There are some good ideas, and some wonderful moments, yet Elemental (2023) tries to reach the allegorical heights and heartfelt laughs of Inside Out and Zootopia and never gets there. Not by a mile, simply because the fundamentals of the environment are not clearly defined, and the screenplay tells us what we should feel instead of letting us come to those conclusions on our own through character and plot beats. Examples of what I mean can be found in the three or four narrated flashbacks that occur throughout the movie, trying to fill in the gaps that the present-day story is unable to flesh out on its own. Elemental sadly comes across like a film Dreamworks, Universal or Blue Sky would release looking to emulate a Pixar movie.
Imagine the movie Bowfinger except Eddie Murphy’s character is played by Bruce Willis and Steve Martin’s character is played by Edward John Drake. Now imagine the movie is called Detective Knight: Rogue (2022) and Drake, the director, made three of them. I had 593 words for this trilogy, so I had to make it its own post. Read More
How’s this for an obscurity? A 1985 summer camp comedy starring Michael J. Fox – Poison Ivy. Not to be confused with the Drew Barrymore movie, this was a childhood favourite of mine, mostly for the presence of the Family Ties star, but despite the presence of some decent child actors and the occasional laugh, is nowhere in the same league as Meatballs. It’s unfortunate too that Fox plays such a gross sex pest in this, relentlessly hitting on Nancy McKeon even though he knows she has a fiance and simultaneously hooking up with another woman himself while pursuing her. Adam Baldwin is here too as the villainous head counsellor, which the film paints as being much worse than Fox because of a scene in which the camp owner’s attractive wife forces a kiss on him. It’s not aged well and is very much a product of its time, but thankfully for Fox – Marty McFly was only a few months away.
In my quest to finish the Saw franchise before Saw X comes out, I watched the sixth movie the other day. Damn, how this franchise quickly fell off after some decent early entries. I enjoyed Saw III for the thematic return to its more claustrophobic roots. More than that, the key players all feel important to the tale. Jigsaw is dying and needs a medical procedure. So he kidnaps a doctor for his games. The connections are all vital to the overarching story and feel weighty. Saw VI, on the other hand, deals with characters who feel unimportant in every way. Insurance agents, really? Their crew of interns? The lawyer? Just inessential, inconsequential, and ultimately, uninteresting. I was never invested in these characters’ plights. Hard pass, and I’m not hopeful for the rest of the series at this point.