I’ve seen four movies over the last four weeks. Three of them surprised me. One of them was Battleship.
21 JUMP STREET
Level of Surprise: Quite Pleasant
I was expecting very little of this, having never seen the TV show, or having never liked Jonah Hill. But this was quite a pleasant surprise. The script cleverly plays with high school genre conventions in a fish out of water way. Hill and Tatum are the best buddy cop duo I’ve seen in a long time – Hill proving there’s more to his comedic skills than loud-mouth swearing and Tatum proving to all his detractors that he is more than just rom-com eye candy. He’s a funny guy.
THE HUNGER GAMES
Level of Surprise: Very Pleasant
I knew very little about The Hunger Games except that it sounded like Battle Royale for the tween audience. But, as it’s phenomenal success proves, there is a very broad appeal here: young, old, male, female, it’s got a little something for everybody. Katniss Everdeen is as strong and cool a lead character as Ellen Ripley and Jennifer Lawrence is superb in the role, backed up with a very strong support cast. The film was surprisingly tense and brutal, and I totally bought into the world of Panam. I’m a convert. What are Hunger Games fans called? What’s the equivalent of a Twi-Hard? A Hungry Gamer? That’s like when I play Skyrim for 8 hours and forget to eat…. I’m sorry, that was terrible.
AMERICAN PIE: REUNION
Level of Surprise: Very Unpleasant
I’m not quite sure why my expectations were so high for American Pie Reunion (it even snuck into the number 10 spot of my patented 2012 Movie Anticipatometer). Maybe it was my undeniable nostalgia for the original film (and yes, even the two cinematic sequels). American Pie was a very exciting film to the 15- year-old me and having seen it again in the last year, it still holds up. The characters are endearing, the jokes are juvenile, but enjoyable and there’s a sweetness to the whole thing. American Pie Reunion is as far from that as you could imagine. Every single cast member (with the possible exception of Alyson Hannigan) reeks of desperation, the plot is bare-bones and the set-pieces are just boring and flat. Jim was endearing as a sex-obsessed teenager, but is just creepy as a sex-obsessed father and husband sleazing onto a 17-year-old neighbour. Embarrassing for everyone involved.
Level of Surprise: Battleship
Battleship is exactly what you think it will be like.