A well-made if not sanitized adaptation of the novel. I found it interesting that the famous ocean sweeping the lovers as they make-out scene is just an incidental set-up shot, and not even a major moment in the story. While Frank Sinatra is definitely a scene-stealer, everyone turns in a solid performance.
I am obsessed with endings. I think, ultimately, that's all audiences really care about when they form their opinion on a movie. Flash of Genius' ending (which I won't say), simply undercuts the whole theme / message / point of the story. Even if it's true to history, which I respect, it left me feeling like this was a waste of my time.
Every aspiring writer should watch Waterworld. It's a perfect lesson in what happens when you focus entirely on cool concepts and world building instead of character. Everything about Waterworld is interesting... except the main character. "The Mariner" is supposed to be an aquatic Clint Eastwood, a mysterious badass, but he just comes off as flat and uninteresting. The complete lack of backstory for him really hobbled the movie.
The main character should have been Jeanne Tripplehorn. She's the one with something to lose, with a clear goal for us to follow. Then the Mariner showing up as an ally with no name and no past is much more interesting. Can she trust him? However, in 1995 giving a movie this big to a woman was damn near illegal, so we didn't get that version. But if it's ever remade, this is the way to go.
At least, that model worked for Fury Road.
This movie is good. It's a solid idea that is well-acted and generally executed well. So why the two star rating? After meticulously setting up the pieces for an ending which *could* have packed a surprising punch, they completely throw it out the window so some agency-approved artist of the week can mumble her way through a god-awful "song" over the ending credits, and actually the ending itself. It has the effect of someone clamping their hands over your nose right before you're about to sneeze, except in emotional form. I am tempted to re-edit the ending and re-review the movie based on my cut.
Potentially the worst movie I have ever seen in my life, specifically because it takes the magical backstory of the first movie (Mom had a magical summer in her youth in which she fell in love with three men, each of whom could be my father) ... and systematically, pathologically removes any hint of magic. Turns out mom was just a ho who slept with any boy with a flat stomach and a smile. The actors playing said boys had less chemistry with the leading lady than Leonardo Di Caprio does with women over 25.
While the songs were organic to the story in the first movie, as it is an adaptation of the long-running Broadway show, in the sequel they feel more like talent show bits, in which the plot just stops so the pretty people can recite (not perform, recite) the ABBA songs they have been assigned, and yes they felt like assignments.
Just listen to the original ABBA albums or the Broadway soundtrack and spare yourself the pain of watching this privileged brat pretend that her life has meaning.