This week on The Score, with Edmund Stone: showcasing music from some of this summer's big movie releases, including Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Deadpool 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Incredibes 2 and more. Tune in to All Classical this Saturday July 14th at 2pm. www.allclassical.org/... See MoreSee Less
Hotel Transylvania 3 – Summer Vacation is the only animated kid’s movie this season that isn’t about superheroes which in itself makes it a bit refreshing if you’re going to the theaters with little ones. It’s cute, it has enough jokes to make even adults smile and it’s harmless fun.
The score by Mark Mothersbaugh (Thor: Ragnarok) is light-hearted, moving the action along until the climax of Hotel Transylvania 3 – a competition of disco-style songs each meant to outperform the other. I won’t let on which emerges the winner except to say that afterwards you realize why it was chosen. It’s one of those early hits that enters your head and refuses to leave.
Drac (Adam Sandler) and his hotel crew are convinced by his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) to vacation on a cruise ship. Not just any cruise ship, however, but one exclusively for monsters and captained by none other than Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn), the great granddaughter of Drac’s long-time arch rival Abraham Van Helsing. The plot is paper thin, a sort of mash up of an old “Love Boat” episode and Hotel Transylvania’s strange and amusing cast of creatures. This offering of the franchise finds Drac is lonely. He falls for Captain Ericka who, goaded on by her ancient great grandfather, tries repeatedly to kill Drac until she also realizes she’s fallen for the vampire.
The side plots are more fun. The Wolfman and his wife spend most of their time escaping their (very large) pack of pups. Mel Brook’s appearance as Drac’s dad Vlad is almost a cameo but great fun. Smuggling in the family pet keeps the kids laughing.
What it lacks in plot and inspiration it makes up for in messaging. Look just past the running gags and what you see is a movie about the value of family and tolerance. The entire premise of a ship that segregates “others” from the mainstream makes it a bit of a morality play that hits home. Abraham Van Helsing’s relentless and thoughtless pursuit of his personal goals, no matter how destructive, is painfully close to current reality. Yet I couldn’t help but smile and nod at the end when everyone sets aside their hatred and bigotry and realizes they all have a lot more in common than they thought. As The Mummy said: “Ya gotta be greater than the haters”. When the nine-year-olds I took with me asked what that meant, it opened up a great conversation. And that alone made it worth the time spent. ... See MoreSee Less
This week on The Score, with Edmund Stone: a conversation with movie composer Mark McKenzie, with examples from his scores to Star Trek Enterprise, The Greatest Miracle, Blizzard, Durango and Max and Me. Tune into All Classical this Saturday July 7th at 2pm. www.allclassical.org... See MoreSee Less
As the tenth year of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) unfolds the studio is bringing out a new crop of superheroes, lesser-known characters from the pages of the comic books. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the third entry in the pageant this year.
Ant-Man, whose super-suit enables him to grow to enormous size or shrink down to the size of an insect, also makes his third appearance. Debuting in 2015, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a master thief just released from prison and recruited by biophysicist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). In the 2018 version, Lang is once again in trouble with the law, this time held in house arrest for his participation in the Avengers’ antics in Captain America: Civil War. Now, just days away from the end of his sentence he has a strange dream about Pym’s wife, Janet, who disappeared decades before. A phone call later and Lang finds himself whisked away in miniature to help Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne, aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) rescue her from the mysterious Quantum Realm.
For all its brilliant special effects, Ant-Man and the Wasp falls short of what we’ve come to expect of Marvel. The film attempts to lighten the ever-darkening tone set in Thor: Ragnorak and the first installment of Avengers: Infinity War but for the most part the humor falls flat and the running gags simply aren’t funny. The characters are mostly two-dimensional and it’s difficult to care about them or the predicaments they find themselves in. Biophysicist Pym apparently has just one setting – petulant. Lang is hapless as a superhero; the super suit and its constant malfunctions are more interesting. A bright spot is Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Foster, aka The Ghost. Foster plays a victim of an early attempt at entering the Quantum Realm that went very badly, killing her parents and manipulating her cells in and out of phase with our world. She plays the role with venom and conviction and hopefully will return in another Marvel creation.
The score by Christophe Beck (Frozen and Edge of Tomorrow) is a high point. Beck can always be relied on to meet the style and journey within a movie. In Ant-Man and the Wasp he even allows silence to pervade for a few seconds during which a journey into the Quantum Realm is more effective without music.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is set up to take a lead role in the next wave of Marvel superheroes as the old guard, which have mostly been turned to ash in Avengers: Infinity War, by the ubiquitous Thanos who is out to destroy humanity; but it has the feel of a place holder waiting for the real finish. Perhaps compared to the breathtaking Black Panther and the stunning Avengers: Infinity War any movie would have a hard time shining, but it feels that Ant-Man and the Wasp has simply lost its sting. ... See MoreSee Less
This week on The Score, with Edmund Stone: movies about change and revolution, including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Matrix, Captain America: Civil War, V For Vendetta, and more,: Tune into All Classical this Saturday June 30th at 2pm. www.allclassical.org/... See MoreSee Less