HI!  Remember me?  It’s your long, lost Lane.

I am back with movie reviews of two old favorites getting new life.  Monsters University and Man of Steel.  Granted, Monsters Inc is hardly old compared to Superman, but since one is a prequel, and one is a reboot, I’m smushing them together for the good of mankind.  Or something like that.

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 With that out of the way, let’s talk about Monster’s U because even though it was not the most entertaining movie in the world, I loved the message.  Not the message throughout the movie, which follows the tried and true format of two Monsters meet and it is hate at first sight, but they end up BFFs.  No, the message from the last five minutes of the movie.

Sully (fuzzy wuzzy blue monster) and Wazowski (giant green eyeball monster) meet and hate each other because Sully is a big, dumb jock, and Wazowski is Hermoine Granger.  Through a series of events, they get themselves thrown out of the Scaring Department at Monsters U, then have to claw their way back into it. 

Sully messes it up for them, and he and Wazowski are both expelled from school, but not before accomplishing the greatest Scare the school has ever seen.

I watched the movie with a smile, one step ahead of everything until we came to that point, at which I thought, “Oh, so here’s where all is forgiven and they go on to graduate, top of their class.”  SURPRISE!  Nope, they are well and truly expelled.

I was shocked!  I was delighted!  Consequences being presented as concrete ideas in a childrens’ movie?  Unheard of!

But it got better.  Mike and Sully went to work in the mailroom at Monsters Inc, and talked about working hard to be the best mailboys in the business.  They get promoted to janitorial staff and work to be the best janitors in the business.  They get promoted again and again, each time winning awards for their strong work.  Finally, after these promotions are presented in a montage of photos in their lockers, they make it to the Scare Floor.

I was actually verklempt.

Forget the first 9/10s of the movie.  I sat there with my son and watched a show that promoted adults behaving like adults (enforcing the consequences of bad behavior, without dismissing it because everything turned out okay in the end), and young adults learning to conduct themselves responsibly, growing up to be the strong, hard working, ethical, compassionate adults we know Mike and Sully to have been in Monsters Inc.

I tip my hat to you, Pixar.  That rocked.

3 out of 5 stars for entertainment value

11 out of 5 stars for message


I saw the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie when I was 7.  Our car had broken down, so while the nice people at Sears were fixing it, Mom took me to see Superman.  I effing loved Superman.  I loved Superman.  Do you hear me?  I. Loved. Superman.  I was all on board with that movie.  I loved it.

So, it was exciting for me to sit down next to my 7-year-old to watch Man of Steel.  I was sad that his experience was not so transcendent.

Like Monsters U, it was not the most entertaining movie in the world.  I would say it is because I’m spoiled to Iron Man, but that wasn’t the problem.  The problem was in the length and the storytelling.  Too much of Clark Kent wandering alone, like the Hulk.  Not enough Clark Kent whipping off his glasses and saving the world.

Oh, there was plenty of world saving action, and I understand that in the origin story, you need some points of origin, but I feel like the whole first 30 minutes could have been summed up in 5 minutes of montage-y goodness.

Do we really need to start a Superman movie with a live birth scene?  I mean, what small child sees a fully clothed woman reclining on a divan-thing, sweating and grunting and goes, “Ah, labor and delivery.”  Mine did not.  Mine looked up at me like, “The hell you say?”

Here’s what I liked:  Henry Cavill is a good Superman.  He’s got the right look, he’s got the right delivery, he’s got just enough going on behind his eyes that you believe he’s the flip side to Bruce Wayne’s tortured soul.

I thought Amy Adams was a fantastic Lois Lane, and I loved her reboot.  Lois Lane comes out best of all the characters, I think.  She’s smart, she’s driven, and she’s able to deal with the situations presented to her.  Not a lot of shrieking. 

Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner were very well used.  Both men played their roles to the hilt without chewing scenery or making you go, “Wow, that’s some good acting.”  I like Kevin Costner best when he’s playing someone’s dad.  I like Russell Crowe best when he’s–I always like Russell Crowe.  I think this is a character flaw in me.  Even when he is in a terrible movie, I like him–the flip side of my Jim Carrey hatred. Ugh.  Can’t stand him.

Michael Shannon was a brilliant Zod.  I kind of love him, too.  He’s a great actor.  Even though he has a very distinctive look, and he is typecast like whoa, he never plays the same monster twice–even if it is the same monster.  He and Steve Buscemi are the reasons to watch Boardwalk Empire.

I guess I could have saved a lot of space by just saying I loved the entire cast.  This was a wonderful, wonderful cast.  I wish the editing had been tighter, and the movie had been shortened by about 45 minutes.  I wish the score had been better. 

That’s probably my biggest disappointment.  The score for Superman should be soaring.  It should make you feel something.  When you see that cape waving, the music should make you want to rise and put your hand over your heart.  It didn’t.  Nothing about the movie did.

3 out of 5 stars for entertainment

5 out of 5 stars for the job the actors did.