Saturday, July 20, 2013


I was expecting RIPD to be in much the same vein as Men In Black, and I was right. To a great extent, if you enjoyed that movie, you will enjoy this one.

This is a very simple movie. Even if I had not already known that it was based on a graphic novel, I think I would have guessed. This is not to say that graphic novels can't be complicated, but this movie feels contained in a way that reminds me of comic books.
Now, this is not a bad thing. Not all movies need to be complex, thoughtful works of art. Sometimes a movie can just be light entertainment - a buddy cop movie with the banter, the explosions, the sexist and racist remarks, and - in this case - dead-ish monsters.

The premise is almost exactly the same as Men In Black, except instead of a secret police force protecting the world from aliens pretending to be normal Earth people, this movie has a secret police force protecting the world from dead people pretending to be normal Earth people. It also has the same main character dynamic, with the new recruit being partnered with the grizzled veteran. The details are different enough to keep it from feeling like a straight ripoff, though.
The bit with the disguises is pretty funny, and while there is definitely an element of both racism and sexism involved, the movie addresses it (even while it plays it for cheap laughs). One of the better moments involves Jeff Bridges delivering a line as if he were the female model he looks like to the slimy talent scout.
Speaking of Jeff Bridges, he's reasonably entertaining. Massively overacting, but it works for the part. I get the feeling he had a lot of fun making this movie, especially the song. No, this is not a musical. Ryan Reynolds is just Ryan Reynolds. The guy is good looking, and he's not a bad actor, but he's never really impressed me with a performance.

But who am I kidding. I didn't go to this movie for a virtuoso display of acting prowess. I went for a silly, fun action movie, and that's what I got. Don't over-think it - there is at least one nasty plot hole. There is a slow bit in the middle too, but otherwise the pacing was good enough. There is a fair amount of violence and a little bit of gross, but it's pretty cartoony, so it's probably won't bother the squeamish.
If I have to single out a bad thing about this movie, it's the CGI. Some of the effects are very good, but most of the CGI monsters really look CGI, and there is one CGI car that is hilariously badly animated. And it is the focus of the shot. Maybe they ran out of money?

As a final note, I saw this in 2D, and I'm glad I did. Some of the cinematography is slightly queasy-making in 2D and would be much worse in 3. There are a number of shots that were clearly designed to have 3D, with floating particles in the foreground, or with particular object motions that I have come to associate with 3D, but I still don't think that particular gimmick is worth the cost, both in money and in brightness.

1. Much Ado About Nothing
2. Now You See Me
3. Star Trek: Into Darkness
4. Oblivion
5. Man of Steel
6. Iron Man 3
7. Jack the Giant Slayer
8. Beautiful Creatures
10. Oz the Great and Powerful
11. Epic
12. Monsters University
13. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
14. Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters
15. The Great Gatsby
16. The Lone Ranger
17. This is the End

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