Megamind: The Most Thoughtful Superhero Film

Most superhero films are about good versus evil, and good wins as long as the movie doesn’t have part two. But that’s all there is usually. As one of the most saturated film genres, it doesn’t dive in and show what defines a hero and a villain. But one movie stands and shows what it truly means to be a hero and a villain. What other film can explain that better than… Megamind?

This post might contain spoilers, but that’s on you for not watching this masterpiece earlier. There are four main characters: Megamind as the titular villain, Metro Man as the city’s protector, Roxanne the love interest, and her cameraman as Hal/Tighten.

Megamind arrived in prison on Earth when his planet was destroyed as an infant, whereas Metro Man, whose planet was also destroyed, is raised in a well-off home. Metro Man has superpowers like Superman’s while Megamind just has knacks for inventions. They both grew up in a situation where they were destined to be heroes and villains, regardless of what they truly wanted. And they did, becoming nemesis, although Megamind never won against Metro. Until Metro faked his death to become a musician because he wasn’t happy being a superhero.

Megamind runs the city, but all he does is steal and paint everything blue, not harming anyone. He gets bored and realizes his life is meaningless, so he decides to create a new superhero to fight with, after getting that idea from talking with Roxanne, disguised as a human.

Then comes Hal. He creepily likes Roxanne, but she doesn’t feel the same. He’s selfish and only wants the rewards without any true effort. He likes Roxanne for his sake rather than for mutual feelings. Later on, he gets Metro’s powers and becomes Tighten (he couldn’t spell Titan). But he doesn’t know how to become a hero, so Megamind disguises himself as a parody of Jor-El and teaches Hal to be a hero. This is ironic because a supposed villain is teaching a villain-like character to become a hero.

Then Megamind (in human disguise) starts to fall in love with Roxanne after Megamind cleans up all the trash in a park and returns all the stolen art, just as she hoped. As a “villain,” he realizes that being good feels good and that he’s more selfless than he seems to be.

This is longer than I thought so I have to save it for part two. Comment below if you do want the second part!

Elemental: Most Underrated Pixar Movie

Pixar has been going downhill ever since COVID-19 struck. Their last good film was Soul, but not many people watched it. Lightyear, Turning Red, and Luca were all disappointments from a legendary company that released Wall-E and Up. So when the Elemental trailer came out, people started saying it was Zootopia with elements instead of animals. But when I watched the movie, I was shocked because it was way better than I thought.

I may not have had any expectations for Elemental after recent Pixar movies, poor reviews from the Cannes Film Festival, and initial box office disappointment. But through word of mouth, people began to watch, so I watched it.

I think the reason why the movie didn’t get the audience at first was because of how it was advertised. The trailer looked like the movie was a rom-com when it really was more about an immigrant family. But Elemental eventually became a box office hit, making more than 400 million dollars worldwide.

The plot may have been simple, but it had so much depth and maturity. It wasn’t just a romance movie where fire and water couldn’t be in love because of their physical state, but also due to their family background and culture. Let’s say that fire represents Asians and water is like, whitewashed people.

The animation was as good as always from Disney, and the song by Lauv was stuck in my head for days. But I think my main praises go somewhere else.

The two lead characters were perfect. The voice acting showed ranges of emotions you don’t often hear like you can feel pain in their voices when they get hurt. The two mains, fire named Ember and water named Wade, are made for each other. Their chemistry is probably the best I’ve seen in any other animated film. Wade is a free-spirited and emotional guy, whereas Ember tries to hide her true emotions and lacks self-confidence. This film highlights her growth as a person (I mean as an element) when Wade enters her life, and becomes her turning point. God, this film made me spark all the romance out of me, and I’m usually emotionally dead.

Elemental is a rare good film from Pixar after a couple of misfires, mostly due to its two main characters that truly shine in this cute but profound story. If you haven’t watched it yet, stop reading this and go.

Thoughts On Drinking Culture

As a person who is two months sober as of this article, I think a lot about drinking. How fun it was. How it affected me. And why I started drinking. Tracing back, I realized that what made me start drinking in the first place was because of the drinking culture. It looked so fun, getting drunk and talking about the things we wouldn’t talk about when sober. But not being part of it now, I do have mixed feelings about it.

Let’s lay out some good aspects before the bad. It looks fun, especially with others. Drinking can build relationships. It’s the perfect icebreaker, any awkward tensions with a person can usually be drowned out by alcohol consumption. Professionalism? It’s gone after a couple of sips. People get more real and more relaxed unless you’re the type of drunk who gets mad easily. One of my best friends and I got closer after a couple of vodka shots.

Another thing is that when you buy booze, you are contributing to the economy, creating jobs and helping the people in the industry to get by rent and life. How nice is that? But that goes with every other purchase too.

Now let’s talk about the bad part. Obviously, health is something I would mention because it’s an apparent fact that alcohol is very unhealthy for you. In fact, it can cause liver diseases and heart conditions, and do I have to really list everything? The point is, it’s all bad. There are more than 3 million alcohol-related deaths every year globally.

Being drunk can feel nice, but it could hinder your productivity and it can lead to unwanted consequences at work or school.

And while it supports the alcohol industry and its workers, it really drains out your wallet. Alcohol is expensive. Can you believe that we live in an era where a shot is around 10 bucks? And if you get a health risk due to drinking, your student debt won’t be the only problem adding to your financial state.

Drinking can build relationships, but it usually does the opposite. Addictions strain relationships and break families apart. I think we heard enough stories about deadbeat dads who were alcoholics that I don’t need to elaborate on.

Drinking has more bad outweighing the good, and it’s no competition. Do you think that being in a culture that could potentially ruin or take your life can ever be good, no matter the fun? So either be careful about how much you drink or join me.


Best Adaptation of Ninja Turtles?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back for like the tenth time. Honestly, I lost count of how many times the Turtles were rebooted. But this one should be exciting because the cast is stacked, with the likes of John Cena, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Giancarlo Esposito, and more, right? But after watching the movie, the way to describe the film is “best of the worst.”

I haven’t watched any of the TMNT shows and I heard a lot of positive things about it. But their movies seem to be always in bad hands. Remember the live-action one by Michael Bay? They were like SEAL soldiers on steroids instead of teenagers.

Mutant Mayhem really gets what it’s like to be a teenager in TMNT. The actors they picked were young and sounded just like teens. But they’re not just typical teens; they’re very much like today’s Gen Z. They record their fights and even sing ‘Butter’ by BTS during the movie, embracing the vibe of today’s young generation.

The best aspect of the film was its animation. Lately, many upcoming animations have been inspired by the Spider-Verse style of infusing 2D and 3D. The best way I could explain the animation style is like a well-drawn scribbled flipbook animation with a dose of graffiti. If it weren’t for the animation, the thought of watching the film would have never crossed my mind.

Then there are my complaints about the film. As a comedy action movie, it wasn’t that funny. A lot of times, I found myself cringing at the jokes than laughing. The character chemistry was good, but the jokes kind of land flat.

The weakest part of the film was its plot. You know those movies where these groups of outcasts yearn to be accepted by the world so they do these dangerous things and realize that they just need to be who they really are? It seemed that the writers were playing too safe with the plot. And without spilling too much, the final fight was so ass. The post-credit scene sets up a sequel, but that won’t redeem the film.

In a nutshell, this TMNT flick has style, especially in its animation, but lacks depth in its plot and humour. It’s an okay watch, better than previous TMNT cinematic attempts, but not a blockbuster. Save it for a ‘boredom strikes’ movie night.

Landmark Cinemas’ New Online Booking Fees

Movie theatres are finally recovering from the lack of audiences due to COVID-19. After the pandemic, most people began to buy tickets online to avoid long ticket lines and to get a better seating spot to watch. But Landmark Cinemas, one of the two biggest theatre chains in Canada, is charging extra fees for booking online. Wouldn’t this un-attract the audiences?

One thing that doesn’t sit well with me is that Landmark is following in the footsteps of Cineplex. Ever since Cineplex started booking fees last year, I barely went to their theatres. Landmark is following the wrong things from its competitor, but since it worked out for Cineplex, why wouldn’t it work for Landmark?

Another thing that bothers me is the specific fee amount: $1.50 per ticket (stops after 4 tickets, though). The number seems kind of arbitrary, like not a neat dollar or two but one whole and a half. It sucks because that is the initial price, which is bound to increase later on. The theatres are really trying to milk out as much as money they can from us.

Speaking of milking out money, it does not help that movie tickets are pretty pricey already. The average ticket cost in Landmark Cinemas is $15. I get that the price rose due to inflation, but that amount is ridiculous. Remember Toonie Tuesdays? $2 is now $9.25 before tax. Another arbitrary number.

The worst part is that there’s a noticeable pricing imbalance. Those who buy tickets at the theatre avoid this online booking fee. Didn’t they create an online purchasing option because it’s faster and you could skip the waiting line? That contradicts the goal of encouraging theatre visits. I guess either line will be longer, or people will just save their money on something else.

There is a loophole, though. Landmark Movie Club members don’t have to pay the online fee. At a reasonable monthly cost of $10, including a movie ticket, and a 20% discount on tickets and concessions, it’s a pretty good deal for frequent moviegoers.

Still, not many people would sign up because some of us only watch a few times in the theatres. After the booking fee on already expensive tickets, those people might just wait for the movie to be released digitally and watch it, legally or otherwise.

Overall, the new booking fee in Landmark will discourage people from booking their tickets online, which can push away moviegoers. My only suggestion is to wait for it to be released online or subscribe to their club.


The Problem With Reboots

Remember when most new movies were original, not just follow-ups or reboots? Those good old days are gone, and now it’s all about making money, not about the art of filmmaking. Sequels are acceptable because they have the potential to expand and be better than the previous film, but reboots, especially masterpieces? Allow me to explain why that’s a terrible idea.

Did you know that Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are having a reboot treatment, except the former will be an HBO Max series? That’s just lazy. There is no originality and creativity. They rely on established concepts instead of making new ideas. It’s like drawing the same drawing, but just a bit differently. Not just for the better either. Have you watched Oldboy (2003) and Spike Lee’s 2013 reboot? If you haven’t, save your time by not watching the latter.

Reboots will cause people to compare it with the original, but not in a good way. In fact, the film will create higher expectations, and that is to be better than the first. If it’s not better, then the audience will be disappointed. But how many reboots can you name that is better than the original?

Nostalgia can be good, but relying too much on it can overshadow the need for a fresh storyline, potentially lacking new content. Nostalgia is eventually a crowd-pleaser, and that is to evoke something of old rather than new. But this would underline the reality that reboots still depend on the original film to be successful. For instance, I believe that Spider-Man: No Way Home wouldn’t have made almost 2 billion dollars during the COVID-19 era if Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield didn’t show up.

But why do film companies make reboots? It’s just to make money because it’s easier to copy more than to create something up to fund themselves. The film industry overemphasizes commercial success. It is important because it pays off thousands of workers, and success can lead to more movies that can created to watch. But films are more than money-making schemes. They provide entertainment and unrealistic experiences, stimulating our creative bones. Stories are powerful, but if retold, it doesn’t become as impactful.

Reboots have nothing new, and that’s the problem. It may have worked before and got the money the industry wanted, but I’m pretty sure the audiences are tired of watching something similar all the time. Maybe it’s time to watch more original films so that more fresh stories can be on screen.


Bottoms – Stream or Skip?

Bottoms (2023) is a coming-of-age sex comedy film about two lesbian high schoolers making a fight club to win over their crushes. It was released earlier this month in theatres but the film was digitally released this weekend, so I watched it. But should you skip or stream the movie?

Bottoms is over-the-top horny and bloody. What do you expect from a movie about two girls who are desperate to lose their virginity and accidentally create a club that beats up each other for “self-defence?” I had never seen that much blood in a high school movie that was not a horror movie, although it is cartoonish. The movie has a B-movie feel to it, and it satirizes the genre while still being part of that genre.

The characters in the movie have so much personality to them and are well acted out even though their existence is based on stereotypes. The main characters, PJ and Josie, played by Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, nails as the two virgin “ugly, untalented gays” (that’s what the movie said, not me). Their main goal? Lose their chastity before they go to college. All the side characters in the movie also play their roles and stereotypes very well, especially Jeff, the school football star is a dumb jock who has a cheerleader girlfriend and due to his popularity, could grab any chick he wants to. Nothing new but good.

Perhaps the weakest part of the film was the plot. The synopsis is bizarre but follows the same story formula as every sex comedy movie made in the 2000s. The main characters want to get laid, find a scheme, and get the attention of their crushes, the two leads fight, don’t talk to each other, then make up and face the final conflict together. Doesn’t that sound familiar? And why do all comedy movies have moral lessons to be learned? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the story, but it’s predictable – other than some bizarre action sequences.

But the comedy elevates this movie. The comedic timing is perfect, and the dialogue is so vulgar and stupid that all you can do is cringe and laugh. That’s what a good comedy movie is supposed to do, make people laugh, and Bottoms succeeds in doing so than any other movie released this year.

Most movies fail when they are style over substance, but Bottoms has so much style and humour that it’s one of the best comedy movies this year, maybe in years. My verdict? Stream it as soon as possible.

A Haunting In Venice – Watch or Stream?

I watched the movie last Tuesday to see if it was worth being watched in theatres. After viewing, these were my thoughts regarding the story and its aspects.

The plot is a whodunnit with a horror spin. The film begins with retired Poirot, who tries to live a quiet life until he gets invited to the seance of a girl who killed herself after being “cursed.” And then someone gets murdered, and the Poirot has to figure out who the murderer is. Plotwise, it’s pretty familiar.

Let’s talk about acting. Everyone was decent, but no standouts. Kenneth Branagh returned as the detective Hercule Poirot, who kept the unique accent you needed subtitles for. Sometimes it’s so hard to make out of the dialogue. Everyone else was just playing the usual suspects, but they used more under-the-radar actors. Pretty sure it was to save budget or to avoid potential controversies regarding the actors (ahem, Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer).

The cinematography was fantastic. Post-war Venice never felt so haunting yet beautiful and alive, and the director captures the spirit of the city of its time so well. Aside from the scenery, I felt some scenes cut away too fast. I thought Kenneth Branagh was influenced by Christopher Nolan’s quick cuts, but not in the right way. Imagine a man falling off a bridge, but the scene cuts right before he crashes into the water.

The movie soundtrack was very eerie, made of cello. I thought I recognized the style somewhere, and it was the award-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. She was also the composer for Chernobyl and Joker, for which she won an Emmy and Oscar, respectively. Her cello truly suited the mysterious and horror aspect of the movie.

What really made me watch the film in theatres is its horror aspect. The prequels Murder On The Orient Express and Death On The Nile had colourful, family-friendly whodunnit movie vibes. But this one was more like a haunted house movie with plenty of jumpscares (most are predictable, though). One specific kill (without spoiling) was creative and violent, that if it showed blood, it would have gotten an R rating instantly instead of PG-13. The film may be more mature than previous films, but it’s still a movie based on a kid’s mystery book series.

A Haunting In Venice may be better than the previous instalments and have beautiful scenes to stare at, but it wasn’t a desirable film. The horror aspect paid off well, but it feels like those movies you just watch out of curiosity or to kill time, knowing the plot will be as expected.

My verdict? Stream it.


These Sports Actually Exist

When we talk about sports, we usually think of soccer, basketball, or races. But the world of sports is much more diverse and unusual than you might think. Apart from the regular games, some unique and strange competitions are quite fascinating. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these odd sports that have a charm of their own.

Ever heard of wife-carrying? It’s a sport that’s become quite popular in different parts of the world, especially in Finland and Estonia. The idea is simple and amusing: a husband races while carrying his wife over a specific course. But there’s a rule—the wife must weigh at least 49 kilograms. If she weighs less, extra weights are added to meet the requirement. The prize? It’s beer as heavy as the winning wife. However, this would attract more people who live an unhealthy lifestyle than the healthy ones.

In the hills of Gloucestershire, England, a traditional sport exists: cheese rolling. A wheel of Double Gloucester cheese, weighing about 3-4 kilograms, is sent rolling down a steep 180-meter hill. The goal? Participants race down the hill after the cheese, and the first one to cross the finish line at the bottom wins the cheese as the prize. But the thing is that the cheese gets a one-second head start and can reach up to 110 km per hour. It’s a distinctive race, but not without risks, as the cheese’s speed can be dangerous for viewers. For safety measures, a foam replica was used instead of real cheese in 2013, but winners still got actual cheese as their prize.

In a world that strives for strength and stamina, the concept of a sleeping competition doesn’t meet the criteria. However, the World Sleep Championship has found its place. In this contest, participants aim for the highest sleep score, which is measured using an Oura ring—a ring that tracks sleep patterns. To win a round, you just need to get a higher sleep score than your opponent, also known as the Sleep Racer. Anyone can participate, but I think it will make me more inactive when I should be the opposite.

These unusual sports are existing proof that sports don’t always have to be serious or for selective athletes. The point of sports is to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Although I doubt the ones I named can keep you in shape.

How Dating Apps Destroy Hearts

I’m pretty sure everyone below the age of 35 and single has at least downloaded a dating app before, out of curiosity or desperation. But rather than helping the dating culture, it seems to do the opposite. As someone who has been on the apps before, there are plenty of reasons I can explain.

First off, we pass on more superficial judgments. You can swipe yes or no to every profile within seconds. Why waste your yeses on below-average-looking people and spend them on those we think are above the standards? Since some “likes” are limited if you’re using the free version. In an instant, I could face rejection by hundreds of people simply because I don’t meet their requirements of physical looks while simultaneously rejecting hundreds of others. That’s so heartless.

So some people make false impressions, like skinnier or taller than they are. Filters and camera angles can make a person look different. And this is coming from experience. I got catfished by a girl who was different than she was on screen – wider, with blue hair, etc. But looking back, the reason she probably did that was to be accepted, because it seemed not many liked how she looked in real life.

What’s the worst thing that can happen in a relationship, which is worse than a breakup? Ghosting. It’s a terrible feeling, which is kind of sad because this is ALSO coming from another experience. I met this cute girl online, decided to meet up and had a terrible first date. But I asked for a second one, and that one made us forget about the first. We met a couple of times, and she was interested in me until she dipped. No warning. I felt like I wasted time and felt used. It’s sad because it happens a lot to those who meet online, zero disregard for feelings.

Lastly, dating apps create less social interaction. Everything is just texting and maybe meeting in real life, but that’s like after a couple of people you talked with and disconnected with. And most people who meet tend to meet to use each other’s body. With the apps, you don’t need to seek someone outside. So, the search for genuine connections offline becomes less for those who use these apps.

So do dating apps ruin the dating culture? I would’ve said no if it weren’t for the shallow judgments, the lack of empathy, and for creating an environment where offline doesn’t matter. So yes.