August’s Film Fight sees another 5 films up for review.
First up, Ted is exactly what every Family Guy fan probably expected: a film whose comedy is bizarre, gross, culturally-aware, nostalgic, and with occasional cut-aways. This is not the movie that will change anyone’s mind on Seth Macfarlane’s brand of humour. If you are a fan, it has some great ideas, some very funny moments, as well as some that don’t really hit as well (Ted’s girlfriend, for example). It’s a solid 100-odd minutes of laughter, but will likely be forgotten in a decade.(See my Ted Twitter review).
Pixar’s latest effort, Brave, seems strangely more like a Dreamwork’s movie, than a Pixar movie. The plot is very straightforward, everything is explained simply, but there is no weight to proceedings (like Up’s early montage) and no character development that feels particularly earned. A necessary but unsurprising sequence of events play out and the lead learns a lesson. That’s it. Simple, but nice enough, I suppose. (See my Brave Twitter review).
The Expendables 2, meanwhile, works because it’s exactly what you expect: a dumb action film full of explosions, fights, shoot-outs, ridiculous dialogue, without taking itself too seriously. The plot itself is nonsense, and is a very thin excuse to have the world’s biggest action stars do their thing once again. It’s not revelatory, nor does it have to be. A simple, fun, action film. (See my The Expendables 2 Twitter review).
Despite a satisfying arc of three movies that comes to a satisfying if slightly ambiguous conclusion, sometimes Hollywood can’t seem to stay away from something that is meaningfully complete. The Bourne Legacy is a result of that mentality. With the original trilogy’s protagonist having dealt with his past, the action here moves to a side-story following another agent. Instead of a story that is a grounded, tragedy-ridden, character-led piece (almost literally about the lead trying to find himself), we get a generic spy/action film. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the new lead, other than wasteful addition of pseudo-medical science to try to artificially raise the stakes in the plot without that being reflected in the action. Indeed, several key action sequences, particularly the rooftop chase, are so similar to scenes in the earlier movies that they only serve to show how unnecessary this movie is. It adds nothing to the franchise and, by moving away from its core, it only takes away. Avoid. (See my The Bourne Legacy Twitter review).
Finally, The Imposter is a documentary about a man, Frederic Bourdin, who posed as a missing Texan child. His family, despite the discrepancies that are shown, are unable to see the differences. The concept itself is interesting enough, and the New Yorker article from a few years ago that tells the same story is fascinating, but it’s let down somewhat by the execution. Each nugget of the story is spread a little too thin: having Bourdin explain each part of his plan, how it couldn’t work and must fall apart, and then how it inevitably does is laborious at best, and tedious at worst. This leads to an extremely uneven pacing, and a narrative that doesn’t do justice to the whole. A wasted opportunity. (See my The Imposter Twitter review).
The winner for August? There’s nothing particularly outstanding, to the point I’m struggling to choose between the options. I guess if I use my standard fall-back metric (“Which film would I enjoy watching again the most?”), it’d be Ted. Not exactly a strong winner, but a winner nonetheless.