“Baywatch” washes up like so much beach trash

Blame it on 21 Jump Street (the movie)’s success. After the failed revivals of ‘classic’ television shows like Ben Stiller’s Starsky & Hutch and Nicole Kidman’s Bewitched, these commercial and critical failures seemed to ruin the niche of popular television comedy to movie formula. But 21 Jump Street (and it’s subsequent sequel) proved to be cheeky and self-referential enough to garner the success the other adaptations couldn’t find. So now Baywatch has washed up on the cinematic beach starring Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and Alexandra Daddario and a cast of unfortunately forgettable others.

To say that Baywatch has a plot would be only a disservice to the actual concept of narrative. Dwayne Johnson as Mitch and Zach Efron as Brody et al. operate as team of lifeguards. The first half of the film is team building and the constant ‘unwanted mentor’ role of Mitch to Brody. Soon, a generic drug dealing plot is revealed as being a reason to sustain a film for an unneeded two hours. Action ensues, jokes are told, and the plot meanders through Mitch’s platitudes of teamwork and responsibility as he constantly justifies he and his team’s vigilante actions.

Baywatch’s first and most glaring problem is on display from the get go. While at one point trying to be meta in the same vein as 21 Jump Street, it opts instead for complacent juvenile humor. During the first half hour, the punchline of every joke is accentuated by a seeming high school writer’s gleeful exuberance of the ‘f-word’ as a comedic tool. The jokes seem too stale to be formed by someone with Johnson’s charisma and natural comedic ability. The same can be said for Efron’s lines as most of the script seems to rely too heavily on their presence and not so much comedic chops (which Efron has showcased in other, better comedies). The other characters have little else to do than to be there for comedic effect without much discernible personality between them. For a film trying so desperately to make itself relevant, the actual humor in this comedy steadily keeps dragging through its self made drudgery of so-called comedic situations.

Although Baywatch tries so hard to not be, the often homophobic and misogynistic script (four screenwriters and a director thought a man touching another man’s genitals is cause for laughs?) offers little recourse. The inherent idea of bodies being the main focus of the television show and the now film is caustic to any idea of progressiveness. Even star Priyanka Chopra has said the film is a “feminist movie”, and yes, both male and female bodies are objectified but that should not be an excuse to still be objectifying, especially in this way and in this format. Other films can tackle these ideas in this platform of sardonic comedy, but Baywatch is neither competent nor interesting enough to offer any subtle meanings. It is unfortunate that the film so often misses the mark when it could have used these dated tropes of body-types-as-entertainment to show how ridiculous these constructions are. Yes, there is a male character with a so- called ‘dad-bod’, but that isn’t to offer any new commentary, only flat jokes. Baywatch seems terribly dated in its social commentary (or lack thereof).

Baywatch being an action-comedy could have at least offered some inspired action scenes, but director Seth Gordon keeps the same easy, generic scenes that hindered his other films. As a director, he has been given casts with enormous potential (like Jason Bateman and Mellissa McCarthy in Identity Thief) but he squanders their talent on the most juvenile of humor and uninteresting plots. Throughout Baywatch, there is a severe lack of fun from the cast and script and it hinders what could have been a basically fun summer film. Go talk with a lifeguard for two hours at a pool; it’ll be far more fun and relevant.

Grade – D

Why Did Everyone Hate Suicide Squad?

Suicide Squad – We’ve all heard about it, and I’m sure many of us, such as myself, have anticipated it for well over six months. Personally, I’m not a fan of DC; in fact, I haven’t particularly liked any movie or TV show that they’ve put out for a long time, but this….this I was excited for. The one thing that I’ve always loved about the DC Universe is, hands down, their super villains, and to discover we’d be getting an entire movie dedicated to them was phenomenal! I mean, think about it: a new, captivating Joker (Jared Leto), a beautifully eccentric Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the always fantastic Will Smith as Deadshot, and a bunch of other people no one really cares about. Unfortunately, upon its release, most critics seemed to loath the movie, giving it a staggering 27% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing. But I, for one, was not going to let the critics stop me from watching this movie to see for myself whether or not it truly was bad, and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone says it is, but this review wouldn’t be nearly as fun if I didn’t rant about all of plot holes in the first twenty minutes of the movie. Hello, fellow geeks, I’m DecreeB, and today I’m telling you what I thought about the new Suicide Squad movie.

It all starts with a simple question: “What would we do if another alien like Superman came to Earth, but it was evil?” As if this wasn’t already asked in their last movie, Batman v. Superman, and answered with “Batman can kick Superman’s butt any day of the week, so don’t worry about it.” Why, exactly, does this still seem to be an issue in this universe? Why would anyone think that a super-secret group of super villains would be a better idea then, I don’t know, a group of highly skilled superheroes who already care about humanity and whom you don’t have to threaten or control in any way, shape, or form?! This plot hole is nearly as bad as the mythical “Rosebud” scene from Citizen Kane. No matter, I suppose, they are, after all, just a back-up plan that’s not really intended on being used. Surely the rest of the movie will make up for it by giving a good reason for them to be used, right? Right?

After posing this question, and introducing the six main villains for the movie as the answer, most of which have no good reason for being included anyway (I’m looking at you Harley and Boomerang), Amanda Walker (Viola Davis) convinces government officials that “Task Force X” is a good idea by showing off their “most valuable asset”, a scary witch named “The Enchantress” (Cara Delevingne) that is absurdly powerful, and who Walker claims to have “complete control” over. I mean, who wouldn’t want a huge super-powered warrior like The Enchantress working for them? Then again, why not use JUST the Enchantress, the only one proven to be controllable, and definitely the most powerful of all the others? Why do they need the all-around useless “Captain Boomerang” (Jai Courtney), and the way-too-unpredictable Harley Quinn? (*cough* sex sells? *cough*) Captain Boomerang did literally nothing important throughout the entire movie. Yes, he’s been in every iteration of the Suicide Squad, but they could have at least given him a good reason to be there in the movie.

Immediately after the man in charge, whoever he is, agrees to let these dangerous convicts be a last resort against an unstoppable opponent, something goes terribly wrong! The government officials, who have just been informed something terrible is happening, have to decide what to do. But I mean, what can they do? Dispatch their soldiers to see if they can tame the situation before jumping to conclusions? Ignite the Bat-Signal for some much needed assistance? Or assemble the criminally insane and highly dangerous task force that they barely agreed was an okay idea for a backup plan in case of extreme emergence where they have absolutely no options left?

You guessed it, they opted to send the untrained, deadly, and unpredictable inmates of Belle Reve Penitentiary to the scene without calling Batman, or literally anybody they could trust. Nope, let’s just send these people we believe are completely uncontrollable, whom we just barely accepted as potential possibility to save the Earth but only as a last resort because we doubt it’ll go well. Genius.

Alright, alright, we all knew there wasn’t going to be any good reason to send out the Suicide Squad, or at least any valid one, but I would’ve thought they’d at least try to convince us this was their only option by showing Batman being defeated, or reminding us that Superman is dead, or something. You know, make it seem like you actually tried to take care of the problem first; you know, pretend you care about the story a little bit. But I’m rambling now.

Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and the convicts all fly out to a desert compound, where they are briefed on their mission and his ability to push a button and kill them instantly. Then Suicide Squad is thrown boxes of a wide array of costumes and weapons. Yes folks, COSTUMES AND WEAPONS! You just barely let these guys free of their shackles, told them “listen to me or die”, and now you’re throwing the criminally insane and infinitely evil convicts all the weapons they could ever want! Not to mention you’re letting them play dress-up! This isn’t Halloween, people, the world could blow up at any minute and you’re letting them pick out cute little outfits? Just give them a standard military uniform and some armor, don’t waste your own time making them feel “pretty”!

I’m going to stop soon to avoid spoilers. The massive plot holes continue for a bit into the story before most of the sloppy storytelling ends and the movie starts to get pretty good. Characters are introduced only to be killed off, protagonists shoot what unnamed grunts can’t, etc. But after that, there’s action, funny comebacks and jokes courtesy of the only two well-written characters, Harley and Deadshot, and it starts to build some pretty decent character development for some of their villains. I just wish they had shown more El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), though, because I felt he could’ve been a strong character if he was on screen for more than 10 minutes.

While the movie started with its worst foot forward, it got much better as it progressed, although it did suffer for the same reason Batman v Superman did: it tried to do way too much in too short a time. Nevertheless, it did do it much more gracefully than the Batman movie did. The story was nothing special, all of the plot-twists were very predictable, but it was an interesting watch for the rest of the movie. Suicide Squad wasn’t particularly great or original in any way, but it wasn’t even remotely a bad movie. It’s nothing special, but it is worth a watch. Honestly, I believe this movie was only rated at 27% because people got their hopes up too high, and this movie wasn’t exactly what they expected. It wasn’t bad, it was just different from what they wanted, so they decided to bash a perfectly decent movie for it. If it were me, I’d give the Suicide Squad a 60-70% rating, and I’d definitely recommend it to everyone who’s even slightly interested in the movie. As long as you don’t get your hopes up too high, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself!

If you found this article informative and entertaining, make sure to check out some more awesome articles from everyone here at The Geekwave!

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Kirk’s struggling with existential angst and some daddy issues, and Spock can’t decide if his place is with the Enterprise or with his people. Needless to say, neither of them were having a great day when the Enterprise was attacked by a zerg-esque swarm of fighters, leaving the crew held captive on an alien planet by the bloodthirsty warlord Krall (played by Idris Elba), who’s seeking an ancient super weapon and has a serious grudge against the Federation.

While the plot wasn’t exactly groundbreaking as far as Star Trek stories go, Star Trek Beyond is a solid movie, and a definite must-see. The cast, as usual, nailed the performance. The script, written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty and is responsible for cinematic masterpieces like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) was both funny and compelling. Throw some excellent directing by Justin Lin and $185 million into the mix and you get a very entertaining, well-produced movie.

What makes this film different from the other reboot movies is that they put a renewed focus on the characters and their individual struggles. One of the most common complaints I hear about Into Darkness is that it feels like an echo chamber, like they were trying a bit too hard to boldly go where, in fact, lots of people had gone before. Beyond was able to move past this and break new ground by making the inner struggles of the crew a center point of the story. They didn’t try too hard to pander to the older fanbase, and as a result made this, the thirteenth installment, the second odd-numbered Star Trek movie in a row that was actually good!

That being said, it still feels like a Star Trek movie. The humor was still there, along with the atmosphere, aesthetics, and incessant bickering between Spock and McCoy. This movie was able to carry on the Star Trek spirit without it feeling like they were trying too hard to do so. Sure, the movie has some problems. The plot has some pacing issues and there were quite a few glaring gimmies when it came to technology (convenient cloaking and illusion devices are convenient), but all in all it’s a solid movie. It was able to achieve the near-perfect balance of lightheartedness and seriousness that Star Trek is known for without sacrificing quality. If you consider yourself a fan and haven’t seen it yet, DO IT. And if halfway through you’re not enjoying it, just remember: it could have been directed by William Shatner.

I give this one a score of Warp Speed of 8.

We’re giving away a pair of tickets to Star Trek Beyond on our Facebook page. All you have to do is like our Facebook page, and then like the post shown below. That’s it! Make sure you watch our Facebook page over the next few days, we’ll be announcing the winner on Wednesday.

https://www.facebook.com/geekwave/posts/872501159520356

Review – The Martian

As Matt Damon looks into the web camera and announces one of the many hilarious phrases that added comedy to a very intense and fantastic movie, the audience roared with laughter. This was not a response that I assumed would be consistent in this movie or even present at all. Instead, The Martian offered an intense story with occasional break for comedy, which is good because Matt Damon’s situation was pretty dire throughout. He started out a on six person mission on Mars, but when everything goes wrong he is left stranded on the red planet to fend for himself. So, the Martian did what I think anyone could reason living on Mars would be like…by yourself.  It was a good movie that kept me wanting Matt Damon to survive and had me laughing out loud at some of the hilarious breaks of comedy the movie takes. Unfortunately, I found myself a little drawn out of the experience with the long scenic views of Matt Damon driving his rover over the harsh landscape.

The cinema is very good with many large pans of Martian landscape all the way to repeated use of a webcam to create interesting dialogue for the audience. Matt Damon has to do a lot of driving in this movie, which is okay because there is some beautiful Martian Landscape to view. Well, maybe that is not quite right. The major downside to the whole movie is how much time we spent looking at Martian landscape. It is for sure breath taking, but it is at these points when the action really slows and some may lose interest. On the other hand, the close quarter camera angles of the webcam/video diaries and close up angles from in the rover make so you really understand Matt Damon. You see how difficult his life has become and understand the struggle he faces. It is also great for creating dialogue, because Matt Damon has no one to talk to; they are quite literally 4 years away by space travel. So instead he talks to the webcam and outlines what he is doing, how he won’t give up and the occasional funny punchline. It is really a good time! Additionally, the action sequences and CGI look beautiful and do in fact put you on the edge of you seat. In fact, I actually wish there were more action sequences because the one’s we saw were really good!

The action was epic, but I wish there could have been more. Without mentioning spoilers it is hard to talk about the action, which is why I will be brief, similar to how it was in the movie. The times when everything goes wrong for Matt Damon and we have epic scenes of destruction, is the movie at its finest, sadly these are only at a few points. Much of the movie is like watching Matt Damon be in a survival video game which is still very cool but made me want to play. Still, there are some great explosions!

Now to ask if anyone else should have been The Martian, is foolish. Matt Damon is perfect for this role. The whole movie blended comedy and action for a really nice experience and very few people could have done it like him. The acting was on point, and I always felt sympathy for him. And he helped to make the long rover drives more interesting with his indulgent comedy.

Without further ado The Martian gets The Geekwave stamp of approval. It is an epic journey that makes you love Matt Damon and wish for him the best experience. The action sequences measure up to space travel destruction and the comedic punchlines created a well-blended experience. This is one not to miss!