Ah, 1997. A simpler time when the President of the United States could recognize and deal with a Russian threat.
It’s pretty clear that this is trying to be in the spirit of the Jack Ryan movies Harrison Ford was in, but even though apparently in the books Jack Ryan spent time as the US President, this is not a Jack Ryan story.
This is such a bizarre movie on the face of it. It ostensibly takes its influences from pulp adventure and German Expressionism, but it comes off like it’s part of a franchise that doesn’t exist (which may be part of the artistic intent of imitating pulp serials), and the audacious scope has a hint of Anime plotting to me (as well as the man being called “Sky Captain” sounding like a translation beating out the subtlety of it).
The origins remind me of how Lucas created Star Wars because he wanted to do a Buck Rodgers movie, only this looks more successful at that idea in some ways. This seems like more of an update of the pulp feel than Star Wars achieved. (Perhaps it’s because I’ve always lived in a world where it existed, but that franchise has always seemed more like its own thing of its own time than something that could screen next to Buck Rodgers, but I’ve already digressed too much.)
I’m fairly confident this was the first time I’d heard of Jack Black. I’d heard a lot about Shallow Hal, but since Malcolm in the Middle was such a big presence in my life at the time, my brain kept putting Bryan Cranston in the title role. So with Nacho Libre, Jack Black entered my consciousness as someone new, yet someone I apparently should have already known about. So I was completely lost later when Tenacious D got a movie and was apparently a well-established band already. And this time it was real, unlike my early confusion about Galaxy Quest.
Anyway, here’s a cult movie about a white guy rising to the top in a Mexican cultural institution from the age where taboo topics were permissible, but insensitivity was in fashion. So I’m hoping this will be fun, but it’s got some hurdles to clear.
The video game was very popular, possibly even for reasons beyond the audacious character model, so of course Tomb Raider got a movie fairly quickly. I’m not sure why the title of the successful franchise with five years of brand recognition was prefaced with the character’s name for the movie, but I assume if I look it up, I’ll see something about “Lara Croft” being the name known more by the mainstream audience, again because of the character model.
I was surprised to see Daniel Craig’s name in the credits for this 2001 movie, and then I looked up when Casino Royale came out (2006) and shriveled to a skeleton and turned to dust like the villain in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I also found that my impression that Angelina Jolie hasn’t done much lately is very much not true.
It’s also surprising to me that the rebooted Tomb Raider series got a reboot movie before the Uncharted franchise, which I suspect the Tomb Raider reboot owes some of its success to, was able to get its movie out of development hell.
I get the idea that the original Lethal Weapon isn’t as popular as 3 and 4. I’m not familiar enough with the franchise to know why.
Certainly, the most important part of a buddy-cop movie is the character dynamics, making the plot a canvas upon which to apply banter. Which also makes it difficult to know what to expect from this movie, apart from how it seems to have done well.
As someone who was not a fan of Scooby-Doo in the early 2000s, my main impression of this was that, if there was a right way to make a live action Scooby-Doo movie, this wasn’t it. The characters looked overly stylized, and the CGI dog was neither cartoon nor real, just a CGI mess.
I’ve since enjoyed some of the Mystery Incorporated reconstructive take on the franchise, and I have enough familiarity with it to know this probably at least isn’t the worst version.