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What do you get when you throw together five unlikely characters, a powerful object that can only be wielded by the strong or else it causes destruction, a villain who will stop at nothing to obtain it, and a story full of action and intensity that will have you shouting at the screen and rocking back and forth in your seat? You get one of the most kick-butt movies of the summer in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. From the moment I saw the trailer for this film, I was instantly hooked and drawn in. Now I have fallen into this trap in the past and it turned out that I saw a crappy movie, but I was thinking to myself, "This is Marvel. They can't possibly screw this up." Thankfully, they didn't. Truth be told, you can see this movie without knowing any of the other character's backstories (I didn't even know Rocket had one until I did a little research). The movie teaches you enough as it goes along and the plot is easy to follow, but what makes the movie a true winner are the Guardians themselves and the intense action scenes. There are a few dark moments in the film, but unlike the Planes sequel, they don't take up the vast majority of the movie. It happens, you take a breath, and you move on. You'll easily find ways to connect with all of the characters, you'll cheer for the good guys, hate the villains, and trust me when I say you will LOVE the ending. Marvel, I may have not watched many of your films before, but you have at least won me over with this master-class, high-energy thrill ride of a package. These Guardians are winners in my book and on the big screen!!!
Oh, Planes. Where do I start with you? What was I thinking in making a decision to see this sequel? Probably because the INTENSE LOOKING trailer tries to draw you in by looking so much better than the actual film. The first movie did the exact same thing - and I wasn't thrilled about it either - but at least that movie had some character development and more light-hearted moments than this scrap heap. Lately, Disney/Pixar sequels have majorly disappointed, and this is another addition to the collection. Now I will say that the only positives to this film are Dusty (obviously) and a happy ending which I won't spoil for you. There is a new story, but it seems rushed. Everything else about this film is rushed, thrown together, no character development, too predictable, and SO MANY DARK SCENES you are feeling depressed and angry by the time you leave the theater. That, or you're just laughing your butt off at how pathetic the film is. And I also understand the message that you're dedicating the film to the firefighters who battle fires every day, but WITH THIS? *facepalm* Once again, the only thing that I will remember about this film is Dusty and the FEW happy moments this film had. Everything else was a complete failure - kinda like Dusty's gearbox. It needs replaced, it needs repaired, it needs a MAJOR OVERHAUL to save this franchise - if it can even be saved at this point. The cash-grab hole it has dug may finally be too deep. Dusty, fly out of this - FAST - unless you yourself can find a way to save your films.
I always find it amazing when I watch a movie trailer what exactly leads me to seeing a particular film. Whether it's some flashy animation, intense moments, or just some cool characters, there's always something that makes me say, "Yeah, I'm going to give that film a chance." With Earth to Echo, the major thing that struck me was simply the story. I will say this: This isn't a master-class film by any stretch, but you will find yourself rooting for the main characters, denouncing the villains, and thinking that Echo, the little alien, is just so cute and worth getting back home. There's simply so many moments in this film that will leave you awestruck or ticked off at the 'bad guys' (which there are in this film, and they may surprise you). The plot/story itself is actually easy to follow, which is because it's all told from the kids' perspective - a neat way to do this film in my opinion, and I don't think the film would have been as successful if it were done any other way. This might not be a film I get on DVD, but if it re-airs on TV in the future, I'll certainly give it a rewatch. At the end of the day, the story, characters, and lessons learned all mesh together to make a good, not great, film. I'm glad that I gave Echo a chance to 'spark' my heart and my imagination.
After I strongly declared that the third movie in the Transformers series, Dark Side of the Moon, was the best one yet, it only led me to give higher expectations to the newest film in the series. And even though this movie doesn't quite reach that level, the action, plot, and yes even the new human cast will make you say "Shia who? and "Vivica what?" Needless to say, I still left the theater with the same feeling of awesomeness and excitement, but not as much as the prior films. I still had plenty of fist-pump moments and moments where I wanted the true bad guys to be destroyed, so that was a plus. You might find yourself confused in the first few minutes, but eventually the plot becomes easier to follow as down-on-his-luck inventor Cade Yeager, trying to raise his teenage daughter Tessa, discovers a breakthrough as he stumbles upon an old truck. But he later discovers it's not just ANY truck, but Optimus Prime himself, still battered and bruised from the Battle of Chicago which ended the Autobots' alliance with the human race. Yeager sacrifices his life and living to fix Prime, but when the CIA gets involved, it spins a wild adventure across the country and the world. Your favorite Autobots like Prime and Bumblebee (hell yeah) return along with some new faces, you'll get a 'reincarnation' of Megatron, a company trying to produce knockoffs, a villain in Lockdown who wants nothing more to destroy Prime and anyone that gets in his way, and the DINOBOTS make a triumphant appearance in the final climax. Trust me, it didn't have as much intensity as the third film, but the only thought on my mind as I left the theater was "Transformers NEVER disappoints." The spark ALWAYS stays alive, and from the way this one ended, it sounds like this chapter is only the beginning!!!
There's not many things in life that make me cry hysterically. In fact, I can count them on my hands: death of a relative/friend, our National Anthem, whenever I'm greatly upset, and the occasional emotional moment in a movie. That fourth one applies to another Dreamworks masterpiece in their sequel to 2010's How To Train Your Dragon. Needless to say, I was FLOWING TEARS by the end of this nearly two-hour gripping, intense, action-packed thrill ride. You want amazing flying scenes? You got 'em. You want major storylines coming from different angles? Yep, they're here too. You want new characters and dragons that make strong statements? You betcha. You want a major character killed off, nearly another, a complete 360 turnaround, and a moment where you want to see two villains just get killed off themselves? You'll see all of that and many bags of chips in this masterpiece. Basically, the story still revolves around Hiccup, who is now on the cusp of being named chief of Berk by his father Stoig. But Hiccup still is afraid of being in his father's shadow. When he and his loyal dragon companion (and cute as well) Toothless stumble upon a new land, they actually discover a band of dragon trappers who were attacked by an 'alpha' dragon who supposedly controls all dragons. Once you get past that, this movie takes you on a crazy ride where Hiccup reunites with his mother, a new villain emerges with evil plans, and then it simply goes into full-on, emotional intensity and action. Trust me - your eyes will be fixed on the screen, you'll say "AWW" at least ten times, you'll cry or think about crying at least five or six...you get the idea. I've always loved dragons. I've always loved Dreamworks films. But I have NEVER had an ANIMATED FILM make me flow tears like this one did, especially at the end. DreamWorks, my heart "soars higher than it ever has before" and "I feel the freedom of BEING A DRAGON" with this film!!! Simply incredible!!!