Guardians of the Caribbean

Many movies are either sequels, prequels, remakes, or reboots these days, and I saw two of the former this month, and here we have a double review. I don’t have a whole lot to say about each film, but I did want to give my thoughts on both.

To start, in the heavens above, with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2:

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I really, really love the first volume of Guardians. It is unexpected, raucous, hilarious, offbeat, and just plain fun. I was really hoping for more of the same from Guardians 2. What I got was mostly that. It went in different directions, while keeping the same elements in place. What I also got was a tale of fathers and daughters and sons.

Ahem: spoilers.

Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, meets his father who seems nice but then turns out to be a philandering, posturing, jack-ass who (I did say spoilers, right?) killed Peter’s mother. Gamorra’s adopted sister, Nebula, returns with a massive girl-on for Gamorra, who in her mind always seemed to steal their adopted father’s, “Mad Titan” Thanos, love and affection. When Peter finds out the truth about his dad, he turns on him, with help from the Guardians, and kills him, in the process realizing that the man who raised him, Yondu, was his real daddy. Finally, during the battle, Gamorra and Nebula realize that they both were fighting for the same thing: survival, and neither cared at all about their “father” and have more in common than they thought.

What I loved was the father/son/daughter storylines. I am a sucker for good family stories, and this one delivered the emotional goods. When (look, ye be warned) Yondu dies saving Peter from his father, I got genuinely choked up. When Gamorra hugged Nebula, I got choked up. Good stories do that. I also love the wacky Drax who might finally be healing from the loss of his family, and the odd-couple of Rocket and Baby Groot. When I wanted them, they were there, doing their shtick, but doing it well. The soundtrack was awesome, as in the first film, and I love getting more of the Ravagers and the crazy denizens of the galaxy.

For my money, Guardians Vol. 2 was exactly what I wanted. I look forward to what happens with the Guardians after they meet the Avengers and how Vol. 3 plays out.

Now to the seas below and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:

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I also really, really, love the Pirates franchise. Ever have. Always will. Perpetually. Well, if I am honest, I don’t love On Stranger Tides as much, but I’m totally drunk with rum on Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. But this is about Dead Men…, and this film introduces a new element into the supernatural Caribbean which is ghosts. And zombie sharks. I shivered just typing that. No thanks. But I egress, or digress, either.

Anyway, Jack, who isn’t quite the same pirate he was without the Black Pearl, is reduced to robbing banks with Gibbs and other various miscreants. Enter (yup: spoilers here, too, matey) Will and Elizabeth Turner’s son Henry who is looking, like father like son, for a way to free his father from the Flying Dutchman. He, like most people in the Caribbean it seems, need Jack’s magical compass to find the Trident of Poseidon to do that. Jack, Barbossa, and a host of new and old faces race to find the Trident while being pursued by the aforementioned ghosts of a Spanish warship led by a ghostly and vengeful Capitan Salazar who has a score to settle, like most people in the Caribbean it seems, with Cap’n Jack.

Barbossa’s (still) daughter and Will’s son find the trident and save everybody. Except Salazar. He dies. And Barbossa, the elder and less hygienic. He sacrifices himself to save his daughter from Salazar. How touching.

I loved the call-backs to previous films in the franchise, and the epically beautiful fight scene at the bottom of the ocean over the Trident. I loved down-on-his-luck Jack and Barbossa’s not-a-witch daughter. I loved that the Pearl finally gets out of the bottle.

What I didn’t like is that David Wenham had so little to do as the British Navy’s representative at sea. I think his character just wasn’t needed at all and he was a waste of a good actor, sadly. The climatic final battle was too short. Also, and this was just bad luck, not enough of the pirates made returns, in cameo form or otherwise. And Jack’s compass, didn’t Tia Dalma give him that?

Despite the flaws, I loved this film more than the last one, but not as much as Curse of the Black Pearl. I cannot wait to go sailing with Jack, the curse-free(?) Will and the rest of the blaggards and see if Barbossa can outwit death a second, or is it third? time.

Yo ho and all that.

checkUp twenty17: April

Tempest fuget! I think that’s Latin for “time flies” but at the moment I’m too lazy to look it up*. Anyway, time does fly, and here it is already April. time-flies That means it is time for another check up into how I am doing with my goals in twenty17. For them what need a reminder (like me) I am pledged to perform the following each month: #1: Writing, #2: Reading, #3: Building, #4: Art and #5: Activities. I have achieved these to varying degrees in January, February, and March. But how now April? Let us have a reckoning.

#1. Writing. I haven’t written at all. 0-5

#2. Reading. I did not read this month, except from the book I am reading for my Life Group that meets on Tuesdays, so I guess I will give half credit for that. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I have done it consistently. 2.5-5.

#3. Building. I built a futuristic hover truck in LEGO, which I immediately surmised must be from the Star Wars universe and had been a hover truck that the Rebels used to scout planets or guard perimeters or something. Anyway, I think it’s cool. 5-5.

#4. Art. I took a LEGO Portrait of the futuristic hover truck and posted it to Flickr. Check it out. 5-5.

#5. Activities. I have continued to meet at my local church with a group talking about how to have multiethnic conversations and relationships. It has been a rewarding and enlightening discussion every Tuesday and has even built a few relationships. I get decreasing credit for this, because I started this in March and haven’t done anything new, however, a member of the group invited me to a Texas Rangers’ game last Sunday, and I was only prevented of going by work, and that would have been a countable activity, so I will get bonus credit for good intentions. 5-5.

In summation, that is 17.5 out of 25. 70%. Ouch. I really need to get reading and writing. That gives me a total of 79% for the year as I slide further into the dark abyss of doing nothing with my free time. Looking back, I was excited for April, though I can’t figure out now exactly why, but I had plans I evidently didn’t get to.

I hope to do better in May, but I am not sanguine, as I will have other challenges ahead that I can foresee.

 

*well, I misspelled it, but yes, it is Latin and does mean the intended. Tempus fugit!