20+ Blumhouse's Fantasy Island Reviews – Completely Redoing Tattoo's Character and Other Attrocities

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island⭐️⭐️

We can’t blame Blumhouse for asking, it’s Sony for giving it up with almost zero quality control.

Jason [Blum] wanted to keep working with me. He heard that I had this idea, and being the master producer that he is, he went to Sony and he said, “Can I have the rights to Fantasy Island?” They said yes. They gave it to him.

How Fantasy Island Reimagines the Classic TV Show | Den of Geek

Thanks a lot, Sony for just giving up the IP without any sense of quality control. Blumhouse gutted the TV show and gave us a shell of what it once was.

Before I can get into specifics with this critique, you best know SPOILERS follow. If you don’t want the film to be spoiled (pretty difficult, actually), then bookmark and come back … now.

… you’ve been warned SPOILERS AHEAD ….

Blumhouse leaves the filmmakers alone — for better or worse

On one hand, you can applaud Blumhouse for having a reportedly hands off attitude. They set a budget and let the filmmakers make the movie. That’s amazing creative freedom, if the movie doesn’t suck.

Apparently, Sony is also hands off with their IP. Respectfully, I’d suggest with IP somebody should be test screening these films a little better.

The fantasies aren’t that good

There are four fantasies and none of them are spectacular. Let’s take them one at a time.

Woman who wants to get revenge on a childhood friend. Then she gets the chance to do that, but wimps out. She steps off the plane complaining about the lack of Wi-Fi on the island and doubts the fantasies are real and then her fantasy seems real. She also is the one with the lamest twist of all the fantasies.

Two brothers who want to party it up and yet are then attacked by a gang of thugs.

A man wants to honor the life another man in the military who fell on a grenade.

Woman who wants to change that one mistake she made, by saying yes to a man she loved instead of no. Then she gets that fantasy and has a child.

It’s like we’re checking all the cliche story boxes versus telling anything that fresh and new. Or, heck, if you can’t do that, then go back in time and retell some of the best episodes of the TV series.

Then there’s a bonus fifth guy running around all Rambo on the island, because he doesn’t want Roarke to know what he’s up to. Ok, yeah.

These were pretty average to bad fantasies.

Why Explain The Origins of the Island?

I’m still reeling, still trying to understand why it was necessary to explain how Fantasy Island works? And the whole fountain of fantasy water idea was dumb. So Roarke has guests drink the tainted water and then their one fantasy is fulfilled? How does the water “just know” to only issue one fantasy per person?

We didn’t need the origin story. The mystique surrounding the island was enough to make it all work. Also, when you make Roarke so absolutely tied into the process, he doesn’t have the man of mystery vibe working either. Making him a pawn to the island’s power just weakens a character that is supposedly in charge of the island. This is so completely out of the character played by Ricardo Montalban I don’t even know where to start.

Wait, it’s Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island. In parallel reboot world, Roarke can be weak and strong whenever he wants to be. O…k.

Tattoo isn’t a midget, he’s a gay Chinese man with a tattoo that says, “Tattoo”

Can’t make up this stuff. What were they thinking when they took a gigantic crap all over the legacy of Herve Villachaize?

Not a midget (that’s what Herve referred to himself as). It’s a full height man. Why not give this role to another little person?

Why gay? Herve was not only heterosexual, he was hyper heterosexual. Known for his strong sex drive which today might register as sexual harassment toward his co-workers and guests on the show. There’s nothing wrong with gay people, don’t even go there with me, but making an iconic straight character gay is saying what exactly? We can do it, just because we can? Stupid and wrong. Let’s not make established straight characters gay and vice versa.

Chinese instead of French. Herve was French, so why make his character Chinese? Maybe it would be different to find a little person that was French like Herve, so fine, maybe a little person that is Chinese. But a normal height Chinese man? How about a normal height French guy? How can we screw up this character tribute so badly?

Again, you just can’t make out how horrific this treatment of Herve Villachiaze is in this movie. Let’s just dance on his grave while we’re at it, Blumhouse. You should be ashamed. Seriously.

Reviews by Others

A lot of these reviews of Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island by others are unfavorable. Rotten Tomatoes critics have it sub 10% rotten, but audiences are treating it a little better.

Recommended

  1. But Why Tho? (5/10): “is everything you want and expect from a theater Blumhoudr film. It stumbles a bit but winds up where you need it to.”

Not Recommended

  1. Andrew Reviews: “But it’s an intellectual property that can be exploited, and it’s being packaged for the young lovestruck souls on Valentine’s Day by furnishing watered-down PG-13 horror that only ever elicits predictable jump scares and a cheap lugubrious aesthetic (an eerily slow camera that always implies a forthcoming scare, ear-splitting sound design, and a terribly on-the-nose score).”
  2. Becky Tyler Art & Photography: “This film is so abysmally bad I wasn’t even going to bother with a review after I watched it yesterday, but if this review keeps anyone else from wasting their time then I guess writing this is worth it.”
  3. CULT FACTION: “Within the script is a great movie plot that somehow got manipulated into a presentation that more resembles Love Island than Fantasy Island.”
  4. Drew’s Writing Loo: “….is clearly aiming for absurdist B-movie enjoyment, but that’s a tough invitation to accept when the choppy tone seems just as lost on the cast as it is to the audience.”
  5. Dyl’s Movie Stuff (1/10): “…is so very dumb and embarrassingly unscary. Please do yourself a favor and skip this one.”
  6. Flag of Ulysses: “It works marginally better as a mystery in the film’s latter half but it comes at the expense of over-explaining and completely demystifying the very premise of the titular island and its enigmatic overseer, which the original series wisely never did (to my best recollection).” (ed. one of the few to title it as Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island)
  7. Halloween Year Round: “It’s everything that a remake should be…at least in theory.  In practice, this film wastes its immense potential on annoying characters and a plot that completely falls apart when you approach it with logic.”
  8. High Contrast / Nate Blake: “Despite the presence of smartphones, social media and a cast that’s just a bit more representative than you would have seen on ABC four decades ago, this is mostly a lazy transplant, not a worthwhile re-imagining. If only I could go to an island where lame remakes didn’t exist.”
  9. Jordan Peterson / Movie Minutes: “It’s when all those seemingly disparate stories start to come together down the back half of the film where things get messy. The more fascinating elements that make Fantasy Island what it is quickly give way to an overarching narrative that is more convoluted, formulaic, and exhaustively dull.”
  10. Jaedennoel / Keithlovesmovies: “Other than a few references to the original television series, Fantasy Island will surely disappoint fans of the television series which could have lead to a whole other demographic viewing the film.”
  11. Keith & The Movies (2/5): “…does nothing to justify its existence. It’s just a blob of fairly interesting ideas pasted together and thrown out for consumption. And you can bet Blumhouse is already eyeing a sequel.”
  12. Nightmare on Film Street: “…the reality here is, Fantasy Island is a sightly miss of a movie. The malefic update has a lot of creative potential on paper. The film just so happens to lose steam whenever it comes time to gel everything together.”
  13. Ready Steady Cut: “Not enough of Fantasy Island lands in this precious space of engrossing idiocy to go down as some kind of cult classic midnighter or anything, but it’s at least a high note to end on for a film that is mostly otherwise just an obvious misfire.”
  14. Red Mango Reviews (5.5/10): “I’m sure the age 13-17 crowd and people who don’t watch ACTUAL horror movies will get a scare or two, but for me, this movie was an overly bloated story with WAY TOO many sub-plots and an ending that you’ll see coming a mile away”
  15. rogerinorlando / Movie Nation (2/4): “The moments of peril seem like “Saw” outtakes, and the big “EXPLANATION” could bring Harlan Ellison back from the grave for another lawsuit.”
  16. Society Reviews (1/5): “It is a shame that Fantasy Island fails on the only interesting concept the movie had going for it but at the end of the day, this proves to be just another low budget horror film with little effort given both in front and behind the camera.”
  17. The Jam Report / Doug Jamieson (1/5): “Sadly, there’s little enjoyment to be found with Fantasy Island. It’s as uninspiring as the horror genre gets. You won’t be scared. You won’t be terrified. And you sure as hell won’t be entertained.”
  18. The Monster Lady (4/10): “The storyline, “twists” and character deaths were way too predictable and it felt as though the movie dragged on with trying to make the character backstories complex. There were a lot of random plotholes with how the island and fantasies operate, but honestly I stopped caring halfway through”
  19. Voice of the Hwy: “If crimes against cinema merited prosecution, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island would go directly to death row. “
  20. Zach’s Zany Reviews: “Never, ever have I’ve seen a great concept to a feature film, let alone one from an old television show, be so terribly fucked up in its execution. I mean, where to start?”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good. If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Sonic The Hedgehog, The Photograph, Fantasy Island, Downhill

Week #7 of 2020 (2/13-2/16) sees four very different films: a videogame movie about a supersonic blue alien, a romance involving a couple researching her mother who just died, a remake of a 70s TV show and a dramedy involving a family of four not enjoying a skiing trip.

Only one is sticking out and recommended, racing ahead of the others ….

… #1 …

Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I somewhat expected Jim Carrey to steal the show in this videogame adaptation, but he’s actually one of the underwhelming features.

This Hedgehog will definitely bring back SEGA Genesis memories — gamers unite!

The speedy little alien has sort of an E.T type storyline that works. It’s a faithful recreation from the SE-GA! game to big screen. The animation is good and it’s an entertaining film that deserves to do good numbers at the box office. Oh, and bonus: check out the super cool 8-bit gaming end credits.

The Photograph ⭐️⭐️½

#2 pick of the Valentine’s Day weekend is the sole wide release romance. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for based on the trailer.

I expected more intrigue and mystery around the photograph, but there is some decent chemistry between the two leads. Not quite a recommendation, but close.

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island ⭐️⭐️ (2020)

Not the Fantasy Island I was looking very forward to seeing and very much deserving of Blumhouse in front of the title, but this might appeal to viewers who like every single little thing explained ad nauseum.

Downhill⭐️½

It’s all downhill from here, pun intended.

Open to debate who had a worse time: the family portrayed on the skiing vacation or the viewers slogging through this unfunny, mostly cold, dry movie. Julia Louise-Dreyfuss and Will Ferrell have some of the worst ever chemistry of any married couple portrayed on screen that I’ve seen. Sure, they are having marital problems in the film, but I can’t really see how they ever had any happy times. What a great example of when to seek a divorce.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theaters recently and liked (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that the film was that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films rated as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Parasite⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Sonic The Hedgehog ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (this weekend)
  9. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Dolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

TV SERIES Review: The Twilight Zone (1959) S1E1 – Where is Everybody?⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (#1 of 156)

Season 1
Episode 1 – “Where is Everybody?”
Written by Rod Serling
Starring: Earl Holliman (living, age 91 as of 2/14/2020)
Original airdate: October 2, 1959

Directed by Robert Stevens

Stevens would direct 2 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes. He died in 1989.

Story

A man walks along a path into a strange town.

The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.

Opening Narration by Rod Serling for “Where is Everybody?”

It opens with a man (Holliman) checking out a diner. Coffee is brewing, pies are cooking.

Fresh pies and coffee brewing … Where Is Everybody?

He calls out for people and looks around and while it looks like there should at least be workers in the kitchen, nobody is around.

Next he goes outside and sees a woman in a car. He calls out to her, starts talking about wondering where all the people in town went?

“Hey Miss! Miss! Over here!” As he closes in on the woman in the car, he explains that he can’t find anybody else in town and that he doesn’t remember who he is or how he arrived here.

When he opens the door he realizes that the woman is a mannequin. Then he enters the mannequin shop and still can’t find anybody. After another minute, he walks outside and hears a telephone ringing!

Trying to get out of a phone booth with the weird collapsing door is something nobody with a cell phone ever worries about in 2020, but in 1959 … even into the early 80s, phone booths were a real deal. Bill & Ted used one as a time machine.

When he answers the phone, nobody is there. He hangs up and calls the operator and hears a voice, but it’s only a recording of the operator. Then he struggles to exit from the phone booth. Anxiety and stress are beginning to affect him. He’s starting to sweat.

After exiting the phone booth through a normal, albeit difficult, door he decides to check out the police station next. Surely there will be someone in there, yes?

Check out the old school fire extinguisher on the wall? Is that water in there?

No. He enters the jail area with running water and shaving kit prepared but, again, nobody is around to use it. The cell door creaks and threatens to close on him, locking him inside the cell. Escaping, his panic level is rising as he goes into the office area and finds a smoking cigar.

It would be quite freaky to encounter a lit cigar … but nobody around smoking it

He runs out of the police station and cries, “Hey! Where is everybody?!”

Fade to black. This would be a commercial break if there was one. When we return to the action, the man is back in the diner eating a sundae. He’s a little calmer, but there is still an underlying tension and confusion in his voice.

He tells himself in a mirror that he wants to wake up. Wants to find somebody to talk to. There’s a book rack in the diner with a bunch of books titled, “The Last Man on Earth.”

He leaves the diner and plays Tic Tac Toe in the dirt outside. Nightfall is coming and the streetlights illuminate. He heads inside a movie theater.

Looking at movie posters, he suddenly realizes that he is in the Air Force. He runs around the lobby of the movie theater yelling that he’s in the Air Force.

He wonders if there was a bomb? But if there was, why isn’t anything destroyed? He then goes inside the theater and a movie starts playing on the projector.

Excited, he heads upstairs to the projector room.

The projector is running, movie playing, but where is the projectionist? In 2020, a very different position, one that is shared at least in part with computers

But nobody is up there. Just the haunting projector running … tick, tick, tick, tick.

Running downstairs is the best camera shot in the episode.

In a panic running away form the projector and into …

He runs toward the viewer and we don’t realize it’s a mirror until he crashes into it.

A mirror image!

Now he’s in full panic mode and losing his mind. When he emerges outside and runs down the dark street we see a camera at an angle with a bicycle in the distance. We see him running toward it and …

One of my most favorite camera shots of the first episode of running toward and falling over the bicycle at an odd angle. Batman would use a similar angle for henchmen battles with Batman & Robin, as if to show how crooked the bad guys were. Here the angle is to illustrate his growing confusion and fear over the circumstance. A genius camera angle that is never repeated anywhere else in the episode.

Then he trips over it. When he looks up and sees a giant cyclops eye, his stress has turned to terror. He can’t process that it’s simply an Optometrist office.

Optometrist watchful eye is the final straw … he cracks!

He runs over to the empty street, sweating profusely, frantically pushing the button to walk across the street safely.

Yes, they still exist in 2020: push them to walk across the street when it’s safe. Some technology isn’t as easily replaced. These days many of these devices speak or make loud noises to aid the sight-impaired.

He cries out for help. Anybody, somewhere, anywhere, “Help!”

At this point the flashing lights, “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!”

And now viewers can’t wait to find out where the people are?

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned that the twist ending is revealed after this (hurry, go and just watch the episode before having the fun ruined …

Spoiler sectionTHE TWIST ENDING

The part that always fascinated me with Twilight Zone episodes was the twist ending. Some I figured out, most were surprises including this first episode.

The man we’ve been watching isn’t really in a town that has no people. He is in the Air Force and his name is Ferris.

He’s been part of an experiment inside an isolation booth.

Trapped in an isolation booth, being studied by the military

They are trying to measure how loneliness impacts the astronauts traveling in the long trip in space.

Inside the isolation chamber, pressing the panic button

We cut inside to Ferris in the box, pushing the panic button.

Ferris has snapped. The officials order him taken out of the box.

Help has arrived to pull him out of the isolation chamber … 2 1/2 weeks later.

We learn in the final moments as they pull him out that he’s been in the isolation chamber for 2 1/2 weeks.

The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration for “Where Is Everybody?”

My Review

This is an excellent episode to start the series. Serling chose a central theme which seems amazingly fitting: loneliness. As if he wanted to explain that these little, self-compacted stories in the anthology series each episode would do more than basic sci-fi/fantasy entertainment: they would have a message that transcends the black and white TV images.

By the time I review all 156 episodes, I’ll rank them and I’d guess on this Valentine’s Day in 2020 that this episode is probably in the top 25 (just a guess at this point, need to rewatch and review them all again). It has an unusual, unsettling storyline and a great twist ending. Earl Holliman’s acting isn’t overdone, there is a progressive crescendo as we build to the end.

The episode is understandably a little dated now in its presentation of a small town, particularly the phone booth. In 2020 everybody has cell phones and the use of phone booths has been obsoleted. If younger, first time viewers can suspend their belief at this historically accurate oddity, this episode still packs punch.

There are various fire extinguishers which look like diving tanks instead of the modern day version. Of course the cars look every bit like something from Back To The Future when Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955. Cars just looked cooler in the 50s than they do today, so no problems there. The advertisements for products and pricing is pure 50s as well. 40 cents for a banana split? Wouldn’t that be nice?

The camerawork, the angles, the extreme close-ups, the use of black and white with shadows are all excellent. Cinematography for this episode is by Joseph LaShelle who died in 1989 at the age of 89. LaShelle was a master craftsman of black and white film — and it shows.

Editing was by Roland Gross who also died in 1989 at the age of 80. He was an Academy Award nominee for the Best Film Editing category for the movie, None But The Lonely Heart.

The legendary Twilight Zone score is by Bernard Herrmann who died in 1975. Herrmann worked with Alfred Hitchcock and on many other TV shows and classic films like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). A legend gone too soon who died of a heart attack at 64. Too young for such a great talent.

If one could define a nearly perfect Twilight Zone or really any other sort of pilot, this would be an example. I’m going to take a very tiny half star away for one minor thing that somewhat plagued some TZ episodes worse than others: flowery dialogue. Serling liked to have characters who spoke things that probably sounded great on paper, but didn’t always translate well to screen. This will likely be a recurring complaint of mine during the series.

Here some of the character Ferris’ dialogue speaking to himself was a little too convenient. Like he was being pure exposition and not really speaking aloud like someone in his position would. For example, how does he realize he’s in the Air Force just being inside the movie theater? Is it seeing the movie posters of airplanes? It isn’t entirely clear how this “aha!” moment is struck and a minor flaw in the episode. I know he looks at the flight suit he’s wearing and it is an Air Force outfit, so that could explain it better.

I realize it’s a dream state essentially, but some of the dialogue didn’t ring as true. Ferris didn’t need to speak as much as he did. His facial expressions were fantastic and showed the horror. I don’t think he’d be trying to have quite as many conversations with himself.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Easter Eggs & Meta Toast

This section is for behind the scenes and meta information on publishing this review. Over the course of posting all these reviews, I may update with links to related posts. This post was published on Valentine’s Day 2020 at precisely 1:43pm PST.

TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S1E12 – Devil's Snare⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe exclusive
February 14, 2020

Episode 12 – “Devil’s Snare”

Harley and her crew, Clayface, Dr. Psycho, King Shark, Sy and Poison Ivy try to stop the maniacal tree army from killing all of Gotham at the Jazz festival. That’s right, Ivy can’t control these twisted trees.

The Justice League shows up and assumes that it is Harley and her crew’s diabolical doing. Wonder Woman and Superman threaten to entrap them in The Phantom Zone.

Just as they are about to be sucked into the zone, Ivy grabs Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and wraps it around her, forcing her to tell the truth. Ivy admits that they had nothing to do with the tree army. It is Scarecrow and the Legion of Doom. Superman and Wonder Woman let them go just as another villain appears to claim responsibility:

Queen of Fables. She traps the Justice League in the book.

Then she “beanstalks” Harley & crew leaving them prey for the giant in the clouds. Ivy calls the one man who can save them in the skies: Kite Man. Harley finally learns that Kite Man and Ivy are dating.

You’ll have to watch the rest of this action-packed adventure to learn if Harley & company escape the one-eyed Giant and cloud city. Learn the shocking answer behind Kite Man’s on one knee request. Find out what happens when something else emerges from the Legion of Doom and see just what the Joker has to say as the ultimate criminal mastermind behind it all.

Queen of Fables wanted to join joker because he was the most evil of the evil

Summary

This episode has it all: cameos of the famous superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, a powerful menacing threat, nonstop action for the entire 22 minute episode, drama, reveals, shocks and surprises. It’s the perfect episode of the season so far.

Why wasn’t this the live action movie made instead of Birds of Prey? This is fantastic TV. I can’t compliment it enough. Awesome writing, animation, voice acting, it’s the perfect package. Best episode of the series so far!

Next week is the season finale.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1 Episode Ranking (through 12 episodes)

  1. S1:E12 – Devil’s Snare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (current episode)
  2. S1:E1 – Til Death Do Us Part ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. S1:E7 – The Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. S1:E11 – Harley Quinn Highway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. S1:E2 – A High Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. S1:E4 – Being Harley Quinn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. S1:E8 – L.O.D.R.S.V.P ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. S1:E5 – Finding Mr. Right ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. S1:E3 – So You Need a Crew ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. S1:E9 – A Seat At The Table ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. S1:E6 – You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon ⭐️⭐️½
  12. S1:E10 – Bensonhurst ⭐️⭐️

Future season one episode anticipated release dates (subject to change):

  • S1E13 – 2/21/2020 — the season one finale

30+ Birds of Prey Reviews – Doctor Robotnik vs. Harley Quinn, "Physical Disadvantages" and Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Birds of Prey⭐️⭐️½

Cracks me up some people getting all hot and bothered over Jim Carrey (Doctor Robotnik from Sonic The Hedgehog) obviously joking with Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) about her physical appearance. If she commented on Brad Pitt’s looks nobody would say a word.

“I wanted to talk to you because you’re amazing and I’m so excited for you,” Carrey told Robbie, who was on the show with him. “It’s incredible that you’ve gotten as far as you have with your obvious physical disadvantages.”

Jim Carrey Slammed by Fans for Implying Margot Robbie’s Looks Got Her a Career

If you want see the tone of Carrey’s voice you can follow the link to the video clip. It’s harmless fun. He’s clearly joking. He wasn’t insulting her as a woman by mentioning her looks and it doesn’t appear that she ever took it that way.

Hypersensitivity.

The dynamic of the two together is interesting being that next weekend their movies will go head to head at the box office. Sonic probably outsells Birds of Prey, which will make even more sensationalist headlines about how Prey has “flopped.”

Let’s dig deeper into what happened with Birds of Prey. To do that, I need to give a SPOILER warning. So, if you haven’t seen the film yet, please understand some of what follows may ruin the movie for you, so bookmark and return or proceed with this understanding and acceptance.

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned …

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

This sort of sums up my feelings on this movie. It could have been better than it was if they didn’t try to do so much. It should have been better if they followed existing storylines they already have rather than try to create something untested. It would have been better if they just made it a standalone Harley Quinn movie.

Let’s deep dive specifics.

Those Outfits Were BAD

Ugh, outfits. I rarely question costume design in movies, but in a movie based on comic books, the costumes do matter. I’m used to Harley Quinn in the red and black with cowl and mask. Or even like the animated Harley. About the only thing Margot Robbie got right was the hair, face and her Harley voice was pretty good. Not as high-pitched but definitely the Brooklyn accent and the “Mistah J” speak.

The other outfits were wrecked. Black Mask was just, really, a cheap looking black mask. That’s it. Seriously, I’ve seen better masks at Halloween in the under $20 section.

Huntress? I guess she sort of had an outfit? Cassandra was nothing more than a young pickpocket who could have been anybody. Renee Montoya as the hard-edged police detective didn’t appear dressed any differently than 1,000 other women police detectives.

The overall creativity for the costumes gets a D grade.

Title Change Was Necessary, but Too Little, Too Late

I’m not the only one who has shortened the title to Birds of Prey. But the new title Warner Bros. decided to use: Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey should have been the original title vs. the ridiculously long and mostly unused: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

New title is Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey

Who ever thought this title would be a great idea? It probably is too long to fit in most database fields and look at what would get truncated. The most important part (Harley Quinn).

Add to that the word “fantabulous” which I kept hearing and seeing corrected wrongly by others as “fabulous.” This playful, fanciful Dahl-esq word doesn’t belong in the title or make it as cool as hoped for. Perhaps like the Birds of Prey, it didn’t belong in this movie promotion either.

What’s in a title, you ask? Name recognition is critical and though Harley Quinn was named in the original title, she wasn’t placed as prominently as Birds of Prey. People seeing that in the title probably thought it was a horror movie (“Birds of Prey”) or something on soaring animals .. probably not anything to do with Harley Quinn.

Yeah, Birds of Prey … why?

As a currently active subscriber to DC Universe, I’ve tried multiple times to watch the Birds of Prey TV show starring Dina Meyer in a wheelchair as Barbara Gordon. Just isn’t connecting with me. The Birds of Prey dynamic isn’t clicking for me.

A terrible portrayal of Harley Quinn in the Birds of Prey TV (1992) Show

It’s easily my least favorite version of Harley Quinn, too that I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if it was the script or just the acting or both, but it’s not good. I’m not even going to mention the actress because maybe it’s even less her fault than I’m thinking.

As for the rest of the Birds of Prey in the TV show? They seem kinda cool, but I’ve struggled to get into them. Can’t put my finger on what it is about this TV show that keeps drawing me back again and again, trying to watch it and get into it — but can’t. Maybe some others reading can explain it better.

Is this negative experience with a live action version of Birds of Prey giving me a bias toward these characters? It’s possible that it is. Not fair, I realize, because they should be able to reboot and recreate a more positive impression in a new movie but they didn’t in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

The Birds of Prey felt tacked on. Like they were added to support Harley so she didn’t have to carry the movie. Will say it again: the only support Harley Quinn needs is Poison Ivy. That should have been her emotional center, her rock, her BFF … not these Birds of Prey with their own complex backgrounds that the movie doesn’t have time to get into.

I’m not saying the Birds of Prey shouldn’t be a movie, they just shouldn’t be in this movie. Whenever they were the focal point in the film my interest level dropped off. Maybe we can get some build-up of the individual characters and story and then have an MCU-style moment where the Birds of Prey come back?

Too Many Underdeveloped Characters

We didn’t need the Birds of Prey. The movie should have been about Harley Quinn and maybe her best friend Poison Ivy. From there we could get into her life after the breakup with Joker.

Hey, wait, this is exactly what Harley Quinn the animated series is about! Imagine that? A better plot from the animated series than the feature length movie. It’s true, if you thought Birds of Prey was lackluster, give Harley Quinn the animated TV series a try. Think you’ll be surprised just how good that is.

Barely an R rated movie

Why was this rated R? Because of a few violent scenes? The language wasn’t as profanity-laced as the animated TV series. The police scene was — and I’m being totally serious — beanbags and glitter from the gun? What was the point of all the glitter? Maybe this was an homage to Batman TV from 1966? Harley Quinn is a one woman wrecking machine with blunt instruments like her signature mallet, bats, etc. She doesn’t use guns with bean bags and glitter … or maybe I’ve missed where she has? She might do that as some kind of demented joke (remember, she was Joker’s girlfriend!), so maybe, just maybe it fits.

The Egg Sandwich scene was pure dumb fun

There was no point to the egg sandwich scene except that the director and writers thought it was funny. It is the kind of quirky weirdness that is Harley’s character but was it necessary? No.

The fight scenes were good

I liked all the fight scenes. Well choreographed and executed with some awesome back flips by Harley’s stunt woman. Margot Robbie made a point to credit her stunt people. Well deserved props here.

Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie shined in this movie for me. She nailed the goofy, spastic personality of Harley. I enjoyed her as the unreliable narrator, just wish she’d narrated a better story.

Summary

Disappointed. I wanted to love this movie. The people who made it missed a huge, huge opportunity riding on the success of Joker. They could have been inspired by the strength, power and awesomeness of the animated TV show, surely somebody that was doing that clued them into the production? (yes, just watch the end credits) Or maybe that’s sacrilege to consider being inspired by an animated film for a feature-length film. Maybe it was too late past production close to realize that better source material existed.

I am grateful to Margot Robbie for seizing on opportunity and putting this movie together and, for me anyway, she was the best part about this movie. I still haven’t seen Suicide Squad, but it’s my understanding she was the best part of that movie, too.

Whatever the case, just a bunch of botched opportunities … and if this movie doesn’t sell well enough at the box office we may never get another Harley Quinn standalone movie. Or at least not again in my lifetime. That would be a shame because the character deserves a feature length film.

Did you like this film? Dislike? Tell me about your experience watching.

Reviews by Others

Time to read what other movie reviewers are saying about Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Recommended

  1. B&S About Movies: “There’s nothing like being pleasantly surprised by a movie. And I’m pleased to report that even after sleeping on this review overnight, I still find myself remembering plenty to love in this one.”
  2. Cinema Cocoa (3/4): “…overall, it is an entertaining movie for what it is. The writing can be clever and the comedy can be on point. The use of colours in scenes and set design can be beautiful at times (there’s a great moment involving coloured smoke).”
  3. ComicBook Debate (3.5/5): “…feels like a true sequel to Suicide Squad while giving Harley Quinn her first solo film disguised under the female-led team-up. There are a lot more positives than negatives as incredible action sequences, hilarious moments and character development combine to create a thrilling ride.”
  4. Derrick/The Ferguson Theater: “It’s a goofy, free-wheeling action movie that manages to seem as if it’s all being made up as it goes along thanks to the sheer energy and willingness of the cast to throw themselves into the ridiculousness of it all.”
  5. Drew’s Movie Reviews: “Margot Robbie has come to embody Harley Quinn and carries the movie on her back. The pace can be a bit jarring and chaotic but when it’s told from Quinn’s point-of-view what would you expect? The action, when it happens, is colorful and outrageous, and there is plenty of humor to go with Quinn’s clown motif.”
  6. Eternality Tan (Grade: B+): “While the film doesn’t really say anything that has not already been said by other similar genre movies, it is still a bag of fun seeing nefarious men screaming in pain at the behest of a ragtag of anti-heroines.”
  7. Funk’s House of Geekery (7/10): “…isn’t going to be a hit with comic purists, as it reworks all the characters except Harley, and it isn’t going to make the MCU sweat. What it does is deliver laughs, action and madness in equal measure and we wouldn’t say no to a sequel.”
  8. Hunter Goddard / Moviebabble: “Even though Birds of Prey isn’t going to rake in Academy Awards nominations like Joker (or, for that matter, Tarantino), it isn’t trying to. It knows what it is, and it’s good at what it does.”
  9. Isabelle Reviews Movies: “…is a fun time. It’s colorful and violent, but some of the stylistic choices and story beats just didn’t work for me. However, if you are a fan of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, then I think you’ll have a good time with this movie.”
  10. Jack Blackwell Film Reviews (4/5): “Funny and vicious, Birds of Prey sets an impressively high bar for the rest of 2020’s comic book movie pack that I doubt they’ll be able to reach.”
  11. Jason Bleau / Cinema Spotlight: “It’s no “Wonder Woman” which remains the best DCEU film in my opinion, but it’s a close second. While it’s heavy handedness might be a little much for some to bear, it’s easy to overlook how up front its themes are when you’re laughing your ass off and having a genuinely good time in the process.”
  12. Movie Metropolis / Adam Brannon: “…is a spirited if messy solo-outing for Margot Robbie’s eclectic anti-hero. Filmed beautifully and cast well, it brings together the majority of what we have enjoyed from DCs collection of better films, and most importantly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
  13. No More Workhorse: “…don’t underestimate these Birds, they aren’t taking any prisoners and I think this is a refreshing female driven roller-coaster ride that comic book movies have needed.”
  14. Often Off Topic (4/5): “If I skipped the trailers at the cinema I doubt I would have even known of this movie’s existence. And now it’s being hailed as a flop. Which is a damn shame, because it’s a great movie, and a huge step up from the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016).”
  15. Richard Southwell / Richard’s Blog (4.5/5): “If you’ve got the stomach for it, and you’re happy with this kind of dark, crazy humour, Birds of Prey is a highly entertaining film that will put a smile on your face without any need for Joker toxin.”
  16. Robert Daniels / 812filmreviews: “…is the first fun for fun’s sake comic book movie in some time, and a decisively exhilarating girls trip, no matter the destination.”
  17. RockAtTheMovies (6.5/10): “This film is very on the nose about its women characters and how they are badass working together. While Birds of Prey isn’t anything amazing or remarkable its easily one of the better entries in this universe.”
  18. ruth / FlixChatter Film Blog (3/5): “There is so much color in this film that I often felt like I was inside a glitter bomb explosion. However, I did enjoy Harley’s humor, and fashion sense and abilities to beat up the bad guys while holding her own.”
  19. Screen Zealots / Louisa (3.5/5): “It’s colorful and chaotic, reckless and energetic, and I am surprised that I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. This is a really, really fun spectacle that could bring new fans to the genre.”
  20. Seun Odukoya: “…the movie, while it started slow, picked up around the 25/30 minute mark. It has enough laughs and action to keep you sitting and standing and sitting again. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a movie”
  21. skuldren / Rooqoo Depot (2/5): “Yet as bad as some parts were, there were still lots of moments a fan can enjoy. I didn’t hate the movie, nor was I bored. But the movie made sure to remind me it was bad throughout. That’s why I would still recommend it for huge fans of Harley Quinn.”
  22. tensecondsfromnow / The Film Authority: “Women can and should be able to match men when it comes to super-heroes; Harley Quinn’s success bodes well for Black Widow, Wonder Woman and the production line of heroines heading our way in 2020. Fanboys may not approve, but Harley Quinn’s emancipation is fantabulous stuff.”
  23. The Happiness Box Project: “I LOVED Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn without Mr. J was badass; I thought she was a much stronger character and I love a strong female character. I really loved the story line and would recommend it.”
  24. The Perceptions Square (3/5): “Margot Robbie is fabulous with her giggles, psychotic smile and her hyperactive, swaggy narration. The visual effects, action scenes with a lot of violence are OK. Overall, a movie for the fans.”
  25. Victor de la Cruz: “It’s an entertaining movie that tells an energetic tale filled with some fantastic action scenes. I say give it a watch.”

Not Recommended

  1. Chicken of Tomorrow: “…short-term visual delights are not enough to impart long-term emotional or cultural resonance, and for now Birds of Prey is merely a stepping stone towards broader women’s representation in film.”
  2. Chris B. Page / Too Many Posts (2/10): “The DCEU had been going up in my opinion, but this goes right near the bottom of the deck with Suicide Squad in a movie that seems to think it’s a lot cooler than it is. The end credits were a blessed relief and I was out of my seat like a flash.”
  3. Eddie and Jordan The Movie Guys (2/5): “…despite the best efforts of its leading lady, this newest addition to the DC universe is both forgettable and disappointing, failing to establish its posse of death bringers in a way that makes us want more.”
  4. Keith & The Movies (2/5): “As a general defender of the DCEU I really wish “Birds of Prey” wasn’t such a mess. In many ways it should be commended as progress. It’s a female-led action-comedy directed by a woman, written by a woman, and essentially about getting on in life without a man. Together those things are an overdue breath of fresh air, but they don’t automatically make for a good movie”
  5. Logan Burd / Cinema or Cinemeh? (5.5/10): “…has some of the best fight choreography I have seen since last year’s “John Wick: Chapter 3.” If you get a kick out of bad guys getting their teeth kicked in, you’ll find plenty to love in this very standalone DC outing. Is the movie fun? Hell yeah. It’s just not that good.”
  6. moviejoltz (2.5/5): “There are only so many fight scenes one can sit through in a day. Margot handled the majority of anything that appeared to interject humor into the scattered script. The story and script both needed to pare the scattered craziness down and increase the excitement and drama.”
  7. R / Cinema Notes: “This is a Frankenstein of a flick, a mishmash of horrible ideas and terrible execution all together forming one of the most absolutely unfunny, cringe and pathetic movies I have ever, ever seen.”
  8. Scott William Foley: “Unfortunately, I can only describe it as “fine.” It wasn’t bad–not at all. However, it also wasn’t especially good.”
  9. Wannabe Movie Critic (60/100): “This for me isn’t the Harley I want to see in live-action. There’s no reason for her to be foul-mouthed the way she’s portrayed here. Again, I think WB thought the R-Rating would benefit this character, wherein all reality, I think it just dumbed her down.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good. If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

TV SERIES Review – Star Trek: Picard S1E4 – Absolute Candor⭐️½

Season 1
Episode 3 – “Absolute Candor”
February 13, 2020

Here we go again starting 14 years ago in flashback mode. This time a Romulan refugee camp titled as a Romulan Relocation Hub — that Picard stopped off at to let the refugees know the Federations would be helping them with relocation.

Picard, a company man, promises the great Federation will not disappoint. Of course, we know this is a promise the Federation doesn’t keep. And then — unsurprisingly — Picard receives notification that the synths have attacked Mars. Yep, it’s that same synths going rogue moment again.

Save for meeting a young Romulan boy named Elnor, nothing really new happens here … cut to title scene.

After the title screen, we’re aboard the ship finally traveling among the stars. Captain Rios and synth expert Dr. Jurati chatting it up. Raffi busts in all fired up that the nav logs show a detour requested by Picard.

Picard is with the Hospitality Hologram checking out his crib aboard the ship when Raffi complains why aren’t they traveling directly to Free Cloud (all viewers thinking the same thing) where that scoundrel Bruce Maddox is at, they are detouring to the planet Vashdi.

He tells Jurati and Raffi not to worry, they are going to learn about Absolute Candor, a way that is absolutely counter to all the Romulans do. They must detour because he may never get this way again. They are skeptical, but reluctantly agree. After all, this final great mission of the retired Admiral Picard, it’s really him in the lead.

Picard beams onto Vashdi and we see a sign that says “Romulans Only” a reminder that Romulans prefer to chill only with Romulans.

Picard is predictably met with suspicion. We’ve also seen this in the series so far. Picard is here to ask for help from an older Elnar, who is a fierce warrior. Elnar scoffs at the request and Picard calls for a beam out.

But there is a 10 minute delay. Apparently, beam outs aboard this new ship require delays. This gives us time to see a scene where Picard pulls down the “ROMULANS ONLY” sign, and steps on it. You can only imagine where this is going.

You’ll have to watch the episode to see what follows, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that it is extremely predictable.

Here we are more than halfway into episode four before we see the first scintilla of action and true dramatic tension. There is one cool fight scene that is over in literally a blink of an eye and a slash of a sword. Sigh.

Summary

So far four episodes, four episodes that begin with a flashback. Three of them are exactly 14 years ago dealing in/around the synths revolting on Mars. My goodness, how many more times do viewers need this drilled into our heads?!? We get it, the synths went rogue.

There is a tiny amount of forgettable progression of story around the Borg Cube Artifact and the new crew aboard Captain Rios ship? Almost zero screen time. They might as well be control panel props.

We did — finally — get something happening on another planet off earth. This is about the closest to an actual Star Trek that we’ve come so far, points deserved there. One star is awarded for this alone.

This episode is the first directed by STNG alumni Jonathon Frakes (Ryker!). We don’t actually get to see Ryker in this episode, but he’s pretty much completely hampered by a slow, terrible, ineffective script written by Michael Chabon (he’s responsible for the writing of 3 of the first 4 episodes). I mean, this is easily the worst written episode of the four so far. The writing is just miserable. Even some of Picard’s lines — one of the great actors, Patrick Stewart — are just cringe-worthy at times. Let Picard start ad libbing. Or maybe he is and that’s the problem(?).

Yay, we’re going to pick up another crew member (who may or may not get any sort of real action), we’re going to see one briefly cool fighting scene and finally, yes, finally something happening in space — it is Star Trek, after all — just above the atmosphere on the planet and the new ship. There is another surprise at the end of the episode, but it’s like 40 minutes of yawn and 5 minutes of interesting, semi-dramatic material.

If this series is to start being good, we need to invert the numbers and add more dramatic tension, stop the character building (no more new “regular” characters, please!), lose the 14 years ago flashbacks (or at least place them somewhere besides the beginning of the episodes), do more with this new crew as an ensemble acting team and make what happens aboard the Borg Artifact more than a few fleeting cutaway scenes (I liked Dahj better than her sister, so far). Maybe with a male fighter being added to the crew that means we’re going to see … more conflict?

I get that the series is called Picard, so why are we spending so much time character building crew members, unless they are going to be proxies like red shirts in STOS that die somewhere down the line. We never really got to know the red shirts, so that might be the setup here. Let’s get to know people so they can be killed off later in the episode?

I’m glad we’re off Earth and aboard a ship traveling the stars to new planets — this is the most Star Trek that Picard has offered us so far — but the first planet detour was boring and relatively pointless, except to bring yet another crew member onto the team, this one a Romulan fighter.

Is the first season mostly/primarily about adding new crew members to the ship? Viewers can only tolerate so much character building. The story didn’t really move at all in this episode. They could have stitched together episodes 1-4 into a tight, two-part debut episode and bam, we’ve got the crew, we’ve got the synths went rogue, and we’re headed to Free Cloud with Bruce Maddox.

At least two full episodes of the four have been wasted on story we’ve essentially already been told.

Can this get better? I’m not completely losing faith yet, but it’s beginning to fade. Just start running into some conflicts — not crew building (unless it’s prior STNG as crew) — along the way to Free Cloud — or, hey, how about we just hit hyperspace and get to Free Cloud and confront Bruce Maddox already!

New aliens, old aliens, a Borg cube, something, anything … let’s mix this badboy up. No more 14 years ago flashbacks and Picard telling somebody that Data made twins and he must figure out what Bruce Maddox is up to on Free Cloud. We got it, yes we do. Give us NEW DRAMATIC TENSION AND STORY.

The ending reveals one familiar character from past Star Trek, but that is hardly worth the 45 other minutes endured. We should have gotten that in the opening five minutes instead of another 14 years ago flashback opening. Worst openings in a TV series I’ve seen now multiple times and we’re only 4 episodes in so far.

It’s official, I strongly disliked this episode. Sorry Frakes, I actually like several episodes he has directed of Star Trek in the past. Not this one. As for the way of “Absolute Candor”? I wouldn’t be using that if I rated this episode as anything except “bad” and not recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️½

SPOILER SECTION – The Ready Room

“What’s up, nerds?!” – Wil Wheaton’s introduction on The Ready Room.

Wil Wheaton interviews Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera)

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn)

“Lonely, lonely, lonely…” — Robert Plant wailing in a famous Led Zeppelin song. It’s also how week #6 of 2020 (2/6-2/9/2020) at the movie theater works with only one lonely wide release movie. We last encountered this on week #1 of 2020, too with The Grudge being the only wide release that week.

This week we get one of a couple dozen movies (see: 24+ movies to watch in 2020 to make buying an Unlimited Pass worthwhile) I’m eagerly looking to see at the theater.

So, what did I think?

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) ⭐️⭐️½ 

Kara and I video review Birds of Prey (2020) just after leaving the movie theater

Unfortunately, we’re not recommending this movie. I am considering watching it one more time and maybe (?) I’ll change my mind. It was one of those movies that is on the edge of recommend or not. As much as I want to say, “yes, go see it now!” I don’t feel that way after seeing it on opening night Thursday.

But good news for Harley Quinn fans, because I do have a fantastic recommendation.

A movie ticket to Birds of Prey is going to cost you an average of $12 USD. Here’s a much, much, much better idea: buy a subscription to DC Universe ($7.99/month) and watch Harley Quinn adult animated TV series.

Harley Quinn TV show on DC Universe is more entertaining than Birds of Prey

There are 11 episodes of Harley Quinn available as of this writing. Each episode is 22 minutes, which means for $7.99 USD you can binge watch all 11 episodes available (22 x 11 = 242 minutes / 60 minutes = 4+ hours!)

Four hours of entertaining, creative adult animated stories vs. 109 minutes (1 hr, 49 minutes) of a below average (in our opinion) live action movie featuring Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theaters recently and liked (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that the film was that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films rated as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Like A Boss ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Doolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!