Unfairly Comparing Three Totally Unrelated Movies: 22 Jump Street, The Rover, and Maleficent
I've seen three movies in theaters over the last 10 days, so I'll just mash them into one review and compare them as if they deserve to be compared to each other.
BEST - The Rover - It's about a post-apocalyptic Australia where a guy spends the entire movie murdering people until he finds his stolen car. They could have just told me it was present day Australia and I probably would have believed them.
MIDDLE - 22 Jump Street - Whereas the first Jump Street was a spoof on adapting a TV series into an unwanted reboot, the sequel is a spoof of giving a Hollywood sequel too much money to make it, despite it not being an original idea. In the wrong hands, this could have been a complete disaster, but with Phil Lord & Chris Miller returning again, it regains its promise.
WORST - Maleficent - Just what we were all pining for, another classic children's story getting a grimy retooling, filled with all the depressingly dark themes and CGI battles we were all desperately missing from the original.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum continue to be hilarious together, and Ice Cube really ups his game in this one as well. The Hill/Cube awkward lunch scene was comedy gold. Kurt Russell's kid looks just like him.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - I can't remember the last Angelina Jolie-heavy film I've seen in theaters. Was it Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? Damn, that came out 10 years ago! I guess I don't seek out her work too often... Yeah, she was alright. Dakota Fanning's sister has a stupid face the whole movie. It also loses points for completely wasting the talent of Sharlto Copley.
WORST - The Rover - With a film that stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, frankly I'm surprised I actually went to go see this, cool premise or not. To be fair, Guy Pearce probably gives his best performance since he exploded in the first scene of The Hurt Locker, because he just looks grimacing and doesn't say much. Keep his talking to a minimum and we'll be alright.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - Completely obliterates the concept of unneccessary sequels, *as well as* mocking romantic comedies pretty spot on.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - I guess if someone wants to tell the dumb origin story of a Disney villain, they did a decent job filling in the details. However, I think they knew how they wanted to start it and end it, but the second act was pretty boring, though.
WORST - The Rover - I wonder if the screenwriter just copy and pasted the line "I'm looking for my car", because he used it so much.
BEST - The Rover - There are some pretty amazing shots, and I'm always surprised when directors even attempt to do interesting camera techniques anymore. The pacing is slow, but it's deliberately edited that way, so I can't hold that against it.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - It looks like they stole a lot of the visuals from other movies (I'm pretty sure they just straight up lifted at least one environment directly from Avatar), and the character design and CGI on *all* of the tiny creatures were terrible. At least the film was cut pretty short.
WORST - 22 Jump Street - I can't say I recall much of anything being noteworthy in these departments. The mocking description of the upgraded set design for the new Jump Street headquarters was pretty good though.
BEST - The Rover - I want to live in a dystopian world where literally everyone wears cargo shorts.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - They nailed the costuming on Maleficent herself, while simultaneously making everything else tacky and generic.
WORST - 22 Jump Street - Just t-shirts and tank tops. But they did make that one guy really look like the Mexican Wolverine.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - Fast paced and hilarious. I wouldn't mind watching the Jonah Hill vs Jillian Bell awkward fight again right now.
MIDDLE - The Rover - When the action actually happens, it's super violent and over within a heartbeat. It's all pretty memorable.
WORST - Maleficent - A CGI blur of moss people fighting knights. I guess there's a decent dragon at the end, but it's mostly a mish-mash of fart noises.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - Consistent out-loud laughs from me. It's nice when a comedy actually keeps you smiling the whole time.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - It was on the brink of dragging out too long, but it was decently entertaining. The kids in the theater seemed to like it. Maybe it just wasn't my cup 'o tea.
WORST - The Rover - Uh, no.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - No matter how many times I saw the trailers or the commercials, I (and the rest of the audience too) still laughed boisterously when Channing Tatum says "My name Jeff". It might be one of the best delivered comedy lines in a movie of the last 10 years. That whole scene is great actually. "Use colorful, vivid details, Jeffe!"
MIDDLE - The Rover - For a film that is entirely structured on tense build-ups to violent action, the climactic showdown is deservedly tense and violent.
WORST - Maleficent - I'm gonna go with the dragon again.
WORST - Maleficent - There's a scene in the middle of this movie where Aurora has a pointless mud fight with the dumbest looking CGI creatures I've ever seen. That was a turning point in the film for me where it started to cross over into "What the hell am I watching?" territory.
MIDDLE - The Rover - I almost fell asleep during that scene with the military dudes.
BEST - I guess Jillian Bell's "Jonah Hill is old" jokes started to get less funny as the movie went on. The lady behind me even said aloud near the end of the film after the 10th time said joke was made "B*tch, you old too." Well, it's true, Jillian Bell is only a year or two younger than Jonah Hill. FUN FACT.
How Does it Relate to Similar Projects?
BEST - 22 Jump Street - I'd say it ranks right up there with the other good action comedies of the 2000s. It's as good as the first Jump Street movie.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - As unoriginal as the darkened fairy tale concept is nowadays, Maleficent is still much better than Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
WORST - The Rover - Good atmosphere, but it lacks the emotional weight of most other good post-apocalyptic movies. There really isn't *that* much at stake. Unless you consider ruining those cargo shorts with blood stains a serious issue (I kind of do).
BEST - 22 Jump Street - Mostly fine. About half full. Seemed normal.
MIDDLE - The Rover - Just me and one other guy; a middle-aged creepy looking dork. We both made eye contact when I walked in and I'm sure we both groaned that the other was there.
WORST - Maleficent - We sat by a super spazzy little girl who would not stay in her seat, and spilled popcorn everywhere. After the movie, the lady sitting behind me said "What? People don't clap at movies anymore?" No, weirdo... No they don't.
Stay During the Credits?
BEST - 22 Jump Street - I don't want to ruin the joke, but the credits sequence is probably one of the five funniest comedy bits in the whole film.
MIDDLE - Maleficent - It's kind of humorous to listen to at least a minute of Lana Del Rey's slow-motion, depressing out butchering of "Once Upon a Dream".
WORST - The Rover - What? A movie about hyperfocusing on getting gruesome revenge on a crew of violent bandits doesn't have a wacky credits sequence...? I CALL B.S.
BEST - 22 Jump Street - 8.5 out of 10
MIDDLE - The Rover - 7.5 out of 10
WORST - Maleficent - 6.5 out of 10
Always great Scott. Thanks!