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This movie just goes to show you that the National Lampoon name doesn't really mean anything anymore. This feels like a low-budget TV Movie, with a simple linear story, basic acting, and a stereotypical cast. However, it isn't "awful"... it is saved by some interesting outcomes I wasn't expecting at all, and a cast that doesn't try to hard with their limited dialogue.
I don't know why they called this "Surf Party" as their is hardly any surfing, and hardly any partying. It's about a stolen surf board, and the short quest to venture from Ventura (see what I did there) into the Valley to recover it.
Since this is National Lampoon branded film, you might be expecting a lot of nudity. But this film doesn't deliver much even on that front... so you will be disappointed if that is all you seek.
Not much to recommend, really. If you're from Ventura or surrounding areas you'll see familiar sites (I enjoyed that aspect at least). However, the "Wonder Years" style of opening and closing seems to be a particularly cheesy flavor for this genre of film.
Maybe I love it because I grew up with video games, and the insider jokes were everywhere. Perhaps I loved it for the great voice talents and witty dialogue. Or maybe it was the imagination of a vibrant world taking place when the rest of the world isn't looking (much like Toy Story showed us the active lives of our toys). It's all that - this thing called synergy where many parts come together to create a stand-out movie.
The music is great, the characters are varied and unique, and the story is original and fresh. I'd be a sucker for any movie with video-game themes, but its strength goes far beyond that hook. It uses the world of video game characters to tell a meaningful story of friendship, finding yourself, and learning to be proud of the things you were made to do. But, improving your life is also a part of finding that happiness. Yeah - all that esoteric nonsense I pulled from a "kid's movie". ;-) But seriously, a worthy addition to your home library, and one I wouldn't miss seeing.
PG-13 Die-Hard in the White House. This is a serious-concept that could have easily been an R-rated action movie, but dialed back on realism and turned up the humor knob to create a more family-friendly action romp. My older boys (12+) thought it was awesome... and there were indeed plenty whiz-bang effects and humorous moments. Not the least was a gattling gun that never runs out of bullets and a chase across the white house lawn where a basketball hoop gets to play a starring role in taking out a baddie.
So if you're looking for fun in your action, this is a good one to watch. The plot is a little long-toothed, and the victims motifs are scattered reasoning (at best), so the serious thinker in you is going to cry out in anguish. But in spite of the many flaws, I enjoyed the action, enjoyed the acting, and certainly enjoyed the humor.
Better than the first! Funnier than ever, with the comic genius of Steve Carrell and the hilarious minions creating many laugh-out-loud moments. Our family of five, from 7 to 39 , all enjoyed it thoroughly. Cool visuals, a good plot that wasn't hard to follow, and crazy characters and scenes at every turn. It's a hard balance to be slapstick, without being over-the-top... and Despicable Me 2 does it perfectly.
Dr. Nefario even found a use for the fart gun. Two, actually!
Fans of the book will find much to like, and also much to be disappointed with. It's better if you read the book years ago and all the details are not fresh in your mind - then you won't be so keenly aware of everything that is "missing" (as is typical of most book-to-movie translations).
That being said, as a huge fan of the book... this is a great film adaptation. The weight of the situation, the moral quandries, the shock and sadness of it all -- it's present in the film. Perhaps the critics weren't aware that this was not supposed to be a "happy" future at all... because I didn't find the acting flat at all. This is serious stuff... a lot of important questions come out of asking "what if" like we do in Ender's Game. Do the ends justify the means? Is war ever the only solution? When do children have rights? It's all very thought-provoking.
The film itself is rich in amazing visuals, locations and characters. I was not disappointed at all... in fact, it was a much better experience than I had hoped could be possible. After all... much of the book was what Ender was thinking, and that is not easy to translate to motion picture. It's all about WHY he does the things he does.
Look deeper into this movie, its not your typical action/sci-fi mashup, and you'll find it has a lot to offer. And if you haven't yet read the book - then you're really missing out.