There are so many movies I’ve missed out on in theaters. Also, going to the theater can get expensive! So, I often find I am catching up on movies through DVD, Amazon, and Netflix. Since a lot of my time is spent watching movies I’ve decided to write several short reviews for one post every now and again. The Movie Review Catch Up will be mostly about the movies I’ve missed out on in the last and current year but I also watch quite a few older movies. This will give me a chance to look back at older movies I might have completely forgotten as well.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you probably remember I kept bringing up the science fiction movie, Life. Well, I’ve finally been able to take the time to watch and review it! In today’s Movie Review Catch Up, Geeky Talk catches up on Life, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, and 2016’s Illumination animation The Secret Life of Pets. Find out if these movies are worth your time or not in today’s Catch Up.
Life is a movie about six astronauts on the International Space Station who discover a life form from Mars. As the astronauts study the specimen, it grows and becomes a deadly extraterrestrial being. The crew has to survive their deadly find, escape the space station, and prevent the life form from ever reaching Earth.
Life sets the storyline up with lots of potentials after the astronauts find a new life form. Unfortunately, the single alien the movie centers its science fiction story around takes a turn towards the predictable. Yes, this alien life form is hostile! Surprise, surprise!
The actors are given little to work with for the portrayals of their roles. The story kills off the mildly funnier and more interesting astronaut of the crew played by Ryan Reynolds at the start of the movie. The rest of the astronauts lack very few characteristics to make them memorable in any real way. Unfortunately, the lack of character development hurts the story. The audience is given very little in the way of performance when it comes to some of the big names in the film like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds. The characters in this science fiction thriller disappointingly come up empty handed towards development and instead the movie relies on its ability to make the audience jump.
Life begins with some interesting moments while the astronauts are outside of the space station and up until the crew finds their discovery is a living being that eventually escapes. Some of the shots on the outside of the station and even the first moments with the alien life form are beautiful. The angles with the astronauts outside of the station and the close-up shots of the plant like being grabbing onto the scientist’s finger are aesthetically gorgeous and set the tone for curiosities lurking in space. Even the first scene after the life form escapes is harrowing and opens the story to a potentially good science fiction thriller, but Life fails to make use of the potential and relies on constant adrenaline pumping anxiety throughout the film.
Life is very similar to Alien and even the life form appears reminiscent of the famous franchise’s xenomorphs. Unlike Alien though, Life only makes use of its ability to create panic and leaves very little in the way of thought. We get it! The alien life we know nothing about has the potential to be dangerous for humans so approach with caution! Thanks for the reminder even though we could have watched it in an entertaining movie like Alien or the recent Alien: Covenant which reaches beyond that warning into the themes of survival of a species, creation, A.I., and more.
Though, much of the cinematography in Life is gorgeous there is not a whole lot that can save this movie for me. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen but after movies like Alien: Covenant, Arrival, and even Passengers (which isn’t even THAT good) my standards are set a bit higher. Even the twist at the end of the film lacks surprise and is uninspiring. Life fails at entertaining me but if you are in the mood for a thriller without much thinking involved, it might just fit the bill. Unfortunately, Life as a movie is a lackluster science fiction thriller.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Disney’s 2017 live action recreation of their animation Beauty and the Beast is still the exact same story with next to no change other than it being non-animated. Beauty and the Beast remains the same fairy tale about a young woman who is imprisoned by a man cursed to be a beast until he falls in love with the same young woman who also learns to love the Beast. Wow, that sounds a lot creepier than I remember! Still, it’s a Disney classic and worth a watch if you enjoy the animation and ever wondered what the story might look like in real life.
The actors throughout the movie do a wonderful job and Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle is so unbelievably perfect. Watson’s voice is beautiful in the songs and she does an excellent job from her interactions with Beast to her moments with her father. Luke Evans as Gaston is so much like the cartoon. Dan Stevens does well as Beast but he does not quite match the animation as I remember it from my childhood. It might have to do with a lack of emotions displayed on Beast’s face due to the CGI.
In fact, none of the speaking castle items such as Chip the teacup, Mrs. Potts the tea kettle, Lumiere the candle holder, and Cogsworth the old clock are quite as fun or expressive as I remember from the animation. This is no fault of the actors playing the parts but the animation just lends itself to more color and possibilities. I loved Ian McKellen as Cogsworth! Emma Thompson did a marvelous Mrs. Potts but she cannot hold a candle to Angela Lansbury from the animation.
The scenes in the movie are beautifully shot and put together. The scenes are detailed so perfectly that it is exactly what fans might expect the original animation to look like if they were to fall into the film in real life. The costumes are gorgeous too! The songs are just as I remember them. Everything is perfect! It’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast come to life!
I really enjoyed Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and exploring it in a different medium but it did not improve on the animation. In fact, the live action film reminded me of just how good the animation is just in case a reason is needed to visit the original movie. Beauty and the Beast (2017) is worth your time if you are a Disney fan and want to see the story in a different medium, otherwise, you might want to skip it and go straight to the classic animation.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
In The Secret Life of Pets, a dog named Max loves his life with his owner until one day she brings back a second dog named Duke. Max tries to take Duke back to his original owner until they realize they are farther away from home than they thought and are captured by the dog pound. Max learns to accept Duke through their adventures while Gidget and Max’s other friends find the two and save them from a group of freedom fighting animals led by a cute crazy bunny named Snowball.
The Secret Life of Pets is a cute and silly animation filled with lots of adorable animals. The animation is charming with lots of large eyes, big noses, and lots of different dogs and other animals. If you love cuddly animals, The Secret Life of Pets will help fill your cute quota for the day. The animation is well done and it’s fun to see the animals explore the animated city while their human owners are gone for the day.
Louis C.K. as Max and Eric Stonestreet as Duke makes for a silly partnership and both do a good job portraying two dogs just trying to get along. Both make for some giggles in their interactions with each other as well with their interactions with other characters. I especially enjoyed Kevin Hart as the revolutionary bunny, Snowball. Hart is hilarious as a sweet little bunny who isn’t really all that sweet. Snowball is my favorite character in the movie The Secret Life of Pets!
The Secret Life of Pets is an enjoyable lighthearted family film. If you want a moment to be a kid again, you will appreciate the silly moments with these cute animals. This is the perfect film to watch over the summer with your kids during the long days of vacation. Just be sure to watch out for cute little bunnies that could be a bad influence on your pets!
So what did you think of Geeky Talk’s first Movie Review Catch Up? What did you think of the reviews? Have you seen any of these movies? What’s your take? Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and geek out with us!