If ever there was a movie where it was appropriate to have such a strong emotional pull to it, this is it. And while many movies may have a scene or two where they build up to an emotional payoff of some sort, this is the kind of movie that'll leave you choked up throughout its entire runtime. Needless to say, there wasn't a dry eye in my theater, and where many movies have brought me to the verge of tears, Inside Out was the first in my entire life to make me actually shed any in a movie theater.

Like 500 Days of Summer, there's just such a crushing, gut-wrenching sincerity to it all that'll keep you in that state from start to finish. For instance, as the story plays out, there are scenes in which our subject character Riley's "personality islands" begin to crumble away in a similar fashion to another cerebral movie, Inception. However, unlike in that movie, whenever it happens here there's just so much weight behind it all that leaves your heart crumbling right along with it each and every single time.

But even when nothing particularly heartbreaking is happening on the screen, just the sheer fact that you're actually witnessing this movie, that it actually exists, and that it's tackling such complex issues in such a seamless fashion, it just left me brimming with pure emotion throughout.

In terms of its writing, I'm not even exaggerating that this screenplay may be one of, if not the, smartest, most brilliant scripts that has ever seen the light of day. Like, I seriously didn't even know that it was possible to capture this level of brilliance on film. The movie is just so clever in its stunning execution, with a seemingly endless amount of creativity behind it. The way it breaks down how our brain actually works in all of its many intricate ways is just fascinating, and the sheer level of detail that this movie delves into is frankly astounding. They seriously thought of absolutely everything going into this movie.

And I'm not even joking when I say that I can see this movie eventually becoming required viewing for anyone wanting to go into any sort of psychology field, not to mention being a movie that many a counselor or therapist will likely be recommending their patients. There's just so much that can be learned regarding how our emotions actually function, and why we may be feeling certain ways.

And especially people who don't actually understand how depression works, they can learn a plethora from this movie. It always bothers me to see people telling those who deal with depression to just "try and be happy and get over it", or something along those lines. But this movie actually shows how someone dealing with depression literally can't just force themselves to be happy. How, due to chemical imbalances beyond their control, they very literally lack the ability to feel such emotions. And this movie brings that to the forefront with Joy and Sadness' journey, and I can only hope that people watch this movie and take Riley's emotional state and the actions happening outside of her control within her head very literally.

But even going beyond many people's inability to distinguish the differences between sadness and actual depression (ie, the two are not one in the same), this movie goes a step further and even brings to light just the sheer importance that sadness plays within our life, and how trying to bottle it up and suppress it can lead to a world of inner turmoil. In fact, every time I've seen this movie, it's been a different scene that brought on the most powerful emotions from me (scenes that are so powerful that merely just thinking about them as I write this starts to make me well up just a bit), but the one thing each of those moments have in common is just how huge a role sadness plays in growing as a person, which is a lesson that you almost never see in any movies, let alone a kid-friendly family film like this.

Speaking of which, as if it isn't apparent by now, Inside Out, though certainly kid-friendly, really isn't a movie necessarily made for children. It's a movie that adults will definitely be able to get more out of (as made apparent by how each successive viewing of mine saw more and more adults and fewer and fewer children in attendance), as it tackles scenarios far more relatable to them. Though that's not to say that the movie isn't a whole lot of fun on top of all the heavy subject matters it deals with. In fact, I'd go on to say that, on top of being Pixar's best and smartest film, it may well also be their funniest film to date at that. As I mentioned, there's just so much cleverness at play with the way the mind works, and it's all brought to life so well by the spot-on voice casting all around.

I've been meaning to get to this review for a while, as I truly adored this movie, having seen it three times already within the first week, and getting so much more out of the experience each time (this is seriously the kind of movie where you'll see it, then drag your friends out to see it just so they can experience this for themselves as well). And there's so much more to this movie that I haven't even touched on, such as it's gorgeous visuals and stellar music. Just all around, Inside Out is such a beautiful movie, in every sense of the word, and the fact that this movie even exists is an absolute miracle. All of the feels, all of 'em!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Okay, I'm just gonna have to jump right into this one. Avengers: Age of Ultron. This movie was all over the place, and I sorta feel like I'm going to be all over the place while talking about it, so let's just start with the good, and keep in mind that there will be spoilers in this review (and in case you don't believe me about there being spoilers, lemme prove it to you right off the bat).

So the best audience reaction the movie received definitely came when the worthy Vision handed Thor his hammer back, which was admittedly an awesome moment, and I loved the running gag involving Thor's hammer throughout at that. But to the point, the audience loved this, which is great, assuming that we can ignore that the actual best reaction of the whole night period came at the hands of the freaking Batman v Superman trailer of all things. Just, ugh. That, plus a comment from the person sitting in front of me that the (awesome) new trailer for Tomorrowland looked like "more Spy Kids crap" made me sort of hate my audience going into this thing. But that's neither here nor there, though I suppose you could say that in a way my letdown in my audience perhaps acted as a nice segue into the ensuing letdown that was to come, so let's talk about the actual movie itself.

Like the first Avengers, I thought the characters were pretty well balanced throughout. Ultron was a really interesting villain with an intriguing ideology, and I loved the character's personality interjected by James Spader, who gives off such a sinister innocence that just sorta gets under your skin in such a good way. Such a creepy character, yet such a joy to watch on the screen.

But I would say the highlights were the side stories involving Hawkeye and his secret life, as well as the brewing romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner. The character moments are this movie's absolute strongest aspects, and the performances all around were as good as we've come to expect by this stage in the game.

That said, while the ensemble cast on the whole was well balanced enough, where this movie strays away from the first Avengers in terms of balance is in its pacing. More to the point, there's just too much god damn action in this thing. And unlike the first movie, the vast majority of the action scenes are just incoherent and boring.

The movie opens with the equivalent of a CGI cartoon that looks like it would feel more at home in one of the Hobbit movies, as the Avengers get right into the action, and we set the stage for this movie that basically exists just to set the stage even further for more future movies, but more on that later, we've got even more action to discuss! Similar to my complaints regarding the action in the second Captain America movie, a lot of the action in this movie is shot and edited in such a bland way that sorta just jumps back and forth with quick cuts all over the place and ultimately fails to connect on any level, which left my mind constantly wandering throughout. There were moments and shots in the first movie that truly felt inspired, but I really didn't get that feeling from anything happening here.

Now, while the action may not have been inspired, it sure as hell did feel at times like a retread (though I do like the idea behind the floating island scenario, the last action sequence in many ways mirrors that from the first movie), and at other times, a blatant rip-off. For instance, remember that iconic train sequence from Spider-Man 2? Yeah, this movie completely recreates that scene here. And as it was being set up, I seriously sat there thinking to myself, "they're not really going to just straight up steal that scene from Spider-Man 2, are they?" But yes, they in fact did. And I kinda couldn't believe it as I was watching it. Now, perhaps this is merely an homage to that movie, seeing as how Spider-Man is now officially going to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future? Perhaps, but, I'm pretty sure this scene was filmed well before that deal ever went down, so I kinda doubt it, and this was most likely just the blatant rip-off that it feels like.

But that's not even the worst of it. No, I would say the worst came during the fight that was probably hyped up most in the trailers, that being the epic encounter between Iron Man and the Hulk. And oh boy, where do I even begin? This whole fight just felt like way too much, like the movie was blowing its load way too early (and hell, maybe that's even fitting, given how many dick jokes that are in this thing). But beyond the fight just dragging on way too long and suffering from the same tedious, uninspired issues as the other action sequences, this fight did something else that I'm actually kinda surprised to see in a Marvel movie.

Now, remember how Man of Steel ended with that big city-leveling action sequence that everyone threw an absolute bitch-fit about? And, upon reflection, deservedly so, considering the character in question, and how much of that battle and the ensuing destruction was most likely preventable. And then remember how The Avengers sorta acted as a counter to that sequence, what with the city-leveling action in that movie being an act on our heroes' part to prevent further destruction? And hell, recall how Guardians of the Galaxy even explicitly included a scene calling for a city-wide evacuation in order to save the citizens from the incoming destruction in that movie's climax? So one would assume that we're seeing a pattern of Marvel almost being the anti-DC in this regard, right? At least, until now.

See, there were points during the fight where it appeared like much of it was Iron Man fighting to prevent further damage from the Hulk's rampage, and he even at one time does try to escape the city with him. But then he makes the decision to end the battle by tossing the Hulk through a building in progress, leveling it in the process, complete with blatant 9/11 imagery in tow, and blatantly not only further damaging the city, but putting its citizens in direct harm, if not from debris, then from the ensuing cancer that they'll likely be having to deal with as a result of the ash.

So, yeah, Marvel actually went there. And hell, much of this movie even felt like the type of destruction-porn that you'd come to expect more from a Transformers flick than a Marvel movie, and it's quite frankly just sort of shocking to see them go that route at this point. I mean, I suppose you could argue that Iron Man's decision at this point was one made in order to try and contain the situation as much as possible, and either way, it's not a decision that personally bothered me necessarily. It's just something I happened to notice and that clearly stood out to me as I was watching it for the reasons expressed above, but hey, maybe I'm making too much of nothing. After all, I suppose that the way the last big action scene played out does sort of make up for this entire aspect anyways, so I dunno, but either way, let's move on.

Anyways, so the action was definitely off in this thing, but not only that, but the humor, too, seemed a bit off as well. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some good chuckles to be had in this thing. But where the first Avengers was filled with tons of funny little moments and sight-gags like the Galaga joke, the closest this movie really hit to that style of quick gag was Tony Stark having a "Jarvis Is My Copilot" sticker on his wall.

Also, Marvel has apparently given up on post-credits sequences, as this movie doesn't even have one at all. Yeah, there's a mid-credits sequence, which is just about the lamest (and most obvious) one yet, and which really doesn't do any more to set up the next movies that wasn't already shown in both Guardians of the Galaxy and the mid-credits scene of the first Avengers.

And speaking of, that's sort of this movie's biggest problem, is that it feels like it exists solely just to set up even more future movies. And this is especially odd coming from director Joss Whedon, especially after having just recently read an interview from him expressing how movies should be a singular, stand-alone experience, and how gutted he felt when people proclaimed the mid-credits sequence of the first movie to be a great set-up to the next one. And yet, now here he is making a movie that is anything but a singular movie-going experience.

And as a result, seeing as Marvel has already announced every single movie leading into the next Avengers, there are scenes near the end that are completely devoid of any sort of stakes or tension, because we already know well in advance that certain characters are due to be in the next movies. I dunno, but I do kinda hate how Marvel went ahead and made those announcements, and I do miss how you originally didn't know the next movie until the post-credits scene, which acted as a tease for it. But I guess seeing as now that there's no more need for a tease, of course they don't bother anymore.

But even beyond that, the thing is, there reached a point during this movie where this whole expanded universe idea just began to feel overwhelming, like they're just setting up too much, expanding too far, with no end in sight, and I just don't know that I'm on board for the ride anymore. I mean, of course I'm going to see them and grow excited as we get closer to each new film's release, but just looking out on the horizon now, it just feels like too damn much, and I think this movie may have been the breaking point that really makes me dread this entire "cinematic universe" model that so many production companies are so insistent on moving forward with. The idea was a cool one at first, but the novelty's really beginning to wear thin for me now, and I'm really growing to miss the days of that aforementioned "singular experience".

So yeah, I don't know, there's my rambling review for the latest Avengers movie I guess. And it probably feels like I've been overly cynical of it, but I really can't even say that it was a bad movie. In terms of execution, it just feels like a movie that's content with going through the motions for the most part, which is just a bit of a shame. But outside of some nice character moments, this movie really does nothing especially wow-inducing that makes it stand out on the whole, and that's what's ultimately so disappointing about it. All in all, Avengers: Age of Ultron was just an okay movie.

...

... This movie's biggest sin, though?


Not enough Loki!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Age of Adaline

So I checked this movie out based on its interesting sounding premise. A young woman named Adaline, due to circumstances, loses the ability to age, and thus lives well into her hundreds while still in her twenty-something year old body. The world around her continues to grow older, including her own daughter, who's still around but telling people that she's her grandmother so as to avoid any questioning, but all the while, Adaline continues to adapt with the times, changing her identity and moving around to avoid becoming some sort of scientific test specimen. So yeah, pretty interesting premise, right? It's just too bad that the vast majority of that is relegated to the background, as the main story here is just a typical, shitty romance.

Now, before I get too deep into this impending rant, let me just say that, unlike a lot of other movies that I go into full-blown rant mode against, I actually didn't hate this movie. It has its moments, and ultimately leaves you wondering what could have been had this movie not suffered from so many of the glaring issues that I'll be addressing, as this is one of those movies where, hidden under a pile of poor editing choices and some awful narration, I could definitely see a potentially good movie hiding here somewhere.

But since the movie starts off with it itself, let's first address the awful narration in this thing.

(Spoilers ahead)

At various times, mostly whenever we shift into flashback mode, rather than allow the scenes to play out for us, the movie resorts to having some jackass tell us everything that's happening, as it's happening. And the narrator does so in a way as if he's talking down to the viewer, like he knows their audience is full of idiots, so, in a classic case of "show, don't tell", he's going to hold our hand and guide us through these sections, to make sure that absolutely everybody understands what's going on.


"Somebody shut this guy up already!"

Seriously, every single time this guy's mouth opened, I found myself silently cursing at him. I have never heard such obnoxious narration in a movie before in my entire life. But not only that, but they even go a step further, having him go so far as to explain the "science" behind Adaline's condition, even though the characters in the movie itself don't know or understand the science behind it, nor does the science actually play any factor on the events at hand. So then, what the hell is the point of having all that scientific mumbo jumbo blabbered to us? What, exactly, is this supposed to add to the viewer's experience? Why couldn't they just show us what happened, let the moments speak for themselves, and allow us to come to our own conclusions? This was just so frustrating, and I personally wish the movie would have done away with all of the narration.

The thing about it, though, is that, as I mentioned before, the flashback stuff is honestly the most interesting part of the whole thing. But this entire aspect is just glossed over, and little bits of it are inserted here and there at times when their relevance becomes too little too late. And what I mean by that is that this movie does a hell of a lot of "retroactive foreshadowing".

For an example, somewhere near the end, Harrison Ford's character recognizes a scar on Adaline's hand. Now, this scar means nothing to the viewer at this point, as it has never been shown nor referenced even once before now. But the movie only then decides to jump back into flashback mode, and retroactively provide the context behind this revelation, as we see when Adaline got that scar in the past. The thing is though, had this movie played out more linearly and we had seen that scene play out earlier in the film, then when Ford's character sees the scar in the movie and has that "aha!" moment, the audience can share in that moment along with him. But by only providing context behind that scene after the fact, the moment's ruined, that potential satisfaction robbed of the viewer, and we're instead just left wondering what relevance that stupid scar even has. And this isn't a one off, the movie's full of these kinds of poorly executed editing decisions.

See, I can appreciate a story being told out of order, but if you're going to do it, you have to do it right, and you have to know when to tell each piece of the story in such a way that it not only makes sense, but also gets the most emotional value out of your audience for it, and this movie fails in both of those regards. That's why I keep arguing that this movie shoulda just been played straight, start from the beginning, show this girl coming under this condition of hers and the life she's had to live as a result, all leading to the various twists at the end, now with actual context behind them so that they actually connect with the audience.

But anyways, this brings us to the main story, which starts as our two lovers share a really odd glance at a New Year's Eve party. Based on the glance they share, it would be safe to assume that there's a sense of recognition between the two. And as it goes for the guy, at least, that's eventually revealed to be true. But for Adaline? Not so much.

See, one of the twists is that this guy ends up being revealed as being the son of the Harrison Ford character, who she used to date well earlier in her life, when he was a lot younger. But the thing is, the son doesn't resemble his father in the slightest. Now, that can be easily enough ignored, except that, when this father/son twist is revealed, Adaline is genuinely surprised by this revelation, meaning that she actually didn't recognize the guy all along anyways. So then, what was with that initial glance of recognition on her part? I dunno, perhaps she sorta recognize him but just didn't piece it all together just yet? But considering her Sherlock Holmes level of deduction that she otherwise shows herself capable of (more on that in a bit), it's hard to imagine she wouldn't be able to come to this conclusion sooner.

And that's just the start of it. The more their "relationship" develops, the more we learn that the guy is a total stalker creep, the type who calls her phone off the hook, leaving multiple messages in a single day after they've only been out once or twice, and then proceeds to go to her place of work, get her home address from her employers, and stalk her at home, waiting for her at her doorstep to see why she wasn't calling him back (she just had to put her dog down and didn't have time for his shit, thank you very much). And at first she tells him as such, that he should have been patient, and that what he's doing is extremely inappropriate.

But then, she gets a change of heart and actually goes to his place to profusely apologize for (rightfully) blowing him off after he stalked her home, and to try and make things work with him. Just, what? I'm sorry, but there's no apology necessary for that, and if anything, he's the one who owes her the apology. But anyways, so they get together and have a romantic evening, and now that they've been going out for a little under a week, it's off to meet his parents for a weekend getaway, in which we learn the whole twist involving his dad.

I dunno, I know a lot of movies including romantic plots do this sorta thing, but I just don't buy the whole falling head over heels in love in such a short period of time nonsense that you see constantly. The guy openly admits that he barely even knows anything about her, and yet by the end of the movie, in which he still barely even knows anything about her, he's professing how he can't even imagine living the rest of his life without this woman. This just feels so forced, and considering all the creepy shenanigans that lead to these two even seeing one another, and the also creepy inclination that she's now dating her former lover's son (which, by the way, everyone turns out being perfectly a-okay with), the whole main romantic plot of the movie was just a freaking mess. But hey, who am I to sit here and try and make sense of love, right?

Also, I alluded to this before, but apparently living a really long time is all you need to become the intellectual equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. I can understand her growing wiser than her years would let on, but you're telling me that just living in a younger body for a longer period of time is all you need to become fluent in several languages, become a master of absolutely obscure historical trivia, and grow such an acute attention to detail that you can tell someone their entire life's story upon first meeting before a single word even comes out of their mouth? The movie suggests that living a long life is all that's required to attain such skills, but if that's the case, then why hasn't her daughter attained even a modicum of that? Is it because she's physically aged as well? Yeah, because that makes sense, movie.

But I digress, and at the end of it all, like I mentioned before, I actually didn't entirely hate this movie. It does still have a few emotional moments that actually leave an impact, but just imagine how much stronger said moments would be if we were provided the proper context behind them in the proper order. And like I keep reiterating, the central premise is still a really promising one. So much so that I'm honestly curious how much footage was actually shot for the backstory versus what was actually shown, as I could definitely see a recut of this movie following her whole journey being a pretty compelling watch. But as it is, this movie is a complete and total disaster, with poor writing as far as the central romance is concerned, terrible editing decisions, and the worst narration you will ever hear in a movie.

That said, awful as all of that may be, the one thing this movie has that is so awful that it's actually sort of awesome is the young actor playing a younger version of Harrison Ford's character, who as a result (playing it completely straight, mind you), proceeds to give us his best go at a Harrison Ford impression.


Great, now don't get cocky, kid.

That this hilariously awful SNL quality impression actually exists in a movie in which we're supposed to take it seriously is just a whole different dimension of special all its own. Not quite special enough to where I could actually recommend this movie just to see it, but, well, maybe if someone ever does get around to recutting this thing...