This Unofficial Trilogy is a special one. It contains three theatrical treats, as opposed to DVD releases. (It might be a bit misleading to say treats, but I liked the alliteration of it all.)
What makes these three pieces of work work as a threesome is that they are all adapted, um, works. John Carter is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, 21 Jump Street is based on Stephen J. Cannell’s TV show, and kids TV show scripter Suzanne Collins wrote the book about kids killing each other for food.
So how do they stack up?
Definitely the weakest of the bunch, and it’s a shame. I had high hopes for this one despite its uninteresting previews, and I don’t even think the high hopes were what let me down. Uneven pacing, too many plot points, no sense of wonder – these components were what let me down. And it’s a shame, too. This is director Andrew Stanton’s first foray into the real world. He might be better off back behind an array of computers. Compared to his Finding Nemo and Wall-E, John Carter doesn’t hold a CG-candle to them.
21 JUMP STREET
Often times, when cop comedies get stuck in their actual crime story, they lose some of their laughs (Hot Fuzz, The Other Guys, Police Academy series). That is not the case with 21 Jump Street. Adapted from a serious, and sometimes preachy, show, this flick is more about two buddies overcoming the differences in their past than anything else. Who would have ever thought I’d enjoy a Channing Tatum film?
THE HUNGER GAMES
I don’t want to hype this movie up any more than it already is, but believe the hype. This film is a winner. I had no expectations or drive to see this film (since
I’m not a teenager I didn’t read the books), and I think I was about an hour into it when I turned to someone with me and whispered:
I love this fucking film.
It might be too early to share this, but I’m looking more forward to Catching Fire (book two in The Hunger Games trilogy) than I am The Avengers. And that’s saying a lot.