Sunday, September 27, 2015
Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Everest & Hotel Transylvania 2
Dearest Blog, today it was off to the pictures for strange bedfellows Everest and Hotel Transylvania 2.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or (I assume) actual events.
First on my agenda: Everest. Several groups of climbers take on the world's highest mountain. Okay, dear reader(s), admit it: From the very first trailer, you were trying to pick out who among Everest's cast of critical darlings would be first to bite the dust, and who might make it out alive.
It's a teen-slasher flick, except, instead of a masked maniac, the big bad is Mother Nature. I read a piece earlier this week that suggested the movie would keep people from wanting to climb Mount Everest, but I'ma be straight: it didn't take a movie to convince me life-threatening hobbies are a bad idea; rather, once you've seen Everest, you'll be lucky if you aren't scared to walk to your car if it's parked on a grade in a little snow.
Everest has a lot going for it, not least its stellar cast. Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhall are always big draws for me, but there are no missteps among this group. John Hawkes is terrific as always, as are Kiera Knightly and a woefully underused Robin Wright. The breathtaking scenery is worth the price of admission all on its own...just stunning.
Visual and sound effects are also top notch. (When sound effects are so good a person who doesn't do sound effects for a living notices, those are some good sound effects!) Both make you feel as though you're right on the mountain with our crew of climbers.
The film does a great job of maintaining tension throughout; in fact, there was not a peep out of anyone in my theatre for the entire two hours; the crowd was mesmerized.
Having said all that, Everest does have a couple weak points, too. Some sequences are drawn out for effect, but a trim here or there wouldn't have hurt. During the most harrowing climbing scenes, everyone is so bundled up it's impossible to tell who's who, unless you had the presence of mind early on to make mental notes of whose jacket was what color.
Necessary for realism, certainly, but not so much fun for the guy with the popcorn trying to keep score. Overall, though, those are petty quibbles with a mostly solid flick. Everest clocks in at 121 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense peril and disturbing images."
Everest is a good movie sure to convince you mountain climbing is the world's most insane hobby.
I'm glad I learned macrame in the eighth grade!
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Everest gets seven.
Next up, Hotel Transylvania 2. Having grown up, married, and had a baby, Dracula's daughter Mavis considers moving out of Hotel Transylvania to raise her child among "normal" people.
I gotta admit, after the stressful Everest, I was never so grateful for the idiocy of Adam Sandler. Despite my general aversion to Mr. Sandler, I truly enjoyed the first Hotel Transylvania, and hoped for more of the same from the sequel. As with most Sandler vehicles, HT2's voice cast is a who's who of Saturday Night Live alums. It won't do anything for my cinephile cred to admit I laughed my butt off at BOTH Grownups movies, but, well, there it is. No movie was ever worse for a bit of Steve Buscemi, either, and Mel Brooks is a terrific addition to the cast.
Transylvania boasts beautiful art and animation, but the 3D is essentially useless. If it's a bit slow towards the end, the movie mostly moves at a good clip, and I laughed out loud more than a few times.
There are some cute moments to which the older among us are sure to relate, and plenty of gross-outs for the kids. Finally, the not-so-subtle "can't we all get along" message is more than welcome in our contentious times, even if it's buried in a kids' cartoon. Hotel Transylvania 2 runs 89 minutes and is rated PG for "some scary images, action, and rude humor."
It won't come close to any Best Animated Feature awards, but, for my money, Hotel Transylvania 2 is good fun for all ages.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hotel Transylvania gets six.
Until next time...