Quick Take: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows & Me Before You
Welp. This has to be one of the strangest double review pairings I've done in recent memory. Out now is the sequel to the 2014 Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the adaptation of a popular romantic novel Me Before You. We'll go with Turtles first.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is so unbelievably stupid. It is absolutely preposterous...but I can't deny that I was stupidly entertained the entire time. Trust me, I'm not proud of this, but I did have a really fun time laughing at the absurdity of this movie. But when I wasn't laughing my heart was weeping for poor Laura Linney, that her career has amounted to her giving inspirational speeches in front of a green screen, imagining teenage mutant ninja turtles by her side. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU LAURA LINNEY???
I'll be honest, I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to TMNT. I definitely saw the cartoons and old movies, but all I remember from the those was silly turtles who loved to eat pizza and exclaim "Cowabunga dude!" But the villains and who is who? I couldn't even try to explain this plot to you if I tried. But no matter; the plot really isn't important in a movie like this. At least, the filmmakers don't seem to think so. In fact, I'm pretty sure they were making this up as they went...they just happened to be more canonically minded than the last go round where they did the same thing. So yeah. Out of the Shadows is far more entertaining than it's predecessor, but let's be honest that's not saying a lot. This isn't a good film by any stretch of the imagination--that cannot be stressed enough, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good guilty pleasure. RATING: 5/10
Now for a film whose plot I can describe! Me Before You tells the story of Louisa Clark and how her life changes when she becomes the caretaker for the physically paralyzed Will Trainer. Though they get off on the wrong foot (I mean who doesn't these days?) they eventually cannot deny the sparks between them, and Louisa (Lu for short,) is determined to show bitter Will that life is worth living.
Me Before You is an incredibly charming and surprisingly very funny film that unfortunately suffers some fatal flaws. Firstly it's obvious that some key character and plot development were smoothed over during the adaptation process that would have made the film a lot stronger. For example, both character's arcs of falling for one another are not equally portrayed. While Sam Claflin's Will gets to show his changing feelings with ease, Emilia Clarke's Lu is so warm and friendly it's hard to tell when exactly her feelings shift from platonic to "I can't live without you." Luckily Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke have enough chemistry to make up the difference, but still a few scenes here and there could have fleshed things out greatly.
Mild vague spoilers in this paragraph: Also, as everyone deduced from watching this trailer, the film is intended to be a tearjerker, so a tragic ending shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone....but still the film's ending is a huge bummer. I won't say anything further about that or go into specifics but.... it was really certainly divisive. Now back to the trailer which I mentioned a moment ago. Another thing this film struggles to overcome is its trailer which showed way too much of the movie. If you've seen the trailer, unfortunately you know a cliff notes version of the film. That's not saying they showed all the best parts... there are plenty of great moments to discover in the film, there just isn't many surprises as to where the story will go next. I'm very split on this film. I certainly enjoyed the journey, but I didn't so much care for the destination. I think the fact that Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke are so likable they allow you to forgive a lot. Still, I just can't help but feel that this movie could have been a lot better as an adaptation and as a romance.