Quick Reviews: Raya and the Last Dragon, Crisis and Coming 2 America
Drugs, dragons and Eddie Murphy. Crap, I needed another D-word.
It’s been a while since a collection of quick reviews have shown up on Flickmetic! Once in a while I do this instead of dedicating an entire article to a single movie because I know that some people just want a short review and a score and then they go their own way.
There’s an art to a mini-review, with trying to distill the essence of your thoughts down to fewer words than one would with a full review. I’ve been doing that for years on another website so sometimes it’s like a game.
But you don’t care about any of that, you want to know what I think about Raya and the Last Dragon, Crisis and Coming 2 America! So let’s get on with it.
Raya and the Last Dragon
This whole scene is the best in the movie.
Raya and the Last Dragon is the biggest release this weekend, obviously, and it’s also the best. In what I think is a fairly mediocre weekend of film, this really stands out. That’s not to say that it requires a bad group of movies in order to rise above the rest, but it is certainly more noticeable because of the company it keeps.
There are moments where the formula feels just a tad too familiar, a little too safe, and that prevents it from being amazing–and my favourite movie of the year so far. However, aside from those snippets where it devolves into something a little too content, Raya really shines. It’s gorgeously animated and framed in a way that really emphasizes the fantastical elements. It has a lot of emotional resonance in its storytelling. The fight scenes are actually inspired and don’t fall victim to choppy choreography and while some of the humour comes out a bit forced, it’s also occasionally really funny.
As noted below my screenshot, that scene is the best in the movie. If the rest of Raya and the Last Dragon was as enthusiastic as that then we would have a truly special flick on our hands. As it stands now it’s really great, sporadically awesome, but definitely worth a watch… regardless of what movies are released beside it.
Or how I try not to make a cannibal joke because Armie Hammer is in this.
Yes, that’s right Mr. Hammer.
I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Crisis until it chomped its way into my life. Crisis is about three stories–all involving drugs–and the quality differs depending on which one you watch.
The part with Gary Oldman, who plays a scientist that has found something wrong with a drug that is trying to go into market, is easily the best. If the rest of the flick was like this, maybe it wouldn’t have been as cannibalized as it was. The other two–involving Hammer as an undercover agent trying to bust a drug kingpin and Evangeline Lilly as a bereaved mother investigating the death of her son–are not nearly as compelling.
They’re decent but conventional, although their stories converge and we are treated to some atmospheric scenes in snowy Canada. I have a soft spot for snow in movies because it’s both beautiful and tragic, and instantly lends itself to depressing moments in the way it isolates the characters. It performs that task in Crisis, as well. Let’s hear it for snow, the true champion.
Simply put, while the acting is solid and the narrative goes along, there’s nothing that stands out and really sets it above. If you’re going to try to weave together multiple stories, they need to be interesting so you’re not disappointed when it switches to the other ones. This just ends up being really generic, but ultimately passable.
Armie Hammer wants to eat people and there’s a scene where he looks at the bruises on the arm of his sister and damn, the hunger is there.
Coming 2 America
Eddie sees what I did up above (that’s a hint that something is amiss in this article).
I don’t have the connection with the original that a lot of people do. I viewed it as a pretty funny comedy that lost its way as it progressed. It had solid laughs but it was wildly inconsistent. With that said, I laughed more during the sequel than I remember laughing during the first, although that could just be a poor memory on my end.
It’s still not a great comedy but it maintained a respectable level of consistency that the original did it. However, it does have the occasional great joke. Everyone’s trying and it’s obvious that they’re having a blast, so that joyfulness does radiate on the screen, elevating it some. But when it comes down to it, if a comedy doesn’t succeed in being hilarious then I can’t give it a glowing recommendation. See it, but keep your expectations low.
He agrees that Raya and the Last Dragon is the best movie of the weekend. He also wouldn’t eat me, even if given the chance, so that’s something.