e. magill's                        

The Unapologetic Geek


The Movies of 2013 - Page 2

I managed to get to the theaters more in 2013 than I was able to in the few preceding years. As a result, I am going to skip over the movies I've already reviewed (A Good Day to Die Hard, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, and Riddick) and just give you my take on every other 2013 movie I have seen. Granted, there are still a few movies you'll be surprised I never got around to (including The Wolverine, the DVD of which is currently on my coffee table, waiting to be watched, Gravity, a film I'm still not sure how I missed in theaters, and Ender's Game, an adaptation I'm sure to have a strong opinion about when I eventually get around to watching it). Perhaps I can add those as an addendum at a later date.

World War Z
Release Date: Jun 21
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $66.4
To-date: $202.4

Having not read the book upon which World War Z is based, I went into this one expecting nothing more than a zombie movie starring Brad Pitt. That's pretty much all I got, too. I enjoyed parts of it, and I thought it makes a good case for fast zombies (something I usually abhor), but the last act has that making-it-up-as-they-go feel to it and falls into all the familiar zombie clichés the movie tries so hard to avoid. It's ultimately uninspiring and a little boring.

Free Birds
Release Date: Nov 1
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $15.8
To-date: $54.9

It is impossible that my opinion of this movie is not tainted by the fact that it's the first movie I took my son to see in theaters by ourselves. Sure, as an animated kid's movie, it's largely forgettable--the CG isn't as good as it should be, the story needs work in places, some of the humor is just too goofy, etc.--but man, as a movie to take a four-year-old to, it's awesome. In fact, I can sum up this movie in just six words: George Takei as a time machine. What more do you need? Look, this is a story about time-traveling turkeys (including a fabulous Woody Harrelson) trying to stop the first Thanksgiving, and there's pretty much no way that can not be fun.

Thor: The Dark World
Release Date: Nov 8
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $85.7
To-date: $203.5

Marvel continues to entertain with its growing canon of film properties. Though I am still a Guardians of the Galaxy skeptic, I was proven wrong about Marvel twice before with both The Avengers and Thor. Thor: The Dark World, though it spends a bit of time dealing with the fallout from The Avengers, is a direct sequel to the first Thor and does a good job showing how both worlds and all the familiar characters have grown since Loki's original betrayal. The main villain is a little underdeveloped, but Tom Hiddleson's Loki makes up for it with another scene-stealing performance that fans are sure to love. All in all, a good sequel and another good Marvel flick.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Release Date: Nov 22
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $158.1
To-date: $407.7

I'm going to disagree a little with the critics and argue that Catching Fire isn't as good as its predecessor, The Hunger Games. I enjoyed it and think it is faithful enough to the source material, but it doesn't have the unique flair that the first one does. Fans of the series will gobble it up, even those who haven't read the book, and both the acting and effects are again top notch. It's a great ride, and I look forward to seeing how the filmmakers will tackle the much more difficult third book.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Release Date: Dec 13
Domestic Box Office (in millions)
Opening weekend: $73.6
To-date: $230.4

The Desolation of Smaug corrects nearly all the faults of An Unexpected Journey by being more tonally consistent and exciting. Best of all: no singing. The pacing is a bit odd, though, as the story breezes through major set pieces early on only to slow way down as soon as Bilbo and the dwarves reach Laketown. The climax with Smaug is utterly fantastic and wonderful--some of the best action in Jackson's entire Tolkien saga--and I sympathize with Kili for falling in love with the elvish Evangeline Lilly. It's not a flawless movie--Orlando Bloom has aged way too much and gained too much weight to portray a supposedly younger Legolas; the supplemental stuff with Gandalf still doesn't quite make the case that this relatively straightforward adventure deserves three movies; and the barrel ride goes on well past the point of absurdity--but it is sure to please fans of Jackson's previous efforts to bring Middle Earth to the silver screen.

-e. magill 1/8/2014

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